Indeed a huge topic! My advice based on 20+ years of administering computer systems as well as owning two boats with full electronics
packages in the last five years is, to the extent possible, to try to stick with a single
vendor. If you have devices from multiple vendors, as soon as you seek support the finger pointing will begin and Vendor A will blame Vendor B's equipment
and vice versa, and the onus is then on you to prove where the problem lies. Unless you are very comfortable with troubleshooting electronics
and networks, going with multiple vendors just opens you up to a great deal of potential headache.
That said, our current
boat came with all Furuno
instruments / chartplotter
but with a Raymarine autopilot
. The two brands worked but did not play nice together and the autopilot would occasionally drop out and go to standby and other times the chartplotter would intermittently lose communication with the autopilot. Those issues, along with other seemingly random (i.e., non-reproducible) problems that were only fixed by power cycling the entire 0183/N2K network, convinced me it was time to find a permanent solution. After extensive troubleshooting and getting the runaround from both Raymarine
, my project
the past two months has been to gut the Furuno and Raymarine gear
and strip out all the 0183 wiring
and replace it with a full B&G package (with the exception of the AIS which is a Vesper XB-8000) and implement only N2K. I had Simrad
on our previous boat and was very pleased with it so for this refit
, I stuck with what I knew would work as the B&G and Simrad hardware
is the same, only the software
Everything plays well together, and the few occasions I have had to call Navico
(the parent company for B&G / Simrad) for support during the install and commissioning were refreshingly straightforward with only a single
vendor to deal with.
Hope this helps and happy to answer any questions if I can...