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Old 18-10-2017, 17:12   #1
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Leave instruments always on or turn off when not in use?

I have Raymarine ST 60 auto pilot, wind and tri-log networked instruments. Which causes less 'wear and tear' on the instruments, turn them off at anchor (where they are not needed) or leave them on 24x7? I can see both points of view: the shock of on/off/on is bad versus they have a defined life span until mean failure. What do you recommend?
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Old 18-10-2017, 18:26   #2
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Re: Leave instruments always on or turn off when not in use?

I doubt it makes much difference. I leave my instruments on at anchor so that if I have a middle of the night C.F. and have to start moving immediately, I at least have depth showing up.
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Old 18-10-2017, 18:37   #3
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Re: Leave instruments always on or turn off when not in use?

I'm scrooge as far as the batteries go so I always switch everything off but I can switch the breakers on in the dark as I nip up on deck at o dark thirty.
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Old 18-10-2017, 18:44   #4
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Re: Leave instruments always on or turn off when not in use?

I find leaving any electorincs on for long periods will Inevitably cause them to crash. Powering them down gives them a chance to reboot. Leaving radar going will shorten itís life when itís really not needed but itís when itís not on that you tend to need it most. Only time I leave electronics on is when in a questionable anchorage where I could drag or have someone run or drag into me.
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Old 18-10-2017, 19:10   #5
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Re: Leave instruments always on or turn off when not in use?

Battery draw notwithstanding, (and on a sailboat that's a biggie) there are many semiconductors (and some mechanics)which are better off being off or on all the time. The issue is the internal junctions which are harmed by thermal cycling - different materials grow and shrink at different rates, and cycling power repeats these stresses. This assumes that mounting methods aren't causing unusually high operating temperatures due to inadequate ventilation.

Note that Radar is an exception because a magnatron tube is used which has finite filament life.
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Old 18-10-2017, 19:16   #6
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Re: Leave instruments always on or turn off when not in use?

If it has moving parts, I say turn it off.
Pure electronics? That is believe has been argued forever, I donít have a good answer
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Old 18-10-2017, 19:48   #7
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Re: Leave instruments always on or turn off when not in use?

My Raymarine Tri-Data hums. I turn it off when not in use to maintain my sanity.
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Old 18-10-2017, 20:43   #8
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Re: Leave instruments always on or turn off when not in use?

Completely anecdotal... but I beleive our lighting strike was partially due to leaving our instruments on at anchor.. but again, I have no data to back it up other than we were the only boat struck and the only one with instruments on (out of over 40 in the anchorage).
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Old 19-10-2017, 01:00   #9
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Re: Leave instruments always on or turn off when not in use?

I remember that most computer processing chips were given a working life of something like 50,000 hours (5.7 years), but then they would be running at anywhere from 40-80c.

Not sure how fab technology has changed that now that dies have shrink and voltages and heat out put are smaller.
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Old 19-10-2017, 01:32   #10
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Re: Leave instruments always on or turn off when not in use?

At anchor I usually leave the instruments on with the chart plotter zoomed all the way in and our track showing so I can see our path. If the wind shifts or if we were to drag, it is very apparent on the chart plotter.

In a marina or tied stern to a dock, I turn the instruments off unless I want to monitor wind speed.

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Old 19-10-2017, 03:06   #11
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Re: Leave instruments always on or turn off when not in use?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
I doubt it makes much difference. I leave my instruments on at anchor so that if I have a middle of the night C.F. and have to start moving immediately, I at least have depth showing up.
Me too. At anchor, I leave all the electronics powered up and the key in the ignition. Religiously, and for the reason you state. How messed up would that be to have some violent squall and dragging anchor, and you've got no depth, and no plotter, and it takes a couple of minutes to get everything running, cancel the bloody legal warning screens, etc., etc.?


To answer the OP -- I usually leave my instruments on anyway. I designed my N2K network as two networks so that I can power down one and leave the other on -- the "other" being the one with depth, wind, and other things I wanted to have while not underway. In practical use I never shut down just one network -- I just leave them all running. My instruments track wind speed and direction trends, barometer trends, and even if I'm off the boat for the day, it's nice to see how the wind and barometer are developing.

So I will shut down the electronics only if I'm docked (not at anchor) for some days at a time.


Exception is radar, which has moving parts, so I shut that down if I'm not using it. But I often leave even the radar running overnight at anchor. Because I might need it for the "midnight CF", and also it makes a terrific anchor alarm in some anchorages.
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Old 19-10-2017, 03:32   #12
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Re: Leave instruments always on or turn off when not in use?

Raspberry Pi , GPS & AIS stay on all the time, the Pi logs battery voltage (and lots more) to a database plus Opencpn keeps an eye on what the boat's been doing round the anchor & track out is on there as well, though xperia tablet would be used if all hell did break loose for any reason. Pi draws 0.3A.

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Old 19-10-2017, 05:19   #13
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Re: Leave instruments always on or turn off when not in use?

The "shock" from on/off cycling was a valid concern when I started in electrical engineering - 35 years ago. With modern electronics it's not an issue, but the idea has kind of stuck in our collective consciousness.

Don't worry about it.
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Old 19-10-2017, 05:34   #14
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Re: Leave instruments always on or turn off when not in use?

I consider it exclusively from an energy management perspective. As a result, I generally leave the wind/speed/depth instruments on (allowing me to monitor the wind speed and direction history) and shut off everything else. If I have any anxiety about potentially needing to move I will occasionally leave the plotter on, but rarely overnight.
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Old 19-10-2017, 06:45   #15
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Re: Leave instruments always on or turn off when not in use?

With current Raymarine, there is a "sleep" power option which leaves plotter display off, but otherwise ready to go at a moment's notice.

Power radar down, choose the power options "power save," and the screen goes blank. Hit the power button, and the screen pops up with wind & depth immediately available.
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