All outputs to one monitor? // Virgin fiberglass - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics
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Old 11-01-2010
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All outputs to one monitor? // Virgin fiberglass

Hello there! We have a 1985 Tartan equipped with only the original round Datamarine depth and knot meters mounted in the cockpit, a crusty old (but still mostly trustworthy) autopilot, and a funky old Loran down below at the nav station. So naturally, our boat is a good candidate to bring into the 21st century. However, is there a way for us to just buy one ultra-rugged monitor, to be mounted at the helm, and then use that monitor as the one output/HMI for wind vane, fishfinder, and GPS/chart-plotter data? And maybe autopilot functionality one day, too? Is this a nutball idea?

I ask because hacking a bunch of holes into our virgin, uncut fiberglass for all of these little toys just makes my stomach turn (it shan't happen!) and the cruising layout of our boat won’t accommodate a racing-type “instrument bar” very well.

Getting GPS data to the external monitor seems easy enough, because PC/Mac-based chart-plotting software is so easy to get. However, is Raymarine going to force us (for example) to send wind-vane transducer info to only their crappy little display? There also seems to all-proprietary systems out there, such as the Raymarine ST70 Multifunction display, though it seems weird to be "locked in" to one company for all this stuff. Does anyone have thoughts on this, or experience with the proprietary integrated systems? Thanks!
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... or has anyone had experience with wiring their electronics according to NMEA 2000 or N2K standard components?
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Old 11-01-2010
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i was looking at this set-up, it is pretty neat and could probably do everything you want...

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Old 11-01-2010
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If you got all NMEA 2000 instrumentation, you could probably do this. However, you will probably regret doing so. The screen would become a serious point of failure for EVERYTHING. I generally recommend NOT DOING THIS.

If you can't deal with cutting holes in your boat, I would suggest using a set of navpods or something similar to mount the instruments at the helm. Another option would be to put some of the instruments, like the depth, wind, and knotmeter on a pod located above the companionway, on the seahood/turtle.

This would leave the fishfinder/GPS/RADAR for the helm, and could easily be accommodated by using a NavPod.
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Old 11-02-2010
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Oh man, that Lowrance system is exactly what we envisioned! Yes, yes, yes. Thanks for finding that, QuickMick! Sailingdog, you do have excellent point about the monitor being a possible weak link, though. This definitely requires more research ... What do you think of this line of logic? If the price-point of a Lowrance Network + spare monitor is comparable to a collection of subsystems (which admittedly has more possible points of failure) then do you think it might be worth considering?

Funny: Though we wouldn't need to get the all-out Super Sailpod, the image of that particular unit installed on our non-giant boat gave me a good chuckle ... Planet Mars, here we come ... I don't know if my tiny brain could handle all that info at once ... while sailing, no less ... which (in seriousness) might be why I'm drawn to the integrated system.
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