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Old 04-03-2013, 05:29   #1
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New Wind Instruments & electronics in general

Time has come to spend money on new electronics and since this represents a major investment overall I would like to get it right the first time and would like some opinions and if people have good/bad experiences I would welcome any.

My boat is 1989 Beneteau Oceanis 430 and pretty much all the electronics are outdated or not working (wind instruments, NKE-computer, GPS, radar) and needs to be replaced. On my list I have at least the following: Wind Instruments, GPS Chartplotter, Echosounder, maybe a new VHF with AIS. Radar for now I see as not so necessary at this point as I'm sailing in Malaysia and Thailand during daytime and fog is rarely an issue. Might be nice for anchor watching and measuring distances though, but for now a radar seems to me more like another piece of expensive equipment which consumes a lot of power and is prone to damage.

I keep the boat in Penang, Malaysia, and one thing to bear in mind is that we have regular thunderstorms over here, and I'd hate to have new and expensive electronics fried by a lightning strike. Actually I estimate in the marina here maybe every fourth boat has had damage to electronics from a strike. I know, if I want to avoid that I should have paper charts and a Windex and measure the depth with a a piece of lead at the end of a long rope.. But I want some comfort as well..

Regarding wind instruments, so far I've only had the good old Windex but maybe its time to upgrade? I'm interested in:

Raymarine Wireless for Cruising Range
I like the idea that you don't need to wire anything, so one thing less to check for corroded connections or bad wires.. Also easy to change the position of the instrument if needed as no wires. However, I've heard that people have not been happy with the reliability of these, so if that's the case I'm not so sure anymore.


Another Raymarine range I'm interested in is the:

Raymarine i60 Instrument Displays
I like the appearance these have but to see close-hauled wind information I would need a separate display, as opposed to the wireless where I could have both normal and close-hauled wind info in one unit. Do cruising members find the close-hauled wind info generally useful? Or is this something only racers would really need? What are your opinions?

The wireless range is more expensive. Also, the wireless wind display to me looks like not as clear and easy to read as opposed to the i60 range. Anyone used both systems and can tell their experience? Is the wireless display as easy to read as the i60?

Anyone can recommend another manufactures besides Raymarine?


I should probably also mention that with GPS chartplotters I really like the HDS Gen2 Touch - LOWRANCE | Marine Electronics
range, especially the HDS-12 as I plan to do diving trips and it would be great to see the bottom with the structure scan for some nice diving spots.
However, with electronics from different manufacturers would they work seamlessly together or could I expect problems?
When building my electronics system is there some strict rules I should adhere to? For example use only one manufacturer's instruments? Or is this no longer an issue today?
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Old 04-03-2013, 06:54   #2
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Re: New Wind Instruments & electronics in general

On the wind front, I like Silva Nexus best, and I got much impressed by the g corrected ultrasonic unit (Airmar probably, but where I used one it was linked to a Furuno instrument).

I like the new display from Ray too - I think it is branded i70 (color, AIS capable).

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Old 04-03-2013, 07:10   #3
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Re: New Wind Instruments & electronics in general

I believe the Raymarine Wireless is based on the Tacktick wireless units. Not sure if Raymarine has re-engineered but 5 years ago I installed the sail package by Tacktick. I found the wind unit was totally unreliable. I moved the hull transmitter hoping the reliability would improve. Last year I replaced the Tacktick units with a B&G wired instruments.

If you get serious at the Raymarine Wireless check forums for how well these units work. I would verify the maximum range.

Good luck with decision.
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Old 05-03-2013, 19:34   #4
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Re: New Wind Instruments & electronics in general

Thanks for your posts barnakiel and wgh52, and pardon me about posting something that has been discussed many times before (I suppose), but I've found that when actually writing and thinking and discussing about the subject it helps myself more in getting my thoughts together. And with expensive purchases I'd very much like to avoid hasty decisions..

I'm starting to lean towards the Raymarine i60 Instrument Displays range as I feel these would offer the least potential of problems after all. And I do like the visual appearance. Although they do have wires.

Another thing I realized; I do like to always see the depth continuously on one designated instrument, speed on another, and don't like to keep rolling displays on one instrument to check for other information, thus I am excluding the i70. At least for now.

Regarding compatibility, should I expect issues with the Raymarine i60 Instrument Displays and the HDS Gen2 Touch - LOWRANCE ?

Never had a chartplotter before so I really don't know what to expect...
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Old 06-03-2013, 06:10   #5
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Re: New Wind Instruments & electronics in general

I cannot say. I only interfaced earlier Ray instruments and they were always a headache - as if Ray did not want users to mix and match. Today, I believe, they all moved to new protocols.

Had good experience interfacing SH and Furuno toys.

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Old 06-03-2013, 06:50   #6
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Re: New Wind Instruments & electronics in general

You might not want to hear this but I think you are going the wrong way completely.

Your first choice should be to put in a NMEA 2000 network and demand that each piece of equipment you buy, regardless of brand, is fully compatible with that network and the other equipment connected to it.

This means you need the new generation gear. We're talking sensors and displays separately.

There is a lot of choice but some choices are no-brainers:

0. Maretron cabling system, using their free design software.
1. Wind instrument: Maretron WSO-100 ultrasonic
2. GPS: Maretron GPS-200
3. Compass: Maretron SSC-200
4. Depth/speed/temp triducer: Maretron DST-110

The triducer is made by Airmar actually and you could buy it direct from them as well. Almost every brand gets their transducers from Airmar.

0. There will be other brands that are good for cabling components but Maretron is as good as it gets. They have the 4-port hubs, T's and pre-made cables in about any length, plus the parts to make them yourself. The free software is another big reason to go with Maretron; it assures you trouble free operation, documents your system and simplifies getting the needed parts.

1. Wind: The WSO-100 has no moving parts, is affordable compared to old tech, has air temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction. No more damage from birds!

2. GPS: high speed updates, plenty channels, very quick to aquire lock, always keeps lock, cheap.

3. Expensive like any good compass. But you don't need to buy the Simrad compass for the autopilot anymore. This compass also has sensors for roll (heel) and pitch.

4. Three sensors in one thru-hull fitting. Just hook up to the network cable and done, perfect.

This doesn't give you a single display yet. But that choice is easy as all the new ones will work. You need the multi-function LCD with N2K connection. Many disguise the name of that connection by calling it CANbus, SeaTalkNG, SimNet etc. but it is all just NMEA-2000 and work fine. Some popular brands: Garmin, Furuno, B&G, Raymarine, Maretron. Some, like the Raymarine, can even display AIS targets.

If you want to connect a computer: the Actisense adapter is best choice for that.

I think all modern chartplotters support the NMEA-2000 network. Basically, you make a choice for which radar you get later, if at all. I think all the new plotters are good so just check which charts are good for your area and which plotters support those charts. I would prefer Furuno, B&G or Garmin over Raymarine.
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:22   #7
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Re: New Wind Instruments & electronics in general

Or you could wait a few more years until they come out with nmea wireless instruments
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Old 06-03-2013, 08:41   #8
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Re: New Wind Instruments & electronics in general

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
You might not want to hear this but I think you are going the wrong way completely.

Your first choice should be to put in a NMEA 2000 network and demand that each piece of equipment you buy, regardless of brand, is fully compatible with that network and the other equipment connected to it.

This means you need the new generation gear. We're talking sensors and displays separately.

There is a lot of choice but some choices are no-brainers:

0. Maretron cabling system, using their free design software.
1. Wind instrument: Maretron WSO-100 ultrasonic
2. GPS: Maretron GPS-200
3. Compass: Maretron SSC-200
4. Depth/speed/temp triducer: Maretron DST-110

The triducer is made by Airmar actually and you could buy it direct from them as well. Almost every brand gets their transducers from Airmar.

0. There will be other brands that are good for cabling components but Maretron is as good as it gets. They have the 4-port hubs, T's and pre-made cables in about any length, plus the parts to make them yourself. The free software is another big reason to go with Maretron; it assures you trouble free operation, documents your system and simplifies getting the needed parts.

1. Wind: The WSO-100 has no moving parts, is affordable compared to old tech, has air temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction. No more damage from birds!

2. GPS: high speed updates, plenty channels, very quick to aquire lock, always keeps lock, cheap.

3. Expensive like any good compass. But you don't need to buy the Simrad compass for the autopilot anymore. This compass also has sensors for roll (heel) and pitch.

4. Three sensors in one thru-hull fitting. Just hook up to the network cable and done, perfect.

This doesn't give you a single display yet. But that choice is easy as all the new ones will work. You need the multi-function LCD with N2K connection. Many disguise the name of that connection by calling it CANbus, SeaTalkNG, SimNet etc. but it is all just NMEA-2000 and work fine. Some popular brands: Garmin, Furuno, B&G, Raymarine, Maretron. Some, like the Raymarine, can even display AIS targets.

If you want to connect a computer: the Actisense adapter is best choice for that.

I think all modern chartplotters support the NMEA-2000 network. Basically, you make a choice for which radar you get later, if at all. I think all the new plotters are good so just check which charts are good for your area and which plotters support those charts. I would prefer Furuno, B&G or Garmin over Raymarine.
What he said

If you're replacing everything anyway, then by all means don't miss your chance to switch over completely to N2K. You'll be really glad you did. Besides extremely simple wiring and better integration, you also get much greater compatibility between different brands. So you can put your network together and then choose any plotter and displays you want. Radar is still proprietary but that's just about all.

Unlike Nick, I have had good experiences with Raymarine and I like the new Raymarine plotters and, especially, the instrument displays. But you should look at all of them and choose what you like best. I went with B&G Zeus plotters and B&G Triton displays, which is all rebranded Simrad stuff. Simrad also make terrific autopilots, which I used. But I think all of the modern plotters are really good and I don't think you can really go wrong just choosing what looks best to you.

As to transducers, I violated the N2K rule with my log transducer. I really wanted very accurate STW data so chose the Airmar CS4500 ultrasonic log transducer, which is analogue and thus a PITA to integrate with an N2K network, but it was just one of those things -- I just had to have it. But the rest of my system is all N2K. Like Nick (and based partially on his advice) I chose a Maretron WSO100 ultrasonic wind sensor, and my network equipment is all Maretron (which is overpriced in my opinion, especially the DSM250 system monitor). I chose the Airmar compass H2183, which is more accurate than the Maretron (it is compensated in three axes); unfortunately it is quite expensive. But really accurate heading data is important for good autopilot performance and usable MARPA performance.


As to close-hauled wind -- I wouldn't be without it. My old instruments included an ST60 regular wind display plus an ST60 close hauled wind display. All the new displays can be set to provide digital wind angle (and the Triton displays show True and Apparent simultaneously) which serves the same purpose. Many people think the Tritons are the best modern wind displays, but I must say I think the new Raymarine wind displays are just as good. They are all a fantastic bargain compared to the old equipment -- a modern instrument display is less than $500 in the U.S. and will do everything -- they are micro computers with monitors in fact -- compared to the old displays which could only show one kind of data in only one kind of way. The new displays can even be used as autopilot control heads. I bought five (5) Triton displays, and will have one at the helm, one at the nav table, and three on the scuttle, to display all kinds of network data plus control my autopilot.

Good luck and let us know how you get on. Look through the archives -- lots of other CFers have been through this same thing and have shared lots of valuable experience.
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Old 06-03-2013, 13:22   #9
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Re: New Wind Instruments & electronics in general

The newest software update for the Triton display adds a close hauled graphic page similar to the regular wind display (you can actually switch between that and the regular wind display with a button push). It also adds a more usable and normal wind speed/direction histogram display, along with some other goodies.

The B&G Tritons are not rebranded Simrad units - it's the other way around. Don't know about the Zeus.

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Old 07-03-2013, 04:38   #10
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Re: New Wind Instruments & electronics in general

Wow, so much information.. I think I'll need some time digesting all this... Thanks guys!
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