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Old 09-18-2021, 09:47 AM   #1
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Electronics

Building a 43e helmsman and would love to hear thoughts on electronics. What do you like or not like and why? This boat has helm on the bridge and pilot house. Looking to cruise up and down the east coast. Maine to Florida.

Radar
Chart plotters
Infra red Cameras
Spot lights
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Old 09-18-2021, 10:28 AM   #2
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Chartplotters - get big screens. They're worth it.
If you can afford an forward-looking IR camera I recommend it. They're worth their weight in gold if you end up deliberately or inadvertently moving at night.

As for brands, I like Furuno. Their systems are robust and they service their stuff. When you call Furuno you talk to a person. Literally, they answer the phone. I almost fell out of my chair the first time I called. I have a newer system and a backup system from 1985. They both work great. I had one issue with the newer system and they talked me thru a corrective process on the phone. Took probably 4 calls and a couple hours, but they never gave up. And I bought it used - it's not like I was the original buyer. There was no warranty. They still work hard to help. When the 1985 radar had a problem they talked me thru the diagnostics, then repaired the part that had failed. I don't know anyone else like Furuno.

They're not the cheapest. IMHO, they're worth it.
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Old 09-18-2021, 10:52 AM   #3
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As for brands, I like Furuno.

They're not the cheapest. IMHO, they're worth it.
I went through a search a few weeks ago, competing Garmin and Furuno. I picked Furuno.

And despite what probably was true before, the package was less expensive than Garmin, particularly on the chartplotters.
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Old 09-18-2021, 01:12 PM   #4
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I have done frequent, at one point more frequent than day time sailing, night sailing. All you really need is a portable rechargeable hand held spot light. And for night vision, a reasonable priced night vision monocular system. Most people are afraid to move around at night, excluding commercial and rescue vessels so their boat equipped for night running doesn't get used. Most of my night sailings were from Pt Roberts over to the San Juan Islands in the off season (interesting sea states sometimes) and I can guarantee you, not once did I ever sea a pleasure boat out and about at one, two and three in the morning.
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Old 09-18-2021, 02:51 PM   #5
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In the pilot house I have two MFDs. On the fly bridge (which doesnt get used much) I have one. I definitely like the two MFDs. It provides a lot more flexibility in choices of what data is displayed depending on the situation.
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Old 09-18-2021, 04:50 PM   #6
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I have Garmin MFD/XHD24 on the trawler and brand new Furuno 1815 radar on my center console. I would spend the extra money to get MARPA if possible and/or a Doppler type radar from whoever makes it.
I find a hand held cordless spotlight is all I need for casual night use.

Definitely an autopilot is a necessity. Any good brand that will talk to your chartplotter.
Standard Horizon or Icom VHF. A big internal or external speaker really helps.
AIS transponder Class B
Depth can be just an Airmar P79 digital output tied to your chartplotter N2K. Once per second update is fast enough.
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Old 09-18-2021, 05:57 PM   #7
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I'm moving toward a PC based platform using TimeZero and Furuno Sensors (Radars, Depth, etc).
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Old 09-19-2021, 06:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmsman43 View Post
Building a 43e helmsman and would love to hear thoughts on electronics. What do you like or not like and why? This boat has helm on the bridge and pilot house. Looking to cruise up and down the east coast. Maine to Florida.

Radar
Chart plotters
Infra red Cameras
Spot lights

We've done a fair bit of nighttime navigation... I think I've used a spotlight about 8 times in the last 40 years... and most of those were leaving our marina at oh-dark-thirty with a fishing crew... simply because the fairway outside out slip was a bit skinny.

And haven't had an IR camera, so can't comment. Sounds more useful than a spotlight, though.

I like redundancy in depth finders, so usually aim for a fishfinder and a DST unit, different/compatible frequencies. The FF allows a bit more inspection of bottom structure.

Radar almost mandatory in fog -- or stay home -- and heavy pop-up thunderstorms... and we've found AIS useful too, mostly for negotiating with shipping traffic. Radar useful for crab pots, too.

Autopilot very useful, especially for long stretches of "go straight." Or for having lunch while on watch and navigating.

We only have one station, flying bridge, because of the crab pots. Can't predict how best to equip two stations, but I'd probably be looking for complete set-ups at each, maybe with repeaters if possible.

Our most recent long-term experience has been with a Furuno suite for radar, DST, autopilot, fishfinder, MFD, and AIS. All good, great customer support (seldom needed), and Furuno would be my first choice again.

I also like redundancy in VHF radios. Happens our most recent experiences have all been with ICOM units, which have seemed fine.

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Old 09-19-2021, 06:18 AM   #9
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In the process of updating 2004 Furuno equipment now.
Replacing with all new Furuno.

Removed 1 1830 MFD and 1 1930 MFD in pilothouse. Replaced by dedicated industrial fanless PC running TZPro software. Installed new Furuno NXT network radar that feeds TZPro and new TZ3 MFD on fly bridge.
Left old Furuno 1930 MFD on bridge fed by 72nm open array scanner as backup navigation.
New NXT scanner is phenomenal compared to 2004 vintage scanner. New NXT developed an issue 6 months after install (stopped producing a return other than 'main bang' ring. Called Furuno in SEA and talked to the engineer. Walked me thru all resets and troubleshooting. Unfortunately, nothing worked. Shipped up to SEA for repair and they sent back a new unit (said that the internal processor stopped working). Local Furuno tech stated that this was extremely rare. Unit has been flawless since.
For now, depth is fed by nmea2000 thru-hull (epoxied to inside of hull, no hole) depth transducer (next haulout I will install proper fishfinder transducer).
Highly recommend.
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Old 09-19-2021, 08:05 AM   #10
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I'm moving toward a PC based platform using TimeZero and Furuno Sensors (Radars, Depth, etc).

This seems like a really good approach provided you have space for the monitors, etc. Everyone I know who has done this loves it.
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Old 09-19-2021, 09:12 AM   #11
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One thought about PC navigation I use with Coastal Explorer is to run a USB cable from the lower helm to the upper helm. This will allow you to run a single PC from two locations with remote monitor, key board, and mouse. I used a wireless keyboard and mouse when I had a second helm since they are generally close enough for Bluetooth to work.

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Old 09-19-2021, 09:38 AM   #12
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This seems like a really good approach provided you have space for the monitors, etc. Everyone I know who has done this loves it.
What the preference(advantages/disadvantages) for the PC and TimeZero approach versus Furuno’s tz3 mfd’s, which I’ve just ordered? In my case 19”.
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Old 09-19-2021, 10:04 AM   #13
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What the preference(advantages/disadvantages) for the PC and TimeZero approach versus Furunos tz3 mfds, which Ive just ordered? In my case 19.

I think the ability to use larger screens if you have space. Also use of a standard mouse or track ball, plus a keyboard. Advantage to an MFD is that it has some amount of NMEA 0183 and N2K interfacing built in where with a PC you need to add that, and not just crappy RS232 USB dongles, but real RS-422 interfaces that will work reliably by design rather than by luck.


Quite often people end up with both a TZ and the PC software.
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Old 09-19-2021, 10:06 AM   #14
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I think the ability to use larger screens if you have space. Also use of a standard mouse or track ball, plus a keyboard. Advantage to an MFD is that it has some amount of NMEA 0183 and N2K interfacing built in where with a PC you need to add that, and not just crappy RS232 USB dongles, but real RS-422 interfaces that will work reliably by design rather than by luck.


Quite often people end up with both a TZ and the PC software.

Oh, and the TZ has fishfinder capability built in so you just connect a transducer. With the PC setup you need to also get a DFF sounder module. All in all the TZ is a more compact setup, so better when more space constrained.
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Old 09-19-2021, 11:35 AM   #15
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+1 on a portable non-corded spotlight in lieu of a fancy installed remotely operated one. (I have both - never use the mounted unit)
+1 on dual MFD displays. This is my first boat to have them, don't know how I lived without.
* If you can, get a transducer that gives you water temp. Very useful in many cruising areas. Also as a former sailor I like to know where the currents are and how they can help me so a transducer that incorporates a paddle Water Speed signal is mandatory for me.
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Old 09-19-2021, 01:52 PM   #16
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I'm moving toward a PC based platform using TimeZero and Furuno Sensors (Radars, Depth, etc).
That is what I did to replace my failing NN3D black boxes (essentially locked down PCs). But, I found that for the flybridge, cockpit and tower displays, which were sometimes in direct sunlight, the Furuno monitors (MFDs) were far better than any 3rd party monitors I could find. So now, I have 5 MFDs and 1 PC (hitting Furuno 6 station max), and am pretty happy with it. One minor complaint -- the sounder (DFF3?) scrolls much faster when it is being driven by the pc than by any of the MFDs. Next time I need to talk with Furuno / Nobeltech tech support, I will ask why.
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Old 09-19-2021, 02:05 PM   #17
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What the preference(advantages/disadvantages) for the PC and TimeZero approach versus Furunos tz3 mfds, which Ive just ordered? In my case 19.
Not much in my experience, but TZ Professional has features that the MFDs don't have. Also, the MFD's allow you to power up / shutdown all the MFD's in the network by a simple button push at any of the MFDs. I don't think the TimeZero software has that feature. Getting and displaying weather files is a little easier with the Time Zero software than with the MFDs. As I just noted elsewhere, the sounder (DFF3) scrolls faster with a PC driving it than with an MFD.

The one thing that is actually important to me is that the larger MFDs have HDMI inputs but cannot display video on those inputs. Sounds crazy, but Furuno tech support has confirmed it. As a result, the MFDs can't function as hi def monitors (they also have composite inputs, but I am not interested in low res video), while a PC running TZ could display through a monitor capable of high def display through multiple source inputs. One of the video sources I really wish I could display in the cockpit and tower, especially, but also the flybridge, is my Furuno CH250 searchlight sonar. The boat is for fishing and the searchlight sonar is a valuable too. Sucks not to be able to display it in the tower and cockpit, where I have no other monitors.
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Old 09-19-2021, 03:33 PM   #18
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Furuno. Solid, works well, great Tech support including after they have taken your money.
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Old 09-19-2021, 07:54 PM   #19
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Water temp. I point my IR temperature gun over the rail. Close enough.
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Old 09-20-2021, 01:31 PM   #20
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Electronics

Quote:
Originally Posted by bowball View Post
What the preference(advantages/disadvantages) for the PC and TimeZero approach versus Furuno’s tz3 mfd’s, which I’ve just ordered? In my case 19”.
For us we already had [older] Furuno onboard (NavNet3D and a 1935 10" long range radar. I didn't love the charts on the NavNet so I added a 24" touch screen monitor running Coastal Explorer which is connected via a RosePoint Nemo gateway. I liked it a lot but found the monitor to perform poorly in direct sun and equally poor in low light (couldn't get bright enough during the day or dark enough at night). I also found that I used the mouse 99% of the time so the "touch" capability wasn't valuable.

I recently replaced that monitor with a Samsung 49" curved monitor. Great daytime and night performance and I can display a TON of information on the screen (see pic).

My winter project is to add a second 49" curved monitor on the starboard side along with a second NUC and will replace my Furuno radars and add a Furuno black box sonar for the existing transducers. This means I can view Radar and Sonar onscreen along with all other ship's sensors on the network (tank levels, engine data, wind conditions, etc). Switching to TimeZero enables Furuno sencor natively over ethernet and also adds some reall nice features Coastal Explorer lacks. I can also access cameras, work from my laptop and watch Seahawks games via YouTubeTV

I hatched this idea when I was touring a factory fishing trawler docked here in Seattle. There wasn't an MFD to be found. The pilothouse and deckboss stations looked like IT control rooms with multiple 19" monitors mounted on tubular stands connected to rack mounted PCs in closets. They all used Furuno sensors but relied on PCs and monitors for display.

I also find the cost of the large screen MFDs to be a little out there. I can buy a 49" monitor and a decent 12V NUC for about $1600. Even adding the software I come out ahead and my interface is independant from my sensors.

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