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Old 09-25-2019, 09:54 AM   #1
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Electronics help needed

Iím in the process of updating my electronics. I have a Raymarine Smartpilot autopilot that works great, so Iím not replacing it.
I plan to install a AIS transceiver and I think I want a Garmin 9Ē or 12Ē chart plotter. Do I understand correctly that with some of the Garmin units I can display and control the chart plotter from an ipad and use the iPad when operating from the lower station?

Iím confused about the VHF?
I want one VHF radio with remote mike capability( hardwired or wireless?)and all the nice bells and whistles like intercom, hailer,etc., but is there any advantage of buying a radio with a AIS receiver if I have a AIS
Transceiver connected to the chart plotter?
What are you experienced guys using and happy with?
Any recommendations as to a good setup is appreciated, since I have no experience with AIS , wi-fi chart plotters or VHF radios with remote mics.
Thanks in advance for your recommendations.
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Old 09-25-2019, 10:00 AM   #2
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You can view the Chartplotter on a tablet or phone, but I would not recomend or rely on that as a primary form of chartplotting at that station. It lags sometimes and has connectivity issues.

There is no benefit of getting an AIS VHF if you plan on installing the AIS black Box. The transceiver connected to the NMEA 2000 network that is interfaced with the plotter.

Speaking of the autopilot, if you plan on going Garmin consider it a standalone AutoPilot that does heading hold. Garmin Chartplotters only play nicely with Garmin Autopilots which allow there advanced waypoint and auto guidance routing.
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Old 09-25-2019, 10:07 AM   #3
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You can view the Chartplotter on a tablet or phone, but I would not recomend or rely on that as a primary form of chartplotting at that station. It lags sometimes and has connectivity issues.

There is no benefit of getting an AIS VHF if you plan on installing the AIS black Box.
The transceiver connected to the NMEA 2000 network that is interfaced with the plotter.

Speaking of the autopilot, if you plan on going Garmin consider it a standalone AutoPilot that does heading hold. Garmin Chartplotters only play nicely with Garmin Autopilots which allow there advanced waypoint and auto guidance routing.
I agree whole heartedly with the above post.
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Old 09-25-2019, 10:39 AM   #4
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Speaking of the autopilot, if you plan on going Garmin consider it a standalone AutoPilot that does heading hold. Garmin Chartplotters only play nicely with Garmin Autopilots which allow there advanced waypoint and auto guidance routing.
I'm going to respectfully disagree with you on this point, Admiral. I had heard the same stories about Garmin chartplotters not playing well with no-Garmin auto pilots. Wanderlust has a 12" Garmin 7612xsv chartplotter and a Simrad AP28 autopilot. I connected both to the NMEA 2000 backbone. They communicate well with each other and the autopilot follows plotted and stored routes in the chartplotter perfectly, including automatic, turn-by-turn navigation.

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Old 09-25-2019, 11:09 AM   #5
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I'm going to respectfully disagree with you on this point, Admiral. I had heard the same stories about Garmin chartplotters not playing well with no-Garmin auto pilots. Wanderlust has a 12" Garmin 7612xsv chartplotter and a Simrad AP28 autopilot. I connected both to the NMEA 2000 backbone. They communicate well with each other and the autopilot follows plotted and stored routes in the chartplotter perfectly, including automatic, turn-by-turn navigation.



John
I concur that waypoint routing works with SimRad. To be clear though, that is not Garmins Auto Guidance feature.

When it comes to RayMarine autopilots it a whole different story in my experience.
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Old 09-25-2019, 11:26 AM   #6
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I concur that waypoint routing works with SimRad. To be clear though, that is not Garmins Auto Guidance feature.
I donít know... when I go to Info > User Data > Routes & Auto Guidance Paths, select a previously programmed route, select Navigate to > Auto Guidance it will ask if I want to follow it Forward or Reverse and then display the route on the screen. Pressing the Auto, Nav, and confirm buttons on the Simrad autopilot allows it to follow the Garmin route, as expected. Just came back from a trip yesterday where it worked perfectly.
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Old 09-25-2019, 11:32 AM   #7
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Garmin doesn't output standard NMEA sentences?? That's all the SimRad or Ray or anyone else uses for input on the AP. Something doesn't quite jibe here.

I'll note I personally do not like the AP running off waypoints or routes, I'd rather the skipper point the AP in the right direction. Lessens the chances of hitting things like daymarkers, buoys and boats. But that's just me...
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Old 09-25-2019, 11:40 AM   #8
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Garmin doesn't output standard NMEA sentences?? That's all the SimRad or Ray or anyone else uses for input on the AP. Something doesn't quite jibe here.

I'll note I personally do not like the AP running off waypoints or routes, I'd rather the skipper point the AP in the right direction. Lessens the chances of hitting things like daymarkers, buoys and boats. But that's just me...
Let's try this 1 more time...

If you manually create a route by going point to point, then it relies on NMEA 2000 and will work with other autopilots (Not all autopilots, but most semi modern models). You can save these routes and use them later. You can also route a straight line to a single Waypoint.

Garmin has a proprietary Auto Guidance function that allows you to pick a destination and it will create a smooth turn route, very similar to a car GPS. This will only work with Garmin Autopilots connected to a Garmin Chartplotter
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Old 09-25-2019, 11:47 AM   #9
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I'll note I personally do not like the AP running off waypoints or routes, I'd rather the skipper point the AP in the right direction. Lessens the chances of hitting things like daymarkers, buoys and boats. But that's just me...
I agree too, mainly. When on a straight very long route we tend to favor Nav mode. But when traffic around, inclement weather or debris showing up the Auto mode is used.

With our Furuno 711C, the Auto mode does a better job than Nav in following seas. Our second AP, Simrad, does not like Nav mode at all. I'm a believer in APs and plotters having the same moniker.
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Old 09-25-2019, 12:08 PM   #10
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If you like to tinker while setting things up (not while in use), OpenCPN has been great for me. And, I have it running on hard-wired stations, upper and lower, and also on my Surface tablet via WiFi for fun. It works well in all cases.

The big draw for me is that I could have much larger screens within my budget, free chart updates, build the system out myself (I like doing such things), and still integrate the existing Raymarine Autopilot and other random components.

I have an AIS transciever (class A) -- and still have receivers in both of my VHF radios. For the small extra cost above one that already had internal GPS+DSC, I like the redundancy. I didn't want external GPS for the VHF+DSC just because I wanted each to be independent and redundant "red buttons" that any passenger can use in crisis.
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Old 09-25-2019, 12:22 PM   #11
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I’m confused about the VHF?
I want one VHF radio with remote mike capability( hardwired or wireless?)and all the nice bells and whistles like intercom, hailer,etc., but is there any advantage of buying a radio with a AIS receiver if I have a AIS
Transceiver connected to the chart plotter?

Just to stir the pot... there are advantages to having two independent VHF radios, each fed with a GPS source for the DSC emergency capability. Happy to help you spend your money.

I decided AIS on our radios wouldn't be useful, given we already have an AIS transceiver that displays on the plotter. (Saved you a few $$$, there.)

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Old 09-25-2019, 01:58 PM   #12
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I decided AIS on our radios wouldn't be useful, given we already have an AIS transceiver that displays on the plotter.
I arrived at the very same conclusion and bought an iCom 506-11.(No GPS) It does have, however, A hailer ship's horn, and a great fog horn program. The big difference is the clear sound when receiving or getting weather info.
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Old 09-25-2019, 05:52 PM   #13
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I've been using an Android tablet to connect to my Garmin 942xs over WiFi, mirroring the MFD on the tablet. There is a bit of lag sometimes when panning, changing screens, etc but overall it works pretty well.
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Old 09-25-2019, 08:35 PM   #14
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When the AIS transceiver I had aboard went out just as I exited the Ohio River onto the Mississippi northbound, I would have welcomed the VHF with a receive AIS.
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Old 09-25-2019, 08:49 PM   #15
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The advantage of the VHF with AIS is the built in antenna splitter. AIS receivers without a built in splitter require the installation of a dedicated VHF antenna or a separate splitter.

I have a Standard Horizon AIS VHF that feeds AIS data to my navigation laptop.

I have no use for an AIS transponder so it suits my purpose.

I have 4 antennas on the roof and did not want another.
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Old 09-26-2019, 09:11 AM   #16
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The new Vesper Cortex looks very promising. https://www2.vespermarine.com/cortex

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Old 09-26-2019, 12:36 PM   #17
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The new Vesper Cortex looks very promising. https://www2.vespermarine.com/cortex

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Agreed. If I were starting afresh like the OP, the new Vesper offering would be the first solution I'd check out. Vesper has an outstanding reputation.
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Old 09-26-2019, 01:23 PM   #18
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My first advice would be to choose a family. Keep your electronics within this family.

You stated that your auto pilot is Raymarine. Stay with Raymarine products for your MFD, AIS etc.

VHF Radios: Don't get AIS radios. Display AIS on your MFD. VHF radios are the exception to the above. iCom, Standard, ect have excellent radios. Don't go with a cheap brand like Cobra. Also wire your radios to your your MFD so the radios display position. This way if you have to flip the red button, your position is the first thing sent .

I have 2 VHF radios for backup purposes.
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Old 09-27-2019, 06:44 AM   #19
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Icom support for intercom it tedious to use. Press this, then than, not this other thing, ugh, it makes it more complicated than necessary. And be sure whichever unit you're looking at has actual hailer speaker support from ALL stations, some do not (just the base, not the remotes).

The other thing to consider is don't let devices that have features you don't need talk on the data bus. There have been past problems with devices not being able to be told to "shut up" and end up being a networking problem (both NMEA-0183 and 2k).

My opinion is it's best to get units that focus on a single task, not a jack-of-all-trades (master of none).

As for interop, at this point Garmin does seem to be in the lead for making various devices of their own brand work well together. The question is whether you "need" that sort of functionality. Because while smooth routes and DSC calling are nice features, are they really something you "need enough" to stick with just Garmin hardware? For new installs or major overhauls it's probably worth considering. But for incremental upgrades, possibly not.
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Old 09-27-2019, 08:49 AM   #20
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Let's try this 1 more time...

If you manually create a route by going point to point, then it relies on NMEA 2000 and will work with other autopilots (Not all autopilots, but most semi modern models). You can save these routes and use them later. You can also route a straight line to a single Waypoint.

Garmin has a proprietary Auto Guidance function that allows you to pick a destination and it will create a smooth turn route, very similar to a car GPS. This will only work with Garmin Autopilots connected to a Garmin Chartplotter
Yep. That I agree with. ...for whatever minuscule amount that matters.
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