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Your source for home automation, home theaters, product reviews, mods, hacks, DIY projects, electronics or anything else I'm into at the moment.

Last Build Date: Fri, 08 Dec 2017 19:26:05 +0000


Mavromatic’s Technology Gift Guide – 2017

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 21:46:25 +0000


What a great year it’s been for new gadgets and keeping with my holiday tradition, I compiled the most worthy to make your holiday shopping a bit easier.  As I have said before, It’s not Oprah’s “My favorite things” but definitely in the top 10 😉.  Available now at ESPN and the following ABC Local Stations Websites: KABC (Los Angeles), KGO (San Francisco), KTRK (Houston), KFSN (Fresno), WABC (New York), WLS (Chicago), WPVI (Philadelphia) and WTVD (Raleigh Durham) — Enjoy!

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VIDEO: Unboxing, Install & Review Clarion MW6

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 00:46:25 +0000

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That was quick! Just posted about the Clarion MW6 NMEA 2000 interface module and here is an unboxing, install and review video of it.   !!Spoiler alert!! It seems to be working good except I’m not getting any metadata via Bluetooth, iPod and Pandora sources — this could be normal. I do like the easy access to mute — very useful when docking and the audio system auto-power down when you turn off the Lowrance HDS unit is a time saver when leaving the boat.…

Clarion MW6 Audio NMEA 2000 Remote Interface

Thu, 10 Aug 2017 02:58:05 +0000


As you probably have guessed I’m obsessed with automation and technology enhancements for my boat, given that my house has already been fully automated for almost a decade now.

I’ve added GPS, Temperature, water level — you name it — sensors to my NMEA 2000 bus that all display nicely on my Lowrance HDS multifunction display and now on my own display.

Since my boat came with a Clarion M505 head unit and a MW1 remote control unit I’ve been looking at either upgrading it to a Fusion stereo unit that offers a built-in NMEA 2000 interface or even building my own interface to NMEA 2000 so I can get track/source details and control it via my Lowrance MFD.

Come to my surprise when I googled “Clarion NMEA 2000” and the returned results show a new product from Clarion with a model number of “MW6”.    The details are pretty slim except for the following:

  • Control a Clarion Source Unit via a Multi-Function Display (MFD) Device on the NMEA 2000 Network
  • Control Functions Such as Source Switching, Volume Control, Play/Pause, Next/Previous Track, etc.
  • Two Way Communication Displays Artist/Album/Track Info, Current Radio Frequency, etc.
  • Conformally Coated PCB

This press release from Oct 2016 has a bit more details and now it makes sense that in a recent Lowrance HDS firmware update they added NMEA 2000 Audio Enhancements and control as shown below:


Checking around various online stores, no one seems to have the MW6 in-stock, Crutchfield has it listed as “Pre-Order”.  So I called Clarion and found that it’s not out yet but perhaps it will launch in a few weeks at the IBEX 2017 show… you can be sure that once it’s released, I will get one and will post a review.

I think this will be the last bit I’ll add to my NMEA 2000 network this season… but my list is already growing for the next season! 😋…

Part I: Custom NMEA 2000 2″ Round LCD Multifunction Display Gauge for Boat

Sat, 15 Jul 2017 17:33:18 +0000

The Backstory I recently purchased a 2013 model year boat and in style of Mavromatic, I wanted to “hack/mod” the onboard electronics ASAP.   The previous owner had installed a Lowrance HDS 7 Gen 3 GPS/Chartplotter and added a NMEA 2000 backbone to use a Lowrance EP-60R fuel flow sensor (that I later found was clogged, a simple back-flush blow of compressed air fixed it). After numerous hours of research, I found out the fuel flow sensor was pointless to me given the engine is fairly new and has EFI and an onboard ECU that can provide that data.   The challenge was how do you get the all that data onto the NMEA 2000 network? The answer was to install the Mercury VesselView Link.  Given my boat, while a 2013 model (non-DTS), still had the traditional analog gauges it required I installed a SmartCraft harness that could connect to the VesselView Link.   Thanks to the fine support team at Mercury Marine, I give them my engine/drive serial numbers and they looked up the harness I had installed and provided the part numbers my boat needed to add SmartCraft and then the VesselView Link. Once I got the VesselView Link installed, I could see all the data I wanted on the Lowrance MFD.  The next step was I wanted to move the Engine Trim from Analog to Digital so I could feed that data into the VesselView Link (needed for Eco Mode to work). This is where things got complicated… if I simply moved the engine trim sensor connector from Analog to Digital, per the instructions from the tech folks at Mercury Marine, my analog trim gauge would become non-functional.  To be fair, Mercury Marine has a little box that connects up to the SmartCraft junction box and can convert the SmartCraft data to control analog Gauges (called the “AGI”) but that added a bunch of other complexities, the main one being that the SmartCraft connector I’m using (back of engine) doesn’t have the Tach signal used to send the data to the AGI (and would require a Mercury tech to program the ECU’s Tach signal from Analog to Digital PCM).  To further complicate matters, my boat builder didn’t use the Mercury 14-pin hardness that has the SmartCraft (CANbus) connector at the helm drop, so I’d have to rig something up to get that signal to my helm — perhaps …[...]

Top 10 USB-C Accessories For The 2016 MacBook Pro

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 01:13:24 +0000

I’ve have my 2016 MacBook Pro w/Touch Bar, the fully loaded 2TB one, for about a month now.  I’m loving it!  My old MacBook was an early 2011 so everything has been a big leap forward for me including the battery life and overall performance. Love that size, weight and the space grey color. That said, I’ve had to purchase a bunch of USB-C accessories so I can interface with my electronics development kits and other accessories. Over the last few weeks I’ve been purchasing and testing which USB-C dongles/accessories I can recommend to you. Here is my list (so far), hope you enjoy: 1) Kingston Digital 128GB Data Traveler Micro Duo USB 3C Flash Drive (DTDUO3C/128GB) – Starting at $14 This is the perfect little flash drive because it has a standard USB 3.0 interface on one side and USB-C on the other all packed tightly in it’s tiny package.  Comes in 16gb, 32gb, 64gb and 128gb drive sizes. 2) nonda USB-C to USB 3.0 Mini Adapter  – $10.99 I keep one of these adapters attached to my extra Apple Watch charging cable that I keep in my bag.  What’s great about this adapter is it’s very well built and rigid.  What’s not so great is that on one can be plugged into each side of the MacBook Pro because it’s fairly wide and two side-by-side won’t fit. 3) Apple USB-C to USB Adapter – $9 Everyone needs to at least own one of these adapters.  While not as rigid as the nonda version above, this one made by Apple is narrow enough that you can plug in two side-by-side.   I use the nonda and this one plugged in side-by-side with no issues. 4) Apple USB-C to Lightning Cable (1M) – $19 To cover all my basis, I also bought the Apple USB-C to Lightning cable to keep in my bag, mostly because I don’t want to futz with adapters plus this version of the cable feels thicker than your standard Apple USB Lightning Cable.  I’m thinking there is less cable loss and it may wear better over time (TBD). 5) Belkin USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter – $26 I typically prefer to be hardwired to a network if I need to transfer lots of files/data.  The Belkin USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet adapter looks and feels like an Apple built adapter.  It also doesn’t require any drivers to be …[...]

Mavromatic’s Technology Gift Guide – 2016

Thu, 24 Nov 2016 16:31:21 +0000


Keeping with tradition, I compiled the greatest technology gift ideas so you don’t have too.  It’s not Oprah’s “My favorite things” but definitely in the top 10 😉.  Available now at the following ABC Local Stations Websites: KABC (Los Angeles), KGO (San Francisco), KTRK (Houston), KFSN (Fresno), WABC (New York), WLS (Chicago), WPVI (Philadelphia) and WTVD (Raleigh Durham) — Enjoy!…

How To Make An Industrial Light Sculpture

Wed, 07 Sep 2016 03:27:40 +0000

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I was walking around downtown Seattle during my lunch and walked by a furniture store when these light bulb sculptures caught my eye. After researching them online. I found out they are used/old “industrial factory bulbs”. When mounted on a piece of wood, they look really cool.

Please support the artists that originally thought of and made them, but if you want to do a variation of your own — this is an easy project to learn woodworking and creating a piece of art.

Products used:
Sylvania 64468 – 1000 Watt
Daly’s Profin Satin
Black Gloves

Best Prime Day Deal: Segway miniPRO Smart Self Balancing Personal Transporter

Tue, 12 Jul 2016 16:58:05 +0000


Happy Amazon Prime Day!  If you have been looking for a “safer” version of the oh so popular “hover boards” then you’ll love the Segway miniPRO at this steep discounted price of $699 from $999.  Basically, it’s a few hundred more than the ones that catch on fire.

This little personal transporter connects to a mobile app via Bluetooth and allows remote control operation, anti-theft alarm, speed control, customizable lights, vehicle diagnostics, and firmware updates!  It’s also UL Certified so it meets the fire and electrical safety set by world-renown global safety science company Underwriters Laboratories.  It can also carry up to 220 lbs and it’s dual motor engine delivers 1600 watts of power to safely reach top speeds of 10 MPH and distances of 14 miles on a full charge.

The best part, as announced at CES by Intel — it can be turned into an autonomous Robot!

– Segway miniPRO

If you are looking for more of a motorized skateboard — be sure to check out the $100 discount of a Boosted Board!…

The Right Way To Clean Brake Dust Off Rims Using Sonax Full Effect

Sat, 02 Jul 2016 19:02:02 +0000

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My least favorite part about washing/detailing my car is cleaning the brake dust off the wheels. Mostly because the cleaners I’ve used in the past either seemed to emit extremely toxic fumes or left behind fine dust that required additional scrubbing. That’s why I like the Sonax Full Effect Wheel Cleaner. First, this stuff is “Made in Germany” so it must be great, right? Second, it turns red when it’s working — visual indication! Third, it just works — no fuss, no muss! Spray onto dry, cool wheels, wait a minute or two, then rinse off.

I take my car to our local self-service Brown Bear Car Wash and use the pressure washer setting to rinse the spray off. Using this process I don’t have to do any additional scrubbing — it works like magic! I then use a microfiber cloth to dry/clean the rim to a factory new finish.

If you guys adopt my method of wheel cleaning, you’ll be able to spend more time cleaning the rest of your car than spending wasted time on your rims.

Products used:
Sonax Full Effect Wheel Cleaner
Microfiber Cleaning Cloths (24-Pack)

How To Remove Denim Jean Rub Stains Off Light Car Leather Interior

Mon, 20 Jun 2016 15:21:37 +0000

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I like lighter colored interiors in cars and I cannot lie — but the issue is they’re always not that practical, especially if you wear denim jeans daily. Here’s a quick tip I learned for dealing with light colored interior so if you start noticing your leather car seats have a blue tinge to them (or they’re just dirty) you’ll know what to do. Now, if you are here because you searched on “how to get denim jean rub stains off of light car leather interior”, you’re also in luck! I have the solution and it works like magic.

You need the two items listed below and some elbow grease. It’s literally a wipe on, wipe off solution. I do it at the first sign the seats are getting dirty and also when I wash the car. The Chamberlain’s leather care liniment not only cleans the leather but treats it so it stays supple and less likely to crack over time.

Products used:
Chamberlain’s Leather Care Liniment No. 1
Microfiber Cleaning Cloths (24-Pack)