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Old 30-03-2020, 20:12   #1
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Blank Slate Electronics install exercise.

Hi all - let me ask you a two part question.

Suppose you bought a boat that had no electronics installed at all - NOTHING - not even a handheld vhf. This boat is a blue water cruiser in the 37-42 ft. range, and you're going to do a circumnavigation that will include high latitudes AND the tradewinds - just gonna go all over - the cruisers dream.

So you've got a blank slate and can build your entire electronics suite - communications, autopilot, safety, etc from the ground up. But it's your boat and your realistic budget.

Here's the two part question: What would YOU put in that boat and what would you leave out? And a bonus question: Why?

I'm not looking for advice for me, but rather your opinion and .02 cents as to what you would do with YOUR REALISTIC budget and YOUR preferences for a circumnavigation. No wrong answers here, just a planning exercise with no concerns about old vs new, compatibility with current (old) systems, "dream budgets of a million dollars", etc.

I'm genuinely curious as to what all of you would do to outfit this boat. What brands, what integrated systems, etc.
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Old 30-03-2020, 21:42   #2
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Re: Blank Slate Electronics install exercise.

Sextant....
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Old 30-03-2020, 21:50   #3
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Re: Blank Slate Electronics install exercise.

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Originally Posted by nightowle View Post
Sextant....
You have to have a clock to nighty, although a certain circumnavigator claimed his had no minute hand.
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Old 31-03-2020, 10:17   #4
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Re: Blank Slate Electronics install exercise.

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Sextant....
Well I guess that question about bare minimum to Bluewater Cruise has been answered huh? Lol
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Old 31-03-2020, 11:17   #5
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Re: Blank Slate Electronics install exercise.

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Sextant....



Must be the same as what the previous owner had. Should have gotten him to throw it in with the boat.


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Old 31-03-2020, 11:38   #6
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Re: Blank Slate Electronics install exercise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tradrockrat View Post
Hi all - let me ask you a two part question.

Suppose you bought a boat that had no electronics installed at all - NOTHING - not even a handheld vhf. This boat is a blue water cruiser in the 37-42 ft. range, and you're going to do a circumnavigation that will include high latitudes AND the tradewinds - just gonna go all over - the cruisers dream.

So you've got a blank slate and can build your entire electronics suite - communications, autopilot, safety, etc from the ground up. But it's your boat and your realistic budget.

Here's the two part question: What would YOU put in that boat and what would you leave out? And a bonus question: Why?

I'm not looking for advice for me, but rather your opinion and .02 cents as to what you would do with YOUR REALISTIC budget and YOUR preferences for a circumnavigation. No wrong answers here, just a planning exercise with no concerns about old vs new, compatibility with current (old) systems, "dream budgets of a million dollars", etc.

I'm genuinely curious as to what all of you would do to outfit this boat. What brands, what integrated systems, etc.
Keep the systems stand alone

Avoid connecting everything together

Avoid exterior electronics

Filter the power supply with dc/dc converters

Choose a powerful depth finder , deep water 200 meters

Use a well designed insulated Backstay

Lighting and bird strikes take a toll on masthead gear
Use spreader when possible

Choose a professional outfit when specifying installing ,and commissioning equipment

Purchase spare parts
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Old 31-03-2020, 11:54   #7
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Re: Blank Slate Electronics install exercise.

Things I would leave out:
  • Sailing Instruments
  • SSB
  • NMEA 2000

Just use GPS SOG and COG, they are fine for cruising, although wind info is nice to have. I just don't want the risk of a NMEA 2000 network going down and bothering with troubleshooting. Satellite solutions are just so much easier, but maybe if I put a weatherfax machine in the mix.

Electronics I would have for your cruiser, autopilot gear assumes you have typically few crew:
  • AIS transponder, Class B with LMR400 cable for mast and stern (backup) antennas
  • VHF with AIS receive (for AIS backup & DSC calling)
  • Handheld VHF
  • Wifi box for AIS data to computer and backup handhelds
  • Depth sounder
  • For your cruiser probably a windvane
  • Autopilot & spares, below decks hydraulic (compass course is fine, wind sensor interface optional)
  • Radar with heading & AIS interfaced, ideally in cockpit and below
  • Computer with OpenCPN and wifi
  • Active Radar Reflector (assumes a fiberglass hull, passive ones are ********)
  • Satellite receive/transmit for texts, emails, weather
  • Barograph
  • Chronometer (rugged watch)
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Old 31-03-2020, 19:26   #8
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Re: Blank Slate Electronics install exercise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slug View Post
Keep the systems stand alone

Avoid connecting everything together

Avoid exterior electronics

Choose a powerful depth finder , deep water 200 meters
I'm interested in why you think a powerful depth finder is a must have?
Also, why no exterior electronics? That really surprises me.

And it's wild how many people I've talked to recently advise against NMEA2000 systems or inter-connectivity in general.
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Old 31-03-2020, 20:14   #9
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Re: Blank Slate Electronics install exercise.

From OP “ , and you're going to do a circumnavigation that will include high latitudes AND the tradewinds - just gonna go all over - the cruisers dream.”


Why would anyone cruise the high latitudes? My cruise dreams are all in the tropics. I worked three seasons off of the polar ice pack north of Alaska as a young man, and on wind turbine projects in the dead of winter in Bumfart, North Dakota.

The only ice I want to see is in my glass
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Old 31-03-2020, 20:25   #10
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Re: Blank Slate Electronics install exercise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tradrockrat View Post
I'm interested in why you think a powerful depth finder is a must have?
Also, why no exterior electronics? That really surprises me.

And it's wild how many people I've talked to recently advise against NMEA2000 systems or inter-connectivity in general.
A.depthfinder is very helpful when coming into unfamiliar harbours or choosing anchorages. I replaced our failing Raymarine ST60 depth instrument with a Garmin fishfinder (CDN$150 complete), and it's been great. We get by with a handheld GPS, but a chartplotter or MFD at the helm is nice on a larger boat.

I'm not afraid of interconnectivity, including NMEA2000, but I would only go for NMEA2000 if I had the bucks for a full system. Otherwise, minimal interconnectivity using NMEA0183 is sufficient.

Depending on your budget and geek cred, you can also look at open-source systems (OpenCPN, etc).
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Old 01-04-2020, 12:43   #11
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Re: Blank Slate Electronics install exercise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyEss View Post
From OP , and you're going to do a circumnavigation that will include high latitudes AND the tradewinds - just gonna go all over - the cruisers dream.


Why would anyone cruise the high latitudes? My cruise dreams are all in the tropics. I worked three seasons off of the polar ice pack north of Alaska as a young man, and on wind turbine projects in the dead of winter in Bumfart, North Dakota.

The only ice I want to see is in my glass
Man, there is no scenario where my wife doesn't make us sail to Alaska. Also, Iceland.
And the Scandinavian countries.
And...well...she likes the cold.

Me? I'm all about sandy beaches, coconut drinks, and lots of sunscreen. So we're going to do it all.
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Old 13-04-2020, 08:58   #12
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Re: Blank Slate Electronics install exercise.

Alright - thanks to everybody and sorry for disappearing from the thread (not that anybody cares really...lol)

So I've put together my general "blank slate" list as it pertains to our new (to us) Tayana 37 with no electronics except a Raymarine autohelm. here's what I've got right now - tell me why I'm right and why I'm wrong. I'm seriously soliciting advice and constructive criticisms. Thanks.

I have an autohelm, so we're going to stick with Raymarine in general.
  • The autohelm
  • Handheld VHF
  • Handheld GPS
  • Raymarine multi-station VHF / AIS receiver - one at nav station, one at wheel
  • wind/speed/depth - leaning towards Ray70, but refuse to believe wifi is reliable so probably go NMEA cables
  • Sat phone
  • ipad for inavx / navionics /???
  • Some sort of AIS transponder? Vesper looks awesome, but then we get into building that as the base of an interconnected wifi system...ughh...this is why I drink...
  • laptop
  • radar

I will also have a windvane and spares etc., but what I'm really interested in is a solid system with redundancy, but not bloated with excessive cost and wasted overlap. I gotta buy new stuff, but it needs to be GOOD, not "the newest expensive bling".

In my head, I go and have a nice, connected system that can put it all together in a convenient and effective place, but with the built in safety of redundancy when the inevitable Murphy's law moment takes out the wifi / NMEA network.

The problem is, my knowledge of electronics is years out of date, and research online is basically ads for $15K systems and sextant jokes... ;-)
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Old 14-04-2020, 15:22   #13
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Re: Blank Slate Electronics install exercise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tradrockrat View Post
Alright - thanks to everybody and sorry for disappearing from the thread (not that anybody cares really...lol)

So I've put together my general "blank slate" list as it pertains to our new (to us) Tayana 37 with no electronics except a Raymarine autohelm. here's what I've got right now - tell me why I'm right and why I'm wrong. I'm seriously soliciting advice and constructive criticisms. Thanks.

I have an autohelm, so we're going to stick with Raymarine in general.
  • The autohelm
  • Handheld VHF
  • Handheld GPS
  • Raymarine multi-station VHF / AIS receiver - one at nav station, one at wheel
  • wind/speed/depth - leaning towards Ray70, but refuse to believe wifi is reliable so probably go NMEA cables
  • Sat phone
  • ipad for inavx / navionics /???
  • Some sort of AIS transponder? Vesper looks awesome, but then we get into building that as the base of an interconnected wifi system...ughh...this is why I drink...
  • laptop
  • radar

I will also have a windvane and spares etc., but what I'm really interested in is a solid system with redundancy, but not bloated with excessive cost and wasted overlap. I gotta buy new stuff, but it needs to be GOOD, not "the newest expensive bling".

In my head, I go and have a nice, connected system that can put it all together in a convenient and effective place, but with the built in safety of redundancy when the inevitable Murphy's law moment takes out the wifi / NMEA network.

The problem is, my knowledge of electronics is years out of date, and research online is basically ads for $15K systems and sextant jokes... ;-)
On my boat I have a Vesper XB-8000 which works quite nicely with iNavX on the iPad. There's no trouble showing the AIS contacts and the data bouncing around on my N2K backbone. You don't need the iPad's location services if you have GPS data through this.

The integration with the rest of the network is pretty easy if you have NMEA 2000. Via N2K it talks to some of the other non-iNavX gear I have on board (Shh!) and the AIS works well via N2K or over Wifi.

I have not had a need to integrate it with 0183 as I only have a couple of radios that want that for DSC. My N2K - 0183 bridge should get info to those if the main GPS goes out.

It does come with it's own GPS antenna, as every certified Class B AIS transceiver will.
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Old 14-04-2020, 15:39   #14
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Re: Blank Slate Electronics install exercise.

Just in the area of questioning assumptions: You say you have an autohelm and therefore are sticking with raymarine. We have an Autohelm that happily lives in a mostly B&G ecosytem. Not promoting one over the other, but just saying you don't have to let that make your decision for you.

Handheld GPS: Why? Everybody has one in their cell phone. Why add another?

We rely completely for our MFD to display AIS data. It does a super job, and presents all the data we need in concise useful format integrated with all our other data. Having an "extra" system like the Vesper has never felt useful to me. Don't waste money on an AIS receiver. Just get a good transponder that outputs on NMEA2K and you'll be good.

Sat Phone: We are really happy with our Iridium GO. Another source of GPS data too...

We count on our iPad to be a fully independent system. We use (and are really happy with) iSailor. Seems silly to use Navionics cartography on both chart plotter and iPad when another data source is easily available. Second opinions are nice.

We don't use wireless for anything "mission critical." We use it, but only for convenience functionality.

Nothing that uses rechargeable batteries is on our critical list either.
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Old 14-04-2020, 16:41   #15
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Re: Blank Slate Electronics install exercise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tradrockrat View Post

And it's wild how many people I've talked to recently advise against NMEA2000 systems or inter-connectivity in general.
You will find it is also wild how many people install those systems wrong. Hence the failures.

Canbus systems are immensely reliable if installed properly.
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