Another update to the Faulty Furuno 1715 regarding the Watchman mode and Gaurdzone Alarm;
The authorized Furuno service
people never called me back and ignored all my calls. When I arrived in Port Elizabeth, South Africa
, I uninstalled it and carried it into their office. They changed the software/firmware, charged me for it even though this problem was reported when it was still under warranty, and could not test it. So I got to test it on my way to Cape Town
, and it still failed.
In Cape town
the service people (Radio Holland
, South Africa) Came out to the boat this time, and brought the unit to their office for testing, couldn't find the fault but assured me they would look for a solution. I finally took a picture of the unit while the fault was present to prove that it is defective. They said they would get back to me, three days later I get an email
from Furuno telling me they are once again filing my problem as "Solved" since they haven't heard from me in three days...
I sent all parties involved another email
(see below) and the photo
. Still no joy, at least my AIS arrives in a few days for the sail home across the Atlantic. Anyone have any ideas how to motivate Furuno to repair or replace this unit? Seems they are unable to repair it.
COPY OF LETTER/EMAILS Outlining the problems...
Hello all. Thanks again to those that are making efforts to resolve my problem. I just received another email from Furuno@custhelp.com
stating "...we have changed the status of your question to SOLVED".
I am still desperately seeking any kind of a solution for the radar fault outlined below. I have been in South Africa
for over two months and spoken to three Radio Holland
offices with no joy. I only intend to stay here one more month and feel that if nothing is done soon I'll be sailing solo across another ocean without the radar functioning for collision
avoidance, a risk I would like to avoid and should not have to endure.
I attached a photo
of the Radar Unit while the fault is in progress. In this photo the unit is running with the Guard Zone Alarm activated in Watchman Mode. 1) You should be able to clearly see the guard zone represented by two circles formed with dotted lines around my position. 2) You can also see several targets inside of the guard zone which should be sounding the alarm. 3) In the upper left hand corner you can see that the unit is still in "WATCH" mode. Normally when the radar finds a target in the guard-zone the alarm sounds and it immediately changes from "WATCH" mode to normal TX mode so that the alarm can continue to sound, the photo is showing the targets in the guard-zone and the unit is still in "WATCH" mode showing that unit is not acknowledging the the target, and the alarm was not sounding.
I don't know how to provide evidence of the second issue where it goes into standby in the "WATCH" mode and never comes back on to check for a target other than putting a video camera
on the unit for 5 to 20 minutes but at least you can see from the photo there is a problem.
Bruce from Radio Holland, the most recent Service Engineer to look at the unit had indicated that Furuno has still not responded to his inquires regarding the problem and he does not know how to proceed on his own.
I feel I've been more patient than anyone could reasonably be expected (two years!) and have been in danger
of loosing my life and vessel multiple times as a result of relying on this defective piece of equipment. I've sailed to three different ports
with Authorized Furuno service reps where my phone
calls have been ignored and I eventually uninstalled the unit and carried it on foot to an office in Port Elizabeth, South Africa where I was charged for labor on a warranty problem that wasn't even fixed. And lastly I feel I have been forced to order an AIS unit from the USA at my own expense to help do what the Furuno unit should have been doing all along.
Unless anyone with or associated with Furuno or Radio Holland can offer any kind of a solution right now, I am respectfully requesting a new radar display to replace this faulty, unrepairable unit, shipped to me here in Cape Town South Africa.
Hout Bay Yacht Club,
Cape Town, South Africa
Local Cell; 0726737152
Subject: M1715 radar fault
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2012 07:31:37 +0000
Below is the email I sent Furuno. I am awaiting their reply.
To whom it may concern
The customer in question, a Mr Kirk Little, has a very serious problem with his M1715 radar. The technical staff here at Radio Holland South Africa have done everything possible to try re-create and diagnose the problem but have been unsuccessful. Please read below the customer’s history
with the equipment explaining in detail the problems he has experienced.
Problems experienced with the unit.
First I should mention that the primary reason I purchased the Furuno 1715, was for collision avoidance during my solo Circumnavigation
on a 30ft sailboat (www.SailingSalsa.com
). The radar was a huge investment on my behalf and is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment I purchased for my boat, as I am sailing on a very small budget
. The plan was to use the Guard Zone Alarm to alert me of any vessels (or land) that came within a few miles of me posing a collision threat. I would also have to use the "Watchman Mode" as I could not support the power demands to keep the unit transmitting non-stop. After one year of using the Radar, BOTH of those features stopped working properly.
The first time (of many times) that I realized the Alarm was not working properly was during my 28 day passage
across the South Pacific
to French Polynesia
. I simply looked out of the cabin
and saw a very large container ship less than one mile from my position, this is a very scary experience and I couldn't understand why the Radar Alarm did not go off, so I started watching the radar (that was supposed to be watching over me) and I discovered that sometimes, not all the time, an obvious target/echo/ship will enter the alarm zone and the unit simply ignores that it is there, does not sound an alarm, and goes back into Standby mode, normally when a ship is detected the alarm sounds, and the "watchman" mode is deactivated so that the unit stays on, and the alarm continues to sound until I turn off the alarm or the ship is out of my alarm zone.
The second problem I found that also created several near-collision situations, is that the unit when used in the "watchman mode" would go into Standby for the pre-set amount of time (5,10, or 20 minutes) and then would not return to the TX mode and look for ships. It would basically remain asleep indefinitely.
Both of these problems got progressively worse over time until the only way I could use the radar was to manually turn it on, look at the display and determine if there was a ship in my proximity or not, then turn it off, set a separate alarm to wake me up again in 20 minutes, and repeat the process. This completely changed the way I sailed. No longer could I sleep for a few hours at a time knowing that the Radar was assisting with collision avoidance, now I had to wake up every 20 minutes, I was constantly tired making it harder to make good decisions, and since I could not afford a new radar, and Furuno would not offer a solution, this went on for over a year.
During my Passage to South Africa as I was sailing down the Mozambique Channel I thought I had the alarm working (as it sometimes does on occasion if I reset the memory). This time I awoke to the sounds of engines from a large fishing
boat deploying a long line. I was only a few hundred meters from hitting his bow when I first saw him and had to make a very fast emergency
change of course to save my ship and my life. If I had not been awaken by the engine
of that fishing boat, I honestly believe that relying on the Furuno Radar Alarm in the way that it is advertised and marketed for collision avoidance would have killed me.
Furuno support regarding this problem
Initially I emailed them two years ago and they said to sail to an island or country where they have a service rep, remove the ENTIRE unit from my boat and bring it to them (this wasn't really an option). Most of the other messages I sent were ignored or answered only by an automated response, and then filed as "Solved" on their website. More recently in Richards Bay, South Africa I finally spoke to a real person working for Radio Holland South Africa (the authorized Furuno service centre here). He assured me he would come out to my boat and try to fix my problems. After one week I never heard from him so I called him again, the secretary told me he was busy and would call back. After waiting 2 days for him to call me, I called him a third time. And again the Secretary would not put him on the phone
and told me he would call me back, the next day I had to sail out of Richards Bay, and even to this day Radio Holland South Africa (Richards Bay Office) refuses to return my call.
The next port I sailed into was Port Elizabeth, South Africa, and Radio Holland has an office right inside the port. After speaking with them on the phone they advised me that a technician would come to my boat (5 minute walk from their office). Later they did call me and said they were too busy to come to me but asked me to remove the Radar display myself and take it into their office so they could update the software
in hopes to fix the unit. When I went back to the office to pick up the radar they told me they could not test it and did not know if the unit would work, I was also told I had to pay them about 330 ZAR. I told them that I reported this problem to Furuno USA while it was still under warranty. They said that warranty only covers parts
not labour and that I should have gotten a "Guarantee" which covers labour as well. So I had to pay them for not fixing the unit. After I reinstalled and tested the display myself, I found that the fault regarding the unit switching from Standby to TX mode still existed, I also discovered that when Radio Holland returned the unit the screen on the display has a small scratch that now looks like an echo when viewed at night, making it even harder to use this broken unit. So after removing my display unit I delivered it to the Radio Holland, paying 330 ZAR for a warranty problem, picking it up, reinstalling it, testing it, all I got in return was a damaged screen.
After telling my story to Radio Holland in Cape Town, they dispatched a Service Engineer
named Bruce. He seemed generally concerned about my situation and made what I thought was every attempt he could to provide a solution. First he came out to the vessel to collect the display and brought it back into their office for testing but was unable to duplicate the errors I received. Through some kind of a Furuno service bulletin he believed that the motor
in the dome might be responsible however after climbing the mast to check the motor
he discovered that I already had the newest motor available.
What I would like done is for Furuno to simply replace the display with a new one since it seems impossible to fix or even test / diagnose it without being at sea in real conditions.
Following is a list of the Support History. The "Solved" status Furuno attached to each message is false. Other than the automated response, the only time I've been contacted was by an inaccessible (wasn't possible to sail back to Tahiti
as I was already downwind) Service centre in French Polynesia
and by Jeffrie Treece / Furuno USA ( JTreece@Furuno.com
) Who initially referred me to Radio Holland in Richards Bay.
Furuno 1715 guard zone problem PLEASE HELP 111219-000013
FEC / FRENCH POLYNESIA / Furuno 1715 guard zone problem 110702-000004
(But actually there was no response...)
FEC / FRENCH POLYNESIA/Furuno 1715 Guard Zone Alarm not working. 110225-000008
(here is the laughable response that Furuno felt solved my issue, if only they had responded to the first email when I was still in Tahiti
. By the time they got back to me weeks later I had sailed well past it)
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: your problem of radar
> if you do not come to tahiti it is a problem to help you
,as you know
> cook island do not have furuno agent
> the best solution would be to send the antenna and the display to our
> workshop but according to the installation ,is it easy
> jean louis
FEC /FRENCHPOLY/Hi I have a Furuno 1715, I believe it is still under warranty. I have two pro...090721-000010
I've also copied below a bulletin I found online from another Furuno user with the same problem and no joy from Furuno Customer support. He was actually posting
on a website offering technical advice, apparently as a last resort. , I am only attaching one (out of the many cases out there) to illustrate that my situation is not a single isolated case. I know of at least Five people cruising right now with the same problems, I wonder what the odds are that one of them has or will end up in a collision, if they did it would be lucky for Furuno that the odds are overwhelming that no one will ever hear from them.
No alarm sound when it should, furuno 1623 - FixYa
By sailingeddy on Mar 05, 2009
We just made it to St-Maarten, almost 5 days on the sea, so I had the opportunity to test my Furuno radar 1623 again, after being 6 months on anchor
in Palomar, Venezuela
. From the beginning I had my radar I noticed that sometimes it acts "strange" this was not different on this trip, after a day on the sea, I was almost sure that the alarm did not work, because I never heard it in one day, when I got clearly a big vessel in the alarm zone my doubts where confirmed, after trying different things like clear memory, switch to simulate and back, power off, alarm off and on, I got the alarm working again, but it took a while.
My experience is this, when you put the rings from the alarm zone, I normally put them from one mile to six miles, the radar looks in the zone to decide "in" or "Out" I noticed that often "almost always" he will say "in" although there is something in the zone. the alarm will never sound when something comes in the zone, because somewhere in his memory there is this conflict, He says "in" but thinks "out" It is only after I got him to say "out" en then a clear screen, putting the gain down to zero, en then install the alarm zone, then he will say "in" and then everything is working normal, the alarm sounds when there is something in the zone.
So the problem is how to let him say "out" I have experienced this, when I put a vessel on the ring of the alarm zone, then you have a good change that he says "out" only between the rings then probably you get a "in" but once you get a "out" then turn off the alarm, set again a zone and give a clear "in" By putting the gain down, then the radar works normal, except that in 5 days I had 4 times that he will not give any signal on the screen after he comes from the watchman function, the only way I get a signal back is by turning the power off and back on. 4 times in 5 days is not much, but it is 4 times too much.
For me there is something with the programming inside, but who am I to decide this, so I give it to you the specialists
I have sent you an email with this problem some 6 months ago, had only an answer that you would look into it, never got reply back, meanwhile I have this radar 1,5 years so I was wandering about my warranty, can you help me with this.
I was with the dealer In Trinidad (where I bought this radar) last year in august to make a complain but he was not in his shop, so I talked to his helper, but he could not advise me, I stayed only 4 days and never met the dealer. >>> End bulletin
Hout Bay, Cape Town, South Africa.
Local South African mobile phone; 0726737152