Sunday, April 19, 2015

Navionics Plotter Sync for Raymarine Chartplotters

Application: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Function: Marine Charting, GPS, Navigation
Cost: Boating app is free, Chart through in app purchase

Navionics is one of the leaders in providing GPS locational navigation and charting with mobile apps for the recreational marine environment.  They recently announced some significant new features with their Navionics marine apps. The Plotter Sync functionality has been added for use with Wi-Fi enabled Raymarine multifunction chart plotter displays.

How it works:

The Navionics apps include an innovative ground breaking feature called Plotter Sync that allows boaters to wirelessly connect their mobile device to a Wi-Fi enabled Raymarine chart plotter. This connection allows the chart plotter to automatically update itself with the freshest chart data from the Navionics app on your iPhone or iPad.

This provides a convenient way to update your chart plotter without having to remove it or the card for updating. Updates are done wirelessly through the Navionics apps without the need for a computer.

The Plotter Sync feature works only with Raymarine a, c and e series chart plotters which are equipped with Wi-Fi. Models must have the LightHouse II R10 software software updates.  Your mobile device such as the iPhone or iPad must have the Navionics and Navionics Boating app version 7.1 or newer with Navionics+ chart updates covering similar Navionics+, Platinum+ or HotMaps Platinum charts on your chart plotter's cards.

  • Activate your Navionics+ charts and map regions. 
  • Download new coverage areas and updates to your Navionics+ charts.
  • Download updates to Navionics+, Platinum+ and HotMaps Platinum cards.
  • Enhance the SonarCharts by uploading your sonar logs from your chart plotter to your iPad.
  • Upload updated SonarCharts from the Navionics app to your chartplotter.

To set up Plotter Synch on your chart plotter make sure you have a Navionics+, Platinum+ or HotMaps Platinum card with maps loaded on your chart plotter. Turn the Wi-Fi network on your Raymarine plotter by going to System Settings/Wireless Connection/Wi-Fi ON.

On your mobile device, go to Settings/Wi-Fi/and select the Raymarine network. Open your Navionics app and it will read the data on your chart plotter's Navionics card. Next connect your mobile device to the Internet and the Navionics app will download the freshest data for your chart plotters card.

Finally reconnect your mobile device to your chart plotter and your updated charts will be automatically uploaded.  Once you have done this the Navionics app will automatically keep your chart plotter chart data up to date with the most recent chart every time you visit your boat.

Some Raymarine chart plotters can also record sonar logs using your depth sounder. Sonar logs are detailed depth readings of areas that you have covered on your travels. Learn how to record your own SonarLogs here.  Navionics created the SonarCharts program to crowd source detailed marine depth charting information. The Navionics app can then upload this sonar log data and contribute it to the Navionics SonarCharts
database. So by participating you can help build more detailed Sonar Chart data for yourself and the Navionic's community.

It is good to see that some of the electronics manufacturers are getting it and embracing the mobile device functionality.  Navionics is there to make it all work seamlessly with the Boating app and SonarCharts.

I do not own a Raymarine Chart plotter so I was not able to test all the features. Is anyone using the Navionics app and PlotterSynch?

~~~ Sail On ~~~ /)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Calypso Instruments Anemotracker Wind App

Application: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch Optimized for iPhone 5 and 6
Function: Bluetooth Wind Instrument display for iOS and Android
Cost: Calypso Cup Anemometer $575. App is Free

I have been searching for a cost effective wind instrument for my small 22 foot sailboat. I really don't want to spend $1000 or $1500 for a full blown Raymarine or Garmin wind instrument system that needs NMEA 2000 cables run all over my boat. I looked at the Raymarine i40 with the Rotovecta sensor but have heard many comments about issues with the accuracy of the sensor. Raymarine bought out Tacktic a few years ago but there systems are $1000 buck also.

I have an iPad and an iPhone 6 and was thinking that there has to be some way to get wind data to those devices. As you know I hate drilling holes in my boat and having an excessive number of wires running everywhere. I was looking for a wireless solution that would work with my mobile devices.  

Many apps have the capability to get your onboard yachts data displayed on them through TCP/UDP over WiFi.  This requires that you already have a wind sensor and a NMEA WiFi device on board. You can even get radar to your mobile device over WiFi these days, why not wind.

After an extensive search of the web I found Calypso Instruments. They are a Spanish company and a spin-off of Prodero Ingenieria, an engineering team dedicated to industrial design.

They have developed an elegant solution to my wind instrument problem. The Calypso Cups 4.0 wind anemometer is self powered with solar technology and it will communicate through Bluetooth with almost any wireless device.  It can be easily mounted to any boat or yacht with one of their quick mount devices.

The Anemotracker app is free and available in both iOS and Android versions. This allows the display of all the pertinent wind data from the device to your phone or tablet.

  • Wireless
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 50 Meter range
  • Solar charged power supply
  • No need for communication or power cables
  • Displays real and apparent wind
  • Boat course and speed
  • VMG velocity made good
  • Boat course compared to wind
  • Data logger
  • Track sail from home
  • Polar Curve for performance
  • Satellite map tracking view
  • Live Track mode
  • Quick mounting options
The Anemotracker app is free from both the GooglePlay store and the AppStore. It is very intuitive to start using with your Calypso Cups device right out of the box. 

The main Basic screen has both analog and digital wind direction and speed indications. Additional screens can be accessed on the bottom of the display with three other soft keys for Settings, Map and TriData displays.

To pair the app with your Calypso Cups device you will need to go to settings on your mobile device and turn on Bluetooth. The first time  you will need to pair it with the device. Go to the setting page and at the top select Scan for BLE sensors. Once the sensor is displayed select it.

Other screens can now be selected and wind speed and direction should be displaying on your app.

Select the Map button at the bottom to access the very high resolution satellite display. I assume this will only work if you have cell or WiFi service.  The screen allows multi-touch gestures so you can pan a zoom around the map.

The analog and digital wind instrument readings are displayed at the top of the page.

The last screen is the TriData display. Digital readings for Apparent and True wind speed and angle are displayed.

The iRegatta app is another app that now supports Bluetooth connectivity with the Calypso Cups wind device. On the entry screen when you start the app you will see two red icons in the lower right of the screen. The top one is for labeled BT LE, select this to connect via Bluetooth to the Calypso Cups wind device. 

The developers have recently decided to make the software open source so other app developers will be able to connet the anemometer with their app. iRegatta was the first to become compatible and I am sure others will follow.

What are you using for wind instruments?

~~~ Sail On ~~~~ /)