Sunday, November 23, 2014

Apple takes over the world

Digital Yacht AIS to WiFi Converter
A standing joke between Ed and I is that Ed feels there is only once device needed on a sailboat: an iPad. We have a lot of fun with it. But sometimes he shows me some really neat apps on his iPad.

I mentioned in a previous post that I helped Ed rewire his AIS, Chart Plotter, and WiFi (I think I actually said Ethernet but it was WiFi) The box on the left is the WiFi converter. It is from Digital Yacht This particular model talks high speed NMEA - the normal connection for AIS devices. There is also a model that talks low speed (4800 baud.) and I believe but can't find the link a version the interfaces with a NMEA 2000 network.

The way we set this up on Hooligan is that the output of the AIS is broadcast over a WiFi link on the boat. Since AIS devices also contain GPS devices the Converter knows the location of the boat in addition to the location of the targets. These are displayed by an app on the IPad. Since it is all wireless Ed can walk around Hooligan and still have a picture of the AIS vessels nearby. I am sure the Captain of the USS Stark would have loved to have such a device!

It is pretty cool. The downside is that it uses a TCP connection so only one device at a time can connect. We had the iPad and Ed's computer both trying to connect (the device does a great job delivering data to OpenCPN) and of course the software wasn't having it. But still, a pretty cool device in the $275 range.

Fair winds and following seas :)

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