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Old 08-02-2023, 22:06   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2021
Boat: Islander Bahama 30
Posts: 134
Instrument update advice and ideas welcome: Quark box, Seatalk, AIS

Hi all,

I have a plan to re-do the instruments on my coast cruiser, but I wanted to put it out here to see what everyone thinks.

I have a 1984 Islander Bahama 30. It's located in Southern California and is basically a coastal cruiser. It will no doubt one day make the trip down to the Sea of Cortez for some cruising. I do some racing for fun, but it's not really a racing boat. I also like single handling her.

I'm updating the electronics on my boat. She came with some older Raymarine instruments running on Seatalk. She has a wind speed trandsducer, a through-hull transducer, and a depth sensor. She also had radar. The outputs where a wind and a speed readout mounted in the cockpit bulkhead, and a display screen mounted on the binnacle. The depth finder was only readable on the binnacle. There was also an older analog radar.

After getting the boat I removed the wheel and binnacle. That meant pulling the chartplotter. I capped those wires. At that point only the wind instrument continued to work, I'm guessing because of how the through-hull was routed related to the computer. After I removed the radar the SOG stopped working because the GPS was located next to the radar. So, currently I have no instruments.

I am not bothered by this and in fact I sort of like it; I found the instruments to be distracting.The only "instrument" I use now is Navionics and Gaia GPS, which I use for SOG and as chartplotters. So far these have worked great.

That said, I'm making some changes that are important, and I do want to add some instruments back in.

I already ordered a Geomex AIS splitter and a Quark Box A027. Together those will let me receive AIS over my regular antenna and transmit this data over wifi so that I can view AIS on my phone or on my Samsung Galaxy which is my official chartplotter. They both have GPS's integral to them so I can keep them in airplane mode to conserve their batteries.

The Quarkbox has inputs and outputs for NMEA 0183. I am split on how to proceed. I would really like to get the depth finder working again, as that is the key instrument for safety that can tell me something I otherwise can't figure out from casual observation. To do that, I was thinking I could buy a Seatalk ot NMEA0183 adapter and plug that into the Quarkbox. That data would then be transmitted as NMEA0183 via WiFi. On the other hand, I was thinking that I could ultimately replace all the old instruments with new NMEA 2000 instruments, and put an NMEA 0183 to NMEA 2000 adapter from the Quark Box. Either way, the data would all be transmitted via wifi to my phone and tablet.

This is a very complex topic, so right now my conservative plan for this coming weekend is to just get the hardware installed and to get the AIS working on my phone and tablet. I think that's achievable. That said, what do you think of my plan to adapt the old instruments or to replace them? And is there any other cool stuff I could do with the Quark Box that I'm missing out on? I could run Open CPN, for instance instead of Navionics, but would I really get much more out of Open CPN as compared to Navionics? Would it be easier to integrate my old instruments into a single app using Open CPN?
Also, is there any advantage to integrating a GPS directly into the Quark box compared to using the phone and tablet? The one safety feature I would like to have (for USSER) is a man overboard button to mark a GPS location. You need to be able to do so in ten seconds for satisfy the reg for coastal racing (like racing around Catalina Island), and I don't know if a phone or tablet would satisfy the rule... or more importantly work appropriately at task.
zachduckworth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2023, 05:18   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Sozopol
Boat: Riva 48
Posts: 1,346
Re: Instrument update advice and ideas welcome: Quark box, Seatalk, AIS

It will be helpful to understand exactly what Raymarine instruments you have but one reasonable integration path for you is:

1. Get you Raymarine depth to work (i.e. supply 12V to the instrument, connect the transducer and see if you get depth). Then trace the wires and put the instrument where you want it. Do the same with the wind. Then connect the Seatalk network to your Quarkbox and you will get everything on the nmea 0183 network (wind, depth, cog, sog, ais). You can connect that to Navionics or you can buy a Garmin 44cv chartplotter with sonar and maps for $300. It will accept nmea0183, ais, everything and has good maps. You can leave the Garmin in the cockpit and keep the tablet inside.

2. Sell whatever you have of the old Raymarine stuff on eBay. Except... if you have an RL70 and maps for Socal for it, just keep it. You cannot get a similar quality unit today.
Pizzazz is offline   Reply With Quote

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