Maybe You Don’t Need 3G on Your iPad 2?

iPad 2 3G Version -- Photo: Verizon Wireless

iPad 2 3G Version -- Photo: Verizon Wireless

Brian Chen, at Wired, has a piece today that suggests a clever way to avoid having to pay the extra money for a 3G version of the iPad 2 just to get GPS and phone data network capability.  The solution basically involves using your current Smartphone as a wireless hotspot. 

Here’s an excerpt of his piece:

GPS transplant

The Wi-Fi iPad doesn’t have built-in GPS, but if you want to use that beautiful Maps app for navigation, you still don’t need a 3G iPad, so long as you have an iPhone. It turns out that if you hotspot with an iPhone, the connection transfers the GPS to the iPad.

Just connect the iPad to the iPhone’s hotspot, then launch the Maps app, and you’ll see the blue dot tracking your location.

(We’re not sure if this works when hotspotting with an Android phone — if you can confirm, let us know in the comments.)

For the complete article, visit the Wired article here.

There are some questions still.  For example, if the GPS data is being imported by the tethered iPad, can it be used by other nav programs instead of the Maps app?  I’m betting so, but I need to hear from somebody with the gear who is willing to experiment with it.  My best sources for iPad info are Jeff Siegel at ActiveCaptain, Christine Kling at Write on the Water (an amazing writer/sailor/geek), and my friend Ben Ellison at Panbo.

Copyright © 2011 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Electronics, seamanship, Technology

Fugawi Announces NavPlanner 2 and Updated Marine ENC

Screenshot of NavPlanner2 Showing Google Earth View

Screenshot of NavPlanner2 Showing Google Earth View

Fugawi recently announced the release of Navionics NavPlanner2, powered by Fugawi. The company also said it has released version 4.5.5 of its Fugawi Marine ENC.

NavPlanner2 is an atlas of U.S. coastal waters, navigable waterways, and more than 12,000 inland lakes for use on a home computer for map viewing, searching, printing, waypoint planning and GPS data managing. NavPlanner2 includes the 2010 edition of Navionics Gold U.S. marine charts and the HotMaps Premium U.S. lake maps for use on a PC. While you can’t use the charts themselves on another plotter, you can export and exchange routes, waypoints, etc., with such devices, so it can serve as a great planning tool away from the helm station. Recommended retail price is $129. The program is available directly from Fugawi or from any Navionics dealer.

Fugawi Marine ENC Version 4.5.5is software for navigation that can use many charts from many different sources, including many of the Navionics formats, S-57 format charts, S-63 encrypted ENC charts, BSB charts, NV. Digital charts, topographic maps, and your own scanned paper maps.

Screenshot of Fugawi Marine ENC with Navionics Platinum Charts

Screenshot of Fugawi Marine ENC with Navionics Platinum Charts

I will be evaluating this latest version of Fugawi Marine ENC during an upcoming offshore delivery from Florida to Annapolis aboard a new Kadey-Krogen 58′. We’ll have multiple computers running different nav programs so it should be a nice run. We’ll get a chance to check out Fugawi with a little travel in the ICW, out and in some popular inlets and during both near-shore and offshore navigation.

Do you use Fugawi Marine ENC for navigating?  If so, drop us your thoughts about the program in the comments.  We’ll keep them in mind while we evaluate the program and we may follow-up with you.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boats, Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Electronics, Gear & Apparel, Industry News, Passagemaking News, seamanship, Technology

New Torqeedo Might Be The Green Go for Your Dinghy

New Torqeedo Cruise 4.0 R Electric Motor Has High Thrust and Efficiency

New Torqeedo Cruise 4.0 R Electric Motor Has High Thrust and Efficiency

Torqeedo, the German company that produces those cool, skinny electric outboard motors has introduced a new model — the Cruise 4.0 R — that has the power to realistically be considered a replacement for the gas-powered outboard on your dinghy.  And it does so with an overall efficiency of more than 50%, which is at least an order of magnitude greater than other electric motors, and much higher than any gasoline outboard.

The Cruise runs on 48 volts and offers 215 pounds of thrust, roughly equivalent to a 9.9hp gas outboard.  The Cruise 4.0 R is designed specifically for remote steering and throttle.  The throttle mount includes an LCD display that shows remaining battery charge, current speed and range remaining at current speed, as well as input power in watts.  The motor’s onboard computer includes its own GPS receiver, which enables the speed and range calculations.

The Torqeedo Cruise 4.0 R addresses one of the principal shortcomings of electric motors as primary propulsion on boats, which is the short range and time of operation due to limited battery capacity and relatively low efficiency.  With its significantly higher efficiency, and with a power output that should be sufficient to get a typical 10 or 11-foot dinghy to speed with a full load, it can truly be considered a potential replacement for the gas motor.

Another potential advantage not cited by Torqeedo might be the ability to eliminate the carriage of gasoline for the tender.  All trawlers and passagemaking boats on the water have sufficient electricity generation capabilities to keep the Torqeedo’s batteries charged.  And with no mess or the inherent danger of gasoline storage and management, it offers a safety enhancement.  The motor operates on lead-gel or AGM batteries, or a set of two high-performance lithium-manganese batteries available from Torqeedo. 

The motor is not cheap, with a suggested retail price of $3,699, but the extra thousand or so compared to a gas outboard motor might be more than made up by the economy, efficiency and safety of operation.

Copyright ©  2008 by OceanLines LLC

Posted by Tom in Industry News, Technology