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Old 07-25-2013, 07:10 AM   #1
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Oldest functional navigation equipment

New member, first thread. Have recently purchased our retirement home (Poseidon, 1980 Ocean Alexander, Mk 1) and thought the topic of the “oldest functional navigation equipment” could be interesting (for obvious reasons). My contenders (all apparently working and in good order) are:
· Kroden GPS-95
· Robertson AP100 Auto Pilot
· Morrow Depth Sounder

More seriously, the advice sought is should I go with the “it ain’t broke, so why fix it” approach or the “electronics have come so far since the 80’s that you would be mad not to replace it” view.


Minor caveat - while the Kroden is working (with no apparent defect) I note that the manafacture "recalled" it in 2010 because of a "date rollover error" which apparently occurs after 1024 elaspsed weeks (19+ years). Sort ot Y2K'ish.
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Old 07-25-2013, 09:42 AM   #2
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I would not replace take out if still working and buy the electrics you do not have electronic charts, radar, vhf. Bundled packages are cheaper than individual itms, like charts, radar, gps. The newer vhf have newer features like disc, ais. If you due buy new the old can be back up.
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:28 AM   #3
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The most antique piece of electronics on my boat is my Furuno fish finder. It's about 12 inches deep. If I replaced it, I'd open up lots of fwd counter space. I have no idea how old it is, but it still works.



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Old 07-25-2013, 11:05 AM   #4
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There is a conundrum here. You can wait till something fails and do without or buy one replacement at a time or do it all at once and be done with it.

A Garmin GPS. A Furuno radar. A Hummingbird fish finder. adum infinitum.

Most company's have integrated systems.
I chose Garmin because of it's plug and play easy to install.

Easiest to replace everything and sell the old on ebay.

Just my opinion.

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Old 07-25-2013, 11:32 AM   #5
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Eagle flasher DS
Benmar Course Setter 21 Autopilot
Garmin 120 GPS (took us from Cape Cod to Trinadad & back)
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Old 07-25-2013, 11:59 AM   #6
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Basically the oldest functioning navigational equip is the compass.
Then the binoculars in my opinion.

Then depth sounders.
Chart plotters are the best thing that's happened to boating since fiberglass.
I think multi-function instruments and displays have little value. I prefer dedicated everything.

But when to buy more modern equipment is basically a matter of money. The twirly flashing light sounder is going over the side on my boat. I feel I need two sounders. One high quality w digital display and large numbers. the other basically a fish finder to "read" the bottom as I go.

I think there's lots and lots of "stuff" that we think of as necessities now that really aren't. We don't really need cell phones or even cars but there's lots of "things" we have just to have stuff or the latest stuff. Much of it is just want stuff. But for navigation aids the "I want that" and "that's really cool" should be separated from the I need that or that would increase safety so much I think it's worth it. Bang for the buck is the bottom line.

When I was in Alaska we went through Rocky Pass several times. Without my chartplotter I would'nt go there.
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Old 07-25-2013, 05:31 PM   #7
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Good point about compass. I suspect I'll install a new transducer at first haul out because of logistics involved if it broke suddenly. I'm inclined to minimize thru hull holes so will likely reuse / replace existing fitting rather than keep existing as spare. Auto pilot is different - it is a complex system that seems to work very well. For my purpose (holding a heading during day trips rather than multi leg way points etc) it does everything I need. A failure wouldn't be a disaster but just inconvenient.
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Old 07-25-2013, 05:53 PM   #8
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I replaced an old B&W Garmin 1995 215 unit with a new 740s. I gained one more decimal place of accuracy in my depth finder and a more detailed color screen. So for me I added reliability, more functionality, and more precise detail.

Speaking as a cheapskate it was worth the money.
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Old 07-25-2013, 06:49 PM   #9
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Newer certainly appeals to the logical aspects of it (though if 1 decimal place mattered for depth I'd be worried). However, there is an aesthetic element to all of this. I just like the look of old instruments. See the speed dial below. It’s completely impractical. It’s mechanically driven by a paddle wheel the not only requires a thru hull fitting but inevitably will break. Replacement parts start at > $200 on the internet (if you can get them). A modern GPS will display speed on an MFD much better (more accurately and with minimal maintenance) than an old analogue dial. Still can’t bring myself to replace it - I just know I’m going to keep it because I like the look of it.
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Old 07-25-2013, 07:02 PM   #10
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Nowadays the multifunction displays rarely ever fail unless it's a manufacturer or model that has an issue. Basically they are nothing but computers with more robust components if made by a name brand.

It is usually the black box that goes out or the connecting cable with interfaces...so you really don't lose everything when something goes wrong...keep on trucking and fix what broke.

It's rare to see someone not using their boat because their entire nav suite went down.
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Old 07-26-2013, 10:01 PM   #11
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The PO told me this old Bendix flasher unit still works. The power wire and transducer where donated to its dash mounted replacement. Only reason it's still installed is the PO did not wish to deal with patching the hole and its out of the way. Think I'll leave it be too.
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Old 07-27-2013, 08:56 AM   #12
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I'm with the "if it ain't broke, don't chuck it out", brigade, but rather keep as backup/redundancy, whatever you want to call it, like FF suggested. Unless you are so stuck for space - unlikely in a boat of your size, don't just rip out, but as able, add in the newer items like say GPS plotter, HD, possibly side-scanning depth, broadband (low power draw and better close in definition), radar, etc.
But the auto-pilot does all you need for now, so I would agree, is a keeper. I don't even have one at all, but would love even a simple course-keeper.
Why do I say don't chuck, but add..? Bitter experience - recent bitter experience, and when my almost new (ok, 7 yrs old) GPS/sonar combo had the sonar part die, and the flybridge sonar (older still) also die about the same time, I was jolly glad I had left the old original Seafarer oscilloscope type with extra digital readout in place, because even tho oldest of them all, it did not fail. As the GPs in the combo unit still works, and I have back-up for that via Navionics on iPad, I have just bought two new, but relatively cheap, (firing through the bottom - no new holes) Lowrance sonars, for up and down, so now I am even more in favour of dedicated units.
Having said that, I could well see that for your purposes, if you kept what you have, you would have a really useful redundancy set-up by installing when able a combination HD GPS/sonar/broadband radar, in addition to what you have. That would be a very good set-up. AIS added in time would also perhaps be useful, depending on where you would be sailing. I'm just envious. I would love the latter, but can't justify the expense...
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:06 AM   #13
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Oldest Nav Equipment

Sextant Navigation. Have used it many times. 100 reliable.
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:11 AM   #14
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I love old instruments too, and have a hard time tossing them. My last boat came with a working paper chart depth gauge and I used it as sparingly as possible until I used the last roll of perforated chart paper. I couldn't find refills so she had to finally go.
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:26 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinness View Post
Sextant Navigation. Have used it many times. 100 reliable.
Funny...so has my GPS been for the last 15years.......it's way more accurate too!

But using a sextant is fun!

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Old 07-27-2013, 11:38 AM   #16
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Oldest Nav Equipment

It keep the old Brain active.
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:40 AM   #17
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Sextant Navigation. Have used it many times. 100 reliable.
Do you carry a sextant and the celestial tables onboard?
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:47 AM   #18
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I used Sextant and carry the tables when I was working in the arctic for 11 years. Now I live on Vancouver Island and we have been looking for a trawler for the last 6 months. Look forward to finding the right boat and get a life again.
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Old 07-27-2013, 03:13 PM   #19
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Sextant Navigation. Have used it many times. 100 reliable.
Do you find the sextant reliable/useful during foggy or overcast conditions?

... Heard recently that GPS can be hacked.
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:33 PM   #20
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He did say sextant nav and not all celestial...so he could mean just accurate piloting measurements...which can be pretty accurate...just need some basic trig tables and a few miles prevailing visibility.

Just wonder which one he meant...
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