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post #31 of Old 02-05-2014
tdw
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Radar and AIS

Over in the $500 thread there has been something of a hijack to discuss Radar and AIS (mea culpa btw).

Lets start this thread and have a chat about the pros and cons of both. Why one not the other ? Which one ?

Anyone who would like to copy posts from the other thread to here, please go right ahead.

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post #32 of Old 02-05-2014
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Re: Radar and AIS

OK, new thread established in Gear and Maintenance Electronics. I've copied across the most relevent posts.
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post #33 of Old 02-05-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Radar and AIS

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OK, new thread established in Gear and Maintenance Electronics. I've copied across the most relevent posts.
Just read the whole thread. I'm really looking forward to following the discussions here someone said something about slaving a unit to a laptop would that also be possible to go to the tablets with their quirky os. ( they are cheaper in the range of under 200 bucks )

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post #34 of Old 02-08-2014
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Re: Radar and AIS

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Just read the whole thread. I'm really looking forward to following the discussions here someone said something about slaving a unit to a laptop would that also be possible to go to the tablets with their quirky os. ( they are cheaper in the range of under 200 bucks )
With the appearance of Windows 8.1, tablets can be a lot less "quirky" and run Windows programs natively.

I always thought that slaving a tablet to a separate computer was a kludge. I know some people would swear by it, but with Windows 8.1 on a tablet, you have the option of running the whole program in the tablet.

I recently purchased the Lenovo Miix 2 8" tablet for the sole purpose of running OpenCPN in my cockpit. It has an amazingly bright screen and also has a GPS built in. I'll get AIS data from my GX2150 radio wirelessly via Bluetooth. I've been doing this on a netbook for 4 years, but the netbook is showing signs of wear (buttons wearing out), so the tablet will be a nice upgrade that is even more portable than the netbook.

I don't have radar at this point, so I can't comment on that. This year I plan to get a Bluetooth anemometer and display to apparent/actual wind data within OpenCPN.


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post #35 of Old 02-08-2014
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Re: Radar and AIS

One consideration that may be often overlooked is the issue of power consumption. I don't know about modern RADAR systems, but traditionally RADAR has had pretty high power demands (e.g. on my Dad's old boat, granted with limited battery capacity, if you wanted to run the RADAR you pretty much had to have the engine running as well).

Now some of you may think this is no big deal, everyone is loading their boats up with so much power-hungry gadgetry that adding RADAR to the mix has little impact. But there is a cascade of consequences to consider: bigger battery banks to power it all, bigger alternator to charge the battery banks, maybe even re-powering the boat too, in order to drive that alternator, and you will need more fuel (additional tankage, perhaps), and your engine will require more maintenance, spare parts, oil changes, etc... or hydro generators, solar panels, windmills, etc....

Then you have the whole added problem of how best to support your Radome....

Would I like to have RADAR on my boat? Yes, I sure would. But I'm just not there yet.

In contrast, a decent AIS/transmit system with standalone "watchmate" really does use a miniscule amount of power. The required supporting infrastructure (e.g. finding a place for a VHF antenna and a GPS mushroom) is much less daunting than for the radome. So the overall cost is much less. Thus I do have one of these, and it has proven to be quite useful. AIS does not replace RADAR; they complement each other. But you can't always get what you want, although you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.
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post #36 of Old 02-08-2014
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Re: Radar and AIS

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One consideration that may be often overlooked is the issue of power consumption. I don't know about modern RADAR systems, but traditionally RADAR has had pretty high power demands (e.g. on my Dad's old boat, granted with limited battery capacity, if you wanted to run the RADAR you pretty much had to have the engine running as well).
In this context it is worth noting that BBR (currently only offered by the Lowrance group) uses far less power than traditional RADAR.

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post #37 of Old 02-08-2014
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Re: Radar and AIS

If you are never going to go boating after dark, if you are never going to go boating in the fog, if you are never going to go boating in a storm whether snow or rain, if you are never going to go boating in the third or second world, then all you need may be AIS. With good visibility in broad daylight you will be able to determine your location and see the rocks, the cliffs, the islands, the breakwaters, the boats in the mooring field with no lights showing, the bridges, the boats drifting with no electrical power, the anchored barges that should but don't display lights, and all the other stuff that doesn't transmit AIS. That said, for me AIS is a handy thing to have to augment my radar. Radar is like the new improved Mark XIV eyeball, AIS is like having a hearing aid when you are only sorta deaf......

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