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Old 01-21-2018, 09:21 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by boomerang View Post
Not 100% accurate. Raymarine & Simrad pilots only interface with other electronics via nmea2000 or seatalkNg (raymarines version of nmea2000). If these pilots are going to be interfaced to a plotter using nmea 0183 ,a converter ,such as actisence, would need to be used.

For those touting Comnav pilots, they're fine systems but all of their models,except the newest P-series, are still using 20-30 year old technology with a standard flux compass for heading. Most other brands have evolved using rate compass sensors that sense yaw & roll in addition to simply heading ,which IMO, would benefit the op with a 34 mainship trawler & it's flatter aft section, especially in following seas.
Maybe that's changed very recently, but I have chartered several boats with SimRad autopilots connected to any number of other brand nav systems, including Raymarine and Furuno. Simrad has been the most popular AP brand so they are on a lot of boats. My Robertson worked fine with my Furuno system, but I won't use that as an example because it was an older unit, I believe pre-Simrad... but nonetheless. I'll agree with all the ComNav love here, I had one on a charter boat and it was great (and hooked to a Raymarine plotter for what it's worth). I considered replacing my Robertson at one point and ComNav was my choice, but never got around to it, I got the Robertson straightened out (pun intended) and it became lowest priority).
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Old 01-21-2018, 09:28 AM   #22
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For a guy driving a Boston Whaler, you must have a huge center console :-)

Just kidding on that, but my vessel doesn't have enough space to mount all of those different displays, which makes a single MFD even more desirable.

Should any part (or all parts) of that system fail, I can navigate with my compass and paper. I navigated for years with a depth finder and compass, tough it was with a much faster vessel.
So what you should have said, it is a space issue, not the ideal setup that you seemed to be touting.
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Unified electronics eliminates the need for a separate radar display, a depth sounder display, a control head for autopilot and chart plotter. Why wouldn't you?
AP displays are pretty small. It would be ridiculous to put one on the Whaler, but one would fit fine along with a depth finder I already have, and a 5 or 7" MFD, which I have measured it for. Admittedly, I had all the room in the world on the Hatteras:



Plus having a remote for the AP lets you lean back in the helm seat and steer or adjust at your leisure rather than leaning over and futzing with the MFD.
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Old 01-21-2018, 10:07 AM   #23
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My autopilot is plug and play with my multi function display, it saved me the expense of a separate control head for the autopilot as the MFD already had that function. I can't imagine not having my autopilot controlled through my MFD.

Unified electronics eliminates the need for a separate radar display, a depth sounder display, a control head for autopilot and chart plotter. Why wouldn't you?

Wait and see what you buy, it may already have autopilot installed. Seems to me you are jumping the gun on asking for recommendations...
I kinda like a spare for a failure and too much stuff on one MFD gets too cluttered unless you have a HUGE screen. In my new install, I put 2 smaller MFDs (9") and a separate AP control head in at about the same price as a big screen. And the big one would have been a major hassle getting it to fit.
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Old 01-21-2018, 10:12 AM   #24
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FWIW,

I did quite a bit of research over the past 8 months for an electronics package and AP. The Simrad won out, and the reputation of their AP is excellent. But a lot of good comments on the RayMarine and the Comnav.

I looked seriously into the Comnav, but found older technology and not as much support where I boat.

I don't think you could go horribly wrong with any of them.
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Old 01-21-2018, 12:37 PM   #25
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As the OP I'm thinking I should post just to show I am still watching and learning. As a pilot, I like the idea of keeping things separate so one failure doesnt take out the entire system. But as one poster said, I have navigated out of sight of land with a watch and a compass and knot meter so I am not helpless. I looked at an old control head for ComNav and was pleased with the simplicity of the controls. But the newer ones added a lot of bells and whistles that I did NOT like. I am a simple man and I dont need a nav system that wipes my nose for me. I dont need a pretty glowing screen with colors that will blind me when cruising at night. All I need is a knob or two to set the response parameters and the direction I would like to go (and that only needs to be a plus or minus setting. I can look at the magnetic compass to see where she is tracking...), and a magnetic compass to check the autopilot against to see if its working.
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Old 01-21-2018, 02:19 PM   #26
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The pretty screen with colors has an night function as well as brightness level controls:-) If space were not an issue for me and neither were expense, but both are, I would still choose to have two MFD's rather than everything else scattered all over my bridge.

It's just personal preferences, but I would choose not to have the clutter of a lot of different control heads and displays. I use radar so seldom up here that having a display just for the radar doesn't make a lot of sense. Vessel traffic is light, unlike where a lot of other forum members operate I am sure.

I have a 12' Simrad NSE and clutter is never an issue. I installed my entire Simrad package including autopilot myself and it was plug and play. The 12" display is nice when you do have the radar engaged, the vast majority of the time I run a split screen chart/sounder. The 12" screen is probably almost equal in viewing area to two 9" displays.

The display is so well organized it's all there to see, you just have to train yourself to look in the right place for it.
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Old 01-21-2018, 06:06 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by jimisbell View Post
As the OP I'm thinking I should post just to show I am still watching and learning.
I can look at the magnetic compass to see where she is tracking...), and a magnetic compass to check the autopilot against to see if its working.
A really good indication of telling tell how well your pilot is working is not to look at where you're going but where you've been. Look at your wake/prop trail...it should look like the boat is on a rail. No s-ing or zig-zags. When it's straight, the pilot it doing a good job. A rate compass really helps the pilot achieve that characteristic .
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Old 01-21-2018, 06:24 PM   #28
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I installed a Furuno NavPilot myself. It was relatively straight forward. Its a reliable system.

I already had a WH Autopilot so shared its motor/pump and rudder hydraulic connections. Changing between the two is a plug and socket for the motor wiring in the lazarette.
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Old 01-21-2018, 08:01 PM   #29
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I installed a Furuno NavPilot myself. It was relatively straight forward. Its a reliable system.

I already had a WH Autopilot so shared its motor/pump and rudder hydraulic connections. Changing between the two is a plug and socket for the motor wiring in the lazarette.
That's interesting, what led you to give up on the WH?
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Old 01-21-2018, 08:10 PM   #30
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That's interesting, what led you to give up on the WH?
I wanted to integrate the AP to the Furuno MFD. The WH still works fine but could not do that. If only using the AP for maintaining a heading then the WH does that well. In theory its nice to have redundancy with AP. In practice the NavPilot has never failed. I must remember to switch over to the WH for a bit....
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