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

Modular, cheaper boat internet solution via Netgear and MikroTik

May 28, 2018 | 81 Comments
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I’ve written a lot about my boat network, and in particular, Peplink products that offer a ton of functionality and features. For the last 6 months, I have been playing with configurations and hardware that cost less, but still provide flexibility and features that more expensive solutions offer.

Using an Intel NUC as a powerful boat server

April 28, 2018 | 10 Comments
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For years I have had a dedicated linux machine on my sailboats centered around remote monitoring and stats gathering. I have a fairly well developed set of tools from SignalK, Zabbix, Grafana and others that help keep an eye on the boat while I am on board, and away. I have been using a Raspberry Pi computer to enable this, but in the last few months it has proven to be too underpowered to keep up. My search began for a better solution…

A tale of two sails

April 18, 2018 | 14 Comments
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This last week I took Grace out on the water twice after a ton of winter projects. The first time was a beautiful, warm day with wind and real sailing. The second time was the rainiest April day on record in 22 years in Seattle, and turned out quite a bit different.

SailBits and Panbo team up for Marine Electronics Forums

April 17, 2018 | 6 Comments
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For the last year or so, I have wanted to build a community focused on marine electronics, networking and technology on boats. In recent discussions with my industry peers at Panbo, I realized they were updating their site, and we thought it would be great to collaborate on a dedicated community forum for this purpose.

Raymarine Lighthouse v3.4 – apps, bluetooth, find nearest, and more

April 12, 2018 | 4 Comments
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Raymarine continues their updates for Lighthouse with version 3.4 which includes a number of new features, bug fixes, and features that we had in version II. The most exciting addition is apps for Netflix, Spotify and Theyr, and the promise of even more in the future.

Best LTE antenna and booster for the boat

April 10, 2018 | 99 Comments
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For almost two years I have been testing, re-testing, and re-wiring my setup on Grace in an effort to find the best LTE antenna configuration. I don’t remember another project I worked on that took so much time and effort to gather data. The search for a good antenna system led to some surprising choices.

Nemo gateway – easy NMEA networking for your boat

March 14, 2018 | 39 Comments
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Connecting marine electronics together is an important goal for modern boaters. The Nemo gateway from Rose Point is an easy way to connect everything together, while also easily providing high quality, frequent data to a number of sources.

Lighthouse 3.3 – radar and AIS plus more

February 25, 2018 | 0 Comments
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Raymarine continue to come out with updates to Lighthouse v3 that include new features and bring forward items from v2. Version 3.3 was released a few weeks ago, and includes support for older eS and gS series MFDs, Navionics Plotter Sync, and new features around radar and sonar.

Portable lithium jump starter for the sailboat

February 21, 2018 | 15 Comments
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I made a decision to have a single battery bank for both my house and starting needs on Grace. I use a NOCO Genius Boost jump starter to ensure I won’t end up dead in the water. It gives me around 20 chances to start even if my entire battery bank is dead.

Completed navigation panel

February 17, 2018 | 36 Comments
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A few weeks ago I posted about redesigning the nav and electrical panel, and after a lot of planning and discussion, I made my final choices, placed orders, and submitted my front panel to be made. A week later everything arrived, and it was time for an epic weekend project to remove the old one, and put the new one back in.

Fridge Optimizer now supports SignalK

January 27, 2018 | 4 Comments
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The Stainless Lobster Fridge Optimizer still remains one of my favorite additions, mainly because of the massive power savings and visibility. Recently, the folks at Stainless Lobster released new firmware that supports output of stats via the USB port and is compatible with SignalK.

Redesigning the nav and electrical panel

January 21, 2018 | 42 Comments
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My navigation and electrical panel has been in need of an update for a while. In addition, I have never liked the electrical circuit layout, and am out of DC circuits. I have a general design of what I would like, but still have not settled on a final solution for the electrical panel.