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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Live: Limburg (NL); Sail: Wemeldinge
    Posts
    868

    Default Chartplotter / Radar Dilemma

    I currently have a Lowrance HDS 8m Gen 2 chartplotter in cockpit. It is a capable chartplotter, but I don't find it intuitive. I want to add a radar, which is simple enough, but also ideally also add a chartplotter/repeater down below.

    I could stick with lowrance and buy another chartplotter, radar and an ethernet switch to link them together, but I'm not convinced I want to stick with Lowrance for my main chartplotter. I'm attracted to the B&G range, which is interoperable with the Lowrance (both Navico), but to interface a B&G plotter to another, you have to go for the (expensive) Zeus range, whereas for everything else, the much cheaper Vulcan range seems fine. I could use a Vulcan chartplotter and a go-free wifi adaptor to display the chartplotter info on an ipad down below and dispense with/sell the lowrance. I'd be grateful for any pros/cons of the different approaches and views on the practicality of using a tablet to access the info on a chartplotter - what are the limitations?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    4,311

    Default Re: Chartplotter / Radar Dilemma

    I have briefly tried using an Ipad in the saloon with a Vulcan at the helm: seemed to work well. Just testing though out of curiosity as I already had another (St-Horizon) plotter at the chart table.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    swansea
    Posts
    11,646

    Default Re: Chartplotter / Radar Dilemma

    The limitations imposed by B&G are that the tablet wont do much more than repeat the screen picture from the plotter. So, for example, you cant use the tablet and wifi to operate the pilot. The reason is that they dont want your 8 year old down below suddenly taking conrol of the boat whilst playing on his tablet.

    I bought a B&G Zeus plotter and 3 G radar a couple of years ago. It was a mistake - Raymarine plotter is better at the basic tasks like route planning. And the issue you have to consider anyway is data feed to the plotter from the instruments. Are they NMEA 2000? Is your pilot NMEA 2000? If not you are in to multiplexers and it all starts to get messy.

    If I had my time again I would have junked my ST60 non digi instruments and replaced the lot with a new Raymarine set up. Instead I have old ST60 instruments, a Simrad Robertson pilot, A B&G plotter and radar, NASA repeater, a multiplexer from New Zealand and an Easy AIS. I finally got them all to talk to each other via a snakes breakfast of wiring but its far from ideal. And an android tablet that will show me whats on the plotter screen but which I end up using seperately with navionics.

    There are times when being a thrifty yorkshireman causes endless aggro.
    Last edited by wotayottie; 13-03-18 at 21:39.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Sydney, Australia.
    Posts
    4,140

    Default Re: Chartplotter / Radar Dilemma

    Different experience.

    We had Raymarine and the radar went down and was too old to repair. We wanted Broadband so chose Simrad, this was before they focussed B&G exclusively on sail. We wanted two stand alone systems so kept the old Raymarine instruments, chart plotter and pilot as an integrated but stand alone system (giving us some redundancy).

    We bought the NSS7 because we wanted Broadband 3G. I was annoyed when they introduced the B&G range and could not update the NSS - but that's the price of fast moving technology. We interface with WiFi to an iPad - which is fantastic. You can do everything on the iPad the plotter does - except control the pilot (and I'm not sure quite why you want to control the pilot from down below). The whole set up is easy to use and the Broadband brilliant (I can see our bowsprit and dinghy hanging off the stern, low power, instant on - it will pick up large commercial shipping at about 40nm).

    We find the 7" plotter at the helm more than adequate and the iPad is excellent as you can stir the porridge, look out the window and watch the radar simultaneously.

    We installed all the Navico kit ourselves. it was very easy - and installation instructions very good. Just make sure all the cables you buy are long enough, you need slightly longer than you think to get round corners. It is difficult to instal the radar up the mast because the cable is very inflexible (you need 2 people). But its physically difficult, not technically difficult - you could train monkeys to instal but there is probably some law against it. The plug for the depth sounder, on ours, was a bit big and chunky (by far the biggest) and needed bigger holes to feed through bulkheads - but that might be an Airmar issue, and maybe now improved.

    If we were buying again we would stick with Navico but, obviously, focus on the B&G range.

    Jonathan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Live: Limburg (NL); Sail: Wemeldinge
    Posts
    868

    Default Re: Chartplotter / Radar Dilemma

    Thanks, useful info. We have N2K everywhere so that's not a problem. All I want the plotter/tablet below to do is display basic nav info and potentially insert/delete waypoints etc - I assume it can do that? Is it possible to display different info on the tablet and on the above decks chartplotter?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Lincoln
    Posts
    494

    Default Re: Chartplotter / Radar Dilemma

    We have Lowrence HDS gen 3 and use the iPad link app to use below, it does mirror all functions but you cannot show different screens as far as I can see, not sure why you would want to though. Do all the route planning on iPad with Navionics and then sync to plotter when ready, all easy and works

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Live: Limburg (NL); Sail: Wemeldinge
    Posts
    868

    Default Re: Chartplotter / Radar Dilemma

    I still like to maintain a log and a chart position, so I have the chart plotter on deck but I want to be able to go below and read off the GPS position etc off an instrument and enter it into the log without affecting the chartplotter on deck. I would also like to be able to do passage planning below deck. If I can do all that through a web interface on the tablet that would be great.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Sydney, Australia.
    Posts
    4,140

    Default Re: Chartplotter / Radar Dilemma

    The iPad mirrors exactly what is on the master screen. So if the master screen is a split screen with radar on one side and chart on the other - that's what you get on the iPad (exactly). You can alter the screen using the iPad controls, but they will alter the screen, exactly, at the helm. The iPad controls are easy - so you can go down below, switch to a screen with the info you need and switch back to where it was before you go back on deck. Or you can go back on deck and switch back. Most of the controls are dead easy - the only ones that are more difficult are the ones you don't use often, like taking a screen shot (which I usually need to look up). Most basic info, lat/long etc are on every screen anyway.

    And keeping a log is good discipline

    Jonathan

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Lincoln
    Posts
    494

    Default Re: Chartplotter / Radar Dilemma

    Have you looked at adding lat long etc to the main screen as small txt, then can be seen without changing chartplotter, we have position and cog etc on vhf screen at chart table so can take log there easily

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