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Old 05-20-2011, 11:28 AM   #1
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Furuno/Airmar Weatherstation

After getting caught out yet again in nasty weather that was significantly worse than forecast, we've just bitten the bullet and purchased a Furuno/Airmar weatherstation. Hopefully the in the moment wind readings will help to detemine upcoming increases in waves etc.*

Anyone out there have any comments on how well useful these things are? Not looking for advice on whether to purchase or not, that is done, but more for thoughts on just how folks have used them.*
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Old 05-21-2011, 07:44 PM   #2
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RE: Furuno/Airmar Weatherstation

I would sure be interested to know what you think of it after a month or so. Do you have to pay a yearly fee to download the data?
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Old 05-22-2011, 10:58 AM   #3
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RE: Furuno/Airmar Weatherstation

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DCBD wrote:
I would sure be interested to know what you think of it after a month or so. Do you have to pay a yearly fee to download the data?
I will be sure to update after some experience.

There is no data to download. This particular device strictly measures weather in real time on the boat: true & apparent wind speed/direction, barometric pressure, air temperature, plus a few other secondary (to us) items such as rate of turn and 3 axis pitch and roll. To accomplish all of this it also has a GPS receiver that can be used as a backup in event of failure of the primary.*

There are services (Sirius as an example) that provide regular forecasts by subscription although I have no idea how much they would improve on the regular marine forecasts.

If we ever connect on the water (or pub, we're in Maple Bay) I'd be happy to show you how it works.

The final straw that determined this purchase was a forecast of 5 - 15 knots NW before we pulled out of Pender Harbour last week. An hour later we were battling 6 - 8 foot seas and had to head for cover; the updated forecast was for 15 - 25 knot winds on our nose. This has happened enough times that we feel an on board wind reading would help to get out of the rough stuff sooner.*
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Old 05-22-2011, 11:52 AM   #4
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RE: Furuno/Airmar Weatherstation

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Conrad wrote:The final straw that determined this purchase was a forecast of 5 - 15 knots NW before we pulled out of Pender Harbour last week. An hour later we were battling 6 - 8 foot seas and had to head for cover; the updated forecast was for 15 - 25 knot winds on our nose. This has happened enough times that we feel an on board wind reading would help to get out of the rough stuff sooner.*
*I had a similar experience this spring - forecast 20 knots blowing 32 at Sisters by the time we were off Qualicum Bay. The weather instrument has moved up near the top of the priority list.

Not sure if we'll have the funds this year or not, but at least I'm going to have the shipyard tack an arm near the top of the mast for it. If I can't get the instrument this year I will at least buy a cheap old school mechnical barometer. They used to be standard when I was a kid but somehow we (the fishing fleet) got out of the habit of always having one aboard. If you see the local air pressure suddenly going through the floor it's time to head for shelter regardless of what the weather model thinks.

Still debating between the Furuno and Airmar. The Furuno is more expensive but looks like it has more flexibility if you have a tall mast and need to decide about connecting it as an NMEA 0183 device or treat it as the terminal at one end of an NMEA 2000 branch.

Other than that the two instruments look like they function the same. I too would be interested in hearing about hands on experience with either of them.

*
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Old 05-23-2011, 11:11 AM   #5
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RE: Furuno/Airmar Weatherstation

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Sisuitl wrote:Conrad wrote:
*I had a similar experience this spring - forecast 20 knots blowing 32 at Sisters by the time we were off Qualicum Bay. The weather instrument has moved up near the top of the priority list.

Not sure if we'll have the funds this year or not, but at least I'm going to have the shipyard tack an arm near the top of the mast for it. If I can't get the instrument this year I will at least buy a cheap old school mechnical barometer. They used to be standard when I was a kid but somehow we (the fishing fleet) got out of the habit of always having one aboard. If you see the local air pressure suddenly going through the floor it's time to head for shelter regardless of what the weather model thinks.

Still debating between the Furuno and Airmar. The Furuno is more expensive but looks like it has more flexibility if you have a tall mast and need to decide about connecting it as an NMEA 0183 device or treat it as the terminal at one end of an NMEA 2000 branch.

Other than that the two instruments look like they function the same. I too would be interested in hearing about hands on experience with either of them.

*

*I haven't yet been able to determine whether the weather station shows trending or whether you only get the reading of the moment. Probably a function of the display unit I suppose.*

Both units - the Airmar 150 and the Furuno 200 - are actually manufactured by Airmar, with the 200 being an updated version of the 150. The only obvious difference from an operations perspective is that the 200 provides rate of turn info, which is probably only useful if you are providing info to the world via AIS.

We elected to go with the 200 primarily because it has new and improved internal workings making it more*compatible*with current and possibly near future electronics than the older (5-6 years I believe) 150. This also translates into much simpler plug & play installation.

Seacom in Campbell River has provided the 200 and is installing it - they gave us a great deal on the 200; it was more than the 150, but nowhwere near what the MSRP was.

The 200 is also NMEA 183 and 2000 compatible whereas the 150 is only 183 compatible.
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Old 05-23-2011, 11:11 PM   #6
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RE: Furuno/Airmar Weatherstation

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Conrad wrote:We elected to go with the 200 primarily because it has new and improved internal workings making it more*compatible*with current and possibly near future electronics than the older (5-6 years I believe) 150. This also translates into much simpler plug & play installation.
Seacom in Campbell River has provided the 200 and is installing it - they gave us a great deal on the 200; it was more than the 150, but nowhwere near what the MSRP was.

The 200 is also NMEA 183 and 2000 compatible whereas the 150 is only 183 compatible.

*I have a feeling the newer units might work better when mounted at the top of a tall mast as well. I also agree with going with the newest model too; I've futzed around too much lately getting antique NMEA equipment to talk to each other.*

Nice to know that Seacom has a good price. I'll give them a call tomorrow and see what they can do.
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Old 05-24-2011, 07:12 AM   #7
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RE: Furuno/Airmar Weatherstation

Sirius weather/fax maps are useful in the PNW when combined with local/boat data. I am a novice at reading and interpreting them but it seems like weather fax data is what the real warriors in the PNW use.**I have found several helpful on*line sites that provide real time and predicted weather for the PNW - Marine Weather from Env Canada, Washington Marine Weather, NOAA*and all (10 or so) the coastal and Vancouver Island airports.

Another consideration in the PNW are tidal flows and wind direction. I've seen Johnston Strait go from mild to wild when the current reverses in a 25 knot NWer. I'm testing the PNW waters for the next three to four months, more weather learning I'm sure.
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Old 05-24-2011, 03:37 PM   #8
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RE: Furuno/Airmar Weatherstation

Quote:
Sisuitl wrote:Conrad wrote:
*I have a feeling the newer units might work better when mounted at the top of a tall mast as well. I also agree with going with the newest model too; I've futzed around too much lately getting antique NMEA equipment to talk to each other.*

Nice to know that Seacom has a good price. I'll give them a call tomorrow and see what they can do.

*I believe that the recommendation is the higher the better for mounting the weather station, but the primary consideration of course is to place it in undisturbed air. One downside to a high mounting is that it has a negative effect on the rool and pitch measurements.

I mention to Gavin (owner of Seacom) this morning this discussion, and he was going to query some of his customers about their experiences with the weather station, so I may have other info shortly.

And yes, do give him a call; he is very experienced in electronics and a pleasure to discuss things with.
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:09 AM   #9
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RE: Furuno/Airmar Weatherstation

The Eagle came with a Davis weather instrument that measure the wind, Temp inside and out, with/with out chill factor. The wind indicator is mounted just below the anchor light. If I was going to replace it, I would replace it with a unit that has Barometric pressure as that helps predict the weather in the future.* Each morning I check the 10 day forecast on the internet, and for more current predictions NOAA on the internet and/or VHF.
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:06 PM   #10
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RE: Furuno/Airmar Weatherstation

Just might share my experience. I have the Airmar 100 that is interfaced to a Furuno RD30. I had forgotten this until my cruise today across Puget Sound. I have always had a problem with this unit calculating TRUE wind speed when underway. The wind speed jumps all over the place and I can never be sure what it actually is. I've sent the unit back to Furuno to be calibrated and they said nothing is wrong with it. I took pains to mount it in clean air. Don't know what else to do and I think I wasted $700 by buying it.

That's my experience so take it for what's it worth.

Ron
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:49 AM   #11
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RE: Furuno/Airmar Weatherstation

Quote:
windmist wrote:
Just might share my experience. I have the Airmar 100 that is interfaced to a Furuno RD30. I had forgotten this until my cruise today across Puget Sound. I have always had a problem with this unit calculating TRUE wind speed when underway. The wind speed jumps all over the place and I can never be sure what it actually is. I've sent the unit back to Furuno to be calibrated and they said nothing is wrong with it. I took pains to mount it in clean air. Don't know what else to do and I think I wasted $700 by buying it.

That's my experience so take it for what's it worth.

Ron
*Thanks for your feedback Ron. Because the primary reason for purchasing the Weatherstation was for true windspeed, I certainly hope that we have better experiences than you did. Hopefully the 200 is a much improved version of the 100.

We will be interfacing ours with our Navnet2 display unit, but that shouldn't have any bearing on the accuracy of the info that is displayed I wouldn't think.
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Old 05-26-2011, 01:59 PM   #12
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RE: Furuno/Airmar Weatherstation

The Davis basic unit seels for about $150.00*
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:41 AM   #13
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RE: Furuno/Airmar Weatherstation

Quote:
Conrad wrote:windmist wrote:
Just might share my experience. I have the Airmar 100 that is interfaced to a Furuno RD30. I had forgotten this until my cruise today across Puget Sound. I have always had a problem with this unit calculating TRUE wind speed when underway. The wind speed jumps all over the place and I can never be sure what it actually is. I've sent the unit back to Furuno to be calibrated and they said nothing is wrong with it. I took pains to mount it in clean air. Don't know what else to do and I think I wasted $700 by buying it.

That's my experience so take it for what's it worth.

Ron
*Thanks for your feedback Ron. Because the primary reason for purchasing the Weatherstation was for true windspeed, I certainly hope that we have better experiences than you did. Hopefully the 200 is a much improved version of the 100.

We will be interfacing ours with our Navnet2 display unit, but that shouldn't have any bearing on the accuracy of the info that is displayed I wouldn't think.

*Hi again Ron. I mentioned your experience to Gavin at Seacom here in Campbell River, and it turns out that he has the identical 100 unit mounted on his roof.*

His unit works well in a static situation, so I'm wondering if your experience is due to the boat pitching and rolling? Intuitively I can see where that could have a significant effect on what is being measured, especially if the station is mounted high up, but you would hope that the instrument would have some means of dampening the effect.

*
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Old 05-27-2011, 02:45 PM   #14
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RE: Furuno/Airmar Weatherstation

Thanks for the follow-up Conrad. My model 100 works OK with TRUE wind when the boat is at rest but when we are moving and the need arises to vector in boat speed is when it seems to go haywire. I'm not surprised that it would work fine on a non-moveable roof.

I sure would like to hear how the 200 model works with TRUE wind. I also have heard this may have been fixed in the new model. I would appreciate an update when you have it working and tested out.

Thanks,
Ron
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Old 05-27-2011, 03:49 PM   #15
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RE: Furuno/Airmar Weatherstation

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windmist wrote:
Thanks for the follow-up Conrad. My model 100 works OK with TRUE wind when the boat is at rest but when we are moving and the need arises to vector in boat speed is when it seems to go haywire. I'm not surprised that it would work fine on a non-moveable roof.

I sure would like to hear how the 200 model works with TRUE wind. I also have heard this may have been fixed in the new model. I would appreciate an update when you have it working and tested out.

Thanks,
Ron
*Ah. that suggests that something isn't going well with the internal calculating domahickey (sorry to get so technical) that is trying to calculate the true wind against the boatspeed and apparent wind.*

Unfortunately I won't be able to report back on my experiences for a couple of months as once the installations are complete I'm heading back to Calgary for a bit.

Apparently I can set this thing up somehow so that while in Calgary I can go online and check the weather at my boat. Not ready for that!
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Old 06-01-2011, 11:40 PM   #16
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RE: Furuno/Airmar Weatherstation

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sunchaser wrote:
Sirius weather/fax maps are useful in the PNW when combined with local/boat data. I am a novice at reading and interpreting them but it seems like weather fax data is what the real warriors in the PNW use.**I have found several helpful on*line sites that provide real time and predicted weather for the PNW - Marine Weather from Env Canada, Washington Marine Weather, NOAA*and all (10 or so) the coastal and Vancouver Island airports.

Another consideration in the PNW are tidal flows and wind direction. I've seen Johnston Strait go from mild to wild when the current reverses in a 25 knot NWer. I'm testing the PNW waters for the next three to four months, more weather learning I'm sure.
*I highly recommend Kevin Monahan's book "Local Knowledge: A Skipper's Reference - Tacoma to Ketchikan" and "Living With Weather Along the BC Coast" by Owen Lange. Both help fill in the gaps when local geography "modifies" the predicted weather. And if there's one thing we do in B.C., it's geography!

Kevin spent years running commercial fish boats and small (70') fisheries patrol vessels up and down the coast. He has an easy to read writing style.

The story I heard about Owen Lange (dock tale, caveat emptor) was that he was a meteorologist for Environment Canada a number of years ago when an unpredicted weather event sunk part of the herring fleet with loss of life. This book and "The Wind Came All Ways" came out of his desire to help B.C. mariners understand why local weather doesn't necesarily follow the regional script.*

Which reminds me, I haven't read "The Wind Came All Ways" yet. Good project for the weekend if the weather stays as wet as it is today.
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Old 06-02-2011, 02:34 PM   #17
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RE: Furuno/Airmar Weatherstation

Quote:
Sisuitl wrote:sunchaser wrote:
Sirius weather/fax maps are useful in the PNW when combined with local/boat data. I am a novice at reading and interpreting them but it seems like weather fax data is what the real warriors in the PNW use.**I have found several helpful on*line sites that provide real time and predicted weather for the PNW - Marine Weather from Env Canada, Washington Marine Weather, NOAA*and all (10 or so) the coastal and Vancouver Island airports.

Another consideration in the PNW are tidal flows and wind direction. I've seen Johnston Strait go from mild to wild when the current reverses in a 25 knot NWer. I'm testing the PNW waters for the next three to four months, more weather learning I'm sure.
*I highly recommend Kevin Monahan's book "Local Knowledge: A Skipper's Reference - Tacoma to Ketchikan" and "Living With Weather Along the BC Coast" by Owen Lange. Both help fill in the gaps when local geography "modifies" the predicted weather. And if there's one thing we do in B.C., it's geography!

Kevin spent years running commercial fish boats and small (70') fisheries patrol vessels up and down the coast. He has an easy to read writing style.

The story I heard about Owen Lange (dock tale, caveat emptor) was that he was a meteorologist for Environment Canada a number of years ago when an unpredicted weather event sunk part of the herring fleet with loss of life. This book and "The Wind Came All Ways" came out of his desire to help B.C. mariners understand why local weather doesn't necesarily follow the regional script.*

Which reminds me, I haven't read "The Wind Came All Ways" yet. Good project for the weekend if the weather stays as wet as it is today.

*Good info...will see if I can find those books, as it would be good to have something to read the next time we have an unexpected layover tucked in behind some island somewhere!
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Old 06-02-2011, 04:58 PM   #18
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RE: Furuno/Airmar Weatherstation

sailboaters have an inept quest to find the optimal wind and force, this makes sense.
trawler folks... i dont really see the need, radar will help if you get fogged in which is useful.
i would spend my money on a good barometer, perhaps combined with indoor/outdoor temp.
barometric pressure and the rate of barometric change is the best indicator of what might be coming in the near future.
other than that there are decent online forecasting service, even for free i believe and some with color precipitation and pressure lines etc.
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Old 06-02-2011, 05:53 PM   #19
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RE: Furuno/Airmar Weatherstation

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i would spend my money on a good barometer, perhaps combined with indoor/outdoor temp.* barometric pressure and the rate of barometric change is the best indicator of what might be coming in the near future.
other than that there are decent online forecasting service, even for free i believe and some with color precipitation and pressure lines etc.
*An*understanding of the location of local observations and having valid marine*forecasts*(all available on the VHF radio) have served us very well over the years, together with a good barometer.

The thing to remember is that marine forecasts (especially in BC) are conservative so that*warnings are generally always up before*poor weather conditions arrive.

In 2001 on a return trip from SE Alaska, we got down to Fury Cove to await good weather for the transit of Cape Caution.* Two very strong fronts were coming ashore, the second was one of around 970 mb which was very deep for early August.* There were storm warnings up for winds to 50 knots in the central BC coast and 60 knots for Vancouver I north.*

Fury Cove was packed, but I got up to listen to the 0500 locals anyway.* It turned out that the first front stalled just off Cape Scott and waited for the second front to approach and combine.* We got underway at 0530 and had a very nice passage to the Broughtons.* Everyone else waited, and*we didn't see*any of these boats*for 3-4 days.*

The situation is that we were able to accurately visualize conditions with the VHF weather information and our barometer.* You don't absolutely need an online forecasting service, especially in an area where online connectivity doesn't exist.

And yes, there are times that the forecasters are not early, but we don't commit to an open crossing if the local observations don't support the forecast.
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Old 07-28-2011, 02:43 PM   #20
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RE: Furuno/Airmar Weatherstation

Well, the weather station is installed, but not without a number of teething problems. The supplier/installer spent an inordinate amount of time on the phone with Furuno trying to sort out the issues, which essentially were that no wind speed/direction would show. Finally some obscure settings in the Furuno 1834C/NT display unit related to SOG were turned on and we got the true wind speed.

BUT, the wind direction is apparent, measured in degrees port or starboard. That may be fine for sailors, but for a power boater that is a bit of a waste of time; it is the only setting, according to Furuno.

Not terribly impressed.
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