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Welcome to next generation navigation from Digital Yacht

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This site is packed with useful hints and tips on marine electronics in general, installation guides, white papers and links to other sites too. Feel free to subscribe by joining our list. Follow us also on Twitter and Facebook

New Products for 2017 at METS – Hall 1:434

Dear Partner,

Digital Yacht will introduce a range of new products for 2017 at this year’s METS exhibition (15-17 November 2016).  We’re also pleased to have been nominated for the prestigious DAME design award with our iKommunicate NMEA gateway product.  This product was just a concept this time last year, but thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign with 500 early adopters, we were able to bring it to market in record speed and iKommunicate is now selling well as an established product – what a difference a year makes!

We see interesting opportunities in new marine sectors for us – smaller outboard powered vessels, dingy racing and then at the opposite scale in the super-yacht sector.  We see portable solutions as a growth area and of course more consumer product integration as well as connectivity afloat.  You’ll also see more products under the Digital Deep Sea brand for the professional, commercial and military markets.  We’re also keen to compete aggressively on price – in particular, on entry level products where you’ll see attractive new price points.

METS will show you the flavour of our upcoming product offerings for 2017.  We’re expanding our AIS product range with the introduction of Nomad – a portable Class B AIS transponder designed to appeal to charter and boat rental users, delivery skippers, professional users and also boat owners who don’t want the expense and complexity of a dedicated installation.

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WindSense is a new wireless wind system which will form part of an expanding range of sensors we offer including hi-performance GPS and compass units.

Plus lots of development of the iKommunicate platform – we’re already able to use low cost Kindles as a marine instrument, iKommunicate as a document server for handbooks and you’ll see some amazing engine monitoring and fuel economy apps.

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We all look forward to seeing you at METS 2016 – Hall 1:434

the Digital Yacht team

TEL + 44 1179 55 44 74  US 978 277 1234

DAME Nomination for iKommunicate

We’re delighted that iKommunicate has been nominated for the prestigious DAME award at this years METS exhibition

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iKommunicate is Digital Yacht’s NMEA to Signal K gateway which brings the internet of things to anything afloat and will introduce a new generation of interfacing and applications to the marine electronic’s world.

Things are changing in the world of marine electronic interfacing with the introduction of a new open source platform called Signal K. It’s been developing quietly over the past few years by a group of enthusiastic and very bright  developers and boaters and is now ready for wide scale implementation. The name comes from the original Signal K (kilo) flag which indicates “I want to communicate”!

Signal K aims to be the next generation solution for marine data exchange. It is intended to be used not only for communication between instruments and sensors on board a single vessel, but also to allow for sharing of data between multiple boats, aids to navigation, ports, marinas, etc. It is designed to be easily implemented by web and mobile applications and to connect boats and ships to the Internet of Things Afloat.

Many of you will be familiar with NMEA data standards which have been prevalent over the past 30 years.  While reliable and proven, they are slow and also expensive to develop for as there are legal, certification and documentation costs.  These standards were developed when the instruments on the average boat were much simpler and less capable. Today’s world is a lot more connected and there are huge benefits of tablet, PC and smartphone integration for data displays, applications, sharing and control. However, we don’t see the NMEA standard disappearing over night but equally a new format is needed for the next advance in applications.  In fact, the combination of NMEA and Signal K on board is the best technical opportunity.  That’s where iKommunicate comes in – a full featured NMEA to Signal K gateway and server allowing existing marine electronics to integrate with Signal K apps.

Like any new standard, it would take early adopters and lots of hard work to flourish but thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign in the back end of 2015, iKommunicate was created and is now in production.  Thanks to nearly 500 early backers, iKommunicate was designed and manufactured.  Now everyone can now start to take advantage of next generation interfacing.

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iKommunicate has inputs for both NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 so it will work with the latest generation of marine instruments as well as legacy systems.  You can now integrate your older marine electronic equipment to the next generation of interfacing with tablets, PC and other devices.  To start sharing data, it’s designed to connect to a router and to complement iKommunicate, Digital Yacht have introduced iKConnect – a compact wifi router with easy integration for iKommunicate as well as a WAN port for internet connectivity.

Out of the box, iKommunicate can do some really clever things

  • Converts NMEA0183 and NMEA2000 to the new Signal K Open Data format
  • Includes two Web Apps; iKompass and Instrument Panel so that you can look at the Signal K data
  • Re-transmits all of the NMEA0183 and some of the NMEA2000 data it receives in to TCP or UDP network data
  • Can host other Web Apps and documents (PDFs, JPGs, etc.) on its 8GB micro SD Card

With data in Signal K format, it becomes incredibly easy to write apps to make boating more fun, affordable and safe.  We’ve produced a simple SDK at our www.ikommunicate.com site to help budding developers. Popular apps could include

  • Logging – log your engine data and track any changes over time – a gradually rising water or oil  temperature can be diagnosed prior to becoming an expensive problem
  • Twitter and Facebook integration – create your own Facebook logbook and share your boating experience with friends. Auto tweet your boats position for an easy tracking solution
  • Integrate with hobby hardware platforms like Raspberry Pi to create a custom alarm or monitoring platform for you boat

In fact, the sky is the limit!  You can also download the iKommunicate manual from HERE

Lots of major app developers are starting to interface with Signal K and iKommunicate’s support of NMEA data over TCP and UDP connections makes it compatible with lots of older apps too.

iKommunicate is now available to order.  You can order NOW

Dealers, marine electronic installers and boat builders should read ouriKommunicate Guide HERE

Welcome to next generation interfacing for everything afloat and come and see us at METS Hall1:434

WindSense – New Wireless Wind System

WindSense is a new wireless wind system designed to allow iPads, tablets, SmartPhones and PCs to display accurate apparent wind speed and direction.  It features a high quality, precision mast head sensor with 20m cable that connects to a below decks interface unit providing a wifi and NMEA 0183 wired connection.  Existing NMEA compatible sensors can also be connected to the NMEA input to allow the wireless network to share other available on board instrument data.  It’s compatible with a wide range of apps for iOS and android.  The built in wifi will typically footprint a GRP boat up to 30mwindsense-montage-white-back-ground

It has been attractively priced and positioned as a low cost replacement or addition to any marine electronics system but offers significantly enhanced accuracy, reliability and functionality with easy interfacing enabling a tablet to become a complete instrument display with other connected sensors.  There are many vessels equipped with just a speed and depth system who require wind data too and also many older wind systems requiring replacement where customers do not want the substantial cost of a totally new instrument package.  Depending upon the app utilised, true wind information, VMG and other sailing performance parameters may also be calculated.

Key features:

  • Stand alone or networkable (via NMEA 0183) wind system with precision mast head unit
  • Wired connection with super-thin cable from MHU to below deck interface with wireless WiFi and wired NMEA connections
  • Ultra tough IgildurTM mast head unit bearings for exceptional life and corrosion resistance
  • Full range of apps for iOS & Android plus compatible with multiple PC and MAC apps
  • Support for up to 7 WiFi connected devices – use multiple smart phones, iPads or tablets as a display at the helm, chart table or on deck
  • NMEA 0183 output ($MWV)
  • NMEA 0183 (4800 or 38400 baud) input with multiplex facility for WiFi connection
  • WiFi can be standalone or joined to existing network
  • Minimal power consumption
  • Optional NMEA 2000 interface (available late 2016)

Installation is easy with an ultra thin mash head unit cable with removable connector which plugs directly into the interface unit.

windsense-installation

Its then just a matter of connecting power and any other NMEA interface connections you require.

WindSense is compatible with a wide variety of new and existing apps and charting programs with instrument displays.  Both TCP/IP and UDP connections are supported.  There are also free apps from Digital Yacht plus use popular, low cost apps from many 3rd party developers too.  Apps can also calculate true wind information, VMG and other performance sailing data like polars and laylines for racing.

WindSense – makes sense!  Available late October 2016, see it at METS 2016 too, Stand 01-434.  Part number: ZDIGWS UPC:081159830625 SRP $599.95/£375.00/€495.00

Download a product introduction pack from HERE

 

Looking for a Class B AIS transponder?

Its always good to have a few weeks at boat shows and listen to customer questions.  Differences between models always crop up as Digital Yacht have a big selection of Class B AIS transponders on offer.  We hope this document helps you decide which is best for your installation.  All units share a common technology platform so will give excellent performance and importantly have future proof SatTrak technology built in.

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AIT1500 Series

All AIS transponders require their own dedicate internal GPS (you can’t use a NMEA feed from an existing GPS).  The AIT1500 series has a super sensitive internal antenna which cuts down on the need for another external antenna.  It will work well even below decks on GRP vessels but steel or wood will attenuate the signal too much.  The AIT1500 series is therefore great for RIBs, Center Consoles and GRP sail boats.  With many larger sail boats now fitting multi function displays in the cockpit, it can be unobtrusively installed in a location adjacent to the MFD and the same for flybridge motor boats.

The AIT1500 comes in two versions – one for NMEA 0183 based systems and one for NMEA 2000 systems.  The later is also self powered from the NMEA 2000 bus so installation really is plug ‘n play.  Both models have a USB interface for PC & MAC for programming and PC plotting.

AIT2000

Has dual NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 interfaces plus USB and ships with a dedicated external GPS antenna.  Its a great solution for wooden and steel vessels that require an external GPS antenna

AIT3000

Appropriately called “Nucleus” as it forms a hub in any marine electronics system.  It features our patented ZeroLoss VHF antenna splitter technology so the main VHF antenna can be shared with VHF and AIS which means no need for another VHF antenna and sophisticated connectivity including not just NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 but also WiFi for iPad and tablet interfacing.  Up to 7 wifi connected devices can be attached and neat NMEA interfacing allows instrument, AIS and GPS data to be used by hundreds of compatible apps.  There’s also a FM radio antenna outlet.

Here’s a 5 minute guide on Youtube and of course we’re standing by on email and phone to answer any queries.  Digital Yacht – for your biggest and best choice in Class B AIS.

Read anything good lately ?

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Some books you just cannot put down and we are hoping that our new Signal K App for the Kindle will have the same effect. With their perfect sunlight readability, low price and extremely large user base, we thought an Amazon Kindle would make a great low power instrument display for a boat.

Every Kindle has an “Experimental Web Browser”, which although pretty poor for normal web browsing, does support Javascript which is the language that most modern HTML5 web pages use. After some positive initial tests to see if it would be good enough for our needs, Digital Yacht developed a simple Instrument Display Web App that would read Signal K data from our new iKommunicate gateway and display it on your Kindle.

Every second, the App “grabs” the latest instrument data from iKommunicate, which is connected to the boat’s NMEA2000 or NMEA0183 networks and displays it as either individual “jumbo” displays or a dual line or quad view (see image) display.

In keeping with the “Open Source” nature of Signal K and to encourage other developers to take what we have done and expand on it, we are releasing the source code of the Kindle Web App on our iKommunicate GitHub pages. For existing iKommunicate users, who would like to use this new Kindle App, you can download the new SD Card image and install it following the instructions here.

NOTEBy default a Kindle will check the wireless network it is connected to see if it has an internet connection and if it does not, it will disconnect from the wireless network. This is not great behaviour on a boat that may or may not be connected to the internet and so a little tweak needs to be made to the Kindle to disable this internet check.

Simply connect your Kindle to your computer using a Micro USB Cable and it will appear as a USB Disk Drive (mass storage device). Then you need to create a file in the USB root folder called WIFI_NO_NET_PROBE which does not need a file extension and can be a completely empty file, it just needs to be in this folder, as shown below.

kindle-directory-no-probe-file

Once you have copied the file on to your Kindle, restart the device and it will now connect to your wireless network even if there is no internet connection.

 

SailRacer App now with Charts on Android and iOS

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When we updated our Android Apps listing last month, we were given some advanced information that SailRacer the popular tactical yacht racing app, was soon to be getting a major upgrade to support navigational charts. True to their word, this week new Android and iOS versions of SailRacer will be released that allow users to overlay all of their race marks, layline and wind information on a navigational chart.

Of particular interest is the new chart upload feature that allows you to scan or take a photo of a paper chart of the race location and to then quickly align the chart with your precise race marks using the powerful “map center” feature. Traditionally SailRacer has plotted the racing marks on a blank track plotter type screen, but now with the addition of nautical charts, a whole new layer of essential local geographical detail is available to give you the edge in your tactical decision making.

The new Apps will be available from the Google Play or the Apple App Store later this week or you can visit http://www.sailracer.net to learn more. An interesting video to show how you upload your own charts to Sail Racer can be seen here.

Both apps are compatible with Digital Yacht’s wireless NMEA servers.

Yacht Racing with Signal K

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It was great to meet JC and Ric from RaceGeek yesterday at the Southampton Boat Show. Tucked away on stand J328, behind the Furuno Stand, this was their first time at Southampton and they were showing off their brand new D10 Mast display for racing yachts. What makes this new product of particular interest to Digital Yacht, is that the team at RaceGeek have made their D10 display Signal K compatible, making it the perfect display for connecting to our own iKommunicate.

Whether you are an out and out yacht racer or just a cruising yachtsman who likes to sail in the most efficient and effective way, a clear mast display like the D10 is an important tool and connected to our iKommunicate, providing NMEA0183 and NMEA2000 data via the new open source Signal K data format, it is a winning combination.

For more information on the D10 mast display please visit http://racegeek.ie/