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  #41  
Old 03-11-2008
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Bosch 1250 DEVS sander/polisher

Last haulout my trusty sander died an ugly death. All I could find in a hurry was a Bosch variable speed, dual action sander / polisher. I originally balked at the cost, but as I was on deadline to get out of the yard I bought it. This is by far the best sander I've ever used. Highly recommended.
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  #42  
Old 03-29-2008
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Garmin GPSmap 76CSx review

i posted this in the gear section as a response, but thought i would repost it here for reference:

i thought i'd give a user review of the Garmin GPSmap 76CSx since i've got so much useful info out of Sailnet but havent had much of a chance to return the favours.

I bought it at westmarine in early january 2008 as part of a promotion/sale (for some reason it is currently well over $100 more than what i paid). I have used it in the BVIs chartering in february and as a backup to my cockpit-mounted Garmin GPSmap 545 unit in coastal waters of British Columbia, where i live & sail. i previosuly used a small garmin GPS without charts/maps/fancy display as my backup.

i used it as my main navigation tool in the BVIs (since the footloose boat's chartplotter was a chartplotter in name only and the paper charts they provided looked like they came from the a paper placemat from macdonalds) and it really came through with flying colours. in BC i have been comparing it with the 545, and to be honest i like the useability of the smaller 76CSx better.

the 76CSx is different from the 76CS by the addition of altimiter/barometer and electronic compas. The unit is a bit big for a handheld 2.7" x 6.2" x 1.2" (50-70% larger than my smart phone)

It has 6 user configurable pages -
1. satellite - detection/signal strength/position
2. trip computer - where most of your user selectable info is displayed
3. Map page
4. compas page with additional user selectable/configurable numerical display boxes.
5. Altimiter/barometer page with graphical chart of altitude vs distance.
6. main menu - for selecting other functions

PROS:
- battery life is sufficient and uses two AAs (cheap)
- quite easy to use, reasonably intuitive
- has flexible, user configurable pages - very handy - can easily configure both type and format of displayed info.
- almost as many extra features as my 545, eg anchor drag, VMG/time & dist to destination etc, depth alarm, tides/currents,
- extremely fast to obtain a lock/fix when turned on - its quite impressive really - much faster than the 545.
- don't know much about GPS antennas and accuracy, but seems as accurate as the 545 (granted, i do not uses an extrenal antenna)
- is apparently not only waterproof (and it got soaked one day in the BVIs w/o problem) but also bouyant, though i have not had cause to test this second feature. i can also tell you that it is impervious to beer and red-wine.
- has altimiter (hopefully not a necessary feature for marine use) and a barometer (which is useful).
- electronic compas.
- waypoints are easier to use than my 545

CONS:
- attachment for lanyard isnt great
- for the size of the unit, the screen could be a bit larger
- resolution (180 x 240) isnt nearly as good as my smartphone/pda, which is a smaller unit.
- the screen brightness is user adjustable, of course, and is reasonably bright, but my cell phone/pda screen is much brighter - however, this is mitigated by the fact that in direct sunlight you can view it front lit by the sun.
- chart prices - it came with one unlock code which i used for the carribean. since i'm in canada none of the garmin products come preloaded with any of our charts - i did spend about $120 on west coast canada and charts. but i find that they do cover quite a wide area - all of the west coast of canada from puget sound to alaska and all of the carribean from including the southern half of florida to including the north coast of south america, both the large and small scale charts for all of these areas are included and while i wasnt thrilled about the price, i am 100% certain that buying all of the paper charts for these areas would be an order of magnitude more expensive.

overall i'm very happy with the purchase, though i hope the follow up model will have a larger, higher resolution display and better lanyard attachment.

see many reviews at:

GPS Tracklog: Garmin GPSMAP 76CSx review
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  #43  
Old 03-29-2008
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Great review...thanks AB!
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  #44  
Old 04-04-2008
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Home Depot 110v flourescent trouble lite - also halogen

Quote:
I use110V work lights around the house but every second time I go to use one I manage to give it a little bump and the filament in the bulb goes. A real PITA. The last thing I need on the boat.
From my aircraft mechanic friend, I use a flourescent tube style work lite. It has soft rubber ends and an unbreakable soft tube lens and hook for hanging. Never gets hot so you can lay it down anywhere or place it in tight quarters by your cheekbone. You can throw it or drop it. Lite is omni direction but a little less lumens than a 100W trouble lite. Usually I use both types in conjunction.

Doing maintenance to really lite up a whole cabin or engine room nothing beats those 200 W clamp-on worklite halogens.
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  #45  
Old 04-04-2008
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Get Rid of Boat Odors by Peggie Hall

Just received "Get Rid of Boat Odors" by Peggie Hall. Great book on marine sanitation, only negative is that the section on boat odors not related to your head is only 2 pages long, plus another 2 pages on the fresh water system. I was hoping for more on general odors. For $30 I give it three and one half stars out of five.
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  #46  
Old 04-04-2008
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Nice reviews XCB.

- CD
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  #47  
Old 04-04-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisingdad View Post
Garmin 478 GPS map.

What a really cool unit. It has preloaded all of the coastal maps for the US. I believe it even has Hawaii and Alaska. You can overlay weather on it, output it to your pc, etc.

It is like a mini, portable full function GPS. I have always said all that you need in a backup is lat and lon so you can overlay, but should you lose your main system, this think would sure be nice to have. Neat technology that would have been unheard of ten years ago.

Cost: It lists about 999 at West. I have seen it advertised in the 7XX. We got it at west last weekend for about $650... and I am sure they still made a profit!!

- CD
CD - I've had one of these for two years now, and agree that they are a great portable unit (mine would be even better if I paid what you did ). You completely left out all the complete STREET NAVIGATION for the entire US that's built into the unit too!

I frequently use mine when I'm on business trips to get me from one client to the next. I have also used it on a trip from Boston to Key West and back on my motorcycle. Some co-workers poke fun at it because it's not as small as a Nuvi or TomTom, but let's see them use one of those on a boat.

You can interface it with NEMA 0183 devices (DSC Radio, AutoPilot, etc.) and it has a built in Sattelite radio control - the antenna (receiver) costs $300, so I'm not going to call this a tuner - that can provide XM weather service if you subscribe, you can plug in a depth sounder/fish finder.... There is a lot in this unit.

I bought it initially because I sail OPBs, and could never count on knowing how to use the chartplotter on the boat that I got.

Ed
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  #48  
Old 05-11-2008
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Makita 18volt cordless drill

Makita's latest cordless drill is 18 volts, has a 1/2" chuck, and uses lithium-ion batteries. You can get one with two batteries at Home Depot for about $200. The charger will recharge a battery in about 15 minutes! No more waiting around, or having to have over two batteries, anymore. I did have one battery go bad on me, actually my wife-but she let's me use it, and they just swapped it out at HD. No further troubles and it's been a year of regular use.

Three things make this the best drill my wife has ever owned. OK, it was going to be my drill but when I saw how light weight it was I decided she needed a surprise gift for just because. It really is the lightest drill I've ever used and it's also the highest voltage so it sure does crank. What really sold me, at the store, was that it has a 1/2" chuck. I was going to take it to work as about half the things I need a drill for call for a 1/2" chuck. Most drills are 3/8" chuck and it's a pain in the neck either in an electric or battery drill.

The 15 minute charging time is for real as well and the lithium-ion batteries do not lose their charge sitting in the case nearly as quickly as the other's I've owned.

The only thing I can say negative about the drill is that, instead of the traditional Makita green, the company decided to make it silver and grey. It's an awful color scheme and looks like it was influenced by some sneaker designer. I'd own two by now except my wife has been generous in letting me borrow it and besides, I get out of a lot of pressing non-boat projects by telling her I just need to charge up those old batteries and I'll be right on it, dear!
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  #49  
Old 05-11-2008
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I have an 18 V Mastercraft (Canadian Tire) cordless I am quite pleased with, but it's really overkill for most boat jobs, so it stays at home with its companion cordles 5 1/2" circular saw (der Uberpruner). Aboard I use a wimpy 6V Black and Decker "electric screwdriver", which is, however, very good with the softer brass screws, and a 14 V Black and Decker 3/8" cordless drill that somebody in the club threw out! I cleaned it up, charged the TWO batteries and it works great!

But for the tough stuff, I have a 1/2" Makita hammer drill that runs off a cord and is just brutal, which is sometimes necessary on steel boats. I have a 4" Makita angle grinder aboard which is compact enough to get in tight spots, and a 7 1/2" Makita circular saw I love for cutting planking.

I'm pretty pleased with Makita, I'd have to say, although I wouldn't turn down some of the DeWalt and Milwaukee power tools I've seen. Strangely, considering it's a "house brand", my six amp Mastercraft reciprocating saw went through 30 or so blades cutting new portlight holes on my buddy's steel ketch, and is currently chewing through a tenacious bead of 5200 and some sheared bolts between a steel flange and my aluminum pilothouse roof. So I won't diss what is likely a Chinese knock-off, but maybe isn't because it's about six years old. It helped to tear down a shack a few years ago, and it's still going strong.
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  #50  
Old 05-11-2008
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Powertool Reviews:

I run the gambant on brands.

1. Ryobi Brand: I have several sets that include the flashlight, drill, recip saw, sander, and circular saw. One set I keep onboard at all times with three battery packs. They are dependable, have been submerged or left out in rain and still run, and are very economical. They might not have the bite of the more expensive tools but they have been instrumental in underway repairs, cutting out cored sections to install gear, etc. Considering the price point and the fact they have tolerated being stored in less than ideal conditions...they get my vote...

I also use a wide range of their other standard workshop tools as well, and have no complaints less the planer which no one ever seems to stock the drive belts which wear in a hurry...

2. Porter Cable - I use their portable air compressor religiously for any construction or upholstery work. Granted I have probably 6 different staple / nail guns - there is nothing more relaxing knowing that you can bang out quick work reliably. I also have a series of air powered tools such as a sprayer, hammer, etc... but for where you are stapling or needing rapid nailing ..the best core $200 bucks ever spent... because glue doesn't always cut it..

TIP: The secret to upholstery if you do not sew or pay someone to do it.

a. Use fine strips of wood that wraps up the vinyl or cloth and staple through it. The wood acts as a stress reliever and even if some of the material on the top layer (staple cuts through fabric for instance) gets strained the wood will bind to the inner material preventing rippage of the material. And always use a breather material such as cotton backing material as that will slow down the escape of air trapped in such designs. That annoying "fart balloon" effect....

3. Bosch: Back onto staple guns - what Porter doesn't cover they do.

Those are the three brands I generally use in a range of projects onboard or off....

My 2 cents
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