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  1. #1
    NFCN is offline Registered User
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    Default Chartplotter & AIS at helm - all in one solution

    I've been doing some research on chartplotters and helm pods. Would appreciate views from others who are thinking about or have achieved the same.

    I decided what I needed was:

    - a chartplotter at the helm, no bigger than 5" (any bigger would get in the way on my Moody 33) with integrated AIS

    - cartography which covers UK south coast and north and western France, with integrated tidal stream data

    - chartplotter held in a reasonably secure and waterproof helm pod

    I aim to fit radar in due course, but accept that with only a 5" screen will have to go for a separate system, with a bigger screen down below.

    I would have thought that the combination above was a fairly common aspiration, but the options are fairly limited. By the time you price the chartplotter, add an AIS engine and antenna if you need to, the cost works out just shy of 900. Cartography-wise, the C-Map Mega wide coverage seems to trump the Bluechart and Navionics alternatives - bigger coverage, more data including tidal streams.

    My conclusions are that a Digital Yacht SC500a (with integrated AIS), encased in a MSP6 marine pod, with C-Map Megawide chart and AIS antenna mounted on the pushpit would seem to meet the remit. The alternatives (eg Horizon CP180 with NASA AIS engine) appear to work but with more complication (separate AIS).

    Links to the proposed solution are here:

    Chartplotter:

    http://www.marinedna.com/digital-yac...r-p-28134.html

    Helmpod:

    http://www.mesltd.co.uk/marine-msp6-...0-p-12604.html

    Marine Chart (I've found it discounted to 129 when bought with the chart)

    http://www.mesltd.co.uk/cmap-mega-wi...rt-p-7225.html

    AIS antenna:

    http://www.mesltd.co.uk/digital-yach...e-p-13053.html

    AIS Antenna railmount:

    http://www.mesltd.co.uk/vtronix-armp...unt-p-865.html

    Best price I can find (inc VAT) is:

    Chartplotter 500
    Pod 200
    Chart 129
    Antenna: 40
    Antenna railmount 9

    Total 878

    Grateful for views, or any upcoming sales which are known about! Also hope this research may prove useful to others.

    Thanks

    Nick

  2. #2
    pvb's Avatar
    pvb is offline Registered User
    Location : UK East Coast
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NFCN View Post
    I've been doing some research on chartplotters and helm pods. Would appreciate views from others who are thinking about or have achieved the same.

    I decided what I needed was:

    - a chartplotter at the helm, no bigger than 5" (any bigger would get in the way on my Moody 33) with integrated AIS

    - cartography which covers UK south coast and north and western France, with integrated tidal stream data

    - chartplotter held in a reasonably secure and waterproof helm pod

    I aim to fit radar in due course, but accept that with only a 5" screen will have to go for a separate system, with a bigger screen down below.
    I'd look at this from a rather different angle. Firstly, I think you could fit a bigger plotter without it being overbearing on your boat. The SC500A plotter has a portrait-format screen, which makes the unit quite high at 155mm. If you choose a landscape-format plotter, you could get a bigger screen without increasing the height of the unit. As an example, the Standard Horizon CP300i has a 7" screen, but is only 145mm high (less than the SC500A). Most importantly, the CP300i has 800x480 pixels - 5 times better than the SC500A's 320x240 pixels. For chart use and AIS use, high definition screens are a major benefit.

    Secondly, you're planning to buy radar, but are considering a standalone system fitted below. The best place for radar is where the helmsman can see it, so I'd choose a radar compatible plotter in the first place, and add a radome later. Again, the CP300i is a good choice, as it's ready for radar - just add a Sitex radome. And with an integrated plotter/radar, you have some superb extra features such as radar/chart overlay (which will require an NMEA input from a fluxgate compass).

    The CP300i is about 550, and you could add an AdvanSea AIS100 dual receiver for another 100. Many retailers will throw in a Mega Wide C-Map chart for around 120 extra when you buy a Standard Horizon plotter.

    My proposed set-up will be 250 or so more than yours, but remember that you're hoping this stuff will last a few years, so it's not much a year extra. And the benefits of a bigger, high definition screen are huge, together with the major plus of having radar at the helm. And the future cost of adding that radar will simply be a radome.

  3. #3
    NFCN is offline Registered User
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    Great advice - thanks pvb. Would certainly make the future fitting of the radar more easy. My concern would be finding a suitable helm pod for the CP300i - can anyone point me in the right direction?

    Nick

  4. #4
    pvb's Avatar
    pvb is offline Registered User
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    The Marine Pods range you were looking at on the MES website would have a suitable pod.

  5. #5
    lenseman's Avatar
    lenseman is offline Registered User
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    I have a Garmin 556s at the helm and a Garmin 6012 in the Ops Room.

    They are coupled via an NMEA2000 back-bone and any course correction entered via the Nav Officer is repeated at the helm.

    AIS 'B' is linked in and repeats at both stations, Broadband Radar and wind-speed, direction and the depth of water below the keel can also be accommodated.
    regards David - DSW Marine Engineering
    www.dswmarineengineering.com

  6. #6
    lenseman's Avatar
    lenseman is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by NFCN View Post
    . . . . Cartography-wise, the C-Map Mega wide coverage seems to trump the Bluechart and Navionics alternatives - bigger coverage, more data including tidal streams. . . . .
    The Garmin Bluechart certainly do the common tide stations (letter inside diamond) but it is user selectable so that you can aslo change to a dynamic tidal stream which alters in real-time whilst you sail, as I discovered on passage back past The Owers about 3 weeks ago.

    Instead of the 'letters in diamonds' they change to arrows pointing to the direction of the flow and the colour changes as the tidal stream gets stronger or weaker. Hovering over the tidal flow arrow and you can revert to the letter in diamond or remain as arrows with the speed in knots displayed (very useful indeed).
    regards David - DSW Marine Engineering
    www.dswmarineengineering.com

  7. #7
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    Default Best money I ever spent

    Save spending on separate antennae, Nav Pod, chart etc, spend it on the plotter. Touchscreen Garmin 7" includes charts and AIS. Woodwork took hours but few pounds, with plastic electrical box on the back.
    Last edited by johnphilip; 02-12-11 at 12:07.

  8. #8
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    Martin_J is offline Registered User
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    If you're around Portsmouth you are welcome to see a CP180i fitted by the wheel. Just ping me and I'll let you know where I am based.. You might agree with the others then that it does look rather small in practice!

    One thing about the external AIS is that it is capable of providing AIS data to both the laptop and the plotter at the same time....

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Default oops, memory failure

    Sorry, I tend to blank out past over expenditure on the boat, The Garmin 750 does display AIS but did need an external AIS engine. I bough the NASA one which is fine. Although pricey the 750 remains the best bit of kit on the boat.

  10. #10
    NFCN is offline Registered User
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    Thanks all - appreciate your help and advice.

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