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Old 21-11-2019, 15:20   #1
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Temperamental B&G 4G Radar

Hi,

I installed a first-gen B&G suite of electronics in 2011/12 on my boat. This includes the original Zeus and Triton displays, and then-new 4G radar. After some teething pains it all has worked without any issues for all these years.

In the last few weeks the radar has been working intermittently. It will start up fine and run for a few minutes but then simply stop with the display showing "No Radar" as if I have turned off the main switch for the radar module. The display seems normal otherwise, for example it shows AIS targets properly in the right column. If I go into the menu and select "Transmit" I get a beep and "No Radar" as if it doesn't exist. Yesterday it stayed running for a couple hours while at anchor. Today it did't come on at all. Today it failed after a few minutes.

It's been difficult to troubleshoot. No combination of other electronic devices being on or off seems to matter. The connection block at the mast base is perfectly clean, but I cleaned and reset all the connections anyway. I chased all the wires and found no problems. I cleaned and reset the power connections (which looked perfectly fine already). No joy. I have not yet gone up the mast and inspected the radar dome itself.

Help! I'm open to any experience/suggestion as to what I should do next.

Thanks,

JR
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Old 21-11-2019, 16:20   #2
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Re: Temperamental B&G 4G Radar

The running for a few minutes could be a component failure, but is most likely indicative of a bad electrical connection in the circuit. First stop is to check the connector at the scanner. It's exposed to the environment and might need a cleanup. Then check the network cables and connections. The Zeus has a network inspection choice somewhere in the tools or setup menu that lets you see the status of the network.
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Old 21-11-2019, 18:48   #3
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Re: Temperamental B&G 4G Radar

Call B&G, they were very helpful to me, I can imagine three components it could be but not a way to determine, they may can help
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Old 22-11-2019, 06:35   #4
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Re: Temperamental B&G 4G Radar

Electrically, this is a simple problem.

First, check that power is getting up to the scanner. That means a trip up the mast.

If that doesnít show the problem, find the right combination of RJ45 Ethernet cables to connect the RJ45 plug on the scanner cable directly to the MFD Ethernet port. The RI10 interface box isnít required to see radar data from the scanner.

Check that the MFD is working properly by substituting either a different MFD or maybe using the Simrad radar plugin for OpenCPN on a laptop.

Iíve got a similar problem that Iím trying to work up the energy to solve.
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Old 22-11-2019, 11:14   #5
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Re: Temperamental B&G 4G Radar

Assuming your model uses one, the RJ45 connector at the end of the cable is #1 troublemaker, not just with B&G/Lowrance/Navico (these are all Navico), other brands as well. This is the very first thing to examine for these symptoms. First, peer into the cavity it plugs into and be sure none of the wire finger contacts are stuck or bent, and it is clean in there. If OK, replace the male end. Cut the end off with enough length so you can verify and copy the wire positions! Reliable installation of these isn't as easy as it might seem, though office IT techs do thousands of them in the field. (And, "try a new cable" is top of the list in IT tech support.) Each contact in the plug has two tiny spikes that pierce the wire insulation, and all it takes is one wire that didn't go fully into the cavity and get both spikes in the conductor. There's a cable that will pass initially and fail sooner or later. If you're going to do this and don't have some practice and a quality tool, try to get someone who does, otherwise buy a decent all-metal tool, view a tutorial, use care and patience.
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Old 22-11-2019, 11:43   #6
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Re: Temperamental B&G 4G Radar

Connection problems. Try cleaning the connector and apply electric grease. Hope it is the connector not up the mast.
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Old 22-11-2019, 14:14   #7
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Re: Temperamental B&G 4G Radar

JR,

Here is another possible source of the issues you are experiencing: [1st hand experience with Zeus2 MFDs...]

If your Zeus MFD is wired to be the 'Master' [see manual] for turning on the RADAR, etc. [Yellow wire out of MFD to + of RADAR power lead...] check the voltage at that connection when the MFD and RADAR are powered on.

If there is measurable [tenths of a volt] voltage drop, it may possibly be caused by either a failing relay circuit in the MFD [e.g., internal wiring, contacts, electronics, or?] or inadequate wire size for the load. [Those are pretty small wires in the proprietary MFD power lead for the beginning of a 20 meter run to the Radome...]

If there is voltage drop, try bypassing the MFD as the power source [i.e., Connect the RADAR power leads to a seperate, appropriately fused DC power source.]

If the issues go away with the seperate power source, and you still wish to use the Zeus as the Master power switch for the RADAR, etc., you could rewire the 'Master' power + [yellow] lead from the MFD to power an external relay. That external relay is wired to a seperate DC circuit from the MFD [i.e., not passing through the MFD] and powers all devices that used to be connected directly to the MFD. [RADAR, etc.]

This is the approach I took to ameliorate possible voltage drop with the 'Master' pass-through circuit in the Zeus2 Master MFD.

In case this is useful.

Cheers! Bill

PS: I forgot to mention I have all the same equipment; Zeus [2- Zeus2s in my case] 2014 vintage 4G RADAR, etc.]
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Old 23-11-2019, 07:28   #8
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Re: Temperamental B&G 4G Radar

The Simrad radar has three wires (ignoring the video Ethernet connection): a red/black pair that supply the OPERATING +12v to the radar and a yellow wire that is the CONTROL for the radar. I doubt, although I havenít actually measured my system, that the power control signal is greater than a few milliamperes.

The power to the red/black pair is usually supplied through the RI10 interface box and is completely separate from the power supplied to the MFD unless you have intentionally connected both the RI10 and MFD wires to the same power feed. In any case, operating power for the radar is NOT supplied "through" the MFD.

If you think you have a problem with the power control signal, simply connect the red and yellow wires from the RI10 together. That will turn on the radar whenever +12v is supplied to the RI10, usually through a separate circuit breaker.

When you connect the POWER wires of the MFD and the RI10 together, you supply power to BOTH of the units. Using the yellow power control wire puts the radar in standby mode. The radar still draws some power whenever the MFD has power.
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Old 23-11-2019, 09:15   #9
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Re: Temperamental B&G 4G Radar

Bycrick,

Thank you for setting me straight. My lesson learned is to go back and consult the manual instead of relying on memory years after an install.

Cheers! Bill
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Old 23-11-2019, 09:17   #10
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Re: Temperamental B&G 4G Radar

The ethernet connector carries the digital image (not video) and all command and status communication between the scanner and display, including confirmation of power-on and TX/Standby command and status. Missing com causes the response 'No Radar', same as if the scanner had no power. Open yellow wire will cause the response 'Radar Off'.
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Old 24-11-2019, 17:13   #11
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Re: Temperamental B&G 4G Radar

Thanks for these responses and advice. Response:

- My radar sensor and RI10 are powered directly by a breaker on my main panel. The red and yellow wires are tied together near the RI10, then a heavy gauge cable goes to the switch. So I have good power delivery to the system.
- My RI10 is in a nice dry locker near the mast base. I opened it up and all the connections are clean and shiny like new, including the RJ45 socket and plug. Nonetheless I sprayed them with Deoxit for extra care.
- It's now clear to me I need to go up the mast and check/clean the connection on the bottom of the sensor. It's completely believable that the connection could be dirty after 8 years. I found the pin-outs in the install manual so I'll also check what voltage is reaching the sensor. No big deal to go up the mast, I just have to find a non-rolly spot for an hour and get high.

Will keep you posted,

JR
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Old 02-03-2020, 15:19   #12
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Re: Temperamental B&G 4G Radar

It's been a while but I'd like to wrap this up. I finally got up the mast and took apart the watertight connector for the cable. It all seemed in very good shape and clean inside. The pins/sockets had no visible corrosion or any hint of green. Nonetheless I sprayed it all down with Deoxit and shook/dried it. No dirt on the rag. When I put it all back together the radar came on just fine and has been working reliably ever since mid January. So it seems the connection there had become intermittent and giving it a little attention and cleaning set it straight.

Thanks again for the advice along the way.
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