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Old 21-06-2009, 15:07   #1
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Raymarine RADAR/AIS Question

Am I the only person thoroughly confused by the various generations of chartplotters and radars, and their interoperability?

Our boat has got an RL80 CRC and an RL70CRC, and a 4kW radar dome, all installed by the previous owner about 4 years ago.

I would be perfectly happy with this (you can't keep upgrading every time a new generation comes out, or you'll go broke quicker than General Motors), except that (a) the radome magnetron is on the fritz; and (b) this setup will not do AIS, which I would kind of like to have.

Here's the question: Can the RLx CRC units and the current "C" series and "E" series "talk" to each other, such that I could buy one current radome and one current "E" series MFD and leave one of the old MFD's in place (just not displaying AIS info), the heading sensor, and so forth?

I would kind of hate to replace the whole system, which will just be obsolete tomorrow anyway.
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Old 21-06-2009, 16:59   #2
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Ask Raymarine. They have a "question" sitein their support pages.
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Old 21-06-2009, 18:24   #3
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Sorry, No they cannot.
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Old 22-06-2009, 05:55   #4
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This is the problem with marine electronics - general lack of interoperability... even from one product to another within a company's line.

NMEA 0183 was supposed to allow all electronics to talk and listen, but the standard did not really take hold and the wiring was a pain. Then the offered NMEA 2000 which is a more sophisticated "daisy chain" approach to the network and that is having it's birth and growing pains. There is no industry standard connector for starters and that puts the kabosh on interoperability between brands unless you use 3rd party interface boxes.

And then of course some data is not on NMEA 2000, like radar. The NASA class C AIS I had worked on NMEA 0183 at 38,400 baud and the other instruments at the slower 4,000 and the ray could only deal with one baud rate so I needed a Brookhouse MUX and a Ray data interface 8501 which sorted things out. YIKES this was a rat's nest of wires and hell to figure out.

Here is a photo of my NMEA 0183 wiring. It connects an AIS, Ray C80, Sailcomp AC103, Horizon CP170 and Icom VHF and a rarely used Yeoman. The device at the lower left is a fuse block for the nav instuments. What a project... but it does work.
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Old 22-06-2009, 06:34   #5
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What a mess!

I hate to spend money on a magnetron for an obsolete radar, but if the alternative is tossing the whole system and starting over again -- I guess that's the only way to do it.

Concerning AIS -- I guess I could buy a freestanding system with separate monitor, or just feed the AIS received data into the laptop. It looks like it would be a lot simpler than trying to integrate the whole system -- DefJef's system looks like a nightmare, even with the AIS-ready MFD!

It looks to me like these systems are not really ready for prime time. Anything so Rube Goldberg has got to be prone to glitches, crashes, and outright failure, and these are not systems you want to go poof on you just when you need them. Who has a systems engineer with him at all times at sea?!

Probably better to have a few separate systems which are not dependent on one another, and maybe with some redundancy.
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Old 22-06-2009, 07:01   #6
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I agree with Dockhead and without a diagram and some help from Brookhouse I could not have made this work. No crashes. And there are stand alone devices which don't "need" to talk and listen.

I was smitten by the idea of the MFD when my Vigil radar went south and the company was out of biz. I bought the C80 and scanner and it was a stand alone radar for a while.

Then I decided to send the GPS output of my CP170 to the C80 and I bought some charts and had two plotters using the same antenna. I then decided to get a ray GPS antenna so I had redundancy and receive the NASA ais as a birthday gift. That's when things got complex and I needed the MUX and the Seatalk interface box. Once that was sorted out I connected the compass so I had both heading and COG on the C80.

I do like the radar overlays on the charts, but I am not a fan of the C80 as it's user interface sucks and I mostly use a hand held iQue3600 in the cockpit for chart reference since I single hand and can't be spending lots of time staring and playing with instruments down below. I typically punch in a waypoint which repeats to cockpit repeaters (both the KVH sail comp and a B&G NMEA repeater, for all the critical data - SOG, COG CTW, DTW, TTG and XTE.

Hopefully this system will work until the industry gets this data /network thing sorted out economically. YUCK
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Old 22-06-2009, 07:25   #7
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Ha, ha. I'm even lower-tech than you -- I rely most of all on a wrist-mounted jogger's GPS, which displays nothing but position, speed, heading, and bearing to a waypoint, and paper charts. I find I have much better situational awareness when I'm not staring down at a chart plotter.

But still, you can't fight technology, and one wants to get the benefit of technology to the extent possible. Radar overlaid on an electronic chart is definitely a great leap forward.

I guess the correct approach is to invest as little as possible while the industry gets its sh*t together. And use standalone/redundant systems where practical (AIS), and don't try to jump the gun integrating systems that just aren't properly integrated yet. On this subject, I found this excellent post on the Panbo blog:

I've had enough frustrations with mediocre proprietary firmware. I think its best to leave the hardware (sensors, antennas, transceivers, controls) to the hardware people and the software to the software people.
Most of the exciting stuff these days is happening with software that runs on a laptop or low-power desktop platform and is always being extended. Platforms like mini-itx may draw a little more power, but at least you're not forced to discard an entire proprietary MFD when you want to get the next release of the software. I've been screwed by Garmin enough times with their awful BlueChart DRM to never want to buy anything from them again.
GPSNavX, the Capn, Fugawi, Nobletec, Rose Point Coastal Explorer, etc, etc, are where it's at these days. (sorry if I left a few out) Eventually people will begin thinking twice before dropping $2k on a planned-obsolescence MFD. Companies like Garmin sure don't seem to care about this stuff piling up in landfills after the resale value has been needlessly obliterated.
The holy grail is going to be when someone gets an open source navigation/radar/AIS/sonar/NMEA2000 project under way. Wish I had more free time..

Posted by: Aaron at June 10, 2007 11:11 PM

Panbo: The Marine Electronics Weblog: Garmin NMEA 2000, not really!









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Originally Posted by defjef View Post
I agree with Dockhead and without a diagram and some help from Brookhouse I could not have made this work. No crashes. And there are stand alone devices which don't "need" to talk and listen.

I was smitten by the idea of the MFD when my Vigil radar went south and the company was out of biz. I bought the C80 and scanner and it was a stand alone radar for a while.

Then I decided to send the GPS output of my CP170 to the C80 and I bought some charts and had two plotters using the same antenna. I then decided to get a ray GPS antenna so I had redundancy and receive the NASA ais as a birthday gift. That's when things got complex and I needed the MUX and the Seatalk interface box. Once that was sorted out I connected the compass so I had both heading and COG on the C80.

I do like the radar overlays on the charts, but I am not a fan of the C80 as it's user interface sucks and I mostly use a hand held iQue3600 in the cockpit for chart reference since I single hand and can't be spending lots of time staring and playing with instruments down below. I typically punch in a waypoint which repeats to cockpit repeaters (both the KVH sail comp and a B&G NMEA repeater, for all the critical data - SOG, COG CTW, DTW, TTG and XTE.

Hopefully this system will work until the industry gets this data /network thing sorted out economically. YUCK
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Old 22-06-2009, 08:12   #8
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Continuing the thought -- laptop systems have the enormous advantage that you don't have to throw the hardware away everytime something is improved. And the hardware itself, being generic and thus produced for a billion purposes, is dirt cheap and good and a commodity.

So I'm thinking -- a laptop in a docking station under the nav table, fixed screen above the nav table, remote RF keyboard and mouse.

That will give electronic charts which are cheap and fully redundant to those in the chart plotters/MFD's.

Simrad standalone AIS with the screen at the helm. Feeding data into the laptop and overlaying it on the laptop's chart display.

AI50 | Simrad Yachting
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Old 22-06-2009, 08:22   #9
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I think you also have to take into consideration that marine electronics manufacturers who manufacture integrated systems, such as Raymarine or Furuno, have no financial incentive to make their electronics compatible with their competitors electronics. I think that waiting for any sort of standardization that would increase interoperability would be pointless.

I think the best that can be done is to buy the integrated system and then buy a very basic standalone backup system in case the integrated system fails. This though could be an expensive option.
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Old 22-06-2009, 08:35   #10
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When I connect my Milltech SR161 AIS receiver to my laptop it works fine but my Raymarine C80 won't recognize it.Apparently it is supposed to work.With only two wires to connect and a baud rate adjustment,it seems simple.What am I doing wrong?Can wires be shared with DSC VHF?(Different baud rate)
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Old 22-06-2009, 08:57   #11
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No they can't be shared. That's why you need something like an MUX which can handle both baud rates and sort out NMEA sentences... it's programmable (but beyond my pay scale).
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Old 22-06-2009, 09:05   #12
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Hiseas- we also use the SR161 connected to our C80 and laptop. A multiplexer (mux) is needed. Brookhouse (and maybe others) have a model designed for use with the C-series mfd's. Their weblink is here: NMEA Multiplexer with optional Seatalk-NMEA bridge + USB. If you check their Model AIS-C, they have some discussion regarding the C-series and AIS. Once it's all hooked up, it all works fine.

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Old 22-06-2009, 09:11   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David M View Post
I think you also have to take into consideration that marine electronics manufacturers who manufacture integrated systems, such as Raymarine or Furuno, have no financial incentive to make their electronics compatible with their competitors electronics. I think that waiting for any sort of standardization that would increase interoperability would be pointless.

I think the best that can be done is to buy the integrated system and then buy a very basic standalone backup system in case the integrated system fails. This though could be an expensive option.
Well, screw them. But that was not even the point of my complaint. They don't even make their components compatible with their OWN systems. If you want to change one element of the system, even using the same manufacturer, you have to change the entire system. That sucks.

I've got backup of everything anyway. I have several GPS receivers and I don't go anywhere without paper charts. I sailed for decades without chart plotters and do not feel dependent on them. The only thing not backed up is radar.

With a laptop system, if you get GPS data from a redundant source (which is not expensive or difficult), maybe heading data as well (more expensive and difficult but maybe worth it), you've got a fully redundant electronic chart system to your main chart plotter. I like that. I think I'll run AIS through a laptop without trying to integrate it with my chart plotter. The Simrad AIS device outputs NMEA 2000 data -- so there is some hope that some future chart plotter will be able to accept the data and overlay it, but no need to worry about it now.
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Old 22-06-2009, 09:38   #14
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Finally ,someone who answered my question.The guys at the "marine" store don't have a clue.No one had suggested I may need a multiplexer,although I thought I may.Would be nice to check targets(on deck), without turning on computer,although screen may get overcluttered in busy areas.I run my Garmin 76c through my laptop with sailcruiser and cmap as a backup to my C80.Yet another gps on the handheld vhf,I also carry paper backups for my entire cruise.
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Old 29-06-2009, 20:22   #15
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Highseas

We have the same Mux from Brookhouse and I am getting more and more things to actually talk to each other. The biggest bonus so far for me is the FURUNO radar, when in standby mode, is a repeater of information from the GPS (speed, course, next waypoint, time to go - etc - what ever you ask it to repeat) And large numbers for old eyes, too!

Radar, 161 AIS, laptop with FUGAWI, DSC radio, autohelm, coffee maker (nope - that one is on its own)

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