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Old 24-02-2015, 11:30   #1
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Vesper xb8000 or WM850 w/ Chartplotter, iPad?

Looking at getting either a Vesper xb8000 or watchmate 850, but undecided. The low power draw and the display features of the 850 seem superb, but the xb8000 could be easily coupled with an iPad and just generally seems more "futureproof". I come from a family of GA pilots and iPads have already taken over the cockpit. That said, I am aware of their limitations on the water.

I currently have an aging but functional Garmin chartplotter (182c) mounted below on the nav station. I use this primarily for route planning and rely on paper charts and handheld gps for navigation. I am not too keen on using this as the primary AIS display, so there are two options in my mind:
-stick it out with the plotter and add the watchmate 850 to the system in the nav station
-or get the xb8000, eventually ditch the plotter/relegate as a backup, and plug it all into iPad/laptop. I would likely mount the iPad where the plotter currently resides on the nav station below and could use a laptop as a backup for it.

Looking for others' thoughts on this. Minimizing power draw is pretty important and it'd be great to get actual power draw numbers from folks that already use an iPad or similar for nav/ais/planning purposes. With the current system, the plotter uses about 5W @ 12VDC and the 850 would use 2W @ 12VDC. I suspect the iPad would require a bit more.

Many thanks
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Old 24-02-2015, 13:03   #2
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Re: Vesper xb8000 or WM850 w/ Chartplotter, iPad?

Except for wanting Radar, I wouldn't bother replacing my old plotter, open CPN seems very usable for my needs nav wise.
I do not have an AIS yet, but at least my VHF on the remote mic will display AIS info.
That will give me AIS display on both the Ipad and VHF, and probably the plotter as I want Radar, and it seems a plotter / Radar combo is a good way to do that.
I do not believe an Ipad is a good long term solution for the cockpit, although many do.
I see it as an excellent remote display for when I'm off watch and down below, but may want some situational awareness.

I'd look into a VHF that has AIS display capabilities
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Old 25-02-2015, 01:13   #3
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Re: Vesper xb8000 or WM850 w/ Chartplotter, iPad?

I Just answered a very similar question about Vesper AIS units, sent to me by email. Here is a copy of my response;

Personally I use a laptop with open cpn in Preference to a dedicated plotter. It’s cheaper, it does more, and it’s easier to upgrade. Please keep in mind that this is despite being a Navico dealer, and having access to their products at wholesale! Open CPN is a great product, with great support. There is no need for your laptop to EVER go into sleep/standby mode when powered from the boat’s systems. A simple change to the power management settings can fix that for you.

However, if power is a major issue, I’d go for the watchmate. This is because it has low power draw, and can used standalone, consuming less power than a pc. If you want the wifi abilities, the XB9000 is the one.

If you don’t need the standalone features, then the xb8000 is the one to go for – it is far and away more popular than the others, and feature for $ remains unbeaten in the market.

Anchor watch. All the wireless products have this as well as the standalone ones – see Mobile Apps for WatchMate Vision and XB-8000 | Vesper Marine - works to a tablet or smartphone – does not need the pc to be on, and the tablet/pc will “wake up” in the same manner that a normal alarm clock setting will wake them up.

Many online talk about anchor watches, however, personally I’ve found them pretty useless. IMO they are more for peace of mind for beginners or nervous people than they are a useful tool. Here is why. If you set an anchor watch with too little movement allowance, it will wake you up when the wind shifts, or the tide turns. If you can manage to put the anchor position for the alarm exactly over the anchor, and then allowed 2 x the rode length to allow swinging either side of the anchor, the range is quite large – often large enough so that by the time it is used you would have gone on the beach or hit the other vessel you were trying to avoid. I have found more use for depth alarms for anchor watch, but I guess everyone is different!



Filtering. This will depend on the device the AIS is connected to. OpenCPN has great filtering and control. Your Garmin 3006c is limited. Sorry, but you’ll have to read the manual for that to see what it can do.

I’m not keen on this modern trend, especially amongst the costal sailors, to rely on tablets and smartphones. They are fragile, go flat, and may not function right when you need them most. IMO a good, fixed down Plotter or PC is the way to go. Personally I have another display for my PC fixed at the helm, so the helmsman always has the chart, AIS and Radar right in front of him. I do use a tablet, and a smartphone, but they are in addition to the primary systems, they are not normally used for anything but casual glances at the situation when I’m not in front of one of the screens....



A XB8000 and a PC with Opencpn 4.0 would give you a great base to build from, and be relatively inexpensive. Your existing instruments can talk to it, and the fancy bits like radar overlays etc can be added later for minimal cost. However, some people are computer phobic, and totally non-technical. For these people I recommend the B&G Zeus 11 plotters...

Hope some of this was useful for you – I don’t need much of an excuse to talk boats!!
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Old 25-02-2015, 06:57   #4
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Re: Vesper xb8000 or WM850 w/ Chartplotter, iPad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neptune's Gear View Post
Personally I have another display for my PC fixed at the helm, so the helmsman always has the chart, AIS and Radar right in front of him.

I am curious to know what type of display this is. When thinking of going PC, I always got hung up on how to view the charts from the helm, which is something I'd like to do.


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Old 25-02-2015, 08:52   #5
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Re: Vesper xb8000 or WM850 w/ Chartplotter, iPad?

laika,
Jeff has given you some GREAT input....dare I say "definitive answers", except....

Except a few points about your current specific set-up...please see these here in red....
Quote:
Originally Posted by laika View Post
I currently have an aging but functional Garmin chartplotter (182c) mounted below on the nav station. I use this primarily for route planning and rely on paper charts and handheld gps for navigation. I am not too keen on using this as the primary AIS display,
It's good that you don't wish to use this as your AIS display, as this older Garmin will not display AIS data....
Sorry, it is not designed to do this....
So, no matter what AIS transponder you choose, you will need some sort of AIS display (Vesper Watchmate, iPad, etc.)....

so there are two options in my mind:
-stick it out with the plotter and add the watchmate 850 to the system in the nav station
-or get the xb8000, eventually ditch the plotter/relegate as a backup, and plug it all into iPad/laptop.
Remember that your existing Garmin 182c will not display AIS info, so if you desire AIS info in the cockpit and below decks, you will need to design your system accordingly....



Minimizing power draw is pretty important and it'd be great to get actual power draw numbers from folks that already use an iPad or similar for nav/ais/planning purposes. With the current system, the plotter uses about 5W @ 12VDC
Garmin's spec's on the 182 are 4w @ 13.8vdc, but the 182c specs at 10w @ 13.8vdc....have you measured your 182c current draw and found < 1/2 amp at 12vdc???

and the 850 would use 2W @ 12VDC.
Yes...

I suspect the iPad would require a bit more.
Yes....according to those that use them, more than a bit more....(but, most that use them are not energy deprived, so it usually isn't a problem...
Personally, I recommend the Watchmate 850, especially where low power consumption is paramount....but on a small 27 footer, I would lay out a "plan" of your Navigation system, both as it exists today and as you desire it to be in the furture, making sure to take into consideration WHERE and HOW you may be sailing / cruising in the near future...
Then with this plan in hand, design your on-board electronics set-up to meet the needs of the plan....
If you can make only having the WM 850 work well for you, then go for it.....if you require more versatility (and can handle the addition power consumption of other devices), then install them....
Sorry if it seems like I'm writing words without actually answering your questions...
But, it is just that YOU must decide what YOU need/desire, for YOUR boat and YOUR sailing/cruising...


I hope this helps...

John




P.S.
And, here I'm in agreement again with Jeff...except....
Except, I rely on paper charts and compass....(yes, I DO have GPS, AIS, Radar, chartplotter, depth sounder, etc....but I use paper, compass, and GPS, as my primary....and chartplotter as secondary....I know it's sorta' bass-ackwards...but that's me...)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neptune's Gear View Post
Iím not keen on this modern trend, especially amongst the costal sailors, to rely on tablets and smartphones. They are fragile, go flat, and may not function right when you need them most. IMO a good, fixed down Plotter or PC is the way to go.
Personally I have another display for my PC fixed at the helm, so the helmsman always has the chart, AIS and Radar right in front of him. I do use a tablet, and a smartphone, but they are in addition to the primary systems, they are not normally used for anything but casual glances at the situation when Iím not in front of one of the screens...
[BTW, we should all thank Jeff.....not just for this posting, but for being the kinda' marine equipment manufacturer that actually CARES about his customers....
Even as a kid, years before I started my own business, I remember my Dad saying "you take care of your customers, and they'll take care of you!"....]
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Old 25-02-2015, 09:07   #6
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Re: Vesper xb8000 or WM850 w/ Chartplotter, iPad?

Is there any reason a older Vesper display only device (ie Vesper 650) be used as a down below display and fed with a newer Vesper 850 or 9000.No one seem to want to buy my Vesper display in classifieds. Thanks- Tim
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Old 25-02-2015, 09:07   #7
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Re: Vesper xb8000 or WM850 w/ Chartplotter, iPad?

I have had the Watchmate Vision on my boat for just over a year and have found it to be excellent. My chart plotters (2) are both Raymarine RL70C's and are not compatible with AIS. So I have been using my iPad for navigation and AIS in parallel with my chartplotter. I use iNavX as the app on my iPad - this is an excellent chartplotter/navigation app and overlays AIS information on the chart. I have found it to work very well.


Another benefit is that if you wire in the Vesper to your other NMEA instruments (or SeaTalk using a NMEA box), it will transmit all data via wireless. For example, on iNavX, you can display speed, wind, heading etc. We did a 7-month cruise and it worked flawlessly. We did have a slight problem with the set up, but Jeff at Vesper provided excellent support and we quickly solved the problem. Given these capabilities, I mounded my Vesper at the nav station and use my iPad at the helm.

The weak link in this system is without doubt the iPad. Although mine is holding up ok, others in the family have not held up well to even being splashed with water. I think the only reason mine has held up well is that I mount it high at the helm, we have a full enclosure, and if we hit foul weather, I cover it with a large ziplock bag. BTW, if you use an iPad at the helm, keep it away from your compass.

Hope this helps - I definitely recommend the Vesper and as I said, their customer support is first class!

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Old 25-02-2015, 09:23   #8
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Re: Vesper xb8000 or WM850 w/ Chartplotter, iPad?

Unless you have an 'always on network with chartplotter go for the 850. A major function of AIS is collision warning, I wanted mine independent for that reason. You relay info around the boat to ipads etc in several ways if that is important so can still be done with the 850
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Old 25-02-2015, 09:25   #9
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Re: Vesper xb8000 or WM850 w/ Chartplotter, iPad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
laika,
Jeff has given you some GREAT input....dare I say "definitive answers", except....

Except a few points about your current specific set-up...please see these here in red....


Personally, I recommend the Watchmate 850, especially where low power consumption is paramount....but on a small 27 footer, I would lay out a "plan" of your Navigation system, both as it exists today and as you desire it to be in the furture, making sure to take into consideration WHERE and HOW you may be sailing / cruising in the near future...
Then with this plan in hand, design your on-board electronics set-up to meet the needs of the plan....
If you can make only having the WM 850 work well for you, then go for it.....if you require more versatility (and can handle the addition power consumption of other devices), then install them....
Sorry if it seems like I'm writing words without actually answering your questions...
But, it is just that YOU must decide what YOU need/desire, for YOUR boat and YOUR sailing/cruising...


I hope this helps...

John




P.S.
And, here I'm in agreement again with Jeff...except....
Except, I rely on paper charts and compass....(yes, I DO have GPS, AIS, Radar, chartplotter, depth sounder, etc....but I use paper, compass, and GPS, as my primary....and chartplotter as secondary....I know it's sorta' bass-ackwards...but that's me...)

[BTW, we should all thank Jeff.....not just for this posting, but for being the kinda' marine equipment manufacturer that actually CARES about his customers....
Even as a kid, years before I started my own business, I remember my Dad saying "you take care of your customers, and they'll take care of you!"....]

I'm confused Who is "Jeff"? Are you talking about Neptunes Gear (Matt)? Or did a post get deleted?
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Old 25-02-2015, 10:16   #10
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Re: Vesper xb8000 or WM850 w/ Chartplotter, iPad?

Thanks for all the feedback. I looked at other AIS units but the Vespers consume less than half the power of all the others, so it's a no brainer in my case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neptune's Gear View Post
Personally I use a laptop with open cpn in Preference to a dedicated plotter. Itís cheaper, it does more, and itís easier to upgrade.

However, if power is a major issue, Iíd go for the watchmate. This is because it has low power draw, and can used standalone, consuming less power than a pc. If you want the wifi abilities, the XB9000 is the one.
Thanks for this, as it clarifies the basic debate in my mind. The prospect of going with the xp8000/9000 and creating a central link between a tablet/PC and everything else electronic on the boat is really tempting, and it seems the possibilities are endless for what this could accomplish down the road.

Power is a major issue though and I suspect that however it's sliced using a PC for navigation would be too energy intensive. I could swing it (200W of solar w/ space for more, 400AH battery bank), but it would really cut into my energy budget. The temptation of a smaller tablet is that it would be less so and could still be kept down below as the current plotter is now, along w/ a backup. It's a small boat w/ a small cockpit, so it's pretty easy to glance below.

There's a good article at pbase.com that details energy requirements for charging an iPad: iPad Charging - How Much Energy? Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at pbase.com
Basically, it takes about 4AH with an efficient 12V charger to bring an iPad up from 0 to 100% SOC. The watchmate850 uses 3W and my plotter typically 5-6W. So together these would consume about 20AH over 24 hours. Based on this, the iPad or similar seems like it would consume a comparable amount of energy (assuming it's use if unplugged would not require more than 4-5 full recharges per day).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
laika,
on a small 27 footer, I would lay out a "plan" of your Navigation system, both as it exists today and as you desire it to be in the furture, making sure to take into consideration WHERE and HOW you may be sailing / cruising in the near future...
Then with this plan in hand, design your on-board electronics set-up to meet the needs of the plan....
If you can make only having the WM 850 work well for you, then go for it.....if you require more versatility (and can handle the addition power consumption of other devices), then install them....
Sorry if it seems like I'm writing words without actually answering your questions...
But, it is just that YOU must decide what YOU need/desire, for YOUR boat and YOUR sailing/cruising...
Thanks, that's great advice. And for the heads up on the incompatibility of AIS on my Garmin 182c (I just did another power test on it last night and though it is rated at 10W, I typically see around 5-6W).
The boat is small, but was purpose built for long range cruising, so does not have some of the limitations found on most other boats it's size. Current system is a plotter, radar, and gps. Even a watermaker!
I have been sailing the US east coast for about 6 years, first on a larger boat w/ friends before buying my 27fter. I am now wrapping up a refit with the intention of spending a few years in the Caribbean, possibly doing a clockwise loop of the caribbean sea. I do project-based work from a computer, so it's especially tempting to integrate them into core boat systems, but a plotter and paper charts w/ handheld GPS has always worked great for me in the past. The plotter below and paper charts w/ plastic sleeve in the cockpit. Simple, not a whole lot to go wrong.

On the tailend of this refit, I'm starting to think that I may be trying to needlessly complicating things under the guise of trying to simplify them. I have a relatively simple boat and I don't want to change that. "Simple" is a moving target though.

Thanks again to all! I'm beginning to see a WM 850 in my future.
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Old 25-02-2015, 10:27   #11
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Re: Vesper xb8000 or WM850 w/ Chartplotter, iPad?

Saltyhog,
Opps...sorry about that!
You're right, I confused the various threads I had open at the time!
(in my own defense, I was supposed to be doing home repairs but sat down to enjoy some kitchen-table sailing stuff....and well....I got lost in my own little world!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saltyhog View Post
I'm confused Who is "Jeff"? Are you talking about Neptunes Gear (Matt)? Or did a post get deleted?
So, yes....my apologies go out to you Matt!!!
Got you confused with Jeff Robbins at Vesper....

Vesper Marine AIS

Vesper AIS Watchmate 850 daylight viewable?

Vesper Marine AIS



But heck, you're both good guys.....so kudos to both!!

Fair winds..

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Old 25-02-2015, 10:29   #12
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Re: Vesper xb8000 or WM850 w/ Chartplotter, iPad?

Tim,
There's no reason at all that you cannot use a Vesper 650 display in the cockpit or down at the Nav Station, fed with AIS data from an AIS transponder (or AIS rec), such as the Vesper Watchmate 850!
Quote:
Originally Posted by maine50 View Post
Is there any reason a older Vesper display only device (ie Vesper 650) be used as a down below display and fed with a newer Vesper 850 or 9000.No one seem to want to buy my Vesper display in classifieds. Thanks- Tim
But, where was your classified ad when I wanted to buy another Vesper Watchmate 650, to do just this???

I ended up buying a Watchmate 750 (receiver) and will use it as my second display....I have a Watchmate 650 now, driven from a Emtrak AIS transponder....
(also have AIS data going to both plotters, Raymarine E-120 and E-80...)




Fair winds, and I think you will sell the WM 650, easily....I paid $165 for mine, brand new, on close-out...so, price it right and you'll get 'r sold...


John
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Old 25-02-2015, 10:48   #13
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Re: Vesper xb8000 or WM850 w/ Chartplotter, iPad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post
Saltyhog,
Opps...sorry about that!
You're right, I confused the various threads I had open at the time!
(in my own defense, I was supposed to be doing home repairs but sat down to enjoy some kitchen-table sailing stuff....and well....I got lost in my own little world!! So, yes....my apologies go out to you Matt!!!
Got you confused with Jeff Robbins at Vesper....
No worries. Now get back to working on the house!
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Old 25-02-2015, 12:43   #14
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Re: Vesper xb8000 or WM850 w/ Chartplotter, iPad?

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I am curious to know what type of display this is. When thinking of going PC, I always got hung up on how to view the charts from the helm, which is something I'd like to do.


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Old 25-02-2015, 15:36   #15
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Re: Vesper xb8000 or WM850 w/ Chartplotter, iPad?

Since you're talking about me, I thought I'd at least pop in and say hi

Nothing really to add other than to confirm you can use a WatchMate 650 with any of our transponders as a second, or primary in the case of XB-8000, display. It can also be used with any other AIS transponder.

We discontinued the 650 and it's replacement was the 670 which is also now discontinued I'm afraid. But the WatchMate 750 is still available and it too makes a nice display for any AIS transponder. It's also an AIS receiver so it's a good backup option for transponder owners too.
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