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Old 13-07-2012, 10:10   #31
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Re: Can We Over-Engineer this? B&G Rant !

I agree that B & G builds great instruments. However, when just the silly little wind cups are $40-60, or a 20/20 plastic bezel is $60? A PIECE OF TRIM?

I don't doubt that if I were putting together a Volvo boat, or had really deep pockets and was putting together a race boat, I'd go with B & G.

But for CRUISERS, there are decent products at a minor fraction of the price.
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Old 13-07-2012, 10:39   #32
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Re: Can We Over-Engineer this? B&G Rant !

All hopelesly expensive and very bad service, if at all. At least over here. Therefore I choose Garmin.

Lots of those companies are intertwined and use each others electronics. Navico, Plastimo, Furuno, Navman, name it. Service not available.

Anyhow, it is no further point to me - I have made my purchases already.
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Old 13-07-2012, 10:53   #33
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Re: Can We Over-Engineer this? B&G Rant !

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
Myles is great and very knowledgeable. Although as for rarity, he is not correct. In addition to the OP, I know of 6 other RAMs that leaked hydraulic fluid, including ours. It is not "rare", although every instance that I know of the RAM was >10yr old and had been in heavy use for many, many thousands of miles. What happens with these is that they are mounted below decks in a dirty, damp area connected directly to the quadrant. Over a long time, small amounts of salts and dirt collecting on the shaft and eventually get past the wiper washer into the seal - causing a hydraulic fluid leak. I imagine this is an issue for any brand of hydraulic RAM at some point.

He is also not correct about the difficulty of taking the unit apart to change the seals. The unit has an endcap that unscrews. Within that endcap is a rubber seal and a teflon wiper washer. Replace those, screw the endcap back on and you are good. The unit is very difficult to take apart and work on things like check valves or the seal on the motor shaft.

Other than that - Myles is the man for B&G repair and parts!

We had a 14yr old B&G Network system - including wind, quad data, gps and autopilot that worked flawlessly until a direct lightning strike took them out last year. We have replaced the autopilot with a Simrad/Raymarine/Maretron hybrid (love N2K for mix and match!) and B&G Triton T41 multifunction displays. In my opinion, these are the best small MFD's currently available - they are simply stunning and have amazing functionality. They cost similar to equivalent offerings from Raymarine (i70) and Garmin (GMI10), so the price argument is moot.

We also have the Triton autopilot keypad, which operates the Simrad AP computer. This provides a backup controller for the AP for <$240. Although it doesn't have all the bells and whistles as the Simrad controller, if one is willing to forgo functionality like steer to a depth contour and steer zigzag courses, etc, it is fully able to replace the Simrad controller and provide a much nicer display when coupled to a T41.

As for "parts", they are MFD's - I would never buy a dedicated system again. All wind, depth, speed, compass, gps, etc "parts" are isolated and independent (again, love N2K for simplicity and mixing!). If any "part" goes, I replace it with whatever I want, direct from the manufacturer, and they are almost always less expensive. For example, the Maretron ultrasonic wind instrument feeding the network wind direction, speed, temp and humidity is ~$500, which is less than the dedicated system "wands" from the usual suspects, while providing more functionality (the old B&G wand cost $1,300!).

Mark
Thanks for the informative post on your experience with B&G and other electronics. I'm just a neophyte with this stuff, trying to manage my own, thus far well-working system and don't know much about what else is out there, etc. I do think your comments re: rarity of ram leaking/breakdowns is consistent with what Myles told me. That is, he's only seen it on boats with a large number of sea miles/heavy usage. It's probably safe to say that, in the world of sailboats, this is pretty rare.

As for the seals, I think what you mentioned about the difficulty of taking the entire unit apart for a complete rebuild is also consistent with Myles' comments to me in this regard. What I didn't know, however, is that the most common leaking is relatively easy to repair by removing the end cap & replacing the rubber seal & Teflon washer. In this regard, I saw for sale on the B&G website some sort of gizmo that facilitates bleeding the hydraulic fluid. When I asked, Myles said that they've actually never had this thing for sale! Gotta love the marine world. So, based on your helpful info, I have two questions:

1. Where can one source the end cap seal & teflon washer you speak of. Hopefully the answer does not involve buying the $460 seal kit that the OP became victim to!

2. How does one replace the hydraulic fluid, what type of fluid is spec'd for it, and how can one properly bleed it?

To me, and given the overall reliability of the unit, having the parts, fluid, & capacity to perform this fix onboard seems more reasonable to me than purchasing a spare ram, etc.

Thanks again for the great help.

Dan
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Old 13-07-2012, 11:11   #34
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Re: Can We Over-Engineer this? B&G Rant !

B&G equipment is often portrayed as outrageously expensive compared to the consumer stuff.
If you take a typical good large boat boat system of wind, depth, speed and multifunctional display. The B&G system is 2x or 3x the price of a Raymarine St60 system. This is a significant difference, but no more so than the difference in most premium consumer products. It's nice to have a choice.

Their spare parts are dear, but no worse than most marine engines and unlike engines you are unlikely to need many spares. In adittion the spare parts and support go on a long time rather than the common policy of introducing new models every year with no support or parts for products out of warranty.

B&G do not do a good job of promoting their instruments for everyday yachts. Their core market is state of the art racing boats and superyachts. If you are in the market for a reasonably sofisticated instrument system for a normal cruising yacht at least price the B&G stuff. Their instrument system is not easy to understand, but once you get away from very large masthead displays only needed in the top race boats you may be surprised by the overall cost/performance ratio.
Like many top consumers products the real value for money comes with the pleasure of using such well engineered equipment.
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Old 13-07-2012, 15:01   #35
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Re: Can We Over-Engineer this? B&G Rant !

Quote:
Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
If you take a typical good large boat boat system of wind, depth, speed and multifunctional display. The B&G system is 2x or 3x the price of a Raymarine St60 system.

......

Their instrument system is not easy to understand, but once you get away from very large masthead displays only needed in the top race boats you may be surprised by the overall cost/performance ratio.
I don't think that is a fair comparison. I think you would need to compare the B&G Triton system with the Raymarine i70 system to have apples/apples. There, the difference is minimal and more dependent on the reseller/dealer. In fact, the Ray stuff may be more because I think their speed/depth transducers require a separate electronic box to feed the instrumentation, where the B&G simply take N2K straight from the transducers (This may not be the case anymore, though).

I may have misunderstood your second comment above, but the B&G T41 displays are stupid easy to understand. They are MUCH simpler than our old Network instruments, yet provide 10x the information and data. There are only 3 buttons on them - page up/down and enter!

Mark
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Old 13-07-2012, 15:30   #36
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Re: Can We Over-Engineer this? B&G Rant !

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
I don't think that is a fair comparison. I think you would need to compare the B&G Triton system with the Raymarine i70 system to have apples/apples.
Yes I agree this is a more apples/ apples comparrison.

B&G have produced some simpler and less well constructed "consumer grade" electronics, but they are better known for their top of the line "professional" equipment.
Unfortunatly people often compare the cost of the "professional" equipment with the "consumer" grade stuff from other manufacturers. There are signicant differences in cost and quality between these grades, anyone who examines both will agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
I may have misunderstood your second comment above, but the B&G T41 displays are stupid easy to understand. They are MUCH simpler than our old Network instruments, yet provide 10x the information and data. There are only 3 buttons on them - page up/down and enter!
B&G equipment is generally very easy to operate. The interface is very easy and intuitive.
What I wanted to highlight was buying a system is difficult. The packaged system for example include large masthead mounted displays, which are ideal for grand pix racers, but not cruising boats. The $10,000 for these systems puts most people off. A much more modest package can be assembled with quality components, but this is not as clear from B&G's marketing as it should be.
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Old 13-07-2012, 15:38   #37
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Re: Can We Over-Engineer this? B&G Rant !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exile View Post
1. Where can one source the end cap seal & teflon washer you speak of. Hopefully the answer does not involve buying the $460 seal kit that the OP became victim to!

2. How does one replace the hydraulic fluid, what type of fluid is spec'd for it, and how can one properly bleed it?
Yes, I don't think that bleeding tool exists in the wild and it is not necessary anyhow.

1. The teflon wiper doesn't really need replacing - just wipe it clean and put back in. The seals can be had at any hydraulic shop. You can also source them elsewhere, but you will need to take the old one out to find out what size it is (I don't remember off the top of my head).

The easiest thing to do is just take it to a hydraulic shop and have them replace the seal and give you a couple spares. They will bleed the RAM at the same time and everything should cost less than $200 - maybe much less. Believe me, that is worth it for the time and mess and you will get the correct fluid (see below).

2. B&G calls for ISO 10 spindle oil Q8 Dynobear 10. Good luck finding it in the US - and if you do, it will likely be sold in drums (you only need 100ml or so). ISO 10 substitutes you might have better luck finding are: Castrol Hyspin Spindle Oil 10, Texaco Spindura 10 and ExxonMobil Velocite No. 6. Even if you find these, they will still likely be sold in gallon quantities as the smallest unit.

However, I just use common Hynautic hydraulic steering fluid and have never had a problem with it.

Instead of that unobtainable tool, simply get a plastic funnel with an end small enough to screw into the oil plug hole. Or better yet, get a hose adapter that fits the oil plug hole threads and connect a hose to a suitable container (or funnel). All you are trying to do here is have a head of fluid above the RAM so when you move the shaft in and out, the air has someplace to go while the fluid is drawn into the RAM.

In other words, you will push the shaft in, air will be forced out the tube/funnel and bubble through the fluid waiting in the funnel (hold the RAM upside down so the shaft is out the bottom). Then, you draw the shaft out and fluid will be drawn into the RAM through the funnel. Do this until no air comes out. Then turn the RAM on its side, push the shaft all the way in, slowly draw it back half way, pull out the funnel and cap it off. To avoid a mess here, I like to measure how much fluid the RAM is going to take and remove all but that (plus a small amount more) from the funnel before the final fill. That way, very little fluid is spilled when you pull out the funnel.

B&G bleeding instructions using the bleeding tool are attached. They will help you understand what I wrote above.

Mark
Attached Files
File Type: pdf RAM bleeding.pdf (93.2 KB, 145 views)
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Old 13-07-2012, 15:40   #38
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Re: Can We Over-Engineer this? B&G Rant !

FWIW, Myles told me that the new B&G rams shown on the mfg website (black vs. the old blue) will work with my older HydraPilot T2 ram system but do require a different footing. Figures, huh?

In general, I can't make any sense of the new model lineup, and hope I don't have to for awhile! Btw, what does N2K refer to, and when you talk about the interchangeability of MFD displays, do you mean b'twn the different brands that are now under the Navico umbrella or beyond?

Thanks again,
Dan
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Old 13-07-2012, 16:08   #39
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Re: Can We Over-Engineer this? B&G Rant !

N2K is shorthand for the NMEA 2000 network standard being used in the modern instruments now. It carries power and makes networking very easy for consumer-sized systems.

Most of the new instruments adhere well to this standard and their components can be mixed and matched with all other manufacturers who adhere to the standard. Raymarine autopilots are probably the odd man out there (and worth avoiding for that reason alone), but their new MFD's are toeing the line nicely now.

Our new instrumentation brings together Airmar, Maretron, Raymarine, B&G, Simrad, Furuno, and Actisense - all plug and play and working seamlessly together.

Mark
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Old 14-07-2012, 07:01   #40
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Re: Can We Over-Engineer this? B&G Rant !

I got a pretty good picture on price comparisons this past winter when I did a complete retrofit of all the electronics on my new 24 year old boat. After the fall boat shows I narrowed it down to B&G and Ray. Got two suppliers quoting and competing for all the gear. I did all the installation myself. The gear included 2 MFD's, radar, depth sounder, AIS transceiver, autopilot computer and control (kept existing ram), 8 small displays, Sirius weather, all the sensors/cables/bits, etc. In the end the quotes for apples/apples systems where within $200 between B&G and Ray. This is not a price battle.

I went with B&G and now love all the gear. While re-wiring the boat was a grand project the equipment installation went very smoothly. I made one call to B&G support about connecting the A/P computer to the old ram and got call back in ~30 min from their expert. Otherwise got any support I needed from my supplier who was also excellent - and those were just dumb questions. The whole system lit up and talked nice the first time I applied power, and calibration was a cinch. So far so good! As stated above the Triton displays are really nice and give lots of options. Ditto for the Zeus MFDs. Still working out the best way to configure each Triton in each location. The 4G radar is fantastic so far in my short distance usage. Don't quite love the Sirius weather overlay on the MFD, but it may be how I have it configured and need to learn more.

I'm not doubting I might tell the same happy story if I had chosen a complete Ray system. I have to admit my final decision was difficult and somewhat influenced on a little vanity thinking the B&G gear was just sexier, and their competitive sailing heritage somehow makes my cruising boat more studly. But that's purely my silly opinion.

Hope to have my supplier and local B&G rep out for a sail in the next week or two to learn more from them and for some fun.

JR
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Old 14-07-2012, 09:24   #41
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Re: Can We Over-Engineer this? B&G Rant !

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
Yes, I don't think that bleeding tool exists in the wild and it is not necessary anyhow.

1. The teflon wiper doesn't really need replacing - just wipe it clean and put back in. The seals can be had at any hydraulic shop. You can also source them elsewhere, but you will need to take the old one out to find out what size it is (I don't remember off the top of my head).

The easiest thing to do is just take it to a hydraulic shop and have them replace the seal and give you a couple spares. They will bleed the RAM at the same time and everything should cost less than $200 - maybe much less. Believe me, that is worth it for the time and mess and you will get the correct fluid (see below).

2. B&G calls for ISO 10 spindle oil Q8 Dynobear 10. Good luck finding it in the US - and if you do, it will likely be sold in drums (you only need 100ml or so). ISO 10 substitutes you might have better luck finding are: Castrol Hyspin Spindle Oil 10, Texaco Spindura 10 and ExxonMobil Velocite No. 6. Even if you find these, they will still likely be sold in gallon quantities as the smallest unit.

However, I just use common Hynautic hydraulic steering fluid and have never had a problem with it.

Instead of that unobtainable tool, simply get a plastic funnel with an end small enough to screw into the oil plug hole. Or better yet, get a hose adapter that fits the oil plug hole threads and connect a hose to a suitable container (or funnel). All you are trying to do here is have a head of fluid above the RAM so when you move the shaft in and out, the air has someplace to go while the fluid is drawn into the RAM.

In other words, you will push the shaft in, air will be forced out the tube/funnel and bubble through the fluid waiting in the funnel (hold the RAM upside down so the shaft is out the bottom). Then, you draw the shaft out and fluid will be drawn into the RAM through the funnel. Do this until no air comes out. Then turn the RAM on its side, push the shaft all the way in, slowly draw it back half way, pull out the funnel and cap it off. To avoid a mess here, I like to measure how much fluid the RAM is going to take and remove all but that (plus a small amount more) from the funnel before the final fill. That way, very little fluid is spilled when you pull out the funnel.

B&G bleeding instructions using the bleeding tool are attached. They will help you understand what I wrote above.

Mark
This is fantastic information for me and I am going to print out and post your comments down by my ram, along with the spare seals & fluid I intend to bring home after a visit to the hydraulic shop! In the event of the seal failures you've experienced & described, I suspect it happens fairly slowly over a period of time, but because of the location of the ram, perhaps goes unnoticed until the system stops functioning?

Despite its stellar performance thus far on my boat, it's always been a source of worry because I singlehanded & shorthand a lot and have no backup. I'm not sold on wind vanes due to the size & heft of my boat, and not sure the various options for electronic backup are really worth it (e.g. W-H, CPT). It appears you have a multihull. Does this require two separate rams? (excuse my ignorance of these types of boats). If not, and you have no other backup, what spares for the B&G do you carry or recommend carrying. Myles has thus far talked me out of the rudder sensor, and also says the course computer (ACP2) has proven itself very durable.

Thanks again for resolving this longstanding mystery for me re: my B&G ram. Perhaps one day I'll actually be able to contribute more to these excellent forums than I have been fortunate to be able to obtain from them!

Dan
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Old 14-07-2012, 09:31   #42
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Re: Can We Over-Engineer this? B&G Rant !

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
N2K is shorthand for the NMEA 2000 network standard being used in the modern instruments now. It carries power and makes networking very easy for consumer-sized systems.

Most of the new instruments adhere well to this standard and their components can be mixed and matched with all other manufacturers who adhere to the standard. Raymarine autopilots are probably the odd man out there (and worth avoiding for that reason alone), but their new MFD's are toeing the line nicely now.

Our new instrumentation brings together Airmar, Maretron, Raymarine, B&G, Simrad, Furuno, and Actisense - all plug and play and working seamlessly together.

Mark
My ignorance on display here again. I still have my 0183 system in place and know nothing about NMEA 2000. Good to know you can mix & match components so effortlessly. I'm sure my system is less sophisticated and certainly older, but I've been impressed how my 2007 vintage Garmin chartplotters work so well with the older B&G Hydra, to say nothing of my (really) old analog Furuno radar displays.

Dan
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Old 14-07-2012, 09:42   #43
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Re: Can We Over-Engineer this? B&G Rant !

Quote:
Originally Posted by jr_spyder View Post
I got a pretty good picture on price comparisons this past winter when I did a complete retrofit of all the electronics on my new 24 year old boat. After the fall boat shows I narrowed it down to B&G and Ray. Got two suppliers quoting and competing for all the gear. I did all the installation myself. The gear included 2 MFD's, radar, depth sounder, AIS transceiver, autopilot computer and control (kept existing ram), 8 small displays, Sirius weather, all the sensors/cables/bits, etc. In the end the quotes for apples/apples systems where within $200 between B&G and Ray. This is not a price battle.

I went with B&G and now love all the gear. While re-wiring the boat was a grand project the equipment installation went very smoothly. I made one call to B&G support about connecting the A/P computer to the old ram and got call back in ~30 min from their expert. Otherwise got any support I needed from my supplier who was also excellent - and those were just dumb questions. The whole system lit up and talked nice the first time I applied power, and calibration was a cinch. So far so good! As stated above the Triton displays are really nice and give lots of options. Ditto for the Zeus MFDs. Still working out the best way to configure each Triton in each location. The 4G radar is fantastic so far in my short distance usage. Don't quite love the Sirius weather overlay on the MFD, but it may be how I have it configured and need to learn more.

I'm not doubting I might tell the same happy story if I had chosen a complete Ray system. I have to admit my final decision was difficult and somewhat influenced on a little vanity thinking the B&G gear was just sexier, and their competitive sailing heritage somehow makes my cruising boat more studly. But that's purely my silly opinion.

Hope to have my supplier and local B&G rep out for a sail in the next week or two to learn more from them and for some fun.

JR
Comforting to hear that B&G remains a viable option for a cruising boat. It seems that when these great old cos. get bought up by big conglomerates something goes missing -- usually any semblance of support.

Is your new system NMEA 0183 or 2K based? Why did you have to replace all the wiring/cables? Does B&G make radars? Btw, I love my XM weather (displayed on Garmin plotters). There are various configuration choices which I'm sure you have too, incl. overlay, split-screen, etc. Just have to play with it.

Nice boat, btw!

Dan
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Old 14-07-2012, 09:45   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jr_spyder
I got a pretty good picture on price comparisons this past winter when I did a complete retrofit of all the electronics on my new 24 year old boat. After the fall boat shows I narrowed it down to B&G and Ray. Got two suppliers quoting and competing for all the gear. I did all the installation myself. The gear included 2 MFD's, radar, depth sounder, AIS transceiver, autopilot computer and control (kept existing ram), 8 small displays, Sirius weather, all the sensors/cables/bits, etc. In the end the quotes for apples/apples systems where within $200 between B&G and Ray. This is not a price battle.

I went with B&G and now love all the gear. While re-wiring the boat was a grand project the equipment installation went very smoothly. I made one call to B&G support about connecting the A/P computer to the old ram and got call back in ~30 min from their expert. Otherwise got any support I needed from my supplier who was also excellent - and those were just dumb questions. The whole system lit up and talked nice the first time I applied power, and calibration was a cinch. So far so good! As stated above the Triton displays are really nice and give lots of options. Ditto for the Zeus MFDs. Still working out the best way to configure each Triton in each location. The 4G radar is fantastic so far in my short distance usage. Don't quite love the Sirius weather overlay on the MFD, but it may be how I have it configured and need to learn more.

I'm not doubting I might tell the same happy story if I had chosen a complete Ray system. I have to admit my final decision was difficult and somewhat influenced on a little vanity thinking the B&G gear was just sexier, and their competitive sailing heritage somehow makes my cruising boat more studly. But that's purely my silly opinion.

Hope to have my supplier and local B&G rep out for a sail in the next week or two to learn more from them and for some fun.

JR
I agree there is little difference between say Ray and B& G ( especially since navico) in fact having installed most I don't see much difference between any of the big four.

I do like the recent Simrad/B&G gear. They have moved their game up seriously. Garmin are really getting left behind and Ray is only recently fighting back with some really good products under Flirs stewardship and more likely , money.

Zeus mfd even if it is Simrad in disguise is a really nice software package running on nice Simrad NSE hardware.

Dave
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Old 14-07-2012, 12:29   #45
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This whole thing reminds me of the whole mac v dell argument. A few firm believers in each brand, each chastise the other. The bottom line is, things are usually more expensive for a reason. The question is, is it really worth it?
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