The goal of SailBits is to tell a story about how technology and sailing work together, to share ideas about projects, and help others learn from the experience.

Boatsense Problems

By Steve Mitchell | February 7, 2008 | 0 Comments

I’ve had the new Boatsense Remote Vessel monitoring solution installed for a week or so now, and have had a few problems with it. First, the company that manages it did some sort of firmware update to it, and it now sends me pages at random times (usually at 1-3AM) with gibberish in it. They …

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Harrowing sail

By Steve Mitchell | February 5, 2008 | 0 Comments

I took today off to sail around the bay and continue to test out some of the new systems on Jammy.  It was forecast to be pretty windy later in the day, and even a rare gale warning late in the evening.  The previous day it had been pretty windy (50mph) but had calmed down …

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Remote vessel monitoring

By Steve Mitchell | January 30, 2008 | 0 Comments

For a long time I’ve dreamt of having a system that would send me an email or text message when there’s something wrong. There are a lot of very high priced systems out there that you can purchase and for a monthly fee, have specific things monitored. Many of them are very bulky, require a …

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Shipmodul NMEA multiplexer

By Steve Mitchell | December 15, 2007 | 0 Comments

While redesigning my navigation system, I realized that I wanted several instruments to share information with my chartplotter, while also being able to share information between themselves. In addition, I also wanted a PC to be able to receive information from these instruments. After some investigation, I found a whole product line of NMEA multiplexers …

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AIS receiver

By Steve Mitchell | December 10, 2007 | 0 Comments

I was going through a major overhaul on my navigation system and decided to install an AIS receiver. There are only a few of them out there, and some of them are way overpriced for the featureset. After reviewing a bunch of online reviews, I choose the Smart Radio SR162 and the Smart Radio VHF Antenna Splitter both sold …

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Garmin GPSMAP 5208 Chartplotter

By Steve Mitchell | December 9, 2007 | 0 Comments

Part of my navigation systems overhaul was to replace my handheld Garmin 76C GPS with something larger and more reliable, fixed mounted, that could drive my autopilot and allow me to see electronic maps as well as plot courses. At first, being in the computing industry for my day job, I started looking at a PC solution.  …

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Navigation system overhaul

By Steve Mitchell | December 1, 2007 | 0 Comments

I decided it was time to re-wire and re-tool my entire navigation system.  I’ve written articles on parts of each of these, and they’re linked below.  Here’s a general overview of what I had, and what I wanted to do.  I started with: Raymarine ST2000+ autopilot with wireless remote Tacktick wireless instruments for depth, speed, …

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Coastal Explorer

By Steve Mitchell | October 14, 2007 | 0 Comments

I was looking for PC based navigation software – there’s a lot of choices out there.  Eventually after reviewing over 50 of them, I found one that had all of the options I wanted, was very well written, and had lots of good reviews online – Costal Explorer by Rose Point Systems. The program itself is moderately priced, …

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New cabin lights

By Steve Mitchell | March 15, 2007 | 0 Comments

My existing cabin lights were in need of being replaced.  They were a mixed match of various manufacturers, mostly halogen, and very good at sucking a lot of power.  A couple were older flourescent lights that didn’t work at all.  All of the halogen lights got too hot to touch in about 5 minutes, and …

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Uniden UM625CBK VHF radio

By Steve Mitchell | February 28, 2007 | 0 Comments

Most people have a decent VHF radio on their boat – it’s pretty standard equipment for everyone.  My current radio was going bad, and really didn’t have the features I needed for saftey reasons.  I went out to investigate some of the newer features of the radios out there, specifically: DSC – digital selective calling …

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