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Old 01-09-2017, 09:22 AM   #1
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Radar - Furuno First Watch.

We cruise the east coast from the Chesapeake to FL and have been using PC navigation for a decade or more. PC navigation is easier than a chartplotter, so we have never installed an MFD when we had our boat built. Our navigation suite right now includes Coastal Explorer, Sitex AIS, Raymarine autopilot and Raymarine paddlewheel speedo, and finally Lowrance HDS5 Gen 2 fish finder/chartplotter with Navionics charts. Now we are thinking of cruising farther afield, to Maine and Canada. For such a trip, we think radar would be useful. A radar is not all that expensive in and of itself. But if we have to add an MFD, then it gets to be pricey. I have considered the Furuno First Watch radar for use with an iPad. The installation seems so simple compared to installing an MFD+radar. I heard a lot about First Watch when it first came out. Iíve heard nothing at all about it recently. I checked the Panbo Site and did not see any new discussion about it. Does anyone here have firsthand experience with it?
If we donít select the Furuno First Watch system, then either Raymarine or Lowrance MFD plus radar would be the logical solution.
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Old 01-09-2017, 09:42 AM   #2
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I used it. I want one. I'd use it as a backup along with our progressing to "iPad's everywhere."

You should check out the Nobeltec/MaxSea iPad app. It's pretty full functioning as a chartplotter and they just added radar support of the DRS4W. I haven't seen that in use with radar overlay but the pictures look good enough.

One issue with this first version is that you have to connect to the DRS4W as your WiFi hot spot. The radar doesn't connect to anything else so you sort of give up your internet connection although cellular would work. In some setups, cellular goes through the internal router - you just have to be aware of that issue right now.

I've seen the unit in use and I thought the display and usefulness were great. Having lived in Maine for 22+ years, I think it would do the job there very well. It uses a little more power since it's a magnetron but most of us don't care about that since we're running with engines all the time.

If I didn't have other things to work on, I'd be installing a DRS4W right now. I think it's a breakthrough product that will end up changing a lot in marine electronics.
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:28 PM   #3
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furuno offers an ipad app for its radars via navnet...

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mari...834243448?mt=8
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:35 PM   #4
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furuno offers an ipad app for its radars via navnet...

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mari...834243448?mt=8

That the app for the DRS4W. I don't believe it will work with any other Furuno radar.
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Old 01-09-2017, 11:25 PM   #5
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Couldn't you connect a radar to your HDS5? Then you wouldn't need an additional screen. Maybe a 3 or 4G Lowrance/Simrad. I believe you can get a wi fi module as well. Then you could control and display it on a tablet. We do that with our Simrad GO9 and iPad and it's fantastic.
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Old 01-10-2017, 05:52 PM   #6
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Product Detail - DRS4W
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Old 01-11-2017, 05:42 PM   #7
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seems like the drs4w is a great candidate for integrating with openocn.
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Old 01-11-2017, 05:56 PM   #8
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If you have a Lowrance HDS 5 you can plug their Broadband radar in to it. Furthermore, if you add their Point 1 GPS antenna/heading sensor you can do radar overlay.
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Old 01-11-2017, 06:14 PM   #9
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Couldn't you connect a radar to your HDS5? Then you wouldn't need an additional screen. Maybe a 3 or 4G Lowrance/Simrad. I believe you can get a wi fi module as well. Then you could control and display it on a tablet. We do that with our Simrad GO9 and iPad and it's fantastic.
That would be the easiest solution for sure. With the wifi module you can connect to a bigger screened device and not be mixing brands.
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Old 01-12-2017, 08:10 AM   #10
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Thank you all for your suggestions. To reiterate, I considered the Furuno DRS4W First Watch, because i do not have an MFD. Well some of you have pointed out that the little 5 inch Lowrance is an MFD. True, but the screen is hardly of adequate size to be practical. An iPAd screen is about twice as big. It is about the size of a 9" MFD. When the Furuno device first hit the market 2 years ago there was a flurry of activity and news releases. I can find no new information about it. What I was hoping to find is that some people have installed and used this system. From what I can tell, practically no one has installed this system. It is even hard to find a Furuno dealer in my area who has the radar in stock. I will have to drive 2 hours each way to Tampa to see the device. The lack of customer use and acceptance tells me that this is probably not the solution for me.

Because we use PC navigation. We have a stand alone Lowrance fish finder, We have Raymarine STW speedo and Ray autopilot as well as sitex AIS. In other word we have a very mixed collection of electronics. If I decide to go with an MFD and radar, I will have to choose the one that will work with as many of my existing electronics as possible.
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Old 01-12-2017, 09:34 AM   #11
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Personally I wouldn't use wifi for anything mission critical. But I'm pretty conservative on that front, and want nav systems to work correctly all the time, every time.

I share your approach and desire to maintain dedicated nav systems, with integration only via industry standard interfaces. Where this becomes a challenge is with radar and fish finders since there are no industry standards for communicating fish finder or radar echo returns. This leaves you with a handful of options:

1) Install a dedicated radar, and interface it to CE and you other electronics. All your sensor data gets fed into the radar (including AIS) and the radar's target tracking info gets sent to CE and plotted do you see ARPA targets on your charts. I think this is the preferred approach if you can make it work. You get the best quality radar with dedicated controls making adjustments and operation super easy. The down side is that it can take up more physical space, i.e. a display screen, than many people can devote to the task. It's generally no more expensive than an MFD+Radar serving the same purpose, but if you already have the MFD then the incremental cost is more than just adding a radar scanner to an existing MFD. In your case I expect the cost will be a wash since you don't have an existing MFD. The other down side is that I think Furuno is the only mainstream company that still makes dedicated radars. Simrad has one, but it's just one of their MFDs turned on it's side with functionality limited to radar. Until they fix their ARPA issues which have been unaddressed for years, I wouldn't go near them for radar.

The up side is that in my experience Furuno makes the best radars so it's who I'd want in the first place. Take a look at their web site and you will get a good sense of what's available. It sounds like a dome radar is fine for your use, and they have a number of models, with and without ARPA. I have an 1835 with is about a 12" screen, 4kw dome. It's a great little radar, and integrates nicely with CE. Cost is about $3500 without ARPA, and $4000 with ARPA.

2) Create a pseudo-dedicated radar by getting an MFD+Radar. But only use the MFD to control the radar. Cost will probably be about the same as a similar sized dedicated radar. I think the down side is that you give up the dedicated radar controls and need to poke through menus and pop-ups to control things. And you will need to check very carefully to be sure the radar transmits target tracking info that CE can use. Although I think this is a viable approach, I didn't pursue it because it compromised too many radar features. Most MFDs didn't have the full set of radar features found in the dedicated units.

3) It's probably a higher-end solution than what you want, but furuno's FAR radars can be interfaced to CE via Rose Points Radar Interface. This will overlay the radar echo returns on CE. I haven't used it, but it's another approach is you really insist on radar overlay. Personally I find radar overlay makes it harder to pick out important chart features because of radar clutter, and harder to pick out radar returns because of chart clutter. I much prefer just display radar target tracking icons on CE so I only overlay the things that I want to keep a close eye on. The down side of this approach is cost. The FAR radars have come down a bunch in price, but are still pretty expensive, and the radar interface is an added cost too.
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Old 01-12-2017, 12:48 PM   #12
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In the for-what-it's-worth department, the Furuno DRS4W just won a Pittman Innovation Award from SAIL Magazine (announced today). They might have gotten 2nd place - hard to know.

It's a breakthrough product. In 5 years, we'll look back on it as the radar that changed everything.

I'm looking forward to getting one. If I weren't involved with so many other boat refit projects right now, I'd have one today.

The only reason you haven't seen many is that after being announced 18 months ago, they just started shipping it - I think in August. It takes time for a product to get out. I've seen 2 of them installed and in use already. I thought it produced as good a quality radar image as my 4 foot open array Raymarine things (which I don't like, mostly because of the chartplotter integration).
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Old 01-13-2017, 01:20 PM   #13
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Si-Tex has a small dedicated radar that is reasonably priced @$1500.00, I do not remember the model number. I have Si-Tex open array and have been very happy with it, I use it with a Standard Horizon cp500 and with overlay on a cp590. I've been out at night several times on the Illinois and upper Mississippi rivers with no problem or surprises.
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Old 01-13-2017, 01:40 PM   #14
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Watching this thread for reviews. The Furuno is down to less than $1000 which seems quite the bargain..

Furuno DRS4W 1st Watch Wireless 19‚€Ě 4kW Digital Radar The GPS Store
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Old 01-16-2017, 07:50 AM   #15
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I have been looking at the Raymarine Quantum Chirp radar for iPad and MFD use. How is the Furuno First Watch different and/or better?
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Old 01-16-2017, 08:03 AM   #16
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With the Raymarine system you must have a Raymarine MFD with its Light House WiFi. With the first watch system all you need is the radar. Since we have no MFD, the Furuno is an attractive solution.
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Old 10-16-2019, 11:26 AM   #17
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Any more developments or reviews on this product?
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Old 10-16-2019, 11:52 AM   #18
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Any more developments or reviews on this product?
Not aware of more new reviews (Panbo did the first one 5 years ago, which has been referred to by many), but we've had our DRS4W for a couple seasons now and we still really, really like it. Though it isn't a review, I did write a blog post for our online store that might shed some relevant user-based information:

https://www.pacificnwboatertested.co...wireless-radar
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Old 10-16-2019, 12:05 PM   #19
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We had a First Watch on our previous boat and it was tied to our Gen I iPad. Worked great and did what we needed it to. We plugged the iPad into a charger or the power draw would drain the battery in a couple of hours. On longer runs or night runs, we would lower the screen brightness. The radar dome did a fine job of picking out targets both near and far. We would probably buy another one for our new boat but it came with good radar.

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Old 10-16-2019, 12:29 PM   #20
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Thought this was an interesting article that made the First Mate radar look even more attractive
https://www.milltechmarine.com/TIMEZ...adar_b_30.html
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