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Have 3 RM e series chart plotters. Middle one froze. GPS in other two turned off at middle one used for gps which feeds AP. Bottom half of bad chart plotter blank. Unable to turn it off individually. Only by turning off everything at the breaker below. Failed going Bequia to Rodney. Sporty at the time as in compression zone at north end of st Vincent. Tech says can be removed and move primary gps to another and also move master. But would have a hole where old one was or blank screen. Also says other two may/ may not be corrupted. Have taken bad out. Others work but slow. Tech says factory reset should fix them. Probably bad information from bad one as it failed. I’m basically singling. Winds and seas more significant then the leewards. AP needs to be reliable. Charts important but less so as navionics on iPad serves. E series put in 2013 but 2012 as boat built in China.
What would you do?
Run with two?
Put in an Axiom running outside the network?
Replace all 3?
 

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I've had nothing but trouble with RM equipment. Something similar happened (master/slave communication problems) plus other problems, on a treasure hunting vessel I operated in the T & C, an operation that really requires one's navigation gear to be operating at peak efficiency. Hours on the cell phone (at early cell phone costs) and not one tech at RM could even suggest a fix.
It wouldn't be worth my time to install Ray Marine equipment on any boat I have to operate, even if it was given to me free.
 

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Out, still running a couple of RM e's in the sailboat, and a newer RM touch screen in the power boat.

The difference between the newer and older units, any brand, is significant. Screen update rates are probably the most notable, but resolution is better too. The e feels clunky when I've been out in the power boat.

The problem with all this stuff is once you get started, you know what will happen. The radar, the 3 MFD's, maybe even the autopilot, next thing you know you're thinking about updating the wind instruments, sounder....yikes.......a thousand here a thousand there and after a while it adds up to real money.

Two choices.

Find someone who has a used e MFD in good shape.

Start a major project and open your wallet.


The problem with all this tech is it's useful life, or even shorter it's life before there's something better, or even shorter it's life before you can't get it fixed because the vendor has moved on, is getting shorter. And we cut all these holes in our boats to build the stuff in. I feel for you and know it won't be long and I'll be doing it too.
 

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I see this heading toward "generic" touch screens with black box processors. Maybe the screens will include hot keys or some sort of actual knob or mouse ball or similar.

Why can't these companies settle on chassis sizes so you are not messing up your cabinets faces or whatever when you change the unit?

Industry did settle on those 4" square display heads... so why not on the main units?

They settled on (for the time being) N2K network protocols... Whoopie!!!!!!!!!!! Next up will be complete wireless networking.

Yeah.... I have an old C 80 which is whacky... But I added a winch mounted B&G T7 in the cockpit where I need to SEE a plotter. The winch mount can easily be changed! Pedestal pods may or may not be adaptable as you change gear. Don't use one and won't.

Cost per unit of time use is quite spendy for these things.... no?
 

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Don't use one and won't.
Cost per unit of time use is quite spendy for these things.... no?
I love our pedestal mounted pods. Easy to reach and see from the helm (sitting or standing) and they keep our expensive electronics at hand and safe from the weather, the sea and damage from people. I'd always be worrying if my us$4k MFD was just hanging out in the cockpit somewhere. And the MFDs all the way forward under the bimini, which can't be reached from the helm? Really? I readjust, scroll or check bearing/distance on our display maybe 20 times as we enter or leave some harbors or complicated reef areas. How does one change ranges or plot on the radar from 8 feet away?
As for cost per unit of time, we may not be similar to most owners, but I think we've done remarkably well. The us$4000.00 MFD is over ten years old with uncountable thousands of hours on it. Not only is it on when we are underway, but often it was on in the anchorages as an anchor drag alarm (before the Rocna) or watching the weather or other boats in squalls, etc.
 

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I have an RM C-80 and a spare. RM no longer supports their repair. I really don’t want any of this “integrated” network stuff in the boat. I need the C-80 or something as I still have the radar, and a spare dome.

I use the C-80 in passage just to plot a “go to” to have a course line. And as a radar screen. But for any detailed navigation I use my iPad. Here in the Caribbean that’s running NV raster charts on iNavEx. FAR better than the Navionics charts, mich easier to read, better information.

If my radar dies then I’ll get a Furuno wireless radar or whatever put a cup holder where the C-80 lived.

But even at that I can see I’ll need to upgrade to a better iSomething eventually as my back up is a 10-12 year old iPad. Still working but slow.
 

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I see this heading toward "generic" touch screens with black box processors. Maybe the screens will include hot keys or some sort of actual knob or mouse ball or similar.
Furuno does offer black boxes with many choices of touchscreens (not necessary to be Furuno ones). Most likely others do too - they certainly do in their commercial lines. They also have separate knob/keypad controls if wanted.

Why can't these companies settle on chassis sizes so you are not messing up your cabinets faces or whatever when you change the unit?
That's a tough request. So much is dependent on engineering constraints, marketing desires, etc. For plotters above many other electronics, the consumer would be constrained more with standardized chassis sizes than without. It would also kill innovation because companies would be stuck in a box, so to speak.

Industry did settle on those 4" square display heads... so why not on the main units?
They do look standardized, don't they? Unfortunately, I have yet to meet one that was. Not even from the same company in the same model line. Imagine how pissed I was when B&G gave me a Triton 2 to replace a Triton 1, and I had to completely recut and modify the mount for it. I also changed a Raymarine ST60 to a ST70 and had to glass over and recut a hole. All of these units were extremely close to the same nominal size, but none of them mounted close to the same way. Granted, they don't differ as much as the plotters do, but you will be cutting new hole sizes, or filling in old holes to get a new one to fit.

They settled on (for the time being) N2K network protocols... Whoopie!!!!!!!!!!! Next up will be complete wireless networking.
Maybe, but given the widespread woes with wireless wind instruments, I'm not holding my breath. Certainly, it will be a long time before full-functioned radar is wireless, as well as larger high-bandwidth integrated systems. I'm quite pleased with N2K. Stupid simple to connect, and not much to go wrong. Single wires that are relatively easy to run. SignalK could make the biggest bite in this area, but the topology is the same. What would be great would be a star-topology based on ethernet or similar. Furuno tried hard for this in the face of N2K, but did not prevail. More robust, and even easier to implement.

Yeah.... I have an old C 80 which is whacky... But I added a winch mounted B&G T7 in the cockpit where I need to SEE a plotter. The winch mount can easily be changed! Pedestal pods may or may not be adaptable as you change gear. Don't use one and won't.
Aren't the pods themselves pretty standard, and all one needs to do is recut, or get a new, faceplate for the pod? I recently changed a Garmin plotter in a pod for a Furuno plotter, and was able to make it fit well gluing a sheet of black plastic over the old hole (trimmed and rounded appropriately), with a new hole cut into it. Looks good and fits well. I used black because the plotter is black and it all looks the same, but white would work for a different situation.

Mark
 

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I love our pedestal mounted pods. Easy to reach and see from the helm (sitting or standing) and they keep our expensive electronics at hand and safe from the weather, the sea and damage from people. I'd always be worrying if my us$4k MFD was just hanging out in the cockpit somewhere. And the MFDs all the way forward under the bimini, which can't be reached from the helm? Really? I readjust, scroll or check bearing/distance on our display maybe 20 times as we enter or leave some harbors or complicated reef areas. How does one change ranges or plot on the radar from 8 feet away?
As for cost per unit of time, we may not be similar to most owners, but I think we've done remarkably well. The us$4000.00 MFD is over ten years old with uncountable thousands of hours on it. Not only is it on when we are underway, but often it was on in the anchorages as an anchor drag alarm (before the Rocna) or watching the weather or other boats in squalls, etc.
Instrument placement is determined by several factors.... among them the architecture of the cockpit, the distance of the "dash" from the helm... if there is a dash... the amount of time spent steering from the helm and when not steering from the helm where your butt is planted, winch location and so on.

For my cockpit and the type of sailing I do... an pedipod would bot make sense. I am at the helm to bring the boat to a dock or a mooring etc. Or in rough conditions when I am watching waves. My dash mounted displays are visible from anywhere in the cockpit... the data they display is depth, boat speed, apparent wind angle, apparent wind speed, true wind speed, true wind angle, waypoint info when I am using one. The plotter,,, the way I use it can be seen from the helm... I see the heading line, track and course line. I have a compass display as well.

Now my friend has a sister ship and his helm is protected and he has a nice pedipod. He likes to sit behind the helm if he steers or if the AP steers. I sit in the only protect location forward in the cockpit with dodger protection. Same cockpits, different approaches. He uses 4x4 dash MFDs too. My AP is controlled from the forward end and his from further aft at the helm. So you see different sailors will find different solutions with the same "background" to work with.

It's all good.
 

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Unlike Caps experience I have had a very good one with Raymarine . All off our instruments (wind, speed, depth ) as well as MFD and autopilot.

Discussing electronic comparisons is like an argument about the best anchor. You’ll have supporters and detractors on all sides. Our first MFD a C-80 lasted 12 years till struck by lightening, and our current CW90:is 6 years old.

We have them mounted on Nav Pods where they can easily seen entering the many creeks in the Chesapeake or inlets. Our multiple I pads serve as backups below or if mobile.
 
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Aren't the pods themselves pretty standard, and all one needs to do is recut, or get a new, faceplate for the pod? I recently changed a Garmin plotter in a pod for a Furuno plotter, and was able to make it fit well gluing a sheet of black plastic over the old hole (trimmed and rounded appropriately), with a new hole cut into it. Looks good and fits well. I used black because the plotter is black and it all looks the same, but white would work for a different situation.

Mark
Great info here! Thanks Mark. I use the black instrument panel face too... you can use laminate, plexi, starboard or.... wood as my buddy did. When I do the Triton's I will simply do a new dash panel.

I wouldn't cut the cockpit fiberglas/gelcoat to mount an instrument... nor an interior finished wood panel.
 

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Regarding the various pods: They certainly provide a polished look and it's nice that they're a finished product ready to to install in most situations (I presume). But it's just a fancy $300 plastic box. Am I missing something? I'm surprised I don't see more competition, nor more DIY in glass or wood, especially given their prices and the fact that many boaters upgrade up their electronics on a regular basis. I'm considering this route myself.

Thoughts? Have you ever seen a good DIY build, particularly pedestal-mounted?
 

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Regarding the various pods: They certainly provide a polished look and it's nice that they're a finished product ready to to install in most situations (I presume). But it's just a fancy $300 plastic box. Am I missing something? I'm surprised I don't see more competition, nor more DIY in glass or wood, especially given their prices and the fact that many boaters upgrade up their electronics on a regular basis. I'm considering this route myself.

Thoughts? Have you ever seen a good DIY build, particularly pedestal-mounted?
Yes you can DYI yourself

They are preddrilled and match the pedestal guards exactly. The gasket is waterproof . The MFD for instance is bolted in.

They also use a special tool to attach the bolts of the scanbox to the pedestal guards. Using it you cannot just removed it easily to steal it.

It 8s a convienence and a clean look. If you are handy you can create something similar.
 

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Very sorry to hear of the difficulty, Out. I've found the best way to repair a RM unit it to send it back to RM. Unfortunately, that is probably very difficult where you are.

I'm still running a full RM package that was originally installed in 2004!. It's an RL series, which would be two generations older than the e series, iirc. In that time, the wind transducer has given me the most trouble, but RM has repaired it fairly inexpensively. I asked what happened to it and they thought lightening strike. I really doubted that, as nothing else has been bothered. I also replaced a wind instrument at one helm, with a used one bought on ebay.

The only other things I've needed to do were to clean some connections and do a factory reset, when I had put too many waypoints in over a decade.

Otherwise, I have to give RM credit that after 15 years and still kicking is overall pretty reliable. My stuff is approx four generations old now and I'm seriously considering replacement with RM Axiom.

A buddy had a knob go bad on his e series and RM no longer carried a replacement. He upgraded to Axiom and loves it. The improvements in functionality have been exponential.

I hope you get it sorted out.
 

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I am not terribly impressed with RM. I have a C 80 which is getting on 15 years of service. It's not reliable. And antenna upgrade might improve things... but why? I am looking at a B&G Zeus series w/ Tritons. The upgrade is spendy and it's N2K as well. Presently my plotter w/radar and AIS plotting is below decks at the nav desk. I don't spend much time there. I never do route planning or maintain a waypoint library both of which I find a waste of time. As in the days of old before plotters I study where I have to sail and how to get there as I listen to the weather forecast (now we can see graphic weather forecasts on a smart device). When I need a waypoint it takes a few seconds to set one. I do at times set one on the fly. GPS give me data to inform my steering (and sail plan) decisions. My AP is not interfaced to the plotter as most are these days. I steer the AP like a small helm... it holds the course I turn it to. This works well for me.

I did pick up a B&G T7 plotter at the last boat show I attended. It has an internal antenna so I mounted it in the rarely used winch under the dodger where I can easily see and use it. This works great for me. It does not have radar or AIS as it is stand alone. In the next upgrade I will have the N2K and all the info on the cockpit plotter will be displayed. The issue is RADAR and its fat cable which I don't want to bring into the cockpit for multiple reasons. So I will likely get another Zeus and mount it in the nav desk where the radar and AIS will be on the N2K network which I presume can share this data to the cockpit mounted plotter. A new system will mean a new AWI. Wireless is easier to install I suppose.

++++

The plotter failure is a good time for you (or anyone) to rethink their electronics and how to utilize all the new capabilities in the most "user friendly" manner. Many people have mounted plotters in pedipods because plotters in the cockpit are useful! DATA DATA DATA is what sailors want!
 

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The issue is RADAR and its fat cable which I don't want to bring into the cockpit for multiple reasons.
Today's radars no longer have fat cables. They now consist only of two wires providing power and an ethernet cable. The only thing that needs to go to the actual plotter is the ethernet cable - the power can be handled separately below decks. In fact, if the supplied ethernet cable is too large (they make them beefy), you can just run a standard thin Cat5-7 cable from the plotter and join it below decks.

Mark
 

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As Mark said the newer radars cable is no big deal.

One of the nice things about mounting the MFD on the pedestal guards is all wiring goes through the tubes so it’s nice and neat. Our RM system is based on an NMEA backbone to allow the Vesper to communicate, otherwise we probably could have Seatalked it. All are pretty much plug and play

One of the nice things about the RM I have is the wireless connectivity to our I Pads. That was there is no need for duplicate stations. If we are under the dodger we can use the I Pad there. To me it’s helpful also to see the radar / AIS on the screen while looking at the ships from behind the helm.

I pretty much use our electronics like Jeff . We don’t put in waypoints although for planning purposes we do create a course, but that’s done on the IPad
 
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