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Old 05-18-2014, 09:24 AM   #1
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One or two MFDs?

Sorry if this has been covered elsewhere. (And I have a sense this is a pretty ignorant question.)

When we actually start using our boat, I expect to use the fly bridge as our principal helm. I want a large MFD up there on a NEMA network with inputs from depth, radar, cameras, etc.

I have a hard time justifying another $5K +/- for a similar setup for the lower helm, which we're only likely to use 20 percent of the time or less. Still, I want modern equipment on both stations.

The chart plotter on my fishing boat is dead easy to install and remove. Is it possible to share a single MFD between two helm stations on a network . . . moving it back and forth as needed?

(Before I buy anything, I'll wait and see if my estimates for time usage hold true.)

Thnx.
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Old 05-18-2014, 09:27 AM   #2
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If the MFD your planning to buy to buy has a Video out, you could always put a repeater display.
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Old 05-18-2014, 09:37 AM   #3
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What MFD do you currently use at the lower help?
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Old 05-18-2014, 09:47 AM   #4
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Raymarine- install the hardware on the flybridge, and use an iPad as a 2nd station at the lower helm.
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Old 05-18-2014, 09:53 AM   #5
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Raymarine- install the hardware on the flybridge, and use an iPad as a 2nd station at the lower helm.

You can also do that with Garmin and Simrad.
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Old 05-18-2014, 10:08 AM   #6
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Or buy a black box unit, and run two displays (the ph display can be an inexpensive computer monitor, but make sure it has good dimming capabilities for night use) with two controllers. Better yet, have two black boxes for redundancy, and have two screens (at least) at each station.
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Old 05-18-2014, 11:45 AM   #7
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My take on this is that your MFD represents a single point of failure of a critical system.

Have two of them.

Actually look around your boat and think about things...

Look at a piece of equipment and think about what you'd do if it malfunctioned today.

I'm not saying that you need redundant everything. What I am saying is that you need to evaluate your boat for system outage risks, then make decisions based on the cost and effort of mitigating those risks.

Some risks you'll decide you can live with, some you'll decide you cant.
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Old 05-18-2014, 12:05 PM   #8
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Thanks, all. To clarify, electronic we're the weak point of an otherwise beautifully maintained boat. She currently has an ancient hand-held Garmin in a cradle and no network. So I'll be building from the bottom up.

Backup plan would be a 3G iPad with Blue Charts and AC installed and tested on a charter we did last year. Second and third backups would be the ancient Garmin and iPhones along with paper charts.
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Old 05-18-2014, 12:19 PM   #9
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........ Is it possible to share a single MFD between two helm stations on a network . . . moving it back and forth as needed?.
Anything is possible, but consider this - You're motoring along enjoying the view on the flybridge when is suddenly starts pouring down rain. Do you want to be able to just climb down the ladder and run the boat from the lower helm or do you want to have do disconnect your MFD, carry it down with you, plug it in and wait for it to boot and detect the satellites before you can use it again?

I assume you've spent a lot on your boat, why not invest a bit more for the best navigation system?
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Old 05-18-2014, 01:22 PM   #10
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Thanks, all. To clarify, electronic we're the weak point of an otherwise beautifully maintained boat. She currently has an ancient hand-held Garmin in a cradle and no network. So I'll be building from the bottom up.



Backup plan would be a 3G iPad with Blue Charts and AC installed and tested on a charter we did last year. Second and third backups would be the ancient Garmin and iPhones along with paper charts.

I think your best bet is to go with a Simrad black box. You can have up to two displays and switch between them, all you'd have to do is get the displays and another controller for the black box. And of course all the little Simnet parts, also think it's needs a gps. Also the black box has to video inputs.
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Old 05-18-2014, 01:32 PM   #11
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I think your best bet is to go with a Simrad black box. You can have up to two displays and switch between them, all you'd have to do is get the displays and another controller for the black box. And of course all the little Simnet parts, also think it's needs a gps. Also the black box has to video inputs.
Attachment 29930Attachment 29931
Although I'm a fan of Simrad, I think a black-box and two monitors will end up costing more than two MFDs. The NSO black box is about $4500, but you will pay that again for each monitor, especially the fly bridge where a full sunlight visible, water proof unit is likely required. Marine monitors are just stupid expensive. And with two MFDs, you have some redundancy in case one fails.
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Old 05-18-2014, 01:33 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by N4712 View Post
I think your best bet is to go with a Simrad black box. You can have up to two displays and switch between them, all you'd have to do is get the displays and another controller for the black box. And of course all the little Simnet parts, also think it's needs a gps. Also the black box has to video inputs.
Attachment 29930Attachment 29931
Thanks, I'll look into this. Loved the Simrad MFD on the Krogen we chartered. I worry a little about some recent threads on factory support for Simrad models once they're out of production.
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Old 05-18-2014, 04:29 PM   #13
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Not exactly true MFD's you might want to look at using a pair of Garmin 741xs units. However the Radar will only work off one display. Radar data is not sent over the NMEA2000 network. I guess you could run a spare Garmin network cable (it's shielded CAT5 cross-over cable) leaving a jack at either location? Any other NMEA2000 sensors like depth, heading, wind, AIS or temperatures would be available at both displays. Also the 741xs supports WiFi. Perhaps one 740s and one 741xs which is what I'm doing with my Gulfstar.
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Old 05-18-2014, 06:21 PM   #14
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I have the Raymarine C97 on the flybridge and connect to my iPad that I use on the lower helm. You need a router to do this. I installed the rogue wave wifi booster with a netgear router.

Here is the RAM mount on the lower helm. Click image for larger version

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Old 05-18-2014, 07:06 PM   #15
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I have the Raymarine C97 on the flybridge and connect to my iPad that I use on the lower helm. You need a router to do this. I installed the rogue wave wifi booster with a netgear router.

Here is the RAM mount on the lower helm. Attachment 29935
You should be able to do this without a router-either thru the built in Bluetooth or wifi.
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Old 05-18-2014, 07:38 PM   #16
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My mistake. You are correct as the Raymarine MFDs are Bluetooth and wifi and don't need the router.

It is still a nice system. You can use your iPad with the navionics app to create routes and sync them with the plotter.
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Old 05-19-2014, 06:40 AM   #17
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My mistake. You are correct as the Raymarine MFDs are Bluetooth and wifi and don't need the router.

It is still a nice system. You can use your iPad with the navionics app to create routes and sync them with the plotter.
You can do the same (connect via WiFi) with any of the newer (xs) model Garmins. They have great factory support. If you have internet access you simply download the updates to an SD memory card load it in the plotter and it updates everything in the Garmin network or the NMEA2000 network.
I've only had one equipment issue with Garmin when they 1st came out with the GMR24HD Radar assembly they had problems. The factory sent me a replacement unit after software patches didn't work.
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Old 05-19-2014, 09:54 AM   #18
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I have 2 Garmin MFDs side by side on the flybridge. When I an underway and one is tracking me the other can be used to look ahead or plan my next move. A lot of the time it is cycling between my engine room cameras and my rear view camera. I thoroughly appreciate the second MFD
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Old 05-19-2014, 10:22 AM   #19
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My take is: two similar Simrad MFD's - possibly with the Simrad remote control panel as shown previously.

Different displays or MFD's is complicating things too much due to different settings, screens, options etc.

I would ensure that the fly bridge MFD could be disconnected / removed -----there are thugs all over the world and a MFD would be very tempting for some people....
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Old 05-21-2014, 12:27 AM   #20
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I have garmin 4212 on my upper helm that came from prior owner. I am frugal. There was nothing at lower helm. Used to be radar head which was gone. Just finished removing old scanner and cable. New garmin radome 24xhd now In place. To create lower helm MFD and redundancy, I installed an Intel I5 NUC, with flat screen VGA. I can run PC Nav software of various kinds that is fed by USB GPS. But the cool part is running a long VGA cable from the 4212 to the monitor. Just choose input. It repeats 2x as large the 4212 display. I control it with the garmin RF remote control!!!! They helped me be frugal. Click image for larger version

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ID:	30038Monitor cable and remote were less than $200.00. NUC and software less than 500.00. One app I run is Bluestacks android. Then I run my old navionics USA phone app on that. Plus I have the garmin app on my iPhone. So I am 3x redundant on gps. And have paper charts - the chart books I like very much. Photos are test of monitor next to 4212.

Still learning all the bells and whistles. Click image for larger version

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ID:	30037. I still have to finish all the wiring and mounting but it all works. GRIN
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