New features in 5th-generation wireless Wind Instrument
The 2017 version of the SailTimer Wind Instrument™ is now coming off the assembly line and starting to ship. It is wireless and solar-powered, so easy to install. You can even raise it on a halyard without needing to climb or lower the mast, until you can get at the masthead. It works with 3rd-party apps and is also a connected device that you can view online at SailTimerMaps.com. The most advanced masthead anemometer, and still priced at $350 US.
NEW FEATURES: The 2017 model has an advanced new battery circuit that monitors solar charging and power consumption so that you can check the exact battery level at any time. The 2017 AirGap™ high-performance axle for the wind cups is silent and maintenance-free. Machined to extreme levels of precision, the axle tolerance is just 0.001 inch for smooth cup rotation in even the lightest air movement. We have also developed sophisticated new machinery for production of the 2017 model, giving amazing sensitivity and intelligence to the digital compass, which ignores local electromagnetic sources when sensing the earth's magnetic field. There is also an update of the Bluetooth firmware to improve the functioning of the Bluetooth hardware. Additional security and encryption procedures to protect your data when transmitted. The Wind Instrument now also sends air temperature, which you can check on your Android or iOS tablet/smartphone as in this screenshot or on our cloud server as in this screenshot.
Traditional anemometers only show your wind angle on a gauge, and leave you wondering if you have the best tacking angle. But when using the SailTimer Wind Instrument™ with the free SailTimer Charts Edition on iOS, any time the wind changes, your optimal tacks update automatically. There are also a variety of other navigation, chartplotter and performance apps on Android and iOS that can connect to the Wind Instrument. They offer a range of different approaches, with more features coming out all the time. So your Wind Instrument actually becomes more useful over time.
SailRacer is a performance app for both Android and iOS that uses wind, polars and current, with an interesting display of a polar graph and laylines for planning your tacking angles. The SailRacer blog recently had a promotion about using the SailRacer app with the wireless SailTimer Wind Instrument™. You can see their interface in this YouTube clip, and how they rotate a polar plot as the wind changes.
SailTimer Design Philosophy
SailTimer™ products have received extensive media coverage over the years, including the publications below. Over 10 years of articles, product reviews and announcements in print publications and online are listed on our web site. The SailTimer™ brand is based on making advanced navigation easy and affordable for all sailors. Your boat doesn't need a sponsor or a professional tactician on board anymore, to get your polar plots or to display your optimal tacking route. The 2017 SailTimer Wind Instrument™ continues this tradition. Now that it is shipping, we'll be catching up on worldwide pre-orders through July.
SailTimer made the first masthead anemometers that could transmit to smartphones and tablets, and this is the 5th generation. The SailTimer Wind Instrument™ has a unique design with all electronics and the solar panels built into the tail section to save space. It is also the only masthead anemometer with a digital compass right in the wind direction arrow. That means it does not need to be calibrated on your boat when installed, and works with rotating masts.
We receive a lot of daily email from users, including questions about how the hardware or software works, or why it is designed a certain way. It is not easy to design something that is submersible and has moving parts, which is partly why this is such an elegant and successful design. But playing devil's advocate, wouldn't an ultrasonic anemometer be simpler, because they have no moving parts? The answer is that simplicity and no moving parts are two different things... (1) For wind direction, the SailTimer Wind Instrument has an amazingly sensitive digital compass. It is just one tiny little chip, about the size of the head of a pin. No moving parts, although the Wind Instrument does have a simple axle design with a jewel bearing. This tiny digital compass chip is simpler and cheaper than 4 ultrasonic sensors and the calculations and electronics that go with them. (2) For wind speed, the SailTimer Wind Instrument has patented wind cups that are designed to maintain equal accuracy when sailing along heeled over. But on an ultrasonic device, it is hard to imagine how air can flow through the horizontal slot equally well when it is leaning away from the wind (and is no longer horizontal). The lower edge creates turbulence and the slot changes the direction of the wind, affecting the wind speed. So that is a mechanical problem when using ultrasonic sensors on sailboats, even though they have no moving parts.
When planning the changes for this 5th generation, we sometimes tried to improve the structure, but kept seeing that it already has the simplest, strongest design. A simple structure helps us keep the costs low for you. Plus, if you sail to a remote location and something breaks, you can disassemble your Wind Instrument with just 1 screw and 1 nut, for easy repairs.