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Old 10-31-2012
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Re: Advice on Buying Mulit Unit vs Separate Items

I disagree.
Right now on Irwin 38 I just bought there are essentially no instruments at all beyond a windex at the top of the mast and a depth/speed log.

On my Gemini I had the Raymarine st60's (all three) plugged into a converter and feeding a Raymarine e7d chartplotter (hybrid touch and knob control).

The e7d can take and display air, water(speed depth etc..), sonar, radar and the AIS input from my SH 2150x VHF radio, as well as control my autopilot. All on one screen, touch activated.
If any of the individual components failed (including the chart plotter) every one of the instruments was still fully functional as a standalone.
The chartplotter itself was backed up by a networked PC (which also had it's own GPS), a hand held GPS, paper charts and of course the VHF (which showed AIS on it's screen) also had it's own GPS input.

Fully redundant, and because it all speaks or was translated to NMEA200 it was all networked.

On the Irwin, it will be the same with one exception, I'll be using a St60+ wind transducer to cut costs, and two ST70i's (multfunction) to split out depth/air, and of course all of it feeding the chartplotter which will also have the same AIS, sonar, radar and autopilot hook in via the network.

Oh, and just another point, the nav station below decks has repeaters via tablet's that are connected via wifi - and so does my android phone (that's right, I can use my phone to run my autopilot from anywhere on the boat).

To completely 'lose it' I'd have to have the AP control head die, both ST70's, and my e7d. If that happened I would still have 3 GPS's, the PC running Polar Navy below decks and of course charts (which I know how to use).

Doing that with stand alone units just isn't possible because of communication between units issues.
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