Originally Posted by zengirl
Ok Tanglewood, what brand did you go with? Thanks
As SaltyHog said, I ended up with mostly Furuno. But a key part of the new systems is that it does not include any MFD or BlackBox chart plotter. Those devices create most of the one-vendor lock-in that quickly becomes a problem when one device turns out to be a dud. In my case with my previous Simrad gear
, there were problems everywhere, but the one that I simply couldn't live with was the essentially useless MARP function in their radars (both 4G and 10KW pulse radar). To change out the radar
, I had to dump pretty much everything. In hind sight, it was fortunate that I had to dump it all, but my new goal was to not have such lock-in going forward. Instead, I picked best-of breed component devices, and integrated them using standard interfaces. So I have two radars, both of which show their ARPA targets on my Coastal Explorer charting system. If I want to upgrade or change out a radar unit, it has no ripple effect to other systems. I've run several thousand miles on this setup now and really like it a lot.
As for brands, I generally discourage people from getting too gaga over any brand. This stuff changes fast enough that I really think each offering needs to be looked at with a fresh eye. For example, I think Furuno radars are superb, but I really don't like their chart plotters. A number of years ago people swore to me that I should get a Fununo chart plotter, so I built a NavNet3D system. It was very problematic, and what I ultimately realized is that all the love I heard for Furuno chart plotters were coming from VX2 users, and Furuno had made a fundamental change by partnering with MaxSea
to create the NN3D plotters. To me, it was a huge step in the wrong direction and has left me uninterested in Furuno plotters.
I've had great success with Simrad
pilots in the past, but had a lot of integration problems the second time around with no resolution from Simrad, so I tried a Furuno pilot. The furuno pilot could also be built as two completely redundant systems which is something I wanted, but I realize that doesn't matter to many people. It actually works very well. But Simrad does a much better job of integrating Follow up levers into the system - sort of, because that's where a bunch of the integration bugs were....
Anyway, I think the message is look closely at what you need and care about, then seek out products that fit that need. Then do a lot of research
to see how successful other customers are with those products, and how well the company supports them. All products will have some level of issues, so the company's support is hugely important. I'd give Simrad support an "F" based on my experience, and I'd give Furuno an "A". That's a big sway factor for me.
OK, with all that preamble out of the way, I ended up with two Furuno radars, an 1835 4KW dome, and a FAR2117 12kw open array. The pilot is a Furuno NavPilot 700, and the fish
finder is a Furuno FCV627. Sat compass
is a HemishereGPS V102, rate compass
is Maretron, secondary GPS
is a Furuno. Charting is with Coastal Explorer, and AIS
is a ComNav class A. Everything is integrated with a combination of NMEA 2000
and NMEA 0183
. It's a lot of Furuno gear, but not all of it. Things were picked based on being the best fit for it's intended use. I'm very, very happy with the results.