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Old 01-01-2016, 11:40   #1
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Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

We're thinking about upgrading our present AIS receive only system to the Vesper Watchmate Vision. Anyone currently using this system? Pros, any cons? Anything better out there?

This inquiring mind wants to know prior to purchase.

Thanks

Ken
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Old 01-01-2016, 14:57   #2
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

If you don't need the display, you might also consider the Vesper XB-8000. This would display on a plotter if connected by nmea, as well as transmit all data by wifi for use by a computer or tablet. Vesper makes an app that essentially turns the tablet/phone into the Vision display. We considered the Vision, but couldn't see any real use or advantage of the display for the way we operate.

Otherwise, you can't go wrong and will probably find yourself using the nmea wifi data more than you expect regardless of the model (i am guessing that the Vision has wifi output). We are hooked on having our nmea data over WiFi and available to any device/program we want to run.

I have yet to see another transponder that competes with the Vesper models in functionality/value.

Mark
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Old 01-01-2016, 20:24   #3
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

Thanks for the response Mark.

The reason I'm strongly considering the Vesper Watchmate Vision is for the large Navigation panel display which will replace our current Garmin AIS dedicated Chartplotter. It's too small and doesn't have any European charts, and I'm not about to spend $500 or so on charts for it. The Vesper will also transmit a display to our iPads and Iphone which are used in the cockpit. At the Nav table we run Nobeltec software on a PC.

Have you had good luck with the internal wifi transmitting to the cockpit? Do you have a dedicated AIS antenna, or do you split the VHS radio antenna for the Vesper?
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Old 01-01-2016, 20:55   #4
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
We're thinking about upgrading our present AIS receive only system to the Vesper Watchmate Vision. Anyone currently using this system? Pros, any cons? Anything better out there?

This inquiring mind wants to know prior to purchase.

Thanks

Ken
I have done long passages in boats with the Vesper Vision and the older Vesper 850. I prefer the 850 for three reasons. First the touch screen itself is not as good as other touch screens. Second, the menus are not as intuitive as in the 850 and the way they vary depending on context is not the best. Third, sometimes it will not respond or reboot. All this after a couple firmware upgrades.
The 850 is great.

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Old 01-01-2016, 21:00   #5
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

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Originally Posted by svlamorocha View Post
I have done long passages in boats with the Vesper Vision and the older Vesper 850. I prefer the 850 for three reasons. First the touch screen itself is not as good as other touch screens. Second, the menus are not as intuitive as in the 850 and the way they vary depending on context is not the best. Third, sometimes it will not respond or reboot. All this after a couple firmware upgrades.
The 850 is great.

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I will explore the 850 before I make a decision. Thanks.
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Old 01-01-2016, 21:05   #6
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

I've had the Vision for awhile now, the Wifi always works and is easy, I use an IPad Pro now for the big screen for both the Vision and the B&G Zeus. The Vision is real easy to use, wish it had an anchor alarm which it does not, I believe some of their older units did.
I use the splitter, have noticed no difference in VHF performance, and I get some AIS targets at crazy ranges, I've yet to understand that. I mean I get some virtual AIS targets, bridges and the like at 200 miles or so?
My antenna and co-ax are now 28 yrs old and overdue for replacement, which I will do when I have the rigging replaced.
Vesper makes an antenna and have wondered if that would be good.
The built in GPS antenna in the Vision is quite good as mine is mounted under the VHF, yet still receives and tracks satellites well.


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Old 01-01-2016, 21:15   #7
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I've had the Vision for awhile now, the Wifi always works and is easy, I use an IPad Pro now for the big screen for both the Vision and the B&G Zeus. The Vision is real easy to use, wish it had an anchor alarm which it does not, I believe some of their older units did.
I use the splitter, have noticed no difference in VHF performance, and I get some AIS targets at crazy ranges, I've yet to understand that. I mean I get some virtual AIS targets, bridges and the like at 200 miles or so?
My antenna and co-ax are now 28 yrs old and overdue for replacement, which I will do when I have the rigging replaced.
Vesper makes an antenna and have wondered if that would be good.
The built in GPS antenna in the Vision is quite good as mine is mounted under the VHF, yet still receives and tracks satellites well.


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Thanks.

I'll be upgrading one of our iPads with the iPad pro just as soon as Lifeproof makes a waterproof case for the pro. Sounds like your AIS setup is exactly what we're looking for.

We use an old Ipad with INavx installed on it as an anchor alarm. I can also use the iPad Air with INavx if I get really paranoid. We also have two older Samsung Galaxy s4 smartphones along with an iPhone with anchor alarms on each one... Just in case.
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Old 01-01-2016, 21:31   #8
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

G'Day Ken,

We've had our Vision for 9 months now, and have done some 3500 miles with it in use.

my comments are similar to those above:

The touch screen requires a firm touch, and often several hits to get a response.
There is no anchor alarm... I wasn't aware of this lack when i bought it.
The display is quite good, but the icons for unfiltered boats need more contrast, especially in the night mode, for they simply disappear in the low light modes.
The Wifi works very well indeed, and just as advertised, sending NEMA strings, etc to the computer below decks, or to a tablet in the cockpit. Very handy!
The unit occasionally turns itself on if left with the breaker on. Kinda annoying, but not fatal!
GPS performance (with their splitter and my masthead VHF antenna) is superb for sensitivity, but the SOG seems unstable... frequently shifting a couple of knots up and down when there is no perceptible velocity change (ie motoring in calm conditions).

I have discussed these things with Jeff Robbins (who posts here on CF,very helpfully). As of circa 4 months ago he said there was an update in the works which would include the anchor alarm. Also that my problem with it 'auto starting" was not unique and could be addressed if I sent it back. I've not heard from him since...

So, all in all I like the unit, and it fits our usage profile well. If they address the problems listed above in a reasonable time frame (rapidly running out) I'll be perfectly satisfied with the Vision.

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Old 01-01-2016, 21:36   #9
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
We're thinking about upgrading our present AIS receive only system to the Vesper Watchmate Vision. Anyone currently using this system? Pros, any cons? Anything better out there?

This inquiring mind wants to know prior to purchase.

Thanks

Ken
I bought a Vision and have done 2 passages in pretty congested waters with it. The reason I went with the Vision over the XB-8000 is I convinced myself the Visions collision and tracking functions were better then my plotter (I now doubt this is true). The other reason was I wanted the backup of a second screen at the helm. Stuff happens at the helm and I want redundancy there!

Frankly I'm thrilled with the purchase. It has been rock solid and never hung, rebooted or even sneezed. Unlike the other poster, I find the interface simple and intuitive and very easy to navigate. The alarming functions well and are easy to understand. It really took the sweating out of the situation when 3 oil tankers decided that 650m was adequate passing distance from our boat AT THE SAME TIME. I still needed new shorts, even though the Vesper said they wouldn't hit me!

I absolutely LOVE the WIFI functions. Even though it doesn't have an anchor alarm, I lay in bed with my tablet and when I wake every few hours I check our GPS positions (pretty much tells me if we have drug).

Finally... I also disagree that the touch screen is inferior to other units. Vesper choose to use a resistive touch screen instead of capacitive. Resistive touch screens are completely unaffected by rain, saltwater, sunscreen or heat from the sun! They may not be as responsive, but they are super safe. I did a video about this and demoed the Vision.


However... after all those good things, I do have 1 complaint. The processor is not the fastest. It can be frustrating if you are coming from a smart phone with a lightening fast proc! You have to build a small delay into your brain when you are moving through the menus!

I also use a Vesper splitter and have been very happy with its performance!
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Old 02-01-2016, 07:02   #10
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

Thanks for the excellent video and tutorial. You answered all of my questions. I'm now awaiting an answer to an email question sent to Vesper. Then I'll get serious about making the purchase.

Anyone know if Vesper plans to launch an updated version over the next three months? I have until May to make the purchase. I want to buy the latest and greatest.
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Old 02-01-2016, 07:09   #11
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
The unit occasionally turns itself on if left with the breaker on. Kinda annoying, but not fatal!
+1 on everything Jim said. On the point I quote above, it is important to not that when you are sailing on "receive only" mode (eg when you do not want to be seen by bad guys as off the coast of Suriname, etc) if the things reboots by itself it will reboot in "receive and transmit" mode. I found that quite annoying.
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Old 02-01-2016, 07:12   #12
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Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

We use a splitter and the Wi-Fi is perfect, although the unit is centrally located so we can't be more than 20' away from it and still be on the boat.

The Vesper app has great crossing graphics - it is essentially the Vision display.

Generally, Vesper updates functionality through firmware, so you always have the latest.

Boy, the boat in that video sure has a roughly built interior!

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Old 02-01-2016, 07:21   #13
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

I haven't had mine reboot, or haven't noticed if it has, maybe that is a hardware issue, not software?

Mine is below, and Jim is right , the non threat (filtered)ships are almost invisible, but since they aren't a threat, I would rather have that than all ships displayed. I'm away from the boat now, but I believe you turn the filtering off and display all targets?



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Old 02-01-2016, 07:29   #14
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

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Thanks for the response Mark.

The reason I'm strongly considering the Vesper Watchmate Vision is for the large Navigation panel display which will replace our current Garmin AIS dedicated Chartplotter. It's too small and doesn't have any European charts, and I'm not about to spend $500 or so on charts for it. The Vesper will also transmit a display to our iPads and Iphone which are used in the cockpit. At the Nav table we run Nobeltec software on a PC.

Have you had good luck with the internal wifi transmitting to the cockpit? Do you have a dedicated AIS antenna, or do you split the VHS radio antenna for the Vesper?
I don't think that the Vision will, or can, replace a chart plotter. Correct me if I am wrong but the charts are meant for situational awareness and not traditional navigation charts.

Chris
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Old 02-01-2016, 07:50   #15
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Re: Vesper Watchmate Vision Reviews?

The vision is not intended to replace any Chartplotter, we have five chartplotters onboard. The Vision supposedly places the AIS targets on its own screen against a very crude Chartplotter background showing land instead of the normal bullseye background.

At least, that's what the Vesper people told me via email.

Has anyone with a Vision had a different experience?
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