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Old 25-11-2010, 12:21   #1
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Electronics Purchase Gut Check

So it started with me wanting a radar system for my old 34 ft sailboat. After a tonne of research and hands on comparison Im leaning towards a BR24. I currently have nothing but late 70's depth sounder and speed log that only work half the time so its time I get to play with some new toys.

On my list so far:
Lowrance BR24 Broadband Radar
Lowrance HDS-5 (later on when I have more dough I would move this to the nav station and pick up a larger HDS-7 or 10...)

Here's where it gets tricky. To do radar overlay I need a heading sensor. Ive heard the KVH Azimuth 1000 will work fine but I also need a wind sensor. Ive narrowed it down to this:

1 Simrad Basic Sailboat System (Two displays, a DST800 and a wind vane)
1 KVH Azimuth 1000
Total: 1500

OR
1 Maretron DSM200 (Display)
1 Maretron DST100 (Depth Speed temp transducer)
1 Furuno WS200 (Ultrasonic weather/heading/gps sensor)
Total 1800

Im leaning towards option 2 because its all NMEA2000, the WS200 wont get broken when a bird lands on it and I love the flexibility of the Maretron DSM200 display (limited places to mount displays).

Im pretty sure I can get either system to fully work together… What are your thoughts?
Thanks
Gary
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Old 25-11-2010, 13:32   #2
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What do you mean - "Here's where it gets tricky. To do radar overlay I need a heading sensor."? Overlay on what?
You said the boat had only a depth sounder and speed log. I assume you have a binnacle compass so what do you need an electronic compass for? The radar will normally display targets on the screen in the same relationship to your boat's bow after proper installation. Your boat is in the center of the screen and any targets are shown "relative" to your boat's bow. Targets on the right of the screen are off the right side of the boat, etc.
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Old 25-11-2010, 13:59   #3
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Do the NMEA 2000

But consider this, if cost if your driving factor:

1. Defender has the Garmin NMEA 2000 tri-ducer on sale for something like $170 dollars. CLick on the Garmin closeout link on their opening page - make sure you select the NMEA 200 unit, they have a 0183 one there too.
2. Look at the Garmin GMI-10 or Furuno RD33 display as an option to the Maretron, Cheaper, and the Furuno has a nice display that is bigger than the Garmin, smaller than the Maretron, and uses the same amount of power as the Garmin. The Furuno has a waypoint/trail display, and an anchor alarm, the Garmin does not.

Don't forget cabling costs. One way to lower these is to look at the actisense box that lets you use bare wire on up to six devices, and power each side (3 devices) separately. I think Furuno has something like this too.

I like the Lowrance chartplotter that we have, but alas, it does not work with the BB24 as it is one generation older. If you put the chartplotter in the cockpit, it can also show NMEA 2000 data.

Chris
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Old 25-11-2010, 14:21   #4
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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
What do you mean - "Here's where it gets tricky. To do radar overlay I need a heading sensor."? Overlay on what?
You said the boat had only a depth sounder and speed log. I assume you have a binnacle compass so what do you need an electronic compass for? The radar will normally display targets on the screen in the same relationship to your boat's bow after proper installation. Your boat is in the center of the screen and any targets are shown "relative" to your boat's bow. Targets on the right of the screen are off the right side of the boat, etc.
That would probably be overlay on the chartplotter chart. To orient the radar display to north-up, or the chart to course (or heading) -up, you will need a heading sensor. Some chartplotter/radar combinations will try to do this using the GPS-derived Course Over Ground, but this generally results in very poor behavior. You really want a rate-compensated heading sensor for the best performance.

If all you want is a heading-up radar display, then heading data is not needed.
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Old 25-11-2010, 14:57   #5
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Re: Electronics Purchase Gut Check

Just checked on the Garmin and Furuno diplays and they all run about the same price. The Furuno might make sense instead of the Maretron cause then I would get a full config interface for the WS200. I will do some more research on them. Alas, the Garmin tridata sensor is no longer on defender's site. (only a transom mount).
Cabling is why Im trying to keep the number of suppliers to a minimum. I pretty sure Lowrance and Simrad will work together and Maretron can be adapted pretty easily... Seems that adding in Garmin and others might make this more difficult.

I need the heading sensor because with a 5" screen I have to overlay the radar onto the chart (split screen would be too small to be practical). Its one of those things thats not well documented but to do overlay you must have a heading sensor (most big companies have this requirement built into their software due to liability issues).

Anyone have any thoughs on the WS200... basically Im trying to justify the extra expense of this piece.
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Old 26-11-2010, 04:12   #6
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For my tuppence,

I remained to be convinced that the BR24, is a good option, the jurys out. Conventional might be best.


Some systems require heading data to do overlays, my Garmin 3010C and 406 radar doesnt. it uses GPS for the job and is "Ok".


As to RD33 and GMI-10. I looked at the RD 33 at a recent boatshow its screen isnt really that big, is a 4:3 aspect ration rather then more square in the GMI-10, The RD33 was a bit of a disapointment, its isnt noticably bigger , and the aspect ratio of the RD33 box makes integration it at the helm difficult. Furuno should really have brought out a version compatible with FI-50 displays

dave
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Old 26-11-2010, 06:51   #7
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Ok, I'm in the same boat...however I was considering the Lowrance HDS 10, the boat already has the BR 24, I just hope that with the HDS 10 ($$$$) that will be all I need to overlay. I'm just learning
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Old 26-11-2010, 07:32   #8
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My experience with electronics is... If I like it, I buy it. I don't agonize the decision because I know that as soon as I do buy it...
1) I will be happy that I have it
2) It will be immediately obsolete
3) I will see it cheaper the next day

The only real qualifying questions that I ask myself is, "Do I really NEED it now or can I wait? Do I really WANT it now or can I wait?"
It is almost always the case that if you wait 6 months you can get a BETTER one CHEAPER!

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Old 26-11-2010, 11:54   #9
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cntrycuz: The HDS10 wont do overlay without a heading sensor. They dont make it clear in the manual but if you try it with the latest software version it will pop an error. Your screen will be plenty big enough to do side by side though... (Im jealous)
Dave: Thanks for the feedback on the RD33. I've come to the same conclusion and am leaning towards Maretron B&W (who needs colour anyway). Just need to figure out if I can calibrate the WS200 without a Furuno display.
Liam: As an IT manager I hear you on the electronics obsolecence front. Just want to make the right calls cause I will be living with my choices for the next 10 years.
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:35   #10
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Dave, I've had the same feeling on the BR24, but I'm having trouble looking past the lower power draw and no warm up time claims. They both really appeal to me! I have seen a lot of images of the returns it produces online and in the magazines, and they certainly look good, but not so dissimilar from what I've seen on older radars. I'm in the process of choosing all new electronics for my boat, and seriously leaning toward all Simrad, but I'm stumped on the radar choice. Plus I wish there was a way to use it with my MacENC on my laptop as a backup! Has anybody used it??

-greg




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I remained to be convinced that the BR24, is a good option, the jurys out. Conventional might be best.
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:00   #11
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For whatever it's worth, I just did a few hundred miles offshore, in shipping lanes, and entering harbors/coves/ports. The stuff I needed:

- paper chart
- pencil / notebook / eraser
- triangle
- hand bearing compass
- ship's compass
- binoculars
- cheap handheld gps
- knotmeter

Things I never turned on:

- ship's vhf (masthead antenna). the handheld in the cockpit is less obnoxious, less chatter, and more convenient.
- radar. works fine, just never need it.
- fixed mounted gps. never bothered.
- netbook / laptop (unless not underway). we had some pretty violent weather and the idea of using anything not fix mounted to the bulkheads is crazy.


I don't mean to offer this up to say that navigation electronics are overblown and unneeded, but I managed to get by without them just fine minus a radio for some hailing and a gps for some fixes.
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Old 02-12-2010, 05:46   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gpeacock View Post
So it started with me wanting a radar system for my old 34 ft sailboat. After a tonne of research and hands on comparison Im leaning towards a BR24. I currently have nothing but late 70's depth sounder and speed log that only work half the time so its time I get to play with some new toys.

On my list so far:
Lowrance BR24 Broadband Radar
Lowrance HDS-5 (later on when I have more dough I would move this to the nav station and pick up a larger HDS-7 or 10...)

Here's where it gets tricky. To do radar overlay I need a heading sensor. Ive heard the KVH Azimuth 1000 will work fine but I also need a wind sensor. Ive narrowed it down to this:

1 Simrad Basic Sailboat System (Two displays, a DST800 and a wind vane)
1 KVH Azimuth 1000
Total: 1500

OR
1 Maretron DSM200 (Display)
1 Maretron DST100 (Depth Speed temp transducer)
1 Furuno WS200 (Ultrasonic weather/heading/gps sensor)
Total 1800

Im leaning towards option 2 because its all NMEA2000, the WS200 wont get broken when a bird lands on it and I love the flexibility of the Maretron DSM200 display (limited places to mount displays).

Im pretty sure I can get either system to fully work together… What are your thoughts?
Thanks
Gary
Gary:

If you think you'll be holding onto her, why not redo the wiring now and base it on N2K cabling? You can then later add / expand as needs and budget allow.

Maretron has a great utility N2KBuilder that is available freely for download. This program will allow you to design / model your network and it will perform design checks (i.e. voltage drops, proper termination, max drop length etc).

If you get to that stage, several folks have published and discussed their network designs over on Ben Ellison's PANBO blog / forum here

We went with the PB200, which is the OEM Furuno WS200, except for the whole terminating resistor brouhaha and DST800 and the Color DSM250. I was concerned about the LEN but unless you have it turned up to full brightness, current isn't too bad. And color helps w/the various user configurable warning / alarm settings (at least in the daytime).

Have you looked at the Simrad NSE8 / 12?
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Old 02-12-2010, 10:09   #13
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Thanks for everyone's feedback!
Spent the past week going over many lists.
Ted, a gorgeous Valiant you have there! How do you find the PB200 at the mast top? Are you able to use the GPS and heading sensor or do you have something else on the floor. Im waffling between the DSM250 and DSM200. I wish Maretron still made the 200 (or at least updated its firmware). Us sailors out there need low power draw and the colour screens just draw too much!
I have put my ideal system together using the N2KBuilder, my system is pretty small so everything checks out on the Micro wire.
The Simrad NSE gear is fantastic but out of my price range and too big for this boat.
I agree with Donner74 wholeheartedly on the BR24. Don’t need it to see 40NM out to pick out a storm cell, and the power draw, instant on is what sells it for me.

Here is my new list for this week:
HDS-5M
BR24
PB200
DST800
DSM200 or 250
NGT-1-USB (NMEA 200 to USB)
Navionics gold Charts

When I go to purchase it I might slip back to the Simrad Sailboat package, it all depends on how rich I am feeling at that moment. This gear is worth more than the boat itself so if I upgrade the boat sometime in the near future I plan to take it with me.
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Old 02-12-2010, 18:22   #14
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Originally Posted by gpeacock View Post
...
...Ted, a gorgeous Valiant you have there! How do you find the PB200 at the mast top? Are you able to use the GPS and heading sensor or do you have something else on the floor. Im waffling between the DSM250 and DSM200.
...
Gary:
Thanks for the kind words - we're pretty elated about our V42.

As for the Airmar PB200 at the masthead, we went for some redundancy, as well as better performance by having an Airmar H2183 heading sensor mounted on a horizontal surface in the salon and a Maretron GPS200 on our arch. But I'm thinking in the future I may opt for a anchor watch display for the forward berth and using the PB200 GPS for that, which would allow me to power off the "aft leg" of the N2K network. (The PB200 is on the "forward leg" and the GPS200 is on the "aft leg").

I got this idea after reading Dan Corcoran's posts on PANBO that you can find here.

re: the PB200, my only other advice is to make sure you determine which version you are getting - as the earlier units had the terminating resistor in the unit. The newer PB200's don't have it and the terminating resistor is expected to be in the proprietary Airmar cable. I believe Furuno's WS200 still has the terminating resistor in the unit. It's important that you get this right, otherwise your n2K network won't perform reliably. Ask me how I know!
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Old 03-12-2010, 18:35   #15
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A 5" plotter is a very small screen these days. Not sure I'd go with one that small

Dave
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