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Old 12-26-2016, 01:12 PM   #1
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Coastal Explorer - Thumbs Up

Santa brought me a copy of CE for Christmas, on sale at Defender. Great software! Easy to install, easy to download charts etc. .... working perfectly on a Windows 10 laptop with a Garmin GLO GPS. I am just starting up the learning curve, but so far I am very impressed with the features and the ease of use. My 2 cents, FWIW.
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Old 12-26-2016, 01:27 PM   #2
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I've used CE for about 4yrs and about 5000nm. Very happy with it still. Used Maptech prior, that was clunky and buggy. As far as I can recall, CE never has given me an unexplained shutdown. Seamless chart transfer as you move along is super cool.
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Old 12-26-2016, 01:42 PM   #3
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I have been in the software application development business for over 30 years, so I know what good software looks and acts like. In a world full of crappy software, this is the real thing. And no, I have no connection with Rose Point.
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Old 12-26-2016, 02:01 PM   #4
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One thing I would like is some sort of damping on the speed readout. Due to sampling rate being a little fast, it picks up changes from the seas, etc and it makes it hard to get an average speed. Makes it hard to get a firm ETA and do range calcs.

It would be nice to be able to change the time period over which the speed is calculated. Change it as conditions change. 5sec, 10sec, 20sec, etc.

I asked about this way back and it did not seem available. Others were asking about it too, maybe the issue has been addressed??
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Old 12-26-2016, 02:56 PM   #5
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It is there!

Speed and ETA damping has finally been implemented:

https://www.coastalexplorer.net/foru...t/topics/76950

Another really nice thing about CE is that they respond to their users requests. It is altogether a wonderful piece of software.
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Old 12-26-2016, 03:15 PM   #6
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Been running CE since shortly after acquiring the boat in May. Absolutely delighted with it and I seem to find a new feature every time I boot up.

Here in PNW, the graphical tide and current tables are indispensable.

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Old 12-26-2016, 03:29 PM   #7
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Sweeeeet! Just found the damping option and bumped it up a bit. It must have been automatically added in one of the updates. Nice.

Will check it out next time I'm out.

Now if I can remember where the feature is!! I'm horrible about that kind of memory...
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Old 12-26-2016, 06:17 PM   #8
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No version for Mac, unfortunately, although CE support discusses certain "workarounds." Think I'll hold out for an actual Mac-friendly app. It seems I can get myself into enough software trouble even when just trying to do everything right on compatible platforms.
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Old 12-26-2016, 07:52 PM   #9
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We seem to be the only people in the world to have a problem with CE. We purchased a copy several years ago in case our old, old Nobletec and, even older, laptop crapped out.

Our problem is with it tracking while at anchor-it won't. For us, this is a very important tool. We've spent many hours on the phone with them. They seem very responsive and try to help. We thought we had it fixed earlier this year only to find that when we actually got out on the water (we're 800 miles from our boat in Alaska) it still wasn't working. The new laptop that we had it loaded on blew the motherboard shortly after that and we just got that fixed (last Toshiba I will ever buy). Next week I'll call them again (sigh) and see what we can work out.

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Old 12-27-2016, 08:34 AM   #10
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Our problem is with it tracking while at anchor-it won't. For us, this is a very important tool.
So you want it to trace your location as you swing around at anchor? Like in the picture below?

The CE guys have probably gone over this with you, but as I recall there are three criteria that will trigger a mark on your track. They are

1) Time interval

2) Distance covered

3) Change in heading

I had a similar issue and played around with these setting (I think you right click on the track to access them). I don't remembered exactly what changes I made, but for anchoring I expect heading change and time interval are probably most important. And you will need a good heading sensor (specifically not a GPS) for the heading part to work.

That said, I think there have been times when the boat has been moving around and the track hasn't been dropping points as expected. But I haven't dug into it to figure out what's going on.
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Old 12-27-2016, 11:10 AM   #11
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What are folks recommending for GPS, to use with CE? Wireless, USB? Same question for heading sensor? I already have a rats nest of cords in the pilot House!
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Old 12-27-2016, 11:22 AM   #12
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The most unstable element of CE is the Windows USB interface to various devices. I have always run CE with either a NMEA 0183 interface through a serial port or multiplexer while also running a NMEA 2000 gateway. Both are USB devices which need to be periodically reset. The advantage of those interfaces is it can give you GPS, compass, and depth data. For standalone purposes I use a USB GPS puck. I just got my Rosepoint NEMO which will do away with the USB interface to NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183. That should eliminate the problem I experience with the USB interfaces from time to time.

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Old 12-27-2016, 12:00 PM   #13
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I bought the GPS puck from RosePoint..wanting to avoid it's the hardware, no it's the software discussion in case of any problems.

I'm impressed. It is wired into the laptop. I would occasionally have it totally covered up with a towel, charts, guide books or whatever. No possible way it is "seeing the sky" and it gave me accurate readings.
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Old 12-27-2016, 12:36 PM   #14
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Same here, bought the usb puck from Rosepoint too. Wanted to avoid the same blame game. Gets a good signal through the wheelhouse windscreen glass.

One other idea I came up with was to cut a couple pieces of smoked plexiglass and keep them in the wheelhouse. Laptops often don't dim enough so to keep ambient light down, lay the pglass on the screen. Need to look at detail, move the pglass, look, put it back. No buttons to mash. Just dark enough to keep light down, but can see most details through it.
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Old 12-27-2016, 01:07 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpbrady View Post
The most unstable element of CE is the Windows USB interface to various devices. I have always run CE with either a NMEA 0183 interface through a serial port or multiplexer while also running a NMEA 2000 gateway. Both are USB devices which need to be periodically reset. The advantage of those interfaces is it can give you GPS, compass, and depth data. For standalone purposes I use a USB GPS puck. I just got my Rosepoint NEMO which will do away with the USB interface to NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183. That should eliminate the problem I experience with the USB interfaces from time to time.

Tom
t

Care to give us a review of the NEMO ? I've had trouble connecting my ap20 via 0183 and I'm hoping this solves that.
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Old 12-27-2016, 01:16 PM   #16
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Haven't put the NEMO in yet but I think Twistedtree was in the beta program and had good things to say about it. It's not cheap, being twice what the CE software costs but being underway almost 120 days a year, I view things a little differently.

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Old 12-27-2016, 01:34 PM   #17
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Tracking while at anchor

While at anchor and when I’m awake, I always know approximately where my anchor is relative to the boat (using CE), so I see no apparent need to use anchor tracking for myself. Of course, it would tell me where I’ve been (which, from what I’ve seen is typically a mess on the screen), and might be useful in the morning to tell me where I swung during the night, but what’s the usefulness of that if you’re using anchor boundary circles with the alarm on? Please help me out with this – what is the real value with tracking while at anchor? What am I missing?
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Old 12-27-2016, 02:38 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by tpbrady View Post
The most unstable element of CE is the Windows USB interface to various devices. I have always run CE with either a NMEA 0183 interface through a serial port or multiplexer while also running a NMEA 2000 gateway. Both are USB devices which need to be periodically reset. The advantage of those interfaces is it can give you GPS, compass, and depth data. For standalone purposes I use a USB GPS puck. I just got my Rosepoint NEMO which will do away with the USB interface to NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183. That should eliminate the problem I experience with the USB interfaces from time to time.

Tom

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Old 12-27-2016, 03:27 PM   #19
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Haven't put the NEMO in yet but I think Twistedtree was in the beta program and had good things to say about it. It's not cheap, being twice what the CE software costs but being underway almost 120 days a year, I view things a little differently.

Tom
Yes, I have been Beta testing it for over a year now. One of these days I'll write a blog article, but here's a quick summary:

- Nemo is essentially the interface to all your marine electronics. It connects to your marine electronics two standard using the two standard interfaces (NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183), and connect to your computer via ethernet.

- Because it connects to your computer via ethernet and not USB or serial ports, it actually works reliably. No drives are required, which is the source of most evil in Windows.

- The NMEA 0183 interfaces are correct RS-422 interfaces, not RS232 which so many people use. The two are NOT the same, and are NOT compatible by design and by specification. Using RS232 to interface to marine electronics is just asking for a flaky, unreliable system.

- It supports four 0183 inputs, so you can bring in data from a number of sensors without requiring external multiplexers. This reduces complexity, reduces the number of failure points, and reduces cost.

- It supports two 0183 outputs. This lets you directly control an autopilot via 0183, and other devices as well.

- In addition to interfacing all your data to Coastal Explorer, Nemo also sends the data on ethernet using a de-facto UDP standard. Other devices on your network can pick up and use this data, like ipad apps, CE running on a laptop, etc.

- It has excellent NMEA 2000 support including superior source data selection. With N2K, all data from all sensors is on the network at the same time. As a result, it's up to each listening device to decide which sensors it wants to use. This is referred to as Source Selection, and some vendors do ti a lot better than others. The simplest devices will automatically pick one of each sensor type, and typically they will fail over to another if the first fails. But you have no control over which it picks.

Better devices preset you with a list of available devices and let you pick which you want to use. At least this lets you ensure the system is using the best of each device type that you might have. If the selected sensor fails, some will automatically switch to something else, where others require you do in and make a new choice.

The best devices present you with a list of available sensors and let you prioritize their use, picking which you want to be primary, which is secondary, and so fourth. CE+Nemo does this better than anyone else, allowing you to prioritize and arbitrary number of devices. The only other product I'v encountered that comes close it the Furuno NavPilot which let's you prioritize up to three devices for each data type.

- Nemo passe "native" N2K data back and fourth between CE and the N2K network. This means that the actual N2K messages pass through to CE and it processes and interprets them. And CE send N2K messages which nemo relays to the N2K network. LOTS of other N2K interfaces don't do this, but rather translate the between N2K and 0183, communicating with the computer only via 0183. Translation between the two is NOT 1 for 1, and can sometimes be quite nessy. Plus you lose all ability to do source selection for your N2K sensors. Nemo does this correctly.

- Nemo can also translate between its connected 0183 and N2K interfaces. The provides a bridging function between the two that otherwise requires dedicated converter devices. And it does this translation MUCH better than any other device that I've used, allowing you to select individual sentences/PGNs that you want translated, selecting the update frequency, and of course using proper source selection. The is NO OTHER DEVICE out there that can do this.

- Nemo might seem expensive (I think list is $699), but when you look at what it replaces, it's a real bargain. First, if you are going to add proper RS-422 data interfaces to your PC, it's going to cost you. Yes, you can get RS-232 USB adapters for about 5 cents each, but remember, they are not compatible with NMEA 0183, and although they will probably appear to work, it will be unreliable. I used one once in a pinch, and all seemed to work OK. But when I looked at the actual sentences being received by CE, a significant portion of them were corrupted. Enough made it through OK for things to mostly work, but do you really want corrupted data running around you navigation system? I sure don't.

Anyway, an ethernet-connected 4 port RS-422 interface can cost $300-$500. So right there is probably 60% of the cost.

Then an N2K interface will cost another $200 or so, and they are all USB connected. That means they only work with the computer they are plugged into, and you have the associated driver nightmares. Nemo gives you the same capability, plus more. The data is on the network, so any CE (or other) systems can see it. And you are spared the driver fiasco. At this point you have pretty much covered the cost of Nemo.

Oh, and because nemo puts the data on the network, it eliminates the need for one of the many devices that do that as a dedicated function. There's another couple hundred $$ saved.

Then, if you have any data translation conversion required between N2K and 0183, then you really start coming out ahead with Nemo. I have already replaced two $200 converters, and expect to replace two more. That's $800 worth of converters eliminated

- And in good Rose Point fashion, the product is reliable, simple to use, easy to update over the internet, etc.

When you consider what you get for the $$ your spend a dedicated chart plotter, or how much more software like MaxSea costs, and how it solves none of the data interfacing problems, I think CE + Nemo is a real bargain.
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Old 12-27-2016, 03:33 PM   #20
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While at anchor and when Iím awake, I always know approximately where my anchor is relative to the boat (using CE), so I see no apparent need to use anchor tracking for myself. Of course, it would tell me where Iíve been (which, from what Iíve seen is typically a mess on the screen), and might be useful in the morning to tell me where I swung during the night, but whatís the usefulness of that if youíre using anchor boundary circles with the alarm on? Please help me out with this Ė what is the real value with tracking while at anchor? What am I missing?

I find it useful in a couple of ways. First, it gives a good sense of how the boat is swinging at anchor. If the swing arc starts to move, then you might have a dragging problem starting to develop. So in that sense it's an early warning system.

Second, it provides a good quick-glance read on things in the middle of the night, I can take a quick peak and see where the boat has been, where it is now, and either get comfortable that all is well, or that we might be starting to have a problem. Again, it's a early warning system.

Is it required? Definitely not. Just waiting for an anchor alarm to go off would be fine. It's all up to how you want to run things on your boat. It's just another tool in the bag, if you want it and care to use it.
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