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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!