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Old 11-10-2012, 21:34   #1
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Older Furuno Radar...Yes or No?

I was offered an older, working, complete Furuno Radar system (CRT, circa 1996) for a few hundred bucks, and was wondering if it was worth it.

I don't have the bucks for a new, or newer system, so that's out of the question. It would have to be an older system or none at all.

We plan on cruising around the Maine area during the summer months, and thought it might be a good idea to have one there, but buying a radar all depends on our small budget.

So, is an old unit worth getting or not?

Thanks!

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Old 12-10-2012, 00:28   #2
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Re: Older Furuno Radar...Yes or No?

Some of these old units were very good.
However, they it will have high power consumption. Radar is also difficult to fit and that's a lot of effort wasted if the unit breaks shortly after installation. The magnetron seems to have a finite life.
On a small boat consider the stability effects the weight of the scanner will impose.
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:32   #3
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Re: Older Furuno Radar...Yes or No?

On a 22 footer, radar is significantly less trivial an installation for the reasons Noelex listed. Weight aloft, the significant power drain (which is being supplied how?) and the space required are significant barriers.

On the other hand, the foggy coast of Maine is probably one of the best place to have radar, not only to "see" buoys, rocks, coasts and working boats, but to be seen. With a mast of what...30 feet?...you are a very small target. Actively "pinging" with a 2 KW radar (I'm assuming that's the size), you look much bigger and are more visible.

So maybe with a stern pole and some kind of charge source (a Honda 2000?) and sufficient battery capacity, put where I have no idea, you can justify the purchase and installation of a decent radar. I have to wonder if a Class B AIS would be a better purchase, as it would make you visible to larger shipping. The buoys and smaller fishing boats you'd have to acquire via sharp eyes at the bow.
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:52   #4
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Re: Older Furuno Radar...Yes or No?

I replaced my old 20 year old furuno unit several years ago with the new furuno. I think the CRT unit was more accurate than the digital unit, but I know that is not the case. It gives the apprearance of being more accurate since the CRT was mounted in the campionway and I had to leave the helm to view and now the new unit is in a pod at the helm. A boat appearing to be abeam in the new unit was in the old unit aft of the beam or so it seems. I just have to remember that the pole is at the stern and all indications are at the end of the boat rather than at the middle. The old unit was not that sensitive in that I took a few seconds to leave the helm and view things.
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:51   #5
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Re: Older Furuno Radar...Yes or No?

Radar is always a good idea, but as mentioned, the power draw on some of the older radar units is very large, up to 15 amps per hour.

Do you have the batery power to run it?
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Old 12-10-2012, 15:23   #6
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Re: Older Furuno Radar...Yes or No?

It would help if you told us which model Furuno you are considering.

FWIW, the older model 1720 (nominal 1.5 kw) with CRT display drew 36 watts transmitting, while the new LCD display model 1715 (nominal 2.2 kw) that I am just now installing draws 38 watts. That's actually two watts MORE than the older one!

We have owned two 1720's over the years. They both gave useful performance and were very good to have on board. I'm sure that the newer HD/digital ones have somewhat better specs, and allow overlaying their outputs on chartplotters, etc but they are pretty dear to buy. We have chosen to replace our now defunct 1720 with a 1715 which is (I think) very similar basics with an LCD display and a few more pretty unnecessary bells/whistles.

As others have said, in bad visibility ANY radar is a big improvement over NO radar!

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 12-10-2012, 16:53   #7
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Re: Older Furuno Radar...Yes or No?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
It would help if you told us which model Furuno you are considering.
I believe he said it was a 1731. The specs call for something like 45W and 25W on stand-by.

I am still working on getting the boat back together, so I haven't got the whole electrical system worked out yet. I will have a couple of 100-140W solar panels, and a generator. I'm going to have 4 batteries to power the electrical system. Just an outboard for power, no inboard engine, so lots of storage room there!

I'm a bit concerned about having between 15 and 20 pounds sitting on a pole 6' above the transom though.
That plus the reliability of a unit from '96. I don't want to waste money that could be better spent on something else for the boat.

Thanks again for all your advice!
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Old 12-10-2012, 20:41   #8
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Re: Older Furuno Radar...Yes or No?

Well, that 1731 is a 4 kw unit, and a nice one at that! The extra power gives more range of course and perhaps more importantly to us small boat guys, better ability to punch through rain. The larger diameter antenna gives better horizontal resolution as well as increasing the gain (longer range for a given power). All good things...

The power usage difference (about 20 watts greater) can be a detriment, especially on a small boat with limited batteries and generating power. However, one does not typically leave the radar running 24/7 or anywhere near that. In nasty conditions, if you need radar for safety, you could leave the engine ticking over to keep up with energy demands.

The weight of the scanner up on a pole may be an issue on a smaller boat, especially if she is tender by nature. I don't know a thing about your Westerly so can't help there.

Finally, if the radar has a "time in use" feature as many do, you can get some sort of idea about magnetron viability. If it has upward of a thousand transmit hours it could be nearing its use-by date... but that is a lot of hours for a pleasure boat. If it came from a commercial boat, lots of hours can be accumulated quickly. The rest of the circuitry is like most electronics -- no way of estimating it's reliability. A quick look inside to check for signs of corrosion or water intrusion might be of use.

Hope that this has helped, mate!

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 12-10-2012, 21:40   #9
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Re: Older Furuno Radar...Yes or No?

I have a crummy old furuno that draws maybe 3 amps or so; really not that bad. I turn it on at night or whenever in reduced visibility. It has a power saving mode that only spins every now and again, and it uses even less power then.

Good for land approaches as well. If it sees a cliff, there's a friggin cliff. Also good for finding racon buoys.
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