Clear Silcone

Sola Lights

Since this was my first year of boat ownership, I wanted to put lights up for the holiday season. I put them up in mid November and took them down in early January. I used three strings of lights, one at the forestay, and one on each of the backstays.

I have a full canvas cockpit cover, which meant that one of the light string connections could be out of the weather inside the cockpit, but the other connections would be outside.

I ran a single string up the forestay with the plug at the base, dropped into the anchor locker so it wasn’t sitting on the deck. I ran an extension cable from the cockpit over the deck to the anchor locker.

I joined two light strings together and used the main halyard to pull them up the backstays.

Clear RTV Silicone Sealant 66B

I had this tube of silicone sitting around so put a small bit on the flat part of each outside plug before connecting them. It seems to have worked well because it was still intact when I took the lights down, and the lights were still working properly.

After separating the cables, peeling the used silicone away was easy.

I’d done this treatment for the end plug on the forestay that was raised to the top of the mast, the join with the extension cable at the bottom of the forestay, and the joint of the two strings at the top of the backstays.

Govee H5182 Dual Probe Bluetooth Meat Thermometer

Govee H5182

Because I can’t seem to stop playing with the Govee line of Bluetooth thermometers, when this model came on sale for less than $20 I added it to my Amazon cart.

I knew that the Bluetooth protocol would be different purely based on multiple sensors, but I wanted to play with it anyway. With less than a month since I’d previously figured out a device, I was able to figure this one out in less than an hour, though I still don’t know the battery strength indicator in either this or the H5183 I decoded last month. I’ve added the code to my monitoring program https://github.com/wcbonner/GoveeBTTempLogger/  but have not yet published the changes. The existing code is designed around a single temperature, humidity, and battery reading per device. Even the H5183 broke the model slightly because it has two temperatures, current and alarm, and no humidity. I’m rethinking my data storage to be able to be more expandable, while still being backwards compatible as far as the log files, and will publish the new code when I’ve got it working.

This unit has the advantage of a display over the H5183. It can be used without connecting to a phone at all. You can turn it on, set the alarms, and monitor what’s going on. The one thing I did not figure out how to do using the buttons was to change the display from °F to °C, which I wanted to do to simplify debugging. Using the app I was able to update the settings and view the details.

Details from Amazon:

  • Remote Monitoring: With this wireless grill meat thermometer, you can spend less time waiting and more time multitasking within a 230ft Bluetooth range, Pull out your phone and check the meat temperatures of your grill, smoker, and oven at any time
  • Meat Temperature Settings: Govee Home App offers USDA-recommended food temperatures with various doneness levels for foods such as beef, lamb, chicken, pork, turkey, and more, Grill more efficiently, whether you’re a beginner or a professional
  • Smart Alerts: Avoid the risk of overcooking your food, Once your preset temperature is out of range, your meat thermometer will beep and send an instant notification to your phone via the Govee Home App
  • Food Grade Probes: Our food grade 304 stainless steel thermometer probes have an accuracy of ±1.8°F/1°C to reliably monitor the doneness of your food (under 302℉) ,*Please remember not to touch the probes immediately after use
  • Easy to Place: This Bluetooth meat thermometer has a strong magnetic backing and a folding stand to easily set up on the grill, smoker and oven when barbecuing, There is also a large backlight screen to make it easier to read at night

There is also a single probe version of this thermometer. I expect it works similar to this unit, but the price savings made it less interesting to me since I already have the H5183 in my kitchen.

Govee H5181

Govee H5183 Bluetooth Wireless Meat Thermometer

GVH5183

I recently came across the Govee Meat Thermometer on sale at amazon and decided to give it a try and see if the communication protocol was similar to any of the other Govee thermometers I’ve bought, the H5177, H5075 or H5074.

The Bluetooth communication protocol is different from any of the other devices I’ve got, but after a day of staring at raw data I was able to figure out some of the details and add support to my monitoring program https://github.com/wcbonner/GoveeBTTempLogger/ . The Bluetooth announcements from the device include both the current temperature and the set alarm temperature. I’ve not yet figured out the battery strength data. The phone app displays the battery, so I know it should be available.

There’s an orange button on one side to turn the unit on. Hold for three seconds. It will beep indicating it’s on. The LED will start flashing green, and the device will periodically send Bluetooth announcements including the temperature and alarm temperature. If you connect to the device with the phone app, the LED will switch to flashing blue, indicating that it’s in a connected state. While the device is in a connected state, it doesn’t not send out announcements. To return it to standard mode, simply exit back to the top level of the app. The app will still alarm when the probe gets to set temperature. Holding the button for three seconds when it’s on will turn it off, with beeps to confirm the change.

A nice feature of this device is that it has a magnet built in, enough to hold the device to the front of a metal oven.

Details from the Amazon listing:

  • Useful Smart Alerts: If temperatures fall out of your preset range, an alarm will sound, and you will get a phone alerts notification via the Govee Home app. The probe measuring range is 0° to 300°C /32° to 572°F. Note: press and hold the orange button for 3 seconds to power on.
  • Convenient Remote Monitoring: Tired of waiting near a hot grill, With a 230ft/70m smart Bluetooth wireless control range(no obstructions), you are free to relax and check your temperatures on your smartphone at a glance. Remember to remove the protective tip before use.
  • Performance Review: Detailed temperature data and easy-to-read charts are generated within 2 hours. (Charts can’t be stored/downloaded) Perfect for a quick review or an in-depth analysis of temperature performance. Improve your cooking and temperature with calibration at ±5°C.
  • Temperature Made Easy: 28 temperature recommendations for 14 types of foods take the hassle out of cooking. Ideal for both beginner cooks and pro chefs.
  • Practical Features: Temperature switching between Fahrenheit and Celcius. (The default unit is Fahrenheit) Mute alarm function and countdown timer on the Govee Home app. The magnetic back can easily be attached to the refrigerator, oven or grill, or any other metal surface. Note: Please keep the meat thermometer unit safe from heat sources and very hot surfaces to protect its internal batteries and exterior shell.
  • Part Number: B5183011

Lewmar Wired Windlass Remote

When I purchased my sailboat one of the items that came up on the survey was that the windlass control was missing it’s button covers. Recently when I was preparing to drop my anchor, the controller would allow the anchor to be lowered, but not to raise it. The buttons had finally failed.

I searched around online to find a replacement. I found several places with the exact model controller for over $150. Looking at the Lewmar site, I was able to find a newer remote, and when I searched for it’s model number was able to find it available for significantly less than the original. It appeared to have a similar plug, and claimed to be universal.

Lewmar Wired Windlass Remote – 66940002
Lewmar Wired Windlass Remote – 66940002

I was pleased to find that the three conductor plug on the new model mates directly with the old socket. That meant that I simply had to plug the new remote into the existing socket on my boat, and store the socket that came with the new remote with the rest of my spare parts.

The new remote is definitely an improvement, being smaller and properly water resistant.

Details from Lewmar:

Product Description

The 2 button wired windlass remote is the latest design of IP rated hand-held remote from Lewmar. The new unit is designed for remote operation of all Lewmar windlasses. The wired remote is constructed with high-strength, glass-reinforced PP combined with a high-density rubber gasket to ensure robust durability and a secure grip whatever the conditions. These units are supplied complete with a connecting cable extendable up to 3 meters, a watertight deck fitting and socket, and a support bracket for stowing.

  • IP67 plug & socket included
  • Wall plate included
  • 3m of cable (pre-fitted with plug)
  • Waterproof to IP67 (EN 60529) handset
  • Over-molded soft touch rubber buttons
  • Can be used on both 12V and 24V systems
  • Flange mount socket and sealing cap included

Garmin vívoactive® 3 and raceQs sailing tactics app

Garmin vivoactive 3

I purchased a Garmin Vivoactive watch to be able to run the raceQs sailing tactics racing watch app. I’ve actually purchased two of these watches. I purchased the first in early 2020 when I saw it on sale for around $120 on a discount site. I used a little bit with the RaceQs app https://raceqs.com/smart-watch/ before the COVID-19 Pandemic shut down all sailboat racing, and then used the watch more for its built in GPS bike tracking and walk tracking features during the summer. Towards the end of the summer when I was getting back into sailboat racing, I was wearing the watch on my right hand and managed to knock the strap loose while tying fenders to the lifeline. The watch bounced once on the deck before going overboard. It took me a few months before I saw another deal online that convinced me to buy a second watch.

Fitbit Charge 3

I have a long data history with Fitbit, and currently wear a Charge 3. It’s similar to the newer Charge 4, but without the GPS tracking features. I like the smaller profile on my wrist of the fitbit, and have been wearing it or something similar 24 hours a day for the last five years. The larger size of the Garmin makes it harder to convince myself to switch to away from the Fitbit for my general data tracking, when though I’ve learned that when I don’t use the GPS features of the Garmin it has similar battery life to the Fitbit. I like the always on watch face of the Garmin, especially after I picked an analog style watch face.

Garmin Titanium Watch Face

I like using the RaceQs app on the watch while sailing, especially with the more recent editions features of automatically uploading race data to the website. I have some issues, that I mainly believe are because of the touchscreen abilities with the garmin watch. I believe that the app would be much better served on a watch with an array of buttons surrounding the watch face. The pictures of the app on its website appear to show a button centric watch.

The way I use the watch for sailing is that I wait till I’m on the boat, preparing for a start. Then I start the raceQ app on the watch, wait for it to get a GPS fix and go to the timer setting. Then I configure the timer for the appropriate countdown to my start and start the countdown. Then I explicitly press and hold the crown button until I can press the lock icon, locking the touchscreen. I’ve found that if I don’t lock the touchscreen, inadvertent touches will change what’s displayed on the screen, and cause the app to change modes. I do my best not to touch the app until after my race has completed.

Sometimes I notice the app is on a page that asks if I want to exit, with a check (✔) or cross (❌) option. I’ve found that the best option is to not enter anything until after the race has completed.

I wish that the raceq screen displayed GPS time on all screens, including the screen asking if I wanted to exit the app. There are plenty of times that I’ve been hiking on the rail and the skipper wants the exact time recorded for when we’ve crossed the finish line. with the watch locked, there’s no way to get the time on the watch quickly.

The app automatically calculates tacking angles to the mark after one set of windward/leeward marks have been rounded, which seems nice, but in my position on the boat, isn’t as important to me as the start timer, or the real time of finish.

I don’t know if there’s a way of creating screen shots of the watch display similar to what’s on a phone. It would be nice for describing after the fact what was going on, but with the limited storage and buttons on the phone, don’t expect there’s a way of doing so.

B&G Zeus™ 3S 9 Memory Card Update

In my previous post I was not able to use the 32GB memory card, while the 16GB memory card worked.

Lexar 32GB Flash Card Properties

I’m happy to report that after explicitly formatting the card as FAT32, my chartplotter was able to read and write the card correctly.

I don’t know the underlying platform the chartplotter is built on, but with flash card sizes regularly increasing, I’d hope that B&G introduce support for the exFAT filesystem in the future. https://fossbytes.com/linux-5-7-microsofts-exfat-driver-code/ has a nice description of the inclusion of exFAT in Linux.

B&G Zeus™ 3S 9 Vessel Message Alarm

Vessel message from: 541064663

This is a feature that I’m still trying to understand. I believe it is an AIS message, and possibly a distress message, but have not been able to figure out what it means. I get the same result whether I push Show or Close, in that the alarm dialog closes and no cursor is selected.

Garmin AIS 300

I have a GARMIN AIS™ 300 Blackbox Receiver connected to my NMEA 2k network, and assume that it generated the message on the local network and the B&G is just displaying it. Because I don’t have an AIS transmitter, I don’t believe it’s a directed message to me. I’m not broadcasting any ID, and my radio isn’t hooked to the GPS, so isn’t configured to be able to broadcast distress signals. (One more item in my to-do-list)

The only annoyance I have with this type of message has been when I left the instruments running while i was away from the boat and returned to find the alarm beeping and a similar message displayed. I don’t like that the beeping may have been annoying my neighbors for days.

B&G Zeus™ 3S 9 Tracks Truncated

I’ve been extremely happy with my new chartplotter when I’m actively using it. I’ve been frustrated by some of the features.

I wish it would automatically start recording a new track every time it was turned on. It seems that this should be an option in the settings, but I’ve not been able to find such an option.

The bigger issue is that it seems to reduce the size of stored tracks. This may be related to whatever it’s doing to synchronize with the online map, but the behavior is extremely annoying as it means I don’t have the true logged data of where I visited on my two week trip to the San Juan Islands over July 4th.

Tracks on return from trip

The image above shows the track that had been running from my leaving of Odlin County Park on Lopez Island on July 5th, going north to Orcas Island, then sailing south to Mackaye Bay on Lopez Island on July 6th, and finally motoring south to Shilshole on July 7th, arriving a little past 3pm.

Tracks after the boat has not moved for two weeks.

The second image was taken on July 22nd. You can see that the number of points for the Leave ODLIN track has reduced from 16063 to 178. Even stranger is that the Spencer Spit log has increased from 124 points to 134, and Deer Harbor has increased from 56 to 61.

Synchronize Settings

I had the plotter set to automatically synchronize settings with the mobile app and the web site, but have disabled it as of today to see if future logs will not be truncated. The auto synchronization was a very nice thing initially because I was able to create a series of places at my desktop using the full keyboard and mouse, and then the next time I turned on my chart plotter they appeared on the plotter with my intervention.

Waypoints

I realized that the waypoints I’d created all had the default icon. I went in and changed the icon on the chart plotter for each if the locations and something also truncated the names. I don’t know if it was the synchronization with the online service, or the chartplotter itself, but losing data is never a good thing.

Another feature that would be extremely nice would be if the time at the top of the screen included the date and UTC offset or timezone.

B&G Zeus 3s Memory Cards

I recently installed a Zeus™ 3S 9 chartplotter on my sailboat, and am generally happy with it. I’ve been running into a few problems and am still trying to figure out what’s going on. This is probably only the first post that I’ll write about issues I’m having.

The manual says it can read memory cards larger than 32GB if they are formatted NTFS. I found the smallest flash card in my regular collection of cards was a 32GB card. I put it into the chart plotter because I wanted to copy the screen captures to my computer, but it was not recognized.

Today I found a 16GB card that had been used in a raspberry pi project and reformatted it in windows 10, then took both it and the larger card to the boat.

I did a couple of tests and the 16GB card was readable from either slot, while the 32GB card doesn’t show up.

You can see that I put the 32 GB card in the top slot and the 16 GB card in the bottom.

Micro SD Cards Fully Inserted

The second picture shows the memory cards fully inserted. At that point I was able to see the 16GB card in the chartplotter, but the 32GB card does not appear.

Chart Plotter Screenshot

After I returned home I looked at the filesystem properties on each of the cards.

The larger of the two cards had defaulted to the exFAT format, while the smaller was FAT32. I was able to reformat the larger drive as FAT32 and may test if it can be read by the chartplotter in the future. I don’t like buying small memory cards. I have found the fast (Ultra High Speed Class 3 = 30 MBit/second) 128GB cards are the right ones to buy for my drone and camera usage.

As I read through this post you can see that the 16GB card is listed as UHS-3 while the 32GB card is UHS-1. I don’t think that should make a difference in this usage.

Canon CanoScan LiDE 400

I’ve had a Canon CanoScan LiDE 210 for at least 7 years. One of the deciding factors when I bought it was that it used a single USB cable, with no need for a second power cable.

The 210 used a mini-usb cable, which was sometimes difficult to make sure it was inserted in the correct direction. I occasionally had problems with the software driving losing communication during a scan. I switched lengths of cable at various times, with shorter cables seeming to be more consistent, but never truly conclusive.

Recently the scanner stopped moving the scan bar back to the starting location before each scan. First it would leave the scan bar at the finish location, and move to the beginning position when I would start the next scan, but then that functionality stopped and it would only return to the start position when it was first plugged into the USB port. If I tried to scan a second page without unplugging the USB cable, the movement motor would make a nasty grinding sound as it tried to move the scanner further down the page, and would result in a messy black page in the scan results. It was especially frustrating if I was trying to create a multi page PDF.

I read several online reviews, and decided to get another Canon scanner. The reviews recommended saving $20 and getting the less expensive scanner, but from my reading, only the more expensive scanner used the USB C plug, which has the advantage that it can be plugged in either direction.

I found it fascinating how similar the new packaging is to the old packaging. The old box was designed with a carrying handle, while the new box is not. I expect that’s largely due to the predominance of mail order over retail purchase. The dimensions of the new scanner and the box are pretty much the same. The boxes can be stacked 13 high. The temperature range on the old one could go 5° to 35°C while the new one goes from 0° to 40°C. Each scanner lists a maximum 4800 dpi. The 210 reported 10 seconds per page. The 400 reports 8 seconds per page.

The new software is slightly nicer working with the most recent version of windows 10, but still nothing to be too excited about. My biggest issue is that the settings for the Auto button on the scanner will not allow me to specify it will always save a JPG file. I could do that with the old scanner software. Now, to make sure I always get the format I want I much launch the software and initiate the scanning from the PC.