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Old 08-10-2019, 16:17   #121
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Re: New iPhones and the imminent death of the MFD

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Originally Posted by ramblinrod View Post
...
Compare a current technology MFD to a current technology mobile device.
If you really believe than a 2019 Axiom is anywhere close to the performance of 2019 iPhone, then I have nothing to add. The CPU and graphics performance and average power consumption of the iPhone is probably 3-5x better, I can run benchmarks for you if you want.

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Installing charting software on one or more mobile devices is a great convenience tool to have and use where appropriate, but in no way shape or form is a direct substitute for a dedicated MFD.
I think you are underestimating the importance of the convenience factor. The charts are always up to date, the wind information is always current (because it is so easy to download, you can do it every six hours vs. once a day), etc. For the average person convenience translates into readiness.

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Sorry, but I will call anybody on it, who will compromise safety while attempting to justify using a fragile mobile device designed for a 13 year old girls hip pocket, or a PC designed for an indoor desk or even worse, lap, to satisfy their inner geek to MacGyver something together that is no where near the same thing, or just to save a few bucks for more beer and cigarettes, vs installing and maintaining a robust MFD designed for the marine environment.
I will take the challenge. You are sailing, say San Diego to San Francisco. With the phone/Iridium, you tap a couple of times, get the latest weather, re-route, then just enter the new waypoint in the autopilot. You can also have the phone directly drive the autopilot to eliminate input errors. Safe and easy. If you lose your devices often, then get cheap $49 Android prepaid phones and buy five of them - not as fast as the iPhone but faster than the Axiom.

If you wanted to do the same with the Axiom, you have a couple of options. If you have SiriusXM you switch to a different screen, look at a coarse map, get an idea about the wind and the weather systems (all very slow). Then you switch to your chart screen, try to remember the weather patterns, then plot a course then engage the autopilot. If you do not have SiriusXM, you can do the same trick with the phone but then why do you need the chart plotter? Or you can do all your routing on the PC then save the route to an SD card, then transfer it to the Axiom, opening the card holder while waves are coming on you. If you have a weather grib file from SSB or Iridium, the only way to load it into the Axiom is via the SD card. It is just a royal pain.

No, modern MFDs do one thing well and that is to display radar well because it is all proprietary. Everything else is ages behind best practice. Initially, it was the CPU speed. Then it was connectivity and integration with the mobile phone/Iridium. Then it was polar coordinates and doing weather routing. The phones are always a couple of steps ahead.

Another example... a weekend trip to Catalina. On the phone, you tap twice and get your best route, departure time arrival time. On the Axiom - you just see a not even so pretty picture with a silly, unreal and uncompensated ETA.

I can see a scenario where I would prefer to use the MFD, and that is when approaching an unknown harbor, with lots of traffic in fog, torrential rain and big waves. Yep, in this case the iPhone is dangerous to use. But these conditions happen once in a blue moon where I sail and where most people sail.

Don't get me wrong, I love MFDs and have a couple on my boat and love the buttons. But new MFDs take baby steps, have limited functionality and cost a lot. So, instead of upgrading I just shift most of my advanced use modes to the easy to use devices that have incredible effectiveness. I believe most people do that as well. It should be a lesson to the MFD vendors, bring the features that people really want and make them easy to use... or get replaced.

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Old 08-10-2019, 17:42   #122
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Re: New iPhones and the imminent death of the MFD

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...The CPU and graphics performance and average power consumption of the iPhone is probably 3-5x better...
Until you sit on it, or the battery goes dead, or the touch screen does not like the water, or your subscription is out of date and your navigation software keeps popping up a subscription renewal box, or the cell tower is too far away…

OK, I guess it all really a matter of preference.

As for me, we run a Laptop, with OpenCPN, secured on the chart table, connected to everything, with a BIG SCREEN so we can see LITTLE REEFS and a hot spare in a locker. I can export a GPX to a MFD, or just duplicate the screen on any device using Blue tooth or wifi. We do our navigation in a dry and quiet place and it's always there and ready. Weather, routing, radar, ais, the best charts, SSB GRIB, it's all there, plus a keyboard and a mouse and an MFD remote and the B&G sailing instruments. It is Navigation Central. The phones and tablets are toys, regardless of how many cores they have.
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Old 08-10-2019, 18:41   #123
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Re: New iPhones and the imminent death of the MFD

Iíve found that 2 iPads are my primary navigation tools, one for high zoom and one for overview. Used that for 5 months, NC to FL and over to the Bahamas, every weather condition imaginable, nav software and gps X 2, never had an issue, they were preloaded with all charts, both were completely standalone. Zero, repeat zero failures. I had a android tablet as a backup which I never used. The entire nav station, including iPads, software, mounts, etc $200.00. The iPads were used air ii. Iíve heard all the nay sayers before, not rugged enough, they arenít waterproof (easily made waterproof), etc. etc.

Some people just canít accept change, even when itís proven itself.
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Old 08-10-2019, 18:57   #124
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Re: New iPhones and the imminent death of the MFD

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Originally Posted by mjscottinnc View Post
Iíve found that 2 iPads are my primary navigation tools, one for high zoom and one for overview. Used that for 5 months, NC to FL and over to the Bahamas, every weather condition imaginable, nav software and gps X 2, never had an issue, they were preloaded with all charts, both were completely standalone. Zero, repeat zero failures. I had a android tablet as a backup which I never used. The entire nav station, including iPads, software, mounts, etc $200.00. The iPads were used air ii. Iíve heard all the nay sayers before, not rugged enough, they arenít waterproof (easily made waterproof), etc. etc.

Some people just canít accept change, even when itís proven itself.

Change is good for navigation. I can't see how you can get multiple used ipads and mounts for just $200 a single used ipad costs more than that! how did you keep them from overheating in the sunlight? I hadmy ipads overheat and shut down up here in the Canadian summer, would be worse in FL!! Makes them not suitable for cockpit use in my experience.
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Old 08-10-2019, 22:00   #125
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Re: New iPhones and the imminent death of the MFD

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Change is good for navigation. I can't see how you can get multiple used ipads and mounts for just $200 a single used ipad costs more than that! how did you keep them from overheating in the sunlight? I hadmy ipads overheat and shut down up here in the Canadian summer, would be worse in FL!! Makes them not suitable for cockpit use in my experience.
He bought Air 2ís, presumably second hand, but still thatís a good price for five-year-old model.

My iPad never shuts down for heat, as long as itís in its mount under the bimini. Under the sprayhood would do just as well I guess.
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Old 08-10-2019, 22:21   #126
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Re: New iPhones and the imminent death of the MFD

My own impression is that specialised marine MFDs are on borrowed time, but for software reasons more than hardware.

As the software sophistication and level of user expectation continues to grow, MFDs manufacturers are increasingly forced to incorporate third-party software libraries in their products. There is the TCP/IP stack, the wifi module, the HTTP(S) implementation, the window and menu subsystem, thread management and sync, memory management... It all requires a general-purpose computer, probably Linux or Windows IoT, and the cost of integrating and testing the software outstrips that of the specialised MFD hardware.

By then, MFD manufacturers face a dilemma: they could generate more revenue by opening up their software stack to laptops and iPads, at the expense of eating into MFD sales, which are probably not all that crash hot anyway. Greed will inevitably win. Yes, the laptop is nowhere near as robust, and you cannot use it unprotected in an F8, but given it's a quarter or a third of the price a lot of people will be content with having to move their navigational activities down below.

In turn, marine MFDs will become even rarer and therefore even more pricey. I expect that in a decade they will be a rare sight - perhaps only to be found on megayachts.
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Old 09-10-2019, 02:30   #127
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Re: New iPhones and the imminent death of the MFD

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Change is good for navigation. I can't see how you can get multiple used ipads and mounts for just $200 a single used ipad costs more than that! how did you keep them from overheating in the sunlight? I hadmy ipads overheat and shut down up here in the Canadian summer, would be worse in FL!! Makes them not suitable for cockpit use in my experience.


The used iPads were $45 each, bought separately, Craigslist, Verizon so they had the internal gps. I never activated them on a cell network. I tried one first and saw quickly traveling the ICW I needed both views. Especially at the end of the day looking for a place to spend the night. I have a Bimini so they weíre under cover and not in direct sunlight, I did sail in hot days though from mid November to the end of June. Never had one shut down, installed 2 waterproof USB ports at the helm and charged them all day. The one display problem was that the polarization on the iPads were vertical and my sun glasses were horizontal so that required some finesse.
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:18   #128
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Re: New iPhones and the imminent death of the MFD

Probably enough said - for now - as the speed of improvements in the mobile world will open new opportunities within months - not years like the traditional marine electronics can offer us.

Yes, I carry on board one Axiom 9Ē MFD as I need it for the radar display and serve as a backbone integration and display of all the NMEA2K devices - wind, AIS, auto pilot etc.

But - I know I could:
1. Replace the backbone and display by off the shelve devices that would cost a fraction - Iím just too busy to mess with it at this point.
2. Not could - already added two more iPad Pro 12.9Ē to be used as repeaters and for all the other amazing apps that only tablet can support. Their cost is about 1/3 of a 12Ē MFD.
the iPads are rugged with a mil-spec water and shock proof case - about $45 each with quick connect brackets so that I can move it around off power for hours! - no MFD can support this.
3. Add another HDMI large screen at the main cabin as a repeater and to display whatever I want.

The marine electronics industry will have to fully adopt mobiles as their displays and heavier processing - as they cannot compete with the billions spent in the mobile world R&D or theyíll be out of the recreational market. The marine electronics industry will have to focus on the marine instruments and leave the entire processing, communication and display game to the mobile and consumer electronics industry.

In fact, search a little and youíll find all kind of solutions including companies that already provide the integration - not completed yet but very fast getting there.
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:40   #129
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Re: New iPhones and the imminent death of the MFD

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Yes, I carry on board one Axiom 9” MFD as I need it for the radar display and serve as a backbone integration and display of all the NMEA2K devices - wind, AIS, auto pilot etc.

Your post reminded me of one other iPad related thing I added for my offshore trip back to NC. I added the Furuno 1st Watch radar, its completely wireless and connects to the iPad via WiFi. I overlaid the 6 mile radar trace over the charts using the Time Zero plugin, and placed the alert ring completely around the boat, it worked like a champ day and night. Saw ever vessel.


I had AIS transmit via WiFi to the iPad too.
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Old 09-10-2019, 08:03   #130
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Re: New iPhones and the imminent death of the MFD

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Originally Posted by mjscottinnc View Post
Your post reminded me of one other iPad related thing I added for my offshore trip back to NC. I added the Furuno 1st Watch radar, its completely wireless and connects to the iPad via WiFi. I overlaid the 6 mile radar trace over the charts using the Time Zero plugin, and placed the alert ring completely around the boat, it worked like a champ day and night. Saw ever vessel.


I had AIS transmit via WiFi to the iPad too.
*****
Thatís great! Not sure the Raymarine Quantum Radar can transmit directly to iPad... anyone? - also, for some reason Raymarine techs do not recommend trusting the radar wireless connectivity... hmmm..

What are you using as AIS Wifi transmission?
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Old 09-10-2019, 08:50   #131
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Re: New iPhones and the imminent death of the MFD

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*****
Thatís great! Not sure the Raymarine Quantum Radar can transmit directly to iPad... anyone? - also, for some reason Raymarine techs do not recommend trusting the radar wireless connectivity... hmmm..

What are you using as AIS Wifi transmission?
Thanks
I added a VHF antenna splitter, ran the AIS antenna to a QK-A027 from Quark Elec. It has an AIS receiver, GPS, and SeaTalk converter with NMEA 0183, USB and WiFi outputs. The GPS was a backup that I never needed. I have RayMarine i40 Depth and Speed which outputs on SeaTalk to the converter.

The iPad(s) got everything wirelessly, never had an issue. The splitter and AIS receiver / converter were at the base of the mast high in the bilge and transmits WiFi using a small rubber duck antenna from there. With all this electronics I wanted to make sure that power would never be an issue so I added 630 watts of solar panels (2 - 36 volt industrial solar panels above the bimini) and a 400 watt wind generator. To that I added a power / charge management system that I designed. It accepted input power from any source (Solar, Wind, Engine Alternator, or AC to DC) and maximized battery bank charge based on bank priority ( 2 - 200 A/H banks). Ran a 3' x 2.5' x 3.5' fridge continiously, cpap for 8 hours every night, along with all the normal cruising, communications, and navigation loads. I had no generator and never ran out of power, mostly on the hook.



All in all I have no complaints.

In many cases I had triple redundancy that was not needed, but then again this was all new and based on what I read online I was placing my life at risk. But the extreme risks I read about in the posts never made any sense to me, so I trusted the engineering of the systems I had in place. At least in my case, the truth revealed itself.
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Old 09-10-2019, 10:15   #132
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Re: New iPhones and the imminent death of the MFD

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He bought Air 2’s, presumably second hand, but still that’s a good price for five-year-old model.

My iPad never shuts down for heat, as long as it’s in its mount under the bimini. Under the sprayhood would do just as well I guess.
We have been using iPad side together with my old MFD for the last 6 years under different conditions all year here in Scandinavia. The current model we use is the Air2, but we still have the first iPad we purchased and it is still working fine but it is now retired to work down below.

We have experienced shutdown due to overheating twice, both with the Air2 model and in Norway summers, so not that hot. iPad is mounted under the bimini mostly in shadow.

For waterproof case we have used LifeProof that has been good, but after 2 years the membrane for the home button is gone and the earphone jack rubber is gone, so it is not waterproof anymore. The case has saved the iPad several times in sudden rainstorms where we had other things to think about than rescue the pad, so a proper case is a must if you plan to have it outside for serious use. Maybe not in Florida, I don’t know, but in Scandinavia for sure.

It works fine in the winter at least down to -10, and in the sunlight we have not had any big problems reading the screen.

We use it day and night and it is a challenge charging while using, factors like cable length, quality and charger output have been, and is a problem. Waterproof charging is something that we have missed, but now found and ordered together with a new expensive case

Yeah, and the wireless connection will drop out, not often but from time to time it will act up but come back again.

GPS accuracy will sometimes and for short periods not be that good. I do not know the reason, but it will move the boat all over and correct itself within 1-2 minutes. We have not seen this with the MFD GPS.

Anyway this is our experience with the iPad as a tool for navigation. We will start a longer world voyage in may and the iPad will go alongside the MFD in the cockpit as a helpful multitool.
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Old 09-10-2019, 14:38   #133
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Re: New iPhones and the imminent death of the MFD

Maybe I missed in reading thru the thread, but the biggest use of my B&G MFD is the integration with not only radar/AIS but more importantly, autopilot.

How does a tablet/phone integrate with your autopilot? Even opencpn has a big issue with this (there is an app in beta, but not nearly as good as what comes with your electronic package).

Setting up a route on your phone is easy, but that doesn't get my boat from pt A to pt B.
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Old 09-10-2019, 19:27   #134
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Re: New iPhones and the imminent death of the MFD

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Maybe I missed in reading thru the thread, but the biggest use of my B&G MFD is the integration with not only radar/AIS but more importantly, autopilot.

How does a tablet/phone integrate with your autopilot? Even opencpn has a big issue with this (there is an app in beta, but not nearly as good as what comes with your electronic package).

Setting up a route on your phone is easy, but that doesn't get my boat from pt A to pt B.
I wouldn't be trusting a chartplotter to get my boat from A to B. I tend to get everything set up with the boat sailing well, then use the chartplotter to confirm my long-term COG, and the bearing to when I next want to check my waypoints, allowing for any current set I might be expecting, and then hit "Auto" (or wind if that's what I'm planning for). I want to know the boat is sailing on the right course with the right sails set before letting the autopilot take over.

I treat the autopilot as a competent and reliable but witless crew member. I wouldn't ask said crew member to get me to my final destination -- that's the skipper's and pilot's job. I would get everything set up right first and then hand over the helm to the crew member and say "keep this course".
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Old 09-10-2019, 22:20   #135
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Re: New iPhones and the imminent death of the MFD

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Maybe I missed in reading thru the thread, but the biggest use of my B&G MFD is the integration with not only radar/AIS but more importantly, autopilot.

How does a tablet/phone integrate with your autopilot? Even opencpn has a big issue with this (there is an app in beta, but not nearly as good as what comes with your electronic package).

Setting up a route on your phone is easy, but that doesn't get my boat from pt A to pt B.
Itís pretty easy for us, as Raymarine does not allow you to autopilot from A to D without pressing confirm at each waypoint/course change. So, with route ready on the iPad steer the correct course and press auto on the pilot head. Repeat at next waypoint, very easy and it automatically keeps you alert. If you really need an alarm when you reach the next waypoint, set the countdown alarm to the next Waypoint ETA. Our autopilots job is to hold the course against wind and current, not ďself drivingĒ you around islands and shallows.
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