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Old 02-14-2015, 09:27 PM   #21
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You guys are scaring me. I just sold my sailboat with 2005 Raymarine electronics including a C120 MFD, 4kw radar, autopilot, etc. and the entire system never missed a beat. In my quest for a used power boat I guess I better put the electronics through their paces.
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Old 02-14-2015, 11:45 PM   #22
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If you're looking at Furuno, you should really check out the new TZTouch2 announced and shown at the Miami Boat Show. The brochure and technical info is on their website and available now.

I've been involved with this product. It's the first chartplotter to have ActiveCaptain embedded inside the hardware. The MFD is internet aware and will update a variety of things (including ActiveCaptain) when there's a connection.

The user-interface of the TZ2 is quite modern and beautiful. They use a lot of edge swiping to access menus quickly. The whole thing is crazy-easy to use.

It was the highlight of the Miami Boat Show for me.
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Old 02-15-2015, 01:55 AM   #23
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I can see where Internet awareness could be a really neat feature but I want a good solid air gap between my nav computer and the Internet, especially if it's Windows based.

A corrupted nav computer sucks. Two corrupted nav computers suck exponentially.
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Old 02-15-2015, 06:45 AM   #24
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I dont mind buying something and installing it , but HATE it when the toy demands time and effort to make operational.

Solution NEVER the newest of the new , as I never want to be a Beta tester , for free, or worse at my expense..

Everything needed to operate has a last decades commercial version, with all the bugs out.

No the radar wont display the suction pressure in the vacuum toilet , and you wont have refrigeration on times sent to your I pad, but it can be lived with troubble free.
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Old 02-15-2015, 07:36 AM   #25
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I definitely understand some people's fear of technology and hidden problems caused by unknowing demons lurking through the internet. Different people are at different tolerances, I guess.

I hear all the time about concerns of having a navigation computer somehow "infected" as if the mere act of obtaining an IP address across the the air destroys the integrity of the hardware. It's funny how with all the internet-connected devices I use onboard, I've never experienced an attack. I'm either incredibly lucky or else the infections are most likely due to operator clumsiness (clicking on the obvious wrong email, program, etc). To be honest, I'm not all that lucky.

All of these things are tools. If you understand them, they're great to use. Heck, 40 years after the introduction of the telephone, there were people still not interested in using it because it surely marked the destruction of civilization and it couldn't be trusted. There's always a bell curve of quick adopters and slow laggards to new things. There's nothing wrong with that and a community is made better by having the combination.

With technology, the best defense against any type of unforeseen problem is backup and redundancy. I would never suggest that anyone get the latest wizbang Furuno screen (or any other) as their only navigation tool. That hasn't changed since us Mainers threw potatoes out ahead of our schooners to guide our way through the fog.
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Old 02-15-2015, 07:46 AM   #26
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If you're looking at Furuno, you should really check out the new TZTouch2 announced and shown at the Miami Boat Show. The brochure and technical info is on their website and available now.

I've been involved with this product. It's the first chartplotter to have ActiveCaptain embedded inside the hardware. The MFD is internet aware and will update a variety of things (including ActiveCaptain) when there's a connection.

The user-interface of the TZ2 is quite modern and beautiful. They use a lot of edge swiping to access menus quickly. The whole thing is crazy-easy to use.

It was the highlight of the Miami Boat Show for me.
Thanks Jeff. It's nice to see AC making it into chart plotters, but I've actually decided to eliminate the chart plotter completely from my boat. One reason is that none of the Furuno chart plotters, not NN3D and not TZ, support relative motion vectors on their radars. Here's an article on this from the perspective of selecting and IMO/Solas grade radar. Adventures of Tanglewood: Radar comparison The TZ has also dropped target track history which is another feature that I consider important.

A while ago I had an epiphany, realizing that the chart plotter is NOT the center of the universe. Here's an article talking about my previous "traditional thinking" on the subject Adventures of Tanglewood: Electronic Chart Plotters. Then a follow up after the light bulb went off Adventures of Tanglewood: Chart Plotter - Decision Made.

Dial forward to today, and my Simrad experience has only reinforced my view that chart plotters, or more accurately Multi Function Displays (MFDs) are dead to me. Their high feature content and rapid feature growth means they also tend to have high bug content. And any company that is chasing lots of new features will be motivated to get those new features into the market quickly, which means less focus on testing, quality, and bug fixes.

Given all this, my new electronics plan (I call it Electronics 2.0, but it's actually 2.2 since I went through a bunch of iterations along the way) uses Coastal Explorer for all the charting, route planning, tides, current, weather, Active Captain, etc., and it drives the auto pilot. Those are all key functions of the typical MFD, but I think Coastal Explorer is superior in every way.

For radar, I'm installing two stand-alone commercial grade radars. These are the only offerings from Furuno that have what I consider to be the requisite features. None of the MFDs can do it, but ironically Simrad's NSO does except it doesn't work.

With charting and radar control handled by dedicated products, the only remaining use for a chart plotter is to operate my fishfinder. But for under $1000 I can add a dedicated fish finder and completely eliminate the need for a chart plotter.

So it's back to the future for me. Stand-alone systems with data sharing as needed between them. The concept of integrated systems is great, but until the quality of implementation is commensurate with navigation systems instead of ipad apps and entertainment systems, it has no place on a boat that's going to sea.
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Old 02-15-2015, 07:50 AM   #27
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Like the high tech stuff. Don't like the high tech prices. Furuno wants $4K for a 12" MFD and I bought my wife a 27" Retina IMAC for $2.5K. What is wrong with this picture?
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:13 AM   #28
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I definitely understand some people's fear of technology and hidden problems caused by unknowing demons lurking through the internet. Different people are at different tolerances, I guess.
I'm with you on the whole fear of the dark thing. But my decision is based on a long list of identified and reported bugs in my former Simrad system. And my feelings about Furuno NN3D is based on 4 years of living with one, and 2 years of living with MaxSea which is what the NN3D is. I've got a long list of bugs for that system too. I admit that I've only spent a small amount of time with a TZ system, but my hangover from NN3D+MaxSea still looms, and the TZ is still just MaxSea running on dedicated hardware.

I think I'm also atypical in where I fit in the bell curve. As a tech guy (OK, former tech guy) you would think I'd be on the bleeding edge of new stuff. And I am, BUT.... it has to work. If it doesn't work, I dump it very fast. As Chris Rock would say, technology is here to be MY bitch, not the other way around.
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Old 02-15-2015, 10:57 AM   #29
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So it's back to the future for me. Stand-alone systems with data sharing as needed between them. The concept of integrated systems is great, but until the quality of implementation is commensurate with navigation systems instead of ipad apps and entertainment systems, it has no place on a boat that's going to sea.
I think that's a great approach. You can't beat some of the software products out there and Coastal Explorer is among the best. The lead developer is the best developer I have worked with throughout my entire career. Their product shows the result of having great developers.

I personally like having a foot in both worlds (as a skipper, independent of ActiveCaptain). I like the single purpose hardware along with general hardware/PC's/iPads. But playing around with the Argonaut displays during the show this week, it has all come a long way, making great hardware work with off-the-shelf software solutions. There ain't nothing wrong with going that way.
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Old 02-15-2015, 12:11 PM   #30
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I like the idea of using a mac rather than pc. Why did you choose Coastal Explorer over something non Windows like MacENC? Features?

I'm still using Raymarie e series classic MFDs. They have been rock solid but at 10 years old I know I'll have to be making the electronics decision sooner than later.
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Old 02-15-2015, 01:02 PM   #31
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WOW!!!

I'm going to go kiss my Furuno Vx2
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Old 02-15-2015, 01:35 PM   #32
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I like the idea of using a mac rather than pc. Why did you choose Coastal Explorer over something non Windows like MacENC? Features?
Features, support - yes. Chart availability was also a major factor. We plan to travel all over the world, so being able to use whatever are the best charts for a region was very important. I think Coastal Explorer might have the widest choice of everything that's out there. Native N2K support was also a must-have. I don't remember enough about MacENC to say where or why it dropped off the list.

Being windows based is the one thing I don't like about CE, and I raz them about it every time I see them. But I appreciate that they are kinda stuck there, like it or not. I've worked around that by running it on a MacMini under VMWare Fusion using windows 7. That particular computer is pretty well locked down and dedicated to running CE, plus a few diagnostic programs. It is on my boat's network, but I strictly control what software runs on it, what updates happen, and when they happen. Other than the MacMini being a great platform for such an application, you get the benefit of the mac scrolling orientation. For those who may not have noticed, on a PC when you scroll, you are moving the window across the page. Scrolling down moves the viewing window down the page. On an iPad or other tablet, scrolling moves the document. So dragging the document down gets you more towards the top/beginning. They are just the opposite of each other. A year or two ago, Apple changed the scrolling direction on the Mac to match how an iPad, iPhone, or other touch device works. It confused the crap out of me for about a week, but once through the knot hole, it's really nice.

Long story to say that now moving between a Mac and PC is very painful (even more painful than before) because all the scrolling is backwards. Running CE on a Mac under VMWare Fusion solves that, and created "correct" scrolling orientation for CE.

The combination has proven extremely reliable. My Nav computer gets powered on when I get on the boat, and typically runs 24x7 for a few months. I've had no hangs, reboots, or other misbehavior. I attribute that to both the quality of CE, but also to the locked-down state of windows on this machine.
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Old 02-15-2015, 02:23 PM   #33
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Peter
I applaud you for taking the meanwhile back to the future approach. By going commercial grade on the Furuno radar what model/brand AIS and GPS signals will it use? Will you stick with the Simrad AP?

Also, does the CE commercial program offer anything that could be construed as worthwhile as compared to their recreational boating offering?


Jeffrey
Recreational boat technology does scare me, but only from the standpoint it is assumed by the builders to be a never ending race to pursue "out with old and in with the new." It has been a race by most if not all suppliers and builders to build more integration into all systems for reasons that are technically baffling but easily understood - the pursuit of my money. As our cell phones, tablets, TV signal suppliers and internet providers have figured out, there is no end in sight to the money people will pi$$ away for the pursuit of having the latest stuff - whether we need it or not.

But when it is foggy, dark and remote with the seas building, equipment that works and redundancy is my ticket to on the water peace.
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Old 02-15-2015, 03:18 PM   #34
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Jeffrey
Recreational boat technology does scare me, but only from the standpoint it is assumed by the builders to be a never ending race to pursue "out with old and in with the new." It has been a race by most if not all suppliers and builders to build more integration into all systems for reasons that are technically baffling but easily understood - the pursuit of my money. As our cell phones, tablets, TV signal suppliers and internet providers have figured out, there is no end in sight to the money people will pi$$ away for the pursuit of having the latest stuff - whether we need it or not.

But when it is foggy, dark and remote with the seas building, equipment that works and redundancy is my ticket to on the water peace.
Tom I think you hit the nail on the head with this one.

We, as a society have become immune to the concept that every couple of years we have to buy new electronics. It started with computers, but has since morphed into anything electronic.

Did you ever imagine that you'd voluntiarially replace a perfectly good phone, with pretty much the same model every two years?

The same thought process has crept into marine electronics. The dfference is that this is not a $200 phone we're talking about, its a $20,000 navigation package.

Very recently when a manufacturer came out with a electronic product it worked. Now it kinda works, and the only way to keep it working seems to be with an endless series of software updates. Then suddenly the manufacturer stops supporting that product and you are basically forced to buy a new one.

Like you I do not want to have my marine electronics become obsolete just because its a few years old. I want to buy it, own it, and be able to get it repaired when it breaks.
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Old 02-15-2015, 03:30 PM   #35
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Peter
I applaud you for taking the meanwhile back to the future approach. By going commercial grade on the Furuno radar what model/brand AIS and GPS signals will it use? Will you stick with the Simrad AP?

Also, does the CE commercial program offer anything that could be construed as worthwhile as compared to their recreational boating offering?
I already replaced the AIS with a ComNav Class A device. It's made by SRT in the UK as the OEM and the same unit is sold under the ComNav, Digital Yacht, and Comar names. Perhaps others too. All seem to review well. The Furuno FA150 gets good reviews, but is physically a beast and I really needed something more compact.

I have kept the Simrad HS70 Sat Compass. It is actually made by Hemisphere GPS and I have worked with them directly on a hand full of issues and they have been quite good. Simrad's support, on the other hand, has been dismal. Their regular web site offers no updates to the HS70. Their "Pro" web site offers V1.5.14. I got 1.6.0 from Hemipshere, and now V1.6.4 which they say fixes the last of my issues. Simrad is just asleep at the wheel and unaware of both the problems and the fixes. But with Hemisphere on the ball, I decided to keep the product.

I've also added a Maretron GPS200 as a secondary position source and as a secondary Magnetic Variation source. Plus a Maretron SSC200 as a secondary heading source. One complication is that the Class A AIS and the FAR radar are IMO certified devices, and as such are 0183 only, and require true heading only. The FAR radar will ONLY accept HDT. So I'm producing the primary HDT from the HS70 via an 0183 converter, and the secondary HDT comes from the SSC200 on a dedicated 0183 output. But to produce HDT, it needs a source for magnetic variation on N2K, so I needed a GPS that could do that. The backup Simrad GPS that I had before couldn't. This whole aspect of the system design had my head spinning for a long time trying to sort out a clean way to do it.

As for the AP, the Simrad system is also gone and being replaced by a Furuno NavPilot. The Simrad AP28/AC12 steered the boat well, but is also riddled with bugs relating to synchronized power up/down of all the components, and a variety of source selection bugs. I just never knew what it would do when I'd power it up, power it down, or changed sources.

I apologize for the shameless blog promotion, but there is much more on the new system here for those interested. Hopefully second time around I'll get it right.
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Old 02-15-2015, 04:49 PM   #36
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Your blog should be mandatory reading for anyone considering upgrading electronics IMO Peter. Most of it may go over my head but the simple truth rings true, latest and greatest is not necessarily so. Verify the stupid box on the dash is doing what the manufacturer claims it will do.
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Old 02-15-2015, 05:04 PM   #37
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I just have to say that I, for one, thank heaven that the technology of today allows continuous refinement and incredible new capabilities released at a breathtaking pace. I'm the guy who traded in my perfectly good iPhone 5 for a new iPhone 6 and happily paid about $500 extra for the privilege of doing so.

If others don't want to take part in the changes, update, enhancements, or whatever, god bless you - you're welcome. There's nothing wrong with staying with what you know. But the moving ahead of capabilities doesn't represents a failure of society or civilization. If anything, it's the ultimate expression of the human experience which is to always question, improve, and carve out our place on this watery, rocky place.
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Old 02-15-2015, 05:05 PM   #38
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I dont mind buying something and installing it , but HATE it when the toy demands time and effort to make operational.

Solution NEVER the newest of the new , as I never want to be a Beta tester , for free, or worse at my expense..

Everything needed to operate has a last decades commercial version, with all the bugs out.

No the radar wont display the suction pressure in the vacuum toilet , and you wont have refrigeration on times sent to your I pad, but it can be lived with troubble free.
I'm with you on that, no free testing ... I have an old Northstar 957/8 on my on my boat, Northstar made great stuff back in the day. Although it is capable of interfacing with a sounder, my AP, and my radar, why would I do that? I can find my way through the fog at night using my radar, I could even do it with my depth sounder if I had my AP to hold courses while I studied my paper chart. So why would I hook everything together and risk having it all go down at once. I'm sure there are good reasons, but not for me.
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Old 02-15-2015, 05:46 PM   #39
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I just have to say that I, for one, thank heaven that the technology of today allows continuous refinement and incredible new capabilities released at a breathtaking pace. I'm the guy who traded in my perfectly good iPhone 5 for a new iPhone 6 and happily paid about $500 extra for the privilege of doing so.

If others don't want to take part in the changes, update, enhancements, or whatever, god bless you - you're welcome. There's nothing wrong with staying with what you know. But the moving ahead of capabilities doesn't represents a failure of society or civilization. If anything, it's the ultimate expression of the human experience which is to always question, improve, and carve out our place on this watery, rocky place.
Yes, yes, but let's raise the bar on our bug expectations for navigation gear. We depend on this stuff for our lives. iPad apps, social networks, controlling my stereo, and controlling the mood lights in the love cave are one thing. Active Captain too for that matter. But I depend on the basic navigation gear to stay afloat and stay alive. I damn near got run down by a ship coming out of the Columbia River in the middle of the night because of this MARAP bug. It said I was well clear, but I was on a direct collision course. Hard rudder, full throttle, and scrambling to turn on every deck light that I can find is not a pretty sight.

Technology innovation is great. I spent my career doing it, and it put me in the position to retire very early and go cruising in a way I never imagined would be possible. But different kinds of products have different quality expectations and requirements. In my book, marine navigation equipment is right up there with medical equipment and aviation gear in the need for stellar quality.
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Old 02-15-2015, 05:59 PM   #40
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I'm with you on that, no free testing ... I have an old Northstar 957/8 on my on my boat, Northstar made great stuff back in the day. Although it is capable of interfacing with a sounder, my AP, and my radar, why would I do that? I can find my way through the fog at night using my radar, I could even do it with my depth sounder if I had my AP to hold courses while I studied my paper chart. So why would I hook everything together and risk having it all go down at once. I'm sure there are good reasons, but not for me.
I'd like to emphasize that I don't think integration in and of itself is a bad idea. Just the opposite. My decision to move towards more stand alone components is a reaction to what I consider shitty implementation on the part of a number of vendors. Not a bad idea, just really bad implementation.

I'd love to have fully integrated everything, but it needs to work. That seems obvious, but apparently it isn't. I think it's really important to not reject the idea, but rather set the expectations for how it needs to work. Again, our lives depend on it.
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