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Re: Help Select a New Electronics Package

BTW, I don't think the Brookehouse does N2K, and I think they may be out of business now.

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Re: Help Select a New Electronics Package

My intuitive issue w/ touch screens is that to get accuracy... you need a stable situation... and a sailing boat is often not very stable... motoring or sailing in light conditions should not be a problem... but when waves trains are moving the boat around etc....precision touch work seems a bit more challenging than turning knobs or pressing buttons. My T7 is a hybrid and the old C80 has no touch capability. I really never considered the messy hand / fingers or glove issue.

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Re: Help Select a New Electronics Package

The bareboat we chartered this past winter, was all touch screen. I had the same preconceived notion about not liking the idea. While we never took green water in the cockpit, nor tossed the boat around too much, I found them much easier than expected. Now, the only reason I may want the knob, is for redundancy. Even the knobbed screens are still touch screen too.

On the other hand, the screen dimensions are much bigger, without the knobs. A concept I'm finding more and more appealing as my eyes reach their use-by date.

I did some serious research on this during the '17 Fall boat show season. I narrowed my choices down to B&G and Raymarine. I've certainly heard all those that are emphatically opposed to Ray, but my current system is a fully integrated Raymarine system and it's still kicking after 15 years. Some minor repairs along the way, but no nightmares.

I decided to buy new sails first, so electronics are next winter's upgrade.

In the end, I'll probably go with Raymarine again. I thought they were simpler to use, by a small degree. B&G had a few more features (mostly racing stuff), it seemed, but it was all stuff I didn't feel I needed and it just cluttered up the screen.

The new protocol to communicate between devices might be more universal and reliable. However, I still think it makes most sense to have everything from the same vendor to avoid finger pointing. I think this is also why it has value to pay someone else to do the install, so the finger isn't pointed at me.
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Re: Help Select a New Electronics Package

Minni... I have a successful 3 decade experience with B&G so they are my default. I too am not needing all the racing screens and assume that this can be removed to give less clutter. Clarity and proper back lighting for evening is more important to me than screen size because 98% of my viewing is very close. But yeah... it makes sense to built a system with one mfg's components.

I am looking for a way to do this incrementally which I may be able to do as I have one of the 2 MFD plotters already.

The difficult part is installing a new wind instrument, and the radar without taking the mast down... expensive and time consuming. Using the old wind instrument cable I may be able to pull it out from the top with a messenger line attached and then pull the new cable down through the mast... a two person operation. The problem then is to remove the old and mount the new wind instrument. There are 2 bolts on the top of the mast which holds a small bracket and that holds the wind instrument... not something easily done from a bosun chair. I will likely have to have the yard send a man up in a crane to do the switch. If my new radar can use the ex'g mast bracket I can do that install from a chair. Mounting instruments and network cables is something I can do as well.

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Re: Help Select a New Electronics Package

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Originally Posted by SanderO View Post
Minni... I have a successful 3 decade experience with B&G so they are my default. I too am not needing all the racing screens and assume that this can be removed to give less clutter. Clarity and proper back lighting for evening is more important to me than screen size because 98% of my viewing is very close. But yeah... it makes sense to built a system with one mfg's components.

I am looking for a way to do this incrementally which I may be able to do as I have one of the 2 MFD plotters already.

The difficult part is installing a new wind instrument, and the radar without taking the mast down... expensive and time consuming. Using the old wind instrument cable I may be able to pull it out from the top with a messenger line attached and then pull the new cable down through the mast... a two person operation. The problem then is to remove the old and mount the new wind instrument. There are 2 bolts on the top of the mast which holds a small bracket and that holds the wind instrument... not something easily done from a bosun chair. I will likely have to have the yard send a man up in a crane to do the switch. If my new radar can use the ex'g mast bracket I can do that install from a chair. Mounting instruments and network cables is something I can do as well.
Night lighting on the Tritons is the best of any out there. It is the only night lighting that I've found to be actually usable at night, and not just an annoying contrivance to save night vision. The Tritons are absolutely brilliant in this regard. They don't so much do "backlighting" - instead they use a completely different color pallete and brightness/contrast. They are 100% readable in a relaxed, normal way - just like in daytime, but with preservation of vision.

If the B&G plotters are the same, then that is a big plus for them.

The Furuno is not so good, neither is the Garmin. Both do the traditional change the colors to muted and lower the backlighting. Both also have inexplicit random bright white elements which are blinding. This just results in straining so much to see the difference between gray, light black, and dark green elements that I just give up and leave it on day lighting with the brightness turned way down. Then put it to sleep unless I'm actually using it. The new Furuno may be a bit better - we will see.

For a wind instrument, you could get the LC Captuers CV7 ultrasonic, which is 0183. Then you could use your existing cable. Inside the boat, you connect up their N2K converter and put it on the network as a N2K device. We just bought one for our boat.

Honestly, a 6yr old can set up a N2K network and connect instruments with hardly any instruction. This is no longer 0183 nightmares of talkers and listeners, breakout boxes, repeaters, mux's, etc. It really is as simple as run a wire and plug things into it. Your entire network for what you want will consist of a few T's connected together, with terminator plugs on each end, and cables from each instrument plugged into them. Attached is a picture of our current N2K "network" (ignore the untidy wiring, I'm in the process of taking everything apart). To pay someone to install N2K is a waste of money unless your boat is a large and complicated network. Then, it is mostly money paid to someone just to snake cables.

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Re: Help Select a New Electronics Package

Once I have to change the wind instrument... changing the cable is not that difficult. Very cool looking wiring!

How short are N2K available? How do you do 4 tritons? close to each other... to a block with 5 connectors?

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Re: Help Select a New Electronics Package

A N2K network consists of a "backbone" with a terminating resistor on each end. Everything connects to this backbone with a single drop cable from the instrument to the backbone between these two terminators.

The backbone can be as easy as a T-connector for each instrument unit connected in series, as shown in my picture (I don't know why it is sideways). A terminator is connected to the last T on each end.

If one only had a single instrument, the entire network would consist of 2 T-connectors in series with power connected to one, the instrument to the other, and a terminator plug on each end.

Drop cables from instruments/transducers/etc can only be a maximum of 20' long. If an instrument is further away than 20', then you need to extend the backbone closer to it.

If you need a longer backbone, you just connect a cable where one of the terminators is located, put a T-connector on the other end of the cable, and move the terminator to the end of that T. Connect the remote instrument to that T.

Here is the tricky part: if you use a NMEA2000 wind transducer, then the backbone must go up your mast, and be terminated there. So you will need a long cable for that. This is one of the reasons we went with the NMEA0183 CV7 wind transducer - we don't have to run the backbone up the mast, and we connect the transducer to the N2K network with a little converter. The N2K network stays inside the boat. Our other boat has the backbone up the mast, and I didn't like that for various reasons - makes troubleshooting difficult, if something goes wrong up there you are taking a trip up, the wire is larger and heavier, etc.

Maretron, and probably others, do make blocks of connectors that are essentially wired as a series of T's inside them. They can be inserted in a backbone and have multiple things plugged into them. It makes installations neater in some cases, particularly in large installs, but they are more expensive than a handful of T-connectors.

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Re: Help Select a New Electronics Package

Another question.

I want to have a compass in the system... not to drive an AP... but to display compass on the Tritons and the plotter.
I have a KVH with does have a NMEA 183 port and its display can also be used as a GPS repeater and a race timer...

B&G offers 2 compasses... One the expensive Precision 9 ($600) and the less expensive GPS antenna with compass GB100 ($200) B&G state that the GB100 cannot support MARPA. Why not?

If I have an AIS will this not do "collision avoidance" etc? But only for AIS targets. The plotter I presume has the MARPA feature for radar targets.

Should I forego a new compass and stick with the KVH sailcomp 103 AC? cost $0
Should I get the GB100? Cost $200
Should I get Precision 9? Cost $600

My sailing will almost exclusively be from Mid Atlantic to Maine

Obviously I can upgrade the system later.

Comments please.

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Re: Help Select a New Electronics Package

That's a good point, and I missed that. If you want to do ARPA, it is completely dependent on a good compass. The main aspects are a high update rate and stabilization in multiple axes. The ZG100 only has a 1Hz update rate for its compass (I think), and it is not stabilized (again, I think - B&G are rather vague about this compass). Frankly, I believe the ZG100 is rate-stabilized and updates at 10Hz with the GPS. Why they claim it is not suitable for ARPA is beyond me - although their Precision 9 is a superior compass. I suspect that its stabilization is not as good in rougher conditions, and that since it would be mounted in spots more favorable to GPS than to compasses, it would suffer from mounting position. Otherwise, I suspect it would work OK for ARPA.

We have a KVH Autocomp100, which is what I assumed you had. Ours works for ARPA, but I'm not sure yours will, since it is quite older. It is definitely not as good as the Precision 9 we also have.

So I don't have an answer to your question. The good thing for you is that adding a compass later is as easy as sticking it in an appropriate spot and connecting one cable to your network.

It comes down to how much you want to pay for good ARPA ability - you already listed the choices in increasing cost/performance order.

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Re: Help Select a New Electronics Package

Thanks Mark...

I think for near term I will keep the KVH and test it with ARPA/MARPA... and upgade. If the new Zeus includes and GPS antenna I will not get the GB100. Again I need to see how it performs. The older Zeus T7 w/ internal GPS antenna seems to have been fine. I can add to the network as need be. The old T7 will be below and it may have problems with signal...

Question... If both Zeuses have internal GPS... which position will be shown on the network? Will I have to disable one of them? Don't want the Zeus brothers fighting!

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