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Old 29-08-2010, 07:44   #1
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When Electronics and NAV Instruments Get Commoditized

After my ST 60 wind problems I am waiting for the next few years to bring some economics to boating Navigation and electronics.

I have Coastal Explorer on my laptop which is a huge advance over our Raymarine RL70c, which feels like the dark ages now. For ~$400 it gives easy graphics and complete US charts. But there isn't any repeater for the cockpit, so that's not a real option for underway steerage.

Someday maybe we'll have open source chartplotters, interchangeable wind and speed instruments, radar that it non-proprietary and it all works together.

Today it still feels like the racket it has always been with super complicated interconnectivity and high prices, all designed to maximize profit margins.
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Old 29-08-2010, 07:51   #2
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Well.. I just faced the same issue.. buy all new or just use the computer at the nav station... $260 fixed my problem Yes I still need to go below to plot, but I no longer need to "guess" where I am on a waterproof chart!
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Old 29-08-2010, 08:09   #3
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Looks great capngeo. What nav software are you using?
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Old 29-08-2010, 08:22   #4
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Someday maybe we'll have open source chartplotters, interchangeable wind and speed instruments, radar that it non-proprietary and it all works together.
I'm curious why you think so. The market for navigation equipment for recreational boats really is tiny. I suppose you should not hold your breath. Waiting a few years I seriously doubt changes the landscape at all. Some things already are cheaper than they used to be. GPS has fallen about as low as it can. Chart plotters require a specialized display not normally used in other environments. Most charts are controlled by government agencies. Garmin proprietary charts and similarly Ray Marine charts are proprietary and they like it that way and why should they support anything else? You can like it or not. Charts won't be cheap in your lifetime. US charts are indeed already free but not many others. All the major vendors are working in proprietary mode and they control the market. It's what the beer companies do - they own the market place and can kill off the small fry at will. I see no signs what so ever that they are losing control.

Depth transponders are already interchangeable since only a few companies even make them compared to those that sell them in systems. The cost of the transponders is pretty low right now.
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Old 29-08-2010, 10:05   #5
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PB-You are probably right in some respects. But I have a Navionics app on my iPhone that included charts - East Coast $14.99 or something like that. It also works on the iPad. It's not a good routeplanning system, but I could see it becoming that way.

It is a small market, but if radar goes non-proprietary, and wind etc is NMEA 2000, then everything could flow through Coastal Explorer. Everything but radar goes into our Coastal Explorer screen. All that then is needed is a waterproof high-quality repeater screen in the cockpit.

I bought my Compaq laptop for $400 a few months ago.

Anyway, I think time will bring us closer to that point. It may bankrupt Raymarine (again) but I can't worry about that.
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Old 29-08-2010, 14:49   #6
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I have a Navionics app on my iPhone that included charts - East Coast $14.99 or something like that.
That would Raymarine. You see they got some money from you any way.

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It is a small market, but if radar goes non-proprietary, and wind etc is NMEA 2000, then everything could flow through Coastal Explorer
This is the problem. NMEA is a standards organization funded by the companies in the market place that belong. RayMarine belongs. The answer to the question why they do yet don't release any products is the same reason NMEA won't be a real standard. It's just a plan to keep the competitors in one box and keep tabs on what they do. It's the key to market domination.

The laptop approach works pretty well but it's not as rock solid as it might be. I use it myself but I don't use it on deck. I prefer to load way points to the GPS from the laptop and plan the routes before I leave the dock or anchorage. I don't feel it is appropriate to navigate by the seat of the pants without a prepared plan.

None of this will break RayMarine because they are leveraged in several other maritime directions including military and commercial. NMEA 2000 is already way out of date. It's going no place and it serves the big companies just fine the way it is. It's the perfect plan because each year it's another year older going no place.
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Old 29-08-2010, 15:41   #7
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Lapbook/laptop/PC/netbook navigation is probably - IMHO - far superior to chart plotters as the programs are configurable. The maps are free or tradeable from other cruisers. As far as getting the display to the binacle in the cockpit - that is not a major problem.
- - I buy cheap LCD monitors that are mounted in the cockpit and then extension cables to run from the nav station where the computer resides in dry comfort. You can build your own waterproof enclosure or buy commercial ones made by outfits like Edson. Wireless all rubber keyboards and wireless trackball devices give you access at the helm to the computer down below.
- - A great side benefit is we can slip a DVD into the computer while at anchor and watch a movie while sitting in the breezy cool cockpit. Can't do that with a chart plotter. . .
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Old 29-08-2010, 20:24   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PamlicoTraveler View Post
Looks great capngeo. What nav software are you using?
Capn Navigator mostly..... But there are cheaper alternatives
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Old 29-08-2010, 21:00   #9
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Well.. I just faced the same issue.. buy all new or just use the computer at the nav station... $260 fixed my problem Yes I still need to go below to plot, but I no longer need to "guess" where I am on a waterproof chart!
It seems this monitor only has DVD input. How do you get the computer to use it as an external monitor?

Michael
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Old 29-08-2010, 23:59   #10
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You can see in the Product Manual here http://www.pyleaudio.com/manuals/PLMRVW155.pdf

that the manual only shows two sets of RCA style inputs.
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Old 30-08-2010, 03:38   #11
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It's actually not that difficult to get set up your own system - and it can be a lot cheaper.

Transducers will typically be NMEA output and can go via a multiplexer to a laptop (or IP67 computer for the cockpit - or IP67 monitor from the laptop - or as pointed out earlier, a cheap LCD monitor in a waterproof housing). These are getting cheaper all the time

There are open source readouts available for displaying info (at least 2 CF members have kindly put their software out there)

Open CPN is developing.

The charts themselves are free in the US and fall off the backs of lorries in the rest of the world.

The key is compatibility - the age of SeaTalk, SimNet etc is limited in my opinion. Charts will very soon become very accurate and open source. It isn't that difficult for the likes of Google or Apple to produce app that records your position and depth every 10 seconds and sends it back to base. If this info is coming from the multitude of users, the information they would be able to gather would be so much more than any Government mapping agency could ever hope to achieve.

The requirement for multiple units, each capable of processing and displaying one type of information only is already outdated in most industries. The marine industry will catch up shortly I'm sure
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Old 30-08-2010, 07:47   #12
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. . . The charts themselves are free in the US and fall off the backs of lorries in the rest of the world.

The key is compatibility - the age of SeaTalk, SimNet etc is limited in my opinion. Charts will very soon become very accurate and open source.. . .
If you are using a raster chart navigation system on your PC then yes, the charts of the USA are free. Some other small countries allow free access to their nautical charts. But most other major countries like Australia and GB's Admiralty charts are locked and you have to pay significant money to get access to them. It costs a huge amount of money to support hydrographic surveying and chart compilation. Even the USA had denied access to the public for NOAA charts that were made with public tax monies. Then, God bless him, a Senator got pissed enough to put a stop to it and now the library is free for downloading. But I wouldn't hold my breathe waiting for other countries to follow.
- - Nautical charts are notoriously ancient and inaccurate when used with a GPS based navigation system. If you read the legend on some charts that cover areas off the main shipping routes you will note that the chart was last surveyed by that guy - C. Cook and dated in the 1800's. Fact is, there just isn't any money or interest in most governments to update charts. A few countries like France and Cuba and others who have done a wonderful job trying to keep nautical charts current.
- - Private chart makers are few and far between. In the Caribbean, the Explorer Charts and Wavey Line charts are probably good examples of outfits that keep their charts as up to date as possible. But otherwise, the major stumbling block is "legal liability." If you use their product and hit a rock or something and incur injuries or major losses the chart maker is subject to being sued in today's chaotic legal arenas. Only governments can withstand those pressures and survive.
- - So when you do get a PC navigation system be sure it has a feature to record and display your actual "track" as you travel. If you return or have to leave "in a hurry" you can retrace your past track with confidence - so long as you did not hit anything on the way in. . .
- - The record and display past tracks is a major plus in PC based navigation systems. Also the ability to place "marks" or notes on to the displayed chart on the screen is fabulous as you can mark uncharted hazards and add hints or directions and in some cases incorporate satellite/aerial photos into the notes. Especially in the Pacific you can add the ATLAS buoy positions and waypoints from Penniped's South Pacific waypoint listing to aid you in some of the world's most uncharted or undercharted waters.
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Old 30-08-2010, 09:53   #13
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The key is compatibility - the age of SeaTalk, SimNet etc is limited in my opinion. Charts will very soon become very accurate and open source. It isn't that difficult for the likes of Google or Apple to produce app that records your position and depth every 10 seconds and sends it back to base. If this info is coming from the multitude of users, the information they would be able to gather would be so much more than any Government mapping agency could ever hope to achieve.
No they will not, and it would take billions of users and billons of spot depths to duplicate the existing charts not to mention drawing in the navaids etc.

Get real, Laptops as chart plotters please, I can hardly Keep Windoze going at home , dont mind on a boat, and cheap "splashproof " montors at the helm, well that will survive the first big wave " sure".


Marine lesiure electronics are cheap, you can get a radar and chart plotter for about $2500 sometime even less. Thats good given the tiny market.

As to charts, well " charts falling off teh back of a lorry" is nonsense. increasing charts are going digital and included in that is extensive security measures,

Sure Navionics on an iphone is cheap , Thats BECAUSE THE IPHONE IS CRAP as a nav device, flimsy, very easy to break and essentially a toy ( not to mention GPS startup issues and accuracy).

AS to open marine networking , never going to happen, its simply isnt in the manufacturers interest and the user community is to smallt to force its hand. NMEA 2K as has been pointed out, is too late, too poor and is essentially a closed sytem as it was designed by the industry.


You speak nonsense, my open source friends
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Old 30-08-2010, 10:16   #14
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There is something to be said about a plug and play system that covers all the bases...autopilot, navigation displays, doppler speed sensor, GPS, fluxgate, charts, AIS, radar, depth etc. Some people are just not into trying to force all these devices to talk to each other. None of this is simple anymore and I really think it helps if all of this stuff is engineered to talk to each other from the beginning. And who but the company that sets the communications standards is better prepared to do this?

I have a Furuno NavNet 3D black box system onboard which works fantastic. I cant imagine all of these different manufacturers ever agreeing on any sort of standard so they can make less money.
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Old 30-08-2010, 10:21   #15
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as yes NAVNet3d, even furuno cant keep to their own NMEA2k standards

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