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Old 04-04-2011, 18:52   #46
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

And how well did that old school navigation work in storms and fogs?

Just sayin.

It's good to have multiple redundancies, and no one way is the best. The way that works when you need it to is.
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Old 04-04-2011, 19:11   #47
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

The reefs and shores around Tasmania are absolutely littered with the remains of ships that didn't have any of the modern toys!
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Old 04-04-2011, 20:07   #48
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

Sarafina... I worked for many years commercial fishing and towing log booms and barges on the west coast of British Columbia. We didn't have the luxury of laying over in a tight little harbor to wait for winter storms and fog to clear so learning DR, chart plotting and basic navigation was pretty important. I remember the first boat I worked on that had a radar and couldn't believe how easy it was to rely on. My skipper at the time insisted we continue to do our regular plots even though we knew the waters well and had this new fangled nav assist. It never went down but he didn't trust it completely. Guess I inherited his distrust. I don't have any first hand experience in losing electronics at a critical time but I sure like to have a backup not 100% dependent on the latest and greatest electronic aids... just sayin'... cheers, Capt Phil
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Old 04-04-2011, 20:34   #49
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
I think the military could switch it off. But it's not just that.

Read on the status of the network, maintenance issues, failure modes (it does not have to be the satellites, it can be the ground computer network, the power grid, etc...), then think about the solar radiation problems.

I bet we will have a worldwide "Day Without GPS" one day sooner or later. Make your own decisions and make them wisely.

We all know nuclear power plants are 100% secure. Except for the ones in Chernobyl and Fukushima.

b.
Turning the GPS satellite system off is like switching off the internet.
True the US military has been accused of putting error factors in the system during critical operations.
But there was so much outrage from other countries like France who threatened to set up their own system that I believe they have stopped doing it.
Russia, China and the EU also have their own systems so if the US did pull the plug there are other options.
In reality the US canít switch off the system because like everyone else they canít operate without it.

To quote the late Douglas Adams

And so the problem remained; lots of the people were mean, and most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches.
Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans.
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Old 04-04-2011, 20:36   #50
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

One should also include all the electronics on engines. Smartcraft etc.

Many of the boats I work on, their owners rely on gauges and not the senses.

TV camera in the engine room? Bah!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 04-04-2011, 20:38   #51
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Re: Are we getting too dependent on modern toys?

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Originally Posted by boasun View Post
The Military who controls the GPS satellites can at any time reach up and throw the switch for all of them to OFF. That can happen in times of threats, war and war drills. And they have done this to specific areas recently.
Wrong - doubly wrong! It is both illegal in the USA to do that for the last decade or longer - and - the USA is not the only nation in the world of GPS. Other nations have GPS satellites up and operating and any action to "turn them off" would cause world havoc and massive deaths and destruction in both the skies, seas, and land worldwide. Those early days are gone. The US military relies on GPS to guide the attack aircraft and bombers, artillery, etc. to do their job. Turning of GPS would wipe out most of the precision navigation and attack capabilities of the US and other military aircraft and ships and land forces. Ain't ever going to happen. But - Mother Nature could do it.
- - Currently the DOD is testing tightly controlled techniques to deny GPS usage in a tightly defined geographical area such as would exist in a battlefield.
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Old 05-04-2011, 06:52   #52
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

Having navigated with DR many times around the E. end of LI, Race, Plum Gut, Block, Newport, Woods Hole, MV, and surrounding areas, I can say thank goodness for GPS! In areas like this, with strong currents, frequent fog, plenty or rocks, bars, and nasty sea conditions it was next to impossible to accurately hit a target buoy. Can remember one trip, wondering just what buoy I was seeing emerge from the fog and discovering it to be the buoy just off Sow and Pigs Reef, a most dangerous spot. Had to skedaddle quickly.
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:50   #53
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

I don't think anyone's slagging GPS...that would be like saying we should still forget to wash our hands before delivering children. But using GPS without understanding pilotage (and its relationship to "old" ideas like LOP, DR, set and drift, for instance) can appear to be like giving a laser to a caveman...indistinguishable from magic.
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Old 05-04-2011, 08:15   #54
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

The importance of being proficient in "basic" navigation techniques has little to do with GPS or plotters or whatever failing in and of themselves. The individual machines are quite well put together and some cruisers usually carry 2 or 3 or more GPS's onboard.
- - What is much more likely to happen is the boat loses its electrical system that is supplying the power to the electronics. Internal battery power in the GPS only lasts for an hour or two. For larger electronics there is no "internal" battery power available. Loss of your electrical system is not that uncommon so knowing how to "do it the old way" is very important.
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Old 05-04-2011, 08:36   #55
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon Lady View Post
Turning the GPS satellite system off is like switching off the internet.
True the US military has been accused of putting error factors in the system during critical operations.
But there was so much outrage from other countries like France who threatened to set up their own system that I believe they have stopped doing it.
Russia, China and the EU also have their own systems so if the US did pull the plug there are other options.
In reality the US canít switch off the system because like everyone else they canít operate without it.

(...)
You knowledge of how the GPS works and how the Internet works seems incomplete. These two systems share nothing except their dependence on electricity and their global coverage.

GPS is NOT like the Internet in respect of how it functions and what the failure risks are.

GPS can be switched of by an arbitrary decision of one govt. (US). God bless America for the system but let us not take it for granted.

France (or more accurately the EU) have NOT dropped the case:
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikiped..._navigation%29

The Russian system is up and running but it is NOT available to us. I have seen only one receiver ever (by Magellan) apparently capable of using the signal. It was NOT a marine unit neither a leisure market product.
https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikiped...S#Availability

Finally, I believe you are wrong in your statement that the US govt cannot switch the GPS because they cannot operate without it. GPS can be switched off selectively - both per area and per market segment (military / commercial / etc.). Google some and you will find pretty interesting information out there.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 05-04-2011, 08:37   #56
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

Besides a Garmin GPS plotter, have an old hand held waterproof GPS that I used to strap right on the deck of sea kayak in the days when I was attempting to drown myself going 10-20 miles off the Maine coast in that thing. (covered with dust in the basement if someone wants to buy it.) That Garmin uses standard AA batteries which last a long time. Also carry some rechargeable batteries and a lot of new spares. I think having a battery powered small GPS and spare batteries is wise should the 12v system fail. A small GPS also fits easily in the ditch bag.
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Old 05-04-2011, 08:52   #57
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

I'm curious about the concern for electrical failure on board. Failure of the charging system or some problem with wiring to various devices would be a problem for sure. I could work on that myself but would possibly need parts, of course.

However if one is equipped with a couple of devices using rechargeable lithium batteries (handheld VHF w/gps or Garmin 76), could not they be recharged several times using the energy stored in say a couple of 105ah AGMs like I have on board? Or even the dingy battery for the trolling motor?

Should I get the optional AA battery holder for my Standard Horizon handheld that is lithium powered currently?
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Old 05-04-2011, 10:34   #58
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

Loss of electrical power has never been a concern I feel is grounded. In the event of a total electrical meltdown, my handheld will go literally 2 days on 2 AA batteries. But the paper chart will be hard to see in the dark!!
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Old 05-04-2011, 10:59   #59
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

osirissail said it better than me... thanks... Capt Phil. Oops..I misspoke in a previous post when I said I hadn't lost power to nav aids. One pitch black, rainy night heading back up the Straights of Juan de Fuca, we lost everything, including the on deck compass light. I grabbed a coal oil anchor light and used it to illuminate the compass. Trying to hold a downwind point of sail and reasonable compass course was impossible with the wind shifting every direction until I realized the metal oil light was swinging the compass in 360's. Stupido, stupido, stupido! Finally picked up the flasher on Race Rocks and made Victoria but it was an interesting experience... cheers, CP
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Old 05-04-2011, 11:08   #60
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

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Guess I inherited his distrust. I don't have any first hand experience in losing electronics at a critical time but I sure like to have a backup not 100% dependent on the latest and greatest electronic aids... just sayin'... cheers, Capt Phil
I think you missed my point. Which is the same as yours ; -)

That would be the multiple redundancies idea...

We use GPS, but we also manually chart plot and, were we doing offshore sailing, would be using the compass and stars.

I confess that we would be slow with the compass, but we can each do it!
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