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Old 08-07-2011, 00:09   #1
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Furuno 1715 Radar Unit Review

The Furuno Radar set is one of the many pieces of new of electronics and gear that I added to Salsa when refitting for my Solo Circumnavigation in 2008. I’ll start off by detailing the one very serious problem that I have with the unit. I will also talk about the things I like about it and the features, and then I will give all the details regarding my attempts to have Furuno correct the problem.

I have serious mixed feelings about the unit as part of it works great, but one feature, the “Guard Zone Alarm” only works intermittently and has left me in dangerous situations many times and my many desperate attempts to get help from Furuno has been completely fruitless. In fact I would be very happy to hear from anyone else with the Furuno 1715 Radar or any other Furuno that uses the Guard Zone Alarm to hear what their experience has been. Will give both the pros and cons of this unit below but I want to detail my experience with the ‘bug’ in this unit that is a serious danger to single handed sailors first. To describe the problems, this is a copy of the first letter I wrote to Customer Service on July 21 2009 explaining the problem;

1) When in Watch Mode, sometimes the unit will go to standby mode as normal, but never cycles back on.

2) When in Watch Mode with alarm activated, sometimes the unit will find and display an obvious target but the alarm will not sound!>>>

So just to make it clear, this radar unit is supposed to allow you to create a “Guard Zone” on the display screen. The zone area is adjustable so for example I usually create a doughnut shaped area around myself covering between 1 and 12 miles away. So set like this anything inside of 1 mile is not supposed to set off the alarm (because this is usually sea clutter and false alarms) and anything outside of 12 miles does not affect the alarm either as it is too far away for me to care about plus outside of 12 miles you start getting even more false alarms and only large freighters or landmasses are likely to be give a good radar return, even though the range on the unit is 24 miles, the usable range for most of my purposes is closer to 12 nautical miles, working even better at 8 or 10 miles. When a “target” enters the area you designated as the alarm zone, and audible alarm is sounded (this usually wakes me up). SO THE PROBLEM IS that about 30% of the time that a target enters the alarm zone, the alarm does not sound OR the unit never “wakes up” from standby mode to even look for a target. You can clearly see a target in the guard zone but the unit simply does not acknowledge it as a target and does not sound the alarm OR the unit says it is in standby guard mode but just sleeps forever and does not cycle back on to look for targets. Initially I thought that I was making a setting error and played with the unit for countless hours until I learned of many other people with the same problem. There is no perfect fix that I am aware of however if you turn off the unit, RESET the memory and all settings back to the factory settings (this means you have to re-calibrate the thing and put in all of your sensitivity settings again!) The unit usually works (for a while) before the problem comes back. Also I tend to test the unit every time I turn it on. I just make the guard zone, then increase the gain setting until there is ‘clutter’ or false targets in the zone to activate the alarm, if it sounds, I turn the gain back to normal then I observe through the first standby cycle and then just hope that it will continue to function, but eventually the problem will return. Sometimes I even have to reset it 3 or 4 times before the guard zone works again. More technical people have discussed in detail the programming issues in the control display that actually causes the glitch or bug and if you Google enough you will find those threads on various websites and message boards.

This is a very serious problem to the long distance single handed or shorthanded sailor. Basically the expensive piece of equipment you bought to wake you up if a ship comes near you only works about two thirds of the time, and the other third of the time you have no idea unless you are awake and looking at the screen (something impossible to do all the time). If anyone else has the same problem or has the unit and hasn’t noticed this problem I would be interested to hear about it, OR if anyone has any idea how I might get Furuno to acknowledge and correct the problem I would be forever great full for the HELP!!

The BEST thing I can say about the unit and Furuno in general is that an informal survey of Captains of various boats and countless hours searching the internet lead me to believe that Furuno does make the best and most reliable Radomes available for the money. Maybe the most reliable radomes on the market. And my Radome has worked flawlessly in respect to its ability to show targets and provide me with the information I need, for example, contour of coast lines and their distance to verify my position and accuracy of my charts, especially at night. The problems I have seemed to only be within the display / computer unit that control the radome. Secondly the unit uses a very reasonable amount of power, especially when you consider the standby guard mode where it shuts down to standby for a pre-set amount of time (5,10 or 20 minutes) then turns on the Radome for One minute to scan for targets. If there are no targets in the guard zone it cycles back to standby and continues this cycle until you turn it off or it spots a target. A target will then set off the audible alarm, and cancel the standby-cycle so that it remains on until you reset the alarm. When / If this is working it effectively wakes you up or alerts you to boats within your area AND coast lines AND rain squalls. This can act as back up to setting GPS alarms and depth sounder alarms to keep you from getting to close to land while sleeping or at night. It also often wakes me up offshore before a squall hits me giving me plenty of time to reef the sails before the worst of the winds arrive. And yes if you keep the guard zone between about 1 and 12 miles almost every freighter and large fishing vessel will activate the alarm, so it basically ‘keeps watch’ for you even better than you can yourself when sitting in the cockpit as it sees ships, land and storms before you can visually see them as the radome is half way up my mast (20 feet over the waterline?) and can see over the horizon visible to my eye from the cockpit. So when it is working it is great, I feel safe, secure, can sleep better and I am better rested. Somewhere I have the details on the power consumption in amps but I’m not going to dig them up right now because I can’t recommend the unit anyway due to the primary feature only working intermittently. I will however say that using the manual and with a little practice it was not too difficult to use most features and buttons and menus make sense as long as you take the time to get to know the unit. But it does take a while (maybe a few days) to tweak out all the settings so that you avoid most false alarms and still get most of the targets to trigger the alarm. When it was working perfectly during the first 6 months I had it I think I averaged about 1 or 2 false alarms per night, and it never missed a freighter. Wooden boats and sailboats are another story. Even with a passive reflector, a large (say 50ft) sailboat isn’t clear on the screen during average sea conditions until it is within a few miles. You COULD change the settings to be more sensitive so you can visibly identify a small target up to around 5 miles away however then you could not effectively use the alarm as you would have a lot of false alarms waking you up every hour or so. This is why at night far offshore I make it only sensitive enough to detect large ships, land and rain squalls, allowing me to sleep most of the night, and during the day or near other boats I use it without the alarm and more sensitive settings to see more details of nearby boats or smaller targets. Lastly, with only 110W of solar power generation, and a large 600Ah battery bank I can run the unit on the standby guard zone all night without power issues as long as I limit my computer / chart plotter use, no fridge, all LED lights, and moderate use of the SSB radio, and using the wind vane opposed to an electronic autopilot. However, this assumes normal conditions with average sunlight.

What I would like from Furuno is a solution to my problem that doesn’t involve the labor intensive process of removing the Radome from the mast (which is not the part of the unit with a problem anyway!). And also for Furuno to acknowledge and identify this glitch that seems to be in MANY or ALL of these units. Maybe in ALL Furuno units quite possibly because I haven’t even begun to research the many other very similar models probably running on the same software. (Just did a Google search and found another Furuno model with same problems and no help from Furuno)! I attached the write up below) anyone who thinks they might be able to help me get some satisfaction from Furuno would be very appreciated for any assistance. As of today everyone I know who has sent the radar back to Furuno at great expense, time, and trouble, got the unit back from Furuno with a report of “NO PROBLEMS” what a joke.

Some posts from other sailors with the same problems and copy of all my corispondence with Furuno are available on my website;

EQUIPMENT REVIEWS :

I usually TRY to contact Furuno here; furuno@custhelp.com
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Old 08-07-2011, 07:56   #2
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Re: Furuno 1715 Radar Unit Review

I think that what you are experiencing is simply the aging process of the magnetron tube in your scanner plus changing weather conditions, while you work with the same static gain settings.

You have to understand that this is normal. The gain settings you work out today as being "perfect", i.e. every target generates alarm but no false alarms, are only valid at the time you tweak that gain setting. Even when weather conditions change, they break your setting.

So I think you have to go back at the way you did this the first 6 months : more gain and live with 1-2 false alarms each night. Rework the correct gain settings often. The new Furuno 3D scanners do have better circuitry to auto-adjust for weather and may be even aging, but that still does not keep you from having false alarms if you want to make sure you don't miss real targets.

You might also want to add an AIS transponder to your inventory. Not only does this work for every ship more than 300 tons... other boats with AIS see you too (and get the alarm) and this never gives false alarms because it is not depending on detecting targets (they reveal themselves instead).

There is currently no technology that allows a solo sailor to sleep while underway without risk. You can't blame a radar feature that, while flawed, tries to help you with that for this; the cause is that you sail without keeping watch and a "watchkeeper" feature of a radar does not count (it would if it would work flawlessly)

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 08-07-2011, 18:54   #3
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Re: Furuno 1715 Radar Unit Review

Hi Nick, thanks for the reply to my post, it's nice to have some insight from another cruiser! I have to agree with you, that the ultimate responsibility regarding the fate of my boat and myself fall upon only myself, not some particular piece of equipment like the radar. However single-handing, albeit controversial I think the best we can do short of not sailing alone is to try to minimize our risk and modern electronics help to do this; GPS alarms to keep us on course and away from obstacles, Depth Alarms to alert us to shoals, Reflectors and lights to make ourselves more visibile, etc...

In regards to the problem with the Furuno's Watch man mode, I cant see how an aging magnetron tube or gain settings could have anything to do with the unit going into standby mode and not 'waking up' on a timer setting, these things seem completely unrelated to me but maybe I don't have a full understanding.

I can understand how over time the magnetron might require me to change my settings, but that seems mute as well considering that I'm constantly changing my settings to allow for the conditions, I never use the automatic settings with the alarm, nor do I have a favorite gain setting that I use all the time, as that would never work. Maybe I can clarify what the unit does. First off it's not an issue with getting false alarms, or sensitivity. I'm talking about very obvious targets (like an island that solidly lights up half of the screen inside your guard zone) not activating the alarm regardless of what your settings are, even with 100% gain, and the full screen showing as a target, there is no acknowledge of a target from the alarm. When you observe this on the display and realize that the unit is not working, you delete the memory and reset it, then you can put back in the exact same gain settings as before, reset the alarm, (may have to do this a few times in a row) and then maybe it works fine, for a while. The radome appears to find and display targets on the screen with no problems at all, the problem is that sometimes the unit just ignores targets and does not sound the alarm, then it goes back into standby mode (for what should be 5,10 or 15 minutes) but it never wakes up! So for the rest of the night, or until the user resets the entire thing again, is just sleeps, and doesn't even scan for targets at the programmed intervals as it remains in standby indefinitely. Hope this helps to clarify things for anyone taking a stab at trouble shooting this.
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Old 08-07-2011, 21:23   #4
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Re: Furuno 1715 Radar Unit Review

aha... okay, so what happened after the first 6 months? You wrote that it worked fine for the first 6 months except for 1-2 false alarms each night?

ciao!
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Old 09-07-2011, 00:17   #5
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Re: Furuno 1715 Radar Unit Review

I've had the same unit for about 3 years, and have been happy with it, but with 2 pob have never tried the alarm. I'll be on an overnight passage next week, and will give the alarm a try. I usually depend on my AIS to keep me out of trouble.
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Old 09-07-2011, 00:33   #6
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Re: Furuno 1715 Radar Unit Review

Ahh, ok, I said "When it was working perfectly during the first 6 months I had it I think I averaged about 1 or 2 false alarms per night, and it never missed a freighter."

That means that when I first started using it, the bug or glitch wasn't present, it was working great, as I considered only one or two false alarms per night and not missing any actual targets, good performance.

That is in contrast to how it works today, when the glitch is not acting up, I still probably average only a few false alarms per night however when the unit forgets to come out of standby mode or displays a target and does not sound the audible alarm, I don't get ANY alarms, false OR real, that's the concern.

If / when the unit worked properly you had the option to make it less sensitive and eliminate false alarms, however you would then run a higher risk of a target not appearing on the screen or appearing too late, so again, not missing any targets, but only one or two false alarms is a good compromise.
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:18   #7
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Re: Furuno 1715 Radar Unit Review

Sounds to me as if you have been using it in a salt environment - no wonder it doesn't work properly
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:20   #8
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Re: Furuno 1715 Radar Unit Review

Indeed, it sounds like the unit has developed a problem then. You should try to swap components with others as to test if you can isolate the problem.

The watchkeeper feature might not be included in the Furuno testing procedure, or the rep in the country you are in is not knowledgeable enough to deal with the problem.

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Old 25-07-2011, 19:19   #9
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Re: Furuno 1715 Radar Unit Review

I tried the alarm and watchman function on my Model 1715 last night, and they worked as advertised. My unit is 4 years old, but is only used for going to church on sundays--it only has a total of 143 hours of operation and 66 hours of transmit time.
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Old 18-12-2011, 18:22   #10
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Re: Furuno 1715 Radar Unit Review

Another short update regarding the Furuno. I just arrived in Richards Bay South Africa after crossing the Indian Ocean to Madagascar and then south through the Mozambique Channel to here. The intermittent problems before seem to have become more or less permanent so MAYBE now Furuno won't be able to pretend there is no problem. The Guardzone feature now miss-functions way more often than it works and is a useless feature making the entire thing more or less useless to me. I'm contacting Furuno here in South Africa in another desperate attempt to have it repaired or replace however my faith in their product and customer care is gone and I've decided to order an AIS unit for collision avoidance weather I here from Furuno or not.
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Old 19-12-2011, 08:44   #11
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Re: Furuno 1715 Radar Unit Review

Nice work making the trip in an Alberg 30, skipper.

While I hope your Furuno problems can be resolved sooner than later, I would say that I find AIS complementary to RADAR, and not a replacement for it (except perhaps to a man with a guard zone alarm!). It won't act as an anchor watch, for instance, if you aren't drifting down onto a moored or anchored AIS target.

Some newer and alas more expensive models, like the new Vesper WatchMate, can however do this by extrapolation.

It's also a quite low drawing device, probably an issue to consider on an Alberg 30 unless you put four batteries under the settees.

Fair winds getting around the bottom. You've got the boat for it, at least.
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Old 20-02-2012, 23:35   #12
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Re: Furuno 1715 Radar Unit Review

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Name:	Radar Problem.JPG
Views:	2167
Size:	228.6 KB
ID:	37713Another 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.

Sincerly,
-Kirk Little
Hout Bay Yacht Club,
Cape Town, South Africa
Local Cell; 0726737152
www.SailingSalsa.com


From: Bruce.Cunningham@radioholland.co.za
To: kirkalittle@hotmail.com
Subject: M1715 radar fault
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2012 07:31:37 +0000

Hi Kirk

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 from Galapagos 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.

Suggested solution

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.

Support History

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.

Updated 12/19/2011
Furuno 1715 guard zone problem PLEASE HELP 111219-000013
07/02/2011
FEC / FRENCH POLYNESIA / Furuno 1715 guard zone problem 110702-000004
Solved (But actually there was no response...)

02/25/2011
FEC / FRENCH POLYNESIA/Furuno 1715 Guard Zone Alarm not working. 110225-000008
Solved (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: jlthomas@assystem.pf
> To: kirkalittle@hotmail.com
> Subject: Re: your problem of radar
>
> HELLO
> 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
to desinstalle
> jean louis

07/21/2009
FEC /FRENCHPOLY/Hi I have a Furuno 1715, I believe it is still under warranty. I have two pro...090721-000010
Solved

Similar cases

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


Sincerely
Kirk Little
www.SailingSalsa.com
Hout Bay, Cape Town, South Africa.
Local South African mobile phone; 0726737152
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Old 25-02-2012, 14:09   #13
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The 1715 was on my upgrade list for this year until I read your 1st post a few weeks ago. It was the customer service part of your problem that caused concern, I had always thought furuno's reputation was much better, I've now decided on either Standard Horizon with a Sitex radome or a garmin unit. Good luck
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Old 15-05-2012, 08:30   #14
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Re: Furuno 1715 Radar Unit Review

It seems typical customer service these days, same story with McMurdo Nav6 Navtex, in the end it cost me twice as much to repair as a new one. Never use McMurdo again.
I have been doing a lot of upgrades and I was going to buy a Furuno 1715 for the same purpose to assist with offshore solo watch keeping. NOT NOW FURUNO, maybe one day these guys will wake up.

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Old 16-05-2012, 02:33   #15
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Re: Furuno 1715 Radar Unit Review (Update)

So I thought I would post an update as I have gotten a few emails from people regarding the Radar. About a month ago the Furuno agents here in South Africa gave up on the unit and told me I should buy a new one. I sent one last desperate plea to Furuno U.S.A. and they agreed to send a new display to me here in S.A. as long as I agreed to send the old unit back. This sounded like a reasonable solution at first and I have to commend Furuno U.S.A for making and following through with the offer but I feel that until I arrive in Brazil (in about 2 months) after a throrough test of the unit it still remains to be seen if the problem is corrected or if it is an internal bug in all the Furuno units (considering I know people with previous generation models and the same problem, plus upgrading the software in my unit (at my expense) did not solve anything. The other issue is that after paying Duty on the new unit shipped to South Africa from the U.S. , and paying to ship the old one back, I will have paid what the unit is worth anyway, and still no assurance it's going to work. I'll update when I get to Brazil. Very happy Furuno did go ahead and send a new unit, but very disappointing it took almost 2 years to take action on a dangerous warranty issue. On the plus side (sort of) all these issues finally prompted me to get the Standard Horizon Matrix AIS unit, which seems to work great and for $215, seems to be way better value in the 'collision avoidance' department.

-Kirk

www.SailingSalsa.com
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