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Old 29-11-2013, 15:21   #1
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Furuno, Simrad/B&G or Ray

Looking to replace my plotter, wind and speed and depth and maybe even radar

Currently have B&G Hydra 2000 Autopilot which I'm happy with.

I am seeking something which is robust, well supported and will talk with every other NMEA 2000 and 0183 device.

And better still if the map data cards are non proprietary.

In short, I just want something which works. I hope to be a long way from any marine electronics techs - so bullet proof is important.

Which of the above 3 brands would best fit the bill?

What do commercial boats use?

Thanks
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Old 29-11-2013, 17:56   #2
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Re: Furuno, Simrad/B&G or Ray

B&G and Simrad are pretty close to the same thing. B&G Zeus Touch chartplotters will offer you sailing functions that no others come close to. Not even close. If your primary focus is on sailing functionality, then this is what you want. Raymarine will offer other more robust functions or a user interface that you may like better. You will need to check them all out and decide for yourself.

None of them offer non-proprietary charts. You will buy charts (outside the USA) regardless. B&G and Simrad offer both CMap and Navionics. I don't know what Raymarine offers, but I think it is only Navionics.

The B&G and Simrad are completely NMEA2000 compliant with standard microC connectors. They use full standard NMEA2000 communication protocols.

Raymarine still stubbornly sticks to proprietary cabling and connectors, although their networking protocols are almost NMEA2000 compliant, so you can use interface boxes and adaptors to get their instruments onto a network. However, their autopilots, and possibly a few other of their things, still use some proprietary communication protocols that do not work well with others.

Is the Hydra NMEA or Fastnet? If Fastnet, then you may have problems using it with current NMEA equipment.

BTW, there are other choices than those you list.

It doesn't really matter what commercial boats use. Some use glass bridges and autopilots with docking maneuvers and towing procedures in them. Your boat is small, well-behaved and has fewer needs than they do.

Mark
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Old 29-11-2013, 20:08   #3
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Re: Furuno, Simrad/B&G or Ray

Mark, thanks for the advice.

Yup, looks like Raymarine is drifting out of contention - purely because of their adherence to proprietary madness.

Any opinions on Furuno? I had heard that they were the easiest to interface with other manufacturers stuff.

Hydra is NMEA ...0183 as far as I can glean from the manual.

What other brands do you recommend?
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Old 30-11-2013, 05:07   #4
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Re: Furuno, Simrad/B&G or Ray

What About Garmin; They are less expensive and extremley User friendly
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Old 30-11-2013, 05:27   #5
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Re: Furuno, Simrad/B&G or Ray

One problem with the new chartplotters is that everyone is pushing touchscreen technology. I just can't see where this is what you want for your CP while at sea. I use a PC for planning. If it were a touch screen, that would be fine. But on passage we use the CP only and dealing with buttons is not even that easy. I just watched a video a friend put together of their last passage on their Valiant 47. They have a new Raymarine touch plotter mounted at the helm (I think an E7). In the video you can see the plastic bag they have over the plotter to try and keep the water drops off the touch screen. They ended up using their iPad under the dodger WiFi connected to the Ray, as the touch pad on the E7 kept going crazy with the water on it.

I use Furuno NavNet3D MFD8. It is reliable. has good connectivity and support. Can use C-Map or Navionics charts (I use CMap). The Radar (4DRS) with MARPA is exceptional. The internals of the Navnet3D are getting a little old. Unfortunately Furuno is focusing their effort on the touch screen versions of NavNet now.
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Old 30-11-2013, 06:14   #6
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Re: Furuno, Simrad/B&G or Ray

Not keen on touch screens either, but it's the way of the future because it's cheaper to develop and build and has less holes to seal up. So I'm resigned to them.
Do touch screens work with gloves?

I have a waterlogged Garmin 3210.. Can't say I was happy with it before it died. Hence they didn't make the list.
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Old 30-11-2013, 06:27   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neelie View Post
Hydra is NMEA ...0183 as far as I can glean from the manual. What other brands do you recommend?
Long story short, had a problem with communication between a Garmin 440 and a SH 2150, both are NMEA 0183. What I learned from NMEA was that 0183 compliance is monitored by the manufacturer and 2000 is done by a third party. FWIW, if I was in the market today I would only buy NMEA 2000 compliant devices.

To avoid thread drift please PM and I will share the malarkey Garmin used including their eventual refusal to make the 440 NMEA 0183 compliant. Suffice to say after being pro-Garmin for +/-12 years, I won't buy their products again.

Bill
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Old 30-11-2013, 06:55   #8
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Re: Furuno, Simrad/B&G or Ray

About water drop on a touch screen display, I used my B&G Zeus Touch in poring rain, it was like going through a wall of water, and touch control was still working fine.

There are "touch screen compatible" gloves. Did not try, but I have read that normal gloves don't work on touch screen.
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Old 30-11-2013, 07:50   #9
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Re: Furuno, Simrad/B&G or Ray

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterSailor View Post
About water drop on a touch screen display, I used my B&G Zeus Touch in poring rain, it was like going through a wall of water, and touch control was still working fine.

There are "touch screen compatible" gloves. Did not try, but I have read that normal gloves don't work on touch screen.
In the video I was watching, the water was salt water spray. Not sure if that makes any difference.
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Old 30-11-2013, 08:49   #10
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Re: Furuno, Simrad/B&G or Ray

On the Raymarine e-series, you can disable the touch feature. Last, I worked the electronics counter at a discount marine store you've all heard of. The first time a customer disabled the touch feature, I thought the e7 was malfunctioning.

For touchscreens, having a rotokey (dial) is important. The Lowrance units are great, but without the rotokey, you have to go through several menus by touch to get where you want. The Simrads, Rays, and Furunos all have dials.

Garmin has those proprietary charts the OP wants to avoid. Most of the Navionics chipsets work in multiple machines/multiple brands. But be aware that some Navionics gold chips sold in a package may not work in other units. I have a Lowrance Elite 5 with Navionics Gold package. The Gold chip will not load in my Lowrance HDS 7. I tried it because a customer had said something similar happened to him.

Furunos are really well built and last a long time. They also are true NMEA 2000 from the get-go. However, they are very expensive and so you could replace your Ray or Simrad screen a couple of times over the life of the Furuno for the same money. And get an upgraded unit each time.

I have old equipment on our new (to us) boat and am debating what to change and when. Although I love the Furuno quality, it is not on my short list. I like the Navico (B&G/Simrad/Lowrance) 3G radar for its immediate turn-on time and low power draw. I have one in our fishing boat. FYI, if you buy one of these and can get by with a 10m cable, the Lowrance dome is $200 less than the others. Exact same unit, just shorter cable and the dome says "lowrance".

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Old 30-11-2013, 09:46   #11
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Re: Furuno, Simrad/B&G or Ray

I found this article interesting. I wonder which northstar chartplotter they are using?

Maptech : Topo Maps Charts Navigation Software GPS and Online MapServer

for me the noaa chart compatibility rocks. It burns me to pay the huge cost of charts that are available for free
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Old 30-11-2013, 09:59   #12
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Re: Furuno, Simrad/B&G or Ray

B&G Zeus is available with conventional buttons or touchscreen. Personally, I think their sailing functions make them the top contender.
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Old 30-11-2013, 10:38   #13
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Re: Furuno, Simrad/B&G or Ray

Just bought and installed a furuno mfd12 plotter. Works in conjunction with raymarine wind,echo and autopilot. Furuno has both nmea 0183 and nmea 2000 interfaces. Wifi, plus usb socket, meaning you can sit in the salon, show the plotter screen on you tv down there, work with a mouse and plot your route.
Mfd 12 only has buttons and dials, would not have touchscreen no matter how cheap it was

BTW it is not the water that is the real problem, it is temperature. Cold makes a touch screen die.
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Old 24-12-2013, 08:53   #14
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Re: Furuno, Simrad/B&G or Ray

I'm looking to upgrade this winter from an older Ray c70 and radar. The B&G Zeus Touch 8" MFD and 4G radar are leading contenders with the sailing functionality of the B&G and the target resolution of the radar. The price I've been quoted is a bit less than for a Ray e95 with 18"HD radar.

I have reasonably new ST60+ wind/depth/speed and an S-1 autopilot which I intend to keep. I've been told (by an installer) that it is no harder to interface the Ray instruments to the B&G than to do the Seatalk 1 to Seatalk ng interface. Any experiences or observations about this?

I should mention that I am aware of the range limitations of the 4G radar. I'm also installing a class B AIS transceiver. I figure that I'll see the big ships at a longer range with the AIS that I might miss on the radar.

Thanks and Merry Christmas!
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Old 24-12-2013, 09:22   #15
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Re: Furuno, Simrad/B&G or Ray

I too have decided on the Zeus Touch 8 inch and the 4G Radar and AIS plus the wifi option.

Tartansail : What are the range limitations of the 4G radar that you speak of?

Not so sure I'll change my mind but if the range is limited, I may as well install it on a pole on the stern rather than halfway up the mast. Pointless having 30 miles line of sight when you can only see 10 hey?

Merry Christmas.
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