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Old 25-05-2011, 06:05   #1
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Electronics ! How Much is Enough ?

Dear Cruisers!
I have just joined this forum and it looks great! I always had boats and all were self built. They were all sport fishers. Now, I am building a 46' Trawler, 25 tons displacement to live and cruise in the American Continent. Time has come to start planning and buying electronics for navigation. The technology is escalating at a speed faster than I can take. When I see what manufactured boats of the same kind put in their units, I wonder if all those beautiful monitors and applications are really needed. How much the so called "equipment integration" is a must. What would be the simple, reliable and common sense way to go? Can you guys give me your comments?

Thanks in advance

Potuguese
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Old 25-05-2011, 06:15   #2
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re: Electronics! How much is enough?

Mariners have crossed oceans with the stars and a piece of string with lead on the end long before the days of electronics.

Simple reliable and common sense today could be
inexpensive depth sounder/fishfinder
Auto pilot
2 hand held GPS, 1 for redundancy
paper charts
A ruler, pencil and protractor
hand bearing compass
Binoculars
VHF radio.

Cheap, simple and reliable
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Old 25-05-2011, 06:19   #3
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re: Electronics! How much is enough?

compass with light,vhf,depth sounder,gps with nmea outlet are all that you really need for safety.

being a steel boat you will need an electronic gyro compass as well

a small inverter and cheap laptop,connected via nmea will give you chart's,as a back up for paper,a gps puck makes it free standing and works as a back up gps.

add a small portable short wave radio with ssb reception and this gives you weather fax thru the laptop.

for current windspeed and direction,look out the window!!!!!
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Old 25-05-2011, 07:17   #4
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re: Electronics! How much is enough?

Quote:
Originally Posted by atoll View Post
compass with light,vhf,depth sounder,gps with nmea outlet are all that you really need for safety.

being a steel boat you will need an electronic gyro compass as well

a small inverter and cheap laptop,connected via nmea will give you chart's,as a back up for paper,a gps puck makes it free standing and works as a back up gps.

add a small portable short wave radio with ssb reception and this gives you weather fax thru the laptop.

for current windspeed and direction,look out the window!!!!!
AND, If you run that laptop on a 12V DC to 19V DC "car adapter/converter", and omit the inverter, it will cut the computer's power consumption in half.

M.
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Old 25-05-2011, 08:31   #5
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re: Electronics! How much is enough?

Well, if you are planning to cruise a 46' trawler full time in North America, the answer is different from cuising a 28' downeast cruiser within 30 miles of my homeport (my situation).

But having cruised the entire east coast on a good sized trawler, here are my suggestions:

Install a good sized dedicated chartplotter- 10" or greater, with integrated radar display- 4 kw radar dome. Raymarine, Garmin, Furuno and Simrad are the big four. Log on to Panbo, a marine electronics blog and browse the back articles for reviews and interconnectivity.

Most vendors offer easily integrateable depth, speed and wind instruments, but do you need to integrate engine management information with the chartplotter? Well, no but if the interface is easy then I would do it. For most engines and chartplotter systems the integratiion is far from easy.

For communications get a VHF with remote mic- ICOM and Standard Horizon make them. AIS is a bit of a gimmick for most coastal cruising, but you might as well get a radio that supports it. Also get a mifi device from Verizon for reasonably good internet connectivity.

More on the subject of electrical than electronics, I would install a modest sized genset, just big enough to comfortably start and run one A/C unit with a little left over for battery charging. A 5 KW Northern Lights would be ideal.

Install a 2-3 kw inverter/charger from Mastervolt, Victron (but not Xantrex) for your miscellaneous AC needs. Get the model that synchs with the genset and can provide supplemental current for starting the A/C. A 660 amphour bank of three sets of parallel golf cart batteries should provide enough power to sit on the hook for a few days without running the genset.

That is a pretty comprehensive system but by no means state of the art. Panbo describes some really impressive integrated systems, but in my mind they are overkill and put too many eggs in one basket.

David
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Old 25-05-2011, 11:57   #6
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re: Electronics! How much is enough?

And even if you've got a good genset and/or charging system, pay attention to your electrical power budget. I helped deliver a very nice trawler where most of the lighting and all of the refrigeration were 110VAC products, not designed for power economy. The owner had to run the genset several hours a day when we were at anchor. Big battery banks help, but sooner or later you have to put back all the power you consume.

Agree, look at the Panbo website for good info on boat-tech gear. I have the Furuno NavNet3D chartplotter / radar setup on my sailboat and like it, but there are quite a few manufacturers with excellent systems now.
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Old 25-05-2011, 13:01   #7
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re: Electronics! How much is enough?

Guys
Thank you to all who took some time to give me their point of views. The above, are very important and diverse points of view. The boat will have a 6 KVA genset to run A/C. In the tropics near the equator is not easy to sleep without them most of the nights. Not some much for cooling but to extract humidity. There is also a 3000 watt inverter and a house dedicated battery bank; 4 x 150 A/hour. There are very few 110 V. appliances. Refrigerator and freezer are 24V.
From the navigation electronics wish list, I have already a Simrad AP28 autopilot and a NX40 to be used as dedicated fishfinder/GPS on the fly bridge. I need now to decide about the inside bridge and I am thinking about going with an economical and reliable stand alone radar/chart/GPS, most probably another Simrad to avoid diversity.
Thanks again guys
Fernando
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Old 25-05-2011, 13:06   #8
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re: Electronics! How much is enough?

My electronics: depth sounder, nav lights, cabin lights, stereo. You really don't need all that other stuff. Really. In fact, you don't need the stereo or cabin lights, either.
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Old 25-05-2011, 13:20   #9
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re: Electronics! How much is enough?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Potuguese View Post
Guys
Thank you to all who took some time to give me their point of views. The above, are very important and diverse points of view. The boat will have a 6 KVA genset to run A/C. In the tropics near the equator is not easy to sleep without them most of the nights. Not some much for cooling but to extract humidity. There is also a 3000 watt inverter and a house dedicated battery bank; 4 x 150 A/hour. There are very few 110 V. appliances. Refrigerator and freezer are 24V.
From the navigation electronics wish list, I have already a Simrad AP28 autopilot and a NX40 to be used as dedicated fishfinder/GPS on the fly bridge. I need now to decide about the inside bridge and I am thinking about going with an economical and reliable stand alone radar/chart/GPS, most probably another Simrad to avoid diversity.
Thanks again guys
Fernando
NX40 is an entirely networkable device, so it doesn't need to be standalone.

Just add another NX40, a compatible Simrad radar, network them together (a snap with NMEA2000), compass/heading sensor, one GPS receiver, depth sounder, and log, and you're set. The compass/heading sensor can serve your pilot as well as your nav system.

I would want wind instruments, if I were you, and it's handy to have those networked, as well.
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Old 25-05-2011, 13:29   #10
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Add an at10 to your nx40 if you dont have one (its about 80 bucks or so) and it will let your nx unit talk to your autpilot. If you're buying a second unit I'd give the nse units a hard look before buying another nx- the nse has much better built in nmea support and will be more likely to just work with whatever you decide to plug in in the future.

Good luck!
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Old 25-05-2011, 13:56   #11
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Re: Electronics! How much is enough?

I don't think you would need the AT10 if interfacing the AP 28 and the NX series plotters, both have simnet (NEMA2000) connectivity.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kismet424 View Post
Add an at10 to your nx40 if you dont have one (its about 80 bucks or so) and it will let your nx unit talk to your autpilot. If you're buying a second unit I'd give the nse units a hard look before buying another nx- the nse has much better built in nmea support and will be more likely to just work with whatever you decide to plug in in the future.

Good luck!
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Old 25-05-2011, 14:31   #12
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Re: Electronics! How much is enough?

The tone of the original questions was along the lines of, "what's different now that I should consider on my trawler?"

There's a ton of great electronics out there. I'd add two suggestions to what has been already written here:

1. Since you're working with a blank slate, design the electronics components, charting, radar, autopilot, whatever, on paper. Lay out the design and keep a keen eye on making sure all the pieces work well together. Individually, each part might do a great job. The headaches come in getting it all integrated and working as a system.

2. Don't forget the internet. Since this trawler is probably something you'll spend a lot more time on and especially in more remote locations than your sport fishers, you'll want great internet access for getting weather info, doing email, watching TV, and especially responding on CruisersForum. Make sure you have good ways to enhance cellular connectivity and WiFi range.
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Old 25-05-2011, 14:40   #13
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Re: Electronics! How much is enough?

Good luck! Good advice here. Just keep it simple. Cruising in North America is often like follwing the dots so a plotter at inside and outside stations keeps it easy. Please Post some pictures of the boat build and final dash setup.
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Old 25-05-2011, 14:44   #14
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Re: Electronics! How much is enough?

Guys
This thread is teaching me more than could expect. Now that we have got to the present point I will address the real reason why I posted it in the first place. Last Christmas, my children gave me the AP28 without pump as they did not know which one to buy. In February, I got the pump. Then, last month, I went to Panama on a business trip, and I found the NX40 on sale in a marine store in which the sales guys knew less than I know about electronics. My idea was to have the NX40 in the Flybridge, and a NX45 in the saloon boat dash.
When I got back home, I asked to the vendor of the pump, a online store in USA, if by buying a NX45, I could put both NX systems sharing radar/GPS/Charts and fishfinder transducers. The guy was dry and told me that they were stand alone systems that could not communicate with each other. I understood, and please correct me if I am wrong, that for each NX, I had to have a GPS/Radar/Transducer. I had, according to him, to duplicate sensors. By what some of you are saying, that may not be true. I have called Simrad on their 1-800 numbers, and there was nobody available to give me that information. I called their dealer in Brazil, and the guy answered that he was going to call headquarters to find out…until today, no answer.
However, that’s exactly what I wanted to do. Have a full integrated NX system on board. I know that the NSE and NSS are a lot better and up to date pieces of equipment but I cannot afford at the moment and I need to start lay up cabling on my boat. I am in a hurry to go cruising’

Regards

Fernando
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Old 25-05-2011, 15:06   #15
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Re: Electronics! How much is enough?

Dear ActiveCaptain:
I have thought about that all too often. My problem is that I cannot get guidance for those subjects in my home country. When somebody is whiling to "help" there's always a trick behind that willingness. In 2010 Sao Paulo boatshow, I had a lady from a engine brand who wanted me to change my boat plans to be able to accommodate two of "her" engines. The last local guy from Raymarine that I talked to, was selling me a $50K navigations system....
I wonder if I could find a guy who, ,looking at my boat plans and knowing my budget limitations and wish list, could design the system, even if I had to pay for this service.
Do you know anybody?

I liked your software, is on my wish list already

Regards
Fernando
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