Cruisers Forum

Join CruisersForum Today

Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 16-03-2015, 14:39   #16
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 325
Re: Guide to Marine Electronics

Originally Posted by MYTraveler View Post
Radar is more important than AIS. IMO.
Please explain your reasoning?
On a trip from Copenhagen to
Gibralter we found just the opposite.
In heavy fog I'd want radar but I'd rather have AIS for everything else.

Time2Go is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-03-2015, 16:41   #17
Registered User
ka4wja's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Boat: Catalina 470
Posts: 1,849
Re: Guide to Marine Electronics

Laura Jane,

1) Yes, you should check-out EVERYTHING....and check the calibrations/accuracies of everything!!!

2) While wind, depth, and speed/log transducers haven't changed much in the past 25 years or so...and so, it is possible that you could upgrade the instruments ("indicators"/"displays"), without changing the transducers/sensors, I'm not sure that you should count on any electronics from 1983 to be reliable (and having a reliable and accurate depth sounder is VERY important for the thin waters of the Bahamas, FL Keys / FL coast, ICW, etc...)
Not to mention that new instrument packages usually come with new transducers and all new wiring...
Originally Posted by LauraJane View Post
The boat is currently equipped with a depth meter, knot meter, wind direction and speed indicators on the companionway bulkhead facing the cockpit. The displays, especially the analog ones for depth and speed are small and hard to read. Am wondering if I can upgrade the displays to something larger. The wind speed is an analog display as is wind direction. Also kind of small, but maybe a little more readable.
I suppose they should all be calibrated or "checked"?

3) Yes, after checking (and/or replacing as needed) the depth sounder, and upgrading the display, etc....I'd say a new VHF (and new antenna and new coax), and autopilot, are on the top of the list!!!
Reliability is going to be especially important to you because of your single-handing...
Originally Posted by LauraJane View Post
Am thinking an autopilot and VHF will be my first purchases as I anticipate single handing and besides being required, VHF sounds safe/smart.

4) Not sure I'm grasping the "overlap and redundancy" comment? But, I assume you're misunderstanding some "similar" applications / multiple functions of some of these other systems???
So, for clarification, here are some details in red...

Originally Posted by LauraJane View Post
The amount of overlap and redundancy in these systems (AIS/GPS/Chartplotter/autopilot is a concern on my limited budget. Although they made provide some backup in case one system fails.
No real backup / redundancy from one to the other, in any of these (AIS/GPS/Chartplotter/Autopilot), except that an AIS transponder has its own built-in GPS....and some small "chartplotters" and bigger "GPS" are about the same thing thesedays...

GPS failure is VERY VERY rare, and except for long-range cruisers / ocean sailors plying remote locales (especially those in heavy T-Storm areas), where lightning may be a concern and ease of replacement is problematic, thinking about GPS failure is a moot point...

And, as for "chartplotters"....
a) You will NOT need/use them when on a long passage....there's nothing out there but water!
b) You will NOT need/use them in the Bahamas....where you will be reading water depth and navigate by eye (and depth sounder) and via Explorer's Charts, Yachtsman's Guide to the Bahamas, etc...
c) They are no more, nor less, accurate than any other means of charting (such as paper charts), and in the Bahamas, etc. electronic charts (except for Garmin) are flaky / have inaccuracies...
d) The bigger the screen the easier it is to use, when you need it....
But, also the more power it uses...

Still, thats a lot of amperage and cost.
Actually it's the autopilot (and chartplotters) that use the most power...and since the autopilot is in use 24/7 on passage, it's usually the biggest user of power when at sea (outside of your refrig / freezer!!)
This is assuming you use LED Nav Lights / LED Tri-Color...

Here are some round numbers for 'ya...

--- Instruments, depth sounder, GPS....figure about 1 to 1.5 amps per hour...
--- VHF-DSC-FM Radio...figure about 1.5 - 2 amps per hour...
--- AIS transponder....Vesper Watchmate 850, etc...figure LESS than 1 amp per hour (actually , .5 amps per hour)...

--- Autopilot: depends on boat, sail trim, sea state, etc....but figure on about 4 - 6 amps per hour of use...

--- Chartplotter: depends on the screen size....but even a bigger screen like 12" will be about 2.5 - 3 amps per hour of use...

I hope this helps...

Fair winds...


John, KA4WJA
s/v Annie Laurie, WDB6927
MMSI# 366933110
ka4wja is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-03-2015, 14:49   #18
Registered User
chris5977's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Seattle
Boat: Vagabond 47
Posts: 60
Re: Guide to Marine Electronics

I am outfitting my boat with electronics and created this guide to help figure out how things work.
chris5977 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-03-2015, 14:58   #19
Registered User
chris5977's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Seattle
Boat: Vagabond 47
Posts: 60
Re: Guide to Marine Electronics

Originally Posted by sy_gilana View Post
Hi from one Laura-Jane to another.
For a good, low cost and reliable system I would get.
Garmin GPS 16X connected to a laptop, possibly running Linux or Windoze, using OpenCPN. As a gps backup and for the AIS feed to the laptop a Standard Horizon Matrix with GPS built in. If your current sailing instruments are compatible with a communication system, then get the same brand autopilot etc. Need more info for a better idea. Private message or email, or we can skype. Contact via our web page below...
A PC based system may have been state of the art in 2006 but they have no business being part of a modern marine navigation system. Modern chartplotters are vastly more reliable. Save the laptop for updating your blog.
chris5977 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-03-2015, 15:04   #20
Registered User
chris5977's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Seattle
Boat: Vagabond 47
Posts: 60
Re: Guide to Marine Electronics

The heart of a modern marine electronics system is the Multi-Function Display so I would start there. I think the best bang for buck is Garmin. You can also save big bucks by buying a radar package. I highly recommend this:

GARMIN GPSMAP 741xs / GMR 18HD Radar Value Pack | West Marine

Originally Posted by LauraJane View Post
I am a new-to-me boat owner (1983 Sabre 34, currently in NC) and am noticing how much electronics have changed since I owned my last boat in 1996.
Was schooled in analog navigating when my folks put me in USPS around 4 decades ago, and have relearned a lot through ASA classes. Am planning on taking their navigation class. I like charts! - and am adjusting (slowly) to what looks like their abandonment in favor of digital gear and screens.
Still, I need to get some electronics on my boat, which came with a knot meter, depth meter, wind speed and direction indicators.
Am trying to work my way up the learning curve of all the fancy and pricey electronics out there, but finding little guidance and learning resources. A nice book has a 1993 3rd edition, and seems dated.
I believe I need a chart plotter and autopilot a VHF and maybe AIS.

How do I get up to speed on all the options? I am currently in Colorado, with very limited access for face to face learning.

I know this is a very broad question, but could use some help.

Laura Jane
Westminster, CO (at the moment)

chris5977 is offline   Reply With Quote

electronics, marine

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
For Sale: Baja Mexico Guide books & Charts, South Pacific Guide Books and general sailing books dheaslip Classifieds Archive 3 10-04-2014 02:32
For Sale: Skipper Bob Gulf Coast Guide/San Francisco Guide yachtfinder Classifieds Archive 0 21-04-2012 15:45
Non-Marine Electronics on board lookoutnw Navigation 10 11-01-2009 21:16
PC based marine electronics? Dave in Eugene Marine Electronics 47 13-03-2008 19:09
The Exuma Guide or Yachtsman's Guide rleslie Navigation 5 05-09-2007 17:02

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 22:31.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.