SOB FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
 
  (To search this page, press Ctrl-F and type your search phrase)
 

 
 
  
     1
General Questions
    1.1 
  • What's your 'Support' phone number as I don't have Internet available on board?
    1. 1.2 
  • How can I contact you for support?
    1. 1.3 
  • What is "Priority Support"?
    1. 1.4 
  • I'm eligible for "Priority Support", but I'm onboard with only email so I can't use your online Priority Support form?
    1. 1.5 
  • I emailed support days ago and have not had a response?
    1. 1.6 
  • What information should I include if emailing "Support"?
    1. 1.7 
  • Why should I use SOB instead of other nav programs?
    1. 1.8 
  • What hardware do you recommend for a laptop running SOB?
    1. 1.9 
  • Does SOB support LINUX or MACS?
    1. 1.10 
  • Does SOB work with Win 8 and Win 10?
    1. 1.11 
  • Which Windows? 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, Win7, Win8, Win10?
    1. 1.12 
  • Is SOB compatible with Windows 8, Windows 10?
    1. 1.13 
  • Is SOB compatible with Windows 64bit Operating System?
  •   
       2
    Downloading
      2.1 
  • Where can I download your software?
    1. 2.2 
  • I received this message when registering "Apache/1.3.29 Server at ..."
    1. 2.3 
  • I can't download the setup file!
    1. 2.4 
  • I am unable to open the downloaded zip files.
  •   
       3
    Installing and Set Up
      3.1 
  • When I try to load, the program locks up after the first screen is visible.
    1. 3.2 
  • If I download the software on to my online computer can I transfer the program to my laptop via a USB thumb drive?
    1. 3.3 
  • I had an older version of SOB some time ago and just tried to start it. It failed to open.
    1. 3.4 
  • Where is the master WAN list filed?
  •   
       4
    Licensing, Registering & Unlocking
      4.1 
  • Is SOB software free?
    1. 4.2 
  • What if I never pay to use SOB?
    1. 4.3 
  • What is the difference between LITE, Trial, Standard and Pro User License?
    1. 4.4 
  • Is there an easy way to change the user name on my version of SOBvMAX?
    1. 4.5 
  • Can you tell me how long it takes before the UnlockCode is emailed to me?
    1. 4.6 
  • I have forgotten my License password and I need some unlock codes.
    1. 4.7 
  • I registered SOB today but I'm unsure where I request my unlock codes. Do you just send them to my email address or what happens?
    1. 4.8 
  • Maximum waypoints reached - Unregistered Program window keeps popping up - can you advise !
    1. 4.9 
  • When do you supply the 3 unlock codes that you refer to?
    1. 4.10 
  • How do I get an unlock code for this program?
    1. 4.11 
  • I have received the CD from C-MAP, do I need a code from you to show my copy of SOB is registered?
    1. 4.12 
  • I have had to reboot my computer and now it gives me an invalid registration.
    1. 4.13 
  • How do I transfer SOB to another computer?
    1. 4.14 
  • How do I transfer the Chart licence codes from the boat computer to also run SOB on my Notebook or is this another licence?
    1. 4.15 
  • How do I transfer the SOB licence codes from the boat computer to also run SOB on my Notebook or is this another licence?
    1. 4.16 
  • I have put in the unlock code and it has moved me to access level 0 (unregistered). What have I done wrong?
  •   
       5
    Charts
      5.1 
  • What charts does SOB support?
    1. 5.2 
  • Can I get charts to fit both SOB and my chart plotter?
    1. 5.3 
  • Can I use SOB with C-Map megawide on an SD Card? My laptop has an SD card reader.
    1. 5.4 
  • When I take my C-Map card out of the reader I loose all the detailed seabed descriptions & depth info?
    1. 5.5 
  • Can SOB format my C-MAP user card?
    1. 5.6 
  • Assistance to reinstall SOB and C-Map chart licenses requested?
    1. 5.7 
  • Do I need any codes to fully access this program with my C-Map Card Reader?
    1. 5.8 
  • Do I need an unlock code to run a demo chart?
    1. 5.9 
  • What are the "best" C-MAP chart settings?
    1. 5.10 
  • What reader do I need to use the C-Map cartridge charts?
    1. 5.11 
  • Can I download my chart on c-card (or SD card) to the hard disk?
    1. 5.12 
  • I can’t see my C-MAP chart in SOB, after connecting my C-MAP Card Reader?
    1. 5.13 
  • Can I use C-MAP charts on more than one computer?
    1. 5.14 
  • How can I tell if my C-Map dongle is OK?
    1. 5.15 
  • I can’t see my C-Map chart in SOB, after using my C-Map Chart Selector CD?
    1. 5.16 
  • What are Raster/Vector charts?
    1. 5.17 
  • Are C-Map vector or raster charts?
    1. 5.18 
  • What are C-Map MAX Charts?
    1. 5.19 
  • What limitations do the demo charts have?
    1. 5.20 
  • Does SOB and C-Map charts work in the higher and lower latitudes?
    1. 5.21 
  • How do I purchase C-Map charts?
    1. 5.22 
  • I've bought a new chart, should I remove the old one?
    1. 5.23 
  • How much are C-Map charts?
    1. 5.24 
  • What're the costs for C-MAP Brisbane to Melbourne? 
    1. 5.25 
  • There's no way I can afford to buy the C-MAP charts...
    1. 5.26 
  • Where is C-Map’s Chart Selector download link located?
    1. 5.27 
  • I have CM93 charts, how do I get them to work with SOB?
    1. 5.28 
  • Does SOB work with S57 (ENC) NOAA charts?
    1. 5.29 
  • Can I use scanned charts with SOB?
    1. 5.30 
  • Is SOB compatible with BSB or Navionics or MapSend BlueNav charts?
    1. 5.31 
  • The chart is coming up as a (Kodak) image file in Windows Explorer.
    1. 5.32 
  • Can I view the charts with an “imaging” program (eg: Photoshop)?
    1. 5.33 
  • I have a current "C-MAP NT+ Wide" cartridge, how do I use it with this programme?
    1. 5.34 
  • I have SOB on my laptop and wish to use the laptop as a chart plotter...
    1. 5.35 
  • Can I interface the PC with a chartplotter without having to use C-Map c-cards in the plotter.
    1. 5.36 
  • What's the difference between the C-Map NT+ and the NTMax?
  •   
       6
    Connecting NMEA Instruments
      6.1 
  • How do I connect my GPS to SOB?
    1. 6.2 
  • The cursor is jumping around the screen like crazy, and windows open up at random.
    1. 6.3 
  • Does the free trial version work with a GPS?
    1. 6.4 
  • My GPS is trying to use COM3
    1. 6.5 
  • Can I use my GPS with two programs at the same time?
    1. 6.6 
  • If I connect 2 GPS devices, does it matter?
    1. 6.7 
  • SOB can't recognise my Garmin GPS?
    1. 6.8 
  • We intend to use a Garmin 72 as the GPS. Is that OK?
    1. 6.9 
  • Can I use SOB to enter waypoints from the Keyboard and save that as a file to upload to my Furuno?
    1. 6.10 
  • How do I connect my AutoPilot?
    1. 6.11 
  • How do I get SOB to operate my autopilot?
    1. 6.12 
  • My Autopilot is 8° off course!
    1. 6.13 
  • AIS has been connected for the last 2 months. Now when a route is activated, SOB freezes soon after activation and only a reboot allows SOB to work again?
    1. 6.14 
  • What is a Multiplexer (MUX)?
    1. 6.15 
  • Can I use Bluetooth GPS or BT MUX with SOB?
    1. 6.16 
  • What is SeaTalk, NavBus, etc?
    1. 6.17 
  • Can I interface Raymarine Seatalk instruments with SOB?
    1. 6.18 
  • Can I interface B&G instruments with SOB?
    1. 6.19 
  • Will SOB accept NMEA 2000 signals or do they need to be converted to NMEA 0183 first?
    1. 6.20 
  • How to show the satellite data on the NMEA form?
  •   
       7
    SOB Navigation
      7.1 
  • Is SOB ECDIS compliant?
    1. 7.2 
  • Can SOB be used around the French, Dutch and UK coasts?
    1. 7.3 
  • Why is the Anti-Grounding feature disabled?
    1. 7.4 
  • How do I turn off the green triangle hatch area in front of the vessel position.
    1. 7.5 
  • How do I delete a MOB marker from the SOB chart?
    1. 7.6 
  • Difficulty reading the QuickInfo box display?
    1. 7.7 
  • How do I disable the annoying ‘beep’ when first launching SOB and when altering a waypoint etc?
    1. 7.8 
  • I can’t see any past tracks anymore.
    1. 7.9 
  • My tracks are not registering the correct distance covered when you open the file in Excel.
    1. 7.10 
  • I have a grid or dots all over the charts.
    1. 7.11 
  • Is it possible to change the colour of the maps?
    1. 7.12 
  • Tell me about light animation?
    1. 7.13 
  • Can tidal arrows be animated?
    1. 7.14 
  • How do I customise the auto-centre feature?
    1. 7.15 
  • How can I practice/dream with SOB without being onboard?
    1. 7.16 
  • Are there other uses for DR mode?
    1. 7.17 
  • I've heard that SOB can "talk" to me? How do I do this?
    1. 7.18 
  • How can SOB help me plan my TACKS when sailing?
    1. 7.19 
  • What is the thin red line that appears in the display area?
    1. 7.20 
  • How do you reset the Ship Defaults? 
  •   
       8
    What is AIS?
    What is DSC?
      8.1 
  • Does SOB support DSC and what is the difference with AIS?
    1. 8.2 
  • Can AIS labels be made bigger or smaller?
    1. 8.3 
  • In AIS why doesn’t the ship change to red when the collision potential changes from zero to high/very high?
  •   
       9
    How do I access Route features?
      9.1 
  • Why do some Route legs suddenly disappear when zoomed out?
    1. 9.2 
  • How can I dry-run my route in real time?
    1. 9.3 
  • Can I see the total length of the planned route as plotted.
    1. 9.4 
  • When creating a new route and to extend the route, how do you add several marks using the route feature or do you need to add each one in turn and can not just click each one in turn on the chart as you would do if creating a brand new route?
    1. 9.5 
  • Are you able to extend a route by adding turning marks after the finish point. For example, I wish to copy a route, then add additional turning marks to extend the route further.
    1. 9.6 
  • Advancing a Route turning mark
    1. 9.7 
  • While on route with aft of beam ticked and between two route marks we turned and took down sail. SOB sounds alarm and then goes through all the rest of the waypoints on the route.
    1. 9.8 
  • Saving my Route as a Text file
    1. 9.9 
  • I'm having problems with deleting existing routes and setting new routes?
    1. 9.10 
  • How do I deactivate an active "Route"?
    1. 9.11 
  • When using an "active" route (without an autopilot connected), the red SOB "Route" panel's "Steer to Port" (or Starboard) indicator is very erratic - especially in any kind of sea condition.
    1. 9.12 
  • With an Active Route, SOB steers boat to first turning mark perfectly then says "prepare for course change" but never changes course and keeps on previous heading
  •  
     

     
      General Questions  
     

    [1.1] What's your 'Support' phone number as I don't have Internet available on board?

    We are a modern "online" company with no centralised base of operations. Our high-quality, low cost product is a result of this business model, which excludes one-on-one telephone support. For all but a rare case, emailed technical support is a far superior method than the existing alternatives (except hands-on, in which case an email from us to your preferred marine electrician or family or friendly computer whiz is always successful).

    For long range cruising or extended live aboard, we strongly advise all SOB users to get onboard email connection. The options (PACTOR, Wireless, GPRS/CDMA, 3G/EDGE/NEXTG, INMARSAT, Iridium, Thuruya, Globalphone etc) available now are such that it is simple and reliable, with costs varying from strict-budget to deep-pockets. In fact many users are unaware that their standard mobile phone using its built-in Bluetooth connection to their laptop, is capable of providing you with email and highspeed Internet capabilities up to 30 miles off the coast.
    Apart from the obvious social and safety benefits, it provides all our users with a comfortable feeling knowing that PC, electrical data, instrumentation, cartographic, and navigational technical support from us is only a short email away! (Yes, our support service extends to all components of your computer navigation setup, whether supplied by us or not).

    Most 'Support' issues you're likely to face are already well covered in these FAQs, or on our Facebook Page, or in the User Manual.
    However if you are representing a commercial interest, please contact our Head Office: 'administration @ digiboat . com . au' (remove spaces from email address first)

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    [1.2] How can I contact you for support?

    We offer very efficient and helpful support on all SOB issues (and most related items) via our FaceBook page, these FAQ items and return email (usually within minutes or hours).   We endeavour to respond to 'Priority Support' email enquiries within 24 hours.

    We don’t offer phone support, due to:

    • We supply to an international marketplace
    • Most of our "critical" users are operating from onboard, where email is much more prevalent than phones (and much cheaper). The average tech-support call is about 40 minutes – not one you’d want to make by satellite phone.

    By offering email rather than phone support, we can maintain our costs and pass the savings onto you by providing SOB for a free lengthy trial period, then an unrestricted licensed version for significantly lower cost than our competitors.

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    [1.3] What is "Priority Support"?

    Priority Support is our guarantee (as far as humanly possible) that your email to our support department will be responded to within 24hrs, and in many cases, within minutes.

    To be eligible for Priority Support, you must be a licensed SOB user, or still within your Trial period.

    To receive Priority Support, (1) use the Email form on our Support Page, or (2) be sure to include your name and User License Password at the top of the email you send to us.

    For best response to most emailed questions, you should always include the "About SOB" text with your email.

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    [1.4] I'm eligible for "Priority Support", but I'm onboard with only email so I can't use your online Priority Support form?

    We understand fully, as we, too, are often onboard without Internet!
    Just email our support department, be sure to include your Licensed Username, and User License Password at the top of your support email.

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    [1.5] I emailed support days ago and have not had a response?

    Our support team deals with hundreds of emails each week.

    If you have not had a response within a day or two (considering allowances for time-zone differences) the reason is likely one of the following:

    • Your question or problem is common and answered in the FAQs, FaceBook site, User Manual or HOWTO documents
    • You are not eligible for our "Priority Support" service, so a response may be delayed due to backlog of support emails
    • Your email has ended up in a SPAM/TRASH folder somewhere. Please ensure it has a suitable Subject Line and resend
    • The Internet ether has otherwise lost your email. Please re-send

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    [1.6] What information should I include if emailing "Support"?

    Depending on your particular issue, include as much information about your setup and connected instruments as you can, ie:

    • Windows version
    • Hardware specifications
    • Connected instruments (include how they are connected - serial/USB/BT etc)
    • Any other devices or programs that you think may be connected to the issue

    Most important is to include the text in the window of the About SOB form (press SOB's green-question-mark button). If your PC is Internet connected, then use the convenient "Email DigiBOAT Support" link on the About SOB form to paste this text into an email for you.

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    [1.7] Why should I use SOB instead of other nav programs?

    The nautical electronic navigation market has been been desperate for cheap/affordable, simple - yet powerful, nav software. Existing software is definitely priced and targeted to the top-end of the marine industry, it is generally expensive, difficult to use by all but PC power users, generally non-intuitive for novice (and even old-hand) navigators and many "obvious" tools and interfaces are lacking or non-existent.

    SOB, in comparison, has made this technology accessible to everyone with a PC and anyone with a boat...   Drawing on 40 years of inland, coastal and ocean sailing with strong computer and advanced 3-dimensional geometry mathematics, we’ve produced a useful tool for everyone to use. 

    Read what many satisfied SOB users have to say about our program: User Testimonials

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    [1.8] What hardware do you recommend for a laptop running SOB?

    Any laptop sold since WinXP is more than poweful enough for SOB. SOB only requires about 30Mb RAM and <100Mb Harddisk space, so an installation with a large hard disk and 128(min) of RAM is suitable. (Obviously more RAM is required to run multiple simultaneous programs). As for CPU - the minimum recommended would be a P2 @ 500Mhz, note that this is also about the minimum that will successfully run Win2000.

    For controlling the interface, any input device can be used (ie: mouse). We highly recommend using a mouse with a middle-wheel, and/or a built-in or remotely connected touchscreen monitor.

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    [1.9] Does SOB support LINUX or MACS?

    Countless SOB users over the years have reported successful use on both Linux using a Windows layer software called WINE and a Mac using Windows emulators (Virtual PCs).

    We can not verify this, however we are interested to hear of similar stories.

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    [1.10] Does SOB work with Win 8 and Win 10?

    SOB performs very nicely with newer Winbdows versions. However there are potential problems using other devices which may be required for your complete PC nav setup - ie: drivers for any Serial/USB Converters or USB GPSes you may be using, drivers for the C-Map chart dongle and USB Chart Card Reader etc etc.

    Check our Facebook Users page, and this document for some assistance with drivers:
    http://www.digiboat.us/support/prolific_help.htm If using one of the Globalsat USB GPS devices (Prolific driver), the manufacturer's website may also help: here
    Also found here: www.usglobalsat.com/bu353 
    And here is the manufacturers forum about the GPS driver in case you need to ask them for help:
    http://www.usglobalsat.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=602 
    C-Map Chart Selector DVD will contain the latest version of the Smartkey (Chart Dongle) driver, but you should still transfer the chart files and licence codes over using the method outlined on page 10-13 of our PDF User Manual.
    If you use c-cards and the C-Map USB Card Reader, then latest drivers for the readers are on our 'Downloads' page or included in the SOB Installation app.

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    [1.11] Which Windows? 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, Win7, Win8, Win10?

    SOB is not recommended for real-time navigation on Win9x or Win ME. SOB will not work with Win95 at all if communication with a GPS is required.

    Win2000 and WinXP and Vista and Win7 and Win8 are fully tested with SOB (as @ Feb15) and are inherently more stable operating systems than earlier versions of Windows(TM).   

    If you are receiving an error message, then please let us know which version of Windows you are using. SOB has been designed to work with Windows2000 or newer and our testing has shown no compatibility issues with these operating systems. 

    We do not recommend navigating in real-time with Windows 98, ME or older. And we do not support any installations on operating systems prior to Win7.

    Win 2000, and newer, Users need to be logged in with Administrator rights to install SOB.

    Of course, certain other installed programs can cause problems, particularly if they use the Serial ports incorrectly (Modem drivers for instance, PDA synch managers etc).

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    [1.12] Is SOB compatible with Windows 8, Windows 10?

    Win 8 is fully tested and well used with SOB - no known issues.

    Sorry, as @ Oct2015 we have not tested SOB with Win10, but early report from users indicate no problems with SOB, but beware of drivers as mentioned elsewhere in these FAQs.

    Please participate in the discussion on our FaceBook page for further information.

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    [1.13] Is SOB compatible with Windows 64bit Operating System?

    Yes.  But check that your C-MAP Selector program and any drivers are available for 64bit.

     
     

     
      Downloading  
     

    [2.1] Where can I download your software?

    1. Visit the Registration page and fill in the Registration Form.  An email complete with program download links and further instructions will be emailed to you shortly after you register.
    2. Download direct from our 'Downloads' page.
    3. We recommend that you print the QuickStart file for easy reference to most of SOB's features.
    4. SOB's PDF User Manual is included with the installation - press the F1 key in SOB for a button to show the Manual, or use the Desktop shortcut that appears after setup.

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    [2.2] I received this message when registering "Apache/1.3.29 Server at ..."

    This error was likely caused by overload at our website (Apache is the software that our web host uses to connect with the internet).

    Try downloading from our mirror site, or try the download again at a later time.

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    [2.3] I can't download the setup file!

    The download file is relatively large, about 120 MB.

    Although modern broadband connections will download this file in a matter of minutes, older or slower connections are likely to be unsuccessful. For example, using a modem would take overnight to complete the download. It is not possible to download a file of this size over a slow/expensive connection such as a Satellite Phone, CAPSAT connection, SSB/PACTOR connection or even GPRS Cell Phone connection. Modern 3G cell (and newer) connections should be fine providing you can maintain a stable connection for the length of time required.

    The most common download problem reported by users is "The compressed (zipped) folder is invalid or corrupted", from either the Pacific or US mirror.

    An example output from a WinZip® log shows:

    Dll: D:\Program Files\WinZip\WZ32.DLL - 17/10/1998 7:00 AM
    Extracting to "D:\My Documents\SOB\"
    Use Path: yes Overlay Files: no
    warning [D:/My Documents/setup-SOBvMAX.zip]: extra 28728 bytes at
    beginning or within Zip file (attempting to process anyway)
    Error in file #1: bad Zip file offset (Error local header signature not found): 0
    (attempting to re-compensate)
    Extracting setup-SOBvMAX.exe
    Error: invalid compressed data to inflate

    The problem is mostly reported to be within MS Explorer®. Other browsers do not seem to report the problem. The most common way around this is to try to open the file rather than save it on your computer. If that fails, try the other way around, to save it rather than open it. Finally, try another mirror or install another browser such as FireFox® or Mozilla®. Or try the download on a friend's computer!

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    [2.4] I am unable to open the downloaded zip files.

    WinXP and newer include a zip program with their installation, for older Microsoft operating systems, if you don't have an "unzipping" program installed on your computer, we have an older version of "WinZip" available on our download page.

     
     

     
      Installing and Set Up  
     

    [3.1] When I try to load, the program locks up after the first screen is visible.

    Usually a problem or conflict with your COM ports is the cause of this problem. This usually requires examination of your serial devices in Control Panel's Device Manager to determine the possible conflict, and disabling or removing or reinstalling any troublesome devices.

    A diagnostic method to eliminate this possibility is to first run SOB PORTS (found in your C:\SOBvMAX\ folder) and "Remove" all Ports. Now "Save and Exit" SOB PORTS, then restart SOB. If the start-up freeze is not experienced, then determine which COM port is causing the problem.

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    [3.2] If I download the software on to my online computer can I transfer the program to my laptop via a USB thumb drive?

    Yes. Just copy the setup.exe file to your thumbdrive, or burn to a CD, and run it on your other computer.

    Also, if you no longer have the "setup.exe" file, you can simply copy the entire installed C:\SOBvMAX folder, and all its sub-folders to your thumbdrive (or zip disk, or camera card, or burn to a CD*) and then copy onto your other computer. (NOTE: this technique DOES NOT work with other Windows software)

    All files required by SOB are installed within its own folder structure. No other files are installed or used by SOB. So any copy of the \SOBv???\ folder will also include all your routes and waypoints and logfiles etc. (Thus SOB can be easily and completely uninstalled by simply deleting this entire folder). 

    * IMPORTANT NOTE if using a CD to transfer SOB, all files are automatically marked as "Read Only". SOB needs to also "write" to many of these files, so you must unmark this Read Only attribute. Right-click on the SOBvMAX folder name (in File Explorer) and select "Properties". Untick the "Read Only" choice and, if asked, select this also for all files/folders in the tree.

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    [3.3] I had an older version of SOB some time ago and just tried to start it. It failed to open.

    You will need to download and install the latest version.

    After installation, you may need to copy over your old data from the SOBv?? sub-folders (Waypoints, Routes, Logfiles, Charts) to the corresponding folders in SOBvMAX so you can retain access to your waypoints, logs etc (SOB will automatically convert these to the new file formats as necessary).

    There are many changes to SOB with each new release, scan the User Manual to see what SOB can do now -  SOB User Manual

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    [3.4] Where is the master WAN list filed?

    C:\SOBvMAX\Logfiles\!WAN_list.txt

    Note: although this file can be opened in Notepad, do not edit this file or it could be corrupted.

     
     

     
      Licensing, Registering & Unlocking  
     

    [4.1] Is SOB software free?

    "SoftwareOnBoard" navigation and charting software is FREE for a 1 month (30 days) trial period (extendable to 90 days with registration) with all features enabled. Thereafter, you have two options: (1) continue to use SOB for free, however certain features will be restricted or disabled. This LITE version is still suitable for real time navigation with essential navigation features available; or (2) purchase a User License which removes the trial/LITE status and enables all advanced features according to the license level you purchase.

    C-MAP Electronic Charts are supplied independently by http://www.jeppesen.com/ and must be purchased before use.

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    [4.2] What if I never pay to use SOB?

    You can use SOB for free for the rest of your life if you don't require all features enabled. The trial period will have all features enabled, afterwards SOB will revert to a LITE version, which still plots your GPS position on the chart, and provides basic navigation functionality. However, the autopilot cannot be controlled, and there is a limit to the number of Waypoints and Targets you can show, and the PastTrack will not be logged to a file, and a few other relatively minor restrictions - but nothing that reduces SOB's ability to perform fundamental navigation tasks for you.
    In addition, depending on your SOB version, you may have to put up with a start-up delay, or various "I'm out of date" type nag-screens.

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    [4.3] What is the difference between LITE, Trial, Standard and Pro User License?

    LITE users have Accesslevel=0. This FREE version is restricted to basic navigation only.

    Trial Users have an AccessLevel=1, this level of access will allow unlimited Waypoints and Route Turnmarks, and will enable most features in the program. The free trial period is 1 month from the time of installation (after completing the Unlocking process).

    Standard user licenses have an AccessLevel=2, in addition to enabling all level 1 bonuses, it also enables additional features and functionality, such as autopilot output, GRIB weather overlays, and completely removes the trial period.

    Pro User licensed users have an AccessLevel=4, this enables all SOB features including networking and unlimited AS targets.

    Refer to the SOB version comparison table.

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    [4.4] Is there an easy way to change the user name on my version of SOBvMAX?

    Yes. On the "About SOB" page there's a button with an ellipses (three dots) next to the name.

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    [4.5] Can you tell me how long it takes before the UnlockCode is emailed to me?

    Typically within a few minutes, depending on mail server loads at both ends.  If nothing is received within 20-30 minutes, then please check your SPAM folder and double check your email address you entered on the webform.

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    [4.6] I have forgotten my License password and I need some unlock codes.

    Use the "Lost Password" link on the Support page.

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    [4.7] I registered SOB today but I'm unsure where I request my unlock codes. Do you just send them to my email address or what happens?

    Your UnlockCode will be automatically emailed to you after you fill in the “Unlock Request” form, here.

    Please carefully follow the directions contained on the form to correctly receive your UnlockCode.

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    [4.8] Maximum waypoints reached - Unregistered Program window keeps popping up - can you advise !

    Once your trial period is reached, SOB will revert to an unlicensed LITE version with some restrictions imposed and some advanced features disabled. To continue to use SOB beyond the trial period you must purchase a SOB User License from our Shop page to re-enable the advanced features (which also removes the waypoints and targets limit), and remove all trial period limitations.

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    [4.9] When do you supply the 3 unlock codes that you refer to?

    [4.10] How do I get an unlock code for this program?

    Now that you are registered, you can Request SOB Unlock Codes at your discretion, by using the Send Unlock Request webform.

    Note that each SOB Unlock Code is particular to a single computer (which is why we allow up to 3, to provide for a single user with a laptop, home PC, work PC, Ship PC etc).

    Question-mark button To request a SOB Unlock Code for a particular PC you must enter (on the web form) the PC_CODE as reported in SOB's "About Box" (press the Green Question Mark button on SOB's toolbar).

    This PC_CODE is unique for each computer, thus the SOB Unlock Code we supply will only work on the computer with that PC_CODE.

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    [4.11] I have received the CD from C-MAP, do I need a code from you to show my copy of SOB is registered?

    No, this is not essential. All SOB versions, including the LITE and Trial versions will display your licensed C-Map charts.

    However we do suggest you register/license SOB to enable all features and prevent the start-up delay (with the LITE) version, and the few pop-ups and other notices you may experience reminding you to license your SOB version.

    When running SOB, your PC_CODE can be found in the About SOB box, this is also where the SOB Unlock Code is entered. (The About SOB box can be displayed by pressing the green-Question-Mark button on the SOB toolbar).

    Unlocking SOB is required for the smooth interfacing of the C-MAP NT/PC Selector program (which was delivered to you with the C-MAP Chart CD's and should have auto-installed when C-MAP Chart Disk was inserted in the CD drive).

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    [4.12] I have had to reboot my computer and now it gives me an invalid registration.

    It was ok before I loaded a new Windows program.
    It was ok before I upgraded my hard disk.
    It was ok before I upgraded my motherboard.

    You will need to request a new UnlockCode.

    Any hardware changes to your computer will likely alter your computer's "Hardware Signature" which is used to generate the PC_CODE, thus such changes will invalidate your previous PC_CODE/UnlockCode combination.

    Sometimes the cause of these hardware changes can be a mystery. For example, some computers are known to do automatic BIOS (the built-in computer control program) upgrades over the Internet - WITHOUT YOUR KNOWLEDGE! A change in your BIOS, or other hardware will most likely change your Hardware Signature.

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    [4.13] How do I transfer SOB to another computer?

    This is easy, however there are a few steps involved:

    1. Install SOB on new computer
      Use the SOB setup originally downloaded, or download again
    2. Unlock SOB on new computer. If licensed, then visit Unlock Page to get a new Product Key for new computer
    3. Transfer chart licenses to new computer
    4. Copy your Tracks, Waypoints, Routes, Logfiles, Polar files etc from old computer to new computer.
      You will find these files in their respective folders off C:\SOBvMAX

    See other FAQ below for more info

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    [4.14] How do I transfer the Chart licence codes from the boat computer to also run SOB on my Notebook or is this another licence?

    To use your charts on multiple computers you must also purchase the C-Map chart dongle (about USD$50) which you can include in your first chart purchase, or order it direct from your local Jeppesen Marine (C-Map) office (Sydney ph 02 9808-6200). Refer to Page 10-12 of our PDF User Manual for instructions on how to transfer charts to other computers when you own the dongle.

    See Chapter 10 in the User Manual for steps involved in transferring Chart Licenses

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    [4.15] How do I transfer the SOB licence codes from the boat computer to also run SOB on my Notebook or is this another licence?

    To license SOB on the other computer, request an UnlockCode for it.

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    [4.16] I have put in the unlock code and it has moved me to access level 0 (unregistered). What have I done wrong?

    Check that you have entered everything correctly. Each computer has a unique PC_CODE, and each PC_CODE has a unique matching UnlockCode.

    Otherwise, you may have exceeded your Trial period as a level 1 user. So now SOB has reverted to the LITE version, which equates to level=0.

     
     

     
      Charts  
     

    [5.1] What charts does SOB support?

    SOB uses only C-MAP Electronic Charts - NT, NT+ or MAX versions (not CM93 or MAX Pro).

    C-MAP charts cover at the least all areas covered by the British Admiralty’s charts (ARCS & Seafarer), but due to the "vector" nature of the C-MAP charts, they also contain a wealth of additional information – tides, navigation aids, port and marina information – even the distance to the nearest toilet and laundry!

    C-MAP Charts have continuously been voted "Best Electronic Charts" by many highly regarded international associations and organizations.

    The International standard for electronic charts, set by the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) and ratified by all other relevant national and international marine and standards institutions (ISO, NMEA, SOLAS, IEC, etc) is known as the "S57 & S52 standard" as specified by the International Hydrographic Office.

    C-MAP charts are fully compliant with the S57/S52 standards and have been verified as suitable for ECDIS solutions (which can legally replace paper charts, in fact the new Queen Mary is fitted with C-MAPs). C-MAPs are also used in 80% of chart plotters sold world-wide, so there is already a fairly high level of awareness, and respect, for the C-MAP format.

    For these reasons, and others, SOB is designed for use with C-MAP charts.

    It is unlikely that we will ever support raster charts (eg: BSB, ARCS, Seafarer) as the vector charts are so far superior that there truly is no comparison. We definitely will never support user-scanned charts as this diminishes SOB as a serious navigation tool. Navigation has always depended upon legitimate, accurate charts issued by competent authorities - user-scanned charts is therefore contradictory to safe navigation practices.

    DigiBOAT is exploring the possibility (as @ Jan09) of supporting C-Map MAX Pro charts, and the generic S57/S52 vector charts. We are running a quick survey to gauge the interest level for various chart formats, please participate in this quick survey here.

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    [5.2] Can I get charts to fit both SOB and my chart plotter?

    I am about to leave to go from Port Sorell in Tasmania to the Whitsundays and have just purchased a chart plotter to help navigate and I plan to purchase C-Maps to put into that.

    The C-MAP NT/NT+ cartridges that fit in most plotters can also be used with SOB. You will however need to purchase a "USB C-MAP Cartridge Reader" to plug into the PC. Most C-MAP offices have upgrade pricing for cartridge to CD charts, but you'll have to check about their pricing policy and options for multiple media formats. Please contact http://www.jeppesen.com/ for further details and pricing.

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    [5.3] Can I use SOB with C-Map megawide on an SD Card? My laptop has an SD card reader.

    Yes, you can use the MAX megawide SD card with SOB. However you can not use the built-in SD card reader in the laptop. The chart cards contain encryption to protect the chart use and can only be used with the proprietary "C-Map USBMM Card Reader".

    Please contact http://www.c-map.com/ for further information about their Card Reader, or to purchase it directly from them (about USD$150), or from our webshop.

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    [5.4] When I take my C-Map card out of the reader I loose all the detailed seabed descriptions & depth info?

    The chart card must be in the reader at all times to access the data imbedded in the chart - such as the depth spot soundings and detailed chart coverage etc. If you remove the chart card then SOB only has access to the default world-wide charts to Level B.

    Note: It is not possible to transfer the chart from the card to the hard disk, or copy the card. So the chart must always be in the reader if you require the detailed information.

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    [5.5] Can SOB format my C-MAP user card?

    No, this cannot be done through SOB. Use your Plotter or C-Map PC Planner application.

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    [5.6] Assistance to reinstall SOB and C-Map chart licenses requested?

    Refer to Page 10-12 of the SOB Manual for necessary steps while installing.

    Do you have the C-Map dongle? Then hopefully you have a backup of the C-Map license codes which makes this easy. If no backup file, then perhaps you still have the letter received from C-Map which has the code printed on it? Final (easy) way out is if you have a copy of the "About SOB" text from the old laptop (perhaps in your Sent Items email folder if you ever emailed this to us)? We can create a codes backup file from this info which you can use to re-establish your chart licenses.

    If you didn't have a dongle, then C-Map will need to re-issue an "Emergency license code" to you for the new laptop.

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    [5.7] Do I need any codes to fully access this program with my C-Map Card Reader?

    [5.8] Do I need an unlock code to run a demo chart?

    No unlock codes are required to use any demo or licensed C-Map chart. (IE: even SOB LITE will "see" any charts you have installed).

    Every SOB version will "see" the c-cards via a C-Map Card Reader. The driver must also be correctly installed for the Card Reader, refer to our Online User Manual for driver installation help and troubleshooting.

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    [5.9] What are the "best" C-MAP chart settings?

    On the F3 toolbar:

    • Chart Lock: really the only one that requires experimenting. Usually OFF is best but for some areas ON improves the zooming reliability.
    • OverZoom - Always ON
    • SkipEmptyLevels - Always ON
    • Virtual - Always OFF, unless you want to zoom down to extreme scales
    • MixCharts - Mostly ON, unless you're finding alignment problems with overlapped charts of differing scales.

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    [5.10] What reader do I need to use the C-Map cartridge charts?

    The C-Map SD chart cartridges are a proprietary format and are not compatible with industry standard SD card readers - the C-Map USBMM Card Reader is required to use the NT/NT+ or MAX SD chart cartridges.

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    [5.11] Can I download my chart on c-card (or SD card) to the hard disk?

    No. The C-Map Card Reader must be connected at all times to use the chart cartridge.

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    [5.12] I can’t see my C-MAP chart in SOB, after connecting my C-MAP Card Reader?

    Press the “About SOB” button on the SOB toolbar (green-question-mark). Look for the information:

    • Card Readers found: USBMM (or USBCC or USBFP)
    • Charts installed = 17

    This tells you the card reader is installed and the "charts install" being more than 16 (the 16 evaluation charts included) means the cartridge is found.

    It may be useful to turn on Chart Borders ([B] key), set to Manual and tick level F & G which'll show areas with full detail.

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    [5.13] Can I use C-MAP charts on more than one computer?

    Yes, but for use with multiple computers, you need to purchase the C-MAP USB Key (see C-MAP Electronic Charts), this allows you to use your purchased charts on any computer running SOB, with the USB key plugged in. Contact http://www.cjeppesen.com/ for the cost of the USB Key and charts.

    Also, if you already own the NT/NT+ C-MAP cartridges (as used in chart-plotters etc), you can purchase a C-Map USBMM Card Reader that will connect to any PC via USB and read the charts from the cartridges. Of course this card reader and the cartridges can be used with any computer running SOB. 

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    [5.14] How can I tell if my C-Map dongle is OK?

    Ensure the latest driver for the dongle is installed.

    Then confirm that:

    • When you insert the dongle in the USB port its built-in LED flashes
    • And again, with the dongle inserted, when you FIRST start SOB the LED flashes again

    If no flashing light, or no access to the chart in SOB after this, then do a further test by running the C-Map Selector program and confirm that on the status-line it mentions EUTRON or SMARTKEY, rather than HID.

    If no EUTRON (or SMARTKEY) on the status line you either have:

    1. a corrupt driver installation - check Device Manager for a correct installation - delete then reinstall if necessary
    2. a faulty dongle - please contact Jeppesen Marine (C-Map) to organise a replacement

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    [5.15] I can’t see my C-Map chart in SOB, after using my C-Map Chart Selector CD?

    Normally these are the rules we apply for C-Map issues under SOB:

    1. The computer has been upgraded since the customer has licensed the chart (eg new hard disk, new operating system, BIOS upgrade etc) which has changed the C-Map HID (hardware ID) code.
    2. The customer has installed SOB and the chart onto a different computer than that used when licensing the chart.
    3. The customer has installed a chart off a different Selector CD than the one used to license the chart.

    If it is (1) then the customer needs a new "Emergency License Code" to be issued by C-Map.
    If (2) then the customer must buy the C-Map dongle to use the chart on a different computer.
    If (3) then the customer must re-license and re-install the chart using the original Selector CD that was used when the chart was first purchased.

    You are issued with a HID until the dongle arrives, so if you don't want/need to install on another computer you just keep the HID. You should have a letter that came with the dongle with the dongle chart license code printed on it. (Which you use with the correct C-Map's Selector program).

    To contact C-Map to re-issue the correct HID code or an emergency code, etc - the C-MAP office locator web page is http://www.jeppesen.com/Location.

    Note: You may need to clean up the C-Map section of the Registry to remove defunct chart license codes. If you believe this to be the case, emailsupport@digiboat.com.au and don't forget to include the "About SOB" information from SOB with your email.

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    [5.16] What are Raster/Vector charts?

    [5.17] Are C-Map vector or raster charts?

    C-Map are vector charts.

    Vector/Raster are the different ways a chart can be digitised (for computer use). A good analogy is if raster is a photograph of a house, then vector would be the architect's plans for the house.

    A photograph is simply a collection of coloured dots - our brain pieces these together and recognises walls, roof etc. With the architect's plans, a wall knows it is a wall and also knows all the individual pieces that are used to construct it.

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    [5.18] What are C-Map MAX Charts?

    MAX is a relatively new C-Map chart format, released early 2005.

    Many new and exciting features are a part of the MAX charts, including "perspective view", photographs of harbours and ports, and other multimedia features, names of buoys and nav-aids on the chart ...

    The MAX charts also cover a larger area than previous formats, and have experienced a price reduction. (The NT/NT+ charts have been reduced in price to keep them in line with MAX prices).

    SOB implemented support for these charts in our December 2005 release. SOB is also compatible with all existing NT and NT+ C-Map chart formats.

    More information and sample screen shots about the MAX format charts is available here: http://www.maxnavigator.com

    Note: The previous C-Map chart formats are not redundant, and will continue to be supported, sold and updated by C-Map until further notice.

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    [5.19] What limitations do the demo charts have?

    We do not recommend navigating with the demo charts.   They are not the latest version with the latest "Notices to Mariners" and other corrections, and their coverage may be incomplete in some areas.  To purchase the latest updated charts, see the step-by-step guide above.

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    [5.20] Does SOB and C-Map charts work in the higher and lower latitudes?

    All SOB tools will function up to 80° N/S latitudes.

    The Mercator chart projection used by C-Map and SOB is undefined for latitudes higher than 80°.

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    [5.21] How do I purchase C-Map charts?

    1. Contact your local Jeppesen Marine (C-MAP) office and request they post you a Chart Selector CD.
    2. When the CD arrives, install the C-MAP Selector program from their CD (this will auto install when you insert the CD in your drive).
    3. Open the C-MAP Selector program.
    4. Click any region you’re interested in (it should appear red-bound).   If the maps overlap, or sub-regions are near your choice, click one-by-one the list of charts in the bottom left pane.
    5. When the appropriate choice is red-bound, select the “Buy It” option (right button on their toolbar, or right-click within the selected chart).
    6. Continue in this way until your Shopping Basket shows your desired portfolio.
    7. You will receive a full up-to-date price list for your chart choices in any currency.
    8. And you have opportunities to cancel before committing to a purchase.

    see also: SOB Online User Manual NT/PC Selector 

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    [5.22] I've bought a new chart, should I remove the old one?

    It is probably not strictly necessary to remove the old chart versions as newer charts will automatically receive priority when the chart is displayed. However when using the "Find" feature (binoculars button) you will notice double-ups for items within the covered areas.

    It is perhaps cleaner to remove the old versions, to do this I suggest making a new folder:
    C:\SOBvMAX\Charts\oldcharts (or similar) and moving the old chart files into this folder.
    The chart files will probably be found in this folder: C:\Program Files\C-MAP NT PC Selector\Charts (or similar).

    You may want to thoroughly familiarise yourself with the various coverages before disabling the old charts in case the old charts include some areas not included with the new chart.

    Also, remember to use the C-Map Chart Selector program's chart license backup function and store the license backup file in the SOB charts folder.
    (refer to ourSOB Manual for more information - Chapter 10, Example 1, Step 5).

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    [5.23] How much are C-Map charts?

    C-Map has a significant new pricing and coverage area with their MAX format charts: refer to http://www.c-map.com for information about the new MAX charts coverage and costings, or call your local C-Map office.

    Once correctly registered, "C-MAP Electronic Charts" will issue you with the world's charts, secured on CD-ROM disks. Also included is a basic "point and click" program for selecting the chart portfolios and purchasing their licenses, or just price-checking.

    ... but for your interest, (understanding that: we at DigiBOAT are in no-way connected with C-MAP's pricing policies), my copy of SOB is reporting (as @ Mar 2007):

    • Wide chart portfolios: $USD199.00 each
    • MegaWide chart portfolios: $USD249.00 each

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    [5.24] What're the costs for C-MAP Brisbane to Melbourne? 

    Included on the C-Map Selector CD is a basic program for selecting the chart portfolios and purchasing their licenses - or just use the Selector program as a chart catalogue and to check the current prices of your particular chart area of interest.

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    [5.25] There's no way I can afford to buy the C-MAP charts...

    I have now received the C-MAP selector discs. There's no way I can afford to buy the C-MAP charts I would actually need for our round the world journey, so I will be using the world map that comes with SOB and the Garmin when we get close to the bumpy bits.

    Our DigiBOAT philosophy is that safe navigational tools, if not free, should be readily affordable by all who need them. Our contribution to this is "SOB Navigation Software" with a 1-MONTH FULL FEATURED FREE TRIAL PERIOD followed by low cost license for continued use of use the feature-reduced LITE version for free.

    Be aware that the whole electronic charting industry is still quite young, and to-date (pre-SOB if you like) has been targeted to the super-yacht high-roller end of the market, with correspondingly small world-wide sales! We aim to change this ... as we say in our press releases: "Geographical knowledge of Planet Earth is the right of all humans, we predict that in the future chart costs will be measured in cents, not dollars!"

    There are still many-many-many software programmers world-wide with the belief that all software should be Public Domain, and thus free (or with nominal administrative-style costing). This group is actually the origin of the decades-old anti-Microsoft movement, and in fact the dot-com fiasco was due to the corporate sector butting-in to the previously "free society" that was the Internet.

    C-MAP charts experienced a large price reduction in 2005, and this trend hasbeen continuing. Previously C-MAP charts where priced equivalently to their paper (Admiralty) alternatives, now they are actually somewhat cheaper but not available in small or single-chart portfolios. Yet ~$USD200 for "All of Australia" or "Western Mediterranean", for example, and including wide-scale down to harbour level, with incredible database detail on ports, navaids etc, does represent excellent value.

    For your particular use, I would suggest travelling as you say, perhaps purchasing the C-MAP for areas you don't currently have covered on paper, or for regions where you expect to do some extensive cruising whilst en route (keeping in mind the invaluable port information contained in the charts).

    If using your GPS when in uncharted areas, you may find the "Show NMEA waypoint on Chart" function in SOB very useful - this is a relatively "undocumented" feature in SOB, which is available from the RAW NMEA DATA form (double-click the chart surface). It's usefulness is dependant on the GPS's interpretation and use of NMEA route data - which doesn't appear to be consistently implemented across all GPS makes and models.

    I would express caution if navigating oceans using just the C-MAP world background chart, for example, on an Admiralty chart you'll find a sea mount that rises to within a few metres of the surface about halfway and slightly west, of a straight line course between Fiji and NZ - such detail is of course not present on the world overview C-Map chart ...

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    [5.26] Where is C-Map’s Chart Selector download link located?

    This is not available for download, but submit a request for the CD to be sent here: http://ntpc.c-map.com/ntselector.html

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    [5.27] I have CM93 charts, how do I get them to work with SOB?

    [5.28] Does SOB work with S57 (ENC) NOAA charts?

    [5.29] Can I use scanned charts with SOB?

    [5.30] Is SOB compatible with BSB or Navionics or MapSend BlueNav charts?

    SOB uses only C-MAP Electronic Charts - NT/NT+ or MAX formats. SOB is NOT COMPATIBLE with CM93 charts.

    C-MAP charts cover all areas covered by the British Admiralty’s charts (ARCS & Seafarer), but due to the “vector” nature of the C-MAP charts, they also contain a wealth of additional information – tides, navigation aids, port and marina information – even the distance to the nearest toilet and laundry!

    C-MAP Charts have continuously been voted “Best Electronic Charts” by many highly regarded international associations and organizations, and C-MAP charts power almost 80% of the world’s chart-plotter devices. 

    The International standard for electronic charts, set by the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) and ratified by all other relevant national and international marine and standards institutions (ISO, NMEA, SOLAS, IEC, etc) is known as the "S57 & S52 standard" as specified by the International Hydrographic Office.

    C-MAP charts are fully compliant with the S57 standard and have been verified as suitable for ECDIS solutions (which can legally replace paper charts, in fact the new Queen Mary is fitted with C-MAPs).

    There is a fairly high level of awareness and respect for the C-MAP format. For these reasons, and others, SOB is designed for use solely with C-MAP charts.

    FYI: we do plan to add NOAA S57 vector chart support to SOB. We did explore the possibility of also adding Navionics support, however for now, we have decided against this. We will post notices on our website as NOAA ENC chart support approaches!

    If another chart format does become prolific, has full world-wide coverage, and earns the respect of the marine industry, then it would be bad business practice for us to not look into supporting it!

    Note: as @ Jul 09, We are running a quick survey to gauge the interest level for various chart formats, please participate in this quick survey here.

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    [5.31] The chart is coming up as a (Kodak) image file in Windows Explorer.

    [5.32] Can I view the charts with an “imaging” program (eg: Photoshop)?

    The C-MAP demo charts can only be viewed within the SOB program. They are not image files as such (not like Photoshop or jpeg etc). They are special data files which, when opened by SOB will be correctly drawn to represent geographical shapes and navigational information.

    It sounds like, on your computer, that Explorer just "coincidently" thinks they are Kodak image files. They are not similar to ANY image file formats, nor compatible with ANY image display software.

    The only way to "view" these files is by placing them in SOB's DemoCharts folder and running SOB. Any C-MAP charts found (demo or licensed) when SOB starts will be shown on the world background as grey squares which can be "zoomed" into with SOB's toolbar buttons or the mouse wheel.

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    [5.33] I have a current "C-MAP NT+ Wide" cartridge, how do I use it with this programme?

    C-MAP offer hardware devices for reading C-MAP NT/NT+ Cartridges with a PC. The 3 choices are:

    • PCMCIA - useful for older laptops;
    • PCI - useful for older desktops; and
    • USB - hands-up-winner for any modern computer. 

    View information about the C-Map USB Card Readers on our C-MAP Electronic Charts webpage.

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    [5.34] I have SOB on my laptop and wish to use the laptop as a chart plotter...

    Will the GPS USB Receiver for PC/Laptop/Notebook allow me to do this? I was hoping to use the computer in conjunction with the GPS USB Receiver for PC/Laptop/Notebook rather that operating through my existing GPS so that it would provide me with a back up GPS. Will this work?

    Yes, the USB GPS will do exactly what you're thinking.

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    [5.35] Can I interface the PC with a chartplotter without having to use C-Map c-cards in the plotter.

    Having one CD of all C-Map Max or NT charts, can I interface the PC with an above deck chartplotter without having to use C-Map chart cards in the chartplotter. Using a multifunction waterproof chartplotter at the helm where I can view chartplotter info from the PC, incl depth sounder, sailing instruments (wind speed and direction) and radar.

    It is not possible to do precisely what you wish.

    First, the charts can only be used in one place at one time, whether that's the CD or SD cards, or C-Card type charts. Second, SOB can not re-display the RADAR raster image (as returned by the magnetron's echoes) although SOB can re-display the RADAR cursor and VRM/EBL marks, and ARPA targets (with ARPA enabled RADAR units).

    However you can still achieve your desired setup (PC showing charts and nav instrument info at the helm station) by connecting a second monitor to the computer. This would ideally be a touchscreen, weatherproof, sunlight viewable screen to the largest size that the mounting position, and budget, allows for. See www.winmate.com.tw for screens that fit these requirements. Also, in a typical yacht layout, the remote cockpit screen is a long cable run distance from the nav computer - in which case a VGA signal amplifier must be used for the cable extension. (An un-amplified VGA cable can only be a max length of about 2 metres).

    Now, with this described setup the only disadvantage is no radar image on the cockpit screen. Radar has its place in navigating, but be aware that electronic charts combined with AIS is a useful tool to plotting other boats but radar is still great for avoiding thunderstorms, or boats without AIS transponders!

    If radar in the cockpit is a priority, perhaps you could explore one of the new "blackbox" radar solutions which connect to the magnetron at one end and a PC at the other - one example is the SiTEK RADAR pc. The PC is used for the radar's image display with software supplied with the "blackbox". This radar software should be able to also run on the remote monitor, allowing you to switch between SOB and RADAR views (or setup your window tiling to show both side-by-side) however you will not be able to overlay the radar image on the SOB charts with this solution.

    For a fully integrated solution with radar overlays you would need to have all NMEA-2000 instruments (or one of the integrated instrument manufacturer's proprietary networks - such as Raymarine).

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    [5.36] What's the difference between the C-Map NT+ and the NTMax?

    DigiBOAT believes that C-Map should make this clearer for all potential users - the MAX charts are the ones you MUST purchase. These are the newest chart formats with much wider coverage and greater detail than the NT/NT+ format.

    The NT/NT+ charts are still being included for those who are using older nav software and plotters which are not compatible with MAX charts.

     
     

     
      Connecting NMEA Instruments  
     

    [6.1] How do I connect my GPS to SOB?

    The basic step-by-step process follows:

    1. IMPORTANT: Close all programs that might be using the GPS (eg; GPSView, Hyperterminal. etc)
    2. Connect GPS (if not already connected)
    3. Ensure GPS is set to output NMEA data at 4800 baud (see GPS Manual)
    4. Start SOB
    5. Open Raw NMEA Data form (double-click chart)
    6. Open SOB PORTS (with the "Identify Ports" button)
    7. Press "Test for Data" button
    8. Highlight the entry that reports "GPS NMEA Data"
    9. Press the "Add >" button
    10. Press the "Save and Exit" button to close SOB PORTS and return to SOB

    The SOB PORTS program included in your SOB installation contains a detailed Help section - press F1 from within the SOB PORTS application.

    Extra steps may be required to install drivers for the GPS if it's a USB connection, or for any Serial-to-USB Converters being used etc.

    If no entry (in SOB PORTS) is marked as "GPS Data" after doing the data test (points 6 and 7) then do not continue. You should start the steps over (perhaps reboot first) or revert to advanced techniques starting with Device Manager to check for correct driver installation for your devices (eg; GPS, Converter cable).

    Note for USB GPS users: to avoid potential problems from COM port reassignments, it is best if you get into the habit of always using the same USB socket on your laptop to connect the GPS to. There is more information about such issues in the Help pages of the SOB PORTS program.

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    [6.2] The cursor is jumping around the screen like crazy, and windows open up at random.

    This is known as Crazy Mouse Syndrome and is a Microsoft acknowledged bug in Windows 2000 and XP where Windows misinterprets the GPS data as a mouse, and auto-installs a mouse driver for it.

    Microsoft has a "Symptoms, Cause and Resolution", check out this Microsoft Document:

    "Serial Device May Be Detected as a Serial Mouse in Windows 2000" (XP is also discussed in the document)
    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;283063

    A method which should stop it happening is below. This is from a newsgroup and have had reports that it does work.

    • Boot the computer with the GPS receiver attached. The cursor will be jumping around and all sorts of unwanted stuff will be happening.
    • Disconnect the GPS. The computer will settle down.
    • Select Control Panel - System - Hardware - Device Manager.
    • Click on the "+" next to Mice and other pointing devices.
    • Click on "Microsoft Serial Ball Point" - This is what Windows 2000/XP thinks that your GPS receiver is.
    • Select "Actions" and then "disable".
    • Click "OK" to close each window
    • Reboot the computer with the GPS attached. All should be well.

    The next time you boot the computer, it will tell itself to disable the "Serial Ball Point". If you boot the machine without the GPS attached, it will not even show the disabled device.

    A simple solution known to work in most circumstances is: turn on the GPS (or plug it in) after Windows has booted, but before starting SOB.

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    [6.3] Does the free trial version work with a GPS?

    I have connected my Magellan GPS to my laptop now running the demo verion of SOB (for evaluation). The GPS works with Magellan "Streets and Maps" and I can happily track my path in Sydney Harbour with it. When I use SOB instead, it does not track or show the correct location.

    Yes, any version SOB will be "live" with a GPS connected.

    Please ensure the following:

    1. The GPS is outputting NMEA data at 4800 baud (set this via the GPS menu system).
    2. The GPS has a clear view of the sky.
    3. No other program is running (so be sure the "Streets and Maps" etc applications are closed) and no other programs are connected to and using the GPS.
    4. SOB has been configured to connect to the correct GPS COM port (use Identify Ports to connect your device to SOB).

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    [6.4] My GPS is trying to use COM3

    The COM3 port is generally used (or reserved for use) by a built-in modem. You should avoid using this port with SOB and any of  your serial devices or virtual ports.

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    [6.5] Can I use my GPS with two programs at the same time?

    The simple answer is No. Once a program has "opened" a COM port, this port is "owned" by that program and other programs are blocked from also using this COM port (SOB reports this as "Port not available or In Use or Access Denied").

    But... there is a very neat software based solution to this: GpsGate, a very affordable program supplied by Franson Software which includes a 14 day free trial period.

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    [6.6] If I connect 2 GPS devices, does it matter?

    SOB will not distinguish between different GPS if multiple are connected! SOB will only see all the incoming GPS data, and will not know what port, the data is received from. So generally speaking it is not the best practice to have multiple GPS connected although neither will it do any harm. It's just that SOB has to process more data than necessary, and if the GPSes are sending different data (which can occur if they are out of synch, due to dampening or filtering etc) then the ownship symbol could jump around onscreen more than is necessary.

    Passing the GPS data though an AIS device may filter it. Typically, an AIS transforms all GPS data it receives into the standard NMEARMC sentence and forwards this every second, or two, to the PC.

    Also, usually an AIS Transponder will send both AIS and GPS data to SOB - in this case a separate GPS connected to your computer is not necessary.

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    [6.7] SOB can't recognise my Garmin GPS?

    This is almost certainly to do with the Garmin set to "talk" in its proprietary language, rather than the International standard language - "NMEA". So on the Garmin menu, find the interface settings menu and change from "Garmin" to "NMEA Out", also while there, set the baud to 4800 if you have this option.
    If your GPS is the Garmin-18 USB model, then you must download the extra file from the Garmin website. This is called spanner.exe and is a software driver for the Garmin 18 that converts its native (proprietary) language to NMEA so the rest of the World can understand it. Many other Garmin USB units can also use the Spanner driver to interface with NMEA software (such as SOB). Be aware, as at Mar09 Spanner is not compatible with the Vista operating system. Many Garmins are supplied only with a USB connecting cable, you may need to purchase the Serial/Data Cable which is an optional accessory. Check your Garmin manual or their website for further information.

    Search the Garmin website for more info and to download the Spanner driver.

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    [6.8] We intend to use a Garmin 72 as the GPS. Is that OK?

    The Garmin 72 works fine with SOB. The typical problem experienced with Garmins is that they are not set by default to output NMEA data (rather they use their own proprietary language for communicating with computers and other Garmin devices). However this is simply a setting in the Garmin menu which needs to be changed. Apart from this, the Garmin will operate in the same way with SOB as does any other GPS.

    Other Garmin issues may affect its use with SOB, refer to the previous FAQ point and the Help pages in the SOB PORTS application.

    For full redundancy, it is an ideal setup to have a separate GPS for the laptop. A good cheap example is the "USB GPS BU353" available through our 'Shop' webpage.

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    [6.9] Can I use SOB to enter waypoints from the Keyboard and save that as a file to upload to my Furuno?

    Most Furuno devices allow you to import wpts - using standard WPL NMEA sentences (which SOB can output). One of the Furuno import options is usually "YOEMAN" but beware as this will usually clear all your existing wpts in the GPS, so we strongly advise exporting all wpts out of the GPS first (you can use SOB also to capture these) so you have a backup of them.

    Then you will have to do some experimenting to find the best method to import the waypoints to the GPS.

    Use the AllWaypoints form [F10] to control wpt import and export.

    To enter your waypoints from the keyboard, for large quantities it may be easier to type these into a spreadsheet which can be easily imported to SOB as a text list (refer to the SOB Manual for directions). Alternately, if there are only a few to enter you can use the SOB Wpt tool to place a wpt on the chart, then from the Wpt Form you can type in the precise coordinates for each wpt in turn.

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    [6.10] How do I connect my AutoPilot?

    This depends on exactly which model autopilot you have. The smaller models (cheaper) generally only have NMEA input connections, which allows SOB to control the pilot. If the pilot has NMEA output connections then these are generally for outputting the fluxgate compass data that is built into the pilot. SOB can utilise this electronic compass data for correctly aligning the OwnShip target when drawn as a scale shipshape, and if you also have a speed LOG device connected to SOB, then the combination of GPS data, and the electronic compass and speed data is used to calculate the current set & drift (or more typically on a sailing boat - the leeway).

    To connect your PC (thus SOB) to your pilot, please examine the sample wiring diagrams available here or in the SOB User Manual.

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    [6.11] How do I get SOB to operate my autopilot?

    Refer to section 5.3 of theSOB Manual.

    First, check your SOB License level - you must have AL2 license level or higher for the Autopilot output feature to be enabled.

    Now, check your AP manual to determine which NMEA control sentence they recommend. Usually it is the APA or APB sentence which you then tick on the SOB "NMEA Output" page.
    It is best if you tick as few as possible of these AP control sentences, ideally just one should be ticked. If APA or APB is not working for you then the XTE/BOD combination is about the most generic and should work for any AP.

    Also be sure you select your Primary or Secondary SOB Output port correctly. And the baud rate for the port used is set to 4800. All AP's require 4800 but you could have a different speed setting for any "Talker" device sending the NMEA data to SOB on this port.

    You will have to "tell" your AP to use remote data for controlling it. This differs from model to model so we can't provide any clear direction for you, but check the AP manual and make sure it is set to something like" Remote Control" or "External Control" or "NMEA input" or something similar.

    Finally,  you must have a SOB N2D process started before there is any output. An N2D scenario is either a MOB, or "Navigate to a Waypoint" or an activated route.

    To summarize:

    1. User must be User license 2 or higher license
    2. The autopilot and the computer must be wired correctly
    3. SOB NMEA autopilot output configured (select APB or other sentence as suggested by the autopilot manual)
    4. On some autopilots, press key/button on autopilot control to enable remote data control
    5. Initiate a SOB N2D scenario (MOB, Active Route, or Navigate to Wpt)

    Diagnostic tools, some suggestions:

    1. If using a Serial/ USB Converter it may have an LED which flashes every 2 seconds as the data is being sent from SOB to the AP
    2. Use a null-modem cable (otherwise called a cross-over cable: pin2 to pin3, and pin3 to pin2, pin5 always to pin5) and connect the SOB output to either (A) another COM port on same PC, or (B) another PC. Then run HyperTerminal, connect to the input port and see if the APB (or whatever) is displayed every two seconds.
    3. Connect a multimeter across pin 3 & 5 and see if there's a voltage spike every 2 seconds. Usually the MM should be analogue type as the spike is generally too quick for a digital to have time to update the LCD display.

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    [6.12] My Autopilot is 8° off course!

    This is most likely due to an unentered, or incorrectly entered, value of Magnetic Variation in the Autopilot control unit. Refer to the Pilot Manual for setting the Mag Var.

    It is possible that the Autopilot is confused by receiving too many commands. On the SOB NMEA Output page, you should set only one of the below sentences to control an autopilot. It may take some experimentation to determine which sentence is the best for your pilot. Your Pilot Manual should list which control messages it is compatible with, and may offer some detail about how it uses such messages?

    • APA - sends only magnetic course info
    • APB - sends only magnetic course info
    • BOD - sends both True and Magnetic course info in the same sentence
    • XTE - sends no course data, only steer left/right, and perpendicular distance off intended course
    • BWR/BWC - send both True and Magnetic course data in the same sentence

    Suggest you try BOD/XTE alone. The XTE sends no heading data, and the BOD sends both true and magnetic so there is perhaps less chance of this being misinterpreted.
    Otherwise try the BWR/BWC combination on its own.

    Finally, it is not unknown for some autopilots to incorrectly handle the received data (for example, we know that Robertson autopilots have some interesting idiosyncrasies with the APB sentence).

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    [6.13] AIS has been connected for the last 2 months. Now when a route is activated, SOB freezes soon after activation and only a reboot allows SOB to work again?

    1. Please turn off (all disconnect) all navigation equipment and re-boot the computer. Please note any error messages on start up of the computer
    2. Re-start SOB, please note any error messages
    3. Start each device and connect it to SOB if required and note any errors and observations
    4. If SOB freezes when a particular device is started it may indicate a hardware failure, cable failure or device driver failure for that device. Re-install the device driver first and re-test.
    5. The freeze may be because SOB is outputting NMEA info for the AutoPilot port/device/hub/adaptor that cannot receive data (or requires hardware handshaking to receive data). Go to the "NMEA Output" page on the "Raw NMEA Data Form" (double-click chart) and disable (untick) all outputs.

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    [6.14] What is a Multiplexer (MUX)?

    SOB can use four serial (COM) ports for connecting to your navigation instruments. If you have more than four devices you wish to connect (eg: GPS, AIS, Wind, Depth, RADAR etc etc) then you will need a multiplexer which "merges" all the data from these devices into a single "data stream" which will connect to a single COM port on the PC.

    We recommend MUXes from http://www.brookhouseonline.com/ (New Zealand) or http://www.shipmodul.com/ (Netherlands/UK).

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    [6.15] Can I use Bluetooth GPS or BT MUX with SOB?

    Yes. Bluetooth is simply a radio connection which replaces the USB cable for such devices. If your PC doesn't have Bluetooth built in, then you will need a Bluetooth Radio Dongle available from any computer store for around ($50).

    We strongly advise attempting to use a BT device be reserved for technical computer users only. There are often several hurdles to connecting a BT device, and it is close to impossible for us to provide much support assistance with these issues. Refer to our User Manual for some general BT connection instructions.

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    [6.16] What is SeaTalk, NavBus, etc?

    [6.17] Can I interface Raymarine Seatalk instruments with SOB?

    [6.18] Can I interface B&G instruments with SOB?

    SOB uses the international NMEA language for communicating between navigation instruments.

    Seatalk is Raymarine's proprietary communication "language" for interconnecting Raymarine instruments. Raymarine supply an accessory (Part #E85001) for converting Seatalk to NMEA. Also, ShipModul's and Brookhouse's MUXes also convert Seatalk to NMEA. If you have the ST60 repeater, you will find a NMEA output on the device which can connect directly to a SOB COM port.

    B&G supply an accessory (Part #H1000-UNI) which converts their language to NMEA.

    NAVMAN users require the "Navman Repeater" to convert the NavBus data to NMEA.

    In other words, if a navigation instrument does not offer a NMEA output for computer interfacing, then check the manufacturer's website (or try a Google search - "convert {manufacturer's name here} to NMEA ") for an accessory to convert other "languages" to NMEA.

    Refer to our Sample Schematics webpage for further information.

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    [6.19] Will SOB accept NMEA 2000 signals or do they need to be converted to NMEA 0183 first?

    SOB is not directly compatible with NMEA 2000.

    NMEA2000 to NMEA0183 converters are available from Actisense and various other companies. Search the Internet to determine your options.

    Note: many AIS devices mistakenly say they are NMEA2000 devices because they connect at a higher baud rate than normal (38400 instead of the default 4800). These are actually NMEA0183 but just communicating at a higher speed.

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    [6.20] How to show the satellite data on the NMEA form?

    Your GPS must send these two NMEA sentences which contain the satellite data: $__GSA, $__GSV (any two characters may appear in the __ blanks)

    Older GPS typically wont have this ability, newer ones may provide you with an option to enable/disable sending these sentences.

    Also, if passing the GPS data thru any other instruments (such as AIS Receivers), these satellite messages will likely be filtered out.

     
     

     
      SOB Navigation  
     

    [7.1] Is SOB ECDIS compliant?

    ECDIS is the standard for a full electronic navigation system to IMO and SOLAS specifications. The standard includes full redundancy PLUS ALL THE HARDWARE.

    So by definition any navigation software alone cannot ever be regarded as "ECDIS Compliant"

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    [7.2] Can SOB be used around the French, Dutch and UK coasts?

    Yes, SOB can be used world-wide. C-Map charts have the most extensive world coverage of any electronic chart producer and certainly the Nth Atlantic and all European coastlines are thoroughly covered.

    For your interest, SOB is also available (as @ May09) in French, Dutch, Italian, German and Norwegian language versions.

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    [7.3] Why is the Anti-Grounding feature disabled?

    We had anti-grounding enabled and fully functioning in SOB prior to the release of the C-Map MAX charts. After these charts started being put to use we received a few emails about errors with object detection in some areas. Although these errors seem to be isolated to specific locations, or specific charts, it is prudent for us to disable it entirely as this type of feature must be as trustworthy as possible. We expect to have completed our testing with this and will re-enable as soon as possible.

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    [7.4] How do I turn off the green triangle hatch area in front of the vessel position.

    "A" key toggles the display of the Anti-grounding look-ahead triangle.

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    [7.5] How do I delete a MOB marker from the SOB chart?

    A MOB is a regular SOB waypoint with certain configured properties; please refer to page 6-3 of the SOB Manual for instructions to delete waypoints.

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    [7.6] Difficulty reading the QuickInfo box display?

    Some pointing devices are very sensitive to the QuickInfo box display. Attempt a right-click to get the details, otherwise a trick for the QuickInfo is to get it to pop-up, then hit the "Enter" key which takes SOB out of QuickInfo mode and leaves the box on screen until the next chart refresh.

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    [7.7] How do I disable the annoying ‘beep’ when first launching SOB and when altering a waypoint etc?

    There is a single beep when SOB starts up - this indicates that your COM port(s) has opened successfully. If you are getting many beeps then perhaps you have an AIS receiver installed? If so the beeps may be from acquiring targets which are predicted to breach your safe zone. AIS alarms can be disabled with the button on the Targets form ([T] key).

    However it sounds like (because of the wpt move beeps etc) that your internal speaker is diverted to your sound system (which some laptops do by default) without any volume compensation. Without knowing your computer settings, the easiest solution should be to adjust the volume control (usually a small speaker icon near the clock in the bottom-right corner, or use the "Audio..." icon in Control Panel). Of course you do want the beeps at times (especially if using AIS) so perhaps just mute the speaker before start-up and when editing wpts etc. Often a laptop will have a short-cut function keystroke option for muting and volume control - this is different for each make/model so can't help you much here, just look carefully at each key for (typically) a blue icon of a speaker.

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    [7.8] I can’t see any past tracks anymore.

    PastTracks are only reloaded for licensed SOB users, or during the trial period.

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    [7.9] My tracks are not registering the correct distance covered when you open the file in Excel.

    Use the SOB PastTracks form [Backspace] and re-load the track with the "Re-create trip log" option enabled.

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    [7.10] I have a grid or dots all over the charts.

    Without more info as to your location, the grid colours, spacing, size etc we must assume this is referring to a restricted area (or similar).

    On the Ships Form [F9] go to the "Customs Settings" page and untick both "Restricted areas" on the left side and "Restricted Zones" on the right-side.

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    [7.11] Is it possible to change the colour of the maps?

    Yes, to a degree, refer to chapter 10.9 in the SOB Manual which goes into some detail about using the F4, 4 , page up and page down keys to change chart colours and shading.

    An undocumented feature: Ctrl-F4 will cycle through different chart palettes: green/black; grey scale; NOAA; C-Map etc

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    [7.12] Tell me about light animation?

    Refer to section 10.10 of the SOB Manual

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    [7.13] Can tidal arrows be animated?

    The Tidal Stream arrows can be manually animated for future predictions. Shift-T pops up a simple (self-explanatory) form.

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    [7.14] How do I customise the auto-centre feature?

    Customising the Auto-Centre feature:
    *** Note, this technique involves editing the System Registry, which is a potentially dangerous activity, please only attempt this if you are a confident Windows operator ***

    The two variables are in the Registry, and called AC_Ready and AC_Return
    ... registry keys are here:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SoftwareOnBoard\sob\Settings
    These numbers are percentages of the half screen width (if the ship is heading 45°-135° or 225°-315°) or the half screen height (for the other sectors). So unless you are using a 1:1 aspect ratio (which of course no one does) there might be inconsistencies around a heading of 45°, 135°, 225° and 315°.
    The way it works is that when the AC_Ready percentage of ½ screen is traversed by the ship, then it will be returned to the position which is AC_Return percentage away from the chart centre.
    So to make a combination that doesn't allow the ship to sail near the screen edge, and to keep as much chart in front of the ship as possible, then choose these settings:
    AC_Ready = 10%
    AC_Return = 90%
    To make a combination that always keeps the ship near the centre:
    AC_Ready = 10%
    AC_Return = 10%
    You can only make the Registry changes while SOB is NOT running. The new settings are loaded when SOB starts up.

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    [7.15] How can I practice/dream with SOB without being onboard?

    To create "life" in SOB without a moving GPS attached: (1) enable dead-reckoning mode - click on the Ship's Target to set your start position and speed and heading (you may need to zoom in to see the motion) or (2) replay a log file - double-click the chart surface, then just follow the button captions to play and control a pre-captured logfile. 

    See also this section of our Online User Manual.

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    [7.16] Are there other uses for DR mode?

    DR = Dead Reckoning. This is not a "simulate" mode, but rather a DR mode perhaps in the stricter navigational sense. IE, if your positioning device (GPS or sextant) fails, you can set SOB to continue to track your boat by manually entering course and speed.

    Otherwise on the computer the DR mode works like an interactive video game - with you being able to steer (L and R keys) and adjust speed (+ and - keys) while "on the move". This can be a very handy mode for learning to use SOB and in particular some of the more advanced features, such as VMG to a destination, or tracking a route (interactively), or experimenting with a replayed log file of AIS data so you can have desktop practice with using the Target's feature

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    [7.17] I've heard that SOB can "talk" to me? How do I do this?

    Yes, SOB includes a very innovative feature we call the Talking Pilot (in honour of a quite remarkable blind user who first suggested this idea to us - Tony Purkiss).

    Use [Ctrl-Space] keys to open the TP form. Its operation is quite straightforward, but certain Window's Control Panel settings must be configured, or Microsoft Speech components may need to be installed.

    Please refer to Chapter 14 of the PDF SOB User Manual for full details to set up and using the TP.

    If using the TP, we recommend enabling your PC for Bluetooth and purchasing a BT wireless earpiece (as used with mobile phones) to achieve maximum benefit from the Talking Pilot feature. Waterproof BT earpieces are also available - use Google to find one to suit your needs.

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    [7.18] How can SOB help me plan my TACKS when sailing?

    Refer to section 5.4 of theSOB Manual. And familiarise yourself with the Wind Polars feature (button on the PastTrack form).

    Various SOB guides can be used on-screen to help "plan your tacks" - be sure to turn on wind tools on the F9 form, and correctly enter your yacht's optimum upwind angle.

    Tips:

    1. Set a Waypoint at your upwind mark - in Wpt settings, turn on "Wind Shadow". This combined with your Ownship laylines indicate optimum tacking locations
    2. The RBL tool will include guides indicating your laylines - aligned to true wind

    Note: With no wind device connected, you can manually enter the "apparent" wind into the NMEA form, then SOB will calculate the "true" wind as GPS data is received.

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    [7.19] What is the thin red line that appears in the display area?

    This red line is the Quick Navigation Line which defaults to position zero-zero or the Gulf  of Guinea. The line will be hidden whenever SOB is set to declutter mode, or disabled on the Ship Tools page of the Ship's Form. The box can't be turned off, it’s a frequently used tool once used to it, and most of the time it will be in your display area.   When you don't want it cluttering the chart, zoom out and move it out of the way.

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    [7.20] How do you reset the Ship Defaults? 

    The ship's "course & speed" on shutdown are pre-set on next startup. These values can be changed - use the RAW NMEA form to enter your defaults, these settings will be overwritten as soon as any new NMEA data comes in. Alternately, and perhaps more logically, reset C & S using the ship's Dead-Reckoning mode (click the Ship's Target at any time to access the DR settings).

     
     

     
      What is AIS?
    What is DSC?
     
     

    Also refer to our SOB AIS targets Online User Manual page.

    AIS stands for Automatic Identification System (sometimes UAIS for Universal AIS), and is basically a VHF device which sends (and/or receives) details about your vessel and your journey. If you look at the "AIS Static Data" page on SOB's new Ship's Form [F9] you will get an idea of the type of data that is sent between ships. Also dynamic data is sent - speed, course, lat, lng, rate of turn. ALL commercial ships over 300t - tankers, liners, ferries, etc - must have AIS transmitters fitted. And as time passes many more classes of ships will be required to send AIS data (all new ships, ALL ships over 60', all passenger ships ...). The internet contains a vast amount of information about AIS, a good starting point is http://www.uais.org/, also worth a look is http://www.aislive.com/ .

    For individual small boat users, it's unnecessary to be sending this information (well not yet, anyway), but it is very handy to be able to receive it, and display it on the chart! Fortunately, AIS receive only devices are appearing on the market and are extremely cheap (when compared to transceivers). We've sourced (and tested) a receive-only device see our shop webpage for details. Of course there is no real need for them for harbour or local sailing (except if near/in a major commercial port area), but for long coastal cruising, or ocean crossings they are a great boost to safety. I have no doubt that they will quickly become a "must have" item for any boat with a computer onboard.

    Recently, "Class B" AIS Transponders have been developed. These are non-SOLAS devices and targetted to the recreational, or non-commercial users who still want to send AIS information, but are not legally required to be doing so. These are far cheaper alternatives to the SOLAS Class A transponders. See our webshop where we sell the COMAR Class B Transponder.

    For a demo of this technology, and the way SOB uses it, run one of the AIS sample log files in SOB, move the display so that you can see the UK, then zoom into where all the replay action is happening. To see more detail about the acquired targets, show the target form, or select the Info button and hover the pointer over a target. 

    (In Australia, and we assume elsewhere) there has been somewhat of an uproar that has been ongoing for the last few years in relation to the removal of the VHF-16 emergency monitoring, and the need for ships to maintain a listening watch on 16. Although monitoring of voice-over-VHF is being decreased/eliminated, it is/has been replaced with a digital alternative - DSC/GMDSS and a few other related acronyms. AIS has been born out of this ... and really is quite amazing technology, it's like having the equivalent of a 2D air-traffic controller's console on your laptop!

    [8.1] Does SOB support DSC and what is the difference with AIS?

    SOB supports DSC via VHF. SOB will connect to a DSC radio and receive position reports from remote ship-borne DSC devices and plot them on the chart in real-time - in exactly the same manner as AIS targets are plotted. However the DSC messages don't contain quite the same amount of information as AIS, but at a minimum you receive MMSI, lat/lng and any emergency DSC message sent, and depending on the make of DSC - on the ship-borne side - you can also receive SOG/COG, persons onboard, ship name etc.

    The DSC is proving to be an excellent way to track your own vessels in this use and avoids the need to fit AIS Transponders to such vessels.

    Refer to thissimple schematic for setting up your equipment at each end.

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    [8.2] Can AIS labels be made bigger or smaller?

    The tick boxes on the Targets Form allow selection of a "Large" option for these labels.

    Other ways of showing Target ID and CPA information is by hovering the Info cursor over it. Note the hotspot is the point of the triangle. You can also show the Tracked Target panel (white window) which has more detail of the ship and in particular the CPA info is displayed.

    All available information about a target is shown only on the Targets list form ([T] key), however all needed navigation and collision avoidance info is shown in the white Targets panel.

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    [8.3] In AIS why doesn’t the ship change to red when the collision potential changes from zero to high/very high?

    You are expecting the Ship's Symbol to change to red for collision threats. Only the AIS target in question will change to red.

    Ownship symbol will vary between red and green ring around yellow to indicate port/stbd tack if a wind instrument is connected.

     
     

     
      How do I access Route features?  
     

    The Route feature represents the most complex feature in regards to user interface, the QuickStart file does give you brief but clear directions on how to access route features. Detailed information can be found throughout the Online User Manual. But basically, (with the Route tool selected) click an existing route Turn Mark (TM). This will select the route; click the same TM again will pop-up a quick menu from which the route data can be accessed (including the hypotheticals), and TM's can be added or removed from this quick menu.

    Quick tip when route drawing/editing: if you need to move a TM a small distance, you will probably find the quick menu popping up erroneously - this is because of the double-TM-click-for-the-menu command - to overcome this, move the TM "out of the way" first, then move it back to the finer position that you want, or zoom-in significantly to create more "screen space" between these two locations.

    Refer to the PDF User Manual for detailed information on using SOB Routes.

    [9.1] Why do some Route legs suddenly disappear when zoomed out?

    This is erroneous route-leg reversing, this has to do with the Earth being round (well..spherical), so two directions are possible between any two points.    A convenient feature with the C-MAP charts is that it can be “wrapped” from the left or right edges, however route legs crossing the 180° longitude may be drawn to go around the Earth the other way, ie: without crossing the dateline. SOB takes its best guess at which way the route leg should logically go, anyway, the route should "repair" itself whenever the chart "pan" or "zoom" is such that ambiguity is removed!

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    [9.2] How can I dry-run my route in real time?

    With the dead-reckoning tool, it is possible to dry-run your route in real time.   Turn on DR mode for the ship and mark the planned route as "active".  Note SOB wont actually turn the DR ship at the TurnMarks, you'll have to perform this manually (using either the [L] and [R] keys to "steer" the ship, or setting the new heading on the Ship's Form).

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    [9.3] Can I see the total length of the planned route as plotted.

    Total route length is on the Route Details form - top-right column is TOTAL Distance, Time etc.

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    [9.4] When creating a new route and to extend the route, how do you add several marks using the route feature or do you need to add each one in turn and can not just click each one in turn on the chart as you would do if creating a brand new route?

    Only one mark can be inserted at a time, the trick is to keep clicking on the same selected mark, press the "Insert" button, "drop" the mark some random distance away, click the same selected mark, press "Insert" drop this mark anywhere out of the way and continue until you've added enough (or near enough) new marks. Then pan and zoom appropriately and move all your new marks to the correct place. In other words, it is usually faster and easier to just get the extra marks on the screen and position them later without trying to perfectly position each one as it is inserted.

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    [9.5] Are you able to extend a route by adding turning marks after the finish point. For example, I wish to copy a route, then add additional turning marks to extend the route further.

    Simply select the Route tool, click on the last mark of your route to select it, then click on it again to pop-up the menubar, and press the "Insert" button. You now have a free-floating new mark so the next place you click on the chart will drop the new mark there. You can repeat this for as many additional marks as you require.

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    [9.6] Advancing a Route turning mark

    Use the [Pass Next] button on the Route Details form to advance the destination turn mark (ie, set the next mark as "passed"). You can also "un pass" the next mark with a similar button on this form.

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    [9.7] While on route with aft of beam ticked and between two route marks we turned and took down sail. SOB sounds alarm and then goes through all the rest of the waypoints on the route.

    The premature end of routes is a common problem in certain situations...

    Best is to be in the habit of (A) not using aft-a-beam until you get close to a turn mark, then enabling aft-a-beam temporarily so it is rounded correctly (most times it doesn't matter too much for your route analysis if you forget and enable a-a-b afterwards, let SOB round the mark, then disable it; or (B) leave a-a-b on and remember to disable it temporarily when changing sails or reeling in the tuna!

    If you do run-out the route accidentally you can "fix" it with this method:

    1. Insert a new (temporary) turn mark at the end of the route
    2. Disable a-a-b for the route
    3. Re-activate the route (choose YES to "continue" it)
    4. Open Route Details form and press "Un Pass Last" until you're back to the right leg
    5. Delete the temporary mark created in step 1.

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    [9.8] Saving my Route as a Text file

    When sending a Route to a "Text List" (on the [F11] form), the file is saved in the C:\SOBvMAX\Waypoints folder as original route name with a TXT extension.
    This text list can be automatically read back into SOB (via the [F10] form) as a list of waypoints.

    Note: while the Route Text List is opened in Notepad, it is "owned" by SOB and can't be renamed etc. (You will experience a "Common Dialog error" if you try).
    To save/move/delete/etc this file, close the Notepad file, then use Windows File Explorer and perform whatever action you require on this file (from the SOBvMAX\Waypoints folder).

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    [9.9] I'm having problems with deleting existing routes and setting new routes?

    Routes are not actually deleted by SOB. Each route is contained in a separate file (located in the folder SOBvMAX\Routes) and are loaded and unloaded via the AllRoutes form (F11 key). To delete a route file, use Windows File Explorer.

    Making a new route is a simple matter of selecting the Route button and clicking on the chart - first a window will appear allowing you to name the route, then successive clicks will append sequential turning marks to the route. Additional turn marks can be inserted, or selected marks can be deleted by first clicking the turn mark (to select it), then clicking it again to pop-up a menu bar.

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    [9.10] How do I deactivate an active "Route"?

    The only way I can find is to close the connection from the GPS to Laptop or shut down the program completely.

    Yes, closing the program will automatically de-activate an Active Route . When you restart SOB, the Route will need to be reloaded and re-activated if necessary.   Otherwise use the [Activate] toggle button on the Route Form. See the QuickStart card, or the User Manual.

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    [9.11] When using an "active" route (without an autopilot connected), the red SOB "Route" panel's "Steer to Port" (or Starboard) indicator is very erratic - especially in any kind of sea condition.

    Licensed SOB users can use the "Dampen and Calibrate" form (TAB key from the chart, or a dedicated button on the Raw NMEA Data form) to stabilise the incoming COG data.

    Typically, the best results are to dampen the COG by averaging over three data counts, or over 3-5 seconds. It's different for different boats (and GPS devices and sea conditions) so experiment to find the best for you.

    Note: Many autopilots include a fluxgate compass which provides very stable boat heading data. The autopilot uses this value for controlling itself (be sure to have set your local variation into the autopilot). It is of great benefit to input this fluxgate data into SOB. Check if your autopilot has NMEA output connections. Plug these into your laptop serial port (or USB port via a serial/USB converter) to get the Heading data into SOB. Check the schematic wiring diagrams in the SOB Manual for examples.

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    [9.12] With an Active Route, SOB steers boat to first turning mark perfectly then says "prepare for course change" but never changes course and keeps on previous heading

    Try increase the arrival zone to, say, 50m, - what is probably happening is the boat enters arrival circle, send warning that course change imminent, but sails out of arrival zone before the actual course change occurs, thus course change gets cancelled as SOB thinks it a false alarm (there is a margin of error built-in to try to avoid false-positives. EG if you're approaching a MOB position. but only briefly enter the zone, then fall away again for another approach, SOB will reset the arrival and start afresh when the zone gets breached again.)

    Alternative is to turn on "Use aft-a-beam" for the active route (on [F11] form), then "hitting" the arrival zone is not so critical as once you've "sailed past" the mark SOB undisputedly believes it to have been passed, thus activates the next sequential turn mark as the destination.

     
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

      

     

     

     


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