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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 08-10-2007
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Radar: Fix or Replace?

So my old boat came with a Furuno 1621 16 mile radar. It worked great during the survey like everything else, but I no longer seem to be getting a signal from the dome. It may just be a cord, but these alone run around $200. That got me looking at the very similar, but newer Furuno 1623 that should be an easy replacement for $1,000.

Anyone have experience with both of these units that can give me some feedback? The other variable here is that I need a chart plotter. I was going to buy one of the simple Garman 545 units, but maybe I should consider a radar/chartplotter combo now that I have to do something about the radar. Thanks.

Lee
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Old 08-10-2007
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The Radar on our boat crapped out shortly after we bought it too. I called the local repair shop. Because of the unit's age, they didn't want to fix it. What they told me is that the magnatron? eventually goes out, which is a big ticket item. They replace it, which stresses all the other old parts, so something else goes out and they end up with an unhappy customer.

I bought a used Furuno Radar unit for $250 to get me by until we pay the big bucks on our electronic upgrades in a few more years (closer to our actual departure date). I've looked at those networked outfits that use a multi-display, but I think they're over priced right now and I'm not sure I like putting all my eggs in one basket. I would probably buy a stand alone model if I were buying new right now.
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Old 08-10-2007
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Lee-

If you're looking to get a chartplotter anyways, it would make sense to get a unit that can combine the features of the two. However, that would give you a single point of failure, which two separate units would not. I think the convenience and readability of a combined unit, preferably with overlay capability—not side-by-side screens, makes up for the single point of failure.

Raymarine, Furuno, Garmin, JRC and a few others make this type of unit. The Garmin unit is relatively newly designed IIRC.
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Old 08-10-2007
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I would combine chartplotter and sounder and even AIS, because I have backups to those. I would not combine radar into that integrated package, however, because I think it's an important enough device to merit its own box, so to speak. Learning how to throughly operate and interpret your radar takes time, and if I went from a stand-alone display to an overlay on a computer screen, I think I would lose a fair bit of discrimination. Just my opinion.

Radar technology is changing a fair bit at the moment. You may wish to wait or "muddle through" with a replacement. I like older Koden units, but they draw a fair bit of power for their CRT displays.
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Some of the new radars with color... also have so very good collison avoidance software.

If you go the MFD you can overlay radar onto plots and this is really super. It's a bit step up from an old monochrome. And you can add AIS to the mix.

I would look to a putting together an update instrument suite... which you can build up incrementally.

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Old 08-10-2007
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I had a similar problem with a Furuno radar (different model), the shop told me to open the dome and disconnect the two (3?) multiconductor plugs inside and check for corrosion and plug them in again. It did the trick, worked fine. Might be worth a try ( I know you are trying to rationalize a new chartplotter- radar combo, so you can disregard this if you want ).
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrd22 View Post
I had a similar problem with a Furuno radar (different model), the shop told me to open the dome and disconnect the two (3?) multiconductor plugs inside and check for corrosion and plug them in again. It did the trick, worked fine. Might be worth a try ( I know you are trying to rationalize a new chartplotter- radar combo, so you can disregard this if you want ).
LOL! No doubt I like new toys, but damn are they expensive. Checking the wiring of the existing unit is without question the first step. I seem to think problems through five steps ahead which may be a huge waste of energy when I should be climbing the mast to see exactly what the problem is. Probably a birds nest in there somewhere.

On a 20 year old unit I think the probable failure of another component is likely even if I do get a new cable. Plus throw in the fact that a combined unit is ~$3,000 for Radar/Chartplotter. I could get the Furuno 1623 for 1K or the 1715 (24 mile) for $1,400 plus Garmin plotter for 600 and be set for under 2K.

For cruising I want effective, reliable, simple, and cheap in that order. I don't think I can make the combined unit fly for these two applications. How big a deal is color for radar? The simple units allow you to track a bearing on a target and basic nav skills will tell you that if it isn't changing you are on collision course. They also have perimeter alarm for short handed or singlehanded sailing. Is there much advantage past that for the more expensive radar units other than more bells and whistles?
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LWinters- I've never used a color radar so I can't give a recommendation one way or another. Actually, I like to preserve my night vision as much as possible so I select a black background on my chartplotter and depthsounder at night, so I don't see a big advantage(I end up using radar mostly at night). The big difference I see between my two radars (Furuno 2.2kw and 4kw on different boats) is the increased ability to differentiate between targets with the 4kw. This is because of a narrower bandwidth-don't ask me to explain further than that. Other than that, they are essentially the same, as you said. I would choose CRT over LCD if I had the room because of clarity, but the new LCD's are very good. I don't think you can beat Furuno for dependability, or maybe I've just been lucky with them. I would recommend buying the best radar you can afford and that will fit in your boat, when you are almost totally depending on one instrument I feel a lot better knowing I didn't go cheap on it.
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LW... I would go for the Garmin solution as the best bang for the buck. Nothing wrong with furuno or raymarine but the total package of Garmin GPS/Screen/Bluecharts and small readar is most attractive.
FWIW...I have had a Raymarine/B&W LCD/Cmap charts/2kw unit on 2 boats and been happy with it (except C-map in the Bahamas) and had all the resolution I needed to stay safe.
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