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Old 08-29-2016, 12:42 PM   #1
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Radar

Unknown to me at time of purchase last year, the Furuno CRT radar that came with the boat does not work. Shows sea clutter etc. etc. but nothing of substance, eg. a steel tour boat came by at approx. 1/2 mile and not a blip on the screen. ( yes ! I had the range right ) I think it's toast ! ... Not that I really need one but it would be nice to have a working Radar just for the few times that it would be really needed. ...... Can anyone recommend a simple " entry level " radar that I don't need a degree in instrumentation to operate ?.

Thanks in advance, FB
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Old 08-29-2016, 01:14 PM   #2
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Raymarine makes a pretty straightforward product.
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Old 08-29-2016, 01:19 PM   #3
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I think Furuno may be the only electronics vendor who still sells dedicated radars. All other, including some of the furuno models, require an accompanying same-brand, multi-function chart plotter display (MFD) to control and display the radar info.

If you already have a current model MFD, then adding radar to it is probably easiest and least expensive. Cost will be about $2000.

If your MFD is old and doesn't support current model radar add-ons, then you will either need to

1) Upgrade the MFD, then add radar, or

2) Buy another furuno dedicated radar.

Cost for either of the above will be $3000-$5000.

Personally I prefer the dedicated radars. They have more features, and dedicated control knobs that make operation much easier vs hunting through menus on an MFD.

As for operation, they are all pretty much the same.

I would NOT recommend Simrad/Lowrence. Their radars have some serious problems that have still not been rectified after more than 2 years. Furuno radars are excellent. I can't speak to Raymarine or Garmin - haven't used them.
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Old 08-29-2016, 01:31 PM   #4
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Furuno has a good reputation for supporting older units with parts and service. It might not hurt to give them a call to see about repairing the unit or if they have any advice...
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Old 08-29-2016, 01:31 PM   #5
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In my opinion first order of business would be to call Furuno's excellent customer service and see what solution ideas they may have.
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Old 08-29-2016, 01:34 PM   #6
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Before trashing the unit check the wiring under the dome. A friend has a small Furuno CRT type 2kw, which physically ran but showed nothing including the 400' steel ferry a half mile away.

There turned out to be an oxidized connection. Good enough there was nothing obvious but after cleaning and testing the unit is again working. Worth a try at least. At the least it will give you some time to research a replacement if that is what the problem turns out to be.
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Old 08-29-2016, 02:04 PM   #7
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I've spent $1200 plus keeping our old Furuno radar alive and its dead again. The first time it was the magnetron. The most recent conversation was send it back and we can fix it. Good technical support but I think it's time to replace a 20 year old piece of electronics.
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Old 08-29-2016, 02:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C lectric View Post
Before trashing the unit check the wiring under the dome. A friend has a small Furuno CRT type 2kw, which physically ran but showed nothing including the 400' steel ferry a half mile away.

There turned out to be an oxidized connection. Good enough there was nothing obvious but after cleaning and testing the unit is again working. Worth a try at least. At the least it will give you some time to research a replacement if that is what the problem turns out to be.
What he said!
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Old 08-29-2016, 02:07 PM   #9
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I've spent $1200 plus keeping our old Furuno radar alive and its dead again. The first time it was the magnetron. The most recent conversation was send it back and we can fix it. Good technical support but I think it's time to replace a 20 year old piece of electronics.
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Old 08-29-2016, 02:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C lectric View Post
Before trashing the unit check the wiring under the dome. A friend has a small Furuno CRT type 2kw, which physically ran but showed nothing including the 400' steel ferry a half mile away.

There turned out to be an oxidized connection. Good enough there was nothing obvious but after cleaning and testing the unit is again working. Worth a try at least. At the least it will give you some time to research a replacement if that is what the problem turns out to be.
Thank you, sounds exactly what I have.
Never thought of it ....... as the troubleshooting manual said it would likely be the Magnetron so I thought it may be good time just to walk away. I will look under the hood / dome and see if there is anything obvious, maybe trace and verify wire by wire continuity ? and - or try to locate a repair in the Toronto area. FB
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Old 08-29-2016, 02:50 PM   #11
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I use a Furuno 1715 stand alone machine with LCD display. Not horribly expensive and works well. I think the same or similar unit is still available.
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Old 08-29-2016, 03:08 PM   #12
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The Raymarine/Garmin/B&G Kits that include the MFD and the antenna are $2k for an 18 inch radome. I do believe West Marine is having a sale at this very moment. All of those brands within $200 of each other.

See this link:
Marine Electronics Sale | West Marine
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Old 08-29-2016, 03:08 PM   #13
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Ditto on Furuno service. talk to them first. They did a good job on my system at reasonable cost.

I dont like combined plotter and radar displays When I really need them I want the biggest screen possible and dont want to flip back and forth.
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Old 08-29-2016, 03:18 PM   #14
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Ditto on Furuno service. talk to them first. They did a good job on my system at reasonable cost.

I dont like combined plotter and radar displays When I really need them I want the biggest screen possible and dont want to flip back and forth.
Why flip back and forth? The current generation MFDs can overlay the radar presentation onto the charting software, greatly decreasing the error factor.
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Old 08-29-2016, 03:27 PM   #15
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A person really needs a radar when there is heavy rain or heavy fog. It takes a minamun 4kw radar to work in heavy rain. I am also a Furuno fan for several reasons but mostly because all of the main adjustments that one needs to make are on the settings panel and there is no need to go into the menu to find a simple setting.
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Old 08-29-2016, 03:37 PM   #16
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Greetings,
Mr. Ex. JRC used to sell a pretty good entry level radar but I haven't heard much about them in recent years.
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Old 08-29-2016, 03:47 PM   #17
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Im going to be pulling a working Furuno CRT dome radar unit off a boat soon.

You can have it cheap.
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Old 08-29-2016, 05:40 PM   #18
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If you end up buying a new radar there are a number of options. They are stand alone which has its own display, a radome that interfaces with a multi-function display (i.e., chart plotter), and new WiFi units from Furuno and raymarine that can use a i-phone or ipad for a display and send data to the display via wireless WiFi. The wireless radars run about $1,500 US which is your only cost if you already have an ipad. The advantage of a radar interfaced to a multi-function display is that you can overlay the radar signal on the chart. That is a VERY nice function. On my system I can also run split screen with the radar at one scale and the chart at another. That can be a bit confusing at times though. Radar overlay on the chart is great.

In addition there are two distinct types of radar. One is traditional pulsed radar that uses a magnetron and sends out 2 kilowatt or higher energy pulses then waits for a return before sending out an other pulse. The other type uses continuous modulated signals at much lower power than traditional magnetron based radars. Those "broadband" radars were initially introduced by Simrad/Lowrance, but are now made by all the major companies. They are far superior to magnetron based radars at short ranges, but not as good at longer ranges although they are much better now than even two years ago. Broadband radars are safer than magnetron radars since they transmit about 1,000 times less power. I have had a Simrad broadband radar for about 5 years and am very satisfied with it.
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Old 08-29-2016, 07:26 PM   #19
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With the unit off, take the cover off the radome and check the cog belt to the antenna. If it crumbles from old age it with display similar symptoms.
2X for the Furuno 1715. Pretty easy to operate but lacks a knob for adjustments.
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Old 08-29-2016, 07:41 PM   #20
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.... The advantage of a radar interfaced to a multi-function display is that you can overlay the radar signal on the chart. That is a VERY nice function.

.... Those "broadband" radars ... are far superior to magnetron based radars at short ranges, but not as good at longer ranges although they are much better now than even two years ago.

...Broadband radars are safer than magnetron radars since they transmit about 1,000 times less power.
At the risk of being argumentative, I would take issue with these assertions. Some of it is opinion/preference, and some of it is factual.

1) Radar overlay vs separate screen. This one is heavily slanted towards the opinion/preference category, but over time I have come to prefer separate chart and radar screen. Here's an article explaining why for anyone who is interested.

2) Broadband is superior at close range. In my experience I have found this to not be true in any practical way. I owned a Simrad 4G for a while and it's good at close range. That's true. It is also inferior at distances, but that's another topic. But....I have found both the Furuno DRS4D and the Furuno 1835 radars (both 4kw domes) to be just as good, if not better than the 4G. Yes, it's true that the pulse radars have a 20m blind spot around the boat when on close range. But when did you need to use your radar to see something 20m away that you couldn't see with your eyes? Fog, day, or night. 20m is the distance between fingers on a dock. Is that really what you want to buy your radar for? It's a radar, not a backup camera. And beyong 20m I have found the 4kw pulse radars to be as good or better in all situations. In short, I found no situation - zero - where the 4G outperformed a 4kw furuno pulse radar.

3) The whole low power things with 3G and 4G radars is so blown out of proportion and context. In reality, the difference is so negligible that it really doesn't matter. Here are the facts:

- Yes, a 4kw radar pulses at 4kw. But on short range those pulses last for 80 nano seconds. That's 80 billionths of a second. And they repeat 2100 times per second. The resulting average power is 670 milliwatts. To put this in perspective, your cell phone is 500 milliwatts, and you hold it directly against your brain. A 4G radar transmits continuously at 165 milliwatts. Yes, that is less that a 4kw pulse radar, but it's 4x less, not 1000 times less.

- Let's look at it another way. The regulated safe distance power level that radar safety is specified to is 100mW/m2. That's 100 milliwatts per meter squared, so it's a density of power over an area. The safe distance for that power level for a 3G or 4G radar is 0m. That's good. But let's take a look at the same safe distance for a handful of Furuno pulse radars (BTW, I'm highlighting Furuno only because that's the other radar that I'm most familiar with, and for which I have ready access to the specs.)

DRS4A 4kw open array; safe distance 0m
DRS6A 6kw open array; safe distance 0m
DRS2D 2kw dome; safe distance 0m
DRS4D 4kw dome; safe distance 0.1m (4")
1835 4kw dome; safe distance 0.1m (4")

So as you can see, several of the pulse radars are equally safe if you are kissing it, and others are just as safe if you stand back a whopping 4".

If you still prefer a broadband radar, just pick it for real rather than imaginary reasons. Yes, they turn on right away. In some instances that might be good. In other is just doesn't matter. Furuno has done some really nice things with their NXT radar like automatically coloring hazardous targets red. That seems like a real and useful benefit.
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