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Old 08-07-2018, 07:38   #1
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Which radar will perform best with Opencpn?

I have been using opencpn for years and I am very happy with it is a treasure box that support much more than I ever will need.

Anyway, as my old radar has left this world, I saw that opencpn supports several radar types with different plugins, unfortunately do I not have any knowledge of how the different type of radars perfoms in Opencpn so as I am going to buy a new radar, which one will perfom best with Opencpn.

The price for a 3G radar is much lower than the price for a 4G radar, and it seems that there is a difference between Garmin and Navico radar types, so what is your experience using a radar in Opencpn?

rgds Henning/SY Bolero
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Old 08-07-2018, 09:08   #2
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Re: Which radar will perform best with Opencpn?

HEME...
The following radar scanners are supported by plugins for OCPN version 4.8.4:
Garmin HD
Garmin xHD
Navico BR24 (All Navico are also sold as: Lawrence, Simrad, B&G)
Navico 3G
Navico 4G
For direct download to OCPN 4.8.4 see: https://opencpn.org/OpenCPN/info/downloadplugins.html
And for wikis: https://opencpn.org/wiki/dokuwiki/do...gins:ais_radar


There's a ongoing development for a new radar plugin combining more types into one plugin; radar_pi. This plugin can so far be used for all listed above except Garmin HD. Navico Halo is also supported but not thoroughly tested. (As far as I know)
The radar_pi is available here: https://github.com/opencpn-radar-pi/radar_pi and can be build for both O 4.8.4 and O 4.99.0(Alfa for O 5.0 beta) Please advice if you like this and need help for binaries.


What type and maker is the best is of course up to each and everyone.
I'm using radar_pi and Navico 3G and find it very good. Not less with the (M)ARPA function. The difference between 3G and 4G was not enough for the prize difference for me. 20 NM range is good enough. But there are for sure more opinions about this.


Good luck
Håkan
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Old 09-07-2018, 06:19   #3
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Re: Which radar will perform best with Opencpn?

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Originally Posted by Hakan View Post
I'm using radar_pi and Navico 3G and find it very good. Not less with the (M)ARPA function. The difference between 3G and 4G was not enough for the prize difference for me. 20 NM range is good enough. But there are for sure more opinions about this.
I am also using Navico 3G plugs straight into network port and works flawlessly with OCPN. Could not justify the extra cost benefit of 4G.

If you choose this option depending on the "Branding" Lowrance, B&G, Simrad some are shipped with interface boxes and or interface cables. You do not need any of these if your intention is to connect directly to a PC running OCPN. Knowing this may save you some money.
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Old 09-07-2018, 08:37   #4
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Re: Which radar will perform best with Opencpn?

Thank you very much for the given information, indeed I will not spend more money than necessary but on the other hand is it difficult to chose a solution without knowing the differences. I do now, so again, thank you, I will chose
the Lowrance Radar 3G and buy it in sweeden for a nice low price approximately 1375 euro and this should hopefully be "plug and play".

rgds
Henning/SY Bolero


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Old 09-07-2018, 14:07   #5
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Re: Which radar will perform best with Opencpn?

Henning..
Good luck with your choice. If you plan to use OCPN only please follow your manual and connect according to "For systems not using radar interface box (Lowrance HDS USA only)".
Your NMEA 0183 compass will then go direct into OCPN.

If you've a NMEA 2000 compass you can instead use the R10 radar interface box usually delivered with the radar scanner and get the compass signal from the radar into OCPN.

For a new 3G you may have favor of the new radar_pi plugin instead of BR24Radar_pi. Please inform us about your operating system if you need help to use the radar_pi.

Håkan
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Old 12-07-2018, 07:55   #6
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Re: Which radar will perform best with Opencpn?

Added to FAQ

https://opencpn.org/wiki/dokuwiki/do...adar:faq_radar
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Old 25-12-2020, 10:43   #7
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Re: Which radar will perform best with Opencpn?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hakan View Post
HEME...
The following radar scanners are supported by plugins for OCPN version 4.8.4:
Garmin HD
Garmin xHD
Navico BR24 (All Navico are also sold as: Lawrence, Simrad, B&G)
Navico 3G
Navico 4G
For direct download to OCPN 4.8.4 see: https://opencpn.org/OpenCPN/info/downloadplugins.html
And for wikis: https://opencpn.org/wiki/dokuwiki/do...gins:ais_radar


There's a ongoing development for a new radar plugin combining more types into one plugin; radar_pi. This plugin can so far be used for all listed above except Garmin HD. Navico Halo is also supported but not thoroughly tested. (As far as I know)
The radar_pi is available here: https://github.com/opencpn-radar-pi/radar_pi and can be build for both O 4.8.4 and O 4.99.0(Alfa for O 5.0 beta) Please advice if you like this and need help for binaries.


What type and maker is the best is of course up to each and everyone.
I'm using radar_pi and Navico 3G and find it very good. Not less with the (M)ARPA function. The difference between 3G and 4G was not enough for the prize difference for me. 20 NM range is good enough. But there are for sure more opinions about this.


Good luck
Håkan
Hi, how the arpa maria function works with opencpn? Thanks
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Old 25-12-2020, 14:16   #8
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Re: Which radar will perform best with Opencpn?

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Hi, how the arpa maria function works with opencpn? Thanks
You have to use the plugin radar_pi. The ARPA function is isolating a single target, calculates its movements and forecast future movements according to historical statistics. For more details I think you have to study the code.

There's a comment to one of your similar questions here: https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ml#post3304996
Håkan
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Old 25-12-2020, 23:48   #9
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Re: Which radar will perform best with Opencpn?

Furuno? if not, is it in the works?

I am adding radar to my boat and Furuno at the top of my list, but if not OpenCPN compatible I might have to rethink that choice.

Thanks,
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Old 26-12-2020, 00:06   #10
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Re: Which radar will perform best with Opencpn?

ewishki..
No no one with a Furuno broadband radar scanner has offered participation in the plugin project. Pls read here about supported types. There's also a short explanation about the method to extend the list of supported types.

https://github.com/opencpn-radar-pi/radar_pi/wiki
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Old 26-12-2020, 03:30   #11
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Re: Which radar will perform best with Opencpn?

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Originally Posted by Hakan View Post
. . . I'm using radar_pi and Navico 3G and find it very good. Not less with the (M)ARPA function. . .
Thread drift, but are you finding that MARPA from the 3G is working? I find it useless on my 4G set, worse than the MARPA implementation on my ancient steam-powered Raytheon radar.

What kind of compass are you using? I have sometimes wondered whether the poor MARPA is a result of poor compass stabilization (rather than poor bearing discrimination of the radar). It can't be the target discrimination or signal processing, because the guard zones are supremely useful, with hardly any false alarms. I have an Airmar H2183 compass but will be replacing it next year with the new Furuno satellite compass, hoping this will help a few things in my system including this.
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Old 26-12-2020, 04:28   #12
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Re: Which radar will perform best with Opencpn?

Little question is one of these newer radars better than other when it comes to squall tracking at night?
Models? 3G vs 4G? 20nm range is more than enough for us.


On a side note, do these 3G or 4G modern radomes require more than a network cable and 12v supply?
I'm talking specifically of the ones you attach to a notebook running Opencpn. We will rewire our arch next summer and I'd like to put a suitable cable in even if we do not have the radar yet...
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Old 26-12-2020, 04:48   #13
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Re: Which radar will perform best with Opencpn?

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Little question is one of these newer radars better than other when it comes to squall tracking at night?
Models? 3G vs 4G? 20nm range is more than enough for us.

On a side note, do these 3G or 4G modern radomes require more than a network cable and 12v supply?
I'm talking specifically of the ones you attach to a notebook running Opencpn. We will rewire our arch next summer and I'd like to put a suitable cable in even if we do not have the radar yet...
Pulse radar is better at tracking squalls, than CW radar like 3G and 4G.

If you intend to use your radar with a computer, and not with your plotter, then by all means you will want one of the Furuno wifi radars. You can't use it with OpenCPN so far (but maybe you would be the volunteer who helps our wizards develop that plugin), but you can use it with its own application. I have been using 4G radar for 7 years now; it is very good at some things, but not so good at others. Squall tracking is somewhat acceptable, but far worse than a good pulse radar. MARPA (at least on my boat) is utterly useless; Furuno on the other hand has real ARPA which by all reports works brilliantly well.

The best thing about the 4G radar, and it's not a minor thing, is that the signal processing is so good, that the guard zones are almost flawless, at least in reasonable sea conditions. I don't know whether the Furuno radars are as good in this, but the Navico 4G guard zones are absolutely brilliant, which is a huge enhancement to watchkeeping. You might go days without a false alarm, and only once in 7 years did any vessel slip through unalarmed, to my knowledge. The other good thing about these radars is the absence of the main bang, so very good imaging at very close ranges, which is extremely useful in, for example, a fog. You can easily see channel markers even less than a boat length away, which is really useful when you need to navigate in a channel in a heavy fog.

But for squalls, or MARPA -- not the best tool. The bearing discrimination is fairly poor in general, probably because the antenna is so small. These radars rely on very intense and sophisticated signal processing; the quality of the raw data is limited by the length of the antenna.

When it comes time to replace this radar, I will probably go with Furuno.

As to wiring of the Navico radars (your other question) -- there is a single ethernet cable, which also supplies the unit with power. It's pretty easy to connect, but the cable is somewhat fat, so not easy to pull in some cases. On my boat, I think quite impossible without taking the mast down.


This cable connects to an interface box inside the boat, which has a connection to the N2K network in order to get compass data into the radar. This box is in turn connected to your plotters with an ordinary ethernet cable just with the proprietary yellow Navico connectors. You can connect the interface box directly to a computer without any connection to a plotter if you desire. The OpenCPN plugin gives you a full set of controls for the radar. You just need either an adapter cable (what I have), or just whack off the proprietary connector off one end of the supplied cable, and crimp on an RJ-45 connector, and Bob's your uncle.
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Old 26-12-2020, 05:40   #14
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Re: Which radar will perform best with Opencpn?

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When it comes time to replace this radar, I will probably go with Furuno.


Well and that is what I have figured out with a ton of research. There is a good Furuno group here on FB and many of the users are super critical of some of their stuff. But they all say they have never used a better radar than the new NXT line that Furuno put out. Tons of great reviews and usage on Youtube with them as well. They pick up squalls basically perfectly and even birds, and yeah up close as well. We are new sailors and having the best radar just seems like a must have for us.

I would like it to also work with OpenCPN but ultimately the radar performance is probably more important than quality of life integrations.

Thanks for the input
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Old 26-12-2020, 06:34   #15
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Re: Which radar will perform best with Opencpn?

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Originally Posted by ewishki View Post
Well and that is what I have figured out with a ton of research. There is a good Furuno group here on FB and many of the users are super critical of some of their stuff. But they all say they have never used a better radar than the new NXT line that Furuno put out. Tons of great reviews and usage on Youtube with them as well. They pick up squalls basically perfectly and even birds, and yeah up close as well. We are new sailors and having the best radar just seems like a must have for us.

I would like it to also work with OpenCPN but ultimately the radar performance is probably more important than quality of life integrations.

Thanks for the input
Radar is probably the most useful piece of electronics on board next to the depth sounder. If I could have only one of radar, plotter, or ais, I would choose radar without a second's hesitation. With radar, hand bearing compass, and paper chart, you can live without a plotter and even GPS. Ais is great but you can do collision avoidance to a very high level with radar alone. But is having the "best" radar, crucial? Not at all. Used with skill, any radar will do the job. Even my ancient steam-powered Raytheon was perfectly adequate. A better radar is rather "nice to have".

What is " crucial " is rather the skill of the operator. No radar, no matter how many bells and whistles, operates itself. If you are a "new sailor", be sure to take a radar course, and not one if those quicky ones. Proper use of radar requires considerable skill and knowledge.


I always get an alarm bell in my mind when a "new sailor" is asking about "the best gear". There is no piece of gear, which replaces skill and knowledge. Having a chart plotter does not make you navigator, any more than having "the best" radar can make you a radar operator. Be sure and study and acquire the necessary knowledge and skill.
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