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Old 12-12-2011, 11:10   #1
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MULTI FUNCTION vs STAND ALONE

First let me say thanks to everyone for all of there valuable input in past post.
Now the next question.I,am equipting my soon to be 38 Cabo for a trans Atlantic,crossing in the spring(Hopefully).I,do not claim to be any expert on electronics.I know how to work them thats it.I,am hesitant to put all my eggs in one basket,being a multifunction display.I,only care about a chartplotter GPS,and Radar.Am I,better off with two seperate units,for the cost of a mid range MFD,I can get a high end Chart Plotter and a decent radar.Please give me pro;s an con's.Thanks Kindly
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:25   #2
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Re: MULTI FUNCTION vs STAND ALONE

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First let me say thanks to everyone for all of there valuable input in past post.
Now the next question.I,am equipting my soon to be 38 Cabo for a trans Atlantic,crossing in the spring(Hopefully).I,do not claim to be any expert on electronics.I know how to work them thats it.I,am hesitant to put all my eggs in one basket,being a multifunction display.I,only care about a chartplotter GPS,and Radar.Am I,better off with two seperate units,for the cost of a mid range MFD,I can get a high end Chart Plotter and a decent radar.Please give me pro;s an con's.Thanks Kindly
I personally prefer stand alone in the thought that if the main displays goes so does everything else.

But on the other hand I'm running out of space to put all the instrument displays. And do like overlay features.

So it's a toss up for me.
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:47   #3
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Re: MULTI FUNCTION vs STAND ALONE

The archives are full of this debate. I have chosen to go with stand-alones feeding into a PC solution when I desire overlays/integration, but then I have a pilothouse...the helm will just look like a typical trawler helm.

For the outside sailing helm, a pretty simple chartplotter will do. At the helm, under sail, and offshore, all I need is the bearing/heading and the XTE/SOG...I don't really need the plotting function until near land, and then I would go into the pilothouse to use the RADAR in active mode, etc.

Frankly, a lot of this is about comfort and redundancy. You want both on the Atlantic. So if there are questions in your mind, install what YOU need and how you need it to be. Offshore, I prefer radar and AIS to a plotter, mainly because of the extra warning you get of potential obstacles. A plotter isn't particularly useful when there's a thousand NM of water around you.
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:54   #4
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Re: MULTI FUNCTION vs STAND ALONE

I've never understood chartplotters on cruising boats - how do people on a cruising budget afford the charts?

I'm on the side of standalone. Low power ais reciever and gps. Plugged into laptop if a chartplotter is needed. If it's a cruising boat then whatever it is will probably break at some point.
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:56   #5
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Re: MULTI FUNCTION vs STAND ALONE

Are you just talking about radar and chartplotter, or do you need instrumentation also?

It is difficult to find the space for separate radar and chartplotters on most boats. Since a lot of the cost to each is redundant (processors, displays, housings), it seems like it would be cheaper to combine them and get a radar/chartplotter, although I haven't priced separate units compared to individual ones.

If you have the room and no need for overlaying the radar data or providing for any of the other integration functions, then go for separate systems.

If you are talking about instrument displays like wind, depth, speed, GPS, etc, then MFD's are more redundant than dedicated ones. Look at the Raymarine i70, Garmin GMI 10 or B&G Triton T41. These displays are standard 4" ones that can be configured into multiple uses and take multiple data inputs. In fact, just one of them can be used to display all data usually done by 3 or 4 dedicated displays, so it can be less expensive to use MFD's here. Certainly, with two, you have double redundancy.

If you do go with separate radar and chartplotter to avoid a problem with one taking out the other, you might consider adding redundancy to navigation with one of the small MFD's I mentioned above (or another like them). They won't cover radar, but they will give you GPS, waypoint and navigation data should your main chartplotter go bad. This assumes, of course, that the data transducers, sensors and receivers are all network-based.

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Old 12-12-2011, 12:00   #6
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Re: MULTI FUNCTION vs STAND ALONE

For a TransAtlantic on a Cabo 38?

Standalone.

Believe me. And others who counsel the same.

Bill
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:01   #7
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Re: MULTI FUNCTION vs STAND ALONE

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I've never understood chartplotters on cruising boats - how do people on a cruising budget afford the charts?
The charts for the US and US territories are free.

While I agree that a chartplotter is useless on an ocean crossing or extended passage, most of the rest of the time after the passage is spent coastal cruising, where they have more usefulness.

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Old 12-12-2011, 12:08   #8
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Re: MULTI FUNCTION vs STAND ALONE

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For a TransAtlantic on a Cabo 38?

Standalone.

Believe me. And others who counsel the same.

Bill
Why? If it is just about transAtlantic, then the chartplotter isn't needed at all - should he have two radars instead?. How about none - that would be the safest way to avoid losing one?

Is there something about a transAtlantic or Cabo 38 that eats up combined radars and chartplotters, but leaves separate ones alone?

Many people successfully cross the Atlantic with combined systems, should they also be believed? That would seem confusing.

Or are only the people who share your opinion without any reasoning or evidence to be believed?

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Old 12-12-2011, 12:39   #9
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Re: MULTI FUNCTION vs STAND ALONE

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The charts for the US and US territories are free.

While I agree that a chartplotter is useless on an ocean crossing or extended passage, most of the rest of the time after the passage is spent coastal cruising, where they have more usefulness.

Mark
Oh you lucky people Do you really get all the US charts loaded on a new plotter for free when you walk out of the chart plotter shop?

Though it's still only a fraction of the world's cruising grounds.

But how many cruisers have the cash to spare to keep buying charts for their plotter elsewhere? Just looked at the garmin site, nearly 500ukP to cover the Spanish coastline. Lot of money for something which is quite handy maybe once in a while coming into a tricky port but really not that vital.

When every boat will have a free one in the form of a laptop anyway.

Another bonus with standalone is that your ais recciever and gps will continue to produce usefull data using very little power down to low voltages when the batteries get hammered.
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Old 12-12-2011, 13:24   #10
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Re: MULTI FUNCTION vs STAND ALONE

In Aus, electronic charts are a hell of a lot cheaper than paper ones.
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Old 12-12-2011, 13:44   #11
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Re: MULTI FUNCTION vs STAND ALONE

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In Aus, electronic charts are a hell of a lot cheaper than paper ones.

That's what I have seen for just about everywhere too. You can get all the charts needed for a circumnavigation for under $1000 if you go with electronic.

Also, you can sell each region after you have made it through... people want electronic charts on eBay.
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Old 12-12-2011, 13:55   #12
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Re: MULTI FUNCTION vs STAND ALONE

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Oh you lucky people Do you really get all the US charts loaded on a new plotter for free when you walk out of the chart plotter shop?
Yep. But we did pay for them through taxes.

I don't know about the Spanish coast, but CMap cartography covers large ranges for a set price. For example, you can get all charts for the Caribbean from lower California to Columbia on the Pacific, FL to Guyana on the Atlantic and the entire Caribbean sea between these boundaries for $300. Not a bad price, and much cheaper than all the paper charts of these regions.

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Old 12-12-2011, 14:22   #13
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Re: MULTI FUNCTION vs STAND ALONE

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Yep. But we did pay for them through taxes.
So do we in the UK but then pay again if we actually want the charts!

But do a survey around any anchorage full of long distance cruisers and I would wager that a very large proportion will have world wide cm93 charts on their hard drives.
A bonus being that you can print out a4 harbour charts of anywhere interesting you might end up, just leaving the small scale charts of a larger area to find. Along with a pilot guide I've always found thats plenty, usually just the pilot guide has all the harbour/anchorage charts you'll ever need. Printing from a laptop comes into it's own when you feel the need to stray off the beaton track and can't get hold of any pilot guides or large scale charts.
To be honest, I've never had the luxury of a chart plotter so don't know about them - can you do a print screen to memory stick as a jpeg or something?
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Old 12-12-2011, 14:37   #14
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Re: MULTI FUNCTION vs STAND ALONE

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So do we in the UK but then pay again if we actually want the charts!

But do a survey around any anchorage full of long distance cruisers and I would wager that a very large proportion will have world wide cm93 charts on their hard drives.
A bonus being that you can print out a4 harbour charts of anywhere interesting you might end up, just leaving the small scale charts of a larger area to find. Along with a pilot guide I've always found thats plenty, usually just the pilot guide has all the harbour/anchorage charts you'll ever need. Printing from a laptop comes into it's own when you feel the need to stray off the beaton track and can't get hold of any pilot guides or large scale charts.
To be honest, I've never had the luxury of a chart plotter so don't know about them - can you do a print screen to memory stick as a jpeg or something?
We have always used a computer as a chartplotter. However, we just acquired a chartplotter as part of a radar refit, but haven't used it yet, but don't think it can print. And yes, it came with all free US charts and Furuno threw in a free Cmap of the Carib as part of the purchase.

I assumed everyone with chartplotters also had computers with the ability to chart. After all, it is a rare boat that doesn't have a computer, charting software is free and a USB GPS is <$30. If we weren't replacing our fried radar, we would still be using the computer solely for navigation.

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Old 12-12-2011, 14:42   #15
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Re: MULTI FUNCTION vs STAND ALONE

I can see how a good multi function could be cheaper, more space efficient and give a better result than stand alone.

I've gone with standalone on Boracay and from time to time I'm very aware of the deficiencies of each separate system. Maybe that's a good thing?

In particular, if you want to have an autopilot with input from a wind speed/direction sensor integrated may be the only way.

From my perspective standalone has several advantages:-
* Each part can be added separately so the cost can be spread out over quite a few years.
* As each component ages it can be replaced. As the multifunction ages components may become less and less available so that ultimatly the complete system may need replacing. Problematic on an older boat.
* Security. It's not hard to make each part of a standalone system removable. When I'm not on the boat key parts come home with me.

I'm currently considering installing one of the B & W GPS "plotters" (without a map), and a big display like the Furuno GP-32. I find it hard to make sense of a map and to steer at the same time, so a down below PC or plotter with maps may give me a better result. Needs another crew to keep watch though.
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