Each of the last three summers my family and I have loaded ourselves into our RV, Harvey, and hit the road. It’s an opportunity to see friends and family and to escape some of the hottest months of south Florida’s summer. It’s also an opportunity for me to test new systems installed on the RV. Last summer, I installed an all Victron DC house power system. This summer, I installed and now tested two of KiloVault’s HLX+ 3,600 watt-hour batteries. I’m pleased to report the Victron system and the KiloVault batteries performed flawlessly this summer. The system served to show what’s possible in off-grid living on the water or on the road, including running one of our air conditioners via the inverter and batteries.
Panbo News and Reviews
Harvey, as I (mostly) affectionately call my RV, like all other RVs, contains waste and gray water. If you’re a boater in the U.S., gray water containment is a largely foreign concept. Let me tell you, it’s also kind of a pain. On Harvey, until now, it’s been a pain. But, it turns out that’s because we were only using a small percentage of the advertised capacity of the gray water tank. Victron’s Venus OS, GX Tank 140, and an inexpensive tank transducer tell the real story of our tank usage.
Actisense’s W2K-1, like Actisense’s other products, is a well-made, straightforward product with a few extra features. The primary focus of the W2K-1 is making data from your NMEA 2000 network available via WiFi to mobile devices and laptop. But now, Actisense has expanded the features of the W2K-1 to include their Actisense-i diagnostics functionality. How does Actisense-i stack up to other NMEA 2000 troubleshooting tools? I’ve spent some time with it and believe it provides useful insight into your network but leaves room for more.
I work around boats pretty much every day of my life. So, what would cause me to jump in my car and drive 28 hours round trip to go see a boat? The answer: A brand new, luxury 44-foot sailboat ordered with no generator and no air conditioning. But fear not, although it was delivered without systems many regard as required, it’s now been outfitted with arguably the best air conditioning and power systems available.
It’s been a busy couple of months for Starlink since they rolled out portability. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s happened with the service since then: they’ve rolled out RV service, Dish network has filed a complaint against them, their mobile license was approved by the FCC, and they’ve introduced a maritime service offering. If you’re a boater looking to get internet connectivity on board your boat, that can be a lot to wade through. So, let me help you understand the developments and what it means for us as boaters.
The Simrad NSX may be a value-oriented chart plotter in Simrad’s lineup but “value model” doesn’t tell the story of how important NSX is to Simrad’s, and Navico’s, future. NSX is the first MFD running on Navico’s Neon operating system. I’ve been using an NSX in Panbo(at) for the last several months and I’m pleased to report NSX is an upgrade from the Simrad Go it replaced in nearly every dimension. If this is Navico’s future, the future is bright.
Garmin recently released the Quatix 7 and I’ve been wearing the Saphire model since just after the release. I’m pleased to report that in my testing it’s proved to be a refined, visually pleasing, and useful accessory. With excellent battery life, a bright, easy-to-read display, and integration with Garmin marine products like the GPSMap MFDs and Fusion stereos there’s plenty of reasons to give the Quatix line a careful look.
KiloVault might be a relatively new name in lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries, but I’d expect to hear a lot more about them based on what I’ve seen so far. The HLX+ series of batteries are well-made, drop-in-style batteries with lots of capabilities at an affordable price point. I’ll be installing a pair of the 300 amp hour batteries in my RV, but first, let’s get to know the batteries better.
There’s a lot to like about Glomex’s WebBoat 4G Lite Evo. It’s a small device with easy mounting, a 4G LTE cellular modem, an easy user interface, and app configuration. These features make the WebBoat 4G Lite Evo easy to install and easy to use. But, like so many other marine-specific internet access equipment I see, it lacks 5ghz WiFi, limiting its performance out of the box.
Airmar trail blazed the NMEA 2000 “smart” sensor about fifteen years ago, building a microprocessor right into a transducer so that a single rugged N2K cable can both power the sensor and deliver Depth, Speed, and Water Temperature to almost any display, regardless of brand. And while the company deservedly dominates the world of water-related smart sensors today, they were a tad slow to adopt the now-common technique of including a Bluetooth app for the detailed calibration that many of the display manufacturers fail to provide. But after initial testing, I think that the relatively new DST810 Smart Multisensor is a thoroughly modern N2K device…