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Those amp measures are great though. I love the idea of lower power usage, but I too think that I'll either be using radar, or I won't. In use, both technologies appear pretty much the same. Waiting a few minutes (in the extreme case) to have the pulse radars warm up doesn't seem like that big a deal to me.
I would love to get more measurements but we simply don't have enough broadband installations around here to get my tools on. Those that I have had them on have all drawn slightly more power than my Garmin system with a 3205, but the smallest plotter I measured was a 7" and mine is 5". The difference is most often in the plotter.

The other problem is that installers & DIY's generally don't break out radar & plotter & N2K separately, on separate breakers, and instead lump them all on the same breaker. This, IMHO, is a disservice to the end user as the dome / radar interface box, N2K etc. can be in an always on mode the minute you fire up the plotter. If you don't need it I prefer a switch/breaker to isolate it. It also makes it more difficult to see exactly what the power consumption is for the dome and the plotter or the N2K instruments.. Also many plotters are pulled off of for N2K power, another installation practice I dislike.

Getting accurate measurements of these systems requires tracking down the individual power wires to clamp and measure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
The other problem is that installers & DIY's generally don't break out radar & plotter & N2K separately, on separate breakers, and instead lump them all on the same breaker. This, IMHO, is a disservice.
Great tip MS. I may not have considered this until after installing. I tend to learn everything the hard way ;). Any other common mistakes people make when buying or installing?
 

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My installer installed a seperate panel (built in amp and voltage meters)with seperate circuit breakers for RADAR,Chartplotter and NMEA 2K.. So I have a relative idea what each unit will draw when turned on seperatly or combined.
 

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One often overlooked component is the usability and intuativeness of the controls. Do you like knobs or buttons? Track pointers or other ways to interface. Do you like a lot of menu options up front, or prefer sub-menus?

I didn't use my radar all the time on my last boat. I basically fired it up when in the fog, and since I try and avoid running in the fog, it was not that often. Consequently I wasn't all that familiar with it's functions, but I found it (a raymarine unit) intuitive enough to get the basics down quickly.

Do you expect guests or crew to use it? If so it'd be nice if it was simple to learn and use so they don't have to wake you up when you're off watch. How about your boat partner? Electronic savvy or no?

If you have a west marine or some other shop that has several of them on display, take some time on a rainy day and play with the displays of each and see which one works for you.

Medsailor
 

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One often overlooked component is the usability and intuativeness of the controls. Do you like knobs or buttons? Track pointers or other ways to interface. Do you like a lot of menu options up front, or prefer sub-menus?

I didn't use my radar all the time on my last boat. I basically fired it up when in the fog, and since I try and avoid running in the fog, it was not that often. Consequently I wasn't all that familiar with it's functions, but I found it (a raymarine unit) intuitive enough to get the basics down quickly.

Do you expect guests or crew to use it? If so it'd be nice if it was simple to learn and use so they don't have to wake you up when you're off watch. How about your boat partner? Electronic savvy or no?

If you have a west marine or some other shop that has several of them on display, take some time on a rainy day and play with the displays of each and see which one works for you.

Medsailor
If my wife can figure it(our new Garmin package) in less then hour..then I'd say it's pretty "intuitive"..then again she trains medical personnel on the use of their new medical equipment..:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
One often overlooked component is the usability and intuativeness of the controls. Do you like knobs or buttons? Track pointers or other ways to interface. Do you like a lot of menu options up front, or prefer sub-menus?

I didn't use my radar all the time on my last boat.
Good point, and good question Med. We are both reasonable tech-savvy, but I still want something easy to use and intuitive. I would love to get some real functional time on various systems, and if I'd been smarter I would have found a way before now. Unfortunately there's no chandleries up where I live, so I have to rely on visuals and reviews.

I can swing both ways with touch screen or nobs. I am concerned about the functionality of touchscreen in wet and cold conditions, but I plan to mount the display at my chart table anyway, so that shouldn't be an issue. Good to hear RM and Garmin are intuitive. Any other reviews?

Why go fast, when you can go slow
 

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I've had several Furuno radars and currently have one older Furuno 4kw unit and a new 4kw Garmin HD (on different boats). The Garmin is displayed on a 6212 display and is fairly easy to set up and use once you have played with all the different options in the different menus. I really like the radar overlay, it greatly reduces the workload when in the soup (the older Furuno I have is a stand alone display). While the new Garmin with the overlay feature on the plotter screen is hard to beat I have to say that it misses a lot of targets that the Furuno has no trouble with (I run them in good visibility a lot just to stay in practice). For example: we have a lot of tugs with tows here and at 4-8 nm the Garmin shows one blip while the Furuno shows two close together and even at short ranges of 1-2nm the Garmin misses some small vessels while the Furuno rarely does. I've noticed that the sensitivity of the Garmin seems to increase if you reduce the range (targets that don't show up on the 4nm range do show up if you reduce the range to 1nm). I've been told that that the Furuno has a higher sensitivity because it has a narrower band width (3 degrees + -) than the Garmin (5 degrees + -) even though both are rated 4kw. If I had to do it again I think I would have spent more and gone with Furuno, but I've learned what the weaknesses are with the Garmin and I'm happy with it.
 

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I'm curious as to the advantages of the newer Garmin xHD vs the regular HD.

I understand it has multi-color advantages if used with a newer plotter. I'm not sure it's any more sensitive however?

I plan to purchase one or the other for my old 3206 plotter.
 

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I've had several Furuno radars and currently have one older Furuno 4kw unit and a new 4kw Garmin HD (on different boats). The Garmin is displayed on a 6212 display and is fairly easy to set up and use once you have played with all the different options in the different menus. I really like the radar overlay, it greatly reduces the workload when in the soup (the older Furuno I have is a stand alone display). While the new Garmin with the overlay feature on the plotter screen is hard to beat I have to say that it misses a lot of targets that the Furuno has no trouble with (I run them in good visibility a lot just to stay in practice). For example: we have a lot of tugs with tows here and at 4-8 nm the Garmin shows one blip while the Furuno shows two close together and even at short ranges of 1-2nm the Garmin misses some small vessels while the Furuno rarely does. I've noticed that the sensitivity of the Garmin seems to increase if you reduce the range (targets that don't show up on the 4nm range do show up if you reduce the range to 1nm). I've been told that that the Furuno has a higher sensitivity because it has a narrower band width (3 degrees + -) than the Garmin (5 degrees + -) even though both are rated 4kw. If I had to do it again I think I would have spent more and gone with Furuno, but I've learned what the weaknesses are with the Garmin and I'm happy with it.
Yep, this is the difference in beam width... Unfortunately in an 18" dome, which is what most sailboats use size wise, a 5.0 + degree beam is what you usually get.. If you went to an open array your radar targets would get even more defined...
 
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