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Old 26-08-2015, 14:00   #1
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Are there any B&G/Simrad/Navico owners without troubles?

As some of you may know, I have posted before regarding various problems with my B&G/Simrad/Navico electronics installation. There have been numerous threads about software problems, autopilot issues, Triton ( and Pilot ) compatibility problems, Zeus ( various vintages ) software and firmware issues, and so on, and so on...

My question is: Are there any owners that have had a trouble free experience with recent generations of Navico electronics? I am wondering if only the negative experiences are discussed.

I am in the midst of constant and very frustrating autopilot maladies. Multiple and often different failure messages. I have replaced the AC42N computer, and the RF25N rudder sensor under warranty due to non-recognition error messages. The subsequent installation process, both dockside and sea trial autotune was accomplished, though not without multiple misfires. I have updated the Zeus2 software to the latest version ( 3.0 ). Now there are different error messages ( Autopilot Failure being the most common ) being displayed on the Zeus2 MFD and the A/P drops offline within seconds of engagement.

Everything else on the N2K network works flawlessly. The network hardware is made up of primarily Maretron components with a few B&G micro Ts and drop cables that came with the Tritons, etc. included. It is electrically balanced and was designed with the Maretron N2K Builder software. Voltages, LEN values and currents are balanced and properly distributed/matched. No TX or RX errors are displayed on the Network Diagnostics page on the Zeus2.

The only problems occur with the A/P system.

Here is what my network consists of, and, again, everything else works and displays perfectly.

Maretron WSO100 wind sensor
Airmar ST800 speed/temp transducer
Airmar DT800 depth/temp transducer
Airmar H2183 heading sensor
Maretron USB100 gateway
Maretron DSM150 display
Maretron DCM100 DC electrical sensor
B&G Zeus2 12" MFD
B&G Zeus2 7" MFD
(3) B&G Triton displays
B&G 4G radar
Simrad AC42 Autopilot computer driving a Simrad DD-15 drive
Simrad RF25N rudder sensor
Navico WR10 wireless remote
ICOM M506 VHF
Vesper Vision AIS transceiver
B&G ZG100 GPS sensor
Garmin 19X GPS sensor

B&G Tech Support, while seemingly supportive, hasn't been much help. They want to blame the viability of the network. I suppose I will now go through the process of eliminating that as a suspect. In the recent thread "Tired of Bugs in Navico Equipment" Pyxis156 mentioned using a Maretron N2K meter to verity the cleanliness of his network. This meter can be bought for $600 online. I am concerned that I wont be able to figure out how to use it properly as I have read the instruction manual at the Maretron website. Not Simple, to say the least.

Anyway, rant over. Any suggestions, comments? Does anyone actually have Navico stuff that works as advertised?
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Old 26-08-2015, 14:33   #2
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Re: Are there any B&G/Simrad/Navico owners without troubles?

While it may be a NMEA 2000 network cable/connector problem, it may also be an unexpected interaction of the units putting data onto the network. You've got a lot going on.

A problem with complex configurations like yours is that the manufacturer has never tested it. There could be some one in a million data contention that hasn't cropped up before.

Remove the power from everything except the airmar compass, AC42, and one zeus. Or better, use a few spare cables to build a mini network of just these pieces of equipment. If the error messages go away, slowly add back items until it occurs again.

Also consider using NMEA 0183 for some equipment like the Vesper where NMEA 2000 isn't buying you much.
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Old 26-08-2015, 14:38   #3
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Re: Are there any B&G/Simrad/Navico owners without troubles?

I don't have any major issues.

I have a V50 that has a number of problems, but I'm hoping those will be solved by an upcoming update.

I've gotten a couple intermittent "no pilot" alarms that cleared themselves after a few seconds. I suspect those were caused by a network issue. If I'm lucky, it might be the V50 since others have reported network problems related to the radio.

Otherwise, my AC42 has been fine.

My Tritons are all fine.

My Zeus2 locks up occasionally and has to be turned off at the breaker. It has complained a couple times that it couldn't find the radar, but a fix for that was in the latest update, so hopefully I won't see that one again.

I have had to replace both the Zeus2 and the 4G radar for water incursion. It was a little discouraging to find out they weren't built well enough to keep the rain out. That's probably my biggest concern.

So mostly minor stuff. Nothing that affects the usability of my boat. The only things that don't quite "work as advertised" for me are related to the V50 radio, which I see you don't have.
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Old 26-08-2015, 14:43   #4
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Re: Are there any B&G/Simrad/Navico owners without troubles?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlF View Post

Remove the power from everything except the airmar compass, AC42, and one zeus. Or better, use a few spare cables to build a mini network of just these pieces of equipment. If the error messages go away, slowly add back items until it occurs again.

Also consider using NMEA 0183 for some equipment like the Vesper where NMEA 2000 isn't buying you much.
Thank you, Carl. A good place to begin.
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Old 26-08-2015, 15:19   #5
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Re: Are there any B&G/Simrad/Navico owners without troubles?

Yup I have B&G gear (Zeus2 and Tritons) and do not have any issues. I have the same GPS, Wind and depth sensors as you. My stuff is mixed with Vesper and Raymarine(AP and C80).

However, I have seen some crazy stuff when the NMEA 2000 network had errors. Follow the directions above and build a small isolated network. Once that is solid, you can add pieces to it until you get errors.
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Old 26-08-2015, 15:28   #6
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Re: Are there any B&G/Simrad/Navico owners without troubles?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlF View Post
While it may be a NMEA 2000 network cable/connector problem, it may also be an unexpected interaction of the units putting data onto the network. You've got a lot going on.

A problem with complex configurations like yours is that the manufacturer has never tested it. There could be some one in a million data contention that hasn't cropped up before.

Remove the power from everything except the airmar compass, AC42, and one zeus. Or better, use a few spare cables to build a mini network of just these pieces of equipment. If the error messages go away, slowly add back items until it occurs again.

Also consider using NMEA 0183 for some equipment like the Vesper where NMEA 2000 isn't buying you much.
Oh I disagree with this.. The Vesper Vision should absolutely be NMEA 2000 and not NMEA 0183. The amount of data sent on the network when there are a large number of AIS targets is more than NMEA 0183 (38400) can handle.

I have also have a Vesper Vision with my B&G gear and have zero issues.
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Old 26-08-2015, 15:40   #7
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Re: Are there any B&G/Simrad/Navico owners without troubles?

We also haven't had any problems with our Navico equipment. Ours are:
3 B&G Tritons
B&G Triton AP control pad
Simrad AC42/AP24 autopilot driving a Raymarine Type 2 linear drive
Simrad LF3000 rudder reference unit
Simrad RC42 rate compass

Also on the network is:
Maretron WSO100
Maretron GPS200
Maretron USB100
Actisense NGW-1
Vesper XB-8000
Airmar DT800
Airmar ST800
Furuno NN3D chart plotter
Furuno DSW4 radar

The cabling and fittings are all Maretron.

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Old 26-08-2015, 15:47   #8
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Re: Are there any B&G/Simrad/Navico owners without troubles?

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Oh I disagree with this.. The Vesper Vision should absolutely be NMEA 2000 and not NMEA 0183. The amount of data sent on the network when there are a large number of AIS targets is more than NMEA 0183 (38400) can handle.
While I agree that the Vesper should be connected to the N2K bus, if only to serve as a wifi converter, NMEA0183 can certainly handle a very large number of AIS targets.

Our chart plotter does not take AIS over N2K, and sending it over 0183 has never been a problem. We have seen 250 active targets around the Panama Canal zone and 150 around Norfolk VA.

The Vesper is extremely well-behaved on the network, so I wouldn't be concerned about it. The Tritons, on the other hand are quite chatty, and we have had problems with malformed data from the Maretron WSO100 (the humidity sensor and related PGN seems especially bad at this).

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Old 26-08-2015, 15:52   #9
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Re: Are there any B&G/Simrad/Navico owners without troubles?

I installed much Simrad equipment 2-3 years ago and everything has worked flawlessly (just as well because of my negligible electronics skills):
NSS-7, NSS-8, 4G radar AP24 autopilot, AC12 computer, RC42 rate compass, RF300 rudder feedback, are all connected with SimNet. Also connected to Digital Yacht AIT2000 AIS.
I kept the original; Autohelm Type 1 linear drive, and also as a separate system the B&G Network Wind,Speed and Depth.
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Old 27-08-2015, 10:28   #10
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Re: Are there any B&G/Simrad/Navico owners without troubles?

Somewhat encouraging. I wanted to ensure that the equipment will perform properly, given a proper installation.

Of course, this points the finger at my network viability.
Time for methodical troubleshooting.
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Old 27-08-2015, 10:41   #11
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Re: Are there any B&G/Simrad/Navico owners without troubles?

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Originally Posted by muttskie View Post
Of course, this points the finger at my network viability.
Not necessarily. You could have a malfunctioning piece of equipment causing problems. Have you looked at any of the basic information about the network by using the Triton/Zeus diagnostics page or the DSM150 diagnostics?

These will give you some sense of any errors along with their types and rates. You can start unplugging gear until the errors stop to see if any particular bit is causing the problems.

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Old 27-08-2015, 23:53   #12
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Re: Are there any B&G/Simrad/Navico owners without troubles?

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Originally Posted by JayH View Post
I don't have any major issues.

I have a V50 that has a number of problems, but I'm hoping those will be solved by an upcoming update.

I've gotten a couple intermittent "no pilot" alarms that cleared themselves after a few seconds. I suspect those were caused by a network issue. If I'm lucky, it might be the V50 since others have reported network problems related to the radio.

Otherwise, my AC42 has been fine.

My Tritons are all fine.

My Zeus2 locks up occasionally and has to be turned off at the breaker. It has complained a couple times that it couldn't find the radar, but a fix for that was in the latest update, so hopefully I won't see that one again.

I have had to replace both the Zeus2 and the 4G radar for water incursion. It was a little discouraging to find out they weren't built well enough to keep the rain out. That's probably my biggest concern.

So mostly minor stuff. Nothing that affects the usability of my boat. The only things that don't quite "work as advertised" for me are related to the V50 radio, which I see you don't have.
Sounds like your experience has been far from trouble free.
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Old 28-08-2015, 07:12   #13
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Re: Are there any B&G/Simrad/Navico owners without troubles?

I have found it far easier to take one system at a time. Install it, learn it, test it, then start integrating the systems one at a time. Same method for finding problems. With a complicated system, there are far too many variables inline that can cause maladies that seem completely unrelated to the symptoms, even down to interference by the new cheap LED bulbs.

As someone else pointed out, take everything out and bring them up and test one at a time until you find the offender. There is too much going on to make an assumption from afar, but if you broke it down to two specific isolated units talking to each other, it is far easier to surmise or help you isolate the problem.


I also agree with another poster on 0183.
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Old 31-08-2015, 12:03   #14
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Re: Are there any B&G/Simrad/Navico owners without troubles?

I have a set of old Raymarine instruments - ST60 speed/depth, ST60 wind, and S1 wheel pilot with a standalone control head. The data from them is run thru a ST1 to STng converter, which is on the backbone of an N2K system.

On the N2K system are:
  • Vesper 8000 XB AIS w/dedicated GPS and antenna splitter
  • Icom M506 VHF
  • B&G Zeus2 charplotter
  • B&G 4G radar
  • ZG100 compass/GPS
The N2K system is a mix of Garmin T's and cables, Maretron T's, and a Simrad cable. Only thing special I did was to honor the minimum bend radius specs.

We just got the radar installed over the weekend, and it appears to be operating well. All other systems integrated and operating well, including getting all of the Raymarine data to Zeus2, and Zeus2 waypoints and routes to the autopilot.

The DSC call feature on Zeus2 doesn't work with the Icom radio - that B&G tech said would work, before I bought the Icom - but I also have none of the problems that people are having with the B&G VHF. B&G techs changed their advice after I installed the system, and then said I needed to buy one of their radios to make the touch-screen DSC call to work. Of course they said nothing about the fact that this was also non-functional with their own radio at the time. I spent more for the Icom, and glad I did.

My Raymarine instruments are old but working, so I decided not to replace them. Note that when I started this, 90% of the advice was to trash everything and start new using a single manufacturer. In hindsight, given the problems people are having with B&G VHF and AP, oh, I am so glad I didn't. Plus, IMHO, Vesper is tops in the AIS world, Icom in VHF, and B&G AP's and VHF's are not looking so good. Zeus2 does appear to be a good piece of equipment.
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Old 31-08-2015, 12:11   #15
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Re: Are there any B&G/Simrad/Navico owners without troubles?

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and B&G AP's and VHF's are not looking so good.
B&G's cruising AP is the exact same as Simrad's with a different sticker. This is a very good AP and doesn't have many problem reports by itself.

B&G also make a higher end AP that isn't shared with Simrad, AFAIK. I don't think many here are using it, and haven't heard of any complaints.

So far, I think the only AP complaints have been from those using both a B&G/Simrad AP and a Zeus chart plotter. That combo seems to be causing problems, although it could be related gear with that combo.

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