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Old 18-07-2017, 06:01   #1
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Raymarine Electronics Upgrade Advice?

I am hoping that some of you who are knowledgeable about Raymarine products can provide your thoughts and advice. I recently bought a 38 foot sailboat for coastal cruising with a suite of older Raymarine electronics.* I'm looking to upgrade to a modern GPS, at a minimum, while using as much of the current backbone as possible.*


Here is what I currently have:


- Raymarine RL70 radar/GPS/chartplotter at helm and chart table

- Raymarine ST70 wind

- Raymarine ST70 speed/depth/temp

- Raymarine Autohelm Autopilot ST6002 at helm (with control unit below)*


The radar and GPS both work, but the GPS is so old that it's essentially useless (to me anyway).* Right now everything is integrated (i.e., RL70 at helm shows GPS, radar, wind, speed, depth, and temp and talks to the autopilot).* But if it makes the upgrade easier, I'm fine having GPS/radar separate from speed/depth/temp/wind separate from autopilot.*


I am assuming I need to stay with Raymarine if I want to be able to keep the autopilot mechanism as-is.* If I could do it in stages and hold off on replacing the radar dome (on the mast) for an extra year, that would be great too. *


I've been looking at the Axiom series. If I went with Axiom, would I be able to get by with just getting two new GPS units (one at helm and one at chart table) and using SeaTalk connectors to convert the NMEA 0183 autopilot and radar dome?* Assuming it's possible to use the current radar dome, is it foolish not to upgrade the radar dome at the same time (setting aside the hassle of having to replace the dome on the mast and run new wires)? *


I would also like to install AIS in the coming years, in case that impacts your assessment.


Any thoughts and advice are appreciated.*
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Old 18-07-2017, 06:08   #2
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Re: Raymarine Electronics Upgrade Advice?

The only way to upgrade Raymarine is to switch it out for Garmin
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Old 18-07-2017, 06:33   #3
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Re: Raymarine Electronics Upgrade Advice?

That would actually be my preference! I prefer Garmin. But I fear that would require the replacement of more components and therefore more cost...
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Old 18-07-2017, 06:47   #4
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Re: Raymarine Electronics Upgrade Advice?

Electronics "upgrades" are a bitch. My "suite" of devices is aging... and in the old days most were stand alone and more recently could talk and listen with NMEA 183 of N2K.

Mixing and matching is not as seamless as the industry wants us to believe. When I get a B&G failure I will face installing a new system

Couple of years ago I bought a B&G T7 which I use stand alone on the cockpit... portable as it sits in a which under the dodger... no networking.

The speed and wind is B&G and that will need to be replaced at some point. My Ray C80 MFD displays radar and AIS and charts in the nav station... which in reality is no handy.

Look for the most reliable transducers that can talk to most any MFD. Look for 4x4 cockpit displays on probably an N2K network which can display the data you want to see.... add as many as you want. Getting the radar to the cockpit will require a fixed mount and more than a power cable. You don't need wind and speed data on the MFD, but with N2K it's probably a single network cable. My data is on 4x4's on the cockpit dash over the companionway.

I view my T7 from close range and don't need a large screen... I would never mount a plotter on the pedestal viewed from the helm. I very very rarely steer from the helm. I steer from the AP which is located at the forward end of the cockpit (near the T7) under the dodger.

You need to think how you sail and use the data from instruments.

Lately I use the smart phone and Navionics. I don't bother with waypoint libraries and route planning... a waste of time.

Make you instruments handy to how you sail.
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Old 18-07-2017, 07:04   #5
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Raymarine Electronics Upgrade Advice?

Your RL70 radar won't talk to the new digital MFD's. I've checked (have a Hunter 356 with 2003 electronics and below decks 6000 Raymarine Autopilot). You can reuse your autopilot and basic instruments but you will need new MFD and radar plus GPS is built into MFD these days. There is a black box to connect your Autopilot. You need new wiring for the new system plus some devices that let NEMA 183 talk to the new network.
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Old 18-07-2017, 07:22   #6
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Re: Raymarine Electronics Upgrade Advice?

Replacing transducers is as expensive as replacing/ getting new thru hulls. Staying with Ray Marine has the advantage of knowing the pin out necessary to get the 0183 into the more modern display units. If the auto pilot is adequate for your needs you can keep it.
The new display units will run Navionix which allows you to integrate tablet computers into your planning functions. Building routes allows you to create way points which can be accessed out of sequence as your position evolves as you sail. It's nice to be able to see your vmg toward a useful way point as you tack. Naturally, where you sail will drive many decisions and what you need to safely navigate. Ais can come thru the data function of your cell phone if your not going off shore. All you need is a USB power plug.
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Old 18-07-2017, 08:37   #7
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Re: Raymarine Electronics Upgrade Advice?

You should replace the plotters, radar, and GPS. They are hopelessly out of date, can't use modern charts, and can't do AIS at all. You will waste a lot of money trying to buy charts for the plotters, which are only small areas for the old RL plotters. The performance of the old Pathfinder radar is very poor compared to modern ones.

The good news is that it's not all that expensive. And you do NOT need to stick with Raymarine if you don't want to. The plotters will take data in NMEA0183 form, which your ST70's output (I think even without an adapter). You could buy a couple of 7" B&G Zeus plotters and a 4G radar for only a couple-three grand. One thing to watch out for, however, is pulling the radar cable -- might require having the mast out.

Your wind, depth, speed, and pilot can all stay if they work. All that gear is quite usable. You might miss interfacing the pilot with the plotter for nav mode. So it's a simple upgrade, not that expensive, to a Simrad pilot computer and some control device -- like a Triton. Or analogous from Raymarine, Garmin, etc.

One thing I highly recommend upgrading is GPS and fluxgate compass -- they are not that expensive and the modern ones are far better. The Simrad GS25 (for example) only costs $200 and is just incomparable to old GPS receivers -- it gets Russian GLONASS and European Galileo satellites as well as GPS, uses all the differential high accuracy systems, and will give you rapidly updated position with accuracy of usually around 2 meters.

The compass is key to autopilot performance. I used to have a pilot like yours and it was fine. I use an Airmar H2183 which has a three-axis gyro in it -- greatly improves pilot performance and radar overlay. I bought this four years ago -- there might be something better out now, so you should do your own shopping.

Add an AIS black box, and you will have AIS data on both plotters and generally available on the network.

The new gear is hooked up by NMEA2000 networking, which is extremely simple to install. You can grow the network as you later add modern devices. Meanwhile the old stuff can interface with the new network via the plotter via the plotter's NMEA0183 listener port.

Later you can change out depth, speed, and wind for modern NMEA2000 devices, and they will hook right up.

Good luck and let us know how you get on.
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Old 18-07-2017, 09:17   #8
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Re: Raymarine Electronics Upgrade Advice?

Check the Vesper, reads NMEA 0183 and 2k, as well as Seatalk, and have its own GPS for the network. From there you can go on with an I-pod/android on the build-in WiFi including AIS
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Old 18-07-2017, 09:47   #9
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Re: Raymarine Electronics Upgrade Advice?

I just last year went through an electronics upgrade but stopped short of the NMEA 2000/ SEATALKng business. I added a Standard Marine Matrix VHF that has an AIS receiver built in (NMEA 0183 HS output), and two Garmin SV chart plotters (94 and 74). The 94 is down below configured for north up (ease of entering waypoints) connected to the Raymarine X-5 via standard Sea Talk. The 74 sits on top of my Navpod at the helm configured for course up and displaying AIS contacts. Still using the Pathfinder Radar (Raymarine tech told me to keep her going as long as possible as the new generation are inferior). It all talks to one another, two GPS receivers down below (Matrix VHF and Garmin) which work fine and get you out of those pesky rail mounted GPS antennas.

Could not be happier and all I worry about now is keeping Zeus away from screwing up this fine set up (a work in progress). Not interested in NMEA 2000 and I have a MS in Electronics Engineering and 53 years experience so not intimated by electronics. The Raymarine X series have the rate sensors in the autopilots (a big step fwd) rest is just advertising fluff IMO.
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Old 18-07-2017, 10:02   #10
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Re: Raymarine Electronics Upgrade Advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
The only way to upgrade Raymarine is to switch it out for Garmin
Now that's an opinionated statement if I ever heard one!

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Old 18-07-2017, 10:06   #11
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Re: Raymarine Electronics Upgrade Advice?

It looks like everything you have except the radar will interface with a new Raymarine plotter. The new Raymarine plotters now have an internal GPS.
It is probably time for a new digital radar anyway.

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Old 18-07-2017, 10:10   #12
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Re: Raymarine Electronics Upgrade Advice?

If you are interested, I just sold one of my boats, and kept few of the electronics. I have a Raymarine C120W (wide) mfd with built in GPS and Navionics charts. It is a very good plotter and I like it. It will couple to your st70 wind and speed and your autopilot. It will accept Raymarines digital radar thru seatalk hs, also seatalk ng. I am selling it for $1000

I also have an st70 autopilot control head for sale for $200 that will work fine with your autopilot.

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Old 18-07-2017, 10:54   #13
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Re: Raymarine Electronics Upgrade Advice?

Am going through a similar upgrade, old Raymarine AP, speed, depth and radar to new.

Agree that you just need to go new radar and plotter. I like the Garmin and Navico (B&G and Simrad parent company) gear. The good news, Raymarine makes adapters, converters, cables and such to interface their Seatalk (the old system) and SeatalkNG (the latest version that is almost the same as NMEA2000 but not exactly) to NMEA2000. Ray also has a forum that gives pretty good tech support for any Raymarine questions.

If it's in good condition and has enough power you can keep the AP drive unit. It will work directly with any new AP computer and control head.

This has been my first experience with NMEA2000 equipment and I am very impressed with the true plug and play compatibility. I have a Garmin plotter and a Simrad AP with compass, rudder indicator, etc. I connected the Garmin to the Simrad NMEA backbone with all standard cables and they all immediately recognized each other and work together seamlessly.
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Old 18-07-2017, 12:20   #14
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Re: Raymarine Electronics Upgrade Advice?

Right on!!
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Old 18-07-2017, 12:21   #15
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Re: Raymarine Electronics Upgrade Advice?

Some good advice here. You should definitely start with the MFD/radar/GPS package (from pretty much any vendor). You need not change out the old transducers if cost is a concern; Raymarine makes an adapter that takes the old analog transducer outputs and converts them to SeaTalkng (NMEA 2000), which will then work with any modern MFD. I put one of these in a friend's boat - it was a really slick solution. BTW most of the speed and depth transducers are made by Airmar, so you needn't have Raymarine transducers to use the converter. Down the road, perhaps at the next haulout, you can install "smart" transducers and an N2K bus if you like, but as long as the current ones work there isn't a need.

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