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Old 17-08-2011, 19:55   #1
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New Simrad Electronics Are Way Cool

I just finished installing my second Simrad 3G Broadband radar on someone's boat. I am now a complete convert. Anyone want a nice Raymarine E-120 system with HD radar and all the goodies?

Granted, the 3G may not have the long distance range of a high definition magnatron type radar, and it won't trigger RACON transducers, but other than that, it is really, really cool for sailing voyagers.

In full transmit mode it uses far less juice than conventional radar in standby mode. Startup from no power takes seconds. Resolution of close-in targets is spectacular. And there is no radiation hazard (actually no microwaves, but it sounds dandier to use the r-word).

The RSS display is super fast, it runs very cool, it has both a touch screen and simple manual controls, and it is largely intuitive.

My dream system, after selling off my Raymarine stuff, will be the RSS 12 multifunction display, the AIS, BOTH the 3G Broadband and the HD radar antennas (not running simultaneously), the sonar 1KW transducer (4500 foot range), and the Structure Scan side beam sonar (like watching sepia-tone photos of what is passing port and starboard). They also have a nice range of autopilots. Everything is tied together with N2K and Simnet networking. Once you get all the stuff initialized (their instructions are still a work in progress), it is truly amazing. There are other toys that are available, should you be so inclined, like a nice stereo system, weather satellite, etc.

My favorite experience with the system is being able to slide my finger on the sonar page, scrolling the display backwards to see something we passed over a few minutes before, then tapping the screen to establish a waypoint over a rock with fish, then tapping the autopilot to take us back to that exact rock. Imagine being able to side scan for a wreck, actually see an image of it, locate it and have the system take you to the exact spot. Very cool.
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Old 18-08-2011, 10:09   #2
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Re: New Simrad Electronics Are Way Cool

Roy, I have just bought the stuff and I need to install it. How hard is it to do?
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Old 19-08-2011, 09:44   #3
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Re: New Simrad Electronics Are Way Cool

Newt, It's actually quite simple:
1. Select a source for DC power. I use a dedicated circuit breaker for Nav Electronics, sized to handle everything you will ever use for that purpose. I suggest 20 amps.
2. Install a Blue Seas fuse buss (it has positive and negative terminals) with your choice of ATC (automotive type) or old style glass tube fuses. You will want to protect each individual instrument, per the instructions. Power the fuse buss from the Nav Electronics breaker. KEEP THE VHF RADIO ON ITS OWN BREAKER OR WIRED DIRECTLY TO THE BATTERY SWITCH WITH A FUSE.
3. Make a list of each component, read the installation instructions, then make a list of how each unit gets powered and what input and output network is connected to it. The reason for this is that some units have a red 12 volt DC power wire AND a separate yellow POSITIVE power wire. Yeah, I know, these guys can't get their color codes conformal. The yellow positive is used to "switch on" some of the units.
4. Instruments talk to each other through three different networks, hence, all those plugs on the back of the multifunction display. The radar antenna uses an ethernet cable (same plugs and cable as your computer uses). The display gets and sends some of its info via a five wire cable. This cable, at times, is in the form of a proprietary Simnet cable that joins with other Simnet cables via yellow plugs and "tee connectors". Because modern electronic networks are still working out the bugs, different manufacturers are still using a variety of cables and plugs to make the wires talk correctly with each other. So, a Simnet network backbone then needs to transition to the NMEA 2000 (called an N2K among the geeks) so it can plug into the newer Simrad/Lowrance/Navico units. Or, and this is a dirty little secret, cut the wire cable, tease out the individual wires, and hook them up to the corresponding network cable via ring terminals or wire connectors, maintaining the same color codes. Another dirty little secret: the ethernet cable from the radar antenna can be cut and reconnected the same way. This is very handy if you have to go through a small hole, if you may want to remove the mast from the boat, or if you have way too much cable coiled up. DO NOT, REPEAT, DO NOT CUT THE SONAR TRANSDUCER CABLE, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. These are tuned for the length of the cable. OOPS!: I forgot to mention one other network, NMEA 0183. This is a four-wire cable, color coded, that connects older-style networks together. Your VHF radio, and some other stuff, uses it to share a GPS location with the display. Keep in mind that one side "talks", another "listens", unlike the more modern N2K which does both. Be sure to keep the positive and negatives the same, and to connect a "talker" (example: GPS or wind instrument) to the "listener" wire of the display's NMEA 0183 data cable. It's easy, once you get the hang of it. If it doesn't work, switch the wires around until it works (there are only 16 combinations possible, but most likely, two wire switches will do the trick). Now, your VHF will have your position data for distress and other stuff to work.

5. For the newer Broadband and 3G Broadband radars (fabulous units!), you need to use the radar interface (it may not be included in your package).

6. To get the radar and the chart to overlay, you will need a fluxgate compass installed. Do it.

7. The AIS (almost obligatory if you have opted for this fine package) needs its own GPS and VHF antennas. It connects through the Simnet system to everything else.

8. Now, everything is wired up and still, some stuff doesn't seem to be working: Go to the instructions and read them carefully, once more. You have to initialize many of the different components individually through the SYSTEMS page. Scroll down and find the unit that doesn't seem to function and you will probably find you haven't checked the box to make it work. My favorite was the sonar, giving the message: "NO SOURCE". The Display has to be configured from "SLAVE" (the default position) to "MASTER". Or, you can call tech support at Simrad for great help (unlike Raymarine).

9. You must take the boat out and do the calibration setup to activate the fluxgate compass before it will allow the radar to overlay, or have your boat's icon orient correctly.

10. You can turn on the AIS filters to blank out any target moving less than 1 knot, to reduce the clutter of targets in a crowded harbor.

11. One more thing. If you want to use a forward looking sonar (Interphase 200C, way, way cool unit), you can plug it into the video/data cord on the back of the display.
Hope this helps.
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Old 21-08-2011, 10:58   #4
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Re: New Simrad Electronics Are Way Cool

Worth noting that Simrad makes two patch cables for making the transition from SimNet to standard NMEA 2000 connectors and cabling. They're not cheap, but they do make a much neater and more robust transition. The "drain" wire inside a SimNet cable is just a fragile foil wrapping and thus very hard to splice or take to a terminal strip.

Use the SimNet plug (which has no gender) to N2K Male patch cable to connect a SimNet device to a standard N2K network. Use the N2K female to SimNet patch cable to connect a device with a standard N2K plug -- which includes some recent Simrad products like the NSS series -- to a SimNet network.

There's fair bit about this stuff at my blog, www.panbo.com.
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Old 24-08-2011, 23:17   #5
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Re: New Simrad Electronics Are Way Cool

Just a note, yellow has been used for the automotive head unit switching, and red for constant+ . I do believe most of the protocols raymarine and the others are using were derived from the automotive industry as well.
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Old 24-08-2011, 23:39   #6
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Re: New Simrad Electronics Are Way Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roy M View Post
I just finished installing my second Simrad 3G Broadband radar on someone's boat. I am now a complete convert. Anyone want a nice Raymarine E-120 system with HD radar and all the goodies?

Granted, the 3G may not have the long distance range of a high definition magnatron type radar, and it won't trigger RACON transducers, but other than that, it is really, really cool for sailing voyagers..................................
I've been looking at them for a couple months but the price tag is shocking.
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Old 26-08-2011, 17:17   #7
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Re: New Simrad Electronics Are Way Cool

I have been trying to find out the pros and cons between 3G and ultra high definition radar. Does anyone know what kind of range the 3G offers? I'm looking for a system that can be updated, not looking to spend more than $4000. Does anybody have two cents worth of information they would like to throw in. Thanks in advance.
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Old 26-08-2011, 18:02   #8
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Re: New Simrad Electronics Are Way Cool

Roy;

You are right, the new Simrad stuff looks very nice. I have been thinking about the NSS7 (not RSS, you must still have Raymarine on the brain). You can get them for less than $1500, and they double as an autopilot control. Since we need an autopilot, you could say that we can get a new Chartplotter for about $1000, since the AP24 head would cost around $400.

I have a octopus drive unit in the box, and a NMEA 2000 compass already installed. So I just need a controller, computer and the rudder position indicator.

Decisions, decisions....

Chris
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Old 20-09-2011, 01:51   #9
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Re: New Simrad Electronics Are Way Cool

If you guys like the simrad stuff, then check out the B&G Zeus.

Same as the NSS with the ability to download Grib files and calculate laylines etc.

It's even awesomer
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Old 20-09-2011, 01:53   #10
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Re: New Simrad Electronics Are Way Cool

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Originally Posted by DaveWalter View Post
I have been trying to find out the pros and cons between 3G and ultra high definition radar. Does anyone know what kind of range the 3G offers? I'm looking for a system that can be updated, not looking to spend more than $4000. Does anybody have two cents worth of information they would like to throw in. Thanks in advance.
Panbo did a nice write up on it. 3g does not have the same range, but way better close in accuracy.
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Old 25-09-2011, 19:56   #11
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Re: New Simrad Electronics Are Way Cool

Thanks for the info. It's almost christmas I think I'm going to include myself on my shopping list this year. I have talked myself into one of each. I also want a longer 36 / 48 nm range for keeping an eye on weather when out in blue water.
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Old 25-09-2011, 20:01   #12
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Re: New Simrad Electronics Are Way Cool

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My dream system, after selling off my Raymarine stuff, will be the RSS 12 multifunction display, the AIS, BOTH the 3G Broadband and the HD radar antennas (not running simultaneously), the sonar 1KW transducer (4500 foot range), and the Structure Scan side beam sonar (like watching sepia-tone photos of what is passing port and starboard).
I was at Southampton boat show last week and specifically asked could teh system support a 3G and a HD radar. Was told no, theres needs to be a software upgrade and its "real soon now".

Nice stuff SIMRAD, the range has really improved and expanded.I still fdind that some of its stuff is pricey

Dave
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Old 27-09-2011, 09:40   #13
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Re: New Simrad Electronics Are Way Cool

Ben Ellison, you are a god! Thank you for your work on PANBO. Everyone here should check it out and refer to it weekly. It is what the Internet should be all about.

Coincidentally, I am now install another NSS system on someone's boat, with his neighbor clamoring for me to start one on his own. Regarding the range issues, I am going to resolve that by installing BOTH the 3G and the Simrad magnatron antennas, both to provide a backup and to gain the advantages of longer range when needed. The only downside, besides some money, is the very small weight it adds up the mast.
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Old 27-09-2011, 10:00   #14
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Re: New Simrad Electronics Are Way Cool

just a little of subject but went, southampton boat show in uk last week and i see a vast majority of yacht builders there have gone to a complete simrad/ b&G set ups and bavaria have gone garmin i think i only saw one yacht builder with raymarine gear and speaking to those have gone this way are more than happy with the equipment supplied they have all said the equipment is far Superior than the others and it is really more valve for your money
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Old 27-09-2011, 14:23   #15
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Re: New Simrad Electronics Are Way Cool

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Regarding the range issues, I am going to resolve that by installing BOTH the 3G and the Simrad magnatron antennas, both to provide a backup and to gain the advantages of longer range when needed. The only downside, besides some money, is the very small weight it adds up the mast.
not quite yet you cant, currently teh SIMRAD system cant support dual radar configs
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