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Old 06-10-2016, 12:48 PM   #1
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My Electronics Selection Predictions

Since 1995 I have not only used my boat for cruising & fishing, I have also used it for experiencing and testing the latest and greatest new gadgets on the market. Algae X Fuel polishing, FloScan twin & single fuel monitoring, Simrad, Raymarine auto pilots, holding tank monitors (3), etc. Although some were very disappointing, some of the new stuff really impressed me! (ie: Maretron's Fuel management system, much better than FloScan, IMO. The Solo holding tank monitor, very simple, low expense & extremely accurate.

The best new stuff I've experienced are Raymarine's electronic suites! In the past I've had Furuno radar, great but not intuitive enough for the average cruiser, Raymarine 's radar, MFDs & auoto pilots, "OK" but not great, & North Star (now Simrad) MFD's (2) Very intuitive but graphically lacking.

The new Raymarine Es 127 & 128 MFDs and the Evolution A/Ps are fantastic! I've written about these components in past posts but since I've had time to really evaluate the whole suite, I am absolutely blown away by the performance of the system. I should note at this juncture that I'm no stranger to the other brands, Simrad, Garmin, Furuno, Hummingbird, etc. as I've played with all of them at West Marine. They all have made significant improvements over the years but if you want electronics that are truly intuitive, IMO you just can't beat the new Raymarine line up!

I do not have stock in the company nor do I have friends or relatives who work there. I'm simply a boater that wants great electronics and don't want to break out the Owners Manual every time I have a question. (BTW, It's installed in the Raymarine MFDs already!) Ed, at Shelter Island Marine Electronics in San Diego has an Es128 mounted right on the counter that you can play with until the cows come home!

I believe that Raymarine (a Flir company) will dominate the market in the future.
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Codger 1941.. Constant pursuit of the ultimate SoCal Cruising boat.
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Old 06-10-2016, 04:17 PM   #2
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Bold Prediction.

Great review. Nice to see someone who enjoys gadgets and electronics as much as we do. I have only used Raymarine in school (which would now be an old system) and used it one day on a demo of a Sea Ray L 650 Fly. The fact Sea Ray has chosen to go with Raymarine gives them a huge boost right there. Now some of the units did have issues, but Raymarine addressed and fixed them all. I think the bugs have all been worked through now.

I find myself always wanting to try the new, latest and greatest, even if what I have is working fine. I do ultimately resist but watching each of them integrate new features continues the temptation. Three years ago Sonar was an option few were choosing. Now it's coming standard in many systems. I just looked at the features in the system you are talking about and it has a very up to date Sonar built in, a system superior to anything on the market three years ago. Obviously, it includes night vision. Three years ago, we saw very little of it. Now, the price of FLIR has dropped, the capabilities have improved. Then I noticed the support of up to 10 cameras, 4 simultaneously. We talk of security and people here just look at us with "why"" on their mind. Well, it's so easy with new systems.

There are many here who think one is crazy to have all these new electronics. However, I think they're great tools and now that they're coming as part of standard packages you'll see them far more widespread. I'm very impressed by the Raymarine equipment you are talking about and the completeness of the package. Garmin has put similar packages together. Furuno seems to me to be lagging behind in how they are packaging things. I think though when people see all these features in other electronics, they're going to be disappointed with Furuno's emphasis so greatly on Radar and NavNet.

We have three year old installations of Furuno. We're still very happy with them. However, Sonar and FLIR weren't part of the system and are added. The three year old installation does not compare to the Garmin package we have on a boat delivered this spring and doesn't compare to what is on the Raymarine packages you reviewed. Furuno doesn't, to my knowledge, provide as completely integrated package. You can get there, but it's not standard.

As to intuitiveness, by this point, they all seem intuitive to us so we're lousy judges.

I think the days of having different electronic components from different manufacturers is on the way out on boats under 100' and the manufacturer who fails to offer a standard complete package is going to lose share. I also think they've put Simrad on the defensive. They dominated the autopilot market, but now it's all going to one vendor integrated systems. Simrad now offers their own system, but I haven't heard enough positive to make me want one. But then that leaves no reason to purchase their autopilot.

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Old 06-10-2016, 05:59 PM   #3
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My sailboat had a factory Raymarine package circa 2005. I loved it. Other than having to go to the upgraded GPS antennae, I never had any problems with it.

My new boat has a RM package circa 2010. I love it even more. It has the same basic technology. I am having some issues with the AP, but I think that is operator error. I need to spend the time and re-initialize it. This system has things on it that I would never have chosen (such as the forward looking fishfinder) but that I have found to be very handy. While some of the new systems are cool, I don't have the money to upgrade to a completely new system.

If most boaters are like me, then I think that B is correct that the future for personal pleasure craft will be packaged systems.

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Old 06-10-2016, 07:11 PM   #4
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Don't would miss an entire generation of marine electronics.....

As far as I know, Sea Ray has been installing Ray-something or another since the mid to late 90's.

Pick a where you have a local dealer for support....and enjoy it. Most boaters I know use about 1/20 of modern electronics anyway...they just never get enough underway experience with it.

Then there's the guys who don't understand course versus track.
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Old 06-10-2016, 08:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
Don't would miss an entire generation of marine electronics.....
That's for sure, but that's true with most technology. What one must try to do is figure out two things.

First, is it really something new and an improvement. Aren't we all use to Microsoft introducing new Windows over and over and we never could figure out what changed? And phones. I'll admit that every time Samsung introduces a new one, I bite, and I don't even know what they added. iPhone users are the same way.

Second, if we've determined it's got new features, do we have a need or use for them.
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Old 06-11-2016, 10:15 AM   #6
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I've had the R80-era stuff on a couple of small boats and liked it fine. On my trawler I've had a mix of stuff, but I mostly use Coastal Explorer on a laptop with a standalone MFD (was Standard Horizon, then NavMan, then Garmin) as backup. But when my Cetrek AP went tits up last year I agonized for a long time and then installed a Raymarine EVO. And then a P70R to control it. And then an a78 to get updates. And then an NGT-1 to interface with CE. And I bridged the STNG and N2K networks.

This weekend I'm installing the Seatalk to SeatalkNG converter so I can get legacy steering input from a S60, add a Lifetag, and get ready to add a Raymarine wireless remote.

Raymarine has indeed done well on the software updates and everything related to MFDs including a wide variety of cartography, but all of their peripheral stuff is legacy Seatalk and they haven't done much innovation there in a number of years. I got the impression from talking to Chuck (Raymarine technician and moderator of the Raymarine Forum) that they are thinking about new devices (I was particularly asking for a steering lever) so hopefully that stuff will get refreshed in the next few years.
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Old 06-12-2016, 07:24 AM   #7
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To set up the wireless remote you do need to go through the programming steps before it will begin to function.

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