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Old 11-05-2013, 08:12   #46
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I think the masses assume that a 4kW pulse radar consumes heaps of energy because it is four kilowatts, 4,000 Watts and think about consumed power instead.

In normal use there is no difference in power draw that anybody might notice. All those reports are "feel good" reports without any actual measurements and/or comparisons done.
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:29   #47
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Re: Simrad Radar & Plotters

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
I'm not knocking 3/4G - it is a valid choice, but I don't see the huge advantages (or any at all) over the other choices out there. And it does seem that Simrad has thrown huge marketing misinformation and confusion into all of this. I have yet to see a comparison of radars in a manner that matches actual navigation usage - not even Panbo (who seems to think navigational use of his radar is for backing into his slip).

Mark
I believe the attractive parts to 3/4G is the lack of radiation, instant-on and the variable speed of the sweep on the 4G. And maybe the multifunction displays.
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:31   #48
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Re: Simrad Radar & Plotters

To be fair, many who switch over to 3/4G do notice a significant drop in overall power draw because they are comparing it to their old system, which may have been CRT-based. At best, the older LCD-based systems used much more power than the new ones. I suspect the older radomes also drew more power than the new ones. This has nothing to do with comparing with a different new system at all, but becomes misinterpreted as such.

And Simrad feeds this. As does Panbo and his ridiculous comparisons of 3/4G to show how well it resolves unimportant details at 20' (I can see the nails on the dockpost right in front of me...).

However, there IS a power draw difference. Three of us have done the measurements and 3/4G draws 0.3-0.5A less power than a 4kW.

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Old 11-05-2013, 08:39   #49
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Re: Simrad Radar & Plotters

Quote:
Originally Posted by delmarrey View Post
I believe the attractive parts to 3/4G is the lack of radiation, instant-on and the variable speed of the sweep on the 4G. And maybe the multifunction displays.
I can't argue the MFD's, but that really isn't the debate and is a completely different comparison from the radars themselves. But non-radar functionality is certainly a valid consideration in choosing one - depends on one's needs and priorities.

The lower and different type of "radiation" is real (they both "radiate"), but I am unclear to that advantage, since to use any radome, it should not be mounted to your belt. Other than that, there is no health consideration at all unless you enjoy putting your ear to the radome to hear the scanner motor (and even that is only marginally on the side of bad for you - you won't explode or cook your brain).

Our radar is "on" by the time the chart plotter finishes booting. It is instantly on after that. The delay is only the time it takes to complete a single sweep, but I suspect that is the case for 3/4G also.

I don't understand the variable sweep part, but if you mean that it sweeps faster when at closer range, our Furuno does that also. In fact, you can set it to display simultaneous close and long ranges and it sweeps differently for each range.

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Old 11-05-2013, 08:56   #50
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Re: Simrad Radar & Plotters

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
OK, so I made measurements like DotDun above with an ammeter directly connected. I did not make measurements without the radome connected at all, because I did not want to access the plug and don't see the point for real usage.

Ships main batteries 13.8V and scanner set to auto

MFD8 running with radar off: 2.5A
MFD8 and DRS4D in Stdby: 1.8A
MFD8 with DRS4D at 0.0625 miles: 3.1A
MFD8 with DRS4D at 36 miles: 3.3A
MFD8 in Stdby with DRS4D operating: 2.5A

I also took measurements at house voltage of 12.6V, and all measurements are 0.3A higher.

So again, the operating radar itself is drawing 0.6-0.7A, which I assume is the motor used for rotation, and the power used for the magnetron is already supplied in stdby.

DotDun's measurements above suggest that the total power to operate the 4KW radar is ~2A.

Greg's measurements on the 3G suggest that it draws 1.5A.

So it looks like my assertion a year ago that there was only a 0.3A actual difference between the two is pretty much correct, although a bit low. So the low power draw of 3G is mostly marketing that gets repeated as fact, and not an actual fact.

Am I misreading or misinterpreting something here?

As for the Furuno brochure values, these must be maximum possible values at the minimum voltages supported (10.8V?). In fact, every single piece of instrumentation we have on board draws much less than the value sited in their specs. Our AP is spec'd at 30A, but only uses 3-5A in rough conditions.

I also like this Furuno radar (hate the chartplotter). I watch kiteboarders 1 mile away and see two returns for each - the human body and the nylon kite. This surprised me, since both are small targets with low return potential. Greater than 1 mile, I only see a single return, but also find it surprising to get a return at all. I see Kunas in ulu's 3-4 miles away. An ulu is a 8' dugout canoe that sits 6" above the water and is paddled by a single human. I have also watched birds fly through our radar sweep.

That is far more resolution that we need for navigating. I keep seeing the marketing pictures for 3/4G showing remarkably detailed shots of objects 30-50' away and wonder why that would be useful at all. At 50', you should not have your head buried in a radar display. Especially at night or in fog. They never show the fast moving rain squalls at 6-12 miles (which is our major use for radar), or what a unlit fishing boat looks like at 2-3 miles (is the higher definition helping then?).

So if the power draw difference is minimal, and the higher resolution is for pretty pictures only, what is the real advantage of 3/4G? Dockhead mentioned that he could see the shape of channel markers, but I would argue that one should not be entering a channel at all if one did not already know which markers were on which side.

I'm not knocking 3/4G - it is a valid choice, but I don't see the huge advantages (or any at all) over the other choices out there. And it does seem that Simrad has thrown huge marketing misinformation and confusion into all of this. I have yet to see a comparison of radars in a manner that matches actual navigation usage - not even Panbo (who seems to think navigational use of his radar is for backing into his slip).

Mark
I was persuaded to give 4G radar a try by a series of very serious, very technical, in-depth tests conducted by PBO over the last couple of years, in my own home waters, to boot.

They picked the Furuno as the best of the pulse radar, but in their opinion, the 4G radar had very profound advantages, particularly, much higher resolution, providing a much more understandable target picture. They said that the 4G version now has almost as much range as a 4kW pulse dome radar, and more than a 2kW, and that it has resolution similar to that of a 4' open array.

I will make my own conclusions, of course, when I have had a chance to try it at sea. But so far I'm impressed -- I get a return off my own deck (!), and can clearly make out boat shapes all around me. This despite being mounted 10 meters above the waterline, too high for a device of this range. I'm not sure that any detail is "useless", if it helps the intelligibility of the radar picture.

We shall see.
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:59   #51
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Re: Simrad Radar & Plotters

Quote:
Originally Posted by delmarrey View Post
I believe the attractive parts to 3/4G is the lack of radiation, instant-on and the variable speed of the sweep on the 4G. And maybe the multifunction displays.
You left out resolution.

Concerning the MFD's -- that was the most important factor for me -- I had to have the Zeus plotter. It is completely amazing.
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:07   #52
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Re: Simrad Radar & Plotters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
They picked the Furuno as the best of the pulse radar, but in their opinion, the 4G radar had very profound advantages, particularly, much higher resolution, providing a much more understandable target picture. They said that the 4G version now has almost as much range as a 4kW pulse dome radar, and more than a 2kW, and that it has resolution similar to that of a 4' open array.
I would hope someone will test range on a squally day and do a side-by-side comparison. I've stated before that I've seen squalls out to 60nm on my DRS4D which is rated for 36nm.

A couple weeks ago we were crossing one of the many Bahamas banks at dawn-twilight and I was looking for idiots anchored on the route line (and yes, there was one right on the line!!). While looking, I was also surprised to see a target on radar coming at me at high speed, then I heard an airplane. First time for me to catch an airplane on a boat radar screen.
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:22   #53
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Re: Simrad Radar & Plotters

Do you first choose the radar, and then end up with the matching MFD, or the other way around? I use the MFD far more than radar, so that is my decision process.

Dockhead is right, the Zeus is utterly amazing.
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:36   #54
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Re: Simrad Radar & Plotters

Does Furuno have WiFi?
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:05   #55
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Re: Simrad Radar & Plotters

I'm going all-Simrad on my new boat. I've got Furuno Navnet 3D MFDs, Radar, AIS, Depth, WX, etc on my current boat and have been very disappointed. No more Furuno for me.

The boat is meant to travel the world, so I'm equipping it with dual radar, mostly for redundancy. I decided to use one pulse unit (10KW, 6' antenna), and one 4G unit. I think they will complement each other nicely, though they cannot be run at the same time due to interference.

Here's some blabbing - I mean blogging - about the decision process

Adventures of Tanglewood: Electronic Plotters
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Old 11-05-2013, 12:08   #56
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Re: Simrad Radar & Plotters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
They picked the Furuno as the best of the pulse radar, but in their opinion, the 4G radar had very profound advantages, particularly, much higher resolution, providing a much more understandable target picture.
Yes, the 4G has higher resolution, mostly at short range, and I am not debating that fact. What I do not fully understand is how that resolution translates into real-life usage. For example, there are unlit fishing boats 1-3 miles around you at night and you wish to keep track of them. Does the higher resolution allow you to see their down-riggers and, if so, is that actually meaningful? I am more interested in a good, steady strong return than seeing meaningless detail.

Maybe the resolution is helpful if you routinely bring your boat in and out of a marina in deep fog and are navigating completely blind (I'm imagining Bering Sea fishing boats here), but even then, I see complete separation of all targets with our Furuno at these ranges (kite boarders and kites!), and Nick posted a Furuno screen shot showing a harbor with great detail.

And seeing one's own deck, the actual shapes of the boats within a few feet of me, etc seems meaningless to me. I need to track squalls at 12 miles and target unlit boats from 3-6 miles. I need enough resolution to differentiate tugs with tows at reasonable distances, and every current radar provides that.

So I would say that using the word "profound" to describe a perceived advantage of short-range resolution is poetic license.

But I am not disparaging yours, or anyone's, choice in 3/4G. I think these are as reasonable a choice as any. I am only shedding light on the marketing fluff that makes a lot over lower power draw and higher resolution when there is actually little difference in power draw and no practical advantage in resolution.

And I envy your Zeus. We actually had agonizing days of decision making going back and forth on that.

Now, if your primary use and concern is the MFD, then for sure pick the MFD you like best and the radar will be secondary (and you will still get a good radar with the Simrad, or Garmin, or whatever). Our priority was the radar, with the chart plotter secondary. We prefer computer charting packages. I would not choose the Furuno for its chartplotter capabilities solely. Its radar, however, has proved top-notch for us. And while I like the Zeus, using it is still a big kludge compared to the capabilities and user interfaces of good computer charting programs.

Delmarrey: our Furuno does not have wifi, but the new Touch model may have it. Wifi integration is very new, so pretty much only models introduced within the past year will have it.

Twistedtree: I can't imagine that you will see any advantages or complementary use of 4G compared to a 10kw pulse unit swinging a 6' open array. Maybe power. Few of us can mount such a beast on our boats. And while I think the Furuno DRS4D radar is about the best consumer radar, there is very little about the rest of their product line I like.

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Old 11-05-2013, 12:24   #57
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Re: Simrad Radar & Plotters

Well, I'm not advocating for the 4G radar -- I haven't used it at sea yet and don't have a conclusive opinion about it. I'll report when I do.

High resolution should -- in theory -- make it possible to get more useful information out your radar picture -- distinguish between different shape objects and generally orient yourself better. We'll see if it works that way. But detail should almost never be "useless" -- more detail will always help you understand better what you are seeing.

For rain squalls, continuous wave radar is clearly inferior to pulse. The 3G radar had a practical useful range out to about 12 miles. The 4G radar quite a bit further. My 4kW analogue pulse radar was not really good for much beyond 10 miles; I'm not counting the odd random return from further off. I think that should be ok for my purposes, but we shall see.

As to how you choose -- I guess for most people surely it's a balance -- if there were one plotter you really wanted but the radar really sucked, you might look elsewhere. I was driven mostly by the plotter but I also wanted the 4G radar, after reading all the testing done by PBO.
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Old 11-05-2013, 12:51   #58
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Re: Simrad Radar & Plotters

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Well, I'm not advocating for the 4G radar -- I haven't used it at sea yet and don't have a conclusive opinion about it. I'll report when I do.

High resolution should -- in theory -- make it possible to get more useful information out your radar picture -- distinguish between different shape objects and generally orient yourself better. We'll see if it works that way. But detail should almost never be "useless" -- more detail will always help you understand better what you are seeing.

For rain squalls, continuous wave radar is clearly inferior to pulse. The 3G radar had a practical useful range out to about 12 miles. The 4G radar quite a bit further. My 4kW analogue pulse radar was not really good for much beyond 10 miles; I'm not counting the odd random return from further off. I think that should be ok for my purposes, but we shall see.

As to how you choose -- I guess for most people surely it's a balance -- if there were one plotter you really wanted but the radar really sucked, you might look elsewhere. I was driven mostly by the plotter but I also wanted the 4G radar, after reading all the testing done by PBO.
These are some of the complementary features I'm talking about. In theory:

- 4G has better close range resolution

- 4G comes on right away

- Pulse has longer range

- Pulse is better at imaging weather

- Pulse is better at imaging distant land masses.

- But wither will do just fine if it's all you have.

Yes, I happen to have the space for both, and don't want to be off in east bum-tuck stuck with a dead radar, hence the desire for two. All aspects of my nav gear has at least one backup in case something breaks. Most similar boats have dual pulse radars, typically one 4' and one 6'. I like the idea of having both pulse and 4G instead of dual pulse radars. You get both diversity and redundancy.
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Old 11-05-2013, 13:26   #59
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Quote:
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- 4G comes on right away
Yes, from cold boot. But the display will not, as it is booting the OS and then executing the radar app, initializing with sensors etc. Then, as soon as the display is ready, you can view radar. I recon this goes hand in hand with that power usage argument: people switch it off completely. For pulse radar, one has the same display startup but then the magnetron must warm up before you can transmit. This is why it is put in a stand-bye mode, after which it is immediate transmit like the 4G.

I.e. the 4G consumes less power when you do NOT transmit with the radar as it does not need to keep a magnetron warm. When both transmit it still uses a bit less but that translates in lesser performance on range and weather. When switching off between uses, the pulse radar needs to warm up again.

All silly in case you run the radar for whole periods. I guess small boats switch it off most of the time so they have power for nav lights etc.
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Old 11-05-2013, 14:12   #60
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Re: Simrad Radar & Plotters

I have the Raymarine e-series. When I take off I will also have the Simrad with 4G. I like the idea of the backup redundancy, plus the features that the Ray doesn't have, such as Structure Scan sonar. It will mean adding the smaller dome just above the Digital Raymarine dome, but it's not that much additional weight. I can always pull the Raymarine out and sell it to somebody with an old Pathfinder series (and there are still a bunch of those around here).
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