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Old 17-12-2015, 16:27   #1
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MFD Mounting Options

Howdy Folks,

My wife and I are working on a plan to update our electronics for some extended cruising. Our current plan is to go with an MFD chartplotter (likely Zeus2 9 or 12).

We did a couple thousand miles offshore last year (Maryland to TX) via the Bahamas and during that time it became obvious that we need all instruments to be visible from the companionway area where the on watch person spends most of their time. Our current instruments are all mounted at the helm, which on our boat puts them too far back and facing the wrong direction to be usable without sliding back to take a look. We're considering mounting wind, boat speed and depth above the companionway where they can be seen from anywhere in the cockpit. Currently separate instruments but likely moving to something like B&G Triton 41 or possibly a pair of them but this gets pricey quick, but that's a bit of a tangent.

For the actual plotter and rest of the MFD functions, we'd need it to be usable from the helm and preferably also when sitting up under the dodger. The autopilot has a wired remote so course adjustments are easy from anywhere in the cockpit or even inside the boat. The real question comes to how to best mount the MFD. We've been considering swinging or rotating mounts but I'm starting to wonder if we wouldn't be better off with a second MFD (Zeus2 7" is $1100 list) to give full function from either location. If we start looking at multiple small displays and expensive mounting options the price could be a wash.

So I guess my question this. For those who are out there doing it, would you consider a second MFD (mpunted at the companionway) as a viable/preferable to dedicated wind/speed/depth instrumentation and single MFD on a rotational mount at the helm?
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Old 17-12-2015, 16:31   #2
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Re: MFD Mounting Options

I actually have the exact same question, so would be interested in the answer.

If you have a navico MFD, one option would be to mount a gofree device and then attach a tablet in a waterproof bag to under the dodger. Cheap, and you can take it into the cabin with you.
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Old 17-12-2015, 16:51   #3
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Re: MFD Mounting Options

The newer MFD's have a wireless option which allows all functions, excepting autopilot control, to be available on a tablet. Mount a connected tablet to a RAM mount and voila!

RAM Mounts - Mobile Mounting Solutions

Of course you could bypass the middle man and mount the MFD to a RAM mount directly, but they can have a lot of cables going to them which can complicate things.
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Old 17-12-2015, 16:52   #4
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Re: MFD Mounting Options

We'll definitely be doing the WiFi option but I'm partial to having something permanent and powered, so it's always there. Or at least I think that's what makes the most sense to me. WiFi isn't something I want to rely on for SOP but I love the idea of having it there for usage down below and in particular from in your bunk.

If that's dumb idea, I'm all ears.
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Old 17-12-2015, 16:56   #5
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Re: MFD Mounting Options

Quote:
Originally Posted by alctel View Post
I actually have the exact same question, so would be interested in the answer.

If you have a navico MFD, one option would be to mount a gofree device and then attach a tablet in a waterproof bag to under the dodger. Cheap, and you can take it into the cabin with you.
You can buy "lifeproof" cases for tablets that give them a high degree of water resistance. There are also tablets that are ruggedised and waterproof but very expensive. Some tablets like the Sony Xperia are conventional looking and reasonably priced yet waterproof (enough) for cockpit mounting. Mind you, plug a lead into any of them and all bets are off.

When selecting tablets, you really want a resistive touch screen as capacitive ones in general don't seem to work very well with wet fingers.
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Old 17-12-2015, 17:03   #6
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Re: MFD Mounting Options

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErBrown View Post
We'll definitely be doing the WiFi option but I'm partial to having something permanent and powered, so it's always there. Or at least I think that's what makes the most sense to me. WiFi isn't something I want to rely on for SOP but I love the idea of having it there for usage down below and in particular from in your bunk.

If that's dumb idea, I'm all ears.
I mulled and mulled over the location of my MFD. I'd prefer the helm with a ram mount which worked perfect with my simple chartplotter. I could simply rotate the plotter so it could be read from any position within the cockpit. Unfortunately the Zeuss MFD I'm yet to fit has something like 4 cables running to it and in the end I'm opting to mount it at the nav station where it's nice and protected from the weather and use RAM mounted tablets at the helm instead.

An alternative nav program and charts can be installed on a GPS equipped tablet to provide a backup nav system which can allow the main MFD to be placed on standby as required if power draw or other concerns are an issue whilst on extended passages.
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Old 17-12-2015, 17:29   #7
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Re: MFD Mounting Options

I've never liked displays at the helm, actually think it's the worst place on the boat. One reason, we sail a lot so never sitting right behind the helm. I guess from racing days I got use to the crew being able to see all the displays, and having their inputs while sailing. Look at the offshore racing boat they mount their displays on the mast, under the gooseneck. While that's not practical for a cruising boat, a forward mounted instrument allows the crew to help watching the depth in the Bahamas or the ICW. So mine are forward on the cockpit bulkhead.

My chartplotter has two mounts one at the nav station and one next to the companionway on the cabin trunk under the dodger. I also use the VGA out to the 24" TV on the bulkhead next to the mast facing aft, this only cost $8 for the cable. The chart plotter displayed on the TV can be seen from anywhere in the boat even the helm. On windy nights watching a movie, just hit the TV remote to change inputs and you've checked your anchor. Can also throw my phone or tablet's display onto the TV with OpenCPN or MX Mariner, also the feed from the laptop with HDMI. The TV cost $130 with a DVD drive and runs straight off 12VDC, best thing I added. Now I just need a better TV antenna.
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Old 17-12-2015, 18:01   #8
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Re: MFD Mounting Options

Here's my solution... mount it into a very very rarely used winch... remove it when not aboard... swivel it to view from wherever.
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Old 17-12-2015, 18:45   #9
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Re: MFD Mounting Options

I have the Zeus2 12 mounted well ahead of my helm (~7 ft or so) so I can't adjust it without leaving the helm.

I bought the B&G ZC1 remote that I will mount at the helm and I can control all aspects of the plotter from there without taking up much room at the helm. I think it's about 4x6 inches. Zeus˛ Glass Helm ZC1 Controller
You can control some functions of the autopilot with dedicated buttons and control the rest through the chart plotter (Zeus2). Also has a dedicated M.O.B. button on it. I will mount the OP10 wired autopilot remote next to it for ease of operation. Still takes up less room than another plotter.
If you can see your plotter from the cockpit, this might be an option for you. Its about $320 for the remote, 1/4 the cost of another plotter.
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Old 20-12-2015, 12:52   #10
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Re: MFD Mounting Options

To the OP: I recently refit my boat doing essentially what you have described. I have a Zeus2 12" MFD at the Nav station, along with a Vesper Vision AIS and one forward facing Triton ( not visible in photo. Its on the front side of the Vision enclosure and allows a quick view of depth, wind or whatever when in the forward part of the cabin ). I also mounted, above the companionway, a NavPod with two Tritons and a Zeus2 7" MFD. In addition to the NavPod I mounted the Bluetooth antenna for the Navico WR100 wireless remote control of my autopilot.The small fob style control is on a lanyard that I wear around my neck. I can be anywhere aboard and steer the boat. Very handy for this singlehander. See the attached photos.
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