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  #1  
Old 12-14-2012
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Question Help choosing a new MFD and Radar needed

I know there are lots of threads on this but stuff changes so fast that it needs an update. I want to replace my chart plotter and radar with an MFD / radar combo and I am, to put it mildly, confused. Any input will be gratefully received.

What I have that I plan to keep are the following:

Raymarine ST60+ instruments
Raymarine Type 100/300 Autopilot
Raymarine ST6000+ Autopilot Control Unit

What I want to get is a new radar and a new MFD for the helm. I REALLY want WIFI / iPad interaction. We ran on our iPad most of this summer and it was incredibly useful to be able to navigate from anywhere on the boat. This, and the simpler interfacing, would drive me to the Raymarine solution. BUT, what I think I would also like is broadband radar and there is no indication of a broadband radar capability on Raymarine so I have been looking for alternatives.

Simrad / Lowrance are now implementing a WIFI option with their GoFree module and they have the 3/4G radar so it looks promising but I have no idea how it will work with my Raymarine instruments. I have learned enough about this to realize that just being able to go on the same network does not necessarily mean they will understand one another. The instruments may be fine but the autopilot is less clear. There is also some question as to whether the Lowrance chart plotter is a fully functional MFD.

I'm sure there are other options with their own benefits and challenges out there so any guidance or experience would be much appreciated.

Thank you
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Old 12-14-2012
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Re: Help choosing a new MFD and Radar needed

There really is no confusion - stick with Raymarine - the new touch hybrid e7d and up in size are wonderful units and will EASILY interface with your current set up. They are wifi enabled and can be not only viewed on android devices, but also controlled by them (i.e. you can page around and even steer the boat via an android tablet). It's also iPad compatible.
The only thing you will have to add is a ST1 to STng converter for the st60's - to MFD, and maybe a NGW-1-STNG for your NMEA 0183/older autopilot. Once you do that you'll never go back to stand alone units again.
From there it literally is plug and play.
The raymarine tech forum folks will help you with your specific needs.

Reviews on radar put Simrad as a little better than RM's - BUT - I, like you would rather have it fully functional on the network - and that means sticking with one manufacturer.

p.s. I have no association with RM.
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Old 12-14-2012
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Re: Help choosing a new MFD and Radar needed

Graham,

I read the other thread after I posted to this one.
A MFD, current generation is more than just a chart/radar/sonar display.
For example, the e7d from Raymarine also has a dozen of so datapages that can be configured to show depth, speed, engine data (rpm, temp) rudder angle, wind direction, speed (both true and apparent and vectoring) - and even a soft touch page for autopilot control.

The AIS discussion on the other thread is also germane - I have a SH 2150 VHF with AIS, it plugs into the e7d via a double connection to the NEMA ports - one highspeed for location data, one low speed for DSC data. I can call a AIS target with a touch of the screen.
Integrated electronics is really the way to go.
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Old 12-14-2012
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Re: Help choosing a new MFD and Radar needed

Hello,

First let me state that I am not an expert in this stuff, but I have been researching it for years and I do have some practical experience as well.

You are looking for a new electronics 'system' which will be comprised of a number of components. The main 'brains' of the system will be the chartplotter. That will have the display with user interface, and will contain the digital charts as well as receive the data from the other components, like water depth, wind speed, AIS, etc.

All of the various components will be connected to a network, so the information could be displayed on any number of Multi Function Display (MFD). You need to understand the difference between a MFD and a chart plotter, the MFD just displays the data, it doesn't generate or manipulate the data).

All 'modern' marine electronics use NMEA 2000 networking, which is basically ethernet. There are number of benefits of NMEA 2000, including high speed, common connectors and device interoperability, and multiple 'talkers' and 'listeners'. The older networking is NMEA 0183, which is basically RS232 serial networking. This only allows for a single talker at a time, no common connectors, and is much slower.

There are two main exceptions to device interoperability. RADAR and SONAR (for the display, not just water depth) require too much data for a standard network, so each manufacturer implements RADAR and SONAR in a different way. So think about what vendor you like and make sure to get the same brand of RADAR and SONAR. I believe that all common RADAR units made today are digital, meaning lower power, instant on, and high resolution. I'm sure there are differences between the various vendors like Raymarine, Lowrance/Simard/B&G (all one company), Garmin, etc., but I don't know what they are of if they are important to you.

Raymarine and Garmin have the ipad connectivity you are looking for, so I would start with them. Simrad does too, but not Lowrance (yet).

To use your existing Raymarine gear will require that you find a chartplotter with multiple NMEA 0183 ports (one for the autopilot control head and another for the ST60 units) or you buy a device to convert NMEA 0183 data to NMEA 2000 (Maretron, Actisense and others make them).

I guess this is long enough for now. I've got to get back to work.

Barry
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Old 12-14-2012
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Re: Help choosing a new MFD and Radar needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryL View Post
All 'modern' marine electronics use NMEA 2000 networking, which is basically ethernet.
Really? Why done we use CAT 5 cables to connect everything then? Ok, I'm not trying to be rude, but NMEA 2000 is NOT the same as Ethernet. Its not even close. Each company has Ethernet interfaces but that's not NMEA 2000.

Raymarine

Seatalk - Proprietary protocol loosely based on NMEA0183
Seatalk2 - Proprietary protocol based on NMEA 2000
Seatalkng - Proprietary protocol based on ethernet.

These are just the Raymarine ones which i am familiar.
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Re: Help choosing a new MFD and Radar needed

Hey,

I don't make this stuff up.

From the raymaine web site:
Raymarine SeaTalk NG Networking

NMEA 2000 / SeaTalkng



The current marine industry standard. All current Raymarine MFDs are NMEA2000 certified. The standard utilises the CAN (Control Area Network) design developed by Bosch for the automotive market but with messages/sentence appropriate for the marine industry.



A multi-talker, multi-listener approach using serial data at moderate date rates (250kbs).


Cable System



Under the NMEA standard, manufacturers can use the cable/connector design of their choice so long as it conforms to certain requirements. The topology is a robust terminated backbone/spur design.



SeaTalk ng SeaTalkng

Raymarine’s proprietary cable system for use in NMEA 2000 networks. The design provides two advantages. First, the connector collars are retained on the product which allows for a smaller cable diameter making installations easier. More importantly, the cable can include a sixth wire which allows for backward compatibility with SeaTalk1 equipment. Products with SeaTalkng connectors can be used on NMEA 2000 networks that use Devicenet cabling through simple connector adaptors and conversely equipment with Devicenet connectors can be used on NMEA 2000 networks that use SeaTalkng cabling through simple connector adaptors.

Explore the networking possibilities with SeaTalkng

==
Barry
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Re: Help choosing a new MFD and Radar needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryL View Post
Hello,

First let me state that I am not an expert in this stuff, but I have been researching it for years and I do have some practical experience as well.

You are looking for a new electronics 'system' which will be comprised of a number of components. The main 'brains' of the system will be the chartplotter. That will have the display with user interface, and will contain the digital charts as well as receive the data from the other components, like water depth, wind speed, AIS, etc.

All of the various components will be connected to a network, so the information could be displayed on any number of Multi Function Display (MFD). You need to understand the difference between a MFD and a chart plotter, the MFD just displays the data, it doesn't generate or manipulate the data).

All 'modern' marine electronics use NMEA 2000 networking, which is basically ethernet. There are number of benefits of NMEA 2000, including high speed, common connectors and device interoperability, and multiple 'talkers' and 'listeners'. The older networking is NMEA 0183, which is basically RS232 serial networking. This only allows for a single talker at a time, no common connectors, and is much slower.

There are two main exceptions to device interoperability. RADAR and SONAR (for the display, not just water depth) require too much data for a standard network, so each manufacturer implements RADAR and SONAR in a different way. So think about what vendor you like and make sure to get the same brand of RADAR and SONAR. I believe that all common RADAR units made today are digital, meaning lower power, instant on, and high resolution. I'm sure there are differences between the various vendors like Raymarine, Lowrance/Simard/B&G (all one company), Garmin, etc., but I don't know what they are of if they are important to you.

Raymarine and Garmin have the ipad connectivity you are looking for, so I would start with them. Simrad does too, but not Lowrance (yet).

To use your existing Raymarine gear will require that you find a chartplotter with multiple NMEA 0183 ports (one for the autopilot control head and another for the ST60 units) or you buy a device to convert NMEA 0183 data to NMEA 2000 (Maretron, Actisense and others make them).

I guess this is long enough for now. I've got to get back to work.

Barry
NMEA 2000 is NOTHING like ethernet. Radar can be displayed over ethernet but it can't be displayed over NEMA 2000.

ALL of the new machines from ALL of the manufacturers will interface with the Ray ST60 instruments.

The Navico Broadband Radar (simrad/Lowrance/B&G) is really in a class by itself especially as far as power consumption. On a sailboat imho it's hard to overcome its huge lead. Better performance is just a bonus.

It's true the Go-Free WiFi not out now, but will definitely be avail for the gen2 touch, I suspect it will work with reg gen2 as well but that's just a W.A.G.

HTH,

-Aaron
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Old 12-26-2012
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No more ideas?

There is some good info here thanks but I was hoping this would create a wider ranging discussion? Is nobody in the same situation? Am I missing a thread somewhere else?

Thanks

Graham
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Old 01-06-2013
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Re: Help choosing a new MFD and Radar needed

I can't believe I missed this, I'm in pretty much the same situation:
- ST60+ Instruments with repeater at nav station
- ST6000+ Autohelm with type 1 course computer and separate compass
- Small Standard Horizon chartplotter that I don't like that doesn't talk to anything else

So it's all Raymarine SeaTalk (1) now (except the plotter that isn't connected to anything else.

I want to add:
- New MFD
- Radar
- AIS

Since everything is older Raymarine, I'm tempted to stick with Raymarine, at least for the new plotter/MFD. I've been looking at the older (C90W) and newer (c95) plotters and the difference seems to come down to:
- C120W: Can keep everything as SeaTalk1, no iOS apps
- c95: No SeaTalk1 input so need converter to SeaTalkNG (might make adding radar & AIS easier?), iOS apps available

Since iOS is my day job, I've got devices hanging around that I'd like to use as a visual nav station repeater.

If I go with the c95, the install will be:
- SeaTalk Bus: All existing SeaTalk 1 components daisy-chained (instruments, course computer, repeater, existing autopilot control head)
connected to
- SeaTalk1 to SeaTalkNG connector
connected to each of
- c95 MFD
- AIS
- Radar

Has anyone used a SeaTalk to SeaTalkNG connector? I don't know how I feel about having something translate the commands between the MFD and the autopilot if I use the MFD instead of the existing autopilot control head. I have no real concerns about the instruments passing their signals through the connector to the MFD for display.

Other than the touch screen and networking multiple screens together, is there any reason I'd go with an e-series MFD instead of a c-series?

Raymarine's HD radar might fit my needs better than broadband (dodging squalls when cruising for a few years and larger range) but I wouldn't be surprised if the NMEA input on the MFD will play nicely with a 3rd party radar.

Anything I'm overlooking?
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Old 01-06-2013
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Re: Help choosing a new MFD and Radar needed

hi Christina,
Looks like we are in exactly the same place. I have a few additional observations:

1. We LOVE using the iPad on the boat and IOS WIFI integration is a must. It is definitely WAY cheaper than a repeater in the nav station. There are other options for this popping up with Navico developing GoFree but integration will be harder (I think).

2. Although the course computer will 'talk to' the MFD it is not at all clear that it will be a fully functional interface. It may just be a data feed to the MFD. I am struggling to get a clear answer on this one from Raymarine.

3. You talk about the NMEA interface between other's radar and the MFD. As I understand it this will only be able to place data FROM the MFD onto the (separate) radar display. NMEA does not carry the actual radar image so it will not be possible to display a 3rd party radar on the MFD. I might need correcting here.....

There has not been a lot of response to this thread (although some VERY useful input) so I am thinking of posting to the Panbo forum. Have you been there?

The area you are in looks like wonderful cruising. We are hoping to sail up to Newfoundland in the summer but we will not be able to go much further than that as we want to be in the Bahamas for Christmas.....
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