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Old 12-05-2014, 15:23   #1
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Starting from Scratch, Which Brand is the way to Go?

I couldn't decide if this post should go here or in the navigation forum, but either way, here goes.

I've got an O'day 34 that came equipped with an old Raymarine radar and a Garmin 498 Chartplotter with sonar. Neither of the screens are doing too great. The radar screen sometimes ends up fogging over and is unreadable for a few hours before it burns off the condensation inside. Sometimes the Garmin can't find satellites. The transducer on the Garmin started flashing -4.6 on me over the winter, and it's taken two weekends of troubleshooting and re-gluing the in-hull cup twice to finally figure out that it's leaking the mineral oil near the top when the boat heels, not out the bottom.

Anyway, the radar, the chartplotter, and the autopilot are all very near the end of life. None of it talks to each other as it's all different brands.

At some point this year I'm going to pull it all out and replace it with a new system, and I'm dreaming of a chartplotter that also displays the radar, the sonar, the wind indicator and connects to the autopilot.

I'm looking for a recommendation because I can't tell what's different between the Garmin, the Raymarine or the Simrad systems except price and the size of the screens. Or is there another system I'm leaving out here?

And do these touchscreen systems still work if your hands are wet/sweaty because my phone sure doesn't?

Thanks for any input in advance.
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Old 12-05-2014, 16:12   #2
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Re: Starting from scratch, which brand is the way to go?

Garmin, Raymarine, Simrad/B&G, Furuno, all make systems that will do all of the above. Their chartplotters, radar and autopilots will do what you want.

Basically, the differences in the above are mostly in the software and the interfaces of the chartplotter/GPS/Radar. Some are easier to use than others, and some offer more features than others.

In terms of quality, there are all sorts of opinions on here regarding who makes the best equipment.

If you can, find somewhere like a West Marine or a marine electronics store where you can go and look at the systems yourself and get a feel for what they are like. You will very quickly learn which brands you prefer in terms of look and feel.

Personally, I just installed an entire B&G system, with everything from autopilot to radar and chartplotter. I have a preference for B&G's gauges and plotter, and their autopilot has a great heritage.

Raymarine and Garmin are extremely popular as well. Just look around any marina and most boats you see all have Raymarine radar.
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Old 12-05-2014, 16:44   #3
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Re: Starting from scratch, which brand is the way to go?

If you don't mind the price, Furuno. Been using it happily for many years. The tech support is excellent as well. Close second is Garmin. On this forum I hear the most complaints about Raymarine.
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Old 12-05-2014, 16:56   #4
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Re: Starting from scratch, which brand is the way to go?

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If you don't mind the price, Furuno. Been using it happily for many years. The tech support is excellent as well. Close second is Garmin. On this forum I hear the most complaints about Raymarine.

For best range of equipment good radar range , MFDs , APs , instruments etc SIMRAD/b&G are up there at the top, with Raymarine nearby, the lightening II software now is very good as is iPad integration. Garmin has a few holes in its product range, but often is very good at bang for buck.

I find a lot of Furunos leisure range is very dated now. Personally there is little in technical specs to differentiate them.

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Old 12-05-2014, 17:37   #5
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Re: Starting from scratch, which brand is the way to go?

Raymarine has a reputation for extremely poor customer service. Haven't heard this about the others. Could just be outside my experience, hence not a recommendation for any particular brand.

One may still prefer the perceived convenience of the all instruments together module, but it is going to leave you without any instrumentation in the event of a lightning strike. I'd rather have them separate, and hope some survive. If you are sailing in a an area where there is a lot of lightning, it might be something you want to factor in in your decision making.

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Old 12-05-2014, 17:48   #6
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Re: Starting from scratch, which brand is the way to go?

As much as I have a past bias against Raymarine (and still have particular bones to pick with them), their customer support has improved leaps and bounds since they lost their business and Flir picked them up. I still would (and did) choose other options.

Recent understanding of some of Garmin's practices and implementations with their design have taken them out of consideration for me. We own a current model Furuno radar and chartplotter, and I agree with Dave that the chartplotter part of it is dated - the radar is still very impressive. I am way under-impressed with Furuno's autopilots and other instruments.

I have yet to see an autopilot that competes with the current Simrad/B&G (exact same units).

I don't know what Ann was referring to as an "all instruments together" module, but if it is just the ability to communicate with each other, then there is no problem (or no different than non-communicating instruments). Anyway, a lightning strike is going to come into the boat on the DC power side, so all instruments are connected together at that point regardless.

Modern instruments are separate by design and engineering, and simply put their data on a bus for use. For example, GPS, wind, depth, speed and compass are now all stand-alone systems without the requirement of a dedicated computer and display to operate them. Each of those transducers, sensors and receivers are self-contained independent instruments.

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Old 12-05-2014, 17:56   #7
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Starting from scratch, which brand is the way to go?

In fact networked instruments, sensors and MFDs are MORE Redundant and reliable then independant units, because the possibility exists to move information from non functioning display heads to other functioning display ears in a networked system.

For example two MFDs are always better and more reliable then two separate radar and chart plotter screens for example

Personally in Europe, I've found the tech support from Raymarine excellent. I beleive most of the issues seem to relate to NA support which seems to have improved greatly under FLIR.

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Old 12-05-2014, 18:00   #8
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Re: Starting from scratch, which brand is the way to go?

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In fact networked instruments, sensors and MFDs are MORE Redundant and reliable then independant units, because the possibility exits to move information from non functioning display heads to other functioning display ears in a networked system.

For example two MFDs are always better and more reliable then two separate radar and chart plotter screens for example

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Now Dave, you KNOW that isn't true because all the old-timers here have been telling you that for years. It is dangerous to have networked instruments. They cause you to go to sleep and not pay attention and steer you right into reefs even though they are on your chartplotter.

And you grow hair on your palms using them.

Really, when are you going to see the light?

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Old 12-05-2014, 18:56   #9
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Starting from scratch, which brand is the way to go?

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Now Dave, you KNOW that isn't true because all the old-timers here have been telling you that for years. It is dangerous to have networked instruments. They cause you to go to sleep and not pay attention and steer you right into reefs even though they are on your chartplotter.



And you grow hair on your palms using them.



Really, when are you going to see the light?



Mark

I know, I like to live right out on the edge , networks. French production boats, satcomms, turbo diesels etc, how I made those long repeated ocean trips, I'll never know.

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Old 12-05-2014, 19:07   #10
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pirate Re: Starting from scratch, which brand is the way to go?

Now I'll come in from the other side of these rich booga's.. scrap the radar.. its for blind pussies who are into video games.. forget Garmin etc.. buy a cheap laptop.. a GPS puck and Nimble Navigator.. a WW chart system for less than $150 and your good to go.. unless your a geek..
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Old 12-05-2014, 19:20   #11
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Re: Starting from scratch, which brand is the way to go?

Here are a few package options.

Raymarine a75 Multifunction Navigation Display with Digital Radar

B & G Zeus Touch T8 Touchscreen, Multifunction Display with Broadband 3G Radar

Furuno Navnet VX2, 24 NM Radar / Color / Chartplotter
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Old 12-05-2014, 19:36   #12
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Re: Starting from scratch, which brand is the way to go?

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Now I'll come in from the other side of these rich booga's.. scrap the radar.. its for blind pussies who are into video games.. forget Garmin etc.. buy a cheap laptop.. a GPS puck and Nimble Navigator.. a WW chart system for less than $150 and your good to go.. unless your a geek..

I used that rig once. However after I retrieved the many pieces of my Sony Vaio after it launched itself across the cabin, I decided something better was in order. For deliveries however my ten year old Garmin 276c the best portable plotter known to mankind is always in my pocket. ( with iphone backup )


Personally today I'd rate a tablet system over a laptop.

Can't agree with you on radar. Your spending too much time in the warn south. When you need radar, you'd write any size cheque !!!

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Old 12-05-2014, 19:45   #13
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Re: Starting from scratch, which brand is the way to go?

That Furuno is a real dinosaur amongst the rest of the company. Like 2-3 generations old.

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Old 12-05-2014, 19:47   #14
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Re: Starting from scratch, which brand is the way to go?

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That Furuno is a real dinosaur amongst the rest of the company. Like 2-3 generations old.

Mark

I think Defender is trying to push old stock out of their warehouse.
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Old 12-05-2014, 20:10   #15
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Re: Starting from Scratch, Which Brand is the way to Go?

On my previous boat I only had an iPhone running Navionics and a laptop with OpenCPN. I still have both of those things, but after having a dedicated chartplotter on the helm that I can see in the sunlight and don't have to worry about getting wet, I think I'm going to pony up for another "real" system.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm going to investigate the Simrad/B&G stuff.
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