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Panoptix LiveScope …Down and Forward Sonar

Garmin have released their new Panoptix LiveScope. This is the most amazing sonar technology ever. This is a downward and forward scanning sonar. You can actually see easy-to-interpret live scanning sonar images of fish swimming under the boat.

The Panoptix LiveScope scanning sonar system includes a compact GLS 10 sonar black box with LVS32 transducer and retails for around £1,800


Preventing electrical failures…

How many of you have these connectors on board ?..


How many times have I seen so called professional marine electricians using this type of terminal block….Pitiful isn’t it !





There are so many type of electrical connector – all claiming to be for marine use ….

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imageThe ML-XT Sealed Connection System by Molex claims to be the best sealed system in the market today, preventing electrical failures in critical wiring applications. Premium grade liquid silicone rubber (LSR) material ensures the ML-XT connector system meets J2030 requirements for advanced sealing. The thermoplastic plug housing forms a covalent bond with the LSR seal, resulting in an extremely strong interlock which prevents fluid ingress and seal loss or misalignment, even through repeated mating and unmating. ML-XT connectors offer a better seal design and a better rating (IP69K), and are drop-in replacements for other industry standard connectors currently available.

Heat shrink v Don’t Heat shrink…

There are so many pieces of advice on how to seal wires on a boat …

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Will you be sealing moisture in?.. will the end allow water ingress and corrosion? Have you twisted the wire tempting strands to fail?… have you taken into account the surface conductivity property?

Probably the best method to join two wires is the solder splice type of connector with both solder and heat shrink techniques applied at once plus adhesive to stop water/humidity ingress…


If you are using non-tinned bare copper wire don’t twist the stranded wires together…. try to push each bunch of strands into each other so that as many surfaces are in contact as possible from each cable. This is because of the strange property of electrons to try and travel mostly at the outer surface of any given cable….

Tinned v Not Tinned copper wire ….

Then there is the debate on whether to use tinned or not tinned…

On the lab bench and under ideal circumstances, bare copper is going to outperform the `tinned’ variety. It isn’t quite that easy. If it was, we would be done, end of discussion. However, you can’t have an “age old argument” if the situation was straightforward can you? I have experienced different results than the lab testing would suggest. My own testing has proven both types of copper can be right if you add in the missing variable…time. Fresh, new, bare copper conductor works great. Unfortunately, I have found that it will oxidize much more quickly than the tinned variety which leads to a degradation in electrical performance.…

To the naked eye, a copper conductor may appear to be smooth and uniform, however microscopic pits and cracks still exist and moisture can easily penetrate these imperfections. The hydrogen atoms present in the water vapour will combine with other elements to form acids which eventually cause even more metal to be exposed by enlarging the imperfections in the base metal. It gets even worse when sodium is present as in the case of salt water. Sodium accelerates the chemical reaction that forms the destructive oxide compound. As more of these atoms combine they weaken the integrity of the original metal making it brittle and crumbly, a process commonly known as corrosion.so in practice use tinned – if you can afford it !


Power Line Instruction (PLI)

Lumitec is a product development company focused on the conceptualization, development, and manufacture of extreme environment LED lighting. Their research and development facility located in Delray Beach, Florida has come up with an innovative, proprietary communication protocol called Power Line Instruction (PLI).

Power Line Instruction (PLI) is used to send control/configuration instructions to Lumitec luminaires over the standard power wires.

These instructions control the luminaire’s inherent behaviour. The protocol is executed over the basic 2-wire Powerline connections to the luminaire.

Behaviours such as brightness, color, color mixing, flashing sequences are some examples of control instructions. Luminaires can also be controlled as groups, for example, Cabin, Center Console, Floods, Downlights etc. or individually.

PLI does not require any additional wiring to a boat builders wiring plan, or specialized installation training and will work with any compatible digital switching system connected to Lumitec’s PLI enabled lights. Multiple virtual circuits can be created from a single hardwired circuit, allowing manufacturers to customize lighting control for customers from a single wiring plan. As PLI is designed to operate on a 2-wire system, it is cost effective and simple for boat builders to deploy.




Digital Yacht 4G Connect delivers fast 4G/LTE internet access afloat


Digital Yacht will launch their new 4G Connect 2G/3G/4G (LTE) internet access solution at METS 2017. 

Digital Yacht's 4G Connect Pro system ships with 2 external antennas for exceptionally fast LTE access

It appeals to any boat or ship looking for extended and fast 4G internet coverage afloat.

IDigital Yacht's 4G Connect Pro system ships with 2 external antennas for exceptionally fast LTE access utilises the latest MIMO technology with dual antennas for fast, long range access and incorporates a full function wifi router so multiple devices can connect wirelessly. There is also a wired LAN port and WAN port – for connection to high power Wi-Fi devices or satellite systems as an optional method of connectivity.

4G Connect is available in two variants – the Standard model has built in antennas which will provide good performance when in harbour. The Pro model ships with two external hi gain antennas for exceptional long range performance and is the recommended solution for use afloat.  It's possible to get ranges up to 15NM offshore.

4G Connect has an easy to use interface and ships with a built in, low cost Vodafone roaming SIM. It's SIM unlocked so users are free to use any cellular provider they choose but the Vodafone solution offers the best maritime performance in Europe and is competitive with 50GB of data available for £25 on a 1 month commitment rolling tariff covering 50 countries.

Operation is simple – turn on, connect to the password protected Wi-Fi hotspot that 4G Connect creates and your device is online.

Digital Yacht’s WL510 hi power wifi solution can also be connected to the WAN port for a choice between Wi-Fi hotspot access and 4G connectivity.

iKommunicate, Digital Yacht's universal NMEA and Signal K gateway can also connect to the LAN port providing boat NMEA data on the Wi-Fi network for use with navigation apps.


Sailboat vs Trawler Anchoring ..

Jeff Seigel, founder of ActiveCaptain, writes…

As we pulled into the anchorage north of the Lake Worth inlet this week, in our trawler Red Head, we found ourselves in a sea of sailboats. It made us realize some of the issues to think about when picking a spot for both sailboats and trawlers especially when both types of vessels are in the same area.

There are a couple of things that might not be obvious about anchoring but are critical to careful planning. First, the amount of rode you let out after making a scope decision includes the high water level and the height off the water where your anchor rode is attached to your boat.

Ignoring a situation where you're anchoring in very deep water, many cruisers pick about 5:1 scope for anchoring. 7:1 allows us to sleep better. 10:1 would be used if a bad storm were expected.

So if you decide to use 5:1 scope in 10 feet of water when there is an additional 3 feet of tide expected, and your anchor rode is attached to your boat 4 feet off the water surface, the amount of rode to let out should be:

                                         ((10 + 3) + 4) * 5 = 85 feet

The second thing that many people don't realize is that a bridle does not reduce the attach point of the rode to your boat unless the bridle line is attached to the boat at a point lower than where your chain exits the boat. It is most common that the hawse holes/cleats where the bridle attaches are at the same height as the anchor chain exit so in reality, a bridle does nothing to reduce the rode based on scope. This is often argued but it's true. When the wind picks up, your bridle will raise out of the water and form a straight line to the anchor – it has to. It's easy to prove with some string and a toy boat.

So here's the potential problem when sailboats and trawlers anchor together.

We all want to use similar scope, yet it's often the case that trawlers put out a lot more rode. It isn't because they're being selfish. It's because a trawler's rode attach point on the boat is generally at the bow which can often be 8 or more feet off the water.

Here's a real example:

  • A sailboat and a trawler are anchoring at low tide in 6 feet of water where a 3 foot tide is expected (the Lake Worth anchorage).
  • Both boats will put out 7:1 scope because the strong winds are expected
  • The sailboat's rode attach point is 4 feet off the water at the bow.
  • The trawler’s rode attach point is 10 feet off the water at the bow chain lock.
  • Sailboat rode: ((6 + 3) + 4) * 7 = 91 feet
  • Trawler rode: ((6 + 3) + 10) * 7 = 133 feet

In reality, we put out 125 feet of rode because I did the calculation in my head. I believe the sailboat who anchored in front of us put out 75 feet of rode.

In the middle of the night, there was a major wind change with a big storm. As we swung around, we'd now be in front of the sailboat. And it would feel like we were 50 feet closer to the sailboat since we had

50 feet more rode out than they had. We'd end up being a lot closer even though neither boat dragged an inch.

These are the things to take away from this:

  • If you're a sailboat, be very careful when anchoring in FRONT of a trawler with a high bow. Consider the difference between your bow heights times the scope to estimate the distance they'll move closer to you when the wind shifts. So in the example above, you should move an additional (10 – 4) * 7 = 42 feet in front of the trawler than you expect.
  • If you're a trawler, you have a similar responsibility to consider your extra rode distance especially if you're anchoring BEHIND a sailboat with a big wind change expected. You will move closer and you must account for that before you pick your spot using similar bow height estimates.

Trawler owners can correct a lot of the extra rode needed by having a bow eye placed near the water line and having the anchor attach there.

That will be the subject of another newsletter….

Also, don’t forget to use and understand my app for your tablet/phone – DragQueen..