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  • You may notice that this article is quite short. After a few comments (scroll down) and a number of email discussions on the side, I decided to remove the content of this article and replace it with this info.

  • Navigation lights on older boats are a great target for an LED upgrade. Recently I found LunaSea festoon LED bulbs and replaced mine.

477 thoughts on “Welcome!”

  1. Here is the way to change it.If you see this symbol in the status bar, it means that TTY is on.Teletype (TTY) machines are used by deaf and hard of hearing people to communicate by typing and reading text. If you have the iPhone TTY Adapter, available at http://www.apple.com/store, you can use iPhone with a TTY machine.Choose Settings Phone to turn TTY on or off.For more information about using TTY with iPhone, see the iPhone User’s Guide http://www.apple.com/support/manuals/iphone. For information on other accessibility options with iPhone, see http://www.apple.com/accessibility/.

    Reply
  2. SteveM,Read your article, interesting review.I know it works as well. Actually, there are no chemicals in theBioSok product, or any of the PRP (petroleum remediation product)powders. They are all 100% natural-bees wax. We are an online distributor of the Bio-Sok at our website http://www.bio-sok.com. There is an interesting video on the website as well. Check it out and/or contact me directly. thanks, Craig

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  3. Dear SteveM;Thanks for the positive review. I have just one comment. Doug at Milltech is accurate in his recommendation. However, stepping on an AIS transmission is only one reason and the lesser reason, in my opinion, to use a dedicated antenna. The number 1 reason to use the dedicated ACR AIS antenna is that it is sized and tuned to the specific AIS frequencies. A standard VHF antenna is a compromise as it must work over the entire marine band. Since the transmit power of the Nauticast-B is limited by the IEC and FCC to 2 watts, ACR feels it is important to use an optimally designed antenna to get as much effective radiated power out of the Nauticast-B. When mated to a standard VHF antenna, there is some loss of ERP, and a corresponding loss of range.Regards,Paul

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  4. Please let me know how the experiment went with the atom chip running coastal explorerI am in Mexico now and my old laptop has blown up. There is a Lenovo here with the same chipset and I am desperate to find a replacement!Mark

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  5. I have used Coastal Explorer a lot, even the new version, on the Dell Mini 9. Obviously, the biggest thing that’s an issue is the screen size, but I knew that going in. Versus a 13″ or larger laptop screen, its much smaller.CPU and RAM wise I’ve not noticed any big issues. Again, it’s a lower power system, so if you expect to be able to drag objects around on the map a bunch, or do video, it’s going to slow down.On the plus side, I have the SSD version, so it’s completely quiet, and runs for almost 4 hours on one charge. That’s helpful for being on the sailboat. It also boots really fast, and is super portable so I can take it anywhere on the boat. Since it doesn’t have any moving parts, I’m also less worried about it failing. Hope this helps!

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  6. Sorry for not posting an update, Larry! It worked great. I use it all over the place. I even tried it in the salt water as a quick way to wash off the deck when I was away from the marina.It’s a great little pump that you can use in a bunch of different ways. I’d highly recommend it as a staple pump for any boat.

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  7. We’ve been weighing touchscreen vs. non-touchscreen, GPSMAP 4208 vs 5208. Do you find the touchscreen at all limiting from a glove wearing perspective? i.e., Do you find that you can operate the touchscreen in all conditions without issue? We live in Washington as well and are concerned about wearing full fingered sailing gloves and being able to operate touchscreen. Thanks for the post!

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  8. Carlos,I don’t use full fingered gloves on the screen – from what I remember, I don’t think it works well, if at all. I could be wrong though. I need to check on some stuff at the boat in the next few days and can try a full fingered glove just for the heck of it.

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  9. If you can’t find the on/off switch (I couldn’t) you need to reset the iPhone settings.Go to Settings General Reset Reset All SettingsThis will not erase any media, contacts, game saves etc. (But if you’re worried, do a backup first).

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  10. THANK YOU !! I’ve had this problem all day finally googled “keyboard phone icon iphone” and found your post on the top of the list. I love when things just work like that.

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  11. I have the 3GS 16 GB iPhone and in the top right hand corner next to the battery are two strange icons, one is a red phone and the other is a red speech bubble with a red exclamation point on the inside. Wtf?? Does anyone know?

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  12. Just a quick clarification for Oskar’s comment, the setting is there, as per Taft Watson’s post, just go to Settings Phone and you will see the setting there, not Settings General , if you do that, you will not find it.That way you will NOT have to reset all the settings back to default…Thanks to everyone.

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  13. Hi Steve,Thanks for providing all this info – it is good to read about a real-life setup rather than an advertising blurb. I’m particularly interested in your experience with the BR-24 for longer-range activities such as collision avoidance with fast moving vessels (large ships in particular!) and picking up storm cells. Any experience you can share in these areas?Thanks again.

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  14. Hugh,I haven’t had the system out during any stormy times yet. I have used it a number of times in Elliott Bay here in Seattle, and outward, which is very busy and has a bunch of ferries moving around 24×7. I’ve been able to see everything clear and perfect whether they were moving fast or at anchor. I also overlaid the AIS tracks to be sure, and they were pretty darn close – I expect AIS to be slightly less accurate. It’s been phenomenal at picking out small objects, as well as fast moving objects.

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  15. Hi Steve,I am thinking of buying the BR-24 system with a Lowrance HDS-7 for my sailboat (1984 Morgan 323). I was pleased to find your comments and all the great information you posted, thank you for doing that. You mentioned mounting it on a pole. I am almost certain I want mine on a pole, I am interested on what you used and how high it is mounted. With the broadband radar it seems like it might be advantageous to mount it lower than the pulse radars for better close in coverage. I know you said you would mention it later, but thought I’d ask anyway.Thank you,Alan(35 year Volvo owner)

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  16. @Alan KellyAlan,I used the ScanStrut Self Leveling Radar Mount Pole (http://www.scanstrut.com/products/product-page.php?range_id=10019&#38type=) which I intended on writing about in the next few days. It’s about 8′ above the cockpit seats on the stern.I looked at two other areas – one on the mast, which would have required a lot of work for the cabling and getting it up there, and the other was on a mount (again from ScanStrut) on my backstay.I really liked the backstay option, but it would have required a small pole coming down from the mounted dome to the stern of the boat to keep it steady, which would have blocked my swim ladder. So I chose the pole, which is considerably larger, and required a pretty large pad to rest on as well as a standoff to bring stability.So far it has worked really well. I plan on writing a bit about it this week…

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  17. hi Steve,I am a novice. I get some questions want to ask you for help after read your article.1.What’s MFD?2.Can every company of the equipments are compatible ? or all ofequipments have to buy from the same company?Built a system and equipments include a multi function display,external GPS, Radar, Weather receiver, autopilot, DSC VHF)3.Could I use PC replace multi function display to get all of data fromall of equipments?thanksAmos

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  18. Dear Steven,Thank you so much for your reply. However, I get some questions for bother you again.1.From your mention, you build system by yourself, so can you mention some ideals how did you do before, because I want to try the way by myself.I want to use computer to build my system but how to show all of data in my PC. (such as MFD) Do all of components have provided software for setting up PC?2.I have seen Simrad that sell out CAN bus. However, form my knowledge CANBus can help user to collect data and send to Host machine (maybe computer).Thus, from your knowledge, it possible buys CAN Bus and arrange with PC to replace MFD (collecting chartplotting, navigation, depth sounding and send to PC and show the way like MFD.3.Your mention the components usually need to the same manufacture better, because. Get data clear?? Or else?Could I buy Simrad NSE12 but use other manufacturer of components to make the system (raymarin the chartplotter, radar, and depth sounder)?4.You have mention Simrad has a 1.6 GHz CPU and could be Atom-based CPU.It’s for sure? Or you know it bases on any pc base of architecture? X86?5.Do you know the marine equipments almost is using what kind of protocol for communication?

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  19. Shun-yuan,1. I used low power computers and built a system based on a number of components. I’m not sure I understand the second portion of your question…2. It might be possible to do this. I wasn’t doing that with my PC solution. I used a standard GPS antenna that was connected via USB to the PC, and then used a NMEA 0183 gateway box from Brookhouse which was connected via serial to the PC. The various devices that detected depth, wind, speed were all on that NMEA network and sent their data out to the Brookhouse. I am sure there is a direct NMEA 2000 (AKA CAN bus) to PC interface.3. This is up to you – you can mix components, but if you want the best end-to-end features and support, staying with one vendor is recommended. For instance, Simrad’s Radar won’t work with anything but a Simrad MFD. Same with Raymarine and many others. There are gateway systems for some, but they severely limit the features. If you want Simrad advanced Radar and Depth features, you will have to buy a Simrad MFD to get it to work.4. I am pretty sure it is that architecture and speed because I saw it booting up once and recorded that information :)5. I’m not sure I understand which equipment you’re talking about….

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  20. Hi Steve,Your blog on the Simrad NSE12 is very interesting. For my motoryacht I am looking for the ideal set-up of equipment. I am looking for a configuration for on the flying bridge and on the lower deck. I used more or less the same base thoughts as you: plotter, depth, AIS, broadband radar, GPS and autopilot from one and the same company to prevent any integration problems. Simrad seems to have caught it right with their combination of equipment. My addtional thoughts are that I want to use a PC with navigation software and the NSE serve as it’s screen on the flying bridge. A second screen will be on the lower deck. On the NSE I can switch between broadband radar, depth (possibly structure scan) and the PC/navigation software (with AIS integration). If the PC for whatever reason gives up I can use the NSE 12 as backup by taking the Navionics card from the card reader and insert it in the NSE. Reason for preference for PC is ease of use and specifically in preparing routes, plus additional software is available on PC. I build the PC myself. I understand that the view from the broadband radar can be overlayed on the charts? Is that correct? Then using the system as I see has a disadvantage, I would need to switch between charts (coming from PC) and radar. It will then not be overlayed. Did I understand it correctly that the NSE 12 can serve as a touchscreen for a PC?You can take a look a my set-up of the system at: http://jurjenhoekstra.web-log.nl/een_fries_met_interesses/2010/07/een-uitgekiende-apparatuur-configuratie.html . If you don’t mind I would like to make a link to your blog/article on the NSE12.Regards,Jurjen HoekstraNetherlands

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  21. Sort of funny, but the first thing I thought was that you’ve now got a full LoJack system for your boat.
    The next thing that occurs to me is that if you were to really log all of the data you’ve got displayed over several years, you could probably come up with some interesting statistics on how efficient your sailing is. The bad thing is that all data would probably only confirm that owning a boat is a really bad idea, without having any simple way of weighing the emotional benefit of owning a boat.

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  22. In a way it is like having a LoJack system. I’ve had other remote monitoring systems, though, and they were pretty basic – GSM modems sending simple text messages when conditions changed.
    This is essentially being able to see everything as if I were on the boat, and then some. Pretty nice to have, and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before someone productizes a NMEA 2000 security system, if they haven’t already.
    I use a lot of Maretron stuff, and they have door sensors and the like, and you can setup alerts on local panels and on their server based solution to send emails, but that’s for much larger boats than mine.
    I do intend on logging lots of the data which is the whole point of this stuff! I’m not so much as interested in improving my sailing ability as I am in examining the data to see what sort of interesting trends or comparisons I can make.

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  23. Hi, regarding to turn off TTY setting for my Iphone 3gs; I tried to reset all setting as mentioned above but after restoring my latest backup the icon still appear on the screen. Can someone please help?

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  24. You may be interested in this forum discussion: http://community.ubnt.com/t… – in this case it was due to something funky on the ISPs switch but there could be something in one of your firewall rules that is artificially slowing your service down or something like that.

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  25. Nice review – thanks for the updates.
    WRT: Device failure.
    From what I’ve seen and heard, a lot of these initial units shipped with bad RAM, which started to show failure within the first couple weeks to months, and then caused eventual devices failure.
    I know this is a stretch, but I’d see if you can RMA it with Ubiquity. I wouldn’t be too surprised if they accepted it back, as they’ve acknowledged this issue with the shipment of some of the first units. They were provided bad RAM from a supplier.
    This trend is reflected in the Amazon reviews, too. Most that bought when you did was not happy. Now most everyone is happy
    To my understanding, they’ve since corrected the issue, and the reviews, at least, definitely reflect this.

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  26. Also, by the way, I happened upon you blog because I currently run a Soekris Net5501, and I’m tempted to switch over to the EdgeRouter Lite from Ubiquity, mainly just to see how well it does in comparison.
    I love the Soekris, but for future cost savings, I’m curious to see if the EdgeRouter Lite will be a viable replacement.

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  27. Also, by the way, I happened upon you blog because I currently run a Soekris Net5501, and I’m tempted to switch over to the EdgeRouter Lite from Ubiquity, mainly just to see how well it does in comparison.
    I love the Soekris, but for future cost savings, I’m curious to see if the EdgeRouter Lite will be a viable replacement.

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  28. I did finally get a follow up from Maretron, but it essentially said they didn’t see any issues, and they thought it was my cellular provider’s issue.

    After trying AT&#38T and T-Mobile, and calling both of them to validate IMEI’s and other things were correct, it’s pretty clearly a flaw in Maretron’s product.

    Repeated attempts to work with them have resulted in the blame game, and no definitive help or suggestions. Too bad, the STATUS function could have been a game changer for them.

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  29. Just a follow up here…I ended up purchasing another one of these after my original died. My home internet connection was upgraded to 1Gbps/sec and no other low cost, quiet fanless router could handle that much bandwidth.

    So far it’s been a much more reliable product with v1.6.0 of the software. I’ll write up an updated review if I have time after a month or so of use.

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  30. I just installed these same wonderful devices on Grace when I re-did her battery banks. Absolutely love them! More details on her battery bank redo in a future post….including MasterVolt systems.

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  31. Thanks for the write up I am also considering a monitoring device but am leaning towards Siren Marine. They seem to have all their ducks in a row. Plus Boat command really is not a Marine Grade product…its from the the trucking industry. I like to deep dive into my products as well and Boat Command is simply and off branded device with a boat command sticker on it…peel it boat command sticker back and you will find out(so Ive heard)….Do you find yourself more in the app or the web portal??

    Thanks

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  32. Besides power draw, in regards to style….could you say they make the cabin look more “updated”?
    I have 10w bulbs and they work fine, wondering if there is more then a power advantage.

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  33. Regarding your mainsail:
    – Are your reefing lines slack? They look slightly tense in the photo
    – Are your lower battens fully inserted and tensioned? The puckering around the pockets looks suspicious.
    – Check your downhaul/cunningham tension and lube your mast track, the luff looks a bit loose
    – Check your outhaul to make sure it’s not too loose
    – Your leech line may have shrunk, you should be able to splice an extension on

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  34. Thanks for your feedback, here are some answers:

    -Reefing lines slack – yes they were a bit tense, but I loosened them right afterwards. No change to the mainsail.
    -Someone else sent me an email on this – I saw that too afterwards, and I think they may not have been, but I swear I checked them. Something else might be wrong/going on there.
    -The downhaul/cunningham was pretty tight, and I lubed the mast track already a week before hand.
    -The outhaul was suspicious to me too and I was going to investigate before sailing again this weekend.
    -Huh never thought about the leech line shrinking. I just assumed it had a knot or loop in it somewhere. I will investigate.

    Thanks again!

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  35. Just another note on order of operations. If the reefing lines were tense when you raised the main and then you loosened them, you may not have gotten full luff tension with the halyard. Same goes for the vang and mainsheet. I like to raise the main with all those lines running free and then I tension them after the halyard’s tight.

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  36. Argh, no edit function…

    Regarding the leech line shrinking, it’s possible depending on its material and construction but more likely to be due to stretch of the dacron sailcloth. Either way, if you splice an extension on, do it well up the existing leech line so the splice knot lives inside the leech line sleeve and won’t get hung up where the line exits the sleeve when you want to adjust it.

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  37. Happy to help myself, if you like. I could use some expert eyes on my Ubiquiti wifi configurations. I’ll break yours if you’ll break mine! ;o)

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  38. Thanks, Steve. It works but it’s a complicated setup and I’ve got a lot of latency for reasons that may or may not be related to configuration. I just need a second set of experienced eyes on it to make sure I haven’t done anything stupid. I’ll reach out after I’m back in town too.

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  39. After running out of fresh water several times this last year on Grace, I just installed one of these to help with that problem. Super quick to remove the useless, non functioning (and all in French) manual float gauge and drop this one in. Extended my NEMA 2000 bus to the v-berth in about 20 minutes, did some calibration, and I now have my fresh water level appearing at the Nav Station and on the MDF in the cockpit for easy review!

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  40. Hi Steve,
    Just to close the loop in case this is useful to someone, I got my wifi issues sorted. It turns out that my neighbor just installed a bunch of wifi-enabled stuff on his boat and it was all set to the same channel as my long range link. The Ubiquiti Nanostation at one end of the link automatically checks S/N at its end and hops around to find the best channel but all the interference was at the other end, so it was hopping on to bad channels. This was causing 60+% packet loss. Another issue was the automatic bandwidth optimization, which is an algorithm that constantly tries to ratchet up the transmission rate (at the expense of transmission power) until packet loss rises to an unacceptable level and then it falls back. As soon as the system was on a good channel, this algorithm would kick in and chew up transmission quality, at which point there’s be another frequency hop. Lather, rinse, repeat. The algorithm can be turned off but I found that limiting it to the range of reasonably achievable speeds worked well. Also, I put a bigger and more directional antenna on the boat. So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

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  41. Hi Steve, Am I correct that your NMEA 2000 and STng networks are actually installed as one N2K/STng network? I may be confused but it looks like they share a backbone cable with a terminator at each end.

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  42. I cannot open the PDF for the measuring instructions for the Companion way. It just opens a link with the same web page but smaller

    I have a Freedom 40/40 Sailboat and would like to replace the companion way with your product

    Regards

    Mark

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  43. Hi Steve,
    Nice install! At some point in the future you might want to get heat up to the V berth. They tend to be the coldest part of the boat due to their high surface area to volume ratio. Your guests will appreciate it!

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  44. Hi Steve,

    I was really impressed with the little Wallas 1300 we installed in our old boat; it was the smallest physical size, and agree with you on the heat settings, as the larger 1800 size would have given us a ‘low’ setting that would have provided a more comfortable ambient temperature.

    I also can’t say enough about ScanMarine; our ‘new boat’ has an 1989 Arctic/Volvo diesel heater, and when it ‘failed’ 3 seasons ago, they gave me a lot of advice -even though the needed parts were long discontinued- and the darn thing is still going. When it finally packs it in, it’s a no brainer what I’ll be buying -and from where! Enjoy the warmth this fall (or maybe July -the way or June has been), it will make all your efforts worth while.

    Shane

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  45. I have them in my water and holding tank. Will add one more to my additional water tank. Calibrated and accurate enough that with a view hole, I can confirm levels if I had any doubt. Really impressed overall. I can display on my Garmin 740, GMI10 and Raymarine MFD and even on my Auto Pilot display. NMEA 2k is the only way to travel.

    Wish they were about half the price otherwise really like them. Sail in Seattle area as well on a Catalina 34.

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  46. Hi Steve,

    Great write up. Just a small note, the temperature you mentioned is in degrees Kelvin, so subtract 273 to get the Centigrade version, eg 289-273=16 degree C = 60deg F, which sounds better.
    All units in Signal K are SI units, but InstrumentPanel still needs some work on switching user choices for display, eg meters/feet, miles/knts/kms, deg C/deg F, etc

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  47. Hi Steve,

    Great write up. Just a small note, the temperature you mentioned is in degrees Kelvin, so subtract 273 to get the Centigrade version, eg 289-273=16 degree C = 60deg F, which sounds better.
    All units in Signal K are SI units, but InstrumentPanel still needs some work on switching user choices for display, eg meters/feet, miles/knts/kms, deg C/deg F, etc

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  48. We used our Wallas for heat the first few times on our South Puget Sound Trip (https://sailbits.com/blog/tag/South-Puget-Sound/) this last week or so. It worked great, and kept us nice and warm late in the evenings, and when we woke up in the morning.

    We also used it even more for the air circulation factor, and I am EXTREMELY pleased with that feature. I now always leave it on when away from the boat, and have completely eliminated bad smells and any moisture or air circulation problems. It came in handy at night on anchor or at marina locations to keep the air moving with all the crew aboard as well. Love it!

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  49. We like to keep our canned drinks in coozies to keep them cold. It looks like this holder would accommodate a coozie in the upper ring and support it with the middle ring. Zarcor doesn’t have this one pictured on their site. Any idea if it’ll work?

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  50. Super useful. Is it sold on Amazon? Your first link goes to a help page on Amazon locker. I went to the Zarcor website then but could only find the two ring model, not the 3 ring model you have.

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  51. Wouldn’t a blown fuse mean zero voltage? It sounds like you’re saying house power still worked, sort of, and starting worked maybe sometimes? Presuming your house batteries are connected in parallel, I guess house power fed from the one non-blown battery (which explains lower capacity), but if you have an isolated starting battery, how did the starter get power at all?

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  52. Hi Steve, thanks for the suggestion. I upgraded the cabin lights from your source, in my Hunter 326 (down at Shilshole Marina) and couldn’t be happier.

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  53. I use 110v thermal outlet plugs that I sent outside the boat in a protected area. It powers an internal heater starting at 35F and shuts off when 45F outside.

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  54. Hi Steve. Thanks for this very interesting post. I have two questions, but please allow me to lay out the background. I am a network/systems geek working remotely for the last 15 years arriving at the realization that equipment and software has made a fully mobile high-speed internet office possible. For the kind of work I do, 99.999% uptime is required (HAHA, i know im exagerating but Im shooting for the moon here to see how close i can get) and ability to run VoIP and 3-4 simultaneous VPN connections (via software on laptops as well as from a router). The design should accommodate travel to anywhere in North America (US, Canada, &#38 Mexico). For that reason, my current plan is to have carrier diversity via AT&#38T, TMobile, and Verizon, as well as Wifi-as-WAN capabilities (Satellite internet is still way too expensive, so its out).
    .
    To that end, i’ve arrived at three options, and am evaluating the pros/cons of:
    1) the Peplink Max-Duo (price is not advertised but believed to be ~$1,800) or
    2) Cradlepoint COR IBR900 with the extra cradle + second modem ($1,760 with 3 yr Prime support), or
    3) Peplink SOHO with 3 WAN connections and using individual modems for each carrier on each of the WAN ports (Est cost: ~$1,000)
    .
    Aside from price, I have two main concerns bugging me right now where I was hoping to get your opinion and any experiences:
    1) WAN selection/routing fail-over and fail-back algorithm/performance/SPEED
    2) forward and backward compatible modem hardware (support for LTE-A, as well as 3G when in the boonies)
    .
    For the first concern, I keep hearing how good Peplink is at routing to the best WAN link, but what does that mean exactly, and how fast does it converge? Can Peplink analyze packet loss, jitter, throughput, latency to select the “Best” of the WAN connections – in addition to a weighted preference for one WAN link over the other? So that, if the Wifi-as-WAN connection is available, but it is choppy or crowded and latency is high, it will still chose the LTE-A over VZ. Is that configurable and how well does it really work in the field?
    Same thing for Cradlepoint. They advertise this WAN failover minutiae configuration levels, but nowhere can I find data on how FAST the routing selection is done, what is the user-experience during this situation. Also curious how well the fail-back performs, is it graceful or is it bouncing back and forth between two shaky connections because the algorithm loops and trips on itself (which would translate into non-functional internet for the user).
    .
    For the second concern, Im a bit peeved that the on-board modem of the Cradlepoint COR ISB900 only supports LTE 4G, it does not appear to support 3G. The external modem that goes in the cradle to give you a second carrier (Cradlepoint MC400 modem) does support 3G, which is baffling. Im having a hard time justifying the spend, and wondering if option #3 (cheaper Peplink 3-way-WAN with three different carrier external modems) is really the best bet/bang for the buck/completely modular. If I set aside the price, IMHO the decision comes down to routing, software, and algorithm elegancy – things for which I completely rely on users of those products to describe. If possible, I would very much appreciate your experiences.
    .
    Anyhow, I know this is a long-winded post, please forgive me but its not a simple topic. Thanks for your excellent blog, again, i’m enjoying reading many of your posts. Wishing you the best.

    Reply
  55. Great post! Now I know why my experience at POFH was so terrible at 2.4Ghz! I should have sprung for the extra cost of the 5Ghz Bullet. My little 2HP only does 2.4Ghz. But… a new Groove is being delivered via Amazon tomorrow!

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  56. Glad to see my article and (most of the) code helped you out! I’ve also noticed that the txBatteryStatus is really doing nothing for my station as well. I only included it because it’s part of the wunderground packet so I figured it must be something for weewx to keep an eye on. But it’s probably just empty data that I could omit. Anyways, this all looks good!

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  57. Great post. I love my SP4. Have you found any good mounting solutions for it? I’d like to replace my iPad with it for navigation, but I haven’t found any mounting solutions yet that feel very secure.

    Also, a tip, you can set a “metered connection” in Windows 10 to prevent auto-updates or certain other background tasks. It’s a good way to save data usage.

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  58. I agree 100% that the Surface could be a great navigational computer. I use a fully loaded SP4 at work and have really grown to appreciate the Windows 10 tablet even though I mostly use MacOS and iOS devices at home. Along the same train of thought as captobie, do you take the Surface into the cockpit or leave it at the nav station? I would be very tempted to use the Surface running Coastal Explorer at the helm except that I haven’t found a decent waterproof/weatherproof enclosure for Surface. Honestly, if Coastal Explorer ran on iOS, it would be an easy choice for me – I would use my iPad, mainly due to the huge ecosystem of accessories, especially enclosures. It’s easy to scare up a throwaway Windows laptop to run some of the utilities that you mention, so for me that isn’t a huge factor. It’s more about reliability (I admit that Surface gives me pause here), ease of use, and ability to run CE at the helm.

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  59. this is a great article (and site) Steve. Im toying with building out the network slowly (lots of other boats projects requiring funding and starting with either cell or wifi not both simultaneously. Do you have any data on your usage profile in puget sound and san juans on what you end up using the most – cell or wifi?

    my gut tells me that cell boosting may be the way to go. (unlimited T mobile plan). but data would be appreciated.

    Reply
  60. Hey guys, I too boat with a SP4. I still like my computer/iPad type stuff as backup or planning device due to not rugged or marinized. I use it in planning at the Nav table. But you can mount in running position with http://www.rammount.com/part/RAM-HOL-UN9U Ram Mounts are the best solution to really hold these things in place…but also be able to pull them off. That’s why they’re in so many cop cars.

    Reply
  61. Have you found any USB ports that are watertight at the back too, for mounting at the helm (on binnacle) for a tablet-based chartplotter? The Blue Sea chargers are nice but I don’t have a way to enclose them (and don’t want to run a USB cord from the helm, across the cockpit floor to the engine panel).

    Reply
  62. For the navstation I went as you with an Anker product, only the 5-port car charger, which lost its car connector and is wired to a spare fuse just like you did.

    After having some bad experiences with those small dual usb outlets that plug directly into a cigarette lighter socket, I stay away from them. For one, they’re constantly draining power, no matter whether a device is connected and then they can get awfully hot. Both things I prefer not to worry about.

    Reply
  63. Hey Steve, Dartanyon from SailingLutris. I’ve had a few conversations about his very topic lately and after reading you blog post was inspired to write one up of my own. A few things we’ve addressed is eliminating the parasitic draw &#38 providing higher output for iPads. Have a look if you get a chance. http://sailinglutris.com/20

    Reply
  64. I cant wait to see your article that you mentioned writing in the future on the Mikrotik Groove configuration. I think this may help a lot of people, especially me. LOL

    Reply
  65. When I get back and I would like to take it to the next step and put a watt meter and TDR test to your install.

    Reply
  66. Hi Steve,
    I like the way you describe your experiences. It’s a valuable piece of knowledge. Could you please explain to me how it was possible to save 50% on power consumption? Has your your fridge been set to full cooling previously? Maybe during the previous period you had a higher ambient temperature.. I’m very curious.

    Reply
  67. Hi Steve!

    I am engaged in a similar project involving the masterbus nmea 2000 interface to get electrical data in my raymarine plotter. I could not find where in the MasterAdjust software to modify then PGNs transmitted to nmea 2000 network not i can find the famous “installer code” from MAstervolt. Can you point me in the right direction???

    BTW very nice work integrating those systems!

    Reply
  68. Steve – I’m enjoying your experiences (just signed up today 7/7) as I am performing many of the same feats that you have either completed or are contemplating. I went with a Garmin 1042xsv chartplotter and the Vesper AIS XB-8000 for my first purchases and have started eliminating the former ’98 Raymarine stuff, including the radar. The autopilot can’t seem to get power yet either but it’s old too. This is all on our “new-to-us” (NTU) 1998 Bayliner Avanti 3685 that we just purchased. Price was right, size was right, now to get all the stuff to work. . . . . Oops, should’ve mentioned – maiden voyage issues: installer apparently used one too many connections on the negative buss (per mechanic) so the Garmin wouldn’t power up because the engine room blower was on . . ? .really? Went back to dock and they “fixed” it . . then found out the Vesper wasn’t getting full power but we were way too far away to fix it at the time . . . and then, you guessed it . . lost oil pressure on one of the 454’s (380HP) which proceeded to blow oil all over my cleaned engine bay . . . they can down and trucked it back to the yard to fix it . . . . can you say “I’m loosing the season here!” . . . grrrr. Oh well, keep writing, I’m enjoying it (since I can’t boat).

    Reply
  69. Can you charge it from your 12v system? I am trying to not utilize the inverter. Have you measured how many amps it pulls hard vs soft usage? Considering this or a fanless NUC for my boat.

    Reply
  70. Can you charge it from your 12v system? I am trying to not utilize the inverter. Have you measured how many amps it pulls hard vs soft usage? Considering this or a fanless NUC for my boat.

    Reply
  71. Hi Steve, long time reader, first time reply. I’m a recently retired electrical engineer and have NMEA and ABYC certs. Which is to say that I’m one who really appreciates your thoughtful detailed posts. And especially your project descriptions.

    7 months ago I bought a 2011 Jeaneau. Although the 6 year old suite of Raymarine was serviceable, given my interests and the recent advances in marine electronics I was planning on replacing everything. I was about to go all B&#38G because of SailSteer and 4G radar. Then Raymarine announced Axiom, and more recently Axiom Pro (yes! thank you). So I REALLY appreciate your detailed Axiom/LH3 reviews (best anywhere)!! Please keep them coming. I am particularly hoping to see new sailing features in LH3, like B&#38G’s SailSteer; and Doppler capability in the Quantum radar in order to be more on par with Garmin and Furuno.

    I still plan on replacing everything this winter… with Raymarine. So I look forward to your future Axiom/LH3 review updates. Keep ’em coming and keep up the good work!
    Cap’n Mic (s/v Sea Bear lying Anacortes)

    Reply
  72. Steve, great post. I am looking to replace my old Bullet2HP with one that will hit 5Ghz, and your suggestion of the MicroTik looks good. The link you posted has a 24V adaptor for the power over ethernet. Are you powering yours differently?

    Reply
  73. I’ve been researching electronics for Y-Not, and the Axiom has been hitting my geek buttons. It is great to see your hand on thoughts.

    I’ve got an essentially blank slate – I need radar, sonar, and an MFD.

    Have you played around with controlling the Axiom from an iPad?

    Cheers,

    • Chris
    Reply
  74. After having continued problems with my VHF clarity, a friend and I completely deconstructed my system and found another set of crimp-on ends which we replaced. He also had the tools to test the antenna and it showed very bad results –
    transmit is basically worthless, and receive somewhat works, but likely just because of the length of cable from the radio to the top of the mast. So either the antenna is toast, cable end up there is another crimp on, or there is another problem. So back to the handheld VHF for a while…. sigh!

    Reply
  75. Thanks for the article! You’re right, the Mavic Pro is just so convenient and easy to carry that it just makes it amazing! The only other drone that can match it for compactness is the Spark and that’s no where near as good in terms of, well pretty much everything.

    I’m looking into getting a drone to use when ever i take the boat out and came across this article – http://www.droneriot.com/be… which also suggests the Mavic Pro.

    Think i’m going to take the plunge, thanks again Steve for the helpful article.

    Reply
  76. Got any suggestions for a router with similar functionality, single SIM card slot but a smaller price? Not sure I stump up the &#1631,000 for the Max Transit.

    P.S The antenna on my Groove AC came off under sail. I soldered it back on, and the same happened a few days latter. So be careful with that.

    Reply
  77. Might be worth detailing the two versions of the Axiom Pro as well (I think the RV version is just for people who need the Chirp Sonar?) I would also like to see screen shots of the Grib files on the Axiom Pro. I was really interested to read about having to swap networks – a bit of a pain.

    I am looking at using a Actisense unit to connect my old motor to the N2K gauges.

    Reply
  78. Might be worth detailing the two versions of the Axiom Pro as well (I think the RV version is just for people who need the Chirp Sonar?) I would also like to see screen shots of the Grib files on the Axiom Pro. I was really interested to read about having to swap networks – a bit of a pain.

    I am looking at using a Actisense unit to connect my old motor to the N2K gauges.

    Reply
  79. ive found similar in respect to customising the boat icon for heading and COG display vectors.
    ive had succes in getting heading line to display by selecting “infinite” (none of the other settings appear to work – for me)
    ive not been able to get it to display the line for COG ( noting that ive only attempted this whilst stationary at dock…. and hence uncertain if it has some processing logic that will not display COG line unless boat has some SOG?)

    Reply
  80. I’m thinking of installing an AirHead, and wonder if you considered this type of head? And if so, why you ruled it out?

    Reply
  81. I did this one last year, one of the best upgrades as it makes the boss much happier! I used fresh water as we carry plenty for weekend trips and longer. I did run into a problem this year though that I will share. Somewhere along the line either during winterization the head was exposed to a chemical either antifreeze or vinegar for cleaning. That caused the jover valve (upper) to swell to 3 times it’s normal size. This of course caused problems. Be very careful with vinegar or the toxic antifreeze. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/197facaaadaebe4ecb69df4bc651d4666d960a0b5fecceb7835eb6275fd71873.jpg

    Reply
  82. Hey Steve, I’m about to convert one of our heads to electric, keeping the other manual (Groco model K). I’m wondering if you colUld tell me why you chose the SeaEra over the Marine Elegance?

    Reply
  83. It looks like the CREE bulbs aren’t made anymore :(. I’m poking around looking for a replacement, but I suspect I am just going to have try a bunch of different things!

    Reply
  84. Great post, as usual Steve! Interestingly, I owned the original Arlo cameras when they were independent and known as Vue. I had two cameras and they were on our Bayliner MV LAIKA. Back then they didn’t auto-detect motion or have sound (at least the ones I had). They were also fairly low-res. But, they were cool – and the battery did last a long time.

    I think I’ll reconsider them again. They seem much more capable now.

    How do they do with boat motion and marina wave action setting off recordings? Does that happen? Are they smart enough to detect just animals and people?

    Also – are yours the PRO or the PRO2?

    Reply
  85. Excellent review, as always (I’ve started to think of your site as the Puget Sound Panbo).

    I’m curious, did you give any thought to the new “Arlo Go” cameras, which operate entirely on cell service, or maybe they weren’t out at the time you made your purchase?

    Russ

    Reply
  86. Steve, I have a similar setup on my boat for internet access, but am having trouble with the Groove. It will connect in CPE mode to some wireless networks, but it fails to connect to others. It appears to be a configuration issue on my part but I’m at a loss to identify it. Would be interested in your configuration article&#8212I’m essentially using the CPE quickset mode.

    Reply
  87. Yacht Devices’ products are great. The one problem has always been getting them. They are shipped from eastern Europe and take between 3 and 6 weeks to arrive in the U.S.. I’ve started carrying them in the U.S. to fix this problem. They can be found at http://www.yachtdevicesus.com.

    Reply
  88. My Suggestion would be:

    1) Use 360 Panels if you can justify the cost, they look clean and modern
    2) Utilize Sub panels incorperating either 360 panels od weatherdeck switchs instead of Czone.
    3) Place the audio equipment vertically stacked and the displays horizontally stacked

    I would have a DC 360 panel with grouped sub-systems on each Circuit breaker, and then branch those systems off to a WeatherDeck with the internal fuses.

    You could have one circuit on the DC main “External lights” and then place a WeatherDeck just inside the companion way with each switch for a dedicated light. The labels change color indicating on (green), off (red), and no power (out). And you can easliy access and veiw from inside or the helm while underway.

    Another Weatherdeck could be on a “Nav Equipment” Circuit, placed at the Helm. From here you could turn on Radar, chart plotter, AutoPilot ect. Allowing you to power down or power up the helm station from the Nav station before and after a voyage.

    Reply
  89. On my Hunter 326, the nav radio is near the companionway (with a remote mic at the helm). This has never been a problem for me. For some monitoring devices, such as the PV power system, they’re mounted on the side of the Nav station, vs. in the main panel wall.

    Although, I too have been having issues with my DC panel getting too crowded. I wouldn’t mind separating both the radar and the AIS from the “Nav/Electronics” breaker – although I have discovered it isn’t too hard to power down the radar from the Raymarine Chartplotter’s interface.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a357a5442704b26969561b07415430e09c8911e3b09889a80ee93471e1ad0f0d.jpg

    Reply
  90. Steve, I’m in a parallel universe. I made a panel with frontpaneldesigner.com about 4 years ago for my sailboat. I kept my original breaker panel, but used the new panel next to it to mount electronics and add 5 breakers, which made them much more compact. I had the panel machined to accept the flat rocker Blue Seas breakers directly with separate holes for indicator lights and insets for labels. (I was going to backlight the labels but didn’t). I bought copper bus bars from paneltronics.com to tie the DC+ together. I made the panel thick enough so that threads could be cut in the panel and nuts were not required on the other side.

    I am now looking to move to Czone. I recently acquired a bunch of used Czone gear from a new/used seller on Ebay. I haven’t deployed it yet, but have played around with it and am working on a plan. I was somewhat disappointed to see that the Simrad/B&G screens will only control Czone directly from the device not from a remote ipad. Also, many of the more sophisticated programmable functions require one of the CZone displays, their ipad interface, or their new COI device.

    My sailboat is at Shilshole. We should probably get together and go over this stuff sometime.

    Reply
  91. What about the smart gauge? Not happy with it? I got one for $60 at West Marine last week, so now I see you are not sure to keep it. I am curious about that 🙂

    Reply
  92. The latest revision of the panel is below. I have definitely settled on BlueSea 360 panels which I have already received and measured, and moved some things around to help balance stuff. From the top down left to right:

    B&G V50 VHF (may switch to Standard Horizon)
    NMEA 2000 port
    Fusion MS-RA70N radio
    MasterVolt EasyView 5
    Raspberry Pi 7″ touch screen
    Maretron DSM 410
    Balmar Smart Gauge
    Stainless Lobster Fridge Optimizer
    AC Panel 1 (inverted)
    AC Panel 2 (non-inverted)
    DC Panel
    USB/12V/USB/12V

    I will be doing some final measurements tomorrow and then submitting my panel for production.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/35278bc4700617374e8c9d771d12cfeaa9388c8e9e1664b3cfffdd9974ccb94e.jpg

    Reply
  93. This is a fantastic review! There isn’t too much info online about the new os, so this is great! I’m glad to see integration with Fusion again. I’m curious if you are still able to link zones and audio levels together? I’m also looking for confirmation that the axiom is compatible with Mercury SmartCraft, but I’ll have to dig elsewhere for that. Thanks for keeping your posts updated!

    Reply
  94. Very cool! I’ve been looking at automation for my boat as well. Starting with an led controller for lights and an ability to control audio. Would be pretty cool to get close to boat at the dock and have the lights all be on when my phone is detected on the WiFi network. I do love the idea of temp and motion sensors though, especially in the winter. I’ll have to check SmarThings out! Steve your blog is fantastic! I’m excited to dive in and follow what you’ve found works well and what doesn’t 🙂

    Reply
  95. Where did you end up mounting the Max-Transit Router in your boat? How concerned should one be with interference from other systems?

    Also, do you have any recommendations for devices to monitor remaining battery capacity that might be exposed through NMEA-2K and IKommunicator? I’m aware of the Maretron DCM100. Are there others?

    If you weren’t on shore power, how long before the Max-Transit, Mikrotik Groove, and the Netonix switch drained your batteries?

    Reply
  96. Where did you end up mounting the Max-Transit Router in your boat? How concerned should one be with interference from other systems?

    Also, do you have any recommendations for devices to monitor remaining battery capacity that might be exposed through NMEA-2K and IKommunicator? I’m aware of the Maretron DCM100. Are there others?

    If you weren’t on shore power, how long before the Max-Transit, Mikrotik Groove, and the Netonix switch drained your batteries?

    Reply
  97. Hi Steve. It’s been a couple years since you installed this – do you still recommend it?
    I visited my boat a couple days ago, and was surprised to see that the temperature in the cabin had dropped to 32F overnight (I have a SensorPush temperature/humidity logger on board, but it’s not remotely monitored). Turns out that the power was off at the marina due to the high winds we’ve had here in the Puget Sound recently. I had been thinking about installing some sort of remote monitoring solution for a couple years, but haven’t got around to it. Seems like now might be the time.
    One question: I have a Verizon hot spot on board that I leave on 24/7. Ideally, I’d install a system that could leverage the hotspot WiFi, instead of paying for a monthly (cell) subscription. But neither Boat Command nor any of the other similar systems seem to work with internet, at least that I’ve seen. Since you have 24/7 internet on your boat, have you considered this as an option?
    Russ

    Reply
  98. From the looks of your diagram you’ve attached a Maretron backbone cable (which I believe uses a DeviceNet connector) and hooked it up to a spur port (could well be a backbone port, but on your diagram it appears to be going into the centre of the hub) on the SeatalkNG 5 way hub. How’ve you managed that? Did you end up hacking the cable and attaching a SeatalkNG end connector to a standard Maretron cable?

    Reply
  99. But…but…but…it says not recommended for diesels. You can’t do that. Well, maybe you can and I guess you did.

    Do you know what the down side is for these units to start a diesel? Does the battery get ‘warm’ ?

    Reply
  100. It appears that Boat Command has added a warning if your unit has not updated in 24 hours, which is a nice thing to have. However, a heartbeat alarm would be the best, as I’ve mentioned many times before – an alarm if a report hasn’t come in within several hours would indicate that something is wrong, not a popup in the web interface that never alerts you until you login….

    Reply
  101. How about a summary for beginners? I am just trying to get into marine networking and find it all a bit byzantine. It reminds mea bit of the old coax networks. I have an old e80 char plotter with ST60 instruments (which i believe are NMEA 0183 although they are called Seatalk) and AIS being fed by my Standard Horizon VHF. Would something like NEMO be appropriate to act as a bridge to more modern devices like my laptop or tablet?

    I love you posts even though I only understand about half of them 🙂

    Reply
  102. First of all, I wanted to thank you for your articles! I’m in the process of buying my first boat and I can’t wait to start with some fun electronics and software projects.

    I saw you swapped the B&G for the Standard Horizon GX2200. Any particular reason for doing so?

    Reply
  103. Two questions, Steve:

    1. What were the parameters you used for the panel material? What was the thickness? What did you choose for front and rear edge machining?

    2. I see that the Raspberry Pi display’s cutout is quite a bit smaller than the display. Why did you make that choice? Is the display mounted on the surface of the panel, with a conveniently sized cutout?

    Reply
  104. Great article, and thanks for the mentioning the Mobile Internet Resource Center.

    FYI – we have an article about MIMO antenna technology that explains some of the geekiness behind the scenes, and why boosters and MIMO often conflict with each other.

    Sometimes – turning on a booster can actually cut your speeds in half!

    When you have your booster on, you are essentially eliminating the capability of the aux/diversity antenna to pick up a differentiated signal since everything is going through the funnel of the booster.

    In strong signal area – this will result in a performance drop since the 2x speed mode benefit of MIMO gets eliminated. But as you’ve seen, in weak signal areas a booster can come in extremely handy. The improvements can be especially dramatic for upload performance.

    Here’s the article – though the bulk is member content:
    https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/resources/understanding-mimo-multiple-input-multiple-output-lte-speed-cell-booster-implications/

    Cheers,
    – Chris

    Reply
  105. Hi Steve, any ETA on your Groove guide? I, too, have just purchased a Groove identical to the one you have, but am failing on getting all of the pieces sorted such that I can connect and scan for WiFi sources. Basic issue appears to be setup in Router mode: when I select “Automatic” under “Address Acquisition”, which IP address and gateway info is being asked for? Since I am not using a fixed WiFi source I want to scan all available APs), I am confused about what is being asked here… Any help is most appreciated!

    Reply
  106. Very helpful report, thank you.
    For a setup with a MIMO capable router, without booster: would you recommend a single BoatAnt antenna, or twin conventional antennas for best performance?
    Cheers
    Wolf

    Reply
  107. Steve,
    I’m really glad I found your forum and your posts about putting Internet on your boat. I’m a self proclaimed “Boating Geek” and have put together a similar system. Peplink SOHO, Mikrotik Grove 52, Netgear 815s cellular modem with the weboost 4G and new Wilson marine antenna with 35′ of cable. I’m going through some networking growing pains as well as some less than favorable AT&#38T cellular signal strength in our marina. Wifi is current unavailable.

    My main (first) question is how you set up the cell modem and MikroTik. Are they both left in router mode or as bridges? Seems to me, I can access their configuration when in router mode vs, plugging them directly to a PC to reconfigure or select a new marina wifi. Then I’m faced with a double router or other DNS inconsistencies.

    Second, w.r.t. DNS, do you leave the MikroTik and cellular modem, and router for that matter to utilize the automatic DNS servers? Or should the wifi and cell modems point to the Peplink router gateway as the DNS?

    Last, my cellular signal in the marina seems weak. We get 5-8 Mbps. Sometimes we see 20-25 and other times we see 1-2. Very wide ranging. Speed tests through my boat system are generally less than via my iPhone (direct to LTE). How can I boost my cellular rate? Shorter cable? Different antenna?

    Really lastly…are you familiar with AT&#38T unlimited data plans available on eBay? Thoughts?

    Reply
  108. Steve,
    I’m really glad I found your forum and your posts about putting Internet on your boat. I’m a self proclaimed “Boating Geek” and have put together a similar system. Peplink SOHO, Mikrotik Grove 52, Netgear 815s cellular modem with the weboost 4G and new Wilson marine antenna with 35′ of cable. I’m going through some networking growing pains as well as some less than favorable AT&#38T cellular signal strength in our marina. Wifi is current unavailable.

    My main (first) question is how you set up the cell modem and MikroTik. Are they both left in router mode or as bridges? Seems to me, I can access their configuration when in router mode vs, plugging them directly to a PC to reconfigure or select a new marina wifi. Then I’m faced with a double router or other DNS inconsistencies.

    Second, w.r.t. DNS, do you leave the MikroTik and cellular modem, and router for that matter to utilize the automatic DNS servers? Or should the wifi and cell modems point to the Peplink router gateway as the DNS?

    Last, my cellular signal in the marina seems weak. We get 5-8 Mbps. Sometimes we see 20-25 and other times we see 1-2. Very wide ranging. Speed tests through my boat system are generally less than via my iPhone (direct to LTE). How can I boost my cellular rate? Shorter cable? Different antenna?

    Really lastly…are you familiar with AT&#38T unlimited data plans available on eBay? Thoughts?

    Reply
    • Hi Bryan,
      Thanks for commenting!

      I have helped another person implement a SOHO with the Groove – Peplink’s software helps make that easy since it is very similar across their different platforms.

      I would always setup any device upstream of my firewall device (SOHO in your case) in router mode. That way you can administer them, as you mention, but also so I could use whatever firewall they have in them as well. That just adds another level of protection.

      Yes you will be double NAT-ing things, but that happens in many places, and unless you are doing something specialized, like a complicated VPN or some gaming programs, you’ll be OK.

      For DNS, this is the way I would set things up:

      The upstream devices (MikroTik, cellular router) use whatever the provider sends to them. That means it will change based on who you’re connected to via WiFi in the case of the MikroTik, and whatever AT&T provides on the cell router. Some would argue that you should configure them to use Google DNS or CloudFlare’s new DNS servers that offer better privacy, less tracking, etc. Unfortunately, many WiFi systems in marinas use a captive portal or other way of signing in, and block you from using DNS servers that aren’t theirs. Some cellular providers do this, although I don’t think AT&T is one.

      Then on the SOHO, everything inside the network should use it as its DNS source of course, but the SOHO has configuration for each of the WAN connections. You would set each one to use whatever they hand out to you, which in both cases are likely to be the local addresses for the MikroTik and the cell router.

      So in reality, you’d have, say, 192.168.50.1 as the DNS on the SOHO, and that is what your local clients would use. The SOHO would then have an upstream DNS server of 192.168.1.1 for the MikroTik, and 192.168.2.1 for the cell router, that being their IP addresses each. They would then in turn have DNS addresses they would get assigned to use for whatever upstream.

      Seems like a lot of hops, but it isn’t that bad. The other thing you could do is add additional DNS servers in the SOHO, which they allow you to do per upstream WAN connection. This is where you could completely override using the MikroTik or cell router and use 1.1.1.1 (CloudFlare) or 8.8.8.8 (Google) which are much faster. You would need to test that the upstream provider isn’t blocking these, but this would speed things up a bit.

      On your antenna/booster setup – check out the review/project I just posted a few days ago at https://sailbits.com/best-lte-antenna-booster-boat/

      I would recommend for your setup:

      Swap the Wilson antenna for the WirEng BoatAnt. I saw significant gains from this antenna over the Wilson.

      Reduce the cable from the antenna to the booster to 15′ if possible. You say it’s 35′ now? That adds a significant reduction in the antenna overall benefits.

      Hope that helps!

      Reply
  109. I thought the Raymarine radar has a rain mode with an adjustable scale that lets you tune in and out the amount of noise filtering you want to do? Mine does that and we’ve had great results, even in heavy rain and choppy seas.

    Reply
    • It does have one, and I was trying to use it on Saturday during the torrential downpour. There’s a screen shot from above showing me adjusting the rain parameter and it helped a little, but it eventually started losing real targets as well. Perhaps it is the sheer amount of rain that was coming down?

      Reply
    • Ah good! I am also a mobile station on Marine Traffic, Boat Beacon, AIS Hub, and a few others. That is the AMEC gathering the data and my on board computer sending it up to those services.

      Reply
  110. Thanks to Chris at technomadia.com who sent me your link. I really enjoyed your article because it is well detailed. I also like to see OTA (Over The Air) testing like this and all the install/cable/radios involved. I design and mfg antennas including the 4G items 700-2700MHz plus enjoy testing many off the market models. About 5 years ago we settled on a design which is very popular now. The aprox 2.3″ diameter and 7 to 11″ length for the 4G omni. All of this type are basic wide dipoles however very well tuned with careful control of diameters and lengths of the radiators. I knew, and later confirmed that the laws of physics always win, when playing against marketing and sales departments. All of these, size and bandwidth will always be in the 1.5-3 dBi (at the horizon where its wanted) even if the sales guys call it 10 dBi. A big factor as you already well know is the cable. Just a week ago a client company was testing my marine antenna and others on a boat, using the included 15 to 20 FT thin and “easy to install” RG-58 type cables. They found minor improvement with that Vs. the blade antennas on top of the modem itself. However, I later provided an update version with a short 24″ cable just to get in the hull, then connect an LMR-400 cable for the rest of a 20 FT run and there was a real improvement. The original cables can loose 3 dB or a full 50% of the signal either TX or RX. Ive included a picture of an early test unit “fat dipole” which Chris calls a beer can. Im using that name now too! This was a marine and RV version done last year.

    Reply
  111. Hi Steve,

    could you, please, if you have post the photos, especially for the holding tank. What software are you using to configure the tanks. Also do you use any monitoring software, especially mobile.

    Best regards

    Greg

    Reply
  112. Hi Steve

    Did you ever considered android tablet? It has usb port, replaceable battery, etc. Any pros and cons?

    Best regards

    Greg

    Reply
  113. I have spent a few nights on the north mooring balls at Blake and now avoid them if possible. They can be ok in still weather if arriving late, but once the ferries start up in the early am things get uncomfortable.

    The west bouys are always better, but often full. Our bail out plan is to anchor in Blakely Harbor since it is close by and protected from all but a rare wind from the east.

    Reply
  114. I was about to purchase iKommunicate when I came across this excellent writeup. NEMO is clearly superior if one doesn’t need the SignalK dimension (I don’t). BUT I want to use TimeZero (Maxsea/Nobeltec)….did you get to the bottom of the issue with doing this you found??

    Reply
  115. Steve: currently, I have a digital heading sensor connected via 0183 to my MFD AND to my autopilot. The MFD sends 0183 Nav data to the a/pilot. TZ on a laptop connects via ethernet to the MFD and I can load routes from the laptop to the MFD; and edit these routes, add/delete waypoints, enter GoTo marks, etc etc in real-time while underway and under a/pilot control. I can do everything on the laptop that I can do via the MFD (and then some). I THINK that when I’m using the laptop underway like this, the MFD is “just” playing the role of a gateway between 0183 messages and ethernet…..and I assumed that NEMO would take over this role. Does this sound right to you?

    And yes, I should have qualified my earlier statement to the effect that the PC or non-marinized monitor needs to be protected. I have a lower helm that is totally enclosed/protected that my laptop (and MFD) lives in very happily. When I helm from the outside station, I have a dumb marine monitor there and I operate the laptop’s controls via a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard.

    Reply
  116. Steve: your raised a very valid point re: the a/pilot link &#38 that sent me scurrying back to the (super detailed) TZ User Guide. It points to a special “Data Output Routine” within the TZ SetUp Wizard that is used to configure a data output to an a/pilot or ‘other instruments’; and then tells users to first look up in the a/pilot manual what sentences are required (usually APB &#38 XTE, but varies by a/pilot model).

    The Data Output Routine begins by requiring the user to add/configure a Serial (or USB-to-Serial adapter) port OR a UDP or TCP port if ethernet is to be used. Since the laptop will connect to NEMO via ethernet, I suppose a UDP port should be used (?). Whichever port type is selected, a drop-down list of 0183 sentences appears and those to be sent to the a/pilot are “ticked”. My own a/pilot’s manual asks for groups of sentences in this order:
    RMB and RMC
    RMB and GLL
    APB and GLL
    APA and GLL
    BOD and XTE
    My a/pilot’s search stops on the first complete group. If only one sentence is found from the
    above combinations, the autopilot operates from the data in that sentence.

    Hit “Finish” when done with selecting sentences and that’s it. TZ User Guide then goes on to set out a testing routine to ensure the a/pilot link is properly set up &#38 working. It says that if a problem is detected, to try changing the status of the NMEA Talker from “II” to “GP”. Frankly I have no idea what any of that means and hopefully, won’t need to!

    Back to NEMO: I’m still supposing that once this is all done in TZ, in NEMO I set up one of the two 0183 Outport ports to send the Nav sentences and connect this to the a/pilot’s NMEA: IN port.

    So while I’m a little fuzzy around exactly what ports to set up in TZ, it does seem that TZ is designed to directly output 0183 data to an a/pilot without the intervention of an MFD. Would really appreciate hearing your opinion on all this !

    Reply
  117. Steve: I really appreciate your testing efforts…many thanks! I think I’ll put in a Support Request to TZ first. I’ll post what I learn from that back here.

    Reply
  118. OK, I checked in with MaxSea support on this. They say there is absolutely no reason why TZ Navigatorv3 should not be able to drive the a/pilot without the involvement of the MFD. They have detailed instructions on just how to do this and how to test that all is working properly once connections are made, too. Biggest issues are ensuring the right com port is set up I Navigator; and that the correct 0183 sentences are being sent to the a/pilot.

    I will try this when I get chance….though that is some months off I think.

    Reply
  119. Steve,

    Our boat is currently in a City of Long Beach marina and we have to use Ecco Internet via a PPP connection with a supplied Ubiquiti antenna connected to a tiny Ecco router with average 20ms/12Mbps service. The system is simple, and not very fast, but it works ok on the weekends in the slip. I have two Reolink NVRs running 24/7 on the boat (connected via extenders) and check the cameras over the internet multiple times during week. When we leave the dock I plug the Ecco router into an inverter from the house bank so I can still access the NVRs locally while underway. I use iPads as monitors for the cameras until we get to Catalina and with my phone app but of course do not have any service. I would like to add LTE to the boat so while at Catalina we can use basic internet.
    When we get back to the slip I have to use a splash page to get the PPP router connected again.
    I have read a few of your articles about boat and marina wifi and want to map out an alternative system (with Verizon) when away from the dock. Can I just shut down the Ecco system and have a Pepwave device with SIM card and the same SSID so the devices all connect? Since Ecco is slow, and $20 month, should I just spend that on a LTE card in a Pepwave connected to a Startech 12v and just use one service no matter where I am using it?

    Thank you in advance,

    Tim Daleo

    Reply
  120. Once again thank you for the response. I think I will try a Verizon Jetpack as a starting point and see how much data I use while on the mooring.

    Note: I noticed that the small hotspot devices usually only have a 50 foot range so my additional comment of extending wifi range to shore was just an optional thought. I saw the different types of Pepwave antennas that they offer and was curious about what might work. For example, I read the description of the Pepwave AP One Flex with its 2,000′ range and for $300 sounded like it might work but their website implies I also need a router and balancer from them which makes the price range almost $1,500. In addition, if I installed that directional antenna on the stern light facing the island would I not get any wifi on the front half of the boat?

    Reply
  121. Hi Steve,
    Am new to the Es series , was on my previous Raymarine units , just can’t see it on the operating manual as is described in this article above
    Cheers Jim

    Reply
  122. Thank you for the help. I will see how other members cell service providers signal strength is at the island over Memorial Day and come up with a plan.

    Reply
  123. Steve,

    I was pointed to your blog by Sam and Kevin from Slowboat – great information! We are doing some extensive cruising in B.C. and Alaska this summer where there is very limited cell coverage and people in our group using the Weboost 4g-x boosters are able to pull in LTE or 3G signals where we are seeing none so I am likely going to purchase one of these boosters and the WebAnt antenna that you recommend.

    How I integrate it to my current setup is where I have questions. I did a fair amount of research and ended up with a WiriePro with the LTE modem built in after reading reviews on Panbo and other sources. On paper it is a great idea with an all in one piece of hardware for boosting Wi-Fi and using cellular data. My success with using it has been less than satisfactory so far however. It works great to boost weak Wi-Fi signals, but the LTE/4G/3G connection has been problematic. I can often see a decent LTE connection on an iPhone inside out boat where the externally mounted WiriePro wont see the cellular network at all or will see it and not work well. I even purchased the external cellular antenna that they market for it (http://www.thewirie.com/the-wirie-products/marine-lte-antenna-details/), which did not seem to help much if at all.

    One other thing I don’t like about the Wirie router is that it doesn’t allow me to assign a static IP address that my Furuno electronics want to see to allow me to connect to them remotely with an iOS app without having to create their own Wi-Fi network. That is something that I could deal with though if I am able to get a better cellular connection.

    So finally to my question: What do you think about using the Weboost 4G-X booster with the WebAnt external antenna, but rather than locating the internal antenna inside my boat, mounting it close to the external 6dB gain Wirie antenna? I have the Wirie mounted to the false stack on a Nordhavn 40 just aft of the pilothouse, so I would be able to mount the internal antenna Weboost antenna almost next to the external WiriePro antenna but in a dry location separated by a layer of fiberglass.

    Maybe I am trying too hard to salvage the usability of my almost new WiriePro device (which was not exactly cheap) but I am curious to hear your thoughts.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  124. Great article. Super useful.

    Would you be interested in collaborating on an easier-to-configure interface for the Mikrotik Groove? There’s a node.js module for controlling it. You seem adept at many Mikrotik things and I can easily build the progressive web app part. I suspect most people want to be able to simply pick an AP from a list and just start using it.

    Also – I built a combined AP + Groove unit that can run off 12v. Could I bring one over for you to try out? It was designed to be portable and easily stowed during cruising without the need for any external antenna mounting.

    Reply
    • Aquabelle: thanks for catching that! I had originally given my configurations funny names, and had three configurations instead of two. I also was using the Netgear LB2120 instead of the LB1120, but after testing found that the LB2120 was not suited for the configuration, and given that it cost more, I removed it from my recommendations.

      The other configuration missing was the MikroTik hAP AC router connected to the Netgear LB2120, and the Netgear using its WAN port to connect to the MikroTik Groove. That was much simpler in terms of the MikroTik hAP AC configuration, letting the Netgear choose to use the WiFi MikroTik Groove or LTE, but it didn’t work reliably. In particular, the Netgear would shut off the WAN port if connectivity wasn’t available via the Groove, which meant you couldn’t get to the Groove to configure it to use a different WiFi network. Sort of a catch 22.

      I’ve updated the post to remove that name and make sure things are all consistent!

      Reply
  125. Steve: given how many of your growing band of followers are outside the US, it is worth noting that the MikroTik Groove AC is available in two models. The ‘locked’ version is intended for use within the US only. For all other countries, the ‘unlocked’ version should be ordered.

    Reply
  126. Steve,
    Thanks for the great article! This realistic approach is within my grasp, both financially and insofar as the skills needed to get it up and running.

    I’m interested in optimizing LTE reception as we want to spend a lot of time exploring the BC coast, anticipating areas of weaker signal. Last month you wrote a great review of LTE antennas. While the WirEng was the top choice, the Wilson was your number two pick and costs about a third of the WirEng. What do you think about the cost-benefit return of spending the additional money above the Netgear MIMO antenna and adding the Wilson? I know it wouldn’t give the benefit of a diversity antenna, but perhaps a second inexpensive antenna could be sourced to address this.

    Those boosters you reviewed are obviously desirable in areas with weak signal, but they’re priced beyond the scope of this project.

    Thanks again for sharing your expertise with us!

    Reply
    • Anson,
      Thanks for the comment! Glad to hear that this could help you with a project.

      Having two antennas (diversity) is more beneficial for throughput and performance, not necessarily signal strength. Of course, having the Netgear add-on antenna would be better for signal strength than just the built in antenna for the Netgear router, but not anywhere near as much as an outside-mounted antenna.

      Some folks have found that the WirEng BoatAnt antenna is hard to find, and that they’ve even been pointed to a newer version that costs $500! The Wilson is still a fantastic antenna, and both because the BoatAnt is hard to get, and for cost reasons, I would definitely recommend it.

      If you decided to use the Wilson, and end up also using the Netgear LB1120, you’ll need a converter from whatever cable you end up using (I believe the Wilson comes with some) to the connectors on the back of the Netgear. I don’t have those specs right in front of me now, but I’m sure it’s pretty easy to validate.

      Having the Wilson outdoors and connected to the Netgear will definitely help with hard to find signals, as long as you mount it up away from other interference and use a short amount of high quality cable.

      Reply
  127. Steve: is there a strong case for the gigabit ethernet ports in our typical on-board applications? The MikroTik hAP Lite is available with ac wireless and almost the same spec, but has standard 10/100 ports…and is about 40% of the cost. I am thinking of CE/MaxSea and networked radar and sounders….

    Reply
  128. Steve: is there a strong case for the gigabit ethernet ports in our typical on-board applications? The MikroTik hAP Lite is available with ac wireless and almost the same spec, but has standard 10/100 ports…and is about 40% of the cost. I am thinking of CE/MaxSea and networked radar and sounders….

    Reply
    • Aquabelle: the hAP Lite has one other missing piece – 5Ghz wireless. If you frequent decent sized marinas, I highly recommend you don’t skip that feature. I can think of 3 marinas near me where 2.4Ghz wifi is so saturated that even on my own boat down belowdecks, it is unusable.

      However, back to your original question – most marine equipment that I have come across, even ethernet connected high fidelity sounders/radars, would operate fine at 100 megabits. I’m sure over time some of the newer stuff will use more bandwidth, and I would steer away from anything that is not a full switch. Hubs and some of the MikroTik stuff can have impacts if they are a simple bridge and not fully switching.

      Reply
  129. Good Morning Steve,

    While your original article is several years old, it appears that you still respond to comments. Your article appears to indicate that you did not use a focus tube, and that the unit still works correctly. I would like to use TLM 100 but cannot put in a focus tube as I do not have the clearance above the tank. To get the current tube out I would have to pull it halfway out, secure it and cut it in half. Does the unit work without a focus tube? I posted this same question to Maretron, and could not get a straight answer.
    Thanks,
    Ken Pfaff
    s/v Wanderlust

    Reply
  130. Steve, great article, and very timely. I REALLY need to get an LTE solution instead of the useless Wi-Fi I have now….I’m curious about the recommended antenna for the LB1120 – it’s apparently quite small (4×6″ or so), and comes with a 1M cable. So – if you locate the LB1120 below decks, is this really going to help you much? I was envisioning something you could mount on the arch, or at least externally somewhere… Do you have any installed photos of the gear you described in the article? (and do you do any one-on-one marine consulting in the Seattle area?…jk…sort of)

    Reply
  131. Steve, thanks much for the quick and detailed response. Please let me know the best way to reach you regards getting together on my boat – I would really appreciate a couple of pointers on this setup – many thanks,

    Reply
  132. How is Lighthouse 3.4.66 working out for you. I think it has some of the things you pointed out.

    I am upgrading my Raymarine Navigation System. Still on the fence between Axiom and B &#38 G Zeus 3.

    Reply
  133. Steve, I’ve gone ahead and ordered all the gear you recommended (though I did end up ordering the hAP Lite AC version of the router). While I’m waiting for all to arrive, I have been going over the configuration steps necessary. I think I get what’s needed. But one thing is bothering me: the spare ports on the router I’ll use for my Furuno NN3D MFD and DRS radar. But the MFD insists on being the DHCP device (the ‘master’ in Furuno-speak). I don’t think I can have both the Groove set up as DHCP and the MFD trying to play this role too, can I? If necessary, I could disconnect the Groove when navigating using the MFD…but given my very limited networking skills, thought I’d throw this to you.

    Reply
  134. Steve, I’ve gone ahead and ordered all the gear you recommended (though I did end up ordering the hAP Lite AC version of the router). While I’m waiting for all to arrive, I have been going over the configuration steps necessary. I think I get what’s needed. But one thing is bothering me: the spare ports on the router I’ll use for my Furuno NN3D MFD and DRS radar. But the MFD insists on being the DHCP device (the ‘master’ in Furuno-speak). I don’t think I can have both the Groove set up as DHCP and the MFD trying to play this role too, can I? If necessary, I could disconnect the Groove when navigating using the MFD…but given my very limited networking skills, thought I’d throw this to you.

    Reply
  135. Nice article.

    I have a USB3 powered hub with 3x 4T WD Passport disks attached (for media and backups.) Could I attach this to the USB port of the MikroTik hAP AC router and be able to access the drives over the Wifi ??

    Reply
  136. Consider forgoing Prospeed and just clean the prop to sa bright finish and coat the prop wit Petit Zinc Rich Prop paint. Works well. Then I coast the drive shaft and the propellor with Lanocote before we launch. It works very well.

    Reply
  137. Great writeup.

    FYI &#8211 the WiFiRanger GoAC is built on top of the same powerful MikroTik hAP hardware, but with completely custom software that addresses several of the issues you raised. In particular, the WiFiRanger excels at tethering to hotspots over USB, and it provides a very simple UI.

    For anyone interested in a simpler overall setup, it is definitely worth a closer look. It costs more &#8211 but the software and support is worth it to many.

    Our review of it:
    http://www.mobileinternetinfo.com/review-center/wifiranger-goac/

    Cheers,
    &#8211 Chris

    Reply
  138. You might be surprised to learn that a hobbyist drone pilot may fly their drone almost anywhere in the United States. There are exceptions, of course – such as a temporary flight restricted areas over a stadium during an event (if a TFR has been issued), over groups of people, in national parks where park rangers, on a case-by-case basis have disallowed flying, etc. But – you’re allowed to fly near airports provided you operate your craft safely and maintain a flight level of 400′ or less AGL. While it is advisable to call the ATC you’re near, you do not require their permission to fly. So, it’s mostly a courtesy. If you want to fly in your marina you could certainly call the tower at SeaTac or Boeing field, or Kenmore Air, and say you’ll be operating in your area at or below 400′ AGL and you’d be set. If you’re a part 107 registered pilot you’re more restricted than a hobbyist – and would be required to observe the sectional charts for the airspace you’re near, be it B,C,D or E.

    Reply
  139. Hi Steve,

    This is great information! Thank you for taking the time to put it together!

    I’m curious what you think would perform better – two external antennas each with their own in-line booster going directly to the Pepwave or a single external antenna going to a 4G-X which would then transmit to the stock Pepwave antennas? In terms of “performance” I have two use cases – one near shore where MIMO is a factor and the other where there is very little signal.

    Reply
  140. Great stuff,

    The Groove, Halo, and Bullet are all good.

    Im considering a Shakespeare WebWatch antenna, WCT-1 This includes WIFI (w/firewall &#38 VPN), Cellular (GSM only), and TV (which i plan to connect to an HD HomeRun Connect box). The antenna is supposed to use WIFI until signal is lost then switch to Cellular, includes a wireless WIFI and wired network output. This keeps it simple I hope. Any thoughts, insights or corrections is appreciated.

    Tim Welch
    Planning for our Great Loop trip.

    Reply
  141. Hi Steve, Im also in Elliot bay marina and exploring both wifi and cell service antenna setups and determining which route to go. couple of questions. Reading the NMEA guidance on antenna placement, it seems there are distinct implications of placing certain antennas within a certain distance of other antennas. – especially VHF. have you investigated any challenges with placing your cell and Wifi antennas too close to other antennas? I am trying to fit two VHF antennas, wifi, cellular, Radar, Satellite, and GPS pucks within a short amount of space…

    in Seattle, (I’m T mobile customer currently) but when looking at pay as you go short term data sim cards I have a choice, would you go T mobile for the data sim?) if so, would you still recommend the peplink max transit and specifically the LTE-A model?

    happy to provide beers and talk in the marina if easier and more fun! 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Gavin,
      Antenna placement is definitely something to consider. It sounds like you have a lot to put all close together, but that is not unusual on boats.

      The rule of thumb is to separate everything by 3 feet, and not put similar type antennas or services next to each other. So for two VHF antennas, I would space them apart as far as possible given they are going to be using the same frequencies, on opposite sides of the boat if at all possible. Everything else can be relatively close as long as they are disparate services or frequencies, such as WiFi and GPS. Without knowing more about the space you’re trying to stick everything, and the type of radar that you’re using, I couldn’t be more specific than that.

      I use T-Mobile as my primary provider both for all of my phones and tablets, as well as the boat. Their T-Mobile One plan is what I use for all of those devices, with the T-Mobile One Plus International plan for the data card in my Peplink. That allows for full LTE speeds and roaming in Canada.

      I definitely recommend any of the Peplink products if you are willing to pay for them. They are more expensive than some of the other setups, but you get what you pay for in terms of advanced and more polished features, such as switching from LTE to WiFi more or less seamlessly. In addition, the Peplink MAX Transit has two SIM slots, so you can switch between T-Mobile and another provider (or two T-Mobile SIMs for more overall monthly data) and many other features.

      If I were buying anything right now, I would make sure it is compatible with LTE-A as that is rolling out everywhere, and you don’t want to buy something that doesn’t have support for the higher speeds.

      Always open to a local chat!

      Reply
  142. Great article Steve. I pulled the pin and bought all this gear: skipping the max transit for now. would love to see your config with both wifi and LTE setup. (if you have this setup). My current question is whether I should set both the groove and the HAP AC router to both be Routers with NAT in place, or whether I should configure the Groove as a bridge. If I wasnt going to setup LTE it would be super simple to have the groove be the router and just have the HAP AC be a wireless access point. Can you see any issues with having both the Groove and the HAP both be configured as Routers? ( I was going to create separate network address ranges so routing doesnt get weird between the LAN-HAP network and the Hap-Groove network)

    Reply
    • Sounds like lots of new fun toys!

      I prefer to set them routed for a couple of reasons. First, routed mode means you can have separate networks, firewalls on each of the devices, and know exactly what you are connecting to at any time. Having a firewall on the Groove is nice because whatever WiFi AP you’re connected to could be compromised or have other traffic going on that you don’t want to repeat down to the hAP AC. It is also clear if you give out organized network addresses what is coming from where when you are debugging things. 192.168.10.0/24 is the hAP AC DHCP scope and WiFi/LAN network addresses, 192.168.20.0/24 is the Groove, etc. etc.

      I’ve also seen bridge mode on MikroTik devices completely hose networks, mainly because, well, they’re bridging. Bridges are powerful in that they usually forward everything from one side to the other. So if you had crappy traffic coming out of your hAP AC, and the Groove was in bridge mode, the Groove will happily forward it out onto whatever WiFi network you’re connected to. If someone noticed, they could ban you, or in many cases, if you are spewing too many packets, advanced WiFi network systems will slow you down or cut you off. Having a NAT means things that are forwarded by a bridge wouldn’t necessarily be forwarded by a NAT/routed configuration.

      Bridges in general to me are just harder to deal with when there is a problem.

      Many people worry about double NAT’ing or the number of NATs, and that just isn’t something to worry about anymore. On a mobile device, you’re being NAT’ed many, many times – even on a home network connection, or a marina WiFi connection, you are undoubtedly not directly on the Internet, and are being NAT’ed at least once. Another time doesn’t hurt, and it doesn’t add any significant latency or processing power for these situations.

      But if you didn’t want separate networks, etc. you could configure the Groove as a bridge, and the hAP AC as the router. I don’t remember exactly how you’d be able to get into the Groove if it was in routed mode, it might get funky if it is not connected to something…

      The best way, if you want a bridged config, would be as you mentioned – the Groove as the primary router, and the hAP AC bridged. I’d take a look at the CPU specs though, as I think the hAP AC has a much better CPU and more ram than the Groove, and would likely be a better candidate as a router.

      Reply
  143. Another great article. I wonder about the metal version of Groove AC – is this a better version for external mounting at the masthead??

    Reply
  144. Steve, I’m just ready to upgrade my Stainless Lobster to the new release and will be connecting mine to a Raspberry PI, too. In your setup, is this the PI that is running your SignalK server? Do you run two SignalK servers, one on the iKommunicate and one on the PI? Can they be integrated?

    Reply
  145. Hello

    Thanks for the review.

    My purpose of thinking about the pro2 is to capture footage while sailing. I know sound a bit extreme, but thats what i do and would like my wife to stop yelling at me about the go pro being on and off. I am wondering, if you think based on tour review, I can set up the camera in live view to record and i think its only 120 second. How do you think it will hold up.

    Reply
  146. That’s a nice looking prop! How does the overdrive mode work, and how do you switch to it? I didn’t watch the videos as I’m on limited bandwidth. That’s quite a speed improvement you got in standard mode.

    Reply
  147. So glad I found this site! Great information; well written and informative. Based on this article, I started to look at the external antenna options as I plan the Netgear modem install for our boat. I discovered that Wireng now offers the BoatAnt-Mini available with TS9 connector used by the LB1120. Price is around $170 for the Mini with the correct connector.

    Reply
  148. Hi Steve: You have a great blog site, I visit it and Panbo weekly, if not every day to get ideas. I have a 1999 Beneteau with 19 year old Raymarine instruments. I’v e recently been having problems maintaining GPS and depth data on my RL70C chart plotter so I have ordered a Axiom Pro 9S, a Quantum 2 radar, and an i70s multifunction display. I have also ordered a SeaTalk1 to SeaTalkNG converter to, hopefully, get my ST6001 autopilot to play nice with the Axiom Pro. My speed, depth and wind instruments are all Autopilot ST 50s. In this regard, I have ordered the ITC-5 in hopes that it might convert the depth and wind instruments. My issue is that I have a DSM 300 a digital sounder module been my ST50 depth and my Airmar P319 transducer. While this could all work, I want to prepare for disaster.

    In the regard, I see that you have the Maretron DST110 transducer interfaced with your Axiom. You called it “quirky” in one of your posts? I currently have a small Maretron Devicenet backbone fo my Fusion stereo, Vesper Vision AIS and Maretron DSM410. I chose Maretron because of the quality of their cables and the desire to add their tank sensors and communication devices in the near future.

    My questions to you therefore are, am I on the right track with the SeaTalk1 to SeaTalkNG converter and the ITC-5? Also, should I buy the Maretron DST 110 or should I buy Raymarine options?

    Thanks in advance, Steve, for any advice you can send my way. Keep up the great work with the blog! It is a fantastic resource!

    Reply
  149. Hi,

    Hi Steve, thank you for advise.

    This is not not exactly on a Raymarine instruments subject, but I would like to put one additional comment anyway.
    This device helped me enormously, when I went from Simrad IS12 instruments to B&#38G Triton2. IS 2 has build-in converter, but Triton is NMEA 2000 only. So i was able to hook up my old Airmar transducers to the this device and therefore to N2K bus. So now I have depth, speed, temperature on all B&#38G instruments and Garmin chartplotter.

    Thank you for your advise and blog.

    Reply
  150. Great Stuff! I should say that I have no knowledge of sailing or marine applications but I am a home automation enthusiast becoming interested in some sailing related subjects through a youtube channel I follow. I use Openhab with and rely on Influxdb/Grafana for data reporting and visualization for things like evironmental contditions, electrical/water use and so on. It runs of a small itx computer with a number of remote esp8266 /Arduino type units communicating through MQTT (all simple stuff really). It seems apparent to me that there are just so many great applications on a sailboat yet I see very few examples as I read through various sources. The availability of very low cost hardware and essentially free software has made extensive data acquisition and control simple and cheap yet it seems not wide spread in the boating world.

    I like the NUC – I think you made a great choice. You seem to be ahead of the crowd and I will be following along….

    Reply
  151. Great Stuff! I should say that I have no knowledge of sailing or marine applications but I am a home automation enthusiast becoming interested in some sailing related subjects through a youtube channel I follow. I use Openhab with and rely on Influxdb/Grafana for data reporting and visualization for things like evironmental contditions, electrical/water use and so on. It runs of a small itx computer with a number of remote esp8266 /Arduino type units communicating through MQTT (all simple stuff really). It seems apparent to me that there are just so many great applications on a sailboat yet I see very few examples as I read through various sources. The availability of very low cost hardware and essentially free software has made extensive data acquisition and control simple and cheap yet it seems not wide spread in the boating world.

    I like the NUC – I think you made a great choice. You seem to be ahead of the crowd and I will be following along….

    Reply
  152. Hi,
    great write up. I’m looking at your stuff, and all the other great ideas on:
    https://microship.com/ship-weather-station/
    for inspiration as I’m trying to build an off-grid observatory and all the issues you guys
    face are very similar, ie 12v, weather monitoring, robust (weather proof + watchdog timer), offline some/most of the time etc. I looke into pc-engines but the install seemed too difficult and designed for mostly headless. I didn’t catch what system you installed, was it debian like?
    Dave

    Reply
  153. Great review. Thank you. We’ve got a Ray55 on our Tartan 4000 and it’s not so great. Have gone through one remote handset already and the base unit is very flaky. The idea of a wireless remote is great so I’m looking at his and the Simrad RS35.

    We have a Raymarine AIS transponder already. I’m wondering about the complication of connecting this to the N2K network and having competing sources of AIS target data on the network.

    Reply
  154. Great review. Thank you. We’ve got a Ray55 on our Tartan 4000 and it’s not so great. Have gone through one remote handset already and the base unit is very flaky. The idea of a wireless remote is great so I’m looking at his and the Simrad RS35.

    We have a Raymarine AIS transponder already. I’m wondering about the complication of connecting this to the N2K network and having competing sources of AIS target data on the network.

    Reply
    • Hi Bob,

      I have since moved to a wired remote solution from Standard Horizon after having difficulties with the sound quality of the wireless remote while under engine. I still think the V50 is a great radio, and really like its features and menus far more than the other radios I’ve tested, but nothing seems to work as well as a wired remote.

      In terms of AIS data, you have a few options. Leaving the V50/RS35 in its default configuration, it would transmit AIS data onto your network, which is totally OK. Having duplicate entries for the same vessels is not a big deal, and all of the decent chart plotters I’ve tested deal with this just fine. In fact, you may wish to leave it this way as it gives you some redundancy having them both grab AIS signals. In addition, I would bet that your VHF antenna is much higher on the boat than your AIS antenna (if you have a dedicated one, which you should!) and is more likely to have better range in picking up vessels. I have my system setup this way right now.

      You could also disable the AIS transmit on the radio and eliminate it from ever hitting your network if you want as well.

      Reply
  155. Steve, first off thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience with us. I am just beginning to set up my boat network and this site has been an invaluable resource for me! That said, I’m not remotely close to a network engineer so most of this completely new to me. Your configuration file for the hAP AC was quite helpful. Is it possible for you to share your Groove configuration file with us as well?

    Reply
    • Hi Mark,
      I am working on an article specifically about setting up and configuring the Groove which should be ready shortly. I’ll make sure to include the configuration file from that in that article, and post an update here when I’m done!

      Reply
  156. Thanks for an interesting article Steve.
    One only question – why did you keep the START battery AGM Lifeline and not switch to LiFePO4 for this use??

    Reply
  157. Nice write up. Is the Alt regulator setup with AGM or LiFePO4 parameters? Just not sure how you run two different battery chemistries in parallel without being incorrect for one of them.

    Reply
  158. “This piece is required, and is sort of a hack in my opinion, because if you want to change the input amperage available via AC power, you need this panel. Without this, you cannot change it with the current Victron setup &#8211 something that clearly sounds like a hold over from some of the different busses in use.”

    Uhm… I have been changing shore power limits on a CCGX for years without needing a separate panel. I am puzzled what about your system prevents the normal CCGX interface from working?

    – Chris

    Reply
  159. Steve I have just implemented a very similar all Victron setup to yours, my diagram is in the Facebook group. I feel that having a Lead Acid starter battery is a fairly important part of the design. It acts as a permanent connection for the alternator in case the LFP disconnects and for me it’s something I switch In when the boat is laid up and unattended as in this case I physically disconnect the LFP with a SOC of around 60%.
    I had a slightly different approach to the BMS in that I wired it direct from the LFP bus through a switch so in working use it is always live. My Venus GX and BMV are powered from the load disconnect terminal of the BMS so they switch on and of with it.
    It’s early days for me yet but I’ve found the biggest challenges with LFP are when permanently hooked up to shorepower and when leaving the boat unattended. When on shorepower I’ve only connect power to the Multiplus for about 90 mins a day.

    Reply
  160. Nice article. I have similar configuration on our boat with few exceptions:
    1) We have HAP AC LITE as main router. It is simply cheaper than HAP AC, the performance is sufficient for boat needs and it draws less power from battery.
    2) We use Mikrotik GrooveA 52 for antenna. The model with “A” in the name has a omni-antenna in the box, so i would suggest to simply buy this one.
    3) For LTE connectivity I simply use an old Android phone, that i connect via USB cable to router with Portable hotspot in USB-tethering mode.
    This has few advantages: it is easier to check balance, buy top ups, monitor data usage on the phone over other device. And it is possible to use that phone as mobile hotspot while i am away from the boat (for example if we go to restaurant or shop).

    Our boat is based in another country and we sail during vacations. So having 2 or more local sim cards for voice and data doesnt make much sense for me.

    Reply
  161. There is also a new model from Mikrotik – WAP LTE KIT (https://mikrotik.com/product/wap_lte_kit).

    It is a weatherproof access point with Ethernet connection and POE support.

    So you can mount it outside without the need of external antenna. It can work as Access Point (thus you can exclude additional router if you do not need several connections to Internet). Or you can use it like Netgear device.

    I have not tried it myself, but according to specs it is a nice device.

    Reply
  162. Hey Steve,
    Like your blog, seems along the lines of what I need to do. When I purchased my Bavaria, the previous owner included an I-70 wind instrument, in tacked and boxed. Now, I’m ready to connect it. A bit of of upgrade from the ST-60. You say, no issues but I see you made revisions at the mast on another blog. Raymarine, suggests ITC-5 w/ ST-70 model. I’m not mixing or matching my display is an E-127. The old ST-60 has a worn circle from what I guess was a loose dial. I opened the pod back and looks like the itc-5 magically connects old tech with newer.
    Thanks,

    Reply
  163. Hi Steve:

    Again, I’m starting or cloning another one of your projects! I have decided to replace my aging Freedom 1000 Inverter and Link 2000 monitor (both 32 years old and still working!) with Victron equipment. I have decided to keep the flooded batteries for now, but replace the Freedom with the Multiplus 12/3000/120 and the Link with BMV-712 Smart. I also bought the Digital Multi Control, however, I really wanted the CCGX and will probably add that in the future.

    The purpose of this post is two fold. Firstly, I’m wondering if the reason for the CCGX to blank out the setting to adjust the shore amperage amount was due to the Digital Multi Control being present in your system? I ask this because the Digital Multi Control has at least one maybe two analogue switches that could not be changed digitally? I have also seen a number of Youtube videos that show the CCGX controlling the shore side amperage (e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57rF1aCTkRs ). I ask this question, because I only have room for one monitor and I would really prefer the CCGX over the Digital Multi Control. Maybe you could test my theory by unplugging your DMC remote?

    Secondly, when I asked about purchasing the NMEA 2000 cabling for Victron, I received blank stares and quotes of $300+ per cable. Would you please share your experiences with this aspect of your installation?

    Thanks again, Steve, for sharing your project on Sailbits.

    Reply
  164. Thanks a lot for your high-quality articles, I find them extremely useful.
    I am considering replacing my old chart plotter with an Axiom, but since my Elan 31 has a tiller, I will install it on the trunnion above the companionway. I was hoping that I would be able to easily remove it and store it safely below deck when not in use by simply unplugging the N2K cable, but I guess the separate drain wire will prevent this? How do you see the possibilities for easily unplugging the Axiom?

    Reply
  165. my coastal explorer install does recognize the sp4 internal gps. Has anyone had this issue or is my problem between the keyboard and chair

    Reply
  166. Great article- thank you so much! We currently have a Coastal Marine WiFi antenna (ubiquiti bullet) with a 3g/4G Wilson amplifier, both connected to a Pepwave Surf Soho router. The Wilson amp has a USB modem in between it and the router that accepts sim cards and it is connected to an external Wilson marine-grade antenna. We are in Mexico on our sailboat. We have been happy with set up for the most part but are in the process of changing it. We’re removing the Wilson 3g amplifier and putting in a WeBoost Drive 4G-X instead. We are thinking that boosting the cell signal coming into the boat for all devices will be more beneficial than running it to one sim card and having to keep recharging it. My question is the placement of the external antenna. We have about 10 feet of low loss cable coming into the boat from the antenna going to the Drive 4G-x but it limits the placement of the internal antenna to the length of the cord of it and it is in the very back of the boat. It would be more ideal to place the internal antenna in a more central location, however that would require adding another 10 feet of low-loss cable from the antenna to the WeBoost Drive 4G-x. What are your thoughts? Will we lose a lot of gain by extending it further into the boat?

    Reply
  167. We used the Groove extensively while cruising. Our son’s correspondence school was mostly online and the Groove worked in a pinch. Getting internet onboard was never easy. You either paid for a 4G hotspot plan at their rates (Italy 20GB was 10&#8364, 2GB was $20 for BTC) or work with wifi. Wifi wasn’t always reliable but it was free.

    Reply
  168. I am curious if you considered a sailing catamaran? It gives you many of the things you listed but you don’t have to give up the sails. 🙂

    Reply
    • I don’t think I would like a catamaran. They seem to be very popular, but I look at them having a lot of similar challenges as a sailboat. Of course, they have some benefits too in terms of speed and more space, but ultimately I would like a ton more space, which you can really only get with a motor yacht. Most of the yachts I am looking at are a max of 4 gallons per hour at full cruising, and much less if you go slower. I am willing to pay that difference for the extra space and comfort!

      Reply
  169. Ben,
    For the most part, I can not agree more with the transition to trawler. I’ve had my Tashiba 40 sailboat for 21 years and motored 80% of the time. We did have some spectacular sailing days, which provide great memories, but I have motored from the Chesapeake all the way to Maine a few times. Very disappointing! For me, the 1.5GPH on my sailboat kept me from switching especially when fuel prices spiked to $5.50 a gallon. The other alternative to consider is a catamaran with mega space, two engines and still have the ability to sail and anchor in shallow coves. You just have to find a yard that can haul a cat. Wish you luck finding a new platform for technology.

    Reply
  170. I lose connectivity with the groove as soon as I select CPE from the quickset menu. Have to factory reset to get it back, but I am stuck. Thoughts?

    Reply
  171. LOL, we just went through the same epiphany and bought a 1994 Ocean Alexander sub deck for cruising the PNW. Only difference is that we still kept our Islander 36 (in Baja). The power boat seems like a mansion, enjoy!

    Reply
    • Thanks Roberta! I’m excited because of the room that I’ll have to continue doing testing and networking and other tech stuff. We are considering OA as well, along with Tollycraft and DeFever and a few others. Glad you like your OA!

      Reply
  172. Big decision! If the crew in fully on board that makes a huge difference. The big question is the domain name “trawlerbits.com” available? 😉 Despite your move to “the dark side”, I will continue to follow your journey. I am sure that the majority of the information you will continue to share will transcend the kind of boat you choose to explore in. Good luck with the boat search!

    Reply
    • hanks Mark! I have some ideas on the domain and branding on the site, but ultimately I will still be sailing on the water doing techy stuff, just not with actual sails 🙂 And you’ve definitely hit the nail on the head in terms of my focus – what I will be doing on a bigger power boat will still benefit sailors of sailboats, and everyone else on the water!

      Reply
  173. Hi Steve,

    This was super helpful as we are setting up our sailboat for extended cruising on the west coast as well. I just had one question… would it be safe to say you use the coupler as a booster bypass for when you are in strong signal areas? Essentially a manual workaround for the potential booster attenuating effects?

    Thanks,
    Chris

    Reply
    • Hi Chris,
      I may actually disconnect the booster in those situations. Boosters have features in them that prevent them from getting into situations similar to what you’re describing, and I have never had to cut it out or bypass it when in high signal areas. What I believe happens is that the booster no longer provides a signal to the boosted device, and the device goes directly to the tower. However, having a bypass would allow you to control that more granularly. The other way I do it is by simply powering off the booster since it is not directly wired to the Peplink, but rather using an antenna nearby.

      Reply
  174. I have used a Surface 3 Pro as a boat computer for about a year but switched to Android beginning of this year and am much happier. I run OpenCPN 4.4.0 with NMEA 2000.
    The reasons I retired the Surface are:
    * Battery life started out great but degraded after 12 months to 2-3 hours on a full charge with boat usable backlighting
    * 12V charging adapters always caused problems and did not charge the device properly, you always worry that you are out of battery the next minute
    * no in-built GPS and the GPS USB dongle used up the only slot on the device
    * Power Supply always breaks – the laptop side connection on the power brick is flimsy and will break internally even if you roll up your cable most carefully. I went through 3 $50 adapters in 12 months
    * If you get a rugged case (I used the UAG) then it’s too heavy to hold in the cockpit
    * Windows and other Microsoft apps are data hogs and when you are out and about they suck mobile data like there is no tomorrow, I can control access to data better/easier on Android.
    All in all I am much happier with my $250 4G Android tablet with its $100 256GB SD card and have not looked back at my $1200 Surface Pro 3.

    Reply
  175. I am also loving this blog thread… I am also choking on the $500 antenna… But I am in love with the dam technology + design of it… Maybe WirEng just made a strategic choice— Hey– we could be charging more for this…. lol… And re-packaged the same dang thing… ? Its not far fetched to believe here in the states as it is done all of the time to fool the gullible American public in thinking it is a NEW product…

    Cheers,

    Thomas
    SY EXPLORAR CONMIGO

    Reply
  176. Hello all.
    I wrote some notes here a few months ago. I wont repeat those thoughts now. I dont know what antenna is being discussed now but I can take a guess and comment. Any wide band (4G cell 700-2700MHz) Omni directional cannot be over aprox 3dBi across all your bands. Its probably the “beer can” size 12 or 16 oz can like the Wilson or AirWave Marine or Digital conehead. Ive tested them all or consulted or designed some of them. Been working with antennas for 40 yrs and run a lab. I know. And dont pay over $120. Did I see mention of $500?

    Reply
    • Raul,
      Thanks for your additional insight. I completely agree with you – when I bought the BoatAnt antenna, it was $120 or $150, and close enough to the Wilson that it didn’t matter. The difference in performance between the two was very small, but the BoatAnt was better. Having a slightly better antenna when in the middle of nowhere can make a big difference. Is it worth $500? No.

      Reply
  177. Hi Explorar,

    I called WeBoost yesterday and was told to order the 470410, not the 470510. The 410 has a more powerful internal antenna because it was designed for RVs while the 510 was designed for cars apparently. It just means you have to get closer to the 510 antenna. so probably not a big deal.

    Reply
  178. Love our Gori and run it in overdrive 90% of the time. Just an FYI – from a servicing perspective, enjoy yourself when you have to replace the “flexible stops”. They aren’t so flexible. Took us a few hours and a lot of pain the last time we did this to get the new ones to lay right.

    Reply
  179. What a wonderful blog on your Canadian voyage ! I absolutely love the spreadsheet for planning ! Super useful and efficient ! I will definitely be utilizing your example ! We hope to make the trip next spring !

    Reply
  180. I’ve seen a lot of images of Princess Louisa, but the aerial footage was simply stunning.

    I am surprised you got to swim, last time we were there their were Lions Mane jellyfish warning everywhere.

    Reply
    • Thanks Bruce! The drone has allowed me to see views of many places that I could have only dreamt of before. It really was great to be able to fly it at Princess Louisa and see the stunning views from a different perspective!

      We swam after we first arrived as it was 95F / 35C that day and we were dripping with sweat. We hadn’t be in to the ranger station and seen the warning. But a lot of other people were doing it too, and we were careful after we saw that warning.

      Reply
  181. Just remember the old adage, “You go from a sailboat, to motorboat, to a motor home, to the rest home, to the funeral home.” Try to stay with the former 2. Might consider Gulfstar 44 motoryacht. It has almost everything on your wish list.

    Reply
    • Thanks Lee! I have heard that adage, and I am long way off from the last two. I’ve sailed for 20+ years, so I figure I have at least that left in motor yachts.

      Thanks for the suggestion on the Gulfstar 44. It looks very similar to the Tollycraft that we’ve seen.

      Reply
  182. I sincerely think this is a great post. The Mikrotik Grooves are great, and work well for traveling marina to marina. I do have a shameless plug: My company has been able to put together a unique system for marinas who want to provide streaming speed internet in their most demanding slip-holder’s boats. It’s a more direct and higher performance approach than omni-directional antennas and such.

    We put together pre-configured kits for both the shore and boats, for self-install, and provide ongoing support, monitoring and maintenance. Worth a look if your marina is having troubles!

    Reply
  183. I have a steel boat which is wired as Insulated Return to avoid electrify running through the hull, any idea how the Drain wire would work in this case?

    Reply
    • Hi John,
      I’m not an expert with steel boats unfortunately. Every time I try to understand exactly how the power system should work on one, I am thrown a curve ball. I would suspect it would go to the same place that all other DC sources might be grounded, but I could be wrong.

      Reply
  184. I have a steel boat which is wired as Insulated Return to avoid electrify running through the hull, any idea how the Drain wire would work in this case?

    Reply
  185. It’s funny, I’ve crossed the Strait half a dozen time in conditions like that (or close to it) and every time thanked my lucky stars we were on a sailboat. It’s probably the biggest reason not to move to power…and your trip ends up convincing you to switch. Lol.

    Where was your dinghy on the crossing? We discovered this spring that ours becomes airborne around the 32 knot range and its a heavy, fiberglass-hulled model. I would think the inflatable hull would be a great big kite in the high 20s.

    Enjoyed travelling along with you!

    Reply
  186. Glad all ended well. I read somewhere cats and dogs feel motion sickness the same as humans. Maybe the cat felt better outside.
    Quick question: What instrument/device produces this nice data recording?

    Reply
    • Hi Val,

      Good point on the cat being outside, hadn’t thought of that. I generally feel better outside myself with the wind and being able to see the horizon well.

      The data recorder is something I wrote about here: https://sailbits.com/yacht-devices-voyage-recorder-black-box-boat/ It’s made by Yacht Devices, and has been a wonderful addition to the boat that I don’t have to think about. Whenever I’m done with a long trip, just pull the SD card out, pop it in my computer, and start looking through the data. You can have it summarize it, as you saw in this article, in a spreadsheet, or export GPX or KML so you can import into Google Maps (also in this article).

      Reply
  187. This article was a huge help. Our Groove 52 ac came set at 5Ghz and we couldn’t get connected to any ap’s (I could see them in the list but couldn’t get connected) . I changed to 2Ghz and was able to connect. My question is, what’s the difference between the two? How will I know if I need to change? We’re in a marina now and headed to the Bahamas… should I typically leave it set at 2Ghz? Thanks!

    Reply
  188. Planning my first trip up to Princess Louisa Inlet next May. I’m wondering if you have any additional thoughts on calculating the timing of slack at Malibu Rapids. You wrote that you entered at or near slack, but you had up to 3 knots of current against you! Do you think that there’s a better station to use? Doesn’t CHS have a prediction for Malibu?

    Reply
    • Hi Steve,
      From what we learned, there are tide apps like AyeTides and others that have stations for Malibu Rapids (Inner and Outer) which aren’t as accurate as you think. We used one for the trip through, and ended up showing up a bit late.

      The most accurate is to use Pt. Atkinson and the offsets that CHS publishes in their tide chart book. I think around the time we were going it was 30 or 35 minutes off one way, and 20-25 the other. I can’t remember which one, and those books are packed up while I move boats, but I can check in a month or so.

      The other thing to keep in mind is even at slack, there is so much water trying to get in/out of that huge, deep inlet, and such a small entrance, that there are times where there never is a no current slack. The early morning when we left, you can see that there was very little current, but even before we got through on our way up, others reported 1-2 knots.

      Reply
  189. I must admit that I am sorry to see a tech site focused on sail boats to change to motor boats (there already exists several such sites, like Panbo and more). Really enjoyed reading your site as I both sail and like tech.

    That said if your going by motor 80% of time, I fully agree that it is the right choice for you to do away with your sail. Much better to get a pure motor craft in your case. No doubt about it.

    Will still continue to read the site and look forward to your future contributions in tech and boating.

    Good luck with your new boat, and great that you still love the sea!

    Reply
    • Hi Martin,
      Thanks for the kind words. I definitely intend on continuing to write about technology and boats, and will always be a sailor at heart. I tend to always think about having super-finite resources like electricity regardless of the boat I have, so I am hoping I won’t change that too much!

      Reply
  190. I am in the process of installing a system almost exactly following your advise. I am however using a Peplink Max BR1 mini router. I was hoping to add the Max BR1 to my Verizon plan by just adding another device, but I found out that they do not offer unlimited data plans for this router and that the cost is much greater ($80 for 10 MG for the BR1 vs $45 for unlimited data on all other cellular devices. I am wondering if this is true for other carriers as well. I am also planning to sail to the Bahamas and was hoping to install a local SIM in the BR1, but I am not wondering if this will be possible. I guess I am not understanding how the Max BR1 is different from any other cellular device or hotspot and why it is treated differently by Verizon.

    I am also reading on some discussion board that the BR1 uses a lot of data when I phones or I pads are being used since they think they are connected to WIFI and start using data (other app and cloud backup) for some unknown background usage. Have you experienced this? Do you know of a way to manage this?

    Here is a link to one of the discussions: https://forum.peplink.com/t/br1-bandwidth-usage/7278
    Any input would be appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Christoph

    Reply
    • Hi Christoph,
      Unlimited data plans aren’t really unlimited anymore. I use T-Mobile’s Unlimited One + International plan, and at around 30GB of monthly usage, they slow it down considerably to the point where it is almost not useful. So just be aware that none of them are really, truly unlimited.

      That being said, getting non-phone device activated on a provider can be a bit more challenging. For T-Mobile, they treat it like a tablet and allowed me to add the International option so that I could travel to Canada and not be charged roaming charges. Other providers may not even know the device, and refuse to activate a SIM the first time around. Verizon is notorious for having very close control over the devices on their network, so that may be why they are confused.

      To resolve this, I would look at others on Peplink’s forums and how they may have activated it, or check out @radven:disqus ‘s site at https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/ which has a lot more current detail on the various plans and providers.

      In terms of data usage – Apple devices are notoriously bad on using lots of data. I have the same problem on my boat, and it is not specific to Peplink at all. One of the worst features is iCloud backups and Photos sync. After the crew is out and about exploring an anchorage, when we arrive back at the boat, the Internet is almost unusable because our iPhones and Android phones are uploading all of the fun photos to the cloud.

      If you have an iPad or Mac, and they also sync to those devices, as soon as the phones are done sending the photos up to the cloud, they start downloading to the iPad and Mac! More data usage.

      There are ways to disable these services so that you don’t have these issues. You can read about them in Apple’s forums. I agree, it would be nice for Peplink to provide some sort of filter to block these services, but it is quite hard to identify the traffic, and Apple changes things constantly.

      Windows actually has a nice feature that allows you to flag a WiFi network as being “limited bandwidth” (I mention it in my article on the Surface Pro https://sailbits.com/surface-pro-4-great-boat-computer/) so that it does not do software updates or sync things and eat up your bandwidth. We’ve all been hoping for something like that from Apple….

      Reply
  191. I’m a bit confused about the use of the WAN/LAN ports on the router. I understand the LTE modem going to the WAN port. But how can the Groove WiFi booster go to a LAN port on the MikroTik router? Isn’t it a WAN source also? Is this taken care of in the router configuration scripts? Thanks for the articles. Great stuff. Wildly useful.

    Reply
  192. I was told that replacing an OEM bulb with an LED in a USCG approved navigation light voids the certification. Do the LunaSea lights hold the certification?

    Reply
    • Good point – they don’t specifically state that they hold the certification, because they don’t know what sort of fixture they’re going into, so I suspect that would be hard to certify for everything out there. The certification mostly centers around the brightness and visibility of the light, and given that the original incandescent bulbs (I tried those too) are less bright than this, I would imagine at least the brightness requirement is met.

      I also know there are better lights than the 18 year old ones originally included on Grace – the plastic lenses have to be less effective than when they were brand new.

      I’m less worried about the certification, and more interested in whether it improves the safety side of things with a brighter, more clearly seen light at this point.

      Reply
  193. Great article, and great site! Very inspiring, I’ve been looking for someone like me in the middle of the geek / sailor venn diagram. Much appreciated.

    I was wondering, we’re finalizing the outfitting of our new catamaran, where we have a couple of options regarding position of the antennas – on the roof, up the mast, in the top or the spreaders. This cheezy product photo shows the options rather well: https://www.catamarans-fountaine-pajot.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/lucia-40-ban-12.jpg

    Any thoughts on the best place to mount them? We also have a radar that’ll be mounted somewhere in the mast, not sure where precisely.

    Thanks again for your articles!

    Reply
  194. In the video, Grace appeared to handle motoring upwind with less slamming than my 35 foot Jeanneau SO 36.2. I wonder if having my fifty gallon bow water tank empty on those upwind passages would improve seakeeping. My last trip after the Wooden Boat festival from PT to Bremerton into a 20knot Southerly against a flooding tide was a real pain, I had to go so slow, and by late afternoon the wind was really howling into Port Madison, preventing me from going west towards Agate Passage. There is so much fetch hitting that Indianola south shore in a southerly, and the resultant chop is tightly spaced and hard to endure on the beam, necessitating a longer passage south before turning west and getting into the lee of Bainbridge Island. Otherwise, enjoying your content very much whether it be cruising or equipment related.

    Reply
    • Hi Kevin,
      I usually had Grace’s water tank full whenever possible – sort of a mantra I learned long ago on any boat – never to leave the dock without a full water tank if you can. In most of the videos I posted, I am pretty sure I had nearly a full tank. Her one and only water tank is in the v-berth under the center portion of the berth, so plenty forward.

      In addition, earlier that month I added 150′ of all chain rode to my anchor system, replacing much lighter rope, and adding a decent amount more weight as well. So perhaps more weight would be a better thing? Not sure that is the case though.

      I didn’t get a video of it, as I was a little busy, but on the way up the Sunshine Coast, leaving Vancouver and passing around Bowen Island, I hit some of the worst choppy waves I’ve been in for a long time. 4-6′ tightly spaced nasty waves breaking constantly, and constant pounding into them directly. Things were jumping around everywhere, and at that point I do wish I would have had less weight in the bow at least to see the difference in motoring characteristics.

      Ah, I have been on the north end of Bainbridge many times with a bad south wind. I know the waves you’re talking about – having to pound much further south than you really want to just to avoid that nasty shallow fetch that develops in there.

      Reply
  195. Thank you very much for this great article. Is there an automatic solution for switching to Marina Wi-Fi from LTE when you get the signal?

    Reply
    • With MikroTik, you can configure different settings to switch between the two if connectivity is seen, but it is a bit more complicated. That also assumes you have been to the marina before, or have already input the WiFi credentials.

      Peplink and other commercial vendors make this much easier with their software.

      Reply
  196. And after all that you still want to sell her? 🙁 Someone is going to get a great boat!

    Great post. Please don’t ever take the site down because I have a feeling I will be referring to it often in the future.

    Reply
  197. Hi Steve! Just wanted to say “Thank you” for this post! I found a link to your site from a Slack workspace related to SignalK. I was working on a solution for using the RPI as an AP using the built-in WiFi (wlan0) along with an external WiFi dongle (wlan1). The results were dismal.

    Reply
  198. Steve,

    I regretted selling our Beneteau 311 about six years ago so much that my husband and I searched for and found a very lightly used 2000 in Santa Barbara this June and bought it. I have enjoyed reading about your projects on Grace, and we have made some important upgrades on Jason, our 311. I’ve really enjoyed your site and am grateful for all of the information you’ve shared.

    One of our last upgrades (at least in the short term) will be to add heating. Here in Long Beach California, we don’t frequently need that, but weekends at Santa Catalina Island (our go-to get-away spot) can involve unpleasantly cool and clammy nights in the cabin. It would be much nicer with a comfortable temp and humidity. We’re planning to install a Wallas heater as you did on Grace and will contact the guys at Scan shortly. May I impose to ask whether, after living with your installation for a couple of years, there is anything you would have done differently in retrospect before I dig into this?

    Best,
    Larry Cagney

    Reply
  199. She looks really great.
    So now you have to re-install state of the art electric system as well as all communications equipment like WiFI, LTE, Cell boosters, etc.
    I am looking forward to read about new ideas and solutions.

    Reply
    • Thanks! The batteries are brand new, and while they are flooded, there is a decent amount of capacity. I’ll likely replace the various control systems around them in the next year or two, but the battery bank itself will need to wait until the flooded ones are worn out.

      I’ve already got my Peplink and WiFi system installed on board – it was one of the first things to do! The next project is instruments and a NMEA 2000 backbone, which the boat apparently doesn’t have. Lots of Furuno stuff but looks all proprietary.

      Reply
  200. What an awesome yacht you have, congratulations! Are you planning to live aboard? The boat looks comfortably large enough to do so. I’m still heart set on a sailboat but after attending FLIBS and seeing so many power boats my opinion has swayed, a little.

    Reply
  201. Outstanding article. Thanks so much for documenting as I plan to do similar repairs/upgrades on my sailboat soon! From where did you buy the LCJ Capteurs CV7 Sailboat Ultrasonic Wind Sensor?

    Reply
  202. Steve I installed almost the exact setup. I’m using the pepwave br1. Everthing else is the same . My issue is getting the mikrotik to talk to the pepwave. How are you accomplishing that? I talked with a Mikrotik service provider and after a lot of programming we have a signal that I can see, actually sometimes multiple signals, if I plug the ethernet cable from the Mikrotik into a laptop, then using winbox, I can select which WAN I want to use, enter security user passwords, unplug from my laptop and replug into the pepwave. Needless to say that is a pain. Is there anyway I can do this using the pepwave web admin page or incontrol2 ? I would like to use the Mikrotik WAN connection similiar to the way I use the wifi wan built into the pepwave . The pepwave can pickup external WAN and rebroadcast as my boat wifi and is very easy to use, however it uses small anteneas inside the boat, the Mikrotik seems to pick up more signals and they are stronger, it is mounted high on radar arch. I’m not very tech savy and sorry if I’m using incorrect terms here but hopefully you understand what Im doing. Please comment.

    Reply
    • Hi Walter,
      The reason I use the MikroTik is the same as you – the built in WiFi as WAN features in the Peplink not only are limited signal-wise, but will consume one of your WiFi radios as well, making the network you have on your boat 1/2 as powerful or with 1/2 the coverage.

      I would definitely recommend you read my follow on article if you haven’t already which covers how to configure the MikroTik Groove

      I have my MikroTik connected to my Peplink 24×7, and never connect it to a PC except for the initial setup. The key is to either put it lower in the priority list when you’re not connected to a WiFi network, or disable the health checks so that the Peplink does not show it as down/unavailable.

      Peplink uses a health check to test to see if there is internet connectivity, and right there you have a catch 22. If the MikroTik is not connected to a WiFi network, there’s no connectivity, so the Peplink disables that interface, and prevents you from being able to get into the MikroTik admin interface to do anything.

      The easiest is to disable the health check, but if you do that, and sail away from your WiFi network that you’re using with the MikroTik, it will never fail over to LTE or other methods. That’s OK with me, because prior to leaving, I usually drag the WiFi connection down to Priority 2 or 3, and the LTE up to Priority 1 so that I can test to make sure things are OK.

      I have asked Peplink to consider making their health check still fail if it can’t find the internet, but not taking the interface down so you can still admin the device beyond it.

      Hope that helps!

      Reply
  203. Just started to read your blog. Good stuff. I am still a sailor but have been thinking about a boat like yours in the future. Anyway. What model AP do you have (electric or hydraulic)? My buddy has Furuno instruments and is looking for an autopilot. If you are interested in selling, he might be interested in buying. We are both in Seattle BTW.
    Cheers,
    Marcus

    Reply
  204. Hi Steve, Have you looked at the Peplink BR1 Mini. How would this compare with the Max TST that you installed on Grace. The cost of this unit for North America is around $300. It seems to have similar functionality as the Max TST. Am I missing anything on the comparision?

    Reply
    • Hi Brian,
      I have tested the BR1 Mini and it is very similar to the Max Transit, but there are some notable differences.

      First, it is smaller and has less CPU power, so it will be slower when it comes to configuration changes, and also overall throughput. That might not be a big deal depending on what you’re using it for.

      Second, it only supports LTE and not the newer LTE-A bands/radio that most things have moved or are moving towards, so if LTE speed and longevity of support are important, go the Transit route.

      Third, it does not have an ethernet WAN port by default (you have to buy an addon) so if you wanted to use a MikroTik Groove to grab a remote WiFi signal, and utilize the WAN port, you’d need to spend more for the addon.

      Same for using the built in WiFi to grab a remote WiFi signal – it’s a licensed add on.

      Both of those choices are a way for Peplink to push you to the Transit line instead of the mini BTW.

      Fourth, and this was big for me, it only supports 2.4Ghz for the WiFi AP, and at a reduced transmit power. 2.4Ghz is saturated at my home marina, and many places I visit, so I absolutely require 5Ghz for things to work reliably. The mini does not have it, and its 2.4Ghz is lower power as well.

      Fifth, and this is likely specific to me and a few others, it does not have PepVPN support. I use this to connect my boat, vacation house, and home all together in a mesh.

      From the software functionality perspective it has all of the other features as the Transit, so it is a good deal on that front. For me, the lack of WAN port and 5Ghz WiFi make it unusable for my daily configuration. Add in the lack of PepVPN and no LTE-A support, and the Transit line looks like the only choice 🙁

      Reply
  205. Always love reading your detailed articles. I am far from your connoisseur skills on coffee making but I do appreciate a good cup (not mug) of coffee from freshly ground fresh beans. On the boat however, I found my taste buds change and when it comes to coffee, quantity takes over quality in some way. I dont grind beans on the boat for the several day trips I make. Instead I try to concentrate on storage of the ground coffee in tight seal container to reduce humidity, etc. When it comes to brewing, I found that double walled, stainless steel french press produces reasonable balance of quality, quantity with relatively small mess.

    Reply
    • Fresh ground or made in any way is definitely the way to go. A bit of me is disappointed with using Nespresso pods since they are not fresh ground, but their espresso sure tastes like it! If I were drinking coffee, I would definitely take the approach you have – keeping the beans as fresh and humidity free as possible, and grinding them right before brewing. I had a french press for years on the sailboat as that was the best way to get quality coffee with the same properties you cite! Happy caffeinating!

      Reply
  206. Steve–

    I always enjoyed your articles, and one more suggestion. Wifi at marinas seem to be degrading the longer we bop around and we seem to get poor connections. I especially like our home marina that routes 10.10.x.x which causes problems with our Raymarine network addressing due to address conflicts. Annoying, when the could have done 192.168.x.x on the endpoints.

    I almost brought the netgear modem, but after some research I got a Huawei Wi-Fi Router B310-518 (Amazon $83), it the international version. I plugged in a configured Mint wireless SIM (uses T-mobile) and it bridges the LTE network to all the devices on 2.4G that the boat needs. No more conflicts. Yea!

    One device, really simple and works fine our our usage which is only 1-2 weekends a month. YMMV. 🙂

    Reply
  207. Hi Steve, I have a questions for you.

    I am currently working on a project to synchronize SignalK data to the cloud. So far there are three communication options
    – WiFi
    – MiFi
    – Satellite/SSB radio(emails).

    So the question is – can I use references on your blog posts (especially this one for WiFI and MiFi hardware solutions) in SignalK discussions?

    Best regards

    Greg

    Reply
  208. Hi Steve,

    For the Groove 52ac that you recommend, what antenna have you screwed into the top of the unit?

    Thanks,
    Roger

    Reply
  209. I’m so glad I stumbled onto this article. I’ve been researching the issues for awhile before making any decisions.

    One thing that isn’t really mentioned is the software setup to get everything to work. For example, I checked out the Mikrotik software and it is extremely technical. I have used a Picostation and AirOS and I’m comfortable with setting those up, but the Mikrotik is clearly intended for use by another level of technical expert. I’ll have to check out your website for how to set one up, maybe it isn’t that complicated with your guidance.

    There are low-low-loss cables for LTE frequencies, http://www.panorama-antennas.com/ makes some of these. Their CS400 is only 2dB loss over 10 meters (but it is thick at 0.4″). I’m trying to figure out if I should mount the LTE antenna on my lowest spreader and run 10m down inside the boat to the Peplink. In the comments, there is mention that getting the LTE high isn’t that important, but my other option is mounting it to the cabintop or somewhere on the deck at the aft of the boat (out of the way of toes). If you had to choose between the deck and a shorter cable run and the spreader and a longer cable run, what would you recommend? Also, is an internal diversity antenna “good enough”? I’d rather not run two external antennas.

    Reply
  210. Great article, a lot to take in. I just bought a similar system for my old wooden Irish trawler I’m refitting/restoring here in Ireland. I bought the Transporter batteries, a Lifepo4 battery worth looking at, using the same Victron Charge inverter as you. I presently only have the batteries in place, with wires staring to run.

    I’m impressed with the knowledge base you have in setting all this up, obviously you’ve a good understanding of electrics. My understanding is more limited, but I’m learning. Where did you get the details of which controller, etc to use.

    I have a monitoring system by the Pico by Simarine: https://www.simarine.net/, slick little device, but I may need to go with the Color controller you have as well, I do like the clear visuals and the direct interface.

    Thanks for your great overview!

    Reply
  211. Amazing article. Thanks for spending the time detailing all of this (+ all the side articles on the antenna or cheaper approach).
    I have seen you are using the Peplink Max Transit. Why not the MAX BR1 MKII ?
    Not sure if it is because only the transit was available when you built the system or it is because the Transit has something critical that the BR1 doesn’t ?

    And the follow-up question regarding flexibility, somehow addressed in your other article: as Modems evolved, replacing a router-modem is expensive. Would using a router like the Peplink Surf SoHo with an external LTE modem be cheaper and more flexible (especially if going in multiple region?). Like the Huawei B525-xx for example. Cheaper to have 2 than a poplin cat 6, but still benefit of the poplin router and software for the router.

    thanks !

    Reply
    • Good question. I had to back and find my planning spreadsheet with all of the parts, and compare that to what I actually ended up purchasing. It was just a hair over $7800 for the whole system, including wiring and ends. Keep in mind though that I did all of my labor (including the wires and terminating) so that could drive the cost up considerably if you don’t do that work yourself.

      Reply
  212. Hi Steve, I am planning to purchase Our Groove 52 ac. They are coming in 2 versions – for US and other markets. Not sure what is the difference. Can not find any references on a subject. Will US vision will work in Canada and Caribbean? Will it work in Europe?

    Reply
  213. Perhaps there used to be a limitation but I have a very similar set up and I can absolutely control the shore power current limit from the CCGX.

    Reply
  214. Wow, Steve, this is an amazingly thorough explanation of EMU-1 why and how. But I have something to add. In my view the hidden jewel in the system you’ve installed is that now you can set up engine warnings that might save you from ever having to deal with critical alarms. For instance, on Gizmo I get alerted if the coolant temp gets even a little higher than normal, which is way below the High Temp alarm value set by the engine manufacturer.

    I keep hoping that the MFD brands will make this easier, but Maretron already does. I discuss here:

    https://www.panbo.com/mfd-engine-monitoring-better-but/

    Reply
    • Great point Ben – being able to set other thresholds on other devices to prevent ever getting to the high water mark. I also agree and wish that other manufacturers allowed you to do this more easily.

      Reply
  215. Steve! As a former software engineer I cannot explain how grateful I am for the meticulous research you have done. Thank You!

    We now run a decent YouTube channel and need internet at least twice a week as that is how we cover our costs. In many places (South Pacific) we often get E or 1 bar 3G. Some places (Vanuatu/Tonga) may not even broadcast LTE. Does your recommendation work just as well for E and 3G as it does for 4G/LTE?

    At the end of the day my main concern is just getting that video uploaded and pushing it out on social media. That’s how I make a living.

    Finally, how can we give back? What is the best way to help you?

    Thanks!

    Ben & Ash
    https://www.youtube.com/sailingnahoa

    Reply
  216. Hi Steve: well my NEMO finally arrived…but I have a problem! I connected it via ethernet to my Mikrotik router, to which my Furuno NavNet3D MFD is also connected, as is a Furuno network radar and my laptop (running TZ Navigator, not CE). In this setup, the Furuno MFD must be the DHCP master and the laptop uses a static IP address.

    Anyway, NEMO is giving me a Green ‘Heartbeat’ LED and its manual says this means ‘connecting to network’; the LED never becomes solid. When I try to use my Android phone with the NEMO app to connect wirelessly to the router and then into NEMO, it doesn’t Discover NEMO….hardly surprising since the LED is telling me NEMO hasn’t connected to the network.

    Any suggestions for what I might be doing wrong??

    thanks and regards

    Aquabelle

    Reply
  217. Hi Steve. Thanks for your kind words about the blog. I really enjoy doing it. It’s only part time and there’s more than I can handle, hence getting Justin onboard in the last year.

    Re LiFePO4. There will be a blog (likely this week) from me about these new ones. Might be suitable for your application:

    https://www.victronenergy.com/batteries/12,8v-lithium-superpack

    If weight is an issue consider the HE NMC as half the weight of LIFePO4 for same Ah, slightly less cycles and depending on series/parallel note recommendation for discharge/charge.

    https://www.victronenergy.com/batteries/lithium-battery-24v-180ah

    I’m in the middle of building a standalone system with one of them and a 2kVA MultiPlus. Work in progress…

    Reply
  218. So do you find you are getting out a lot more with the powerboat, or is it just you are posting more because its a new “toy”?

    Nice to see you guys are sharing in some of the cold the rest of the continent seems to be stuck in 🙂

    Reply
    • For winter cruising, we are definitely getting out more than we would have on Grace. I think this is partially because she is new, but also because we are more protected from the elements on Rendezvous. One of the main reasons we switched to the power side is to use the boat more, have more people on board, and generally just enjoy being out on the water more. So far so good!

      We definitely have gotten some cold temps and a lot of snow for the Seattle area. Happy to have that end soon!

      Reply
  219. Good on ya for getting out. I’ve never seen Liberty Bay so deserted. Nice drone footage. Rendezvous is good looking (for a power boat. 😉
    I use the same anchor watch app, haven’t found anything better yet.

    I’m looking forward to hearing about your camera system details. I’ve been wanting to add some cameras but can’t justify the asking price for “marine” cameras. I’m intrigued by Raymarine’s ClearCruise. I do wonder if third-party cameras could be made to work with it.
    Cheers, Mic

    Reply
    • I really like that anchor app. I’ve used it for a few years without any issues. I usually have an iPad at the helm that I use when I’m anchoring so that I can mark the exact spot of the anchor. I’ve tried the newer push and email features while away from the boat as well, and had good results.

      The camera system is definitely something I will be writing about more in detail. The marine-grade cameras provided by the big manufacturers are really overpriced and limited in size/view/features. It does seem that they won’t let you use many 3rd party cameras with their systems.

      Right now my setup should work with most manufacturers, but in particular with my Furuno system that I’m installing very soon. I’ll keep you updated.

      Reply
  220. I got all that hardware 🙂

    The Groove was setup as CPE/router, connected to a wifi network.

    The terminal of the groove even pings google ok.

    The Groove ethernet is connected in ether5 of an HAP ac and this is where it goes sour.

    No matter how I change the bridge, nat, routing, making ether5 a WAN port I cant seem to be able to have a proper return route to the Groove52.

    I can ping back the Groove from the HAP ac of course and vice-versa

    What am I missing?

    Can anyone share their configuration? I want people connecting to the HAP ac to have wifi connectivity – of course 🙂

    Many thanks!!

    Patrick

    Reply
  221. Steve, I am also considering the Furuno NAVpilot as a fully redundant system to complement the older Simrad AP20 system on the boat, and am also trying to decide between the 300 and the 711c. I like the idea of the gesture control for the 300, and don’t think I need the additional features of 711 (jog levers, etc).

    Have you tried the Power Assist mode on your 300? That also seems like an attractive feature of both the Furuno units.

    Larry
    N5012 Miss Miranda
    Anacortes, WA

    Reply
    • Keep in mind that the 300 has limits in terms of overall current and drive types compared to the 711. I’d make sure with Furuno that your boat, pump, and the other pieces are compatible, if you have a pump already, which it sounds like you do.

      I can’t use Power Assist or Safe Steer as I have a standard Type 2 pump, and those features require an Accu-Steer pump with wiring between the AP and the pump. Seems like fun features though!

      Reply
      • Thanks for that tip, Steve. I went back to the Furuno Forum and asked the question. I would be using the HRP35 or equivalent pump, which is too much for the NAVpilot 300. So, I’ll be going with the 711c.

        Reply
  222. I’m curious whether this approach with Mikrotik router is better than using a peplink SoHo. Sure the peplink is about twice the price, and doesnt have the powered ethernet port, but software may be easier to deal with!

    The groove 52 is a pain, not because of all the countless knob and tuning function, but because on some versions, when rebooting, it goes on bridge mode and address reset to 0.0.0.0 and only way to get it back on track is winbox (with a PC…)!

    Reply
    • I used Ancor marine-grade splice connectors like these https://amzn.to/2Elpymv

      You definitely have to install them correctly – very tight crimp – and ensure that your wire will work with the size they come in. Some people hate these things but that is usually because they are used to splice power circuits over and over in cars and RVs.

      Since these wires are low voltage, I’m OK with them. I also wrap each one in vinyl tape to ensure waterproof connections just in case.

      Reply
  223. I’m getting ready to move aboard and need good internet for my job. I’m so thankful I came across your page, I appreciate all the work you’ve gone through to show us the best way to get good internet! What do you think of the Mofi unit instead of Peplink?

    Reply
    • According to the regulations, a boat over 40′ must have separate steaming and stern lights, and you can’t use a single all around light. I did look at that light, and many others, as an option, but the regulations are clear – I need a forward facing, 270 degree arc steaming light, and a separate stern facing light.

      Reply
  224. Using your setup as the basis of my own new Lithium installation. How do you program the voltage regulator on your alternator as is will be charging both AGM ( your starter bat) and your Lithium house bank?

    Reply
  225. What led you to the Axis camera server? I have Axis cameras at home, but not their DVR. When one of my cameras started failing, recently, I switched out to a 4K unit from Lorex, which turned out to be pretty darn nice. I didn’t bother with the Lorex DVR. Instead, I’m using Synology’s Surveillance platform. Have you explored that at all?

    Reply
    • I’ve used all of those products, actually. I really like Synology’s platform for home stuff. I chose AXIS on the boat because Furuno supports them directly, and I wanted to be able to access the cameras from the flybridge and salon while docking most importantly. The port side camera shows me the entire edge of the boat from about 3/4’s of the way up the hull all the way to the stern.

      I also chose the particular AXIS camera server, which actually uses older analog cameras, because the camera server does the hard work of converting the video streams. That way I can look at a four camera display on my MFD, while the MFD really is only processing a single video stream. I’ve played with a bunch of other MFDs from other manufacturers and there are quite a few limits in terms of the amount of simultaneous amounts of cameras you can display on one screen. The AXIS solved that for me, as well as it was supported by Furuno.

      Reply
  226. Jeez how rich are you!!!! Just kidding, but man that’s a lot of toys. It’s going to take me a few reads to get it all straight in my head and pick out the bits I can use.

    I followed along on your little cruise this past weekend. You sure can put on the miles at ~10 knots. That in itself is enough to make me envious.

    Reply
    • It actually wasn’t as expensive as you would think, and I had set aside a decent amount of money to outfit the boat with proper electronics, plus sold a bunch of old ones. Plus, I would say about 1/2 of the stuff on the network is stuff I had already, so that saved a ton!

      Rest assured I will be writing about some of the pieces on the network that are new including more detail on Furuno and Yacht Devices stuff.

      Yes, going 10+ knots is quite a big change!

      Reply
  227. Great write up Steve….thanks. I am not clear about why you think the TZT2 MFDs are worthwhile though. The DRS-NXT radar can be direct connected via Ethernet to your Surface Book/TZ, as can a Furuno digital sounder. What upside do you see with these expensive pieces of the kit?

    Reply
    • There are quite a few reasons for the TZT2s.

      First, they are marine grade and protected against the elements. I have them mounted in my flybridge which while protected from the spray by canvas, water could still get in there, and they are exposed directly to the salt air, as the flybridge is open to the back to the elements. A Surface Book would not fare as well during some of these misty mornings that I’ve bee out in lately. Of course, I could take it in when I’m done, but what if I needed it out there while exposed?

      Second is visibility – if you have ever put a pair of polarized sunglasses on and attempted to look at a computer screen, you know what I mean. The Surface Book has the same issue. Yes, I could get a marine-grade display that can overcome some of these things (not all) but those are expensive too. This is probably the single biggest limitation with any laptop that I’ve come across.

      I’ll group these last ones together – reliability and simplicity. The Surface is a great laptop, but the MFDs are built to do one thing, and they do it very well. I have seen Time Zero Professional on the PC crash for one reason or another, while the MFDs rarely ever do, and if they do, there’s a second one to take over, plus alarms that ring letting me know something has happened. I like having something more “solid state” that is running the boat while underway. I could invest in multiple PCs, but now we’re talking about something far beyond what two TZT2s cost.

      Don’t get me wrong – if there was a good redundant, reliable, and easy to view solution for PC, I would never buy an MFD. But when a good Surface Book costs more than a TZT2 by almost $1000, the choice seems easy right now.

      Reply
  228. Very interesting write-up. I am just starting on a similar path upgrading a 25 year old boat. Starting with the NMEA2K network this week-end, adding an EMU-1, Airmar Log/Depth and small Furuno display. My plan is to put in a higher end NUC computer to run touch-screen display(s) and forego the MFDs. Got a bit worried about you mentioning crashes on both the Timezero and MFD’s. I only have a salon drive station, so weatherproof displays are not needed. Here the 12 inch Furuno MFD is at least as expensive 2800 EUR as a higher end Surface book. And much more than a i7 NUC with a 12 inch touchscreen. Really enjoy learning from your experience with the upgrades

    Reply
    • I think every computer based system crashes at some point – MFDs, TimeZero, and the like. I’ve had MFDs from pretty much everyone, and they all freak out, reboot, or lock up at some point. The key with any of these is that when they do, something on the network, or the device itself should set off an alarm when it happens.

      When TimeZero Pro on the PC crashes, there is really no alarm other than, eventually, something like the autopilot or other device that is relying on data from it complaining. And even then, it would be a more secondary message. If one of the TZT2s crashes, the other one starts beeping incessantly, and all other related devices also signal a change in GPS signal, autopilot data, etc.

      I also have noticed that TimeZero Pro on the Surface can really tax its CPU. At times the fans run at 100%, and if the sun hits it, it gets even hotter. Sometimes as well, virus scan, updates, and other things affect the performance of the Surface. Of course, you can turn those things off, but then you have a Windows machine that will eventually have issues. I think an MFD still has a place on a boat because of some of these things, but every year it gets closer to being less important.

      I have a NUC on board as well running Linux, and considered using two of them, one at each driving station, and touch screens so that I could avoid buying an MFD, but decided against it. The usability of an MFD in bad weather, in sunshine, etc. sold me on having them as the “solid state” device running things.

      However, the design of my system would allow a PC to be the primary controller at some point in the future. Time Zero Professional is a very nice piece of software, and I could see using that once I found a suitable set of monitors for both the salon and flybridge. I have yet to find one that has really good touch in all conditions, and also is viewable in sunlight and sunglasses.

      Reply
  229. Hi!

    Super helpful articles, thanks! I’m close to pulling the trigger on the Mikrotik antenna and router combo. However, I’m curious about the fact that a wifi connection is a two-way street. I definitely understand that an external antenna, preferably mounted outside and with some reasonable gain, will vastly improve my reception of wifi signals. My questions is, does the Groove boost my wifi signal transmission so that I can maintain a link with my target wifi source? I assume this is an import part of the puzzle if I want long-distance wifi connections.

    Reply
  230. Hi Steve, great explanation. I was able to set up all and i am able to connect. I only have an issue when i would like to connect to an AP which requires a webbrowser interaction. Some of the Wifi providers have something programed that needs to have interaction (sometimes only a Click on “ok” to get online. Is there a way to get connected with the groove as well?

    Reply
    • Hi David,
      Sure do, I mentioned it earlier in the article – a glass sight tube on the diesel tank itself. I used it after first installing the sensor to ensure the sensor was reading correctly, and I still check it every few days just as a second reading. If everything died except the engines, I would still be able to get readings off of this manual method.

      Reply
  231. Steve, fantastic write up. I’m I’ve been looking to switch out my old Wagner (now glitchy) auto pilot, and with my recent Furuno radar purchase the navpilot seems a good fit. We have an early 80’s 43′, full keel, sailboat. With everything I have read or have been told indicates the Navpilot300 is only for small boats and that I should be looking at the 711. However I can find no actual reason for this in any of the literature.

    Although it’s a power boat your boat is a similar size to ours. So could i please ask why did you go with a 300, rather than 711? And do you know of any reason why the navpilot300 would not work in our case?

    The 300 appears to be a lot more cost effective, and really I don’t need a lot of functions just a simple working autopilot.

    Cheers,
    Chris
    Vancouver,BC

    Reply
    • Chris,
      I had a number of discussions with Furuno about using the 300 with my boat, even though they do market it for smaller center console boats. The keys seemed to be around the type of autopilot pump and the size of the boat and pump overall. The 300 will only work with hydraulic pumps, so if you are thinking of using an electric or other setup, the 711 is the choice. It also has a max capacity in terms of amps that it can send to the pump, and thereby limits the overall size of that pump. Usually bigger and heavier boats require a bigger pump. From what Furuno told me about my boat, I’m using a Type 2 pump and it was rated at a particular amount of fluid it could move, and they said the 300 would be fine for it.

      I had the 711 on the boat prior to moving to the 300, and I didn’t like it as it used proprietary or older cabling between all the pieces. That meant for two driving locations, I had 4 cables going between those, then one going to the heading sensor, and rudder reference unit. The 711 control system unit has a NMEA 2000 port, but it was limited as well in terms of what could go back and forth. The 300 is NMEA 2000 throughout which made cabling much easier.

      I would post in the Furuno forums with your specific boat size, length, weight, and pump information and ask if the 300 would work for you, or you can call their support as well, or chat with a good local dealer. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  232. Hi Steve,

    I set-up Groove and upgraded to the latest firmware. I can connect to remote WiFi sites without problems, even with their signal strength -98Db. So far so good.
    However I have some strange behaviour. May it is just me. I can connect to Internet via MikroTik with iPad without any problems, however never been able to connect with Mac Or Windows10. Did you experience the similar behaviour?

    Regards

    Greg

    Reply
  233. Good post, thanks. Do you think there’s any point in voice control for an MFD, for instance being able to switch screens?

    Reply
  234. Hi Steve,
    I’ve enjoyed reading your articles and discussions. I had purchased that Wirie AP several years ago and was about to upgrade to the LTE router when the company went belly up last year. When I went to the boat last week to look at my electronics I discovered that the Wirie AP is no longer working and keeps blowing fuses.
    My thought is that rather than try to repair the obsolete until, to purchase a Pepwave BR1 mini and use that in place of the WiFi router components in the original Wirie housing. I always liked the Wirie idea of minimizing the antenna cable runs by putting the router as close as possible to the atnennas themselves. I’s also consider putting the whole BR1 mini together with antennas in a waterproof housing. Just not sure what the signal attenuation might be through the walls of the plastic box. Do you think I could get away with just using the BR1 WiFi antennas and omitting the Ubiquiti or MicroTik?
    I would very much appreciate your thoughts on the matter.
    Best regards,

    Dan

    Reply
  235. Hi Steve,
    Through a process of elimination I’ve concluded that the short in my system is in the Ubiquiti antenna. I sent in a warranty replacement request only to be told that it was more than 1 year old. So now I’m faced with purchasing a new dual-band antenna as well (still cheaper overall than the Wirie setup). I see that you seem partial to the MikroTik. It seems to have an external signal strength indicator as opposed to the Ubiquiti which has nothing. Only way I was able to determine that it was the failure culprit was through successive disconnections…
    I’d appreciate your thoughts on the best antenna to buy!
    Thanks again…
    Dan

    Reply
  236. Thanks for the ultraprompt response!
    I thought the Ubiquiti Titanium Bullet M2HP (I thinks is the full description), was a dual band antenna. In any case, I don’t like it because there’sno way to tell if it’s working other than it passing a signal! I will look at the Altelix. Thanks again!
    Dan

    Reply
  237. We have installed an itc-5 also and it is transferring wind and compass data to our MFD b
    ut the speed data is missing. The speed/temp led light is blinking. We put a new speed transducer in but still the itc-5 doesn’t recognize it. Any ideas on a fix for this?

    Reply
  238. OK, a bit more specific info: the leds for speed/temp and depth go on solid when the unit is turned on. These are the only two inputs to the itc-5. Depth works and shows on our ES98 MFD. However after about five minutes, the speed /temp light changes to a slow blink. The itc-5 is selected on the mfd as source for speed. We have tried testing for transducer function by putting in a new speed transducer and also one that works from another boat. Neither works. We have also tried moving the speed transducer ground wire : on the speed/temp ground terminal, on the wind or rudder ground terminals, and unconnected.

    Reply
  239. I’ve been playing around with different pieces on the forums and here trying to get the configuration with these three routers to work but I can’t get a single thing to talk to another (that’s a bit of an exaggeration). Your config file links are broken, would it be possible to make those available again?

    Reply
  240. Hi Steve,

    I would like to know your opinion. My sailing areas are not just US waterdm, but also Bermuda, Caribbean and Canada. I spoke about data-only SIMM cards with ATT, Verizon and T-Mobile. All these companies having these SIMM cards only for US and they will not work in other countries. So my question is : May be skip Netgear all together and use LTE Booster and use iPhone as hot spot? For some reason voice and data SIMM cards from these companies will work overseas.

    What do you think?

    Best regards

    Greg

    Reply
  241. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the great write up. I’m assuming this set up can be combined with a WeBoost 4G-X in front of the Netgear LTE router? If the router is located next to the booster internal antenna, I assume it would reduce the need for the MIMO antenna. But what do you think? Thanks!

    Reply
  242. Hi Steve,
    I just wanted to let you know that I’ve put together my system and bench tested it at home.
    You were right about the antennas!
    I bought the Wilson cellular antenna. The RSSI with the included 20ft RG58 cable is -80dBm, with a 20 ft LM400 cable (and SMA adapter), it’s a tiny bit better at -78 dBm (the cheaper adapter is probably hurting the signal), but with just the little antennas that comes with the Peplink its -74dBm!
    So I think I’m going to try your suggested configuration with the BR1 in the boat cabin and a Wilson booster using the Wilson cellular antenna.

    Thanks for all your suggestions!
    Best,

    Dan

    Reply
  243. Hi Steve,

    I’ve read through you articles and they are very well done. Thank you for taking the time to put them together.

    Excuse the pun, but I’m in the same boat with regard to Masterbus, NMEA2000, Seatalk… I am trying to get everything communicating and it’s tough finding information.

    I do have one question I could really do with help on. I want to be able to use the feature to control Mass Combi from alternative BMS. The only option seems to be over NEMA 2000 to send the “do not charge” controls. Do you know if it’s possible to control Masterbus from NMEA 2000? I need to convert CANBus to NMEA to Masterbus to control from a BMS incase of high / low voltage / temperature.

    Any advice or help really appreciated.

    Reply
  244. Hi Steve,

    I’ve read through you articles and they are very well done. Thank you for taking the time to put them together.

    Excuse the pun, but I’m in the same boat with regard to Masterbus, NMEA2000, Seatalk… I am trying to get everything communicating and it’s tough finding information.

    I do have one question I could really do with help on. I want to be able to use the feature to control Mass Combi from alternative BMS. The only option seems to be over NEMA 2000 to send the “do not charge” controls. Do you know if it’s possible to control Masterbus from NMEA 2000? I need to convert CANBus to NMEA to Masterbus to control from a BMS incase of high / low voltage / temperature.

    Any advice or help really appreciated.

    Reply
  245. Hi Steve, thanks for the excellent write-up. I have a Beneteau first 310 and I have been having issues with the electric panel, primarily the bus connectors are getting old and not reliable. I am still a bit a novice when comes to electric circuit. I want to replace the whole thing but found the bus connectors to be confusing and intimidating. If I use the Bluesea panel you mentioned, what do I need to get to replace the bus connectors?

    Reply
  246. We’ve had these for two years and love them. They used to come with an aluminum telescoping pole instead of the plastic “assemble the pieces” pole which I liked a lot better, but we broke it (when I lost my balance and fell on it) so now have the plastic one. Def not as nice. Even though it’s not quite regs, we use a single tricolor on the stern as opposed to putting a red/green forward and a white in the stern. We’ve been stopped before (planing through the mooring field.. oops 🙂 ) and the authorities commented on how nice the lights were after admonishing us for our misdeed. We’ve also put bow and stern mounts on our rails on our big boat so we can use these as emergency backups if we lose our primary nav lights.

    Reply
  247. These very expensive lights didn’t last more than a few months here in the Caribbean., very disapointed after the second one i bought also failed.

    Reply
  248. Another awesome post. Brings back memories of my rode painting (https://pnwboating.blog/2015/08/17/a-rode-well-traveled-marking-your-ground-tackle/). I marked off 30′ sections. This reminds me of the story about the US and NASA going to great lengths to create a writing instrument for zero gravity only to see that the Russians simply used pencils. Don’t know if it’s true, but it’s like the tags, poly-line and paint choices.

    I don’t own a bridle yet but plan to buy one. Thanks for your recommendation of dbRopes.

    Reply
    • Rode painting is always a challenge in some way – getting the space to do it on the boat and/or dock, not getting paint on anything but the chain (impossible), and seeing it wear off pretty quickly throughout the year.

      I’ve always had a bridle for my boats with all chain or mostly chain rode. Most of them have had chain stoppers, but I hate putting that type of load on a single point on the boat, and one that is not flexible at all in waves or wind. The bridle is an essential piece of kit I always add early on if there isn’t one from the previous owner (hardly any boat has had one which surprises me).

      Reply
  249. Hi,
    Great article, thank you for all the info.

    Approximately how far off shore – or what distance from a cell tower – can one expect the Wilson antenna and WeBoost to work, assuming ideal conditions? I tried in vain to get this info from the Wilson website… Thanks

    Reply
  250. Thanks for the review. Did I understand it correctly that you connected V50 to a splitter? If so, can V50 still receive AIS messages when connected to the VHF output of the splitter?

    I have a similar setup and before purchasing a V50, I am trying to understand how/if V50 will work. I have a AIS transceiver that has an integrated splitter. It is connected to SeatalkNg/NMEA 2000 and the MFD received AIS information via SeatalkNg. I don’t have the option of having a separate VHF antenna, so wondering if V50 will be able to receive AIS messages when connected to the VHF output of the splitter. Alternatively it would be ok if V50 got the AIS data from NMEA 2000 but reading its manual, it doesn’t seem to support this.

    Reply
    • The splitter really only comes into play when you’re transmitting on two devices. For instance, if you have an AIS transponder, like you do, and a VHF radio connected to it, the splitter won’t allow the AIS transponder to send out data about your boat (broadcast your AIS location) if you are using the VHF radio to transmit.

      For the receive side, both the AIS transponder/spitter should allow multiple devices to “listen” to the AIS channels simultaneously – so the transponder can get data from vessels, and the V50 should be able to as well. However, I would check the model/manual of our AIS transponder/splitter to ensure the splitter works in that manner.

      Reply
  251. Steve could you explain why you needed a new RRU? Did you see if the 300 would accept input from what I’d guess was a standard 2 wire RRU?

    Reply
  252. I bought all the hardware from Germany. My boat is in Holland.

    I had a couple of challenges and have get to get it all working.

    The groove was not accessable via IP out of the box and I had to use winbox to get to ithe MAC address to configure it.

    Also all the Mikrotik routers have the same default IP and since you have the groove and the hap on the same network there is a conflict. I was able to get the IP for one router changed to avoid the conflict. I can now log onto the netgear modem, the groove or the hap admin consoles and have been able to configure them,as recommended, including getting the groove online at the marina wifi. The groove works fine on its own connected directly to,my laptop.

    What is not clear is how to get LAN Port 5 on the hAP reconfigured to be a WAN port and how to easily switch between the LTE and Wifi WANs without physically moving cables. I was working on the issue for a few hours and have yet to get it working. I can ping and get to the consoles of all three devices but cannot get any internet traffic through the groove via the LAN port. I have read that this can be done by updating the NAT but I have to figure out how to do that.
    Overall I would suggest that the articles stress the complexity of getting this working as I see others have had the same problem. I’m sure that a network engineer can get it working, but I am software engineer and am finding it very complex and may never get there Anyone going this route should,be aware of the time required to configure the hap and the possibility that they may never get it to work.

    Sorry to sound frustrated but there seems no way to do this without rolling up my sleeves and digging into the many config settings to try to trace the traffic.

    Tim

    Reply
  253. Steve – to echo others here, thank you for the invaluable information in this article, and on the site in general. I have read through the comments and could not find anything to address my question:

    We are effectively implementing the solution described above. But it’s part of a larger package which includes a KVH v7 HTS. These run on Intelsat and SKY Perfect JSAT Ku-band satellites. This will ensure we have coverage even when there is no Wi-Fi or LTE to be found. My concern is with interference.

    Our boat has a hard top, and my plan is to have a custom SS bracket made that will hold the satellite dome, and the LTE and Wi-Fi antennae, all in one neat installation. We’re using the Wilson for LTE and the MikroTik for Wi-Fi. My question is, if we have the antennae on the same mount as the satellite dome (spaced so there is maybe a 5 inch gap between each antenna and the dome on either side) will the LTE/Wi-Fi/Ku-band satellite communications all generate interference with one another?

    One thing to note: I am not going to enable least cost routing on the entire system. The Wi-Fi/LTE will implement LCR, but the KVH will be manually enabled/disabled as I want more control over the $$$. So the typical use case will not see LTE/Wi-Fi/Sat working at the same time. I guess that kind of answers the question but I am still worried about having all the signals coming into devices placed in such close proximity (but would like to retain that close proximity of possible for practical and aesthetic purposes).

    Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

    Reply
  254. Any thoughts on cutting the power wire for the power adapter that comes with the Groove PoE and hardwiring it directly into the boat DC @ 12v? The Groove says it can be powered via 10v-30v and the power adapter says it’s converting AC to 24v DC.. but before I cut it I wanted to see if anyone else had since I can’t get a replacement easily where I am.

    Reply
  255. Informative as always. We’ve been super happy with our Rocna 20. I tried those little plastic bits as well and they’re worthless. I’ll be breaking out the rustoleum this season. We made our own snubber/bridle (included a couple of pics) and has worked well for the past four years. I’m not particularly handy, so if I can do it…

    Thoughts on the swivel? We don’t have one and have never missed it. Seems like a single point of failure and I’m not clear what the benefits are.

    Reply
  256. I’m just running across this and am curious, do you feel safe with all of your data processing being on one server onboard?

    I’m fitting my boat for cruising in the Bahamas, Caribbean and then a short hop over to Australia and am currently configured with 4 RaspberryPIs doing different things in a way that if anything goes badly wrong, I can “swap in” a spare or even, in worst case, tear down the media server and use its parts to repair/replace a more important system.

    I like redundancy, and while I guess you could carry another NUC (or two), the fact that everything runs on one system freaks me out a bit.

    Thanks for the great writeup!

    Alan Clegg
    SV Loafers Glory

    Reply
  257. Steve, have you written more about the Electromaax system? I personally have the generation before the one they are selling now and have some strong views but wanted to get your take.

    Reply
    • I have not written more about Electromaxx for a couple of reasons. First, I sold Grace last year and have a completely different system on my new boat. Second, I had a moderate amount of difficulties with the system, and was able to correct almost all of them after a lot of back and forth with the manufacturer. There were still a couple of items that I was never able to resolve, and ended up having to work around in different ways. However, the system did provide more charging amperage than any other system I tested on Grace, albeit with some quirks.

      This whole area of alternator control is one that I am surprised has not had more innovation for smaller sailboat motors. There are some new products out, one that I am testing now, and some that are looking very interesting that could help.

      Always interested in hearing other folks opinions on a system as well!

      Reply
      • First, thank you for your extremely well put together articles. My office is right next to Peter Kennedy’s in Annapolis and I look forward to working with him on my LiFePO4 upgrade next year once my pockets have a bit more cash in them.

        With regards to Electromaax, I got on board with them about 5 years ago with the promise (as stated on their website and discussions with them) of an integrated system that would be able to be monitored via my onboard computer as well as over NMEA network. I had issues from the start including faulty temp sensors as well as a mis-wired alternator. I just learned that they are now in the BETA phase of a system that can be monitored through the onboard computer but not on NMEA network (5 years after them advertising it). I have had great technical help but had issues in other departments of the company. I love their ideas and motivation but I have found execution is well behind their vision. I also just went on their site and saw they are now advertising LiFePO4 batteries. I wish them well for they may now be producing a great product but based on my experience, I would never go with them again.

        Reply
  258. Great article. I am happy I stumbled upon it. And I now have your blog in my RSS feed so I don’t miss any of your future posts. Thanks.

    We are on a Tayana 37 and need to have access to the internet for work. This past season we volunteered on St. John with the Virgin Islands National Park. Multiple times a day, we climbed to the top of a mountain to pick up a signal from St. Thomas, fire up the cell hot-spot, and take care of some work (mainly email and up/down small files, no streaming). As another option, we could occasionally put the cell phone in a bag, hoist it up the mast, and get a slow signal. As we consider returning for another season at the park, we are looking for a solution that will give us internet access from the boat.

    In reading over your post and the comments, it seems like the weBoost Drive 4G-X and the Wilson Electronics 9.88-inch 4G Wide Band Omni-Directional Marine Antenna would be our best solution. Our spreaders are 25 feet off the deck (with at least another 15 foot run to where we could install the booster), which from your advice in the comments, sounds like too long of a run. Do you think rail mounting the antenna with a 10 to 20 foot run would provide enough of a gain for us to get internet under the conditions described in the previous paragraph?

    Thanks again for your great blog.

    Reply
  259. Very nice job, Steve!
    I’m just about to begin planning a rewire for my boat and having a similar debate with myself about CZone and traditional panels… distributed power seems the way forward… I have a necessary rewire to do and therefore the (debatable) luxury of starting from a blank canvas if I want…

    Reply
    • Thanks Sam!
      I would love to put a CZone system in my new boat, but the financial part still just doesn’t work out. I assume the only way to get one reasonably is to buy a newer boat with one already installed, which in and of itself is probably pretty expensive too!!!

      Reply
  260. Steve, great article and the research. Thank you ! I am sailing currently in the UK and planning to unstep my mast to do some rigging on my boat. I already have setup pepwave max br1 mk2 with LTEA-W modem and Wave Rogue Pro DB. I am planning to use Google FI while sailing Europe and hopefully in S. Americas after we cross. I have an opportunity now to install new antennas on my mast while the rigging being replaced. I already got just ONE Wilson 4G Wide Band antenna based on your research and I wonder if you would recommend two antennas. Second, question is about the placement and the length of the cable. My mast is 65 feet and I was originally thinking just installing just one Wilson antenna on my first spreaders. Is there a significant advantage to move to the top of the mast? What about the cable length and the gain? Would you install two antennas on the same height or spread them? What else would you advise doing while my mast is worked on?

    Thank you for your help!
    Sergei

    Reply
    • Hi Sergei,

      Two antennas help with diversity, which I know I’ve commented on before on this page or another. You can read more about general diversity at https://en.wikipedia.org/wi…, but specifically for LTE connections and the gear you’re using, it provides higher throughput, typically on upload, and doesn’t really play a role in overall signal strength in remote locations, etc. So depending on your goals, you could add a second antenna.

      Are you using an amplifier of any kind between the outdoor antenna and the Pepwave? If not, then running a cable more than 15-20 feet is not going to result in much of a benefit. 65 feet will be really bad as the overall length of that cable will almost assuredly negate any gains from the antenna, especially if the cable goes by other interference items such as power cables, etc.

      I would never run an LTE antenna cable more than 30′ total or you will be on the edge of negating any gain from an external antenna. At that point, it would likely be better to use the included antennas on the Peplink. If you’re using an amplifier, it might still make sense, but 65′ is quite long and you will likely have only a moderate increase in performance. Placing it on the top of the mast will make it even worse.

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  261. This worked perfectly during my Desolation Sound trip – the piano stayed securely stored through some big waves and wakes, and the 600 mile trip didn’t cause any vibration or other issues. I enjoyed playing the piano several times on the trip, even outside at one point!

    Reply
  262. Hi Steve – so, no more Netgear LB1120? I think thats what you recommended in your last article….
    I’m not sure from your diagram how the LTE signal gets from the antenna to
    the router – the Peplink supports 2 Sim cards, but there’s no hard-wired
    connection to the antenna or booster?

    Reply
    • Hi Grant,
      The Peplink router is the one I always recommend for those who have the budget. The LB1120 + MikroTik hAP is the more cost effective way to do something similar, but without many of the features that the Peplink has. It also requires a lot more know-how to get the MikroTik+Netgear working and configured, where the Peplink is pretty plug and play. I still recommend that one too for those who would like that route/feature set/budget.

      I have found that the best way to use a weBoost amplifier is to have the inside antenna as close as possible to the factory Peplink antennas. These amplifiers are not meant to be wired directly into a router, and will damage things if connected that way. weBoost sells an in-line amplifier, but there are significant disadvantages to using that setup, which I covered in https://seabits.com/best-lte-antenna-booster-boat/

      Having the weBoost inside antenna also gives you a second benefit of being able to use a cell phone nearby and have it boosted.

      Reply
      • OK Thanks Steve – so, when you say the Peplink is pretty plug and play – does that include configuring auto fall-over from LTE to WiFi or vice versa? I gave up trying to understand how to programs scripts for my Mikrotik router and now just manually swap Ethernet cables from my Wifi source and LTE source into the WAN connector… it works, but hardly something I would brag about…

        Reply
  263. Another great article. This time, though, I fear it’s going to cost me a ton of $$$ as I plan to upgrade what I’ve got to something just like this. My only gripe remains with the Groove. They have a great new iOS app but, for the life of me, I can’t figure out how to use it to select remote APs. And their web-based UI is ok, but still not very user friendly.

    Reply
  264. went thru a remarkably similar process, even had to modify the “keeper loop” on top of bow roller to accomodate my larger (manson supreme) .
    one point to note – your bridle lengths give you very minimal snubber effect – perfect for bridle to distribute load to the two cleats, but not a lot of line for “stretching”.
    I made a couple of different length/rope dia snubbers – that can be selectively used for different wind/wave combos to smoooooth out things. (my anchoring is always shallow water with constrained swing area. .. no luxury of 100sft of anchor rode 🙂

    Reply
  265. hi steve, just found your blog and read with interest your list of completed and “to do” list, and was shocked at our similarity in many ways!
    (i have a 52′ sunseeker manhattan flybridge motor cruiser … going thru all the same upgrades & enhancements)
    i used your recomendations on mikrotik groove and Hap AC – for my wifi system thats under installation as I write.
    I havent gone as far to write about it all .. just yet – but your site provides some motivation.
    congrats on the great write ups, very informative site and recomendations…. im sure I will be seeking your help/ input soon!
    (my next project is install signalK and sensors etc)
    On of my important projects – just completing now, was to get power monitoring around critical areas, i found some modest priced DC power monitoring
    equipment on ebay – that features “non invasive” thru hole current sensors (yes for DC!)
    These have a 3 part design – thru hole sensor on a cable (extendable) / monitoring circuit inc RF Txr / display unit inc RF Rxr.
    Ive tested one extensively – and its quite accurate (voltage and current)
    I now have power monitoring on House (24V) bank, Generator/House (12V ) bank, 24 to 12V charger (when underway) & Engine 24V x 2 “split charge” system (“each alternator charging house battery” – which is a proxy for “alternator working ok”
    the thru hole transducers have around 20mm hole – so possible to fit to most cables .. in one case i had a new cable made and fitted lugs after installing transducer on cable.
    the units work great (5 in total) – downside is that its not an open interface – so not able to get the data into N2K or signalK .. without some
    serious programming skills .. beyond mine. the range between remote (dedicated) display (flybridge) and engine room Txr … is ok, but needs care .
    let me know if you are interested in the details and i can send further.
    best
    greg

    Reply
  266. You need to add a real-world-testing appendix. How did all this work out on the recent cruise? Seems to me we were running about 50% connectivity at anchor up in Desolation with just our phones. A few places like Von Donop we would have to go for a dingy ride to get a connection. When repositioning that number went up to around 80%.

    Reply
  267. Steve thanks for this great guide. I have been using the Mikrotik groove for a couple weeks now at various marinas and anchorages and it’s working great alongside our internal router (TP-Link). I have just arrived at a new Marina and for some reason the groove is not getting any IP address (my laptop and other devices can logon to the marina just fine) – any pointers in figuring out why? (They have a ubiquity set-up)

    Reply
  268. Hi Steve, I just came across this article. Thanks for sharing. Great info about this stuff is hard to come by. Are you still using T-mobile out on the water? Do you put a T-mobile One sim card in your peplink router? I have a pepwave router and I put a T-Mobile sim in with a data only plan that has a cap on LTE. I understood that the normal “phone” plans wouldn’t work in the router. But it looks like maybe that’s what you’re doing so maybe it does work after all!

    Reply
  269. Great article! You spend a lot of time in this article and prior articles talking about antennas. I think the antenna quality and placement are more critical for WiFi (and cell) than the actual boat-side station type.

    I have both a Microtik Groove 52AC and a Bullet2 onboard. The Bullet2 is wired through LMR400 cable to our second spreader (maybe about 40 feet?). My Groove has the antenna directly attached and is located on the top of our bimini. I also changed out the cheap antenna on the Groove with a 9db Wifi2b9 2.4/5.8 antenna (http://www.scan-antenna.com/product/wifi2b9) (these are available from a distributor – http://aepsales.com/ – on the east coast for < $100 - I have no relation to them - make sure to get the right mounting brackets too as these have a euro style mount). I always get a much better connection on the Groove (comparing 2.4 vs. 2.4), most likely for two reasons. First, the antenna for the Bullet2 has the LMR400 cable. While this is great cable, it has signal loss vs. being directly connected. Even with a better antenna, it will still not perform as well as a unit with a directly connected antenna. Second, the placement. Because the vertical beam width of the antenna is not as wide as the horizontal beam, the closer I am to the shore station the more likely it is to be on the fringe of my beam since my antenna is on the second spreader. This causes degradation. In addition, at times the mast gets between the antenna and the shore station, effectively blocking the signal. I originally thought that placing it high up would help (and it probably would in specific situations - on the hook, boat station directly connected to the antenna, mast not between the shore station and the boat station, etc.) but it did not. That's why, when I added, the Groove, I took lessons learned and used a direct antenna connection and also placed it in a spot that had nothing between it and a shore station. I can also say that signal strength increased a measurable amount when I replaced the stock antenna on the Groove with the Scan antenna. And I have to say that - as you say too- the Groove is definitely more complex to configure, but with the added 5.8GHz radio + the WiFi options you can usually get access to more WiFi units (including older units the Bullet no longer supports for security reasons) with better/faster connection rates and bandwidth. I also have the WeBoost DriveX unit with a Wilson antenna and LMR400 out to my bimini top. Love it. Sad to see they have a new unit as the wife won't let me spend more money on this until we spend money on other things first lol.

    Reply
    • These are all great points, but I think the most important one is the one you also highlight a bunch – antenna location and distance. I try to highlight this in some of my other posts, but perhaps this warrants a dedicated article just discussing the pros and cons. Many people assume the higher the better with antennas both for WiFi and LTE, and I think this mentality comes from having heard this for line-of-sight things like VHF radios.

      While having a WiFi antenna higher up the mast might help if you’re trying to reach a remote station, I don’t think that people do that as much anymore. It used to be 10 years ago that everyone who had internet while afloat, who wasn’t a rich mega yacht owner and had a satellite, got it via finding a WiFi source on shore, usually an open network (because so many people had those and didn’t mind!) and definitely 2.4Ghz. There were whole swaths of products including many based on the Bullet series from Ubiquiti that advocated height to get the remote signals. I’m sure it helped a bit, but you pointed out a big flaw on a sailboat which I’ve seen many times – mounting the antenna somewhere up the mast where at one point, when the boat rotates, the antenna is blocked by the mast.

      Amplifiers and cables are all good things to consider, but to your overall point – the location and quality of the antenna is critical. Ensuring you have a good one for WiFi and LTE, have picked an appropriate location not too far away, and use quality cabling will all result in a good signal.

      As for the specific antenna you have paired with the Groove – I am using the Altelix available here https://amzn.to/2MLCKXm which has vastly improved the performance over the stock one, and it is dual band as well.

      Reply
  270. Steve – Nice new name for the site! Went back to read this and this seems like one of those boat projects that has relatively small cost and risk but delivers big, noticeable results. So that I understand things properly I thought I’d ask a simple question. Specifically, if I wanted to run some strip LED lighting I’d pickup a controller (Mini RGBW LED Controller) and select some strip lights, wire them directly into 12V and go – correct? What’s the best way to mount the light strips to the underside of counters and hidden ceiling areas? Do you recommend the “tape” strips? And, do I just find my 12V wires and connect, or should I home-run to my panel and have it sit behind a fuse?

    Reply
    • Thanks!

      I agree on the impact of this sort of project – it is one of the reasons that in my homes and boats and everywhere else, I usually address lighting very early in the ownership process. I am very, very particular about lighting things appropriately, usually indirectly, and the quality and controllability of the light.

      If you get a good controller, they will take varying DC input voltages and ensure that a consistent voltage (usually 12V) is sent to the LED strip. Without this, you may experience flickering or inconsistencies in other ways depending on the controller.

      Most LED strips come with adhesive on the back that you can remove so you can install them pretty much anywhere. That’s how I installed all of mine throughout the boat.

      Depending on the controller and where the light is, you may want to add an in-line fuse close to the controller. Most of my lights already have switches and fuses so I didn’t need to add any except in the galley.

      Reply
  271. Great article. I am curious what is available in satellite communications as we are not always within range of an LTE ground station.

    Reply
  272. Another great project write-up: thanks Steve. I had not heard of the Wakespeed regulators before but have read up on them now. Looking forward to your dedicated write-up about these. I have Balmar MC614 regs with a CenterFielder II, putting the charge from my two different alts to my House bank. The Wakespeed looks like an attractive option if one of these three components fails. In place of dedicated Start batteries, I have a ‘cranking bank’, comprising a pair of Optima Spiral Wound AGMs. This bank starts the propulsion engines and runs the windlass, davit and bow thruster. I have a single identical Optima for the genset Start….though I often combine this to make a 3-Optima cranking bank. The cranking bank and genset Start are charged by 2 x Balmar DuoChargers: not as good as your Sterling solution, but OK.

    I was also interested to see you chose to stay with the Victron battery monitors. I am a Victron fan and like the ColorControl GX and their remote portal, but were you tempted to also bring in the Balmar SG200 gauge, which seems to have more smarts??

    Reply
  273. Steve: I also took a look at your Victron Remote monitoring page. What is the load that is switching on regularly (every 3 hours?) that creates that uptick?

    Reply
  274. Hi Steve-your comprehensive write up on your electrical upgrades was a good read and review. It was interesting to read your issues with the Pronautic charger as I had replaced my factory installed Cristec charger last year (after it stayed in boost mode for over extended period frying multiple batteries) with a new Pronautic. I have new wet cell deep cycles and This past summer I have been plagued with the Pronautic going into and staying in a high charge(14.6-14.8 v) for extended periods. A reset of the AC to the charger puts the unit back in float mode but it is disappointing a less than 1 year old item is not functioning properly. rgs. RC

    Reply
    • Sorry you’re having problems with your charger! Just to be clear, my problematic charger was a ProMariner system that was 10-20 years old. It had issues with overcharging that were apparently something that happened to it as it got old, as others have documented.

      I had a ProNautic charger that I used to replace it, and never had any issues with it. In fact, I’ve used ProNautic chargers in the last 3 boats I’ve owned, and in other installs without any issues, and consider them to be one of the best chargers on the market. I would definitely contact the manufacturer or store you purchased it from as they have a great warranty and customer support.

      Reply
  275. Hi Steve – Very interesting article, and some interesting hardware that I don’t see much about from other sources. So many questions!

    1) Your genset – is it 8kw or 9kw? The original listing data on your Rendezvous webpage shows it as 8kw. Either way, I’m curious, as you say the boat has only a single, 30A shore connection. Typically that configuration would be sized with a much smaller genset, as even an 8kw unit outputs 66A of AC current – which is pretty hard to take advantage of through a single, 30A AC Main breaker. Have you thought about this?

    2) Also concerning the genset – you have obviously gone to great lengths to design a system that provides accurate charging profiles for all banks, without “odd voltages or other badness that you would see with less accurate regulators, automatic charging relays” or different sources “fighting each other”. I applaud you for that, and I share that goal, as I see a lot of systems where those issues are ignored. But did you forget about the genset’s built-in DC charging? In your case with the Onan, I believe its an alternator with an external, fixed-voltage regulator – and any time the gensets running, it’s trying to re-charge it’s connected battery with some amount of DC charging current. So that’s “fighting” whatever the Sterling DC-DC charger is doing, isn’t it? I’ve thought about this before, and the obvious workaround seems to be to disable the generators alternator output – probably as simple as removing a fuse – but you don’t mention that in your write up…

    3) Costs – most of your articles are pretty good at considering the cost/benefit – but I don’t see anything here. Am I correct in assuming yoru batteries alone were close to $7,000 including tax and shipping?? That’s some serious coin, at least for some of us.. I get the unique advantages of LiFePO4 technologies, but I’m not sure many of us will be alive long enough to take advantage of 5,000 cycles, etc…

    Reply
  276. Hello Steve
    I have read and re-read your various articles on the PepMax and Wifi-4G bought all through your links…. I have exact configuration you have outlined above Pepwave MAX BR1 MK2
    The question I have is I am installing the antenna’s on a new arch/Davits on my sailboat 41 ft Beneteau. The cables provided for the Wilson Antenna and the MikroTek are about 20 ft. I bought replacement high end cables of 35ft RG58 for the Wilson and a CAT 6 High end for the MIkroTek to go from the arch to the middle of the boat. Should I be concerned about that kind of length (no connections, straight cable on both ends)

    Lastly the MikroTek is mounted higher and the Wilson lower and they are about 1ft apart? Any concern or should I move one on the port side further away, however I have a D400 wind generator there. If I do move one on the other side it would have to be the Wilson as it does not have the special custom mount

    Great articles

    Guy

    Reply
  277. Hi Steve, great write up – I was going to buy a Ubiquity Bullet (I think they are single band though?) but this inspired me to try the MikroTik. Disclaimer: I am very, very much a novice at networking!!

    I have a Mikrotik RB Groove GA-52HPacn order from Amazon.com here (btw – I thought I was ordering an international version but this one is locked to “united states3” with no other options available: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01HY2HYGO/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I had some extra challenges just getting started and thought others might benefit. I was completely unable to login via a direct cable ethernet connection from my MacBook on the default 192.168.88.1.

    The first clue could be seen in the Mac System Preferences where a notice is given “Thunderbolt Ethernet has a self-assigned IP address and will not be able to connect to the internet”. The IP address listed is in the 169.254.xx.xx range. I’m sure networking experts would realize the issue right away – but I was baffled. I tried every method I could think of try and gain browser access with no luck and for the record the supplied paper instruction do state: “The default IP address from Ether1 is 192.168.88.1 for configuration Username is admin and there is no password”. I could see the MikroTik as a wireless transmitter but could not log into that either (looking back I’m wondering if I was doing something wrong with the wireless method of access and maybe I could have gained accessed it this way).

    Sooo…. I thought maybe my Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter causing a problem and I borrowed a PC and ended up with the same issue. I tried couple different ethernet cables, also again with no luck. After many, many reboots and resets of the router I finally caved in and downloaded the WinBox configuration utility onto a PC (although it looks like I could have do so on the MacBook as well… https://wiki.mikrotik.com/wiki/Manual:Winbox ).

    I was immediately rewarded with a connection to the router via the MAC address. I switched the settings to CPE and Router (vice Bridge) and rebooted and I was now up and running, able to connect via the web based GUI over an ethernet cable connected any computer and simply followed your very clear instructions.

    Had I taken the time to investigate I would have found that my Router came configures as a “WISP Bridge” https://wiki.mikrotik.com/wiki/Manual:Default_Configurations

    A very helpful link was:
    https://wiki.mikrotik.com/wiki/Manual:First_time_startup

    Finally a note on the Canadian version instructions that I downloaded it says:
    “In case IP connection is not available, the Winbox tool (http://mt.lv/winbox) can be used to connect to the MAC address of the device from the LAN side (all access is blocked from the internet port by default).”

    Basically it’s been a fun couple of days getting everything hooked up… a Ubiquity EdgeRouter now supplies POE to the MikroTik for WAN access and POE to a Ubiquity AirCube for LAN access and my YachtDevices YDWG-02 supplies NMEA data wirelessly back to the LAN for everything else to use. I have not tried to run all of this off a 12 volt system yet but if the EdgeRouter and AirCube will function on 12 volts it would be great.

    Thanks again for the excellent writeup.

    Cheers,
    Aaron

    Reply
  278. Hi Steve. What was your specific solution to the wired handset instead of the wireless remote? I’m trying to setup the exact same thing on my monohull, but am concerned about getting the wired remote handset/mic/speaker with no display. I would think that not knowing the channel you are speaking on could be an issue, especially if your radio is on scan, someone calls but you don’t reply in time which results on scanning continuing and replying on an incorrect channel? Would love to hear your thoughts. I plan on upgrading in the coming 2 weeks before several thousand mile sails. Cheers

    Reply
  279. Hey Steve, thanks for all the effort you’ve put into helping your fellow mariners out with on board networking! I just received my Groove. ?? The tiny instruction manual indicated it would broadcast a WiFi signal I could connect to for initial setup but I don’t see one coming from it. Your instructions are to plug the Ethernet cable straight into the computer, and I run a MacBook Air that doesn’t have an Ethernet port. Do you think I could access the Groove via its IP if I used an Ethernet to USB adapter? Also, once I complete initial setup and have the groove connected to my WiFi router, an you make adjustments to the settings and select the WiFi signals you want without having to unplug it from the router and hardwiring it directly into your computer?

    Thanks again!

    Peter
    M/V Fathom
    SeaRay 440 Aft Cabin

    Reply
  280. Steve, some more help would be appreciated!

    I am finally able to test the MikroTik side of things, and immediately ran into an issue. I am following the steps in this article, but cannot ping the MikroTik nor get the setup screen to load. My laptop is plugged into the data side of the POE injector, and I have a brand new cable (tested with 2 different ones) running from the POE+data side of the injector to the MikroTik.

    I have factory reset the MikroTik as described, but this is my observation.

    While holding the reset button, and upon plugging in the cable, the top light is solid. I keep holding the button in until the bottom LED starts flashing. I then release the reset button. What happens next is it beeps, and the bottom light goes out. After around 30 seconds it beeps again, and no lights are on.

    This does not sound right to me in relation to the article?

    Also, I am unable to ping the device, I either receive no response or I receive:

    Pinging 192.168.88.1 with 32 bytes of data:
    Reply from 192.168.50.18: Destination host unreachable.
    Reply from 192.168.50.18: Destination host unreachable.
    Reply from 192.168.50.18: Destination host unreachable.
    Reply from 192.168.50.18: Destination host unreachable.

    Ping statistics for 192.168.88.1:
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),

    I am disconnected from wireless during this process.

    Any thoughts?

    Reply
  281. Thanks for another great article. Being retired has allowed us to spend, not just a week or two, but months cruising the pnw. But spending so much time on boat has made mobile connectivity more important. The weBoost looks like a good solution. Question (I haven’t seen covered well) regarding the coverage to expect from the internal antenna… can I get bow to stern coverage on a 40 sailboat? What about if the internal antenna were located in an aft lazarette? And, Any placement/orientation advice based on your experience would be appreciated. Thanks in advance! -mic

    Reply
    • Great question! You will definitely not get bow to stern coverage from the internal antenna. In fact, most boosters only have a small area where the internal antenna will provide any benefit. This is mainly due to the design, where a feedback loop would exist if the internal antenna were too strong, and conflicted with the signal level from the nearby tower.

      The standard weBoost internal antennas will only provide coverage in a small area, depending on the location and placement. Their desk antenna for instance will provide good signal around 5-10′ in a mostly circular pattern. The candy bar one I use is much smaller in terms of the signal, but more directed. It is meant to be mounted directly behind a phone that is mounted in a car.

      There are are some internal antennas that will broadcast the signal more widely, but they are meant for houses or buildings, and I am not sure they would work with the standard mobile booster.

      Reply
  282. Steve,

    I have read several of your articles with great interest. I am looking at ways to get better cell connections at the channel islands (about 25 miles off the shore of Southern California. I am trying to understand your Pepwave system. With the SIM card install, does this mean you need an additional cell service subscription for the Pepwave and the one for your cell phone?

    Reply
  283. Hi Steve,

    Looks like that NETGEAR 4G LTE Modem (LB1120) supports only US LTE bands (2, 4, 5, 12). So how to use it in Caribbean, where all countries supports different LTE bands (3, 13, 17, 20, 30, etc)?

    So for the Caribbean installations may be better use iPhone tethered directly to the router and use multi-SIMM adapters with local SIMM and GigSky or GoogleFI simm?

    Reply
  284. Hi Steve, I just came across this article. Thanks for sharing. Great info about this stuff is hard to come by. Are you still using T-mobile out on the water? Do you put a T-mobile One sim card in your peplink router? I have a pepwave router and I put a T-Mobile sim in with a data only plan that has a cap on LTE. I understood that the normal “phone” plans wouldn’t work in the router. But it looks like maybe that’s what you’re doing so maybe it does work after all!

    Reply
  285. Two questions:

    1. Because LTE modems such as Peplink make provision for two antenna inputs, would two exterior Wilson antenna function better than one?

    2. Peplink has a version of the MAX BR1 called the MAX BR1 Pro, which differs from the MAX BR1 Mk2 and the MAX transit in having much more powerful transmit power for on-board WiFi than either of the other two. Would that make a difference, and perhaps eliminate the need for additional access points?

    Reply
  286. Hi Steve,

    Looks like that NETGEAR 4G LTE Modem (LB1120) supports only US LTE bands (2, 4, 5, 12). So how to use it in Caribbean, where all countries supports different LTE bands (3, 13, 17, 20, 30, etc)?

    So for the Caribbean installations may be better use iPhone tethered directly to the router and use multi-SIMM adapters with local SIMM and GigSky or GoogleFI simm?

    Reply
  287. Hello Steve
    I have read and re-read your various articles on the PepMax and Wifi-4G bought all through your links…. I have exact configuration you have outlined above Pepwave MAX BR1 MK2
    The question I have is I am installing the antenna’s on a new arch/Davits on my sailboat 41 ft Beneteau. The cables provided for the Wilson Antenna and the MikroTek are about 20 ft. I bought replacement high end cables of 35ft RG58 for the Wilson and a CAT 6 High end for the MIkroTek to go from the arch to the middle of the boat. Should I be concerned about that kind of length (no connections, straight cable on both ends)

    Lastly the MikroTek is mounted higher and the Wilson lower and they are about 1ft apart? Any concern or should I move one on the port side further away, however I have a D400 wind generator there. If I do move one on the other side it would have to be the Wilson as it does not have the special custom mount

    Great articles

    Guy

    Reply
  288. On the negative side of this diagram, are your starter batteries tied into the same negative as your house? I’m trying to implement something very similar to this, but I get very divergent suggestions on isolating the battery banks and having them on the same system. I like the idea of DC-DC charger which sort of treats them as a subsystem. Just wondering if they are combinable.

    Separately, but related, where do you wire your windlass into?

    Reply
  289. Great job on this write up Steve! Can you tell us more on the battery wire crimping? What tool do you use? I remember you used to order them online?

    Reply
  290. Great articles! I’m considering switching my house bank to lithium. I have a 190 amp alternator and the original 90 amp alternator on my single Perkins diesel. Would it be beneficial enough to have those two just charging the house bank in a similar way to how you have done it, or would it be simpler to have one charge the house and the other charge the start?

    Reply
  291. My new goal in life is to get through more than 50% of one of these posts before I get lost. I think I am hovering around 49% right now 🙂

    I have to say I now really want one of those Maretron meters, even though I might never need it. A tool that will do realtime analysis and you can just keep plugged in to catch intermittent issues…oh the times that would have been a godsend…

    Great post as always

    Reply
  292. Thank you for an interesting article. Quite timely as I am about to buy a Peplink Transit and am considering antennas.

    Why did you decide to try the Omni-400 vs the Omni-291-V2? Can you speculate as to Whether there would be significant differences to your test results between the two?

    When testing the Omni-400 was it with a single antenna to the main port with the aux left unattached? Under what circumstances do you think adding an additional 400 or your existing Wilson to the aux port would have made a difference to speed and range?

    Thanks, Neziak

    Reply
  293. Is the reason for using the external Groove va the built-in radio of the Peplink purely to have better antenna placement or is there another reason?

    Reply
    • I think you’re asking how you can interface Victron N2K data within SignalK? By default, any N2K data will show up in SignalK if you have it configured with an N2K interface. You’ll see all of the various messages there that are on the NMEA 2000 network.

      However, if you do not have the NMEA 2000 cable for the GX product, you can use a plugin by Scott Bender to pull the information over the Ethernet/WiFi network directly from the GX product: https://github.com/sbender9/signalk-venus-plugin

      I used this plugin for several years before the NMEA 2000 support came out. It pulls a ton more data from the GX product than NMEA 2000 does, but it is only visible in SignalK unless you use another plugin to send it out to other networks, which can get more complicated.

      Reply
  294. Hello, Great article, thanks. We are just installing our Furuno FM 4800 VHF and are not getting any power. We were hoping to test before soldering. Did you have to solder first to get power? Thank you.

    Reply
  295. Excess electronics heat always means power consumption. What’s the real-world standby and in-use power draw of this setup? Especially considering that the power-supply appears to have no printed specs.

    Reply
    • Good question. I didn’t end up testing how much it consumed since it was integrated into a rather large panel of internet stuff. Doing some basic math though, in the worst case scenario:

      5V * 4.5 amps = 22.5 watts
      Assume 90% conversion efficiency – 22.5 watts / 90% = 25 watts

      So at 12V DC, that would be 25 watts / 12 V = 2.08 amps

      That assumes it is using the entire capacity of the power supply, and that there is a 90% conversion efficiency which could be high. I would hope it wouldn’t be running the power supply flat out all the time. 2 amps for the amplifier itself seems like a lot, but I suppose that’s the price to pay for grabbing a really remote signal.

      Also, my math skills are about as good as my carpentry skills, YMMV.

      Reply
  296. Hello Steve, what is the advantage of the Venus GX compared to a setup with a VE-Direct to NMEA2000 converter and a VE-Bus to NMEA2000 converter? Is there now more data available on the NMEA2000 which one can display? I have a set-up with a VE-Direct and VE-Bus converter on my motoryacht Xanthiona and am considering the Venus GX, but do not see yet how it would benefit. I use SeaSmart ethernet module to publish the NMEA2000 data for the purpose of remote monitoring to the HelmSmart cloud service. One thing the service does not distinguish between is the shore power and the output power. See also: http://www.xanthiona.com

    Reply
    • You likely see the same (or more) data on your NMEA 2000 network that you would with a Venus GX. So you probably wouldn’t see any more data on your NMEA 2000 network, although it sounds like you don’t see both sides of the AC stuff which you would with the new firmware. The few advantages I can think of are as follows:

      First, Victron has said they are deprecating the interfaces you’re using, so there could be new PGNs or firmware updates to products that those interfaces no longer support.

      Second, as you cover in your post on your site, is the integration with Victron’s VRM portal that the Venus GX has. This would allow you to control and monitor the electrical system via their portal/apps instead of SeaSmart. I’ve demoed SeaSmart before, and I think you would have more control in general over your Victron components with the VRM than SeaSmart.

      Third would be the additional AC data.

      Reply
  297. My potential setup is very similar. but in addition I have a AGM battery for my thrusters. How much charging output can those Sterling DC to DC chargers output?
    I want to recharge that thruster quickly after use. Generally they dont recommend putting the thursters on the same house battery setup as the voltage drop off on use can damage or turn off other electronics like the chart plotter – otherwise I could bin the thruster battery and just build a bigger house lithium setup. perhaps this is a non issue with a decent lithium? – it would certainly simplify my boat setup: 3 house battle borns + 1 AGM start with the Sterling charger.

    Reply
  298. One advantage a Venus has, besides the integration, is the digital inputs and the free VRM website. I connected my bilge pumps to the digital inputs and now get an alert if they come on, even if I am on the other side of the ocean. Just as I get an alert when the door opens. It pretty much replaced an remote alarm system I was paying $49/mo for on the boat. So within a year the Venus was paid for and saving $
    The other fun thing I did with the Venus is ……turn the heating on, before I arrive, so no need to hang out in the local bar waiting for the boat to heat up.

    Reply
  299. Thanks for another great write up. I first became aware of Wakespeed back when it was first mentioned in the marine electronics press. Then, by coincidence, I met Al at a rendezvous last Sept and had a chance to talk to him in depth about what they were working on. I was really impressed. Since I hope to revamp my main electrical system in the near future your write-up has given me the detail and the confidence to put the WS-500 at the top the list for a regulator solution.
    Keep up the great work!

    Reply
  300. Good info. I don’t think I would buy a single screw motorboat, but those fuel numbers were not bad. Sailboat vs powerboat think I would go power as well at the age I will be when I can cast the lines. But I love catamarans and work on boats for a living. A Lagoon 440 with twin 30 HP Yanmars, I get 6.5 knots at a gallon an hour, both engines. Get some sail up, thats nine knots. Seen 12 knots all day (rare) just sailing. The mainsail is sick expensive, so is the boat, and the docking. So we charter for now.

    Reply
  301. I noted your practice of running the genset while underway to add to your total charging current. I suppose that works as well as it does because of Lithium’ s very high charge acceptance rate. I have both my engine alternators’ output directed to the House bank via MC614 regs and a Centerfielder II and see around 145A in bulk acceptance. Running the genset powering a Victron inverter charger (nominally 120A but derated to 93A) the total charge acceptance only increases to about 185A. I suppose that reflects the limited acceptance rate of my flooded golf cart batteries (bank capacity of 940Ah)….or is it more likely to be charge “confusion” between the two charge sources (ie alts and a/c charger)?

    Reply
  302. Great article, Steve.
    I’m curious though, about their reference to “CanBus” networks and connectors. Normally I associate that with NMEA2000, but the connectors are in fact RJ45, or what most of us think of as Ethernet, and the network protocol apparently is J1939. You know way more about this than I, so perhaps this doesn’t seem confusing to you, but I think when you mention CanBus in the recreational marine world, most folks think NMEA2000, no?
    They also do not appear to have weatherproof connectors for the cables and terminators, although the fittings are threaded to accept them. This would give me a little pause in the engine room environment, I think…

    Reply
    • Hi Grant,

      Good questions.

      CAN bus (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAN_bus) is what NMEA 2000 is based off of. J1939 is also based on CAN bus and primarily used in trucks and busses for engine communications. I know that the guys at Wakespeed are a bit more open-source-minded when it comes to the protocols they use, and have tried to develop their product with that in mind.

      Keeping that in mind, in order to have a true NMEA 2000 certified device, you have to go through a lot of hoops both financially and legally. I know that having a true NMEA 2000 certified port on the WS-500 is something many people (including me!) would like to see, and I did pass that along to them in my testing. I’ll leave it to them to provide any details on whether they are working on one.

      I believe they chose the Ethernet port form factor to allow for a number of different options when it comes to interfacing. That gives them the flexibility to use it for CAN now, but also specific customized CAN versions or other similar protocols for BMS’es. That is an area they highlight in their marketing materials, and I would assume are pursuing with specific vendors and such.

      Since the Ethernet cables are standard, you could get a weatherproof screw on one. I didn’t ask if they sell them, but I bet they do or have a way to source them.

      Reply
  303. Ok Steve, thanks – I’m aware of the certification costs for NMEA2000, I was just thinking the could have used the NMEA 2000 physical connectors on their CanBus device, much like other vendors have done, which would have been a lot more robust in the marine environment. But perhaps the 5-pin structure is insufficient for their design….

    Reply
  304. Coincidentally, I was just looking at the Actisense website and noticed that they sell a weatherproof Ethernet connector, p/n RJ45-FFC.
    https://www.actisense.com/products/rj45-ffc/

    I’m sure you could get this OTS part from many vendors such as Mouser or Newark.

    Looking at the Wakespeed Communications Guide
    http://www.wakespeed.com/Wakespeed%20%20Communications%20and%20Configuration%20Guide%20v2.0.2.pdf

    I see that you can put the CAN bus into a NMEA2000 comm mode. Although they recommend a CAN/NMEA2000 bridge to be on the safe side. That would be an interesting project for a rainy day.

    Reply
  305. Bin wirklich froh, auf diese Seite gestoßen zu sein.
    Habe Stunden im Internet verbracht und wurde nicht viel schlauer.
    Nun habe ich aber auf der Boot Düsseldorf den Neptulink gesehen und würde gerne deine Meinung dazu erfahren.
    Herzlichen Dank
    Kurt Imhof

    Reply
  306. Hi Steve,
    Great article as always. Just wondering why the Peplink Balance models weren’t considered?
    The Balance 20 with the Netgear or the Balance 30 with integrated dual SIM LTE.

    Have done a bit of research and seem a cheaper option that (I think) fulfils the intention of this system setup…?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  307. Here was what I was thinking for a robust onboard LTE system. Two LTE devices, one on AT&T and one on Verizon. These devices would have an RJ45 output for the wifi router. I picked AT&T and Verizon because one automatically roams to Rogers, and the other roams to Telus. The Netgear 1120 appears to be available for these carriers, is not very expensive, and can be powered over the ethernet avoiding unnecessary wall plugs.

    I was going to use prepaid sim cards for both, with both modems active. Each would have a remote antenna . There is equipment available to bond the two LTE data paths together, but this is expensive, and because this approach creates a vpn with tunnels there are limitations on where this can be used. For instance Netflix doesn’t like a vpn service.

    I liked this approach because I wouldn’t have to change sim cards, could refill the sim card online, and only really use the system when the boat is active.

    To be honest, I haven’t had the opportunity to test this, but I think it would work really well, especially using the remote antennas you have tested and recommended.

    Reply
  308. Hi,
    I really liked your article, I’ve found it really helpful for the project I am on! 🙂 I would like to build also a server on my boat and I was thinking about Intel NUC. Do you think would it be possible to run both Windows and unix (Ubuntu Linux) using a Oracle VM Virtual Box?

    Reply
  309. As I’m following your footsteps. I tripped on connecting the MikroTik through a Pepwave Max mini 1 (Cat 6).

    The Groove is up and running as per your instructions. The Pepwave Max Mini is also up and running (at the moment with 1 sim).

    I plugged in the Groove’s LAN/WAN into the MAX Mini’s LAN/WAN PoE IN and I’m trying to see if anything is happening in the PEPLINK remote web interface

    Yet I’m not sure how to add the Groove as the WiFi router?

    p.s. FYI: In your connecting the MikroTik page, I found that I had to disconnect from what ever the Groove was used for WiFi testing. After I disconnected the WiFi connection. The Groove found all kinds of other WiFi signals.

    I have also mentioned you (system designer) in my recent YouTube VLog: https://youtu.be/fadrdJd5Wok (hope you don’t mind?)

    Reply
  310. I just got the peplink br1 for my van and it is permanently parked at my work. I get weak to no wifi signal from my work while I am in the parking lot. Two questions: (1) If I strengthen the wifi signal from my work, can I use the peplink to create a local wifi network? (2) Do you think the wifi amplifier may work in this case?

    I would like to set up a security camera to access frequently so I need admin access. Also, I will want to remotely access the system and the wifi has a firewall.

    Should I just get my own sim card and not worry about piggybacking on my work’s wifi signal?

    Reply
  311. it’s the mini br1 btw, mk1. just got it on the ebay for $150.

    re the signal for wifi, likely 2.4ghz. we have a lot of older laptops and have never had an issue. i use a vpn to hop on the network from my house.

    Very occasional remote access. 3 night per week maybe a movie or so. 15gb of data with verizon at premium speed, more is slower.

    Do I go with sim/LTE or Mikrotik/work wifi? What else do u meed to know? Thank you so much btw!!!!

    I’m planning on getting an ipad/apple tv for homekit or use arlo with the basestation to access remotely.

    I’m pretty handy with command line computer stuff and can easily learn more network stuff from my colleagues, internet, etc. as needed to configure.

    Reply
  312. Steve,
    thank you for your fantastic reviews and guides. What is your opinion on the Wave Rogue Pro DB? I’m thinking of combining that (instead of your recommended Microtik Groove due to easier UI) with your recommended Pepwave Max Transit and Poynting Omni 400 LTE antenna.
    Thanks in advance,
    Brian

    Reply
  313. Steve,

    Great site – I found you via Panbo and despite you turning to the dark side and buying a powerboat I’ve greatly enjoyed reading your stuff. I too have a tech background (but have a sailing boat).

    My solution to internet access onboard my boat, in Europe/UK, has been using a combination of a Teltonika product and a Ubiquity bullet. I’m just upgrading from an old RUT550 (that had started to overheat) to a new RUTX11. Have you any experience with these? They are industrial kit with all that implies for both the UI and build (DIN rail mounting kits etc). The RUTX11 has dual sim slots for the LTE with MIMO, bluetooth, GPS, 2.4G and 5G wifi, as well as 4 cabled ports (one configurable asa WAN uplink). I have a masthead cellular antenna (20m up) and very heavy low loss coax (installed by a previous owner which it must be 20mm diameter) to the nav station where the RUT box lives. I suspect that the cable losses probably outweigh the benefits of the masthead antenna, but I do get quite good reception upto 4-5nm offshore. I then basically use the system as MiFi unit.

    The Bullet is only temporarily installed at present, but my plan is to find an elegant mount for it and leave it permanently hooked in via the WAN port of the RUTX11. Do you know anyone who’s got a neat marine mount for the Bullet? I’m starting to wonder about getting someone to fabricate something…

    Reply
  314. Brilliant – that’s just what I need. Now if only shipping to the UK wasn’t $85…. I might have to find a friend with a lathe.

    Reply
  315. Need some guidance. We up-graded our GPS about a year ago, had a professional do the install and no longer see the AIS info one the screen of our Garman742XS. After reading your article above I am now guessing that there is no connection from our SR161 to our NEMA2000 to bring the data to the GPS. So with that how do I cone t the SR161 to the GPS via the NEMA2000 port? Any advice would be a great help.
    Thanks in Advance.

    Reply
  316. You know, if you hadn’t been out way more in Rendezvous than you managed in Grace I would be beginning to suspect that you moved to power solely so you could have enough power to run all these toys…and an excuse to buy them of course 🙂

    While a camera server is the last thing I would have thought of needing in a recreational boat, this was, nonetheless, an extremely cool article.

    Reply
  317. “I still think docking a sailboat is more difficult because it is like a controlled crash – you have to have enough way across the rudder to have any control, which means speed you really don’t want in a big, weighty, lumbering thing that has a tiny engine.”

    This is entirely false. When I hear a sailor call docking a controlled crash, I know they lack the awesome knowledge in making landing super easy. You don’t need a lot of way across the rudder (Dead Slow) to land a sailboat with or without a motor. It’s a scripted process. It even works with landing an airplane. It’s called Flying the Pattern. Every airport list which pattern to use in relation to the wind direction. Once that is known then all you have to do is join the pattern and fly downwind leg, base leg, then final. I do this every time I land a sailboat at the dock. Many times without a motor. I now see a motor as a luxury item. Bow thruster even more luxury. As practice when I have passengers on board, I always have the motor in idle just in case mother nature wants to challenge me even more or I have to back into a slip. I’ve sailed a company’s 60 footer sailboat with 6 paying passengers over 90 trips with no crew. I sail 20 foot Blanchard Junior Knockabout that seat six. The BJKs have no motors. None!

    The pattern also applies to signal screw motorboats. I drive a 27-foot fantail electric motor launch. Here I have the chance to use the Back and Fill technique to get the boat to swing right up to the dock. I can even keep the boat in Gear at idle while I step off to go secure the bow and stern line. I use the same technique to operate the 65-foot King County single screw water taxi that holds 100 passengers without a bow thruster. Although I use less to none back and fill technique because I have a crew and the use of many spring lines.

    Docking a sailboat should be very easy if you have the right knowledge (like a recipe) to smoothly approach and land a sailboat at any sizes. Even the Tall Ship Lady Washington; which I have done. I didn’t think it was even possible with square sails…IN A RIVER! 🙂

    Reply
  318. This article has enough content to qualify for hiding behind a paywall, so thanks for not doing that! Many people will find it useful and informative. As for the docking discussion, I used to try and stop near my finger pier, and than reverse just enough to jump off and horse my Jeanneau 36.2 into her slip. Which is a dumb idea, but the still waters of Everett marina north made it possible. Now in Bremerton, I overshoot my slip by a bunch, and start reversing until headway occurs, then just glide in a graceful arc for a stern in starboard tie. But only at slack water!

    Reply
  319. Steve,

    I have had WiFi from the marina here in Long Beach for four years via their Ubiquiti airGateway PRO access point and had no issues and get around 15 Mbps. Based on reading some of your cellular internet articles, I recently bought a Peplink Pepwave MAX BR1 (AT&T sim) that I connected to a Wilson Omni antenna for when I am at Catalina. In testing at the dock I get about 10 Mbps down and hope it will work in Catalina once I am back over there in March.

    My question is if I want to be able to extend the range of the Pepwave so I can use it from shore at Emerald Bay (400-500 feet) would the Mikrotik be a good solution?

    Thank you in advance,

    Tim Daleo

    Reply
  320. Please let me know when you find a 1-1/4 mount wifi antenna. IT can be confusing looking at antennas and knowing which ones can work for WiFi!

    Reply
  321. Steve – sorry to bother but would the OMNI-400 be a good solution for my Verizon 8800 Jet Pack. It appears I would need a cable adapter…any advice you would be will to share? Thank you in advance.

    Reply
  322. Steve,
    Your articles and helpful responses to readers’ commentary are great. A not so short background before a request for LTE router activation advice:

    I have cut the cord on an unreliable shoreside cable WAN source and switched from a Pepwave SOHO MK2 to a Max BR1 MK2, which I intend to use as a sole wireless internet source for a saltwater home. The BR1 router with associated hardware may later migrate to a salt-water boat as technology evolves. I have had about 15 years of experience with wireless internet solutions using satellite, then VZN’s “Cantenna” for 4G wireless to a couple cradlepoint routers, and now since 2014 Pepwave routers with LTE(A) using inControl 2, and I too remember the frustration of networking slow baud dial up modems in the 90’s.

    I had really good results 2 years ago with a MAX HD2 Mini LTEA in another location as a sole high reliability wireless internet solution through hurricanes– so good that I realized its 2 modems were really overkill and probably unnecessary at that location; that router may also eventually migrate to another more appropriate mobile challenge in a marine environment.

    My challenge now: I have had the following dilemma with sims in the BR1– I put a Verizon unlimited data sim in it that I have used successfully for several years in an old iphone SE, and got a detailed email from Verizon that their sim on an unlimited data plan was incompatible with pepwave use; fair enough (that probably explains the Pepwave marketing that the BR1 MK2 is an “approved” VZN device). (I popped an older grandfathered _really_ unlimited VZN sim in the Max HD2 Mini for 2 yrs have had no issues; really solid.)

    To test economical carrier signals I first put a limited data Sprint sim in the BR1 MK2 when I got it at the beginning of this month having given the IMEI of the BR1 to the store clerk, and fortunately it works really well despite only a -80 to 90dBm RSSI from a distant tower across a hill. I have used the VZN sim in an iphone 8 with a stronger signal as a hotspot while I have been away travelling to back up that Sprint cellular WAN. I have been travelling most of the month so am only now able to test other sims in the router.

    Yesterday I tried a T-Mobile prepaid sim in the BR1 MK2 (which sim I had activated yesterday in the iphone 8, and I am having the same problem I had with the VZN sim– constant seeking of an IP address with no data connection. Although the T-Mobile sim moved peppy data into and out of the iphone at the router location, it will only receive texts (seen in the InControl “Sim Toolkit”) when installed in the BR1 MK2 , which toolkit I have used to try so far unsuccessfully to find a solution.

    And finally I have an inexpensive prepaid ATT unlimited data sim I want next to try to judge the signal strength here so that my evolving site survey will demonstrate which of these wireless carriers will provide the two best and most economical LTE signals for the BR1 in this stationary location [before I decide whether I need to boost the LTE signal with either a higher gain MIMO antenna (1st) or an LTE signal amplifier (2d)]. Too much detail but I want to explain my relatively limited expertise.

    So my question to you is this: is there a technique to be sure the sim activation gets into the BR1 router the proper APN, etc and the carrier gets the router’s IMEI ID, etc to enable data use within the constraints of the carrier’s plan without getting the problem I have had to date with the T-Mobile and Verizon sims? I have have explored the inControl 2 “auto” Wan Connection and Carrier Selection and Operator Selection settings as well as manual entries tailored to VZN, Sprint, and T-Mobile.

    I do not expect heavy unlimited data use, but I do have a reliable Homeseer automation system that I need to query, monitor and tweak and DC power backup for the internet solution so that during frequent absences I can check on and control environmental and security automation through infrequent but sometimes critical power outages.

    My many thanks if you can suggest optimum alternative solutions for activating the prepaid sims in the BR1 so I can test the respective carriers’ data connectivity.

    Reply
  323. Hi Steve,

    Sorry to bother. Do you still use booster for broadband signal, or Poynting antenna has better gain and you do not need booster (in not too remote coastal areas) ? Also can i use Poynting antenna with the booster?

    Reply
  324. Hi Steve thank you for response.

    I have another question.

    Currently I am using borrowed Peplink with dual sims and I need to return it. However, the problem for me is, that I need broadband frequencies/bands which should cover almost all world-wide wireless bands. In Carribean there are some mess between the islands/countries, because they are using different bands and mostly non-US.

    So idea is to use cellular-enabled iPad//iPhone Xs, and take advantage of eSim. With eSim i can use either GoogleFi or GigSky which works almost everywhere. Plus i would connection to one of the US provides via main sim.

    By using simple router with DD-WRT firmware i can tether router to iPad/iPhone and use iPad/iPhone as a broadband hotspot. Also iPad can be used for navigation and SignalK monitoring.

    My data usage is quite limited, mostly to get weather and some emails.

    I guess for this installations I would need a booster.

    What do you think about it? Did you have experience with DD-WRT?

    Best regards

    Reply
  325. Fantastic write up and excellent follow up here. Thanks for this and I will add my recent learning as well as ask a question.

    My US-Locked device, purchased here in Feb 2020, was impossible to connect with via wifi the broadcast SSID or via computer with direct Ethernet connection. I didn’t have Windows PC available to run Winbox but found that after Reset, the Groove looks for a DHCP server on the Ethernet port. This required simply plugging into an available router to get an assignment and then a quick scan of the address space and I was in to work out the configuration. Once configured, the Ethernet cable was installed on the WAN port of My PepWave router and I was in business. Every Reset since (there have been many as I’ve explored the Webfig settings only to hang the Groove) has required the same process. I had no luck finding the Groove default to 192.168.88.x , 51.x, etc. – It seems to me that you either use Quick Set or Webfig – not both. Several settings tweaked in Webfig seem to create a conflict with QuickSet and results in hanging the Groove.

    I have the Groove working well as a CPE in Router mode, feeding the WAN port on my PepWave router. Consequently I have a double NAT situation and a noticeable degrade in throughput. As others have noted, the double NAT situation often causes trouble with captive or referred portals. e.g. BBX will often fail to resolve a login page through a double NAT setup. Ideally, I’d like to run the GROOVE CPE in BRIDGE mode to eliminate these issues allowing my PepWave to directly manage the WAN IP acquisition (I don’t care about traffic pinging the router). I am able to survey and secure a remote AP, flip the Groove to BRIDGE, then open the Router Page and set the WAN IP to DHCP – bingo all works good, no more double NAT, throughput is perky, etc. The challenge is getting back into the Groove to do a new survey without having to put it through a full RESET, switching cables, etc. Once in BRIDGE Mode, Winbox doesn’t find the Groove despite my setting the PepWave Routers WAN IP and Bridge IP to static addresses. When using my previous (3) short lived Ubiquity Bullets, I was able to create an IP alias in the Bullet that allowed me to access it by simply switching the WAN IP of the router to a static address. An extra step but much much easier than the alternatives. I am wondering if there is a way to do the same in the Groove – define an IP alias (address) which can be accessed outside the WAN domain allowing a path back to the Groove configuration screen for new wireless surveys and connections.

    Reply
  326. An awesome write up hitting all the salient points! I just walked into a Marina trying to force fit a cheap mesh solution. They failed to grasp how much marine equipment is 2.4GHz based and now all the boaters want the 5GHz signal to penetrate their hulls with video streaming performance. I need to find a list of 3 outfits that can do the spectral analysis and bid this project. The marina management wants to deliver a great experience for everyone and of course avoid the ongoing headaches that have plagued older technologies. Steve, I’d appreciate it if you could email me a list of companies if you can’t post such.

    Reply
  327. Hi Steve,
    I am setting up my sailboat (46 ft catamaran) for long-term live-aboard. We are in San Diego now but will be in Mexico in a few months and the South Pacific in 2021. Then New Zealand, Australia and Southeast Asia. Maybe Europe later. So I really care about cellular outside the US. I will have IridiumGo to get weather files and email anywhere but its bandwidth is only 2.4 kbps. When I am near land, I want use WiFi when available (rarely) and cellular otherwise.

    Do you recommend that I setup Peplink Max Transit, Mikrotik Groove and a Poynting antenna? I see the weBoost Drive Reach is only licensed in the US, Canada, Mexico and Malaysia, so it won’t work for me.

    Love your articles.
    thanks
    Pat

    Reply
  328. Steve,
    Very informative post some 10 years ago but likely helpful to me. Can you identify make/model of vessel shown? I searched about a bit but do not see it and came to the site by searching “J28 radar pole.” Thanks!

    Reply
  329. Hi Steve et al, another typically well written and high value post with an equally well done video. Really appreciate your clear and detailed overviews and covering the how to portions in more detail. Much appreciated, thanks.

    We had the previous Airmar WX150 weather station on our last boat, a 52′ steel Bruce Roberts design cutter and it was a super addition that worked without a hitch for over 10 years and is still working well for the new custodians of that boat. I initially got this for its super accurate wind and heading info that was a huge improvement on the sailboat and for the autopilot. But I too came to value the weather data more and more.

    Right now we are busy building our next boat here in Antalya Turkey with Naval Yachts which will be a 24m all aluminium eXtreme eXploration Passage Maker or XPM as we make the leap from sail to power. We will soon be installing the new Airmar 220WX WeatherStation on the new build and I will post details of that installation when it happens as part of the weekly updates on our Mobius.World blog. Once we launch and get back to sea we will be sharing all the real world data we are logging so that we and others can start to see how various bits of kit are performing, efficiency rates, etc.

    Not sure if this is the best place to do so but please do put Christine & my name on the list of those very interested in participating in your “video happy hour” Tech Talk sessions via Zoom if you get those going. Let me know if there is a better place to sign up for that?

    Hope everyone here is finding ways to stay healthy and happy as we all navigate this latest storm in the world and thanks again for time and effort into the articles you share.

    Wayne & Christine

    Reply
  330. Thanks for the review Steve! I already have a Mikrotik bullet 5Ghz and another Mikrotik router/AP. (frankly Ive been having some pain setting this up with Elliot Bay marinas wifi options. )

    Would you install one of these over say the pepwave Max LTE modem (for the LTE access)

    Reply
  331. Hey Steve. I just bought the same setup. I too have an aluminum bottom dink and want to mount directly however with the length of the pole I am concerned with the sturdiness. Any regrets on how you mounted? Is it sturdy and holding up in decent swell?

    Reply
  332. Hello Steve, could you tell me how to configure Derive Data to send data to Windy.com
    Thank you and best regards
    Christopher

    Reply

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