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Old 09-07-2013, 20:40   #1
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Trouble with Tritons - B&G displays

In the spring of last year I did an extensive refit of my electronics. The new gear is all B&G/Navico. This was when all this gear was new in the market and I got some of the first units. The Tritons themselves are excellent. My trouble is with the Pilot Keypad and it's schizophrenic behavior in the system. So far my dealer and the B&G support folks have not been able to solve the problem and I'm getting beyond frustrated. Each upgrade was supposed to help, but no joy.

First the big picture: I have two Zeus MFD's - a Z12 and a Z8, 8 Triton displays, 4D radar, BSM-1 Echo Sounder, NAIS300L AIS, Simrad AC42 Autopilot computer, Simrad OP40 remote control, Sirius weather module, and one Triton Pilot Control Keypad. The local B&G rep considers this a large system. I bought all of the gear from one very capable dealer and installed it all myself. I had a thorough CAD schematic of all the connections from the dealer which I followed to the letter and got advice as needed. The system overall is fantastic, except one fatal flaw.

The autopilot occasionally and unpredictably throws an alarm and disables itself. The alarm says "No pilot control head" and displays for about half a second. It happens randomly even when the autopilot is not engaged. It can happen dockside, while sailing or while motoring. Believe me I've tried to identify any consistent pattern, even things like other electronics being switched on or other loads on my power (like a bilge pump) but there is no pattern. It simple bleeps, shows the alarm note quickly on all the Tritons and both Zeus displays, and then goes away. Maybe one in 5 times I have to press enter to remove the message.

The pilot keypad seems to be the center of the problem. It has been replaced twice and upgraded recently at the B&G service center (I drove all my Tritons and the keypad to the service center in NH for the upgrade as it wouldn't work via the Zeus' s as it should have).

I just came back from 10 says of cruising and this problem was a regular annoyance. My wife and I, if we were in autopilot and were dealing with something, trained ourselves to jump to the helm as soon as the bleep was heard. Obviously all this is quite unsafe, as well as unacceptable.

The last advice from the dealer was to disconnect one thing at a time and see if the alarm continued. This is a pretty impractical hope but I did try a few things with no change. If I take the keypad out of the system I don't get the alarm, but can still use the autopilot from each Zeus (but without the ease of use of the keypad). In this mode I've had no problems.

I also had a single instance of the Pilot Keypad completely freezing up on me and not doing anything for me - but I could still control the autopilot from the Zeus during this failure.

There is so much that's great about these products but I have not had a single day sailing without some frustration due to this issue and some other niggly stuff.

Has anyone else here had similar issues? Any advice of any sort?

Thanks,

JR
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:44   #2
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Re: Trouble with Tritons - B&G displays

We are having a similar issue and the units are going back for replacement. We also received some of the earliest units made. The Tritons randomly give the "no autopilot computer" alarm whether the AP is activated or in standby. However, we have the AC24 AP control head in the system, so while the Tritons give the alarm, nothing actually goes wrong with the AP. I "solved" this by simply turning off that alarm in the Triton setup.

While we also have the pilot keypad, I have not installed it yet. Our alarms occur without the keypad present on the network.

B&G also suggested it was the network topography and wiring that was causing the problem (I also installed ours myself). So I created a short network containing only the Simrad AP and the Tritons using all Simrad network components and wired exactly like the sample network given in the Triton manual. The problem still exists, but that shut them up about the network being the problem.

We also have another problem with the Tritons. In night lighting mode with the light level turned to either "2" or "1", the displays randomly go blank (completely dark). They are still working, and pushing the light button "wakes" them back up. This is very reproducible and keeps us punching buttons all night to keep them awake.

Strangely, this problem does not exist in any other light level or in daylight mode in any level at all (even "2" and "1").

Mark
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Old 10-07-2013, 14:57   #3
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Re: Trouble with Tritons - B&G displays

Thanks Mark, interesting situation. Sort of like mine, but not exactly. You're lucky not to get your pilot disengaged on the alarm. I also like the simple network test you did. That was advised to me as well but it just isn't easy to pull off.

What's most interesting to me here is you don't have a keypad in the system and think the T41s are the problem, while I only have ever gotten the problem with the keypad attached, so think it's the keypad. But we do have different AP computers. Arggggg....

I don't think I've ever turned my night mode below 3 - I haven't seen that problem.

I did have one weird problem a few days ago. It was dead calm and we had a 50 mile transit to do so we were motoring for about 7 hours when the wind display on the Triton started to act up. At first the AWS started going haywire showing speeds over 100 kts, but at the same time the TWS stayed correct, as did all the other readouts. After about ten minutes of the haywire AWS all the data on the analog wind display when blank, including the arrows. I turned off the system for 10 seconds but it came back on with the same deadness right then. The next morning, and for the rest of our cruise, it was fine.

My dealer and the local B&G rep were great with me in the beginning but seem to be getting tired of me now (or I'm getting tired of them?), so I'm running out of ideas for how to solve this. Do you know of any other forum/site with more B&G chatter?

JR
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Old 10-07-2013, 15:18   #4
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Probably just software bugs , no doubt to be fixed in a subsequent release.

Never buy version 1.0 !!!

Dave
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Old 10-07-2013, 15:22   #5
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Re: Trouble with Tritons - B&G displays

Just to add another data point. About 2 years ago, I helped install a completely new Simrad system on a boat leaving Panama for the South Pacific. Similar configuration but with an AP28 control head and no Triton. He reported the same problem that you have with the AP suddenly dropping out. He had numerous conversations with Simrad, but up to about a year ago they had never resolved the problem.

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Old 10-07-2013, 15:30   #6
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Re: Trouble with Tritons - B&G displays

I'm glad to see these post. Last year, I also upgraded to the Zeus 12 Chartplotter, 4D Radar and Simrad IS20 Wind Instrument. This year added a Triton Display with Depth and Speed transponder. I have not had any problems with the operation of these units. I do not have a Navico Autopilot but have thought that if I ever had problems with my Raytheon Unit, I would replace with a B&G unit.

I recently tried to upgrade the Triton Display Software through the Zeus with out success. I call B&G support and did not get much help other than take everything off the network and try it. As jr_spyder has written it can be quite a job taking everything off the network.

I will be very interested in the outcome as a future consumer of a new autopilot.

Good luck.
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Old 10-07-2013, 18:04   #7
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Re: Trouble with Tritons - B&G displays

Quote:
Originally Posted by jr_spyder View Post
Thanks Mark, interesting situation. Sort of like mine, but not exactly. You're lucky not to get your pilot disengaged on the alarm. I also like the simple network test you did. That was advised to me as well but it just isn't easy to pull off.

What's most interesting to me here is you don't have a keypad in the system and think the T41s are the problem, while I only have ever gotten the problem with the keypad attached, so think it's the keypad. But we do have different AP computers. Arggggg....

I don't think I've ever turned my night mode below 3 - I haven't seen that problem.

I did have one weird problem a few days ago. It was dead calm and we had a 50 mile transit to do so we were motoring for about 7 hours when the wind display on the Triton started to act up. At first the AWS started going haywire showing speeds over 100 kts, but at the same time the TWS stayed correct, as did all the other readouts. After about ten minutes of the haywire AWS all the data on the analog wind display when blank, including the arrows. I turned off the system for 10 seconds but it came back on with the same deadness right then. The next morning, and for the rest of our cruise, it was fine.

My dealer and the local B&G rep were great with me in the beginning but seem to be getting tired of me now (or I'm getting tired of them?), so I'm running out of ideas for how to solve this. Do you know of any other forum/site with more B&G chatter?

JR
No, we do have the same AP computer. Ours is also an AC42. The AP24 is just the control head.

Other than the lighting issue and the nonsense alarm, we have had no other problems - one time only or not.

I think the alarm problem is related to how it listens to the network. I think there may be normal data traffic slowdowns or collisions and the Tritons are alarming as soon as they no longer see activity data from the AP computer 50x a second, or whatever the data bus speed is. In other words, I think the error correction/tolerance is set too tight.

I don't know of any forums with B&G info. When I email Navico tech support, I get a response within a day, after which I get connected to a single person who stays with me until any issue is solved. So far, tech support has been responsive and helpful and I am happy with it.

Mark
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Old 10-07-2013, 18:10   #8
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Re: Trouble with Tritons - B&G displays

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Probably just software bugs , no doubt to be fixed in a subsequent release.

Never buy version 1.0 !!!

Dave
Well, ours did come with pre-release software (which needed updating immediately), but it has been updated three times since and is now at v2.6 (granted, they did skip over v1.2-v2.5 in their version scheme!).

The functionality and shear beauty of these displays blunts the teething pains. You really should see these in action!

Mark
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Old 10-07-2013, 18:12   #9
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Re: Trouble with Tritons - B&G displays

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Originally Posted by wgh52 View Post
I'm glad to see these post. Last year, I also upgraded to the Zeus 12 Chartplotter, 4D Radar and Simrad IS20 Wind Instrument. This year added a Triton Display with Depth and Speed transponder. I have not had any problems with the operation of these units. I do not have a Navico Autopilot but have thought that if I ever had problems with my Raytheon Unit, I would replace with a B&G unit.

I recently tried to upgrade the Triton Display Software through the Zeus with out success. I call B&G support and did not get much help other than take everything off the network and try it. As jr_spyder has written it can be quite a job taking everything off the network.

I will be very interested in the outcome as a future consumer of a new autopilot.

Good luck.
Funny, in our last software upgrade, I went to a friend's boat with a Zeus, plugged 4 Tritons into their N2K network and updated all of them simultaneously with no problem. The Zeus does need to have the latest software on it.

Mark
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Old 11-07-2013, 11:32   #10
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Re: Trouble with Tritons - B&G displays

As for the Triton upgrade mine didn't work either (from either Zeus, both with latest upgrades), and in fact after my attempt the keypad went completely off the network somehow and was useless. I got the same suggestion from support - who seemed to know the problem - to have only one Zeus and one Triton on the network and try it then. That also didn't work. I fussed with several different connections and attempts without success so gave up, pulled all the Tritons and the Pilot Keypad out (thankfully that is easy) and brought them home to ship to B&G in NH who promised an immediate turnaround. Then I realized the packing effort would be greater than the time it would take me to drive to their office so I did that. The folks there were very friendly and helpful and I picked up the gear the next morning. They all worked fine upon re-installation and the new features are pretty cool. But he AP random failure continued, even though it was B&G's hope the upgrade would fix it.

Mark, I agree completely with you that this could be a simple problem of data collisions on the network and the AP being overly intolerant of the noise. When the B&G rep was on my boat last year he watched the network traffic diagnostics screen for a while but we saw no specific anomalies, but that doesn't mean its not the problem.

So I think I've done enough work as a volunteer member of the B&G QA team and need to find a way to escalate this now.

JR
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Old 11-07-2013, 11:34   #11
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Well, ours did come with pre-release software (which needed updating immediately), but it has been updated three times since and is now at v2.6 (granted, they did skip over v1.2-v2.5 in their version scheme!).

The functionality and shear beauty of these displays blunts the teething pains. You really should see these in action!

Mark
I have one !, I have a pre release GMI 20 which I think will give it a run for its money

Dave
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Old 11-07-2013, 12:08   #12
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Re: Trouble with Tritons - B&G displays

To add other issues I've had:

My depth reading occasionally and randomly drops to near zero feet, throws the shallow alarm, then goes back normal. This happens even when my boat is tied in my slip in calm water. Suddenly I'm aground! My 17 y/o daughter was at the helm as we were motoring in safe water out of Newport on Tuesday and this happened. I was up on the bow securing the anchor. Needless to say this scared her pretty well.

Last year my Zeus at the helm (Z8) decided to reboot itself at random times, usually when operating in close quarters. B&G took it in over the winter and said it had no problems. I haven't had the issue this season so maybe the new software upgrade helped.

Finally let me say that I don't want to be a flamer or whiner. I want to love this gear. You can probably tell my frustration is building. Thanks for letting me vent.

JR
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Old 11-07-2013, 12:20   #13
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Re: Trouble with Tritons - B&G displays

Vent away, we will listen. Sorry about your problems. We haven't experienced any of those in the year we have been using them. Just the light problem when on "2" at night, and the false AP alarm.

You have a somewhat large system. Have you considered bringing someone on board with a N2K analyzer to see if there is something wrong with the network or interference from another device?

You are lucky you can just drive to B&G. We are in Guatemala.

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Old 15-07-2013, 13:12   #14
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Update: I made enough noise that a senior B&G rep jumped in and asked me about the Simrad OP40 wired remote in my system and if it had the latest upgrade. I didn't know there was one and no previous rep had asked. In fact before I brought my gear to Nashua I asked if I should bring the OP40 and he told me no. Anyway I installed the upgrade yesterday from my Zeus and it upgraded fine. I started getting the same old autopilot control head alarm in a few minutes before I had even engaged the autopilot so I was discouraged. After at least 5 alarms in an hour I finally engaged the autopilot and, remarkably, never got the the alarm again in the next four hours. I played with the AP a few times including leaving it disengaged and never got another alarm. This is encouraging but not definitive, and still a mystery. I can't get out sailing for at least another week and will see what happens then. Could it be fixed?

JR
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Old 29-07-2013, 10:49   #15
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You are lucky you can just drive to B&G. We are in Guatemala.

Mark
I'm in Michigan but it might as well be Guatemala. There is literally nowhere in the state to get a Triton update. I'm about to ship it to the East Coast, something I'll have to do every time an update becomes available.

Not having a Zeus, or any other MFD, and not knowing anyone who does, shipping is my only option. Given that I have the update on a USB drive, couldn't I add another component to my network (AIS maybe) so long as it has a USB port, and plug the drive into that?

I asked B&G and they said no, the Zeus needed to be involved. But they also say an SP10 tool would work. Huh?

Another thing: I just learned from reading your posts that there was more than one update. How do you guys find out about them? A mailing list, maybe?
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