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Old 12-03-2015, 08:21 PM   #1
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AIS Decisions (Make, Transceiver, Receiver)

Hello,
Pardon me if this topic is worn out here on this forum but I searched before posting and found nothing. (Hard to believe)

Question regarding AIS equipment.

I would like to add AIS to my refit from older Raymarine to Garmin. There are several good AIS boxes out there on the market and would like to find a good fit.

I have narrowed my choices down to ACR and Garmin. Both are transceivers.

Wife and I will be coastal cruisers, Loopers and Caribbean. Comfortable at the helm and would consider ourselves experienced but have more to learn.

Any comments, suggestions on the hardware (ACR vs Garmin, others) along w/ transceiver vs receiver would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,
Pat Mac
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Old 12-03-2015, 08:31 PM   #2
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PatMac,

I know its only money, but I looked at the field when I bought a Class B Transceiver and ended up buying a AMEC Camino 108 from Milltech Marine. It is roughly the same price as the Garmin AIS receiver at $489. You should consider buying external GPS antenna in the event the location where you plan to install it won't work with the internal antenna. It has a NMEA 2000 output like the ones you are looking at. I decided to go with the transceiver and decided it was the right decision after being hailed by name a few times on the way up the inland passage to Alaska in August.

Tom
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Old 12-03-2015, 08:31 PM   #3
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Vesper XB-8000

We installed a Vesper XB-8000 last spring and have been very happy with the unit. The WIFI and NMEA 2000 features are great. Purchased from Milltech Marine who were reasonably priced, very knowledgeable and excellent to work with.
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Old 12-04-2015, 02:35 AM   #4
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We installed a Vesper XB-8000 last spring and have been very happy with the unit. The WIFI and NMEA 2000 features are great. Purchased from Milltech Marine who were reasonably priced, very knowledgeable and excellent to work with.
Second and third this. I've been using the 8000 on the sailboat for a while, and just got one for our trawler. If you use OpenCPN at all the WiFi translation of NMEA data is awesome. Pair it with a SH GX2000 VHF and link them up via NMEA2K super easy. Add a RAM remote mic for the flybridge and it's easy AIS display in both places, without a plotter.

I'm in the beginning phase of doing just this install currently. I got the Vesper transponder and a GX2000 and RAM mic. I'm bringing a Garmin plotter and GX2200 over from the sailboat for a second VHF. Having used the Vesper unit both coastal and on passage, it was my second purchase for our new-to-us trawler. The first was a new anchor, but we're not going to talk about that...
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Old 12-04-2015, 08:08 AM   #5
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When upgrading I went with the Garmin 6000. My plotters are Garmin and figured the install, software, and function would be seamless. Haven't turned it on yet, but the install was very easy. One of the features I looked for was the ability to have it on and transmitting without the rest of the electronics on. Feel that maybe beneficial in some anchoring situations at night. This may be doable with all AIS units, don't know.

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Old 12-04-2015, 09:32 AM   #6
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Another satisfied Vesper XB-8000 user. I know this doesn't answer your original question, but let me just add that it works great with my Garmin MFD. I like Garmin products, but I just couldn't find anything else to match the price and functionality of the Vesper. The WiFi capabilities were just gravy, but I've come to appreciate them.
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Old 12-04-2015, 10:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpbrady View Post
PatMac,

I know its only money, but I looked at the field when I bought a Class B Transceiver and ended up buying a AMEC Camino 108 from Milltech Marine. It is roughly the same price as the Garmin AIS receiver at $489. You should consider buying external GPS antenna in the event the location where you plan to install it won't work with the internal antenna. It has a NMEA 2000 output like the ones you are looking at. I decided to go with the transceiver and decided it was the right decision after being hailed by name a few times on the way up the inland passage to Alaska in August.

Tom
I bought the Camino 108 from Milltech Marine for my delivery from Ketchikan to SF. I bought the external combo VHF/GPS antenna and used the unit as the primary GPS for Coastal Explorer. The unit has functioned very well and there were a number of times where being visible to other traffic and the Canadian CG were very useful. I connected to it via USB. We had another laptop that connected to it via WiFi for a second station. We found that there were intermittent problems with the WiFi that would cause connectivity to be lost. I'm not sure whether it was the AIS or the laptop that was at fault. Either way, I wouldn't use WiFi as the primary connection to any critical system (and not bluetooth either for that matter.)

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Old 12-04-2015, 01:27 PM   #8
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Because I refitted my bridge with Raymarine MFD and radar, I stayed with Raymarine and installed a AS 650 transceiver. Works great and no complaints. It seems easier if you stick with the same manufacture as your display.
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Old 12-04-2015, 03:27 PM   #9
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The Vesper stuff is on sale this week through active captain:
ActiveCaptain Product of the Week. It has several features that the competition does not, such as the ability to repeat NMEA 0183 data on the N2K bus and to act as a usable backup or primary GPS. See the good review here in Panbo: http://tinyurl.com/ngsz2dy

With N2K there is really not much of a reason to stick with one manufacturers equipment, although I am sure they would like you think so.
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Old 12-04-2015, 05:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatMac View Post
I would like to add AIS to my refit from older Raymarine to Garmin.

I have narrowed my choices down to ACR and Garmin. Both are transceivers.

I have found integration easiest and most reliable when staying with a single manufacturer. Something doesn't work, only one bubba to deal with.

Assuming the offered products are anywhere near reasonable in the first place. A few slightly different features here or there don't usually raise a blip on my radar.

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Old 12-05-2015, 09:05 PM   #11
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I installed 2 Standard Horizon GX-2150 VHF radios to feed AIS information to Standard Horizon displays at each helm 3+ years ago. This system works great here on the upper Mississippi River, after going up Lake Michigan and down Huron I decided it was a good idea that the ferry service boats and freighters could see me. I bought A Comar CBS 200 transponder, Milltech is also a dealer for Comar. Knowing what I know now I would of went with a transponder from the get go but what I have gives me redundancy should a problem ever occur. I have 3 separate complete systems receiving AIS and one of them transmitting. I'am sure its way overkill but it is one of the best electronic upgrades I've done to the boat, with the radar and AIS I feel much more secure if I get caught out at night or in the fog.


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Old 12-05-2015, 11:09 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
I have found integration easiest and most reliable when staying with a single manufacturer. Something doesn't work, only one bubba to deal with.

Assuming the offered products are anywhere near reasonable in the first place. A few slightly different features here or there don't usually raise a blip on my radar.

-Chris
Agree......
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Old 12-06-2015, 08:58 AM   #13
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Quote:
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I have found integration easiest and most reliable when staying with a single manufacturer. Something doesn't work, only one bubba to deal with.
If you're paying someone to install, and in the future to maintain and troubleshoot, I can't disagree with the benefits of having the finger pointing in only one direction.

But if you're planning to do even some of the work yourself, I'd recommend considering the cost and features of each component, and buying the one that best suits your needs, regardless of manufacturer.

The AIS data is the same no matter who's putting it on the network. I have two sources of AIS data on my NMEA 2000 network and the devices that use it can switch between them seamlessly - no two components from the same manufacturer.
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Old 12-07-2015, 07:40 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the great replies and suggestions. Much help.

One of the recommendations for AIS was for the XB-8000. The wireless solutions is very interesting to me but I honestly have no idea what the best wireless solution would be.

With a Garmin N2K hardware network along w/ Coastal Explorer, I am challenged to determine how best to implement a wireless environment that will allow both remote viewing and possibly remote management.

In addition, how best to manage a 4G wireless environment running concurrently w/ wireless instrumentation data.

Seems to me, I would have to switch between the local (n2k) wireless network and the local (4G/broadband) network to have both Nav and www/web accesses.

Thanks in advance for the replies. Pardon the newbie post.

Pat Mac
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Old 12-07-2015, 08:18 PM   #15
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The XB-8000 can live as a node on an existing wireless Ethernet network, or it can act as a wireless router (supporting up to 5 other devices.)

By 4G wireless environment, I assume you mean a wireless (802.11x) router fed on the WAN side by a cellular network (4G) receiver. Since you already have the wireless network built, you'd use the XB-8000 as just another node (host) on that network. Other devices could communicate with it and each other all the time, and with the Internet when in range.

One caveat: The XB-8000 will put AIS and GPS data on the wireless network, and it will repeat some other NMEA 2K traffic too. But not all. They claim to be increasing the number of NMEA sentences they support with each software upgrade, but I haven't seen enough yet to know how aggressive they are at that task.
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Old 12-08-2015, 03:40 PM   #16
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Garmin VHS 300 AIS vs Icom m502

Well, things just keep getting more interesting. While researching AIS solutions, I realized my Icom m502's would need to be reprogrammed by a service tech due to the two previous assignments of MMSI numbers.

The tech asked me if I had considered just replacing the older Icom VHF w/ a new Garmin VHF 300 w/ AIS.

Looking into it a bit, a strong case can be made to yank out the older 502 and replace w/ the Garmin. In so doing I'd add AIS, touch screen hailing, N2k, DCS, all for less than it would cost to service the N0183 Icom, add AIS, antenna and patch cable.. Also, I would only have DCS from the M802 SSB, which I don't plan on using unless necessary.

I have no idea if the Garmin radio is comparable w/ the older Icom in quality, reliability and/or functionality.

Thanks in advance. This newbie so appreciates the help...
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