Digital Yacht launch portable Class B AIS – follow the Nomad!

Nomad is a new, portable AIS navigation solution from Digital Yacht.  Designed for recreational boaters and professional mariners, it offers a full function, Class B AIS transponder with a wireless and USB interface built in for tablets and PCs – all in a portable, compact package.

NOMAD LR

It addresses the needs of so many boaters who want a portable yet sophisticated navigation solution with AIS and GPS and the ability to interface with tablets, PCs and smart phones. It appeals to charter skippers, professional mariners like delivery skippers and pilots as well as boat owners who don’t want the hassle or cost  of installing a dedicated transponder and like the concept of easy iPad and tablet navigation using their favourite charting apps with a detailed AIS overlay and real time GPS positioning.  As a full function Class B transponder, it also sends you boat position to other AIS users.

It incorporates an innovative USB power solution allowing the Nomad to be powered from any standard USB source. This can include low cost, 3rd party battery packs, a USB PC connection or 12V USB adaptors/cigarette lighter adaptors.  The GPS is built in and Nomad ships with a compact, 25cm external VHF antenna with sucker cup mount. It can also connect to any regular VHF antenna.

nomad and vhf antenna

WiFi and USB interfaces are standard and there are a wide range of free and premium compatible apps for iOS, Android, PC and MAC.  The wifi connection allows up to 7 tablets or iPads to connect

The unit can also act as an AIS/GPS receiver only if MMSI and specific boat data is not available

NOMAD SYSTEM DRAWING LR

Nomad is available now in Europe and priced at £475/€595 ex vat.  Further details at http://www.digitalyachtamerica.com or click on the download HERE for a full preview pack.

Please note that Nomad is not yet available in the US as pending FCC approval

Next Generation Instrument Solution From Digital Yacht & Seamantec

Here’s a new solution for next generation instrumentation on your boat.  When we designed WindSense, our wireless wind system, we thought most users would utilise mobile devices like iPhones and tablets as a display but it turns out many users also wanted to integrate into a PC system – this makes sense as you can have a large format screen at the chart table or below deck and use mobile devices around the yacht.

Our SmarterTrack chart navigation software provides nice large digital displays of instrument data (as below) so this was one solution but it is primarily designed for chart navigation, AIS, routing and real time nav.  Its worth noting it uses Navionics charting and a unique feature is that traditional chart data stored on Navionics cartridges as used in many chart plotters can be utilised with SmarterTrack too – saving the data on the PC hard drive and minimising charting costs.

SmarterTrack New Instrument Displays

Looking for other solutions we discovered Seamantec and their EDO PC based instrument system.  It can read data from any of Digital Yacht’s wireless NMEA interfaces and also directly from iKommunicate, the NMEA 2000 and 0183 gateway.  It also works with any of our NMEA 0183 sensors.  The display screen is easily configurable for just about any configuration – move the instruments around, choose from analogue or digital format and select “pages” of instrument information to suit exactly what you want and when.  There’s even a mini AIS plotter display

edo nav display

Another neat feature is the Seamantec back ground can be turned off so you’re just left with an instrument display which can be floated over another program – you can see below Seamantec instruments overlaid on top of SmarterTrack.  You can also stack windows side by side just as with any Windows program and take advantage of a big PC screen.

edo instrument layer

Things get really exciting for the racing sailor with Seamantec offering really sophisticated wind displays and the ability to display and calculate boat polar tables like the screen shot below shows

edo wind

Plus there’s logging and recording of NMEA data, voice alarms, a logbook and lots of real time performance analysis.

edo features

So we’re impressed and are offering a bundle of our Aqua Compact Pro PC, iKommunicate and SmaretrTrack plus Seamantec EDO software preinstalled at a special bundle price of $1595.00 – just add monitor, mouse and keyboard and you’ve a powerful navigation and instrument system for any exiting NMEA 0183/2000 network.  Drop us a mail to sales@digitalyacht.co.uk for more information

aqua compact pro and edo montage small

Next generation instrumentation from Digital Yacht

 

iKommunicate and the Smart Transducers

Airmar Smart Tdxs

Recently we have seen a trend in customers asking about using smart transducers with our iKommunicate, rather than installing the more traditional; Log, Depth, Wind and navigation instruments.

If you are re-fitting an older boat or doing an install on a new boat, then it is worth considering the cost benefits and simplicity of design that this approach provides. Whether you create an NMEA2000 backbone or simply wire together NMEA0183 cables, having iKommunicate receive all of the transducer data and then distribute this over a wired or wireless Ethernet network, where the data can be displayed on multiple tablets, phones or computers around the boat is very desirable.

One of the most common questions is…”What transducers should I use?” and so we thought we would tackle this question in this article.

When it comes to transducers, the leading player by a mile, is Airmar the US company that manufacture transducers for pretty much all of the big players in marine electronics. As a result, their product catalogue is massive and finding the right model and part number can be pretty daunting and time consuming, so we have tried to highlight the ideal transducers in their range for using with iKommunicate and listed the Gemeco Part Numbers (SKUs) who are Airmar’s US distributor and whose website is very informative.

The obvious “through the hull” Speed and Depth transducer for most yachts and powerboats, would be the DST800. Described as a “Triducer” as it has a Speed, Depth and Temperature sensor, the DST800 is fully retractable for cleaning, with an integral valve that significantly reduces water ingress. It is available in Plastic, Bronze or Stainless Steel, with both NMEA0183 or NMEA2000 versions.

The NMEA0183 version, which can be used on 12v or 24v systems, comes with 10m of cable, terminated in bare wires and you simply add an S to the end of the part number for this version i.e. DST800PV-S.

The NMEA2000 version, powered from the NMEA2000 network, comes with 6m of cable, terminated in the “standard” male NMEA2000 connector (same one as iKommunicate) and for this version you simply add N2 to the part number i.e. DST800PV-N2.

Gemeco SKU Description
DST800PV-S NMEA0183 – 235kHz Smart Triducer – Plastic
DST800BV-S NMEA0183 – 235kHz Smart Triducer – Bronze
DST800SV-S NMEA0183 – 235kHz Smart Triducer – Stainless
DST800PV-N2 NMEA 2000 – 235kHz Smart Triducer – Plastic
DST800BV-N2 NMEA 2000 – 235kHz Smart Triducer – Bronze
DST800SV-N2 NMEA 2000 – 235kHz Smart Triducer – Stainless

So with the DST800, you get Speed (through the water), Depth and water temperature, plus as a bonus a distance log as well, which just leaves the Wind to worry about.

With the Wind transducer Airmar really “threw away the rule book” for designing Mast Head Units by removing all moving parts and using ultrasonics to measure wind angle and speed. Although not ideal for every type of boat, the 120WX and 220WX Weatherstation® instruments are really good bits of kit which not only measure the wind, but also air pressure and air temperature and in the case of the 220WX, with integral GPS and Compass sensors, even your position, heading, rate of turn and attitude (pitch and roll).

Above is an image of the 220WX which is physically identical to the 120WX.

Both units have NMEA0183 and NMEA2000 built-in, so no different versions to worry about, you simply order either a WS-120WX or WS-220WX and specify the type and length of cable you need;

Gemeco SKU Description
WS-C10 NMEA0183 – 10m
WS-C25 NMEA0183 – 25m
WS2-C06 NMEA2000 – 6m
WS2-C10 NMEA2000 – 10m (Terminated)
WS2-C30 NMEA2000 – 30m (Terminated)

There are other lengths available but we have listed the most popular for Yachts and Power Boats. The two NMEA2000 cables that have (Terminated) after them, include the NMEA2000 termination resistor and must be mounted at the end of the NMEA2000 network.

Should your budget not stretch to an ultrasonic wind transducer or you prefer a more traditional mast head unit, then our own WND100 wind transducer which comes with a 20m NMEA0183 cable is well worth considering, perhaps coupled with our HSC100 smart heading sensor and GPS150 Dualnav position sensor both of which have NMEA0 183 outputs to connect to one of the three NMEA0183 inputs on iKommunicate.

So you have your iKommunicate and smart transducer setup, but what options are there for displaying the data? Well you have plenty of PC Navigation packages; Nobeltec, Rosepoint, Fugawi, Seapro, MaxSea, SmarterTrack, etc. and then Apps like NMEA Remote, iSailor, iNavX, iRegatta, SailRacer, TimeZero, Imray etc are perfect for running on your Apple iPhone/iPad or Android phone/tablet in the cockpit. If you want a dedicated display then perhaps a single graphical display from Garmin, Raymarine, Simrad, etc. or a mast display from NASA or Race Geek would give you a permanent cockpit display without breaking the bank.

Finally with iKommunicate you also have the option of running the new Signal K web apps in your browser so any mobile wireless device can display the data on a modern web browser, even a Kindle !

 

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

 

AIS Antennas & Accessories

We’re often asked for compatible AIS antennas, mounting accessories and connectors for use with our range of products so the latest AIS Antenna & Accessory Guide is now available to download.  Just click on the image below.

antenna accessories page

It’s not just AIS products either – we’ve accessories for our wifi products too that will prove prove popular with users of our WL70 wifi antenna.  Many boaters want to rail mount the antenna when in port and stow away below decks while sailing.  The PA41 detachable rail mount makes installation a breeze.

The PA82 can also be used as a mast mount for the DTV100 DTV antenna

There’s lots of possibilities here for the best, professional installation.  Just drop us a line or call if you need to order any parts (Europe + 44 1179 554474 or US 978 277 1234)

iKommunicate – Welcome to next generation interfacing

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.

ik a4  intro postcard

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.

ipad and ik lr

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.

ikc router

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 our iKommunicate Guide HERE

Welcome to next generation interfacing for everything afloat!

iKommunicate Kickstarter Campaign Ends 15th Dec

Next generation marine interfacing is now a reality thanks to the iKommunicate Kickstarter campaign which has validated the desire for more advanced interfacing on board.  iKommunicate is a gateway allowing NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 systems to interface with the emerging Signal K format.  It will allow existing boat systems to integrate into the internet of things afloat and allows modern devices like iPads, tablets and smart phones access to your on board systems for advanced and innovative applications.

We started the campaign just over a month ago with the idea of finding 100 or so early adopters – its now over 5x subscribed and has over $100k of backing!  With just 3 days left to run (it ends 15th December 2015) you can still join the early adopters and get iKommunicate at a reduced price plus be one of the first to make a step change in marine navigation.  You can find out more HERE

signal k iot 4-3 format with line drawing

We’re really keen for our dealers and distributors to support the project as it will introduce a new category into the marine electronics market.  You can see what leading blogs like Panbo are saying HERE.  There’s lots happening on social media too

So don’t delay, just a few days left and thanks for backing.