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Old 18-02-2016, 12:41   #1
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B & G GO-FREE (ish)

I Installed a B&G Vulcan inside the wheelhouse of my Motorsailer where it is nice and safe, and planned to use my Ipad,in a lifeproof case mounted at the outdoor helm.. I have done this, but it is not the ideal set up I hoped it would be.... prior to installing the Vulcan I have been using the ipad for a while, with Navionics App and have fallen in love with having so much information at the helm. Since the GO Free is Wifi, once connected the ipad no longer has 4G access, therefore it is real effort if you want to use the ipad to check the weather/tides or anything else, would have been much better if it connected via BLUETOOTH.

So,the APP itself, has a few shortcomings. First thing I noticed, is that it only works in Landscape, not Portrait, which is my preference..... but hey that's a personal preference.(the Vulcan only works in Landscape)

A big drawback, is that every time you switch between Apps, you have to reconnect to the Vulcan, since it disconnects as soon as you move to another App.

Navico, made the decision that you cannot control the Autopilot from the ipad.... and that's their prerogative,they tell me they were concerned if the tablet went flat, you would effectively lose control.... but it would be SOO much better if you could..... I thought I had got around this by installing the WR10 wireless remote control.... and I have to an extent, but the WR10 is limited to 2 modes, heading hold and wind mode, the Autopilot has a host of other modes, but you have to go to the Vulcan itself to activate them.... most noticeably NAV mode.

The Ipad replicates exactly what is on the VULCAN display, and whatever you change on the ipad display, will change on the Vulcan..... so you cannot use the Ipad, as an extra display to show a different Screen from the Vulcan, I guess that's what it is for, but I think it's a wasted opportunity.

Most Frustratingly of all, since you are not allowed to operate the Autopilot from the ipad, any time you access a screen that controls the Autopilot, it just Locks up... you can't even leave that screen, until you go back to the Vulcan, it takes a while to work out exactly what will lock it all up, since you can lock it up from various screens, not just by selecting the Autopilot Screen.

It was a long shot, but I was hoping the Go-Free network would be Wi-fiing the NMEA sentences that could be used by third party APPS, but alas no.

SO overall, the Go-Free App is Good, but it could be EXCELLENT with a few changes. I think I will be moving the Vulcan to the outside Helm position, and keeping the ipad there too......
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Old 18-02-2016, 13:05   #2
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Re: B & G GO-FREE (ish)

I use my Ipad with my Zeus and my Vesper, and I think to go back and forth is easy, you may have to reconnect, I think, but that only takes a second.
I have the Zeus at the helm and the Ipad below, I love that I can do everything except autopilot with the Ipad like initiate Radar scans etc.
Be nice if you could connect the Vesper to the Zeus via Wifi since they both are Wifi, maybe one day we can have wireless NMEA capability, but i assume you cannot now?
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Old 18-02-2016, 13:24   #3
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Re: B & G GO-FREE (ish)

I would love if B&G made the iPhone app able to control the autopilot as well. I would love to be able to be on the deck and make adjustments wirelessly.
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Old 18-02-2016, 15:37   #4
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Re: B & G GO-FREE (ish)

I'd recommend you buy a cheap used tablet and use that as a dedicated GoFree remote terminal. IMO, GoFree has a better screen display on an iPad vs Android. The Android version doesn't have a true full screen display.
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Old 18-02-2016, 15:46   #5
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Re: B & G GO-FREE (ish)

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Originally Posted by Gi-Lo View Post
. . .It was a long shot, but I was hoping the Go-Free network would be Wi-fiing the NMEA sentences that could be used by third party APPS, but alas no.....
But it DOES wifi the NMEA sentences, so that other apps can use it. In fact it bridges everything from the N2K network to 0183, and wifis all that smoothly. I use it with INavX on an IPad, with OpenCPN on my PC, and with a sailing instrument program on an Android tablet, and it works brilliantly.

The conversion to 0183 is a function, I believe, of the Zeus plotter, which ethernets (now that we have turned networks into verbs) the data to the GoFree router (or any other router) for further transmission by wifi.
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Old 19-02-2016, 03:21   #6
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Re: B & G GO-FREE (ish)

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But it DOES wifi the NMEA sentences, so that other apps can use it. In fact it bridges everything from the N2K network to 0183, and wifis all that smoothly. I use it with INavX on an IPad, with OpenCPN on my PC, and with a sailing instrument program on an Android tablet, and it works brilliantly.

The conversion to 0183 is a function, I believe, of the Zeus plotter, which ethernets (now that we have turned networks into verbs) the data to the GoFree router (or any other router) for further transmission by wifi.
Ok, to be fair, I haven't actually tested that out on my set up as NAVICO tech told me that It would no do this.

I have a VULCAN which creates its own network within inbuilt wireless..... slightly different to the Zeus and Gofree router setup...... but since used by the same GoFree "APP" I must assume they output the same protocol.

I will test for NMEA 0183 sentences on the Vulcan network with MId Wifi App or Inavx, next time I am on-board....... cant help thinking I will need some settings though??
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Old 19-02-2016, 08:17   #7
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Re: B & G GO-FREE (ish)

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Ok, to be fair, I haven't actually tested that out on my set up as NAVICO tech told me that It would no do this.

I have a VULCAN which creates its own network within inbuilt wireless..... slightly different to the Zeus and Gofree router setup...... but since used by the same GoFree "APP" I must assume they output the same protocol.

I will test for NMEA 0183 sentences on the Vulcan network with MId Wifi App or Inavx, next time I am on-board....... cant help thinking I will need some settings though??
Ah, sorry, the Vulcan probably does NOT do this, as it does not have Ethernet at all. I thought we were talking about GoFree.
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Old 19-02-2016, 08:28   #8
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Re: B & G GO-FREE (ish)

A couple of comments as I will be installing a Zeus2 and Vespar 8000 this spring.

A big reason for not having autopilot control over wifi is to avoid hacking. Conceivably I could be some distance from your boat, log into your onboard network and then take control of the autopilot.

A few years ago there was a test with hacking a GPS signal which caused a boat on auto pilot to veer off course.


The Vespar 8000 can be configured to be an access point or a client of an existing network. If I understand this correctly, if configured as a client the Vespar data will be available when logged into the main network which should make switching easier. If accessing via a laptop, then one program (Go Free) can access the data from the Zeus2 while a nav program could access the data from the AIS.

The Vespar 8000 also serves as a NMEA 0183 to NMEA 2K translator.
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Old 19-02-2016, 09:29   #9
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Re: B & G GO-FREE (ish)

You can get NMEA 0183 sentences via WIFI using the Zeus 2 using the crap GoFree app, iNAVX, Navimatics Charts&Tides on an iPad. In addition on a Mac OSX devices with Opencpn I can do all the above plus radar control.

I think the key is the Zeus 2 vs Vulcan (which AFAIK does do radar).
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Old 19-02-2016, 09:40   #10
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Re: B & G GO-FREE (ish)

The Vulcan series does not support radar. It also does not have an ethernet port, only a NMEA 2K, power, and some models a sonar scan port.
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Old 19-02-2016, 11:28   #11
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Re: B & G GO-FREE (ish)

Sorry if I am being thick but I find all this hard to understand - not the electronics and networking - but what your are trying to achieve. I have occasionally seen boats where the nav station is badly placed for either a quick look or communications with the cockpit that needed full repeaters when short handed, but this is a wheelhouse so on deck anyway. But anyway assuming the for a full second station at the helm for some reason you appear to be trying to do it with an ipad! If you need a second bridge station it needs to be a proper marine one, ie a second networked chart plotter + instrument repeaters, autopilot control and radar, probably VHF as well so you can navigate from the wheel position. Personally I do use a small tablet for pilotage in habour which gives me a local chart and GPS position and it is very useful but that seems about the limit of what I would want to do with a non marine device on deck.
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Old 19-02-2016, 17:34   #12
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Re: B & G GO-FREE (ish)

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Originally Posted by DDabs View Post
I would love if B&G made the iPhone app able to control the autopilot as well. I would love to be able to be on the deck and make adjustments wirelessly.
That capability already exists with the Navico WR100 wireless remote control. It works via bluetooth and links via NMEA2000 to your Zeus MFD.
As a single hander, I love mine

WR10 Wireless Remote - Simrad Marine Electronics
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Old 20-02-2016, 02:41   #13
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Re: B & G GO-FREE (ish)

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That capability already exists with the Navico WR100 wireless remote control. It works via bluetooth and links via NMEA2000 to your Zeus MFD.
As a single hander, I love mine

WR10 Wireless Remote - Simrad Marine Electronics
I think you mean the WR10, which I also have.... and love, but it only supports two modes, not the many modes available on the Plotter.... I would love to have access to NAV, and NFU too....
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Old 20-02-2016, 03:31   #14
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Re: B & G GO-FREE (ish)

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A big reason for not having autopilot control over wifi is to avoid hacking. Conceivably I could be some distance from your boat, log into your onboard network and then take control of the autopilot.
.
Is the same true for bluetooth.?... I am using a NAVICO WR10 Autopilot remote..... its bluetooth...
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Old 20-02-2016, 03:46   #15
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Re: B & G GO-FREE (ish)

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Originally Posted by roland stockham View Post
Sorry if I am being thick but I find all this hard to understand - not the electronics and networking - but what your are trying to achieve. I have occasionally seen boats where the nav station is badly placed for either a quick look or communications with the cockpit that needed full repeaters when short handed, but this is a wheelhouse so on deck anyway. But anyway assuming the for a full second station at the helm for some reason you appear to be trying to do it with an ipad! If you need a second bridge station it needs to be a proper marine one, ie a second networked chart plotter + instrument repeaters, autopilot control and radar, probably VHF as well so you can navigate from the wheel position. Personally I do use a small tablet for pilotage in habour which gives me a local chart and GPS position and it is very useful but that seems about the limit of what I would want to do with a non marine device on deck.
WOW..... this is an On-going argument throughout these Forums....

You say "But anyway assuming the for a full second station at the helm for some reason you appear to be trying to do it with an ipad! "

I do indeed need a second bridge station. If I was a live aboard, or had the luxury of keeping my boat in a Marina...... and If I could afford it..... I would have a second plotter at the helm, however, my boat lives on a swing mooring, and I fear it would very soon be stolen.

So here is where there are two distinct camps on these Forums.... My camp, that believe an ipad in a suitably waterproof case, is every bit marine quality, and I'm assuming your camp that will never accept this......

You say that "If you need a second bridge station it needs to be a proper marine one, ie a second networked chart plotter + instrument repeaters,"....

I say that this is exactly what the ipad with Go_free is.......

We will have to agree to disagree on this one.......
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