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Old 24-09-2015, 09:25   #1
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Touch Screen Chart Plotters

Both Raymarine and Garmin (and likely others) have gone down this route and I think they are not only terrible, but can be dangerous. Here's why:

Externally mounted touch screens are subject to spray and rain. Unfortunately, rain or spray drops act as "touches" and can lead to some very odd displays.

On my last 2 transatlantic deliveries this year I have had the same problem. After the touch-screen decided to activate the autopilot during a squall when I was hand-steering, I narrowly avoided an accidental gybe which given the wind and wave conditions at the time could have flipped me (it was a cat) or caused a lot of damage to the rig and sails.

I managed to turn it off just in time - which in itself was not as easy to do as to write about!!

Be careful out there!! Tony
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Old 24-09-2015, 10:40   #2
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Re: Touch Screen Chart Plotters

The only problem I've ever had with an E7 is that is stops responding to touch in really humid weather. That's why the knob is there.
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Old 24-09-2015, 12:51   #3
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Re: Touch Screen Chart Plotters

Yes - but what was happening was that rain drops were, for example turning on the autopilot or different screens because it was responding to the raindrops.

I've since learnt that the secret is to turn on Screen Lock!! Tony
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Old 24-09-2015, 13:13   #4
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Re: Touch Screen Chart Plotters

Not all touchscreens are the same. There are 2 main kinds of touchscreens.
Resistive
Capacitive

Resistive touch screens are completely impervious to false touches via water or other substances. The downside is they require a harder touch and don't support multitouch.

Capacitive touch screens can have false positives due to water/sunscreen, ect. Although this can be filtered out via the software. Unfortunatley, they are so new (in the plotter industry) that most manufactures have not caught up.

If you are interested in how either work and how they react under different conditions, I put a video together on Youtube.


P.S. I repeated this test with the latest B&G zeus software and it has definitely improved, unfortunately I didn't film it.
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Old 24-09-2015, 13:34   #5
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Re: Touch Screen Chart Plotters

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Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
Not all touchscreens are the same. There are 2 main kinds of touchscreens.
Resistive
Capacitive

Resistive touch screens are completely impervious to false touches via water or other substances. The downside is they require a harder touch and don't support multitouch.

Capacitive touch screens can have false positives due to water/sunscreen, ect. Although this can be filtered out via the software. Unfortunatley, they are so new (in the plotter industry) that most manufactures have not caught up.

If you are interested in how either work and how they react under different conditions, I put a video together on Youtube.


P.S. I repeated this test with the latest B&G zeus software and it has definitely improved, unfortunately I didn't film it.

This is interesting information. I too have the same opinion as BVI dude as I deliver boats and have when first using the touch screen at dual helm stations, beating into the wind, cold, dark, no moon, autopilot on with me cowering under the bimini, only to feel a 47 foot sailboat I will not name turn 180 degrees while I jump to the helm to have the autopilot standby.

What had happened was, prior to my knowing you could turn off the touch screen, spray had gotten everything wet, and an errant evil jib sheet found its bitter end rubbing over the screen to send me and my crew where it wanted to go. Needless to say, and in retrospect after this did it to me, I knew what was going on. But for my crew, I was tossed out of my bunk in the middle of the night prior with the same thing happening, with the poor crew dude saying "I didn't do anything, the autopilot just went crazy!" None of us believed him. Poor guy.

So, which screen is this one that this could happen?
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Old 24-09-2015, 13:53   #6
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Re: Touch Screen Chart Plotters

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Originally Posted by Swammy View Post
This is interesting information. I too have the same opinion as BVI dude as I deliver boats and have when first using the touch screen at dual helm stations, beating into the wind, cold, dark, no moon, autopilot on with me cowering under the bimini, only to feel a 47 foot sailboat I will not name turn 180 degrees while I jump to the helm to have the autopilot standby.

What had happened was, prior to my knowing you could turn off the touch screen, spray had gotten everything wet, and an errant evil jib sheet found its bitter end rubbing over the screen to send me and my crew where it wanted to go. Needless to say, and in retrospect after this did it to me, I knew what was going on. But for my crew, I was tossed out of my bunk in the middle of the night prior with the same thing happening, with the poor crew dude saying "I didn't do anything, the autopilot just went crazy!" None of us believed him. Poor guy.

So, which screen is this one that this could happen?
Capacitive... Which make up %90 of the screens used on chart plotters.
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Old 24-09-2015, 14:25   #7
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Re: Touch Screen Chart Plotters

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Originally Posted by bvimatelot View Post
Both Raymarine and Garmin (and likely others) have gone down this route and I think they are not only terrible, but can be dangerous. Here's why:

Be careful out there!! Tony

Good warning, but I suspect condemnation under any and all circumstances is a tad harsh.

I don't care much for touch screens, at least the touch-screen-only versions -- can't always seem to press where I'm intending, whereas I can usually figure out how to safely twirl a knob -- but some folks seem to like 'em. And on a dry bridge, such as we usually enjoy, all those water issues would be unlikely.

Assuming eyes wide open....

Different strokes.

-Chris
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Old 24-09-2015, 14:51   #8
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Re: Touch Screen Chart Plotters

I have talked to a skipper who replaced his touch Rays. He said they stopped being responsive. (Units in the sun and spray)

b.
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Old 24-09-2015, 14:59   #9
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Re: Touch Screen Chart Plotters

I find the concept of touch screen nav plotter wrong headed. If the plotter can do ALL the functions without touch AND the touch feature can be disabled OK.

The people who decided this made sense need to have their head examined. It's seaworthy.
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Old 24-09-2015, 15:45   #10
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Re: Touch Screen Chart Plotters

Now granted, I haven't been in nearly a situation where that would happen to me, and my plotter is under the companionway on my relatively small boat so it doesn't get wet... But If someone's under autopilot with a touch screen at the helm that's in jeopardy, would it not be simple enough to pop the cover back on it when there's no one actively staring at the screen? I know that not everyone might have their covers handy, maybe they're not 100% waterproof to keep spray off but I would imagine it would at least make a difference most of the time.

Not to say it's not an issue, and not to gloss over the obvious dangers that have shown up to others with real-world experience of these happenings. Just a thought though, and since I haven't run with an AP or any real long passages without someone at the tiller, I can't say as to whether or not it's even a good idea.
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Old 24-09-2015, 16:55   #11
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Re: Touch Screen Chart Plotters

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Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
Capacitive... Which make up %90 of the screens used on chart plotters.
So dont take from my theatrical comment that I dont like touch screens. I just wanted all of you to feel the night, the darkness, and then the immediate jibe. I dont even use waypoints connected to the autopilot ever. This mysterious swiping of the line just happened to touch all the right electrons and create a waypoint, and then tell the autopilot to go there. A little humorous in retrospect but obviously dangerous.

If you have read any other of my posts on Ipad navigation, I use it for most of my primary navigation over the equipment on the boat I am on. These Ipads have touch screens which I think are Capacitive, and a pain in the arse when they get wet. We are now seeing adaptive methods to use Ipad connected to the helm and autopilot via wireless. My solution to this moisture problem is a giant ziploc bag. Not to high tec nor a good fix. The best solution when it is super wet is to turn off the touch screen at the Garmin or other units, and go with the buttons and knobs (the Ipad alas cannot do this).
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Old 25-09-2015, 07:30   #12
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Re: Touch Screen Chart Plotters

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This mysterious swiping of the line just happened to touch all the right electrons and create a waypoint, and then tell the autopilot to go there.
So on a RAY c/ e/ Series touch screen the line would have to:
Hold a location on the screen.
A context menu would have then appeared.
Then the line would have selected Place Waypoint on the menu.

From there the line would have:
Selected again the waypoint created.
A context menu would have appeared.
Then the line would have selected Goto Waypoint on the menu.

As for raindrops falling on the screen, they would have to provide the same sequence.

For engaging the Auto function, the raindrops on a touch screens would have had to.
Display the Pilot Control menu.
Then
Select Auto from Standby, Auto, Tracks or Dismiss.

I do not like touch screens, they are a waste of software and make poor use of the display.
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Old 26-09-2015, 08:32   #13
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Re: Touch Screen Chart Plotters

Putting the cover on would probably work but I just turn the dam thing off in bad weather. One other skipper I know had the same problem and found that he could turn on Screen Lock, which worked for him. Dunno which unit that was but should work for all of them that have a screen lock facility. Tony
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Old 26-09-2015, 11:10   #14
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Re: Touch Screen Chart Plotters

It isn't the touch screen that should be blamed, but the interfacing of the autopilot control and chart plotter.
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Old 26-09-2015, 12:37   #15
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Re: Touch Screen Chart Plotters

Maybe my installation is better. If so, it was blind luck. But, I have a Simrad NSS8 (with touch screen) at the helm, which is interfaced with the autopilot (also Simrad).

I have not yet had a problem with anything other than my finger changing our course while on autopilot.

Personally, I have sailed other vessels without touchscreen, and I MUCH prefer mine. As one example, I can quickly select an AIS target by a fingertip to get info on other vessels without trying to line up crosshairs.

To each their own, but I like my touchscreen, and would not change it.

Cheers!

Steve
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