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Welcome to next generation navigation from Digital Yacht

You’ve reached the daily news-feed site for Digital Yacht.  Remember our main website is at www.digitalyachtamerica.com so please visit there  for further product information.

This site is packed with useful hints and tips on marine electronics in general, installation guides, white papers and links to other sites too. Feel free to subscribe by joining our list. Follow us also on Twitter and Facebook

Wireless Interfacing to PolarView

Yesterday one of our US dealers contacted us asking for advice on how to make PolarView navigation software work with one of our wireless NMEA products.

This short video shows exactly how to do this and should be useful for anyone wishing to send wireless NMEA data from one of our devices to a laptop or desktop running PolarView…

Digital Yacht September 2017 UK Price List

A new UK GBP price list is available to download from HERE or click on the image below

product guide front cover sept 2017

There are no price changes on existing products but we’ve added a new product – our NMEA 2000 starter kit.  AIS is often the first addition to an on board network and many customers are not familiar with the requirement for a backbone with individual items spurred off the network.  Our new, value priced starter kit puts everything in a box to make a compact NMEA 2000 network with up to three devices.  It can of course be expanded using standard components at any stage.

N2K Starter Kit Extended Backbone Diagram cutout png

Despite using the much higher grade metal connectors, it’s competitively priced at £60 ex vat and includes a fused power cable for the network as well as the two terminators required.  It will be available in September and is an ideal add on to any NMEA 2000 product.  Here’s what’s in the box!

N2K Starter Kit Standard Diagram

Are you Positive about that Negative ?

A customer recently contacted us asking why he was measuring a negative voltage on his NMEA0183 Output and suggesting that his AIS had a fault. He confirmed that he had his multi-meter’s Red lead on the Output+ and the Black lead on the Output-, so how on earth could it be measuring a negative voltage unless the AIS was faulty.

Well normally when you measure the voltage of say a battery, the two terminals are clearly labelled + and – so as long as you get your multi-meter’s leads round the right way the measured voltage is always positive. However, with most NMEA0183 signals, you are dealing with a “differential” voltage where the positive and negative connections both have pulsing signals on them and it is the difference between the voltages on the two connections that you are measuring.

Looking at the diagram above, you can see the pulsing signals are going between 0v and +3.3v on both connections, but they are inverted so when one signal goes to 3.3v the other goes to 0v and vice versa. This has the interesting effect of making the measured voltages alternate between +3.3v, when the + connection is at 3.3v and the – at 0v, and then -3.3v when the + is 0v and the – is 3.3v.

Most AIS units, particularly receivers only output data when they receive an AIS target report, so if there are not many AIS vessels in the area, it is not unusual to measure -3.3v on the output. Couple this with the fact that AIS data is at a higher baud rate (38400) which means the pulses are much shorter and may not be detected by the multi-meter, it is always good practice to use an LED to test NMEA0183 outputs as detailed in our Tech Note.

Aqua Compact Pro gets an upgrade

Our Aqua Compact Pro has a new processor upgrade and now incorporates the latest Intel i3, 7th generation processor.  These are soldered direct to board for increased reliability in the marine environment.

aqua compact handheld

Latest changes include:

  • i3 7100U processor, 8GB DDR4 memory
  • Dual display outputs – full size HDMI and USB C
  • Bluetooth 4.2 and Dual Band WiFi built in (plus wired gigabit network port)
  • 4 x USB 3 ports with charging mode on front panel port
  • Front panel mounted audio jack for audio in/out – ideal as media center
  • Windows 10 operating system
  • Built in mic for Cortana speech control and recognition – voice control is here!
  • Micro SD slot – ideal for Navionic’s cards with our SmarterTrack PC navigation software

Pricing and part numbers remain unchanged and the new model will start shipping immediately.

Digital Yacht launch Code Afloat Competition

Budding programmer or have a great idea for a new boating app?  Then this could be for you….

Digital Yacht’s new Code Afloat challenge is a competition for innovative code writers that seeks to encourage and recognise ideas and applications that ‘change the game’ in the field of marine navigation, communication, safety, control or entertainment. Applications and ideas will need to utilise Signal K, the new open source interfacing platform designed for electronics afloat.

CA-colour (2)

This competition is looking for game-changing and impactful ideas that have the potential to improve the way we utilise systems aboard boats, ships and other marine assets. It could be a new visualisation of instrumentation, social media integration, engine diagnostics, digital control, logging, charting, monitoring or security – but don’t let these be a defining boundary. Signal K makes marine application development easy with its plain text, JSON based format. Want to grab ship position, identity, wind speed and depth for your idea? It’s all easy with Signal K data.

Digital Yacht is a UK and US based marine electronics manufacturer with a special and altruistic interest in the Signal K project. In 2016, they developed iKommunicate – a NMEA to Signal K gateway allowing any existing marine electronics system to open up to the world of Signal K. It was created following a successful, 5x oversubscribed Kickstarter campaign which shows the interest in open source within the marine environment.

This means that 100000s of boats equipped with traditional NMEA based marine electronic systems can now integrate with this new platform using a simple, low cost iKommunicate interface – without the need to buy new, expensive sensors and transducers. iKommunicate makes it very easy to integrate tablets, smartphones, PCs and MACS to NMEA systems.

The competition will be assessed by independent judges – experts who lead the industry in the US and Europe. A headline prize of $2500 for the app award “Change the Game” is available and a 2nd and 3rd prize of $500 each for the best “Transform my boat” concept.  Lots of boat owners may have a great idea but don’t have coding skills to develop an app so this 2nd and 3rd prize is for them, to come up with a concept which may then be taken forward by professional programmers.

All apps will be judged on innovation, practical implementation and value.  “Open Source” web apps, that benefit the Signal K community are welcome and apps developed remain the property of the original author so they can also benefit from any future revenue stream. The goal of this competition is to increase the use of Signal K data on all apps, open or closed source and give boaters more functionality and choices.

Apps can be submitted for any platform – iOS, Android, PC, MAC, LINUX etc. and of course web server code running on Raspberry Pi type hardware or HTML5 web apps running in a browser are also appropriate.

The competition starts now and closes on the 31st October 2017, when all entries will be judged by an International team of judges, before the winners are announced in December.

More details on the competition can be found at a new dedicated website at http://www.codeafloat.com

Find out more about Signal K at http://www.signalk.org

Find out more about iKommunicate at http://www.ikommunicate.com

Check out more on our blog HERE

uAIS and ANT200 Go End of Line

Digital Yacht’s self contained uAIS and ANT200 AIS receivers are now end of line but we’ve replacement solutions that offer improved performance and allow for a more flexible installation.

uAIS was a self contained AIS sensor with a USB wired connection but this was limited to 5m.  In practice this often caused installation issues so we now offer a much neater solution utilising our AIS100USB with the QMax portable antenna (the same type used with our Nomad Class B portable AIS – details HERE).

The AIS100USB is self powered from the PC or MAC USB connection so there’s no need for a separate DC supply.  The QMax antenna features a neat sucker cup type mount allowing easy temporary placement.

ais100 plus qmax

This also has the advantage that the system can be used with other VHF antennas if required allowing for maximum flexibility.  A new part number for the bundle is available ZDIGAIS100QMA and this bundle is available immediately.  The QMax antenna is also available as a stand alone product, part number ZDIGQMA

Potential users of the older ANT200 can now opt for a regular AIS100 (NMEA version) complete with the QMax antenna as a replacement system – order as a ZDIGAIS100 plus ZDIGQMA

HF AIS – Encapsulated in Digital Yacht AIS products for better performance

HF-AIS is an advanced technology that ensures an AIS transceiver reliably processes all transmissions in real time without error. An AIS transceiver with HF-AIS will typically allow you to see up to 30% more targets than transceivers without HF-AIS.  All Digital Yacht transponder products incorporate this technology brought to us by our chip set manufacturer SRT

ait-family2-png-small

You don’t know what you don’t see – if your AIS transceiver does not process (decode) an AIS transmission, you will not see that target on your display. This issue affects AIS Class A, Class B and receivers.

HF-AIS technology solves this critical and unseen issue, which can result in you missing up to 30% of available targets and data. An AIS transceiver can be required to receive and then decode up to 2,250 transmissions every minute – 37 every second – with each AIS transmission containing up to 300 bytes (your GPS position, MMSI, Speed, Course etc), that’s a huge amount of information that must be continuously processed. When this data is not processed due to the transceiver being overwhelmed with transmissions, the data is lost forever – often up to 30% of targets. The lost transmissions could be from a nearby vessel on a collision course with you – therefore lost data and targets are of critical importance to your safety.

  • Proven to see up to 30% more AIS targets and data with HF-AIS
  • HF-AIS ensures all available AIS transmissions are fully decoded and processed in real time.
  • HF-AIS is advanced core technology, that combines hardware and software, embedded in the ‘processing brain’ of our AIS transceivers.
  • HF-AIS is particularly beneficial in busy areas where the volume of AIS transmissions can cause processing errors and lost data in transceivers without HF-AIS.

hf ais

HF-AIS technology is a unique combination of hardware and software embedded within
our AIS transceiver. It comprises a high performance processor (chip) which has the processing speed to easily cope with reliably decoding large amounts of data in real time
on which is highly efficient software that uses specialist architectures and structures
normally found in data heavy wireless applications such as 3G and 4G cellular phones.
This unique combination of hardware and software is HF-AIS and ensures that our
transceivers will reliably process all available AIS transmissions in real time and without
error.

The ultimate benefit is that you’ll get outstanding performance and the best AIS capability from our transponders.

You can see the effect of the technology in action HERE