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bobwebster 01-09-2008 03:29 AM

Raymarine AIS: Don't Buy It!
Raymarine released their AIS receiver about a year ago. There is a serious design flaw in it that makes it unusable in many situations. When any commercial vessel (with AIS) enters, then leaves the range of the Raymarine receiver, a major alarm comes up in the E or C series chart plotter, stating "AIS Connection Lost." This is the big loud alarm you get when you lose the GPS or press the MOB button. Since this occurs every couple minutes in a busy area, or every few seconds when a ship is in the fringe reception area, it keeps everybody awake on the boat. And unless you have a separete switch for the AIS, you can give up your anchor drag alarm when you're in an area with commercial vessels. The AIS alarms will keep you up all night long.

Raymarine's response: "We'll have a firmware update out sometime." They have no estimate as to when.

To quote someone more experienced than I, "If their brain was gasoline it wouldn't power a pissant's motorcycle around the inside of a Cheerio."

Tenaya 01-09-2008 05:05 AM

I have an E Series chart plotter with a Smart Radio AIS (much cheaper than the Raymarine model). It seems that the alarm on mine only goes off when there is only one ship in range and it then goes out of range. As long as there are other targets it does not set off the alarm (I have used it in the English Channel and the Straights of Gibraltar). Even with this problem AIS is such a great tool that it's worth having, but it would still be nice if the alarm could be turned off without turning off the AIS.


mallo 01-10-2008 09:29 AM

NASA AIS problems
We fitted a NASA AIS Engine feeding a Raymarine ďEĒ Series plotter when we re-fitted the boat two seasons ago, when the AIS unit worked it was very good, but I am now on 5th or 6th unit(engine) they just seem to keep on packing up.
I have sent all the units back to NASA and they have sent a new one back to me, but I am getting fed up with this situation, I have yet to have an answer to why they have been packing up.
I have offered to bring the boat over to their area so that we can source the problem and they arenít particularly interested. I have spoken to other people who have fitted them to find out how they were getting on with them as the responses were fairly mixed, the conclusion I came to that the majority worked well but a few didnít.
NASA tell me that they havenít had any returned, but they are hardly going to admit they have!
I have tried a new aerial I even have a spare one that I can test with, I was looking at a Raymarine AIS unit at the end of last season but decided to leave it till this season, I read a post a few days ago saying not to buy it.
I am unsure what the problem with the Raymarine unit is as our NASA unit alarmed saying ďAIS connection lostĒ when ships were out of range, as we are in a fairly busy (shipping wise) area itís great when itís working and would have it again. I can understand the different ideas as to having it as a stand alone or incorporated into an existing unit I would try and in my opinion steer away from having to use it on a laptop as there are a lot more things to go wrong. The current plotters are pretty bullet proof.
I will probably go down the Raymarine route to keep the system all the same as the NASA unit has died again.
I am very pleased with the rest of the Raymarine units. I would be interested in other peoples input.
Also in an earlier post someone was looking at a SITEX AIS system and they look exactly like the NASA system I am just wondering if the are the same just with different casings??

sailingdog 01-10-2008 09:45 AM


It sounds like you have a wiring problem on your boat, if you're on your sixth unit so far. I seriously doubt that you've gotten six bad units in a row, since statistically, that's be almost impossible.

mallo 01-10-2008 11:04 AM

Thanks for that sailing dog, I have looked at the wiring every time I have replaced the units, the wiring is very straight forward, one BNC connector for the aerial, one connector for the 12V supply and an output for the NMEA 2000. This connection goes straight to the plotter.
I agree it does seem unusual for six to ďpack upĒ but every time the supplier canít find out why. The rest of the instruments have worked faultlessly.
I had had several other electricians look at it, they have all come out scratching their heads.
I am now at a loss as to why itís playing up.

lawriegubb 01-13-2008 05:37 PM

I've seen a Simrad AIS "radar" advertised that looks exactly like the Nasa and the Sitex. I too wonder if they are really all the same instrument.
Are the current users using a masthead vhf aerial?

Tenaya 01-14-2008 11:50 AM

It would be best to have another aerial for AIS, but I am using a splitter and the masthead VHF aerial and it seems to work fine. Maybe it reduces the power of the VHF, but I have not noticed any difference.
I installed it so it would be easy to disconnect the splitter and re attach the aerial directly to the VHF if there was a problem

teshannon 01-14-2008 12:02 PM

I've checked with both Furuno and SiTex on use of a splitter and the only minor downside I'm hearing is that you will interrupt the AIS when you key the radio mike. I plan to use a splitter on my installation.

bobwebster 01-26-2008 11:11 PM


Originally Posted by sailingdog (Post 248141)

It sounds like you have a wiring problem on your boat, if you're on your sixth unit so far. I seriously doubt that you've gotten six bad units in a row, since statistically, that's be almost impossible.

The problem seems to be the software. I have been told that the "AIS Connection Lost" alarm goes off whenever the unit has been receiving data, but doesn't get anything new for two minutes. That means whenever a ship goes out of range, you get the alarm. If a ship is on the fringe of your reception area, you get the alarm several times.

I sailed from Oahu to Lahaina the other day and got at least 15 false alarms. Raymarine has acknowledged this problem but doesn't have a solution, except to put up with it.

sailingdog 01-26-2008 11:25 PM


Mallo was talking about a NASA AIS unit that keeps dying on his boat. He's on the sixth unit, fifth replacement unit. I would tend to believe that has absolutely nothing to do with the software, since the unit itself goes bad.... you might want to re-read his post, #3, again. This isn't the Raymarine AIS unit that Mallo is talking about.

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