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      A Few Simple Rules   05/22/2017

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allene222

Rock Box

48 posts in this topic

Nice looking product????? It looks seriously old fashion and very spartan in functions - not even an interface to get real wind data.

 

I am not impressed at all.

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It seems to have plenty of funtions vs comparable products, e.g. NovaSail and Velocitek prostart, neither of which offer real rind data. Are you even familiar with this type of product SkpperEarly? I have no skin in this game, not being an owner or user of any of the aforementioned, but I will say as someone who keeps up with stuff like this and one who is considering purchasing one of the three, the RockBox appears to be a pretty slick product that actually has the most features and data points if the thre players in this market space. I believe the old version of the Rockbox had True wind calculated, and I am assuming that this would be included in futer software updates that they provide free.

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It does seem spartan in functions but they have made it easily upgradable with the firmware on the micro SD card. I added a reply from Rock City Marine that outlines some of the features they plan on adding. See the end of the article.

 

Allen

L-36.com

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was hard to find but their site shows $699 and no mention of an available mast bracket (not included)

 

 

i like what they've done, not so thrilled with price point

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As my article says " The readouts are 1 1/4 inch high and are easily read in both bright daylight and at night due to the built in backlight"

:-)

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Allen, two more questions:

 

Have the digits the same size when the unit is vertical ?

When connecting to external 12v power, how is the cable being led to the outside? Is the unit still waterproof with external power?

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Looks like you have to take the cover off to power it up. I guess the cover could be modified to allow for a power feed through but I don't see anything in there now. Vertical looks like 1 1/8 character height.

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I updated the review to give a little more detail on vertical mode. The display mostly has 3 lines in vertical and 2 in horizontal so there are some significant differences.

 

Allen

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am in the market for a new piece of electronics and was seriously considering spending the extra for the rb blue over novasail or the velocitek...sent an email for questions about the mast bracket (a must have) development and have heard nothing back. are these guys generally slow or unresponsive?

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Have emailed twice in two weeks with no response. I have one and this level of service is offputting. Perhaps they are out back pounding out mast brackets at the forge.

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Have emailed twice in two weeks with no response. I have one and this level of service is offputting. Perhaps they are out back pounding out mast brackets at the forge.

 

well i guess that makes the decision 33% easier

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I just posted a "first look" review of the new Rock City Marine Rock Box Blue.

http://l-36.com/rock_box.php

Nice looking product.

 

Allen

L-36.com

 

rock_box_start.jpg

 

Nice looking product?!"£$%^ Where do you got that from? The functionality might be good - it looks like something from the late 1970s.

 

I hope you are attracted by it's price or functionality not it's look.

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Have emailed twice in two weeks with no response. I have one and this level of service is offputting. Perhaps they are out back pounding out mast brackets at the forge.

 

well i guess that makes the decision 33% easier

Still no answer. I notice they advertise here. Curious.

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My dealings with them have been quick RE: the blue. Usually an answer in 24 hours.

 

However, the only answer I've gotten from them so far is:

 

"Yes, we know, and we're working on it." (paraphrased)

 

We've run one of these in about 4 local PHRF races so far.

 

Pro

The functionality that they currently have programmed in works well.

Future upgrades look great (I'm particularly looking forward to custom screen layout)

Easy to read

8+ hours on fresh batteries (haven't hard wired it yet because I want to see what the mount looks like)

 

Con

Mounting system sucks (They say that they're shipping with just the engineering prototype and plan on sending us a better version when they're done)

Current functionality limited

When batteries get low, the thing just locks up. No battery warning or indicator. (Not a big deal now that I know, but on our first race we had to run without it for the last 1/3 because I didn't know WTF was going on;.)

Remote only does page up/down. Which is OK for some things, but does NOT work for the starting sequence. I'm no where near the mast during most starts, so that makes it rough.

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My dealings with them have been quick RE: the blue. Usually an answer in 24 hours.

 

However, the only answer I've gotten from them so far is:

 

"Yes, we know, and we're working on it." (paraphrased)

 

We've run one of these in about 4 local PHRF races so far.

 

Pro

The functionality that they currently have programmed in works well.

Future upgrades look great (I'm particularly looking forward to custom screen layout)

Easy to read

8+ hours on fresh batteries (haven't hard wired it yet because I want to see what the mount looks like)

 

Con

Mounting system sucks (They say that they're shipping with just the engineering prototype and plan on sending us a better version when they're done)

Current functionality limited

When batteries get low, the thing just locks up. No battery warning or indicator. (Not a big deal now that I know, but on our first race we had to run without it for the last 1/3 because I didn't know WTF was going on;.)

Remote only does page up/down. Which is OK for some things, but does NOT work for the starting sequence. I'm no where near the mast during most starts, so that makes it rough.

Thanks for the update. Am I to understand you have some sort of mount for it? How is it designed?

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The mount is basically 4 metal L brackets on the back of the rockbox that slide over 2 plastic clips that are bulkead/mast bracket mounted. Then you insert a cotter pin to keep it from slipping back off. It's clumsy, the L brackets don't stay aligned, and with wet/cold hands it's near impossible to NOT lose the cotter pins.

 

I'll see if I can dig up a picture.

 

I wrote and told them my thoughts and they told me that was just an engineering idea and they were working on the final mount.

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having just skimmed this thread..., i don't think those complaining about the "lack of functionality" understand much about instruments....

 

all this device has is a GPS - so the only data it has is to work with is position, SOG and COG.

 

there is a limit to what you can do with that.

 

someone asked about current???

 

to determine set and drift, you need SOG, COG, BSP, and HDG. Even if they added a compass, to get HDG, you still wouldn't have BSP.

 

True wind??? you need HDG, BSP, and a wind instrument giving AWA, and AWS. You don't have any of those...

 

Time to Line??? You need position, TWS, TWD, Set, Drift, and Polars. This one you could maybe fudge by sailing upwind on both tacks before the start, and using the P and S SOG and COG. It would work ok unless the wind changed speed and/or direction

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My complaint about lack of functionality doesn't have to do with that. It has to do with the "the old rockbox could do this, but the new one can't..... yet...."

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Nah US for "Time To Line" you simply have a simple calculation of the intersection of your velocity vector (VMC) and the location of the line. the impact of TWS, TWD, set, drift and Polars are all packaged into that calculation... If you want to break out those other numbers you really only need Polars, AWS and AWD - and VMC, because from VCG and AWS/AWD you can calculate TWS and TWD (its just geometry)

 

Now that you have TWS and TWD, and polars, you can calculate both TTLCurrent VMC and TTLOptimal VMC And of course you can toss into TTLOptimal VMC the time to accelerate to optimal speed from the current VMC

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Rock city folks emailed me back today. Third time's a charm. They wrote that the bracket will be ready to ship in March and a firmware update is imminent. I look forward to both.

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Yeah, bracket is not ready and still no firmware update to include compass and blah, blah, blah. Anyhow, I am working out a mast "bracket" on my own, so can anyone give me a head start on what they have devised for this piece of hardware?

Patsy

 

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Triangle mast bracket. Nylon spacers. Stainless screws into the rockbox from behind.

Sturdy, but a PITA to change batteries mid race. Plan to hard-wire it though here shortly.

 

 

581292_169662409848511_21139520_n.jpg

542674_586197038075744_1809628078_n.jpg

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Thanks for the pics. That battery cover is not easy to compensate for. My initial idea is to make a "soft" mount, where d rings are fastened to the back of the RB and Velcro straps wrap around the mast holding it firmly in place with some foam on the back of the battery cover to provide some tension. Pics when I work it this weekend. I sure hope I did not buy into an unsupported dead end like Molly Hatchet screwed me over back in the day.

Patsy

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They sent me the beta of their PC "rockbox commander" software. It looks promising, but as of yet it won't interface with the rockbox until they release the new firmware.

856997_170049916476427_483512747_o.png

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I am looking forward to full functionality of the program and the new firmware.

 

This is the rig I made up until they build a proper mount.post-48619-0-39739300-1362863454_thumb.jpgpost-48619-0-69280500-1362863607_thumb.jpgpost-48619-0-69231200-1362863670_thumb.jpgpost-48619-0-07050100-1362863912_thumb.jpgpost-48619-0-87455900-1362863941_thumb.jpg

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Been a bit since I've had a chance to stop by the forums...

 

Here's an update on the bracket:

Our original design that was to launch soon after the RockBox Blue launch had a few issues, with the design and with the supplier. We had to take a step back and are finally getting there. Today we are machining up a few test parts to try them out for fit and function. We agree that the batter cover does make it more difficult to mount, the reason for its design was to allow permanant mounting of the RockBox to a flat bulkhead with the batter compartment located inside the boat (since you can power the RockBox with 12v batter power too), this hasn't proven to be the mounting method of choice though. So, the work on the bracket continues.

Here's a screen dump of the test parts:

2ujgz7l.png

The real brackets for production will be a little less clunky, and will be injection molded.

 

FIrmware!

We are still buried in code working on the next update. There's quite a bit changing that you can see, and a lot of changes behind the scenes to make the RockBox better.

Here's what you'll be able to see:

  • Waypoint distance function
  • Waypoint bearing function
  • Time to waypoint function
  • A function to project a waypoint based on distance and heading
  • Save current position as a waypoint
  • Starting line mark positions saved to the SD card (in case the RockBox is turned off after they are set)
  • Data log output in standard NMEA GPRMC sentence format for importing into Google Earth
  • Update to the on screen remote setup, so you can test the remote
  • Users will be able to select what each button on the remote and RockBox do
  • Auto change of the page after a user selected distance past the starting line
  • Auto change the page for upwind or downwind
  • Freeze the distance to the line on the screen for a user selected time when the timer = 0 (so you can see if the RockBox says you are over early or not!)
  • Save and display waypoints in various formats
  • User selectable log rate
  • User selectable damping on speed and COG
  • User selectable functions for each page, and how many pages there are

 

Once this is done, we already have a full list of new things to add to the RockBox and will start right into the next firmware update.

 

I'll try to stop by the forums more often and will answer any questions you have!

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Anything that requires tools and or cotter pins etc. for the normal operation of the unit (battery change / mounting etc) is no good. These are used in unstable conditions where parts dropped by numb and wet fingers are almost instantly lost.

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Been a bit since I've had a chance to stop by the forums...

 

Here's an update on the bracket:

Our original design that was to launch soon after the RockBox Blue launch had a few issues, with the design and with the supplier. We had to take a step back and are finally getting there. Today we are machining up a few test parts to try them out for fit and function. We agree that the batter cover does make it more difficult to mount, the reason for its design was to allow permanant mounting of the RockBox to a flat bulkhead with the batter compartment located inside the boat (since you can power the RockBox with 12v batter power too), this hasn't proven to be the mounting method of choice though. So, the work on the bracket continues.

Here's a screen dump of the test parts:

2ujgz7l.png

The real brackets for production will be a little less clunky, and will be injection molded.

 

FIrmware!

We are still buried in code working on the next update. There's quite a bit changing that you can see, and a lot of changes behind the scenes to make the RockBox better.

Here's what you'll be able to see:

  • Waypoint distance function
  • Waypoint bearing function
  • Time to waypoint function
  • A function to project a waypoint based on distance and heading
  • Save current position as a waypoint
  • Starting line mark positions saved to the SD card (in case the RockBox is turned off after they are set)
  • Data log output in standard NMEA GPRMC sentence format for importing into Google Earth
  • Update to the on screen remote setup, so you can test the remote
  • Users will be able to select what each button on the remote and RockBox do
  • Auto change of the page after a user selected distance past the starting line
  • Auto change the page for upwind or downwind
  • Freeze the distance to the line on the screen for a user selected time when the timer = 0 (so you can see if the RockBox says you are over early or not!)
  • Save and display waypoints in various formats
  • User selectable log rate
  • User selectable damping on speed and COG
  • User selectable functions for each page, and how many pages there are

Once this is done, we already have a full list of new things to add to the RockBox and will start right into the next firmware update.

 

I'll try to stop by the forums more often and will answer any questions you have!

 

Not to give you more work to do - but you know what would really be cool? The ability to configure how you want the RockBox to work at home on your PC using a "programming" enviornment along the lines of that provided by the Microsoft Robotics toolkit (ie drag and drop and link) So that you can see the logic of how the device will behave in the boat but not have to worry about doing "setup" functions. I really really really hate hardware that overloads the functionality of buttons and can get itself into wierd setup modes as a result of unintentional buttton presses

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Been a bit since I've had a chance to stop by the forums...

 

Here's an update on the bracket:

Our original design that was to launch soon after the RockBox Blue launch had a few issues, with the design and with the supplier. We had to take a step back and are finally getting there. Today we are machining up a few test parts to try them out for fit and function. We agree that the batter cover does make it more difficult to mount, the reason for its design was to allow permanant mounting of the RockBox to a flat bulkhead with the batter compartment located inside the boat (since you can power the RockBox with 12v batter power too), this hasn't proven to be the mounting method of choice though. So, the work on the bracket continues.

Here's a screen dump of the test parts:

2ujgz7l.png

The real brackets for production will be a little less clunky, and will be injection molded.

 

FIrmware!

We are still buried in code working on the next update. There's quite a bit changing that you can see, and a lot of changes behind the scenes to make the RockBox better.

Here's what you'll be able to see:

  • Waypoint distance function
  • Waypoint bearing function
  • Time to waypoint function
  • A function to project a waypoint based on distance and heading
  • Save current position as a waypoint
  • Starting line mark positions saved to the SD card (in case the RockBox is turned off after they are set)
  • Data log output in standard NMEA GPRMC sentence format for importing into Google Earth
  • Update to the on screen remote setup, so you can test the remote
  • Users will be able to select what each button on the remote and RockBox do
  • Auto change of the page after a user selected distance past the starting line
  • Auto change the page for upwind or downwind
  • Freeze the distance to the line on the screen for a user selected time when the timer = 0 (so you can see if the RockBox says you are over early or not!)
  • Save and display waypoints in various formats
  • User selectable log rate
  • User selectable damping on speed and COG
  • User selectable functions for each page, and how many pages there are

Once this is done, we already have a full list of new things to add to the RockBox and will start right into the next firmware update.

 

I'll try to stop by the forums more often and will answer any questions you have!

 

Not to give you more work to do - but you know what would really be cool? The ability to configure how you want the RockBox to work at home on your PC using a "programming" enviornment along the lines of that provided by the Microsoft Robotics toolkit (ie drag and drop and link) So that you can see the logic of how the device will behave in the boat but not have to worry about doing "setup" functions. I really really really hate hardware that overloads the functionality of buttons and can get itself into wierd setup modes as a result of unintentional buttton presses

Did you see post #29? Is that the environment you are looking for or is there greater ease that you seek?

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Anything that requires tools and or cotter pins etc. for the normal operation of the unit (battery change / mounting etc) is no good. These are used in unstable conditions where parts dropped by numb and wet fingers are almost instantly lost.

We agree, the bracket we used for development had a cotter pin, which was very easy to lose. The production bracket will need no tools, and have no loose parts. We had to order some stock to machine the test bracket from, as soon as it arrives we'll get the CNC going and post pictures as soon as its done.

 

Not to give you more work to do - but you know what would really be cool? The ability to configure how you want the RockBox to work at home on your PC using a "programming" enviornment along the lines of that provided by the Microsoft Robotics toolkit (ie drag and drop and link) So that you can see the logic of how the device will behave in the boat but not have to worry about doing "setup" functions. I really really really hate hardware that overloads the functionality of buttons and can get itself into wierd setup modes as a result of unintentional buttton presses

We're trying as hard as possible to keep one function per button, especially for button functions that are used often. We do have code in the firmware to distinguish a short press from a long button press. The only place this is used is for the timer, because the rest of the buttons are dedicated to the starting line marks and the page button when the timer is on the same page as the starting line distance. With the new firmware and a remote, you'll be able to split the button operations between the RockBox and the remote, for a total of 8 buttons that each do one thing.

Allowing the user to select what each button does should help with this also, by eliminating buttons that you don't want.

 

Also, as additions to the firmware are made, we plan to add "expert" settings to the Commander PC software for settings that most people won't want to change, but if you really want to get into things you'll be allowed to tweak settings such as disabling the GPS, changing the degrees that reset the wind shift graph, etc...

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Latest beta software hozed the remote buttons (they acted differently on every single page)

 

Lastest-latest-latest fixed it again.

 

 

Since the hardwire option is probably months away, I plan on taking a drill to the battery cover this week and fashioning up my own.

 

Love the box, but it was released WAY too soon.

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Any of you guys have problems with the waterproof case that houses the remote? My remote works great but not at all in the housing.

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Uploaded and downloaded the latest firmware with the BETA compass. It all seems stable. I like the flexibility and have set some pages up that seem to be useful combinations of info. I will go into the trial and error phase on the water to tweak the info on each page. Does anyone have a list of page settings that seem to work for them? Windard/Leward? Distance races?

 

PATSY

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So, anyone seen the mounts yet? I don't care so much since my self-fashioned one is working OK. I did take a drill to the back cover and sacrificed a NMEA2000 cable to fasion a waterproof power cord for it (we often do distance races and changing batteries is a PITA).

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So, anyone seen the mounts yet? I don't care so much since my self-fashioned one is working OK. I did take a drill to the back cover and sacrificed a NMEA2000 cable to fasion a waterproof power cord for it (we often do distance races and changing batteries is a PITA).

I have a Velcro strap mount that works fine. I did ask them if they had a luff track bracket for the Blue. They said that if I ordered the old luff track bracket they would send a plate that would mount the Blue quick release kit. However, I suppose that one would have to buy the two items and that puts you at about 100 bucks. My 10 bucks in stainless and Velcro is working just fine so far. Also, I run it in the vertical and am not sure if the luff track bracket is set up for the vertical.

PATSY

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Any of you guys have problems with the waterproof case that houses the remote? My remote works great but not at all in the housing.

 

 

Ya, mine never worked in the housing either, I just ditched it.

Just got my remote and the waterproof case impedes the signal. So.......

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Does anyone know if rock city marine is still selling the rockbox blue?? The website is no longer up..

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