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Old 08-07-2020, 10:00   #1
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Which new RADARS work with OpenCPN

I have a perfectly functioning RADAR which is quite old. I don't hate it, only the location. Being in the Salon doesn't help me when it is foggy and I need to stay at the helm.

The adds for the new RADARs claim close in detection, lower radiation, lower power consumption, longer distances and better discrimination. Everyone seems to throw in their own technobabble terminology in order to stand out as special. In the end, I give up trying to compare since there rarely is enough information to say one way or another.

My dream radar would only have a power cable going up the mast. All data would be transmitted over ethernet or WiFi and it would be possible to see the display on WiFi enabled devices like tablets, phone etc either directly or by using OpenCPN. And finally, I'd be able to overlay AIS or the charts on top of the RADAR display... oh, almost forgot, target and collision tracking.

Does this system exist?

I'm not a fan of proprietary MFD's and think that having portability in the display would make boat management safer.

I'd love to hear feedback from others on what system they have. What they like and don't like about the system and its setup.
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Old 08-07-2020, 10:09   #2
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Re: Which new RADARS work with OpenCPN

The Furuno First Watch radar is wireless like you're looking for, but it's a pretty low end radar. I know OpenCPN supports the current generation Simrad radars. Personally, from the research I've done, either Simrad (and its clones) or Furuno would be my pick for a current generation radar, so whichever interfaces better with OpenCPN and any other software you want to use is the correct answer. Then you just have to decide on budget and which model you want.
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Old 08-07-2020, 10:23   #3
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Re: Which new RADARS work with OpenCPN

I have very good results with Lowrance 3G (B&G/Simrad). It is not wifi but only a power supply and an ethernet cable up the mast. No MFD required plugs directly into PC. Power consumption means it can be on all the time and the OpenCPN interface is bulletproof. I am sure other hardware will work just as well.
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Old 08-07-2020, 22:05   #4
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Re: Which new RADARS work with OpenCPN

I just installed a Simrad 4G scanner and hooked it up to my Raspberry Pi and it works flawlessly. I can run it through a hub and send it to multiple Pi units and screens if I wish and no reason I can SSH it to other devices on the boat. These OpenCPN folks are terrific.

Bill
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Old 09-07-2020, 09:49   #5
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Re: Which new RADARS work with OpenCPN

I have a newer B&G Vulcan which has it's own wifi built in which in theory means I can use a tablet (real tablet, not microsoft surface pro which is different architecture) and have portable screens wherever I am on the boat.

I say theory because I haven't actually tried it yet. Been a couple of years since I bought mine and other mfrs may have this too now
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Old 11-08-2020, 00:47   #6
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Re: Which new RADARS work with OpenCPN

Stone(d?)Crab, YES, the things you've mentioned are possible and work on my boat.
Here's how:

- My Lowrance 3G has one thick cable that splits into power cable + ethernet at the end (so, technically still one cable up the mast).
- Ethernet cable from radar is plugged into tplink wifi router.

- On the other end of the boat, there are gps, compass, ais receiver, tiller pilot and a weather station all wired to nmea multiplexer/wifi gateway, which in turn connects to the main WLAN network (hosted by the aforementioned router) and floods it with nmea data (broadcasts UDP messages to every device on the network to port 10110 or whatever).

- Then, there is a laptop with OpenCPN running, connected to the main WLAN.
OpenCPN is set to listen/talk to port 10110 for nmea data.
It also is somehow able to discover radar connected to the network on its own. (I'm guessing radars broadcast some messages as well, and depending on the message structure OpenCPN would guess what kind of radar it is and where it sends its data, or it's just magic idk).

- OpenCPN can then plot your charts with radar and ais targets overlay, there is OpenCPN's arpa implementation too, you can even plot your course and it will be sent back to autopilot thru wlan -> multiplexer -> nmea.

In a nutshell, my boat is just one short step from becoming self-conscious and ditching me overboard to go sail the world and experience things on its own.
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Old 11-08-2020, 00:52   #7
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Re: Which new RADARS work with OpenCPN

oh, and here's the list of supported radars from RadarPI page:
Garmin HD and xHD radar support. Navico “new” 3G support.
Older 3G radars are still supported via the BR24 type.
Navico HALO-3, HALO-4, HALO-6 and HALO24 support

I believe Navico radars are the same as Lowrance and Simrad (maybe B&G, too), so they'll probably all work.
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Old 11-08-2020, 01:12   #8
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Re: Which new RADARS work with OpenCPN

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Originally Posted by kokajambo View Post

I believe Navico radars are the same as Lowrance and Simrad (maybe B&G, too), so they'll probably all work.

The listed radars for the three Navico brands will work. Same stuff with different stickers.
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Old 11-08-2020, 07:16   #9
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Re: Which new RADARS work with OpenCPN

I find the brand overlaps confusing.

Ever since I bought that BetaMax VCR, I've been cautious about compatibility issues. The tapes are so hard to find.

Seriously, I appreciate your input. I'd be a sad man if I bought a new radar only to find that OpenCPN could only support Garmin. My goal is to see the radar display in the cockpit and the salon.

If OpenCPN supports all these new radars, am I giving up any functionality if I go with OpenCPN without having a dedicated MFD? Can OpenCPN handle any of the doppler displays showing ship direction and collision warnings?
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Old 11-08-2020, 07:17   #10
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Re: Which new RADARS work with OpenCPN

My other concern regarding the mast cable reflects my current experience with the old Furuno radar. The proprietary cable is thick with very thin wires. I do not have a deck connector for it so unstepping the mast involves extracting the entire cable from the hull.

When I read about the newer radars having WiFi capability, I imagine only radar power going up the mast. That may not be the case however.
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Old 11-08-2020, 07:19   #11
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Re: Which new RADARS work with OpenCPN

I'd suggest running power and ethernet to the mast or somewhere waterproof and easy to disconnect when dropping the mast. Then plug the cable from the radar in there, rather than routing it all the way into the hull. That should make the disconnection process easier.
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Old 11-08-2020, 07:36   #12
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Re: Which new RADARS work with OpenCPN

The Simrad/B&G 3/4G RADARs are nearly a decade old, which is why they are so well supported in OpenCPN, so hardly 'new' models.

I've got the 3G which works well, it's a big old box though compared with some of the more modern Furono units.
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Old 11-08-2020, 09:37   #13
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Re: Which new RADARS work with OpenCPN

StoneCrab, I hear what you say about wifi. We should all ditch them data wires and go radiowaves instead. They don't rust, don't add weight to your boat and don't threaten your floatinig baby's wellbeing by having you drill holes in it.

However, until there is a wifi-enabled radar supported by opencpn, it's totally okay to cut your Ethernet wire coming from the mast at the deck level, so you can disconnect it there when moving the mast around. (Unlike with analog signals transmitted via coax cables, adding connection resistance doesn't distort digital signal carried by Ethernet).

You'll need to google how to crimp Ethernet connectors. It requires being able to distinguish four colors and having a $10 brandless crimping tool from your favorite online marketplace. No need for a 4-year degree in electrical engineering or a $1800 tech certification (Yes I'm looking at you nmea).

Ethernet cables are routinely wired outside in the sun and rain and even underground, so available cable grades are plentiful and connectors are cheap (dirt cheap by "marine" standards). There are aluminum cables, copper cables, uv-resistant, solvent-resistant, heat-resistant cables, waterproof connectors, bulkhead connectors, plastic connectors, stainless, purple, IP-certified, pick your flavor.
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Old 11-08-2020, 09:44   #14
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Re: Which new RADARS work with OpenCPN

Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneCrab View Post
......
If OpenCPN supports all these new radars, am I giving up any functionality if I go with OpenCPN without having a dedicated MFD? Can OpenCPN handle any of the doppler displays showing ship direction and collision warnings?
I'm looking forward to somebody providing input on the above, I'm curious myself
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