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Old 14-04-2018, 09:20   #1
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Chart plotter location

I had the yard upgrade my electronics to BandG Zeus3 system. The chartplotter was located on my steering pedestal - probably because that is where the old Raytheon unit was.

I recently discovered that when the electronics pod was installed, it impacted on the shift mechanism which resulted in the transmission needing a rebuild.

Now I want to change this setup. I'm thinking of moving the chartplotter below to the nav station. The Zeus system has a app I can use from my tablet to see/control the chartplotter from the tablet. I'm thinking I could use that in the cockpit when I need access to the plotter data at the helm

I have the Triton instruments on the pedestal to gives peed, depth, wind and heading.

Any suggestions about this move?
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Old 14-04-2018, 09:23   #2
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Re: Chart plotter location

I think the Nav desk is where a plotter belongs. To me the plotter at the helm is like staring at a TV while sailing, and does nothing for situational awareness. When in well charted waters and circumstances dictate, we do use an iPad to supplement our eyes at the helm, however this is the exception instead of the rule.
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Old 14-04-2018, 09:41   #3
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Re: Chart plotter location

There are three typical locations for the chartplotter, the helm, under the dodger and below. You need one below for planning purposes if you do that kind of stuff. Keeping it under the dodger is very convenient as you can see it from anywhere in the cockpit. Under the helm is convenient to operate bit hard to see unless you are at the helm. Cruising setups that I like have one below, one under the dodger and controls at the helm via remote keypad.
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Old 14-04-2018, 09:50   #4
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Re: Chart plotter location

Hmm

Okay you just finished the crossing/passage from hell. You are entering Government Cut Miami, Tampa Bay, or some other well marked port. Do you want the tool that will help you understand the marks, and help you pick out markers from the urban lights in the background —at the Nav station or somewhere you can see it? Also having AIS targets visible at the helm just makes sense!

When I replace the plotter on my boat it will be in the same place as the existing one, on the bulkhead by the cabin top winch. However, the new one will have a remote that is mounted at the helm. This setup provides access to the chart plotter data and control of the device from the helm.

It looks like B&G makes a remote that you can place at the helm. I use my iPad below decks, connected to the network via the Vesper AIS WiFi-the app could serve the same purpose. OR buy a cheap laptop for $150 install opencpn and connect via WiFi.
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Old 14-04-2018, 09:53   #5
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Re: Chart plotter location

I typically sit in front of the wheel and reach slightly back to steer so a plotter on the pedestal wouldn't do me much good. I have a Zeus2 9" on the bulkhead beside the companionway and a Zeus3 12" at the nav station. And just like Pizzazz said I have a Simrad OP50 on the pedestal to control the 9" plotter on the bulkhead on the rare occasion I am standing behing=d the wheel.

I don't particularly care for the way an iPad looks with the sun beating off of it. But I do use one when I'm in a berth to check the Zeus3
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Old 15-04-2018, 00:13   #6
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Re: Chart plotter location

I find the plotters most intense use is going into and out of harbours and anchorages and for that you need it at the helm. I usually enter anchorages and mark a track on the route I would prefer to use in case I need to leave in the dark. When I upgrade the radar I will be moving it from the nav station to the helming position. I prefer to do route planning on the relatively large screen of a laptop but have yet to achieve transferring routes to the plotter via wifi.
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Old 15-04-2018, 00:42   #7
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Re: Chart plotter location

Firstly, we should stop calling it a "Chart Plotter". The modern ones are Multi Function Displays MFD.

They offer much more valuable information needed at the helm in critical situations where poor visibility, and weather, unlit traffic or unmarked dangers will help the skipper to pilot thru these issues with a tuneable radar and chart overlay at his fingertips.

Its easy to do planning on another networked device, but a marine rated MFD at the helm, is where it is most needed for safe piloting
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Old 15-04-2018, 00:53   #8
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Re: Chart plotter location

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
I think the Nav desk is where a plotter belongs. To me the plotter at the helm is like staring at a TV while sailing, and does nothing for situational awareness. When in well charted waters and circumstances dictate, we do use an iPad to supplement our eyes at the helm, however this is the exception instead of the rule.
This is our usage as well. I prefer to have the MFD below at the Nav. station. We have an iPad and a mount by the helm for occasional use. It can be used to view the MFD and also has an independent nav. program with independent charts allowing for redundancy or alternate view of the same information. It's only seen a few hours of use when piloting new areas with tight navigation.

Now, if I could get a HUD in my sunglasses...
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Old 15-04-2018, 04:28   #9
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Re: Chart plotter location

IMO the helm, for pilotage. Although I’ll admit I have a pc with touch screen at Nav station, duplicated 2nd screen (15 inch) at the helm, and a 7 inch Zeus 3 at the front of the cockpit, plus an iPad.... all data, incl radar, ais, and control of AP etc from any one. If I only had 1, it would be at the helm.
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Old 15-04-2018, 04:44   #10
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Re: Chart plotter location

I've never seen the need to have a chartplotter or any instrumentation - other than hour meters - at the NAV desk down below. We just use that for storing cruising guides, equipment manuals, maps, pencils, etc. that we are not using at the moment. The MFD (chartplotter) and VHF are located at the primary steering wheel (the one with the engine throttles, as the second wheel station is sans throttles). That said, the MFD is on a mount that can be rotated to be seen by the second steering station, salon seating, etc.

When we are cruising and making way, the paper maps and cruising guides are usually spread out on the salon table (topsides on a cat). And we have an I-pad backup with internal GPS and nav software, in case we lose the B&G system.
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Old 15-04-2018, 05:11   #11
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Re: Chart plotter location

Our use case finds the most time spent laying out routes on the plotter and entering them. We find that far easier sitting down at the nav. station (where we can also reference those paper documents that are spread out all over) out of the sun (rain/wind). Once the route is complete it gets sent to the AP, which then displays the bearing/distance/XTE to the next waypoint. We may or may not actually be using the AP, but that display is all we find we need on deck 99% of the time. Having done the route planning we have a pretty good picture in our head of the marks/layout/etc. and so find we only need very rare references to the chart display.

Everyone has a different way of using the tools, so you'll have to decide which way you like for your own operation.
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Old 15-04-2018, 06:25   #12
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Re: Chart plotter location

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pelagic View Post
Firstly, we should stop calling it a "Chart Plotter". The modern ones are Multi Function Displays MFD.

They offer much more valuable information needed at the helm in critical situations where poor visibility, and weather, unlit traffic or unmarked dangers will help the skipper to pilot thru these issues with a tuneable radar and chart overlay at his fingertips.

Its easy to do planning on another networked device, but a marine rated MFD at the helm, is where it is most needed for safe piloting


Cough- cough.

If we are going to start nit picking.

The MFD needs to be visible from the helm with a robust remote. So bulkhead mounted with a remote at the helm would work.
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Old 15-04-2018, 06:27   #13
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Re: Chart plotter location

I've always answered this question with "it depends"...on the boat, where the boat is and where it's going, and what the conditions are.

Offshore, having one down below and/or under the dodger is ideal as you can work in shelter and you're working on long term planning. I can go hundreds of miles without even looking at the MFD at the helm.

If you're planning routes in advance of shorter trips, down below is a lot more comfortable at night when it's raining and cold than doing it sitting at the helm.

When in busy waters with channels, markers, and shoals all over the place, right at the helm is almost mandatory, particularly if you're single handing.

I would not want to be in some circumstances and fumbling with a remote and then squinting at a display 7 feet away on the bulkhead, but I suppose it all depends on distance and how good your eyesight is.

I have a Zeus2 9" at the helm and an iPad I use everywhere else, which acts as a true remote. Works for me in all the circumstances above.

DMK, you can open up the pedestal and adjust the sweep arc of the shift lever so it is no longer blocked by anything.
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Old 15-04-2018, 10:47   #14
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Re: Chart plotter location

First, unless your cockpit helm is inside if it's bright daylight you will not be able to use a iPad or any other standard tablet. So if you want to reliably see a chart in the cockpit you'll have to put the MFD at the helm.

Otherwise, I agree the points raised by Snore. If you're entering a harbor with crossing and side channels, multiple markers all around and throw in a little ship traffic you're going to want see the charts at the helm. No time to go running back and forth to the nav table below. I can think of multiple places I passed on the ICW when I didn't have a plotter, that would have been really handy to have one instead of trying to hold a chart open, follow my progress, steer, watch for traffic and keep the whole works dry and not let it blow away.

By the way, regarding losing awareness of your surroundings because you have a plotter, that I would say is an issue with the skipper and not the equipment. I have a lot more time to survey the surroundings and keep situational awareness with a plotter than I do trying to track all this on a paper chart.
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Old 15-04-2018, 13:34   #15
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Re: Chart plotter location

Zeus's have go-free as an option which effectively allows you to use a tablet as a remote. Since the mfd is the more robust of the two, plus generally has better daylight display and a resistive touch screen (better in wet conditions), it makes some sense to have it out in the weather rather than the tablet if your helm location is exposed.
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