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Old 27-01-2012, 13:33   #1
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All Eggs ( Nav System ) In One Basket ?

I have an Autohelm 6000 with a defunct computer, and a not-too-sharp Raytheon 20XX radar on a 33' pilothouse (i.e. two helms).

I can replace the computer with a Raymarine X10 and put in two ST6002 control heads, keep the original Type 1 linear drive (and maybe the rudder feedback) and possibly connect with the original Seatalk. I'll scrap the radar (but keep a B&G Network wind/speed/depth for now).

I really like the 4G radar (quick on, low power), so combined with a Lowrance HDS-8 outside and a HDS-7 inside, this would also need a heading sensor.

Perhaps all systems will not talk to each other, but I am not very computer-literate anyway (...yes, I have seen the "Why integrate the autopilot" thread).

For 30% more cash, I could scrap all existing and go with Simrad, including a new drive, and NSS displays as autopilot controls (AC12 computer, RF300 rudder, RC42 compass, HLD-350 drive, NSS-8, NSS-7, 4G radar, SimNet).

But that means the displays control radar, charting and autopilot, hence my concern over loosing all these systems with one fault. That extra 30% cost isn't inconsequential for me, either.

Should I swallow the cost and go for the whole Simrad system?
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Old 27-01-2012, 16:04   #2
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Re: All eggs (nav system) in one basket?

You wouldn't need the new drive if your old drive is functional. It will work just fine with the Simrad gear. That will save you $1,500. Why two NSS displays? If you get two, they are already redundant. You could always get a separate control head for the autopilot that would make it independent of the NSS.

What fears do you have regarding how the system will be brought down? A fault with either NSS won't bring down the other one. A fault with the radome won't bring the system down. A fault with the autopilot will leave everything else functioning.

A lighting strike will bring it all down regardless of the integration.

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Old 27-01-2012, 16:30   #3
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Re: All eggs (nav system) in one basket?

Keep it all separate. I don't like having one piece of vulnerable equipment being dependent on another piece of vulnerable equipment. When you are out there for awhile a lot of people with integrated gear are limping along on their backups. Others will violently disagree.
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Old 27-01-2012, 16:58   #4
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Re: All eggs (nav system) in one basket?

my nav tools (i tried to crop out the nudie magazine the best i could, my friend insisted i put that in the picture, sigh):

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Old 27-01-2012, 20:23   #5
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Re: All eggs (nav system) in one basket?

Well, yes, I'm used to navigating through the Thousand Islands (St Lawrence R.) clutching a chart in one hand, but sometimes i would like a more convenient way there and farther afield...
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Old 28-01-2012, 06:12   #6
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Re: All eggs (nav system) in one basket?

There are intermediate stages between the chart clutch and a fully integrated navigation system. I'm not saying don't use electronics, just keep them entirely separate. In other words, have a chart plotting system, have a backup GPS of some sort, have a depthsounder, have a radar, and have an autopilot, but don't make them talk to each other and you will save yourself a ton of hassle, and I think be safer in the long run, especially if you want to travel further afield. In my case, I like to keep the paper charts and guidebooks around too, and I use them a lot.
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Old 28-01-2012, 06:18   #7
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Re: All eggs (nav system) in one basket?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
my nav tools (i tried to crop out the nudie magazine the best i could, my friend insisted i put that in the picture, sigh):

I couldn't help noticing the magnifying glass was on the magazine, not the chart.

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Old 28-01-2012, 06:40   #8
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Re: All eggs (nav system) in one basket?

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
Keep it all separate. I don't like having one piece of vulnerable equipment being dependent on another piece of vulnerable equipment. When you are out there for awhile a lot of people with integrated gear are limping along on their backups. Others will violently disagree.
I agree with this approach. Plus you can update each component individually over the years as new improvements come along. With a bus system all your telemetry is relying on one screen in a marine enviornment. I made a good living fixing electronic systems because they DO fail. That's why I prefer individual components on board my boat.
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Old 28-01-2012, 07:22   #9
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Re: All eggs (nav system) in one basket?

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I agree with this approach. Plus you can update each component individually over the years as new improvements come along. With a bus system all your telemetry is relying on one screen in a marine enviornment. I made a good living fixing electronic systems because they DO fail. That's why I prefer individual components on board my boat.
With a bus system (NMEA2000), all components can easily be replaced or updated individually over the years, which is not possible with a non-bus system. Plus one isn't locked in to a specific manufacturer for everything (which I think is far more of a problem than integration vs separation).

In the OP's choices, note that in both options he has two MFD's, so he will never be relying on a single control/readback regardless of if he integrates or not. Both his options involve redundancy and fall back. The only real difference between them is that one of them is unable to be integrated and the other can.

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Old 28-01-2012, 08:50   #10
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Re: All eggs (nav system) in one basket?

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
With a bus system (NMEA2000), all components can easily be replaced or updated individually over the years, which is not possible with a non-bus system. Plus one isn't locked in to a specific manufacturer for everything (which I think is far more of a problem than integration vs separation).

In the OP's choices, note that in both options he has two MFD's, so he will never be relying on a single control/readback regardless of if he integrates or not. Both his options involve redundancy and fall back. The only real difference between them is that one of them is unable to be integrated and the other can.

Mark
Exactly. In fact I think the redundant MFD approach is more robust than standalone instruments. You can suffer a failure of one MFD and still have a fully functional system. But if the display on, say, your standalone depthsounder fails, you don't have depth.
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Old 28-01-2012, 08:55   #11
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Re: All eggs (nav system) in one basket?

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But if the display on, say, your standalone depthsounder fails, you don't have depth.
I have two standalone depthsounders, and one is a fishfinder so it gives me bottom contours, which is very useful in shallow areas.
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Old 28-01-2012, 10:32   #12
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Re: All eggs (nav system) in one basket?

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I have two standalone depthsounders, and one is a fishfinder so it gives me bottom contours, which is very useful in shallow areas.
A fishfinder can be nice to have, but you can also buy an MFD with an integrated fishfinder. If you want to carry a spare transducer, they are fairly inexpensive.
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Old 31-01-2012, 09:31   #13
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Re: All Eggs ( Nav System ) In One Basket ?

Thanks for all the above comments.
And in case some have not noticed, the topic is hot on the "NMEA network" thread.
Looks like I might go with 2 MFDs and N2K...
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Old 31-01-2012, 11:01   #14
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Re: All Eggs ( Nav System ) In One Basket ?

I've sailed on a "kitchen sink" type 52' boat with fully integrated Raymarine everything, three big LCD displays and 6 smaller displays and two autopilot control panels spread throughout the boat, air conditioners, ice maker...

I hesitate to write this because I know some of you are really into the fancy electronics and get quite defensive about contrary ideas... But...

I feel the user experience of a big integrated system is very fiddly. I am a 30-something software nerd and so the non-nerd 60-something folks on board looked to me to teach them how to use it. They started out with a "Show me how to do everything" attitude and, as we got deeper and deeper into it, resorted to writing down lists of numbered steps in the log book to do basic things like "Turn on the radar" or "Fix AIS overlay to put it back on the chart screen" and etc.

I felt like it was much harder to use than a system with separate components. That part of the passages felt a bit like I was fixing their printer, and telling them to click the equivalent of Apple-Settings-Printer-Advanced-Delete-Ok-Add-Ok all the time for basic things.

There were a lot of weird nuances in the order that things had to be turned on, you had to turn on one MFD before the other, which meant you couldn't just flip the breaker on, otherwise they wouldn't be seen by something else and not show up in the menus, so if the system was ever off you had to go below and turn on the NMEA bus breaker and then the radar breaker and then the chart table MFD and then the cockpit MFD and then.... And to do basic everyday things like turn on the radar involved going deep into menu trees and with non-obvious headings and names. And the UI had this concept of "short press" "medium length press" and "long press", which I remember to turn the radar from transmit to standby involved the difference between "short" and "medium" and the "long" press would turn off the MFD completely. And there was a difference between "Turn on Radar" and "Display Radar on This Screen", which was hard for them to grasp all the different combinations of that and how to get to their desired state (Radar On and Displayed On This Screen) from any random state (Radar Off and Dsiplayed On This Screen, Radar On and Not Displayed On This Screen, and etc). And then of course none of that would work if someone had turned on the breakers in the wrong order, because the system was not 'booted' properly. Each MFD had a slightly different menu system, for some reason, which made it even harder for these folks to understand. And sometimes the downstairs display would mysteriously lose contact with the depth sounder for a few moments, so to it the natural thing to do is scream like a smoke alarm in the middle of the night until you find out which of the screens is beeping and then read a cryptic error message and press "OK". The chart table MFD had the chart cartridge in it, and for some reason this meant you couldn't do everything at the helm MFD.

So I don't know. I am a nerd and thought it was a bit awkward to use, but I was not able to really teach two baby boomers over two or three thousand miles how to be comfortable with the system. In the end they were still nervous about clicking around into uncharted territories in the soft menus, thinking they might change something that would make something else stop working. Which is probably true. And I saw how when they used the system they'd put on their glasses and carefully read everything on the screen and try to figure it out why the AIS overlay disappeared, or if it really disappeared but the problem was that the AIS receiver was turned off for some reason, or whatever. What we settled on was me "Setting it up", and them trying not to break the setup with every day use, then written sheets of numbered steps to get it back to that setup.

I know that "Super Premium Electronics Installation" right now tends to be defined as a three or more huge LCD screens and numerous small displays and autopilot control panels spread around the boat that all talk to each other... And it does certainly look cool, all lit up and glowing at night. But I also feel like... Maybe you don't need six copies of every piece of information replicated everywhere in the boat. I mean, it is cool to open one eye in the aft berth and see a glowing screen that tells you EVERYTHING, but.. come on. Maybe it's easier to have one AIS, one radar, and one chartplotter display in one place. What you gain is that to turn the radar on there is one button, and one dedicated button to bring it from transmit to standby. And the AIS never mysteriously disappears because someone fiddled with a soft key menu, because it has it's own display.

I also feel for those who are a bit more nerdy and do not have an unlimited budget... That the most reliable system, long term, may be something more like an NMEA bus connected to WiFi with a bunch of iPads, Android Tablets, and Netbooks serving as displays. A Kindle Fire is $200, or a Netbook is $400, and it's very easy to buy a new one practically anywhere in the world. Or better yet, dedicated devices with their own displays that output to a common NMEA bus that is then connected to WiFi. So you have a Furuno depth sounder and display that also outputs depth. And etc.
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Old 31-01-2012, 11:45   #15
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Re: All Eggs ( Nav System ) In One Basket ?

PS-- To be accurate, and fair to Raymarine, this system was the previous generation of 'the kitchen sink.' Last year the folks on this boat replaced everything with the current generation, and I haven't seen this new system. Maybe the UI is now more polished and all these integration issues disappeared.

Also, I'm not making fun of these folks. They are certainly intelligent people who are very successful in a lot of areas of their life, enough to afford an enormo-boat with everything on it, of course. But I think a lot of the problems come down to integration issues that are hard to wrap your head around unless you understand how every piece works, like when my parents call me because of mixups involved in their 6 remote controls for their home theatre and trying to get the Roku box to play sound through the speakers built into the ceiling, but of course to do that you have to understand that the sound has to travel through three or four boxes, each with separate control panels, to get to the speakers.
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