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Old 18-08-2011, 09:03   #1
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Modern Integrated Instrumentation ?

I have yet to make choices on a new plotter / instrument packages. I have always assumed that I will buy the traditional wind/speed/depth guages and mount them above the companionway and the have stand alone radar, AIS, autopilot & plotter. However, the manufacturers are all pushing integrated systems and it is possible to have all instruments & autopilot controls located on the touchscreen plotters. Even if you want stand alone systems they are telling me that it all has to go through the central processor if I want to be able to overlay different systems. Does this mean if I have one bad connection I lose all systems?

Can those of you with partially or totally integrated systems tell me of your experiences please?
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Old 26-10-2011, 19:02   #2
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Re: Modern Integrated Instruentation ?

Personally, I think the Simrad NSS is the optimum capability vs cost system out there. I had to move before NSS was introduced, so I went with Lowrance HDS-10 and have been very happy with integration of:

3G broadband radar
GPS/Chart with radar overlay via Simrad RC42 heading sensor
SH GX-2150 radio which gives AIS and DSC targets on chart overlay
Sirius satellite weather (LWX-1 via ethernet)(also overlays chart)
ETEC engine via NMEA2000
Sonar/fishfinder/depth
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Old 26-10-2011, 19:30   #3
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Re: Modern Integrated Instruentation ?

You can get NMEA 2000 smart sensors for wind and speed/depth, from Airmar, Maretron, Garmin, and others. The data can be displayed on a NMEA 2000 MFD (any brand) or instrument displays such as GMI10. In fact, you can get 2 GMI10 displays and NMEA2000 wind/speed/depth sensors for less than the cost of a set of Raymarine ST60+ instruments and you gain in redundancy (any display can show any instrument) and interoperability with MFDs.

NMEA-2000 certified instruments from different manufacturers are pretty easy to network together. Mix and match as you like.
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Old 26-10-2011, 19:32   #4
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Re: Modern Integrated Instruentation ?

I love having an integrated system. It's cool to be able to access your autopilot via your chartplotter, or to be able to retrieve wind data on the wireless remote. Having a chartplotter that overlays everything from your radar to AIS to the depthsounder, et cetera, makes navigation a pleasure.

Can't say that I'd recommend one system over another. All I really know is the system I've got. The only reason I went with that system is that it's what I had on the last two boats, so I know how to use it.
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