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Old 05-03-2017, 17:31   #1
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Radar, ais, chart plotter, wifi, multi-function display packages

Looking for inputs on good packages for a cruising sail boat...anyone bought and installed a package recently?? Thanks
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Old 05-03-2017, 17:52   #2
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Re: Radar, ais, chart plotter, wifi, multi-function display packages

Last year after much research we upgraded our electronics on our 12 metre catamaran. We opted for the latest B and G package of the 9 inch MFD, autopilot and wind instruments which have been intergrated with AIS.
The units are very easy to use and program. Manual come with units unlike the Raymarine units where you have to download the manuals. The system is connected via a NMEA 2000 backbone. To date I am extremely happy with the units performance. We will ultimatley hook up the B and G 4G broadband radar which will be a relatively easy job hooking into the existing system. Value for money was very good but its ease of use was the deal winner for us.


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Old 05-03-2017, 18:44   #3
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Re: Radar, ais, chart plotter, wifi, multi-function display packages

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Originally Posted by gbillman View Post
Looking for inputs on good packages for a cruising sail boat...anyone bought and installed a package recently?? Thanks
Went Garmin, 7612 chartplotter, Fantom 18" solid state radome, VHF 300, AIS 600, Jefa autopilot mechanism. has built in wifi so you can see/control from any phone/tablet. The boat in line before mine went B&G and had some challenges, something about < 12v causing hicuups or shutdown, seems crazy since every boat has dropping voltage and it better keep running. Maybe they fixed it. I decided to skip the SiriusXM weather for now. Wilson cell booster w/ mast top antenna. The builder says he gets great support from Garmin, so he likes that set up.
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Old 05-03-2017, 19:54   #4
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Re: Radar, ais, chart plotter, wifi, multi-function display packages

I'm not familiar with the various hardware options in the maritime hardware, but I strongly urge anyone using their boat in a marina or otherwise densely populated area to migrate toward 5ghz wifi. The 2.4ghz channels are heavily overlapped and it doesn't take much noise to render it unusable. 5ghz does not overlap, there are more channels, and the total range is a bit shorter so your devices won't be as affected by neighbors.
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Old 05-03-2017, 23:33   #5
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Re: Radar, ais, chart plotter, wifi, multi-function display packages

We love our RayMarine system totally integrated and worked for us really well over the past 14 years with 9 years as full time liveaboard cruisers with a bunch of miles. we did put a ACR ais on via nema - but love the system
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Old 06-03-2017, 02:21   #6
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Re: Radar, ais, chart plotter, wifi, multi-function display packages

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Went Garmin, 7612 chartplotter, Fantom 18" solid state radome, VHF 300, AIS 600, Jefa autopilot mechanism. has built in wifi so you can see/control from any phone/tablet. The boat in line before mine went B&G and had some challenges, something about < 12v causing hicuups or shutdown, seems crazy since every boat has dropping voltage and it better keep running. Maybe they fixed it. I decided to skip the SiriusXM weather for now. Wilson cell booster w/ mast top antenna. The builder says he gets great support from Garmin, so he likes that set up.
Years ago I installed a small inline motor cycle size batter for the instruments. This batt would keep the instruments purring for a while after the main voltage dropped. At least that was the theory.

When I beefed up the mains and charging it became unnecessary...batts just don't ever go south of 12v now.
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Old 06-03-2017, 10:56   #7
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Re: Radar, ais, chart plotter, wifi, multi-function display packages

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Looking for inputs on good packages for a cruising sail boat...anyone bought and installed a package recently?? Thanks
There are really only three integrated packages to pick from: B&G, Gamin and Ray. From each of these brands, you can purchase pretty much the entire system. They all perform the basics equally well. Personally, I feel B&G is better at some specific sailing performance items (like displaying target boat speed, target apparent wind angle, velocity-made-good, etc.). This comes from their racing background and this is why I went with them. If this doesn't matter to you, play around with each MFD to see which you like the best or is easiest for you to use, as that's the biggest difference.

- I am pretty sure each brand uses the same Airmar speed/depth/temperature transducer.

- The wind sensors that come with each are equally capable.

- AIS is something that can easily not be from the same maker as the MFD/chartplotter. Vespar, for example, is well respected and will integrate on any MFD/chartplotter.

- Wifi and radar, generally, have to be the same make as the MFD.

The industry is currently on a move to a new generation radar (Doppler functionality), and only a few are out (Furuno is the only one with a dome, Garmin has them for powerboats only, last I checked), but I bet all the makers will have their own soon enough. In any case, the radars they do have out now are great.

- Each brand has their own autopilot computer. The autopilot drives themselves are all interchangeable among brands. There might be performance differences between autopilots, but is just about impossible to determine which is better for your boat and the conditions you plan to sail in. Frankly, I think any well installed autopilot will work fine. Big emphases on the "well installed."

- As for the B&G bug mentioned below, I believe stores like this for any brand come down to installation issues. Perhaps a lemon MFD is produced from time to time, but it doesn't occur often and the company should replace it. Other system issues can pop up on first version MFDs/sensors/etc., as it can take awhile for bugs to be ironed out. Wish this wasn't the case, but it is what it is. This is why I was happy to install an "old" Zeus2 even though the Zeus3 has been announced. Will let others find and fix the bugs!

Just some thoughts off the top of my head, as I've given this a lot of thought recently. Enjoy.
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Old 09-03-2017, 06:57   #8
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Re: Radar, ais, chart plotter, wifi, multi-function display packages

Thanks to everyone who commented...great inputs! I ended up with the following: Raymarine e97 MFD, Raymarine Quantum wifi radar, Raymarine AIS650 (and 100 splitter)...now I get to start installing!
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Old 10-03-2017, 00:44   #9
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Re: Radar, ais, chart plotter, wifi, multi-function display packages

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Thanks to everyone who commented...great inputs! I ended up with the following: Raymarine e97 MFD, Raymarine Quantum wifi radar, Raymarine AIS650 (and 100 splitter)...now I get to start installing!
Good choice - our only recommendation would be skip the splitter and have a separate antenna for the ais - not that much more money - we believe that each antenna should be for one purpose only - but that is just us and others may disagree
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Old 10-03-2017, 08:10   #10
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Re: Radar, ais, chart plotter, wifi, multi-function display packages

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There are really only three integrated packages to pick from: B&G, Gamin and Ray.
Why wouldn't you include Furuno in that list?
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Old 10-03-2017, 08:55   #11
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Re: Radar, ais, chart plotter, wifi, multi-function display packages

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Why wouldn't you include Furuno in that list?
Sure, they could be on there.

I looked into it during my search, but it seems sailing is a mere after thought for them, which I understand. From what I remember, their depth and wind sensors are not native to NMEA 2000 and their MFD don't have a wifi option / remote control option (both small complaints, I know). I also couldn't find much info on how their autopilot performs for sailboats. And they were much more expensive (not a small complaint).

For a powerboat, I'm sure they are one of the top choices.
But for a sailboat just looking to cruise around? Eh. Too bad, too. If they were a bit more interested, I'm sure they could be great. A lot of folks would probably pick their system because of the radar.

Just my thought process, which I was asked (sort of) to provide.
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Old 10-03-2017, 09:52   #12
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Re: Radar, ais, chart plotter, wifi, multi-function display packages

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Sure, they could be on there.

I looked into it during my search, but it seems sailing is a mere after thought for them, which I understand. From what I remember, their depth and wind sensors are not native to NMEA 2000 and their MFD don't have a wifi option / remote control option (both small complaints, I know). I also couldn't find much info on how their autopilot performs for sailboats. And they were much more expensive (not a small complaint).

For a powerboat, I'm sure they are one of the top choices.
But for a sailboat just looking to cruise around? Eh. Too bad, too. If they were a bit more interested, I'm sure they could be great. A lot of folks would probably pick their system because of the radar.

Just my thought process, which I was asked (sort of) to provide.
I can't speak to the sailing features since I have a (gasp) power boat. But the furuno gear is top notch. They definitely have N2K sounders, just like all the other vendors, mostly because Airmar makes them for everyone and they are all pretty much the same. The same is true for wind, though pretty much any wind device will work with anything.

Also, the TZT2 chart plotters have wifi, and apps for remote viewing.

The Auto Pilots are excellent, but I again can't speak to sailing specific features. But I seem to recall they do have them, just not sure exactly what.

Cost is competitive too.

Anyway, it's good gear and I don't think should be ruled out categorically. In a lot of segments they are clearly preferred because the equipment is more trouble-free than other brands, and Furuno supports it for a long life cycle where other vendors stop supporting products not long after a new model comes out.
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Old 10-03-2017, 10:42   #13
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Re: Radar, ais, chart plotter, wifi, multi-function display packages

I've never been a fan of Raymarine, largely because I find the UX of their chart plotters to be confounding. The mark of a good UX is that you don't even need the manual to accomplish 90% of the functions, and Garmin has always led on that front. B&G has come on strong in that department and the addition of their SailSteer functionality puts them out front for cruising boats, in my opinion.

Another benefit of B&G is that they are now part of Navico, along with Simrad and Lowrence. From my experience all of the products across the three companies are now interchangeable (no great feat given N2K, but at least they are running with it) which gives you tremendous flexibility in piecing together a system to meet your specific needs. I will say the B&G Triton instrument package is pretty amazing, with the ability to customize endless pages of information to exactly what you want.

gbillman, I hope you spent some time actually playing with the hardware, particularly MFDs and instrument displays, from the various vendors. You can read specs and data sheets until you're blue in the face and they can all add up to hill of beans if you can't easily use the system and configure it for the things you need it to do. Just sayin' before you get to a point where you can't take stuff back.
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Old 10-03-2017, 10:54   #14
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Re: Radar, ais, chart plotter, wifi, multi-function display packages

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The same is true for wind, though pretty much any wind device will work with anything.
Yes, any N2K compliant wind anemometer will work, but the question is what the system does with that info. There is a wide spectrum of data presentation in various vendors from simple numbers all the way through SailSteer, which calculates lay lines, TTM while tacking, etc. As a sailor, that is all extremely useful information. To the fisherman, it's useless.

Instrument displays:





MFD:





Raymarine does have improved wind info but it's not quite as complete as B&G:



Of course, all of these MFDs let you configure pages with different data to some extent, but they generally pull from preset templates.
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Old 11-03-2017, 08:46   #15
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Re: Radar, ais, chart plotter, wifi, multi-function display packages

I'm following this thread with interest. My Chartplotter, Radar, Autopilot, etc. are getting old and I want to do an upgrade as well. I've been using Navionics a lot on my iPhone and iPad. Have you tried this application? Some of the new Chartplotters have a Wi-Fi repeater capability which is kind of cool.
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