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Old 13-03-2014, 11:47   #1
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Wireless Instruments We are about to have a cheap alternative

Hi All I sail a Seaway 25 they are a Doug Peterson Design mainly built as a trailersailer my yacht is one of the last from the mould and is called an Elite she was built to sail Off shore and unusual has a fixed keel. Anyway for sometime I've been thinking of getting wind instruments I already have Tacktick Speed & Depth combo and up to now was thinking the Tack Tick was the only way to go for wind Instruments as well. I was doing a little search on the internet not looking for anything in Particular when i came accross something which hasn't even hit the market yet due in June July by a company and the instrument is the same name called Sail Timer Inc.This has got me really excited its the first full wirless solar powered wind instrument hope your all sitting down for $350.00 the big differance with this unit is you can buy a receiver which will talk to your existing instrument even better directly to your phone. They pointed out to me if I bought the navigation app I think its $14.00 and any GPS tablet Reader which you can buy for a around $200.00 dollars for under $550 you'll have a chart plotter wind speed and direction If you go to the Sail Timer web site this is there second instrument the first looked like the tradional windex with paddle wheel the new unit is smaller does not have an arrow and is anti perch as far as birds destroying it suggest anyone thinging of new instruments well worth the look at last someone has come up with wireless at a sensible price
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Old 13-03-2014, 11:51   #2
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Re: Wireless Instruments We are about to have a cheap alternative

For all this wireless solar powered instruments how come someone hasn't invented a solar powered wireless operated LED mast head light then we wouldn't need to run any wires in the mast
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Old 13-03-2014, 13:16   #3
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Re: Wireless Instruments We are about to have a cheap alternative

Solar Navigation Lights by McDermott

The problem though is that the masthead and anchor lights need to be controllable from the deck or below deck, otherwise your anchor light or your mast head light would be on at night, even when under sail at night or in restricted visibility....when a vessel under sail is not supposed to illuminate its masthead or anchor light.
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Old 13-03-2014, 15:04   #4
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Re: Wireless Instruments We are about to have a cheap alternative

Gonna keep my eye out for it, though I'm not sure what I'll use it with down the road, but maybe.

Just noticed, they only offer it (as far as I can tell) on iOS. So, you'll have to get lucky to find a cheap used iPad to keep your cost down. Otherwise, you're paying a bunch more.

I am definitely waiting for more on how it'll interface with existing equipment though. Would love to add it to my existing chartplotter.
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Old 13-03-2014, 15:57   #5
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Re: Wireless Instruments We are about to have a cheap alternative

If a battery is large enough for extended use on a masthead light how heavy would it have to be? Unnecessary or just extra weight aloft is not a good thing. I'd be very concerned about battery life and the amount of time to charge especially if it can charge on an overcast day. A remote device can have a wireless rf remote but if the battery is dead on the remote unit it does little good.

The Sail Timer app got only 2 1/2 stars out of 5 and only 7 reviews. Not a stellar endorsement. I did find one customer rating of 3 out of 5 stars on the current SailTimer Wind Instrument but no reviews.

Marine and sensible price don't seem to know each other.

I'd wait for a review on the SailTimer Wind Instrument in a periodical like Practical Sailor or even a hands on blog in the Cruisers Forum before throwing money at one.
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Old 13-03-2014, 20:56   #6
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Re: Wireless Instruments We are about to have a cheap alternative

David thats why you would need a wireless control like the wireless intruments to switch the light on and off just like a eletronic garage door you could even have a dusk to dawn control when you at sea so they would switch on and off when directed via the wireless control its not rocket science wish i had the know how I would do it myself
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Old 13-03-2014, 21:04   #7
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Re: Wireless Instruments We are about to have a cheap alternative

kentobin LED draw almost no power the battery would be lithuim the same as the wirless/solar instruments and i assure you this would weigh a hell of a lot less than the cables run up the mast and a lot easier to install and maitain as far as going up the mast the sail timer instrument is made so you can raise and lower them from your deck so maitence and battery replacement would be really simple or like me I bought a mountain climbing kit and can climb my mast single handed so I f i want a more permanent fixing this wouldn't be a problem anyway by the way using the mountain climbing gear is easy no weight on anything not even muscles a friend of mine I lent it to went to the top of his mast to do some maitence by himself I'm 64 he's 75 and not that fit in fact he has heart problems
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Old 13-03-2014, 22:36   #8
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Re: Wireless Instruments We are about to have a cheap alternative

Just saw anther comment on wether charging will happen on a dull day and the answer is yes solar charging has nothing to do with heat just light my solar charger supplies 15 on a dull day and up to 20 on a sunnyday and as most of us know it only takes about an hour to recharge lithium batteries take your cordless drill for instance and the battery pack wouldnt need to be anywhere as big as a cordless drill both the led lighting and the instrument only draw milli amps I left my navigation led lights on once when i went away for a week by 12 volt batteries showed to be fully charged on my return at that stage my solar panel had become disconnected no nothing was keeping them topped its one of the reason myself and all the members in my sailing club have swapped all lighting to LED
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Old 13-03-2014, 22:37   #9
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Re: Wireless Instruments We are about to have a cheap alternative

by the way just read that back I'm no typist
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Old 13-03-2014, 22:43   #10
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Re: Wireless Instruments We are about to have a cheap alternative

why would you buy an Ipad you can buy a E-Reader which is much easier to read in the day time in fact you can't read an I-pad in day light if you go online you'll find E=reders for under $150 in fact when I contacted them thats what they suggest definatly not an I Pad just of interest I just bought a brand new HTC phone which does everything you would need for this for $170.00 retail as someone stole my other phone if I had gone online i could have picked up one for a lot less needed the phone today pity
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Old 13-03-2014, 22:49   #11
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Re: Wireless Instruments We are about to have a cheap alternative

Quote:
Originally Posted by yachtsman49 View Post
Just saw anther comment on wether charging will happen on a dull day and the answer is yes solar charging has nothing to do with heat just light my solar charger supplies 15 on a dull day and up to 20 on a sunnyday
Frequently Asked Questions about Solar Panels
A cloudy day provides sufficient diffuse light by which the panel will produce electricity. Optimum electrical production occurs with bright and sunny weather conditions. Under a light overcast, the modules might produce about half as much as under full sun, ranging down to as little as five to ten percent under a dark overcast day
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Old 15-03-2014, 01:37   #12
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Re: Wireless Instruments We are about to have a cheap alternative

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Originally Posted by yachtsman49 View Post
why would you buy an Ipad you can buy a E-Reader...
If this is in reference to the SailTimer app, it's because they don't have the fully function app available for anything but Apple devices. You can get the wind speed app from them for android devices that will pair to the unit, but they state in their FAQ section:

Is there a version for Android?
Yes, we have a wind gauge app for Android. We haven't added charts to that version yet though, while evaluating some security issues since Android apps and content like charts in them can be shared online. We would not be able to license government chart data if the charts were being distributed freely online. That is protected in the iTunes app, but we are working on security approaches for the Android app before adding charts to it. So for now, the Android version is a standard display of wind speed and direction for the SailTimer Wind Vane.

And, that's also not counting in that some E-readers might not be compatible with the app either. The only way to get the full functions of the system as of yet, is to do it with an iPad.
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Old 15-03-2014, 03:54   #13
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Re: Wireless Instruments We are about to have a cheap alternative

My knees started to give out a few years ago so I gave up on the masthead light and put an anchor light either side aft on the solar panel, you are not required to have the anchor light at the mast head just have one which is visible all round.
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Old 22-03-2014, 22:10   #14
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Re: Wireless Instruments We are about to have a cheap alternative

This company if you talk to them you will find being very new to marine wind instruments and to problems raised by my fellow yachtsman on there web site but they are listening instead of quoting off there site try talking to them they are still building this unit after the success of the first mast head unit which looked similar to tacktick where the new one will be anti perch [the cockotoos here in sydney can make a real mess when they mistake wind indicators as a perch] as far as what the instrument will talk to quoted here again if you talk directly to them the new one will talk to any mobile[ called cell by the yanks] phone any brand and any e-reader they are also going to have a unit to download to your current instruments but have yet not released imformation on this because they are still ironing out problems with them I finding it quite amazing that other writers on these pages are trying to rip this new instrument apart before its even realieased like you must have shares in Ray Marine the owners now of Tacktick and the negative feedback seems to come from USA as if there jealous of something made in Canada whereas I look forward to anything which will make my sailing days easier
also to the gentleman who commented on my idea of a mast head light run on solar and him saying what happens on a dull day can i say its only an idea but I also ask him what does he think all the wireless instruments are run to save you they are run on battery solar power of which millions have been sold and in the main with no complaints I also ask has he tried LED lighting the amount of energy required is almost nil as pointed out I ran my navigation lights for over a week nothing charging the battery and my house battery dropped from fully charged to dropping one volt my batteries when fully charged show around 13.5volts it dropped to 12.5 now thats port starboard and aft light running 8days as suggested using a small lithuim battery but again its just an idea
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Old 23-03-2014, 01:36   #15
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Re: Wireless Instruments We are about to have a cheap alternative

Not sure where anyone in the thread was "ripping this apart", to be honest. Everything I mentioned, was what I was able to find from their website. And as I said, I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. Nowhere have I found information about e-readers being mentioned, and I can only imagine that they would fall in line with their current Android support: Windspeed only. I say this because, again, based on all their information on their website, the only platform that supports their full app capability, is only available at this time for iOS. The reason I keep bringing up the site, is because it's their first entrance to information. If they're developing something, great! But use their main resource to keep the public in the loop. I have a SH chartplotter, so if I got one, it'd be to hook with that anyway, so I'm not going to bother calling them for details about an e-reader or whatever. I imagine anyone stumbling upon the site isn't going to bother calling to check either. They will see the site, see the iOS support, and move on. Probably a very small percentage would call to check, just a reality. To be blunt, and this is only my personal opinion, but if there's not so much as a hint to it on the site (which would be where I would expect to find it), I'm not going to bother to call, I'll move on and assume that it's not going to work with what I have.

The e-reader thing does make me curious. Not because I would prefer an e-reader over a tablet, by any means, but because I know a lot of cheap e-readers, and even tablets for that matter, have issues regarding installation of certain apps. Some tablets don't natively support the Play Store for apps out of the box, or require side-loading of apps to get them to work. I can only imagine an e-reader would be similar. So if they're developing stuff for readers as well, I'm just curious as to how. And again, I say that because as of yet, they haven't mentioned it on the site.

I'm not knocking the product, I'm not saying it might not be a great avenue for people that have setups that would be suited perfectly for it. However, if their website is to be the entrance to ordering this thing, they may wish to keep people up to date on there. The last newsletter they posted, was in June of last year, after having regular updates. Even an update to let people know what they're working on to make work, would do wonders. That's just my own observation, based on how I would react to seeing just the site without other information on it.

I really hoping they are getting closer to come out with it, because I would love to have something to interface with my plotter that wouldn't cost me a thousand bucks. Again, just to be clear, I'm not saying their current version, or this expected one is a bad thing. My only issue is the lack of information available to anyone that doesn't decide to call and ask. Even a "Under Development" features list would do wonders.

***

As for the solar-powered masthead light idea, it'd be a fine idea as long as there's a way to switch on and off the light from below. I think the cost is probably what keeps a lot of those from coming up, because by the time you put all the pieces together, it's just easier for people to wire in regular version anyway, using the batteries that a boat already is going to have. Yeah, the wiring weighs more and stuff, but that's my guess as to why you don't see too many. I don't think it's really a matter of doing it or not doing it, just most companies probably don't see it as a completely practical solution.

The other thing, is depending on the size of the solar panel needed to recharge it. I know that the little garden solar lights use one that's a couple square inches, but they also don't have the output that would be required of a full masthead anchor light. Someone on another forum did some rough calculations, and came up with needing a solar panel approx the size of an envelope to supply enough to recharge, based on a 200ma light, which is on the upper limit of LED mastheads I've seen. I dunno, seems like an interesting project, and I'm sure someone might be able to piece one together to test with. Guess it just comes down to is the size of the overall package on the mast, when you add in the batteries needed to power the light through the night at the required output to be within the 2 mile range, and the size of the panel to recharge. Remember, you're charging at a much slower rate than a household AA charger will charge. So you need a panel large enough to recharge that battery system during the course of the day, even if cloudy. Just stuff to overcome, I guess.

People were just pointing out possible issues, not necessarily shooting the ideas down. More like, brainstorming.
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