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Old 14-09-2016, 19:09   #1
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Stick with Simrad ?

Hi

Complete novice here so please forgive any dumb questions buuuut......

I have a sailing catamaran and it has Simrad gear. Most of it has been left in the holes as it became obsolete or broke down and new gear fitted around it. So I am happy to do a full start again and patch all the holes and refit the working or replacement gear.

It has (working)
  • AP20 Auto Pilot - works fine although it seems too make constant changes working flat out in rough-ish conditions
  • Forward reaching sonar - Can't read the screen - needs to be replaced
  • Wind direction and display - looks like an older version of the is40 gauge - x2 off - work fine
  • Chart plotter - Looks like an old version of the NSS - works fine
As well as above I would like to have
  • Radar
  • AIS
  • MOB
  • Remote control
  • Forward facing 3D Sonar
  • I'd prefer it all on one or two screens rather than gauges everywhere
Should I stick with Simrad or are there better options out there. The reps are all pumping their products up and putting s... on the opposition and I have no clue. (I'm not sure some of the reps are too clued up either) Reading the posts on here it looks like they all have their problems, some due to installation and some due to unknown issues that the manufacturers agents don't seem to helpful with.

After sales warranty and support is a concern for me. If it all goes wrong I want someone to fix it not ignore me and hope I go away. That seems to be a recurring theme in some posts.

Secondary issue -
I am worried about tacking with a genoa and passing the sail around the radar - is this an issue ?

Thanks
Dave
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Old 14-09-2016, 20:55   #2
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Re: Stick with Simrad ?

Dave, hi and thanks for the question. I opted to go Simrad, NSE12 closely followed by simrad auto pilot with bluetooth remote. All installed via authorised techs, and when a problem arose Simrad found it not worth their valuable time to try and assist with telephone support, the advise was to get the tech back, his install, his problem. Great if you can get the tech back but it took almost four weeks of constant attempts to get him back, so four weeks of not being able to use it.
Turned out to be a simple fix that Simrad should have been able to talk me through.
So far the equipment is good but be aware that you need to have it installed by a good and very RELIABLE tech.
Would I go Simrad again? not sure but I'm not impressed with their support.
Hope this helps.
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Old 14-09-2016, 21:22   #3
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Re: Stick with Simrad ?

Thanks Bob

That's exactly what I'm after. It seems to be a dodgy industry with quite a few comments along these lines. More of a worry is if I'm travelling who is going to help me in another port.

Maybe if we charge the tech/agent the marina fees while the boat waits that might hurry the process along. :-)

Regards
Dave

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
Dave, hi and thanks for the question. I opted to go Simrad, NSE12 closely followed by simrad auto pilot with bluetooth remote. All installed via authorised techs, and when a problem arose Simrad found it not worth their valuable time to try and assist with telephone support, the advise was to get the tech back, his install, his problem. Great if you can get the tech back but it took almost four weeks of constant attempts to get him back, so four weeks of not being able to use it.
Turned out to be a simple fix that Simrad should have been able to talk me through.
So far the equipment is good but be aware that you need to have it installed by a good and very RELIABLE tech.
Would I go Simrad again? not sure but I'm not impressed with their support.
Hope this helps.
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Old 14-09-2016, 22:36   #4
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Re: Stick with Simrad ?

Take a look at the B&G stuff too. Basically the same hardware as Simrad, but more sail dedicated software.
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Old 15-09-2016, 06:23   #5
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Re: Stick with Simrad ?

when seeking tronix. also check out the support offered and given for the product.
i love my simrad hydraulic otto pile it. is perfect. sips electricity and not use much unless seeking when no wind. perfect in a gale.
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Old 15-09-2016, 06:43   #6
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Re: Stick with Simrad ?

Hi there , I have found Simrad up here in Canada to be great. Never had any tech issues with my gear but when I asked if they could send me a few corner pieces for my IS20 displays they were prompt and sent me 50 of them , they are prone to falling off when you remove the covers , had them in a week , no charge !

Gear on board , all simrad
Two NSS 7 MFDs
Five Is20 displays
4G radar
A150 AIS Transponder
AC42 autopilot

Non simrad,
Maretron SC200
Standard Horizon GX2200 VHF and Ram 3 remote
B&G 508 wind sensor, really just a simrad unit .
Mamba Rotary Drive for auto pilot.
Airmar DST800 Thruhull .

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Old 15-09-2016, 11:09   #7
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Re: Stick with Simrad ?

A n acquaintance had the Simrad system installed on his cruising boat and had a number of problems with the interfacing, the tecks couldn't fix the problem [on the phone], a local teck finally figured out the problem, I have a Robertson-Simrad auto-pilot that works great.
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Old 15-09-2016, 11:21   #8
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Re: Stick with Simrad ?

Lowrance/Simrad/B&G are all the same company and so pretty easy to work with each other.

I have a simrad radio/autopilot/plotter/radar, installed myself and it all worked fine (aside the radio - but a firmware update finally fixed that).

NMEA2000 is great.
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Old 15-09-2016, 14:30   #9
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Re: Stick with Simrad ?

Forward facing sonar? I could only find one major manufacturer. They had really cool 3d, but it cost about $10,000. The 2d was ok, but the 3d was really awesome.

What were you thinking for this system?
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Old 15-09-2016, 14:43   #10
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Re: Stick with Simrad ?

Hi Dave
I have all Simard on my boat and find the gear very good and well integrated.
I bought all from a dealer who knows his stuff and he is the first port of call when I have a problem and he can talk me through.
Give Spiro a ring on 0409 333 380 and he'll probably have the best price but certainly the best advice.
When I originally talked to Simard directly to put a system together, they included $1,000 components that were not required.
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Old 15-09-2016, 15:58   #11
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Re: Stick with Simrad ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by alctel View Post
Lowrance/Simrad/B&G are all the same company and so pretty easy to work with each other.

I have a simrad radio/autopilot/plotter/radar, installed myself and it all worked fine (aside the radio - but a firmware update finally fixed that).

NMEA2000 is great.


Thanks

How technical is it to install your self ?


Dave
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Old 15-09-2016, 16:27   #12
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Re: Stick with Simrad ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lindabarzini View Post
Forward facing sonar? I could only find one major manufacturer. They had really cool 3d, but it cost about $10,000. The 2d was ok, but the 3d was really awesome.

What were you thinking for this system?
Garmin and few others claim to have it. The ones I have seen 3D images of look great in the brochures but the opposition all bag each other and I suspect the budget ones don't really work. The EchoPilot seems like it might work but its way out od my budget at 14k.

The 2d one on the boat looks forward up to 100m but it is the old grey/brown screen and the changing black shapes show where solid objects are but when I pointed out shapes close to the boat they were apparently showing sunlight ? We came up on a pair of whales which were not moving and where in about 6m of water. When we were trying to understand what it was there was nothing unusual on the screen.

I would like to poke around the reefs and anchor at night it would be really handy to have some form of reliable readable forward facing sonar.

I think I might just try to get a new screen for the one I have and learn how to read it.

Dave
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Old 15-09-2016, 16:34   #13
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Re: Stick with Simrad ?

Thanks, that's great to know. I have called Spiro and I will email him a list of the gear I have and what I want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yachtmasteroz View Post
Hi Dave
I have all Simard on my boat and find the gear very good and well integrated.
I bought all from a dealer who knows his stuff and he is the first port of call when I have a problem and he can talk me through.
Give Spiro a ring on 0409 333 380 and he'll probably have the best price but certainly the best advice.
When I originally talked to Simard directly to put a system together, they included $1,000 components that were not required.
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Old 15-09-2016, 17:14   #14
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Re: Stick with Simrad ?

Hi Dave,

I sell this stuff and all of it is generally good however there are some things to consider. You mention support and I have to say that at least here in the U.S., Raymarine support is a problem. If you can get through to someone they are good, but getting through is a real problem, especially at peak times such as 4 July, Mondays, etc. Again, the equipment is fine, but getting consistent support is problematic. I sold a gentleman well over $20K in equipment and it was like pulling teeth to get answers to a few questions.

NMEA 2000 is tremendous, and does allow for mixes of equipment manufacturers, e.g. a Raymarine auto-pilot with a Simrad NS16 Chart plotter. The issue is again support. Both companies will do their best to assist but at some point (if the problem is complicated) they will often tell you that you need to talk to the other company. If possible, it is best to stick with one company for the majority of equipment. It's not always possible but one should try.

Simrad has a new CHIRP radar that is pretty good. They did a demo and it was able to pick out crab pot buoys in 20 feet or sometimes even less! It was pretty impressive.

With radar, it is best to keep it on a separate monitor. Chart overlays tend to get confused and it is easier to lose a target. It's much like the same reason you keep the depth finder on its own instrument; it sticks out and you don't lose sight if critical info due to information overload.

Simrad/B&G (same company; B&G is especially designed for sailing) is a good choice. They have very good equipment and offer a hybrid so you can have touch screen with buttons. Others are good too and I am also a fan of Garmin.

Go to a store and play with all of it. See if you like the menus. See how easy it is to find things, change things, etc. People usually use only ten percent or so of what these things can do and you'll want to be able to easily find other things. It's no good to have advanced features if you never remember where they are.

Remember, the cost of purchase is only half of the actual cost unless you are doing your own installation. A ROUGH guide is that you will spend the same as your purchase price to install it. Obviously, there are many variations to this, but if you budget an amount and come in less, you will be happy. If you budget only a little and Murphy is working hard, you will be upset. The same is true for the time to install it. If you are doing your own work, and the salesman/factory rep thinks it will take you a week to install it, budget two and allow a few extra days for each ten miles away from a store you are! If someone is doing the installation, and they say a week, allow for two. Even if it takes a week, you'll want time to do a shakedown cruise or three, or five!

If you are buying and electronic autopilot, be sure to buy plenty of spares or even a second unit. The same is true for critical components. A second MFD/chart-plotter is good insurance when you are 1,500 miles from anywhere. Also, be sure you have paper charts and maintain situational awareness. This stuff can and WILL fail, often at the worst time. It may not be the unit. It may just be a fuse, or a wire, etc. but the result is the same.

Some stores sell extra protection. Sometimes these are good, sometimes they are not. Ask about the details. If it offers an exchange, then it may be worth it. An exchange allows, or should allow, you to get a replacement fairly quickly. An extended warranty means you have to ship it back and wait for it to be repaired. An exchange is just that. Now you're just down while it is being shipped, plus a day or so for re-installation.

Good luck.
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Old 15-09-2016, 17:22   #15
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Re: Stick with Simrad ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lindabarzini View Post
Forward facing sonar? I could only find one major manufacturer. They had really cool 3d, but it cost about $10,000. The 2d was ok, but the 3d was really awesome.

What were you thinking for this system?
There are a number of companies with forward sonar. It works HOWEVER there are some considerations. First, you are very limited in range. Think sixty feet (18 meters) under optimum conditions. I am sure that there are a few that claim further however I haven't seen anything significantly further. (by the way, I sell Simrad/B&G/Lowrance, Garmin, Raymarine).

What this really means is that you have to be moving slowly for it to help you. Yes it is useful, but if you are moving at anything more than a couple of knots then you will likely run into something that arises abruptly, like a rock.

Second, the clearer the water, the better it works. The more silty, the more debris, etc. then the less effective it will be.

This is not to say it isn't worth having. Just be aware of the limitations and you'll be fine. If you are exploring a poorly charted area and are moving slowly, it will likely prove useful. I would sill explore with a dinghy first. A dinghy will cost a lot less to repair!
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