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Old 13-08-2017, 08:28   #1
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What chartplotter brand / interoperability between brands

Hi there. A newbe's stupid question:

I see a lot of great shiny (I prefer the non-glare ones) new MFD's of various brands and sizes around.

Many older boats have Raymarine installed, the newer go with Garmin or B&G.

I am curious if they are interchangeable (just a dumb display like any other computer), do they support all common protocols and can use the sensors of different brands or should one stick with one brand for all electronics because of proprietary protocols / connectors etc? Can you mix & match different brands (e.g. master chart plotter from Raymarine on the helm and have a slave Garmin or B&G in the salon on the chart table)? How about radar and weather integration?

What charts can I use on the different chart plotter, is this just a decision to buy the charts and install them - no matter what plotter it is or do I have to stick to the charts from the hardware vendor? I assume Garmin has it's own charts - different from the rest of the world as always.

Can I also use free charts on the commercial plotters and what is the best option for charts / plotter combination if you plan to circumvent one day?

In one of the forums I read there were issues with Navionics charts in the southern pacific, some sailors run frequently on a riff because of glitches in the charts. Do you use several different chart sources on the same plotter ore use different devices (e.g OpenCPN + the professional Navionics) on a tablet next to the plotter? What company would you recommend for a refit?

How are chart updates provided and what is the best "beng for the buck" regarding charts for a region like the Med, Atlantic, Caribbean See, Pacific (with updates subscription / free charts / usage on all devices on board?)
how often do you get updates for the plotter?

Where do you get your updated paper charts from for the different areas in the world? Do you use them on board frequently or just as a backup / for emergency and the larger scale for general planning?


Sorry, so many questions...
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Old 14-08-2017, 23:37   #2
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Re: What chartplotter brand / interoperability between brands

Generally you need all same. For the main stuff anyways
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Old 15-08-2017, 00:12   #3
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Re: What chartplotter brand / interoperability between brands

As smac999 says, you want to stay with a single vendor to ensure they will work. Certain sensors such as radars and sounders work only within the brand. Autopilots are a little more standardized but if you can only access advanced features within the brand (e.g. any device can issue a track route point to pretty much any autopilot but if you want to accept without pressing a key or track to wind you need to stay within the brand). Wind/depth sensors are a mixed bag, while GPS and heading sensors are very well standardized, you can use any GPS sensors with any chartplotter.
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Old 15-08-2017, 03:58   #4
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Re: What chartplotter brand / interoperability between brands

OK, so the main components need to be all the same vendor:

- Chartplotter + Satellite instruments e.g. Tridata's,
- Autopilot,
- Radar,
- AIS / VHF, (?)
- 3D Depthsounder / Fishfinder (is it worth it?)
- Navtex?
- Integration of GRIB data?
- Integration Windows PC's / Androud Tablets as secondary displays

How about the available navigation charts? What brand has the best value in regard of accuracy, area coverage and price for updates?

If I have to upgrade electronics, probably it would make sense not to look only at the primary investment for the hardware but also for running costs for charts and chart updates.

Any recommendations for a preferred brand for water sailing">blue water sailing (Garmin vs. B&G vs Raymarine)?

How often Do you buy new charts / updates for your sailing region?
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Old 15-08-2017, 05:03   #5
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Re: What chartplotter brand / interoperability between brands

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatNewBee View Post
Many older boats have Raymarine installed, the newer go with Garmin or B&G.

I am curious if they are interchangeable (just a dumb display like any other computer), do they support all common protocols and can use the sensors of different brands or should one stick with one brand for all electronics because of proprietary protocols / connectors etc? Can you mix & match different brands (e.g. master chart plotter from Raymarine on the helm and have a slave Garmin or B&G in the salon on the chart table)? How about radar and weather integration?

What charts can I use on the different chart plotter, is this just a decision to buy the charts and install them - no matter what plotter it is or do I have to stick to the charts from the hardware vendor? I assume Garmin has it's own charts - different from the rest of the world as always.

Can I also use free charts on the commercial plotters and what is the best option for charts / plotter combination if you plan to circumvent one day?

I'd guess your statement about older (Ray) and newer (Garmin, etc.) is probably a generalization that may only be true for the boats you've looked at. And there's Furuno, Simrad, etc etc etc... Garmin certainly does act like the new kid on the block, though, probably increasing their market share quickly...

Using NMEA2000/NMEA0183 networking and WiFi... you can probably mix and match systems easily enough... but each system will sometimes/often need it's own sensors. A depth finder, for example, may need to be paired with a specific transducer... And a given plotter will often need specific charts or charts from a specific source (or two or three...). You can usually research what plotters use what charts in advance.

I've found it useful to (mostly) use a single source of electronics, so if/when networking gets difficult, the manufacturer can't point at "the other guy" -- but I wouldn't say that it's necessary to do it that way.

If you have a specific reason for choosing one brand of X for whatever X function is... and another brand for a Y function (whatever) you can usually make that work, often not too difficult. (Why Raymarine plotter in one place and B&G somewhere else? Could work, but why? Learning two sets of user controls introduces another issue...) But then again prior research may also surface reasons for doing that... or for not doing that, in some instances.

Might get easier if you insert specific option you're considering.

-Chris
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Old 16-08-2017, 01:31   #6
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Re: What chartplotter brand / interoperability between brands

Well thank you very much.

I was thinking of the electronics, because I am shopping at the moment for a used cat (5 to 10 years old), and I see on the market various opportunities with most often aged electronics, old chart plotter with small displays, with or without radar etc. An I wonder if I have to spend 20-30k$$$ to replace the whole shebang to get latest charts and a decent display size or if I can just replace the plotter. Also I wonder if I have to buy all new charts to sail or if I can use the old ones and update them occasionally.

I would like to have at the end a good readable plotter at the helm wit AIS and Radar integrated and a second large display at the navstation in the salon - preferably a 4k 32" computer monitor - that mirrors the chart plotter at the helm an has additional features like openCPN, SeaClear, zyGrib,... The PC will get its own GPS Sensor to have a back up solution just in case...

My question targets the issue of e.g. buying a new Plotter and continuing to use potentially available Radar/AIS/sensors or may be buying a new radar (e.g a chirp radar) or class-B AIS to extend the old existing electronics.

I consider the Furuno stuff a very professional, complex to configure and use and pricey environment with a long life expectation - it is used on commercial and high-end vessels.
It is more likely it will not be found in an old cat - there is mostly Raymarine in the 10yr old Lagoon/Fountaine Pajot, Garmin in the 1-5yr old Lagoon/FP and B&G in the newer Leopards from R&C.

I wonder why the big volume production manufacturer in Europe move away from Ray towards Garmin and if there are any advantages of Garmin compared to Raymarine / B&G.
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Old 16-08-2017, 04:26   #7
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Re: What chartplotter brand / interoperability between brands

You could likely just replace a plotter (and get new charts) easily enough, assuming real estate cooperates.

A common decent approach is to use the boat for a while first, though, so you get a better feel for what works, what doesn't... and how to prioritize your way ahead.

If the boat comes with both plotter and radar, not integrated, the old radar may not integrate with a new plotter. But then you could replace the old radar later, if necessary, with a model compatible with the new plotter. Assuming you really want the radar display overlayed on the plotter display.

AIS is commonly either in the (VHF) radio -- or it's a black box -- and feeding the plotter with either is common.

I expect electronics fitted by boat makers is mostly based on whatever deals they can get in quantities from electronics makers. Electronics fitted by earlier owners could be any brand, maybe or maybe not brand-focused. In the latter case, I'd guess Furuno may pop up more often.

Can't say our Furuno suite is in either a commercial or high end vessel.

And I don't find it any more complicated than any other system that offers many features. (Microsoft Excel, for example.) As with many of those, it's not difficult to learn to use what you immediately need, then learn the more intricate capabilities as necessary along the way.

-Chris
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Old 16-08-2017, 04:39   #8
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Re: What chartplotter brand / interoperability between brands

Checkk out the Panbo website which is one of the best resources on the internet for marine electronics.

Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub

Whilst the older 10yr old Raymarine doesn't excite me particularly the new range of ray marine Axiom has a lot going for it.

http://www.panbo.com/assets_c/2017/0...nbo-15260.html

Also well priced.
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Old 16-08-2017, 11:14   #9
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Re: What chartplotter brand / interoperability between brands

I respectfully disagree with the advice to buy all equipment from the same manufacturer.

My own boat (like just about every boat I've owned, and many I've been aboard) has multiple different components from just about every vendor. Currently, I'm running Raymarine, Garmin, Furuno, B&G, Navman, Vesper, Lowrance, Noland, Simrad, Airmar and Uniden components.

They all communicate using one or both of the two standard protocols, NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000, as appropriate for each.

I've never had any interfacing problems. Just know which ones you want connected, and for what. NMEA 2K makes everything almost plug-and-play.

As mentioned above, you need to buy the radome and radar display together, although you can buy N2K transducers if you just want depth and not high-end fishfinder displays.

A lot of people just change out whatever doesn't work (or is obsolete) and leave the "good" stuff installed. There's often no need to rip out everything and start over.
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Old 16-08-2017, 14:41   #10
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Re: What chartplotter brand / interoperability between brands

Capt Tom nailed it!
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Old 17-08-2017, 02:43   #11
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Re: What chartplotter brand / interoperability between brands

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptTom View Post
...
As mentioned above, you need to buy the radome and radar display together, although you can buy N2K transducers if you just want depth and not high-end fishfinder displays...
.
Well that was part of the question. I was thinking, a MFD can overlay chart data, AIS and Radar if wanted / needed. A separate radar display may make sense in the salon on the nav station of a cat (probably it will be the navigation PC with some software), on the helm you most likely want a larger single display, that can show all of this information and adjust the radar settings.

If you need to buy the radome + display together, that would imply going with a single brand. Regarding the depth finder, I do assume all the simple sensors are interoperable (depth, log speed, wind, temperature...), if it comes to imaging or forward 3d-gimmicks probably you need something powerfull enough to do the rendering - I dont know if you can combine radar, chartplotter and 3D depthsounder from different vendors on a single display.

Of course you can have separate displays for each function side by side from different vendors - but this is not the integrated approach. I doubt there will be even issues with a single vendor between different series of chart plotters...
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