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Old 24-12-2014, 18:40   #1
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SimRad/B&G/Lowrance GoFree experiences?

"Santa" brought our boat a lovely B&G Touch 7 MFD/chartplotter complete with a GoFree wireless interface for Christmas. The GoFree unit will allow us to remotely control many functions of the Touch7 using an iPad or Android tablet. I haven't used a system like this before and am not quite sure what to expect out of it. Our current basic chartplotter is mounted at the helm on a RAM mount which is a fantastic solution as it allows the unit to swivel for viewing from anywhere within the cockpit. This is in contrast to our radar display which is located at the nav station and is all but useless when at the helm.

Now here's the crunch. To mount the Touch 7 at the nav station will be super easy (in a working-on-the-boat context!), whereas mounting at the helm will require sawing, drilling to cater for the additional cables and some semi-serious cable routing, along with the purchase of some rather expensive extension cables. So this has got me thinking - should I mount the T7 MFD at the nav station and RAM mount a tablet to the helm (I'm thinking of something like a water resistant Sony Xperia for this)?

Pros would not only be the easier installation of the T7, but also it will be weather protected and less exposed to sticky fingered passerby's when the boat is unattended / easier to remove when not in use. Cons could be general usability of the GoFree system (which is my primary question) and other things like the quality of tablet displays in sunlight and the increase in power consumption with such a system.

With the above in mind, can anyone toss in an opinion or experience in using the GoFree system to control a MFD remotely with a tablet in a similar configuration?

Cheers and Merry Christmas to all. Jeff.

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Old 24-12-2014, 22:33   #2
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Re: SimRad/B&G/Lowrance GoFree experiences?

If it were me I'd mount it in the cockpit. We have a simrad plotter in the cockpit and nav station, with gofree. The gofree on the iPad is a cool thing. But it is not as quick or fully functional as the plotter itself. Plus the iPad is not waterproof and must be touched every now and then to keep it burning bright and then it can't be used by others. The gofree is also another thing to have turned on (if power consumption is an issue).

I think the extra hassle of the cockpit instal would be worth the long term benefit.

It might be worth it to try it below (wire it only without cutting holes) first to see if the gofree option would work. Also would be a chance to test whether the inbuilt gps antenna (if it has one) works below decks or if you must mount it above (or use an external antenna).

Good luck

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Old 25-12-2014, 00:11   #3
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Thanks. We have an internal antenna gps already down below that works fine. I agree if the auto sleep of a tablet can't be disabled then all bets are off.
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Old 01-01-2015, 06:36   #4
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Re: SimRad/B&G/Lowrance GoFree experiences?

I will be getting GoFree soon. It is stated that you will not be able to control the Autopilot from the iPad or tablet for safety reasons, only from the MFD.
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Old 01-01-2015, 08:23   #5
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Re: SimRad/B&G/Lowrance GoFree experiences?

I just upgraded my entire electronics system from a Raymarine E120 Classic to the B&G system. I will be mounting one 12 inch display under the dodger, three feet forward of the helm, but in the "foxhole" where I will mostly be crouched while sailing under autopilot, when conditions warrant such protective responses. A second display will be down below at the nav table. The GoFree will forward the screen images to a tablet in the overhead above my berth, a modern day version of the telltale compass.
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enc, simrad

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