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Old 05-04-2011, 11:13   #61
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

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Originally Posted by sarafina View Post
I confess that we would be slow with the compass, but we can each do it!

I think that you mean sextant?
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Old 05-04-2011, 11:13   #62
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

Maybe one of those small solar battery chargers would be worth having to recharge AA batteries. I don't know if the boat's solar panels could be rigged directly to 1.5v batteries. In the event of complete battery failure, however unlikely, the inverter would also likely be wiped out. Thinking about the consequences of a lightning hit, everything attached through either + or - side of wiring might be toast. I always disconnect everything possible when lightning threatens, including vhf and ssb antennas, and grounds which is fairly easy but main batteries not so. The l.e.d. flashlights available now will last for days in an emergency. The hiking headlamps seem to last forever before needing batteries. Have changed all boat lighting to l.e.d. bulbs as well. Keeping a spare full sized battery is probably a good idea but there is only room for so much stuff. Am wondering about the history of whether main batteries are damaged in lightning strikes or if maybe that is not really something to worry about.
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Old 05-04-2011, 11:19   #63
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

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Originally Posted by four winds View Post
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?
Check out the SH box. Our set came with the extra tray.

There are basically two directions to go:

- maximise or,
- minimise.

In our boat we minimised - got smaller batteries, better charging from alternator, more solar power. We downgraded to netbooks. We are in the process of re-LED'ing. This is because our boat is 26'.

In power demanding boats we always maximise - get more batteries, get genset, etc.. More toys and more ways to keep them going.

All our toys take rechargeable NiMHs. We can charge directly from solar or directly from alt even if baterries go belly up (but there are two batteries too).

In any case, I can deliver any boat across without electricity, except with a big boat this would take a lot of time (try to hoist that 200 lbs main without a power winch ...).

Interestingly, there was a boat in the Atlantic abandoned some time ago purely on the basis of the fact that they lost all electricity - batteries died and there was no back-up system of any sort.

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Old 05-04-2011, 11:29   #64
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Re: Are we getting too dependent on modern toys?

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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.

(...)
But the one who is wrong is probably you:

"... The current GPS consists of three major segments. These are the space segment (SS), a control segment (CS), and a user segment (U.S.).[33] The U.S. Air Force develops, maintains, and operates the space and control segments..."

"... It is maintained by the United States government..."

both quotes from the Wikipedia.

GPS is a US owned, US maintained and US operated system.

I do not think anybody in the govt will care about what is legal or not and how much havoc they cause should national security be at stake.

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Old 05-04-2011, 15:01   #65
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

Wikipedia is and never has been a reliable source of information as it is "open" to anybody to post.
- - Specificially 10 USC 2281 is US Federal law that requires the continued operation and maintenance of GPS for both Military and Civilian and also International use.
(b) Sustainment and Operation for Civilian Purposes.— The Secretary of Defense shall provide for the sustainment and operation of the GPS Standard Positioning Service for peaceful civil, commercial, and scientific uses on a continuous worldwide basis free of direct user fees. In doing so, the Secretary—

- - Addtionally US Federal Law 42 USC 14712 also directs the continued access and availability of GPS -
(a) Finding The Congress finds that the Global Positioning System, including satellites, signal equipment, ground stations, data links, and associated command and control facilities, has become an essential element in civil, scientific, and military space development because of the emergence of a United States commercial industry which provides Global Positioning System equipment and related services.

- - In short GPS cannot be turned off short of a "Dr Strangelove" type situation. So don't worry about it.
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Old 05-04-2011, 15:28   #66
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Harbingers of doom, speculating about a Total GPS shutdown miss several points. Firstly the military can selectively deny GPS so no need for total shutdown

Secondly any potential total shut down would destroy forever the credibility of the US GpS program. This would spur on other countries and groupings and the US would loose the billions of dollar industry that hangs around GPS.

Since GLONASS the Russian will be fully back to operational status in 2011. This would then be the leader in GNSS. Something the US will not cede lightly.

Equally the EUs plan to complete the Galileo system , currently scheduled for 2019 would certainly get a huge shot in the arm if GPS was disabled. Again not something the US wants.

In reality a total ordered shutdown is a doomsday scenario and can be discounted along with all the other doomsday stuff

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Old 05-04-2011, 15:50   #67
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

And I didn't mentioned that your safety net, the EPIRB, is relient on the Russian satellite system.
Or that France is putting GPS type satellites into orbit. Wonder if we will need to get a separate GPS type unit for it??
But seeing that on your boat, you could have a catastrophic electronic failure do to a lightening strike or coffee spilt on some Electronic geewiz unit. Then what do you do when there is a clear horizon and not a boat, ship or plane around at all.

I do like the GPS, it is an excellent tool for navigation. But when I was working offshore, I've observed too many professionals depending only on the GPS and not doing any of the navigation work required on the larger ships... Am happy to have sailed on the large ships first, because I developed good navigation skills & work habits on them. Then working in the Oil Patch, I've never seen so many lackadaisical attitudes toward basic navigation...
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Old 05-04-2011, 15:53   #68
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

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With regards to the modern car. Unfortunately (or fortunately) it is so dependent on microprocessors, that the old way of tuning a carb or turning off a key (in the toyota case) shall not work. So, even having a toolbox would not help, as the electronics are too integrated... Is this good or bad? I can see both sides.....
Good as they are very very reliable much more so than old points ignition and carburettors. I made a lot of money out of old technology these days you have got to go looking for something to fix.
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Old 05-04-2011, 16:06   #69
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

As others have posted, I believe the "too much dependence on modern electronics" is quite evident in newbie and some not so newbie cruisers. And the main reason for really learning and staying proficient in classical navigation procedures is our blind faith in the integrity of our boat's electrical system.
- - Some failure points have been pointed out already, but it also only takes a shorted out main battery cell to bring down your whole electrical system. Rough weather can "stir up" the flaked off stuff that settled to the bottom of your battery's case just like sludge and dirt can get stirred up in your diesel tank and take out your engine. At least with the engine, you can change filters.
- - Not so with a shorted battery. Separate battery banks certainly are a major safety factor in preventing a total electrical system crash, but they need to be wired and properly switched to allow use.
- - And when all else doesn't work a drawer full of AA batteries and a handheld GPS or GPS/radio - is your last refuge on a dark and stormy night trying to make landfall.
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Old 05-04-2011, 16:07   #70
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

Modern electronics are fabulous and we've all come to accept that they're also pretty reliable. I thought so too until I bought a bus for our family business 3 years ago. It had everything electronic that you could imagine, engine, transmission, suspension ride control, air conditioning and ABS braking, all computer controlled. The only snag was it was made in China. Now I'm looking for electronic stuff for the new boat. The most important criteria is that it doesn't have "Made in China" anywhere on it.

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Old 05-04-2011, 16:12   #71
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

Wonder if anyone here ever tried to tune his TV remote control or electronic watch or would return his smart phone for an old mechanical dial phone ... things change !

In 10 years things will have changed even more "dramatically" (from our point of view) and nobody will question why his car has a "Cray Supercomputer" built in.

And in 10 years even a dinghy will have a built in navigation control ... not because it's usable, just because it's cheap.
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Old 05-04-2011, 16:16   #72
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

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. . . The only snag was it was made in China. Now I'm looking for electronic stuff for the new boat. The most important criteria is that it doesn't have "Made in China" anywhere on it.
Greg
Well, that is a good way to avoid being "too dependent on Modern Electronics" and instead becoming a minimalist electrical and electronics equipped boat.
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Old 05-04-2011, 16:55   #73
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Originally Posted by boasun
And I didn't mentioned that your safety net, the EPIRB, is relient on the Russian satellite system.
Or that France is putting GPS type satellites into orbit. Wonder if we will need to get a separate GPS type unit for it??
Just to correct some mis facts. France isn't launching Gps. It's the European Unions Galileo project actually headquartered in Prague. Galileo is compatible with current GPS receivers. ( as EGNOS is).

Also while it's true the Russians participate in the COSPAR/SARSAT SAR system, ( which detects 406 epirbs, it's worth pointing out that most of the Russian payloads are not functioning at present.

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Old 05-04-2011, 17:02   #74
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- And when all else doesn't work a drawer full of AA batteries and a handheld GPS or GPS/radio - is your last refuge on a dark and stormy night trying to make landfall.
Well that's a better option then trying to use your sextant in such a circumstance.

There's simply no evidence to show that (a) so called " old salts" actually knew much. (b) there's more traditional nav taught every year then ever before ( see RYA figures) and (c) fatalities due to poor navigation are tiny

Really reliance on GPS is understandable and overwhelmingly safe and reliable. Drop your sextant over the side had the same effect as dropping your GPS over as well.

Redundancy provisions to mitigate against batteries , engines, acts of gods etc are doable and relatively cheap.

This whole topic is really a " bah humbug" argument.

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Old 05-04-2011, 17:38   #75
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Re: Too Dependent on Modern Electronics?

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The most important criteria is that it doesn't have "Made in China" anywhere on it.

Greg
That is going to be difficult ... except you want some military approved stuff. But for that amount of money you might be able to buy a new boat (a large one !).

If millions of commercial vehicles (land, sea and air based) are using GPS and all that "modern" electronics - well that must be good enough for me. All this talking - older times were better times is really questionable.
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