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Old 14-06-2015, 04:28   #1
TJD
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New MFDs and APs

Hello forum,

I just joined the forum. I have been following different threads for a while and find your posts and information very helpful. I sent this message as a PM to Dockhead, not wanting to clutter up the forum, and he suggested I post it here.

I am in the process of spec'ing a B&G zeus MFD anchored system, and I am thinking about going B&G for the whole shebang. I hope I can ask you all a couple quick questions.

1. Dockhead - I am curious if you figured out your recent B&G triton autopilot control head versus B&G zeus MFD control issues? Was it software or something else?

2. Curious - if the Zeus mfd has good AP functionality, and from my read of the owner's manual it appears to be pretty darn full function, what is the logic for having a separate AP control head (particularly at the helm)? Redundancy?

3. What about the need for a control head down below? With the (sort of) new on-board networks (e.g. B&G gofree) I can use my iPad at the nav station to mirror the MFD, and make AP adjustments from there. Do folks recommend a AP control head down there still? Any feedback on the B&G gofree here?

My situation: I have a clean used PS34 with very little on it for electronics. I am pulling out the Furuno NN3d unit (just not intuitive for me) and selling it. I really like the zeus, and am planning on using that as the CP/MFD at the helm. I am thinking that I can basically do away with the MFD+"3 pod" cluster of S/D/W single-din units I see everywhere - I'm not a serious racer and I can do fine with the configurable screen data on the MFD. And if I really need to add a triton or two later I can do that in the future.

I really appreciate your opinions and advice.

Thanks in advance,
TJ
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Old 14-06-2015, 04:36   #2
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Re: New MFDs and APs

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, TJ.
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Old 15-06-2015, 19:13   #3
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Re: New MFDs and APs

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJD View Post
Hello forum,

I just joined the forum. I have been following different threads for a while and find your posts and information very helpful. I sent this message as a PM to Dockhead, not wanting to clutter up the forum, and he suggested I post it here.

I am in the process of spec'ing a B&G zeus MFD anchored system, and I am thinking about going B&G for the whole shebang. I hope I can ask you all a couple quick questions.

1. Dockhead - I am curious if you figured out your recent B&G triton autopilot control head versus B&G zeus MFD control issues? Was it software or something else?

2. Curious - if the Zeus mfd has good AP functionality, and from my read of the owner's manual it appears to be pretty darn full function, what is the logic for having a separate AP control head (particularly at the helm)? Redundancy?

3. What about the need for a control head down below? With the (sort of) new on-board networks (e.g. B&G gofree) I can use my iPad at the nav station to mirror the MFD, and make AP adjustments from there. Do folks recommend a AP control head down there still? Any feedback on the B&G gofree here?

My situation: I have a clean used PS34 with very little on it for electronics. I am pulling out the Furuno NN3d unit (just not intuitive for me) and selling it. I really like the zeus, and am planning on using that as the CP/MFD at the helm. I am thinking that I can basically do away with the MFD+"3 pod" cluster of S/D/W single-din units I see everywhere - I'm not a serious racer and I can do fine with the configurable screen data on the MFD. And if I really need to add a triton or two later I can do that in the future.

I really appreciate your opinions and advice.

Thanks in advance,
TJ
Ahoy TJ,

Disclaimer: I'm not anything close to an expert. I have just installed a primarily B&G electronics system on my PS37. If you will take a look at the recent thread 'NMEA2000 network instances question' you can see what I installed.

I do not have a separate control head installed. It is possible to control the AC42 autopilot computer used in my installation through the Zeus2 and/or with the Triton Pilot keypad that I did install.

I don't know about the ability to control A/P functions remotely with an iPad. I may be mistaken, but I thought you could only monitor, not control, from an iPad or similar networked device.

Navico (B&G/Simrad/Lowrance) does have their new WR10 remote control (Bluetooth wireless) coming out, but it has only the functions of the Triton Pilot available (+1 -1, +10 -10 degrees port or stbd, Standby, Auto and Mode functions).

At my nav station, besides the electrical stuff, I have a Zeus2, Vesper Vision and a Triton. The Triton is facing forward so I can see it from anywhere in the cabin.
In the cockpit, above the companionway in a NavPod, are two Tritons and a small Zeus2. The Triton Pilot keypad is mounted on the side of the cabinet adjacent to the companionway and is easily reachable from both the cockpit and the cabin.

To take advantage of the many functions of a Zeus2 MFD, you really need a NMEA2000 network that is populated by the appropriate sensors. Your intention of using the same brand of components is wise, though certain sensors can be substituted with better stuff without consequence to functionality. For example, using individual Airmar Smart transducers for speed and depth is my recommendation. As is using an Airmar H2183 heading sensor and a Maretron WSO100 wind, etc. sensor ( while the Maretron WSO100 is a brilliant device, it does require some extra effort to mount it properly, though).
I think Airmar makes the B&G thru hull transducers anyway, but you have a better selection as to material, deadrise angle, etc. if you use the Airmar versions.
Just some thoughts...
Good luck
Bill
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Old 15-06-2015, 23:13   #4
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Re: New MFDs and APs

I'm pretty sure you can't control the AP with the ipad app. it's a safty thing.


it's nice having an AP control at the helm. if sh*t goes wrong it's easier to push the deadiated standby button then trying to use the screen. they make a little one that is just buttons.
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Old 16-06-2015, 08:43   #5
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Re: New MFDs and APs

Thanks for the responses, very helpful.

I haven't yet found an iPad setup I can see demo'd, but I am working on that.

Bill, I am curious about your experience at the helm with the small zeus2.

- what data do you generally display on the cockpit Tritons? I am curious about data you prefer to see on the zeus versus the Tritons, and your reasoning for your display choices (really a question about the zeus screen). Is it a size/clarity preference? Other?

- how have you found the touch screen with wet/sunscreened/other fingers etc.? I am hearing conflicting things from the installers I have spoken with regarding their "ease of use" in any adverse conditions (serious spray, etc.). The West Marine folks won't let me throw water on theirs.....

Thanks for your patience and your help with my questions.
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Old 16-06-2015, 09:19   #6
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Re: New MFDs and APs

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJD View Post
Thanks for the responses, very helpful.

I haven't yet found an iPad setup I can see demo'd, but I am working on that.

Bill, I am curious about your experience at the helm with the small zeus2.

- what data do you generally display on the cockpit Tritons? I am curious about data you prefer to see on the zeus versus the Tritons, and your reasoning for your display choices (really a question about the zeus screen). Is it a size/clarity preference? Other?

- how have you found the touch screen with wet/sunscreened/other fingers etc.? I am hearing conflicting things from the installers I have spoken with regarding their "ease of use" in any adverse conditions (serious spray, etc.). The West Marine folks won't let me throw water on theirs.....

Thanks for your patience and your help with my questions.
I still have my Zeus2 hooked up in my lab. I could do a video to test out the screen in various situations. I could try the following things:
-Fresh water spray
-Salt water spray
-Sunscreen fingers

Anything else you want to see?
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Old 20-06-2015, 08:54   #7
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Re: New MFDs and APs

travellerw, sorry for the delay in responding I was offline for a few days.

Your offer sounds great, thank you! your suggestions for testing sound spot on to me I am sure there are other things one could look at but those are a great starting point.

I am getting conflicting opinions from systems installers about touch screen robustness at sea, and none of my friends up here have touch screens. So the testing feedback would be much appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 20-06-2015, 09:14   #8
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Re: New MFDs and APs

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJD View Post

1. Dockhead - I am curious if you figured out your recent B&G triton autopilot control head versus B&G zeus MFD control issues? Was it software or something else?
Software update almost eliminated it, but the keypad still crashes occasionally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJD View Post
2. Curious - if the Zeus mfd has good AP functionality, and from my read of the owner's manual it appears to be pretty darn full function, what is the logic for having a separate AP control head (particularly at the helm)? Redundancy?
I have another Triton at the helm plus keypad.

Pilot functionality through the MFD is excellent, and there are many functions which you can't use from the keypad. However, when the pilot control is active, it blocks the MFD screen. Plus there's only one dedicated pilot button on the Zeus.

So you really want the keypad for its dedicated buttons, dodge, course adjustments.

The extra Triton, which serves as the display part of the pilot head, can be used for any other display function when you don't need to be watching pilot functions (and the Zeus has a very nice ribbon at the top of the screen which shows pilot mode, CTS, and rudder angle when the pilot is active).

But the Zeus doesn't show any of this when the pilot is in standby, so you need the Triton for rudder angle when docking etc. [Navico PLEASE give us the option of keeping that ribbon on even with the pilot in standby -- for rudder angle indication].

So this combo at the helm: Zeus, one Triton, pilot keypad -- is optimum for this system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJD View Post
3. What about the need for a control head down below? With the (sort of) new on-board networks (e.g. B&G gofree) I can use my iPad at the nav station to mirror the MFD, and make AP adjustments from there. Do folks recommend a AP control head down there still? Any feedback on the B&G gofree here?
You can't control the pilot through GoFree! That function is blocked, no doubt due to liability concerns. Anyway, you can use a dirt cheap 7" display, maybe the obsolete Zeus Touch or maybe one of the Simrad pilots, for this. Different people work differently, but I wouldn't do without a dedicated MFD at the nav table. The pilot control built in to the MFD is perfect for use at the nav table -- no need for the keypad, since you won't be doing any dodging or blind course corrections down there.

GoFree is brilliant, though. I use it on passage in my bunk or in the galley, or under the sprayhood keeping watch from there in bad weather. It's really excellent.



Quote:
Originally Posted by TJD View Post
My situation: I have a clean used PS34 with very little on it for electronics. I am pulling out the Furuno NN3d unit (just not intuitive for me) and selling it. I really like the zeus, and am planning on using that as the CP/MFD at the helm. I am thinking that I can basically do away with the MFD+"3 pod" cluster of S/D/W single-din units I see everywhere - I'm not a serious racer and I can do fine with the configurable screen data on the MFD. And if I really need to add a triton or two later I can do that in the future.
You will want a depth display visible from everywhere, not just from behind the helm, and wind, at a minimum. I dont' know your boat. I have four Tritons over my scuttle. Some people put them at the mast.

Wind, depth, boat speed is just about minimum, it seems to me. Tritons display a vast variety of useful data, so you will find out soon that you will want to have as many of them as you can fit. I use my four scuttle mounted ones like this:

One of them permamently on Depth/Boat Speed
One of them permanently on Wind (standard screen showing both true and apparent)
One of them almost permanently on the excellent GPS screen (showing position, COG, Time, SOG, BTW, ETA, DTW).

One of them showing different screens according to the situation -- engine gauges when motoring (RPM, temp, oil pressure, fuel rate), or wind trends if wailing in variable wind, or compass, or ground wind displayed in compass direction, or a custom 9 window screen.

If I'm standing watch from behind the helm, I will use that Triton for whatever is most needed -- pilot screen to display rudder angle, wind, wind trends, compass, etc. If picking my way through skinny water, I use the depth with history screen there.

YMMV.
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Old 20-06-2015, 09:27   #9
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Re: New MFDs and APs

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJD View Post
. . .- how have you found the touch screen with wet/sunscreened/other fingers etc.? I am hearing conflicting things from the installers I have spoken with regarding their "ease of use" in any adverse conditions (serious spray, etc.). The West Marine folks won't let me throw water on theirs...... . . .
I expected to hate this -- I am not a fan of touch screens -- and was very pleasantly surprised.

It works very well under most conditions. It's not good with gloves. A lot of water can make it somewhat unresponsive sometimes, but normal rain doesn't seem to make any difference.

I have the non-touchscreen Zeus at my nav table. The touch and non-touch each have their own pluses and minuses, but the touch version does not suck.
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Old 20-06-2015, 09:30   #10
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Re: New MFDs and APs

Super helpful. Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences and advice/thoughts.
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Old 20-06-2015, 10:18   #11
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Re: New MFDs and APs

Here is the link to the Youtube video I did. Its a fairly long video as I tend to ramble.

https://youtu.be/fHqno2HgqJk



For anyone who doesn't want to watch the video, here is the TL;DW version.

Vesper Resistive Touch Screen
Absolutely nothing affects it. However, it has no multi-touch (no pinch zoom) and requires a fairly hard touch.

Zeus2 Capacitive Touch Screen
Fresh water - Zero Problems, Salt water - Can affect responsiveness, Sunscreen fingers - Zero Problems, Spilling Sunscreen on the screen - MUCHO PROBLEMO SENIOR (Reboots).
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Old 20-06-2015, 13:45   #12
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Re: New MFDs and APs

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJD View Post
Thanks for the responses, very helpful.

Bill, I am curious about your experience at the helm with the small zeus2.

- what data do you generally display on the cockpit Tritons? I am curious about data you prefer to see on the zeus versus the Tritons, and your reasoning for your display choices (really a question about the zeus screen). Is it a size/clarity preference? Other?

Thanks for your patience and your help with my questions.
I display the same stuff as Dockhead. Depth, wind data, boat speed, autopilot data, and position data on the Tritons. They are very easy to change pages to anything needed. On the Zeus, anything I want at the time: chart, radar overlay, SailSteer (a favorite, if using that function) instrumentation. The Zeus is so easily changed from one display to another. That versatility is why I decided to (at Dockhead's suggestion in another post) put one in the cockpit display cluster, as opposed to three Tritons. A friend described to me his anxiety whilst sailing back to San Francisco Bay, from the Farralon Islands, in thick fog and how he wished he had had radar displayed in the cockpit. Enough said.
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Old 21-06-2015, 06:34   #13
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Re: New MFDs and APs

We have a system anchored by an NSS8, essentially the Simrad equivalent of the Zeus. I have not had any problems with the touchscreen, although multitouch or working with a lighter touch would be nice. We also have the GoFree module which works quite well. We can echo the MFD screen on phones (view only), or control it from tablets. As others have said, AP control is blocked over wifi. Most often I use the iRegatta app on my phone to see the data readouts (wind, depth, etc) when in the cabin.


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Old 27-06-2015, 20:16   #14
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Re: New MFDs and APs

Thanks all for your responses. I have been away and after logging in I am truly appreciative for all of your comments. And to travellerw for the bench test (yes I watched it all!). I am on the boat in Maryland and I am getting her ready for a transit.

For the systems project I am collecting my thoughts and planning a off-season project based on some of the observations posted here. Thank you all.
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Old 06-07-2015, 12:42   #15
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Re: New MFDs and APs

I acquired a Zeus2-12 last summer, but only used it at the nav station. Go-Free access didn't work so well, due to the poor performance of the iPhone and iPad displays on sunny days. A pod mounting was installed at the aft end of the cockpit table at the beginning of this season. The Zeus2 is visible from both helms and, surprisingly, it need not be rotated when helms are changed. It's usable in bright sunlight, but not great.

I acquired 4G radar this spring and completed its installation 10 days ago. We had the opportunity to use it extensively yesterday while navigating through fog patches. It all seems to work quite well. Full integration with the chart function will follow.

At first, I had my Raymarine ST-60 instruments interfaced to the NMEA-2K network via Raymarine's SeaTalk-1 to SeaTalk-ng converter unit and the ng-to-2K adapter cable. That worked for most functions, though there were intermittent errors (cable topology error suspected).

I had planned on upgrading the instruments to B&G at the end of this season. This got accelerated for reasons better left unsaid. I acquired the dual Triton plus 508 wind sensor, ZG10 GPS/heading unit, and Airmar waterspeed/depth/temp sensor via the Defender-exclusive package, plus a third Triton display. At the moment, I have a pair of Tritons at the port helm, one at the starboard helm, and the ST-60 Tridata instrument there, since I can't put the new Airmar NMEA-2K thru-hull sensor, for the Tritons, in until fall haul-out, unless I want to spend serious money for the privilege of putting it in sooner (it's of larger diameter than the D800 used by the ST-60 system). The sole remaining ST-60 instrument is not interfaced to the Tritons (don't ask why).

Unfortunately, my Zeus2 errors out on NMEA-2K transmission at the moment, which shuts down both receiving (though error-free) and transmitting functions for the NMEA-2K bus. Software update and hard reset didn't clear that problem, but did fix other problems and provide improved functionality. Cables and network topology have been proven "good". It may have to go in for repair.

Having first used the nearly-complete system, though without NMEA-2K connectivity into the Zeus2, while cruising this past weekend, we're very happy with these instruments & their capabilities. I have a custom Triton page for the parameters important to me when sailing close-hauled in significant wind. It really makes trim decisions faster & easier. A few more custom pages will undoubtedly follow.

I'm on the fence as to the autopilot. My obsolete Raymarine system works well enough, but obviously won't interface with the B&G gear. I may replace it over the winter. If I do, a keypad at each helm is likely.

Though the entire package won't have full functionality until launch next season, we're certainly better off now than we were a year ago and the flexible availability of info will improve our sailing.
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