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Old 26-05-2020, 14:04   #1
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Help In Selecting New Electronics

It is time for new electronics suite on the boat- I need the following:
Radar, Chartplotter, AIS(send and receive), depth, wind. My cruising will be mostly in the Caribbean- boat is a 51 foot sailboat with large battery bank, wind and solar.
1)I want things to be robust and simple to use.
2) Autopilots are both stand alone units which do not need to be integrated into the chartplotters.
3)I would like the vhf to be able to utilize the dsc calling data.
4)I would also like to be able to turn the AIS off.
5)I don't want to rely on a laptop or IPADS -
6) cost is not terribly important - reliability and simplicity is. --
I have been offered my choice of Garmin equipment for 40% off their retail by a friend of a friend who works for them. I had Garmin in my aircraft and loved it but have heard mixed things about their marine stuff.
I would appreciate hearing specific suggestions. Most popular brands are available in my area (Kemah Tx) but talking to dealers etc has not given me a clear picture of what is the right choice. I like electronics, but I like them as tools to make things simpler not to dig into to learn every possible in and out to tweak etc. OK have at it and let me know your thoughts
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Old 26-05-2020, 14:11   #2
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Re: Help In Selecting New Electronics

Just go to west marine and poke at all of the displays.

That how we decided on what we got. I like the garmin menus (they’re intuitive), but I liked the chart selections available for ray marine more.
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Old 26-05-2020, 14:32   #3
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Re: Help In Selecting New Electronics

We had a Raymarine dealer recommended Garmin ‘cause of customer support..
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Old 26-05-2020, 15:44   #4
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Re: Help In Selecting New Electronics

Quote:
Originally Posted by AA3JY View Post
We had a Raymarine dealer recommended Garmin ‘cause of customer support..
The MARINE in RayMARINE is a great marketing ploy. It sucked me in once. Also got sucked into a Garmin chartplotter that was even worse. But my little Garmin 76C (now old) at the helm, covers a lot of sins.

A thread on most popular radar mentioned that Furuno was the most popular radar with the commercial crowd.

You don't have to get a system the RELIES on your iPad, but being able to use any tablet as a remote display is seriously handy.
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Old 26-05-2020, 16:06   #5
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Re: Help In Selecting New Electronics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Madehn View Post
It is time for new electronics suite on the boat- I need the following:
Radar, Chartplotter, AIS(send and receive), depth, wind. My cruising will be mostly in the Caribbean- boat is a 51 foot sailboat with large battery bank, wind and solar.
1)I want things to be robust and simple to use.
2) Autopilots are both stand alone units which do not need to be integrated into the chartplotters.
3)I would like the vhf to be able to utilize the dsc calling data.
4)I would also like to be able to turn the AIS off.
5)I don't want to rely on a laptop or IPADS -
6) cost is not terribly important - reliability and simplicity is. --
I have been offered my choice of Garmin equipment for 40% off their retail by a friend of a friend who works for them. I had Garmin in my aircraft and loved it but have heard mixed things about their marine stuff.
I would appreciate hearing specific suggestions. Most popular brands are available in my area (Kemah Tx) but talking to dealers etc has not given me a clear picture of what is the right choice. I like electronics, but I like them as tools to make things simpler not to dig into to learn every possible in and out to tweak etc. OK have at it and let me know your thoughts

Avoid spending too much on do everything fancy electronics

Go simple

Garmin should do the trick

Choose a high quality stand-alone vhf / ais , it’s a critical safety device

Simrad makes a good unit

Boats need a good internet connection these days

Choose the best for your region

Choose a powerful depth sounder ...one that can see the bottom in 100 meters

By all means have a handy iPad that you can monitor in your bunk

Avoid mounting electronics outside ...the weather will age them very fast

Be sure your dc power supply to electronics is pure ... use a dc/dc power supply
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Old 26-05-2020, 16:15   #6
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Re: Help In Selecting New Electronics

I’m a Garmin user.
Been cruising for almost six years in Pacific on two different boats.
I can’t say how customer support is, never had to contact them.
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Old 26-05-2020, 17:17   #7
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Re: Help In Selecting New Electronics

I'm a big Garmin fan. I retired my old 3206 today after almost 20 years in service. I'll keep it under cockpit seat as a backup.

Now I have a Garmin 942XS which is really nice. Same type of feel you get with a modern iPad. It also connects to iPads and my Android phone very well via wifi so you can lay in your bunk and see exactly the same screen as is on the chartplotter. Chart updates and software updates all happen through your phone when it connects to device on boat.

I also connected the Raymarine ST60+ instruments via NMEA2k and Seatalk converter so I get all the depth and wind goodness on the Garmin. Allows you see how tight you can sail. I also use a few of the racing functions a couple times a summer.

Mine is a touchscreen, which I'm still on the fence about. In nice weather, it's awesome. When salt spray is blowing through the cockpit, it can get a bit wonky. I think the tradeoff is worth it. I compared to Raymarine Axiom series and the Garmin was easy choice.

Connecting up DSC with VHF is pretty simple. I have an old but bulletproof Icom M502. I just connected MMSI and GPS to it yesterday. Works great. I'd probably spring for the new version which allows NMEA2K connectivity. NMEA2K is so much nicer than NMEA0183 but I have legacy stuff so I deal with it. I found the building of the NMEA2k network to be fun and it's awesome when everything just "works".

My Simrad hydraulic autopilot is connected as a GPS receiver to my Garmin so it can steer a course with XTE, next waypoint etc. That's a handy feature to have.

I don't have AIS but if I did I'd probably get a Vesper as they seem to have the best following. Connect it up with NMEA2k

If you are getting Garmin for 40% off I'd say that's an even better reason.

I've only upgraded my chartplotter, everything else is legacy 20 years old but still works fine. Sure a new wind instrument or autopilot computer would be great but I like those systems to be simple. The chartplotter is where I spend most of my time.
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Old 27-05-2020, 04:32   #8
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Re: Help In Selecting New Electronics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
Just go to west marine and poke at all of the displays.

Good idea. Another is to visit marine electronics installers, who tend to do several brands and usually (or at least often) know more than the West Marine guys.

We have a Furuno suite and like it, but some complain that Furuno units are too complicated. I don't finf that to be the case, but then I'm a "read the manual" guy. Furuno says -- in recent YouTube presentations -- that they's seriously improved their user interface. (See their webinar comparing their TZTouch3 or some such to three other brands.)

I've messed with a Garmin plotter on a friend's boat; I didn't find it to be as "intuitive" as many people say... although that could be about me instead of the unit. (Furuno webinar is germane.)

I've had Raymarine in the past; worked well. Another friend has the new Axiom units, says it's the bee's knees. (Ditto that webinar.)

I've heard/read mixed reports about Garmin and Raymarine service, but that's all second-hand. Furuno support over these last 12 years has been excellent, and that's my first-hand report.

We use a pair of ICOM radios; latest is M605, and I like them.

But there's a lot to be said for "whatever floats your boat" and your impressions will be more valid than anything I can say...

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Old 27-05-2020, 04:53   #9
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Re: Help In Selecting New Electronics

I have Raymarine throughout . That consists of the Axioms (two of them) and Raymarine digital gauges for the instrument cluster (Wind/Depth/Speed/Tank Levels/RPM etc) and Quantum 2 radar.

Vesper is the AIS and Standard Horizon is the VHF.

Vesper is great because as well as being AIS, it also will bring up AIS on my phone if I am running the Navionics app - so nice enhancement to the phone as a backup plotter. Turn the Vesper on and off as you wish.

My setup doesn't do the DSC calling from the plotter - but thats not a biggie for me - you would probably need same brand VHF to do that.

The AP can be controlled from the p70 (part of the instrument cluster) so no need to use the plotter for this.

I have found the support for both Raymarine and Vesper to be very very good. When I have contacted Raymarine by phone here they have been excellent and able to answer the questions right away by whoever answers the phone. No call center rubbish where you spend 10 minutes giving all your details to be told someone will call back.

In terms of your final requirement - simple to use - I find Lighthouse 3 pretty intuitive. Raymarine have been good at release regular updates to Lighthouse with more than just bug fixes - each release often contains many new features.

Just my 0.02c worth.

Do a test - ring the local support number for X brand and see how you get on....
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Old 27-05-2020, 06:55   #10
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Re: Help In Selecting New Electronics

Above advice all good. I've had the big three: B&G, Garmin and Raymarine, but it is hard to compare as I had the Raymarine equipment sold in 2005, B&G in 2015 and Garmin 2020. As a result, the Garmin is much faster and better GUI. I think any would work, but have two thoughts. An Ipad or equivalent is the most powerful navigation tool you can have on the boat at a fraction of the cost of marine MFD. The apps available, the processor speeds, etc. I wouldn't leave home without one. They are not water proof and have sun limitations, so I also would say you need an MFD. A very smart equipment guy once told me the only electronics you need to be truly reliable is your autopilot. It is cheap to have backup for everything else or you don't really need it.
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Old 27-05-2020, 07:08   #11
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Re: Help In Selecting New Electronics

Furuno for RADAR.
If you want to keep it simple, why do you want wind instruments?
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Old 27-05-2020, 07:28   #12
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Re: Help In Selecting New Electronics

If you are doing a complete replacement I think it makes sense to try and stay within one electronics family. I will second Vesper for AIS- very good and has a great app for management. My VHF and AIS is on the same panel breaker so I cannot turn off AIS separately. I am sure with the right equipment and panel config it can be done.
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Old 27-05-2020, 08:09   #13
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Re: Help In Selecting New Electronics

OpenCPN and a raspberry PI, save thousands and use that money for redundancy (buy spares) and improve other systems.
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Old 27-05-2020, 08:24   #14
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Re: Help In Selecting New Electronics

Furuno
No one else is even close
Quality
but
Support that is hard to believe how good it is sometime
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Old 27-05-2020, 08:26   #15
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Re: Help In Selecting New Electronics

Noted that you do not want to integrate with the autopilot but you need to. The heart of all navigation systems is the electronic compass, which is typically integrated in the autopilot. First thing is to make sure that you have reliable compass data that you can feed to your chartplotter and radar. Otherwise it becomes a mess.

In terms of specific recommendations, use the brand of the autopilot, if the autopilot is old, upgrade that first.

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