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Old 02-06-2015, 15:28   #16
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

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Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
I want the autopilot to go where I tell it to go, and to always be under my control, not the control of several other possibly faulty black boxes.
Just a thought. I don't know of any autopilots that will "auto-tack" without a wind instrument feeding data. Auto-tack can be pretty damn handy if you are single hand (maybe a crew member got injured). Just some food for thought.

As to electronics. I decided on B&G for my refit after spending many many hours reading. The sailing functions of B&G are what won me over. I haven't installed them yet, so I can't comment whether I made the right choice.
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Old 02-06-2015, 16:10   #17
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
This is the first time I can recall that I didn't completely agree with you.
Heck, I only completely agree with me just half the time. I have complained about this before, but this site really needs a sarcasm emoticon.

I don't really think at all that one "loses control" of a vessel just because they have instructed an autopilot to do a specific thing in a way they completely expect and understand. No more so than advancing the throttle on an engine or being so uncouth as having hydraulic steering.

My point with the windvane was that people are happy and proud to let their windvane follow the wind around at will, while screaming doom and gloom about connecting an autopilot to a wind instrument and letting it follow the wind.

The same doom and gloom with connecting to navigation data.

Heck, our autopilot has a "no-drift" mode, where the user sets it to a compass bearing and the autopilot follows that bearing while correcting for drift from current or leeway. No navigation or other instrument input or integration is needed - the user just sets it to a compass bearing. Now, how does that sit with the "integration will kill you" crowd?

We recently used our fully-integrated autopilot to great results. We had a 5-day upwind beat where we set our autopilot to "wind-nav" mode. In this mode, the autopilot takes a navigation waypoint and wind instrument input and constantly adjusts the course to maximize VMG toward that waypoint. It calculates the laylines and tells us when it is time to tack. After tacking (automatically after we give it the go-ahead), it starts optimizing VMG again.

24hrs/day for 5 days. I will bet a dollar that nobody here could sail a perfectly efficient VMG course - constantly accounting and adjusting for all changes in wind speed and direction, as well as changes in current speed and direction - for 120hrs straight. Yes, we are cruisers, but we hate giving up 24-36hrs in a passage through inefficient steering.

And I know - we almost killed ourselves and were a danger to all other mariners by having that integrated autopilot. We are certainly the lowest level of seamanship and navigation there can be...

Mark
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Old 02-06-2015, 17:43   #18
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

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Heck, I only completely agree with me just half the time. I have complained about this before, but this site really needs a sarcasm emoticon.

I don't really think at all that one "loses control" of a vessel just because they have instructed an autopilot to do a specific thing in a way they completely expect and understand. No more so than advancing the throttle on an engine or being so uncouth as having hydraulic steering.

My point with the windvane was that people are happy and proud to let their windvane follow the wind around at will, while screaming doom and gloom about connecting an autopilot to a wind instrument and letting it follow the wind.

The same doom and gloom with connecting to navigation data.

Heck, our autopilot has a "no-drift" mode, where the user sets it to a compass bearing and the autopilot follows that bearing while correcting for drift from current or leeway. No navigation or other instrument input or integration is needed - the user just sets it to a compass bearing. Now, how does that sit with the "integration will kill you" crowd?

We recently used our fully-integrated autopilot to great results. We had a 5-day upwind beat where we set our autopilot to "wind-nav" mode. In this mode, the autopilot takes a navigation waypoint and wind instrument input and constantly adjusts the course to maximize VMG toward that waypoint. It calculates the laylines and tells us when it is time to tack. After tacking (automatically after we give it the go-ahead), it starts optimizing VMG again.

24hrs/day for 5 days. I will bet a dollar that nobody here could sail a perfectly efficient VMG course - constantly accounting and adjusting for all changes in wind speed and direction, as well as changes in current speed and direction - for 120hrs straight. Yes, we are cruisers, but we hate giving up 24-36hrs in a passage through inefficient steering.

And I know - we almost killed ourselves and were a danger to all other mariners by having that integrated autopilot. We are certainly the lowest level of seamanship and navigation there can be...

Mark
I'm guessing your are running a B&G Zeus?
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Old 02-06-2015, 20:21   #19
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

A good reason for some integration, even if you don't use all of it, is that the autopilot will put magnetic heading onto whatever bus you choose. At least one neat feature of this is that it allows for radar to overlay charts. Another is having magnetic wind heading, which is a very intuitive way to see lifts and headers. Not to mention having it available on your other other instrument displays.

As to functions like holding you on a rhumd line against current, this could be good or bad, and in many cases does not apply to sailboats. And even if you want to do that that it is pretty easy to dial in the right heading manually.


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Old 02-06-2015, 21:02   #20
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

All great info. Given the way I operate and my research, I know I do want the AP integrated with the nav system and I want to be able to select the steering mode (mag crs, waypoint or wind angle).

Primarily now trying to decide brand and model... Simrad/B&G have good rep, Raymarine units are every where and Garmin seems up and coming...

To choose to choose.... Which brand which model?
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Old 02-06-2015, 21:28   #21
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
Heck, I only completely agree with me just half the time. I have complained about this before, but this site really needs a sarcasm emoticon.

I don't really think at all that one "loses control" of a vessel just because they have instructed an autopilot to do a specific thing in a way they completely expect and understand. No more so than advancing the throttle on an engine or being so uncouth as having hydraulic steering.

My point with the windvane was that people are happy and proud to let their windvane follow the wind around at will, while screaming doom and gloom about connecting an autopilot to a wind instrument and letting it follow the wind.

The same doom and gloom with connecting to navigation data.

Heck, our autopilot has a "no-drift" mode, where the user sets it to a compass bearing and the autopilot follows that bearing while correcting for drift from current or leeway. No navigation or other instrument input or integration is needed - the user just sets it to a compass bearing. Now, how does that sit with the "integration will kill you" crowd?

We recently used our fully-integrated autopilot to great results. We had a 5-day upwind beat where we set our autopilot to "wind-nav" mode. In this mode, the autopilot takes a navigation waypoint and wind instrument input and constantly adjusts the course to maximize VMG toward that waypoint. It calculates the laylines and tells us when it is time to tack. After tacking (automatically after we give it the go-ahead), it starts optimizing VMG again.

24hrs/day for 5 days. I will bet a dollar that nobody here could sail a perfectly efficient VMG course - constantly accounting and adjusting for all changes in wind speed and direction, as well as changes in current speed and direction - for 120hrs straight. Yes, we are cruisers, but we hate giving up 24-36hrs in a passage through inefficient steering.

And I know - we almost killed ourselves and were a danger to all other mariners by having that integrated autopilot. We are certainly the lowest level of seamanship and navigation there can be...

Mark
Oh, sarcasm. I know about that.

So you were referring to a windvane but I was thinking about setting a course to a waypoint. However agree on that as well, using a windvane to control the AP also does not give up control just uses a mode that will require a bit more attention and intelligent monitoring than set and forget course mode.

Now an AP smart enough to save you a day on a 5 day beat to windward would be worth turning over control to the machine and risking death. Of course I do drive a lead mine instead of one of them cattymeringues so I would only save half a day, but still.
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Old 03-06-2015, 06:54   #22
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

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Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
I'm guessing your are running a B&G Zeus?
Our chart plotter is a Furuno, but the autopilot is a Simrad.

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Old 03-06-2015, 07:05   #23
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

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Originally Posted by Jman View Post
A good reason for some integration, even if you don't use all of it, is that the autopilot will put magnetic heading onto whatever bus you choose.
The best way to install a compass is directly on the communications bus and not through the AP (assuming NMEA2000). That way, the compass data are available if the autopilot computer is off or not working.

The whole "integration" fear is an unexamined continuum. An "independent" chart plotter is an amalgam of integration by itself. An "independent" autopilot requires integration with a compass, a rudder feedback sensor and a control head in order to work "independently". Any fully-integrated system easily works in a "non-integrated" way without needing to disconnect any wires.

People talking about "integration/non-integration" simply have no understanding or experience with current electronics.

All electronics are essentially "black boxes" - there is absolutely no repair or jury rigging for most of them, so the only answer to the fear of them is to simply go back to windvanes, sextants and paper/pencil. Nothing wrong with that.

It is false belief that one has installed their electronics in a manner that increases their reliability/robustness by keeping them "non-integrated".

To intentionally purchase electronics specifically and solely because they cannot be integrated is silly.

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Old 03-06-2015, 16:18   #24
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

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Originally Posted by malyea View Post
Closed the sale on our "new" to us 1987 Irwin 43 and now it's time to outfit her with updated electronics. She's currently outfitted with only a vhf and older Garmin chart plotter.

I believe I'll design the system from the "autopilot up", ie - select the AP first and then select best electronic nav components to interface with it.

She displaces 26,000 and we plan to sail her offshore quite a bit. I lean more towards an AP that's physically robust and reliable rather than just the latest gee whiz technology (not that gee whiz doesn't have its place...).

I'd appreciate opinions regarding the following brands and their appropriate linear drive models - Garmin, Raymarine, Simrad, B&G and ComNav.

Thanks
I went all Raymarine Mike and very happy I did. A few of us with an Irwin43 did what you're doing now. Realize displacement when fully loaded with water, fuel, spares, tools, etc is 30,000# and for electric AP you will require the largest model. You will also need an actuator tiller arm mounted on the rudder stock. These are commercially available; however, best to have one manufactured for precise arm length and torque at a more economical price. I made my own drawings of the AP layout and details of the tiller arm. I could advise here on my complete rig with gyroscope, control heads, plotters, radar, sonar, wind, fluxgate;although, best we communicate directly.
The Irwin Group Site has photographs of Member AP installations. When your next in St. Augustine you could also visit my vessel. Cheers.
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Old 03-06-2015, 16:36   #25
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

Thanks Alan, I'll be in touch directly.
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Old 05-06-2015, 07:35   #26
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

Talk, research, reading and rumination has gotten me to the following electronics refit plan -
- all components to be NMEA 2000 protocol
- chart plotter (probably a MFD)
- AP (robust, over sized below deck linear drive)
- 4G broadband radar
- AIS transceiver
- transducers for depth/speed/temp/sonar fish finder
- electronic wind indicator
- two dedicated i50/i60 style instruments (one for wind angle/speed and one for boat speed)
- satcom (maybe SSB in the future)
- EPIRB

Cockpit display plan is to have one CP/MFD at the helm to primarily show standard nav chart info, boat location, overlay radar display, AIS targets, fish finder, depth, and water temp.

The i50/i60 style instruments will be mounted either side of companionway - one for apparent wind angle/speed and the other for boat speed. These are my two primary instruments for driving the boat. Alternatively I suspect this data can be displayed on CP/MFD.

I'm a bit undecided what repeaters to have at the nav station below. If I install an onboard wifi hub it can transmit all CP/MFD displays to an iPad anywhere below and I can keep the AP remote control at the nav station along side the base VHF and Satcom.

I want all of the major components to be from a single manufacturer to eliminate tech rep finger pointing when system commissioning problems develop.

Not 100% decided - but I'm leaning heavily towards Simrad/B&G because both their APs and broadband radar units seem to get very good reviews from users. Raymarine is my second choice because I have concerns about their proprietary SeaTalk wiring technology integrating with NMEA 2000 protocol. Garmin is my last choice cause I rate their radar and APs as least tested as they're newest on the market.

Thanks for any thoughts you may like to offer on this plan.
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Old 05-06-2015, 08:16   #27
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

Ok, some things to consider as I did an electronics upgrade recently (I think you found the other thread), but probably just a bit early for me to review fully. I went with:

  • B&G Zeus2 9 inch chartplotter. On my 33 ft cat, all instruments are at the helm, which is under a fiberglass hard top. Although there are some cheap Zeus Touch and 4G radar packages out there, I was recommended to go with the Zeus2 because of much faster speed. That recommendation was from someone that owned both.
  • B&G 4G Broadband radar. I have not installed this yet, as the boat is going to the rigging shop to have the mast pulled, standing rigging changed out, and at the same time install a dedicated conduit for the radar cable. But as you said, reviews were very good for 4G. And that is only available thru B&G, Simrad and Navico (I think).
  • Vesper XB8000 AIS. I think these guys are leaders in the AIS package. This is a below-deck unit that has a dedicated separate GPS antenna that ties directly to the unit. It has no display. It is tied into the N2K network, so the AIS info shows up on both the Zeus2 and the Icom radio screen.
  • Vesper antenna splitter. My VHF antenna is at the top of the mast. The splitter allows it to be used for both the VHF and the AIS.
  • Icom M506-11 VHF radio. This model does not have AIS receive capability - that is done by the Vesper - but is N2K compatable so gets the AIS data from Vesper. It is on the N2K network.
  • B&G ZG100 GPS with internal 10 Hz update compass. Also on the N2K network. I purchased this because several said the Zeus2 built-in GPS antenna would probably not work sufficiently under my hard top. Also, my AP is a Raymarine Smart Pilot with a non-gyro 5 Hz compass. As I wanted to get radar chart overlay, that required a compass with a faster refresh rate. The ZG specs say it will do that, but it is NOT sufficient for MARPA. That would require a B&G RC42N gyro-stabilized rate compass. My recommendation is that if you are going to change out your autopilot, you go with one that has a gyro-stabilized compass accessible thru N2K that the Zeus2 can access to use for MARPA.
  • I kept the old Raymarine autopilot, and Raymarine ST60 wind and ST60 speed/depth instruments. I hooked them up to a SeaTalk to SeaTalkng converter that is an extension of the N2K backbone. So the Zeus2 can get the wind and boat speed data that it needs for the SailSteer calculations. All of that data - including rudder angle - comes in via Zeus2. I know some have said they had problem getting this to work, and I suspect it is because they are hooking up the SeaTalk converter using a spur cable to the N2K network, rather than splicing a backbone cable.
Ok, so what works and what doesn't. For one, since I kept the Raymarine AP, I cannot control it with the Zeus2. I am ok with that, and like that fact that if the chartplotter goes out, I still have my steering system, my wind instrument and depth/speed displays. And I can go to the handheld GPS. No big deal for me, but others maybe it is an issue.

I travel the ICW a lot, and really wanted AIS transceiver. The Vesper is working great on the N2K network feeding info to both the Zeus2 and the VHF. One of the things that the Zeus2 has is that you can touch the AIS target on the screen, a menu comes up with all of the target ship info on it. And at the bottom of the screen, is a button labeled "Call". That is supposed to allow you to touch the button, and it logs a DSC call to that AIS target. Despite B&G assurances - before I purchased the Icom - that it would work with Icom, they now way it only works with their B&G VHF. They say they are working on that. But also appears the Icom 506 does not receive the N2K PGN that is typical to log a call. So this may be a two-step process of getting B&G to change their software, and then Icom. B&G is supposedly working on it. If you want to skip the hassle, buy the cheaper B&G VHF. I personally like Icom.

Finally, my steering station can't fit an instrument box or housing to hold the Zeus2, so I have it bracket mounted with the stock bracket. I did this with my Garmin for years, but the downside is that connecting and disconnecting all of the time (to store below, to prevent theft) can wear out the connectors. What I did this time was buy a 1 ft long Garmin N2K cable that stays connected to the Zeus2. I have an N2K cable pigtail that is the backbone of the network nearby and I screw those two together for hookup. The power cord stays connected to the Zeus2, but I used a MarineCo waterproof cig lighter plug at the end and locking receptacle for dedicated power to the unit. The radar cable is the only other wire that needs to be connected to the Zeus2, but its infrequent - just used on night trips. As such, I can lock the display below when we are not on the boat.

I can let you know how the radar works, in about another month! All of this electronics refit is to prepare for a Bahamas cruise for a few months, next year. I've also gone thru the fuel and the motors, the rerigging is scheduled, so hoping to be prepared.
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Old 05-06-2015, 08:16   #28
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

If you are set on a broadband radar, then Navico (Simrad, B&G, Lowrance) is your only option.

My suggestion would be to forgo the dedicated i50/60 style instruments and instead go with two small MFD's like the B&G Triton or Raymarine i70. This will allow you to display any data on your network, as well as any future data (like NMEA engine or weather station data).

It doesn't make sense to spend the same amount of money for dedicated wind and speed displays when you can have those PLUS all other displays you can imagine. Even if you just left them on wind and speed data, you will get more wind and speed information from them than with dedicated instruments.

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Old 05-06-2015, 08:23   #29
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

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If you want to skip the hassle, buy the cheaper B&G VHF.
Another option if one is buying a new VHF anyway is to get the Standard Horizon VHF with built-in AIS receiver. This not only gives one a redundant AIS receiver and GPS, it allows one to call ships directly simply by highlighting them and pressing "call".

I don't see much advantage in calling ships through a chart plotter interface since one has to pick up the VHF mic to talk to them anyway. If you have picked up the VHF mic, you may as well use it to call the ship.

Other VHF/AIS vendors may also have this direct call feature, but I only know of the Standard Horizon one.

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Old 05-06-2015, 08:30   #30
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
Another option if one is buying a new VHF anyway is to get the Standard Horizon VHF with built-in AIS receiver. This not only gives one a redundant AIS receiver and GPS, it allows one to call ships directly simply by highlighting them and pressing "call".

I don't see much advantage in calling ships through a chart plotter interface since one has to pick up the VHF mic to talk to them anyway. If you have picked up the VHF mic, you may as well use it to call the ship.
Yeah, the Icom will do the same thing. But it just takes a few more steps. If you have multiple targets on the display, you have to toggle thru them to find the one your want. And then you can lodge the call. It's just that my Zeus2 is about at chest level, and the VHF is in the companionway at about knee level. But you are right, it's not a deal breaker.
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