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Old 24-01-2014, 09:30   #16
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Re: Multi-Function Displays-Still Justified?

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Originally Posted by Pelagic View Post
Ready to pull the trigger on buying new 2014 navigational electronics.

Given all the advances in Tablets and Apps, I am wondering if you still feel paying lots of $$ for name brand MFD Chart plotters like Furuno, Raytheon etc is still justified and the only solution?

If yes on MFD which brand do you consider the best value?
If NO what system works in Daylight?
This is a complicated question and I haven't read other replies first, but here we go...

I think it very much depends on the sailor and the boat. If you are in an under-40 foot aft-cockpit sailboat, particularly the modern sort with little or no nav station, then an MFD is almost unavoidable. There's insufficient space at most helms for multiple displays and it's a fairly harsh environment in which to run electronics. That said, if you have a bigger boat and a nav station, there's less of an argument and you can have something like a PC-based (this can include a "hardened PC" like a Toughbook) plotter into which various "black boxes" feed the same data.

If you have a pilothouse, you can have discrete instrumentation as you wish. Personally, I have such a pilothouse. I want discrete AIS and RADAR and GPS that, at my discretion, can be shown in panels or in the form of an overlay on a PC screen. That suits my belt-and-suspenders approach; others will differ.

At night, if I'm not relying on RADAR, I prefer to have minimal distractions: a very dimmed SOG and COG display, along with a very dimmed wind speed and direction display, would suit me fine. Of course, an MFD can be "reduced" to do this, but in practice I've seen it lit up with the usual blank squares of ocean and a little set of figures up in one corner.

I prefer ears and eyes and a RADAR on guard watch that goes "beep" if something is within 16 NM. I don't need to see it, and indeed, I feel that one can become transfixed by instrumentation, particularly if it also allows you to fiddle with your stereo, answer your email and check the level of poop in the holding tank. Too much information spoils the watch, and we monkeys, even the sailing kind, are too prone to staring at shiny things...and that includes MFDs.

I'm not even going to get into the power issue!
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Old 24-01-2014, 09:38   #17
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Re: Multi-Function Displays-Still Justified?

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Life is full of dichotomies one of which is the doer/have'r dichotomy. If you like doing, go the computer/OCPN route; it's a hell of a lot of fun and very satisfying: if you are a have'r go the multi function marine electronics route; it's nice to sit and have a coldy and admire the beauty and functionality of your fantastic piece of marine electronics.
This whole post is reflective of my current thinking. I too carry current almanacs and sextants, not because I distrust the tech (although I've seen GPS fail and certainly there's electronic charts that are simply wrong in certain places), but because I can double-check and can improve my celestial against the GPS...and against the day the inevitable fuse blows and I need a position off a reef before I feel able to go below and fix it.

The setup RaymondR describes is not minimal, but I assume he sees OpenCPN as just another navigational tool in his kit, a kit that is self-correcting because it has a number of inputs, right back to the sextant and maybe even the lead line (does anyone sail a depth contour anymore?). The MFD has "authority" because it's an attractive way to display data, but it isn't necessarily better. Like in-mast furling, it's convenient. The price of convenience, however, is in the eye of the beholding sailor.
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Old 24-01-2014, 15:49   #18
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Re: Multi-Function Displays-Still Justified?

I do believe PC still belongs to under -deck navstation. Even if it is Toughbook or specialised marine PC from Digital Yacht. Just because the relatively dry interior of the boat suits them better. I do not think the deck station is good place for iPad. The thing will not survive long.
Next thing is - I'm by no mean digital myself
I can use computer. Just use. Playing with programs, adjusting them, hell knows what more... No, no CPN is not for me. I can not understand most on the CPN sub-forum
For me and others like me the plotter is the right choice. Even if I have paper charts, and raster charts in my PC.
Surely MFDs are probably too multifunctional, at least at helm stations. But there I use only basic functions. And I have two on deck - one for chart/AIS, one for RADAR (sometime RADAR/AIS).
Important for me (after some experience) is to have all system made of single brand. As I'm not smart enough to fix my electronic equipement myself, I need to use the service. Nothing more nonsensical, than two servicemen in a dispute, pointing to each other and denying possibility of any fault in "their" pieces of hardware...

Best regards

Tomasz
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Old 24-01-2014, 16:03   #19
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Re: Multi-Function Displays-Still Justified?

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I know tablets can now be used in the cockpits of aircraft but they are used as a supplement to what already exists and not a replacement for the MFD, engine instruments etc.
The aviation authorities are starting to approve the 'electronic flight bags' for the heavy air carriers but these iPads are a replacement for the paper charts they used to carry. The a/c's instruments still provide the data. Private pilots & a/c can & do us all sorts of devices.
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Old 24-01-2014, 16:13   #20
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Re: Multi-Function Displays-Still Justified?

Have you seen these?

RS422...!! that is direct NMEA 0183

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Old 24-01-2014, 17:08   #21
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Re: Multi-Function Displays-Still Justified?

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Have you seen these?

RS422...!! that is direct NMEA 0183

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Generally most serial ports will read 0183. You don't need rs422 as the signal level detection on most pc serial ports is sufficient to detect 0183

Dave
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