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Old 17-08-2009, 18:15   #1
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Opinions on Electronics

Looking to up grade all the electronics on the Gulfstar 50 I just purchased.
The boat has nothing(good thing) on it so we are starting from scratch.
Will be living aboard and cruising full time.
Looking for-radar,vhf,ssb and chartplotter.
I like the Icom 802 w/140 tuner
Icom 604 VHF
Possibly the Raymarine c120w
All input is appreciated

Thanks
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Old 17-08-2009, 18:30   #2
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I like the Raymarine system because everything talks together easily.Speed, Depth, chartplotter, autopilot, wind, and ais/radar.
when you go with different brands ie. Garmin CP and RayM instruments you have interface issues.
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Old 17-08-2009, 18:42   #3
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Which system do you have?
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Old 17-08-2009, 19:23   #4
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Raymarine C and E have an awful user interface. This is not uncommon in the industry and I don't get it. They pack these units with all sorts of data and display options but give you very few buttons to get at it.

I think the top makers all have good products, and I would recommend one which as the best GUI. I would not buy another Ray, perhaps Foruno or Garmin.

You also need to consider that N2K is replacing NMEA 0183 so look to the future.
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Old 17-08-2009, 20:02   #5
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I have the Raymarine System using ST60 instruments and a C80 chartplotter (Gps 125 antenna) and a 4000MkII autopilot. I don't find the user interface that bad. I am a computer geek so navigating menus is a snap for me. Once you learn the system it's fine. The "seatalk" network works well but is not so easy to interface with the NMEA 0183 (although it can be done with an adapter and extra cabling).

ps: I think it makes life simpler to stay within one brand what ever it is, and secondly, although others have had different experiences with RM, when I had a problem of my own making (broken AP) RM let me Fedex the broken item to them and they fedexed it back within 72 hours to the marina where I was located at no charge.
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Old 17-08-2009, 21:44   #6
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I am a Raymarine certified tech/installer. I install C-wides, E-series mostly. First thing I'd like to say is that no system is perfect. Repeat that several times to yourself if it doesn't communicate well. Every brand has different models. Every model is part of a learning curve and a marketing experiment. Every system has compromises that you either accept or eat your guts out with frustration and anger at the unfair universe.

I have the most success at quick installations when the entire system is integrated. That means the models are by the same maker, and that they were originally designed to work together. If the system is older, without all the bells and whistles, but fulfills the basic requirements you ask of it, you have value for your expenditure. If the gear is new and shiny, but won't talk to another component, then you got less value. The dealer may steer you in the wrong direction because they have a product in stock and inventory to reduce. Your good buddy down the dock, or on Cruiser's Forum may have had a bad experience, and damn everything associated with his or her decision to purchase. The bottom line: you pays your money and takes your chances. So, do your homework.

Garmin will someday eat Raymarine's lunch, with its bright touchpad displays and cool networking. Furuno makes fabulous equipment, at prices that make you reconsider how much money you have available for electronics. Raymarine has an older range, the C-series, a newer range of displays in the E-series, a gee-whiz range in the G-series, and a new version of simpler systems in the C-Wide units. Garmins can be very user friendly, Furunos may seem to be utterly complex, and Raymarines may confuse, as well. These companies are producing new products faster than they are editing their manuals.

So, my recommendations are these: Figure out your available budget, and take into account the nifty toys you may want if you get your job back or get a raise. You want a basic core that does what you need: chartplotter/multifunction display, with GPS. a depthsounder, or fishfinder if you are so inclined, speedo, masthead instruments (if you have the budget), radar, AIS (go for it, don't think too much of the price). Then, there are the really crazy items like forward scanning sonar, satellite weather receivers, and the promise of future internet satellite stuff. I am still holding out for the transporter and phaser array, but a guy's got to dream.

Whatever you choose, make sure it can handle every item on your wish list, then confirm that before buying into a system that looked really pretty on the wall at the marine store. Download the manuals and see what it's like to plot routes, monitor the tracks on the radar of ten targets simultaneously, pull up additional undisplayed data, read the bottom profile effectively. Then imagine trying to explain this to your crew so they can use the gear at three o'clock in the morning when the fog sets in and the fog signals of big ships can be heard in every direction.

I did my own research and found what worked for me, then learned the ideosyncrasies of the installation, the operation, and the longevity of the system for future toys. You have to do the same, because your own needs need to be established, then accomodated. You can't cry about the big bad electronics salespeople if you share some of the responsibility directly.

There is great gear out there, by different makers. Much of it is truly revolutionary, compared to what we had twenty years ago, and especially what was around fifty years ago. Do your homework, read the technical bulletins at Panbo and other sites, read the installation and operation manuals online. Then go to the store and learn to do everything with the display models. You'll figure it out.
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Old 17-08-2009, 22:02   #7
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I have a new Furuno NavNet 3Dsystem that I am very happy with. It's not that complex and the technical support is absolutely the best. I agree that for smaller boats, Garmin is becoming excellent. Do not consider anything from Lowrance, their quality has gone to the dogs recently.

I am a fan of integrated systems but also realize you need some basic backup instruments.
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Old 17-08-2009, 22:05   #8
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Okay, before I hear the shouting, this is what I have: My boat is a 40 Searunner trimaran, which I launched in 1978. All systems have been, or soon will be, completely upgraded to early 21st century modifications, especially the electrical system. The core is an E-series multifunction display at the nav station. When I build the hard dodger, a second unit will live there, as well, sharing data. The depthsounder is a DSM 30, not as powerful, yet fully appropriate for my needs. There is also an Interphase SE 200C forward scanning sonar (think of it as underwater radar). Radar is a 4KW 24" digital, mounted on the mast (or will be after I rerig). Autopilot is a linear drive with an 8000 control head. AIS 250 (receive only, but maybe an upgrade someday to the 500), Sirius Satellite Weather (which I haven't started my subscription for, as yet). Lifetag overboard system with six armband units. The Icom radio interfaces with the GPS for DSC and distress capability.

Most of this was purchased at one time, when I was momentarily deranged and flush, but it ensured all the gear was ready for interfacing. There are additional things like highspeed switch and cables. an NMEA/SeaTalk multiplexer, etc. It all works, except for the radar and satellite receiver which haven't been hooked up, but those have good track records. Doing it all together meant some heavy planning and schematic work, clean wiring and overload management, and a lot of reading of manuals and calls to other techs, at times. It works, and that is what I had hoped for when I took the leap.
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Old 18-08-2009, 14:12   #9
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Any thoughts on Navico (ex. Simrad)?
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Old 18-08-2009, 14:27   #10
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Raymarine confirms sale talks with Garmin

Saw this yesterday, if it goes through wonder things will change.
Raymarine confirms sale talks with Garmin
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Old 18-08-2009, 15:02   #11
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If it happens lets hope the products are more user friendly like Garmin or that Garmin does not morph into what Raymarine is.
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Old 18-08-2009, 16:24   #12
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well the ray marine products will become totally revamped as Garmin today made a bid to buy out ray marine , i do like the ray marine set up that i have , ie c70 2kw radar 218vhf 125 gps spx 10 auto helm with st70 and nasa ais and it works well all linked together
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Old 18-08-2009, 21:26   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roy M View Post
First thing I'd like to say is that no system is perfect.
tafoggycove,
1) If you bring only thing away from this discussion, please let it be Roy M's all too true line above......

I, myself, have owned and operated my own electronics company for over 25 years, and have been "involved": in electronics/communications for 35+ years.......(and although I have done occassional marine electronics work for myself and friends for over 30 years, I am not in the marine electronics business.....)


2) In late 2006, I was in a VERY similar situation as you are in now......
I suffered a close lightning strike, causing many anomalies in my on board electronics, and decided to do a complete and total electronics upgrade and refit, including all new wiring (mast wiring too!).....

I had 5 year old (1999 vintage) Raymarine electroncs on board, and 1 year old Icom M602 and M802, etc.....

What I came up with is similar to what you wrote......
Raymarine ST60+ instrumets, Raystar 125 GPS, ST80 Navigator, S3G CorePak / ST6002+ / Type 2 Long Drive Autopilot, E-120 (cockpit) and E-80 (nav station) with 24" / 4KW mast mounted radar scanner, Icom M602, M802, Garmin GPS 76, Standalone independent AIS unit, etc....
(Following this upgrade/refit I added my solar array, and a few months later the watermaker, whose control panel I left a space for in my Nav Station panel....)

See photos (and a detailed description of the entire set-up on the solar panel page) here:

Nav Station (nav station photos)

E120/Cockpit (cockpit instruments and E-120) (St-6002+ control heads by each helm not shown)

Solar Panels (description of electronics / systems, and solar panels)

Of particular note, are the ST-60+ Graphics which allow cockpit display of any / all data available.....not just your typical wind, speed, and depth....but all nav data (lat/long, cog, sog, vmg, btw, dtw, etc. etc...) as well......And, all of this data available at Nav station as well.......
All of this is available without the need to power up either the E-80 or E-120.......
The E-series units are only needed for radar use, and/or chartplotter use....
(see details below and on links above, for the low-down...)


3) Please understand that I use paper charts as my primary charting....and the Navionics Platinum charts (on the E-120 and E-80) are secondary.......

Also note that I'm more a voyager, than a cruiser.....having made my most recent 2 Atlantic crossings both in 2007......and some longer (2 - 4 month) cruises of Caribbean, Bahamas, etc.....
So, my application may be different than yours......


4) In order of preference, my primary goals for electronics:
a) Reliability....
b) Low power consumption....
c) Radar performance....
d) Ease of maintenance / Ease of use.....
e) Versatility.....


5) With those goals in mind, I designed and installed a system that works....and although it all integrates together, each sub-system works independently and separately......
This is especially important for the "reliability" and "low-power" goals.....

Should you decide on a "system" which is designed to integrate all components together, such as a Raymarine Sea Talk Network, or Furuno Nav Net, etc.....
Please take the time and effort to ensure that the "network" will transfer data/info even when part of it is shut-down or has failed.....

With the Raymarine Sea Talk Network.....this means powering up each sub-system independently and at the same time connecting the Sea Talk data to every component....
In my set-up:
a) the GPS and instrumnets (and their Sea Talk power Bus) are power up together, but can be separated by moving one Sea Talk plug to another recepticle.....
b) the autopilot S3G corepak and ST-6002+ control heads (2 of them), and theri Sea Talk Bus, are powered up on a second breaker....
c) the E-120 and E-80, and their Sea Talk Bus, are powered up on a third breaker....
d) the Icom M602 is on its own, along with the 12 volt power for the Garmin GPS (which is dedicated to the M602, M802, and AIS unit)......
e) the Icom M802 is wired directly to the house battery bank.....(and the M802, M602 and AIS unit accepts GPS data from the Garmin GPS, but can be switched to the Raymarine GPS if needed...should all 3 of my Garmin GPS 76's fail ......)
f) my standalone AIS unit (receive only) has its own masthead VHF antenna (separate and independent of the M602's masthead antenna), and is powered by its own breaker, and I can swap the GPS dat input to the Raymarine if needed.....

This set-up allows for mulitple sub-system failures, with all other parts still working properly......(I also carry a spare Raystar GPS 125, in addition to the Garmin units.....)


6) I realize I designed my set-up specifically for my appliaction and goals of ocean crossings, long-range voyaging, and long-term cruising.....but I do think much of the basic concept applies to many.....

And, it has all worked flawlessly for me for the past (almost) 3 years.....including 2 Atlantic crossings......

{also not shown in photos are my mulitple chart storage portfolios, for all my paper charts.... }


I do hope this helps....

Fair winds.

John
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Old 18-08-2009, 22:20   #14
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Okay, here comes my "dream team" of electronics:

Wind/depth etc. instruments: definitely B&G Hydra series. In the end the most cost effective solution too, but the initial investment is steep.

Radar/chartplotter : Furuno 3D with biggest radome or smallest open scanner

GPS: Furuno. If cheaper is wanted: Garmin.

Autopilot: Simrad Robertson AP25 or current replacement model with belowdecks hydraulic powerpack.

VHF: NOT Icom. All my mike-cords are falling apart, incl. the remote mikes. Sailor is probably the best one but costs too much. I think Standard Horizon is a good deal but might even go for a Furuno.

SSB: my Icom 710 is 8 years older than the 602 VHF and it's mike cord is still 100% intact and I am 100% happy with it. The 802 looks so much like the 602 VHF that I fear it will have the same mike cord problem.

AIS: transponder, I think they are all good.

Active radar reflector: the Brittish Sea-Me.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 20-10-2009, 06:52   #15
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I have recently bought the entire garmin marine network, 4208 gps, gmr 21 radar,sounder,etc. I also bought the waltz mfg self leveling backstay radar mount w/gps antenna mount. Installation manual says gps antenna and radar data cable should be seperated. Should I reroute the gps antenna? I know others have mounted this way. Hard to believe it will be a problem. HELP!!!!!
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