Atlantic Crossing Map

Monday, August 11, 2008

iNavX with Wifi Instruments

During the early morning motor back to Portland, I managed to figure out my wifi network problems (hardware issue, not iNavX) and got the boats instruments beaming happily to my iPhone. Once I got the network squared away, I was able to output the instrument data with either Expedition or Franson GPS Gate which we use anyway to split our instrument data to various programs. Pulling it up in iNavX was easy.

I must say, I was fairly impressed. We were using the "steer to" command in the Capn on our Nav computer and the iPhone picked up the temporary waypoint and did the same. Operation with a "real" gps was much better. I can't blame iNavX for this because I think it is an iPhone firmware problem, but I do have hope with future OS upgrades.

Here you can see the instrument data with the compass across the top, boatspeed and magnetic heading added.

It automatically gave distance and bearing to waypoint, time to go and cross track error. Depth, Water temp, and Wind data were also displayed.

Having a small chart up in the cockpit was quite nice when sailing out "The Hussey" at the beginning of the race, but I hadn't figured out my network problem yet, so it wasn't as good as it would have been with wifi instruments. Also, the zoom out feature that is still a few days away was much needed. Ultimately, with a 15" screen just two steps down into the pilothouse, that proved easier, but I was pleased with navigating on the iPhone and with the new zoom feature think I will use it more. Also, if I didn't have a computer screen so close like we do I would find it even more useful.


Darin Keever said...

What wifi instruments do you have on board?

Ibsailn said...

Sorry if that title is confusing. Instruments are Raymarine ST60 series fed through a Brookhouse multiplexer to our two onboard computers as well as a bluetooth transmitter for use with a laptop. Once inside the computer it is an easy task to transmit the nmea data over wifi using either expedition or the Franson GPS program. I redid the NMEA system last winter and will eventually post about that once I have time to compile my schematics, pictures and write the text.

John said...

Do you know if it's possible to connect an iPhone to an onboard GPS via Bluetooth rather than wifi? I recently added iNavx to my iPhone, and I'd like to connect to my main Garmin GPS onboard, but don't want the complexity and power draw of a wifi network. It's a smallish sportboat. I have a laptop that's capable of transmitting Bluetooth 100 meters so I wonder...

Ibsailn said...

Unfortunately Apple in their infinite wisdome have diabled all profiles in the Bluetooth stack other than headset profile so the only thing you can connect to an iPhone via Bluetooth is a wireless headset. No serial gps connections, no A2DP wireless sterio music, no wireless PIM syncronization. This is the real downside of such a locked down Apple experience. Everything works, but everything is limited. Class 1 Bluetooth is a great way to distribute nmea data. We use it for a laptop inboard. I am not sure exactly what the power drain of a wifi router is, but it is less complex to set up than a wifi network in my experience.