MERIT A55#003 - 10 year-old electronics


David Vogel
 

Hi José,

Please advise your equipment details – for example, model number. And preferably advise also what, if any, software/firmware updates have been made since initial installation.

Regarding your possible future equipment upgrade path, you may wish to consider the following experiences.

I already replaced the NMEA0183 B&G Hydra 2000 display at the NAV station with a B&G Vulcan 7R MFD. As a replacement, the V7 provides additional (graphic) functionality over the text-only Hydra2000, such as a basic chartplotter (which is adequate for fall-back redundancy) using the built-in GPS (again, independent of the main GPS source used by the Furuno chartplotter). It also has a built-in forward-looking sonar capability if you install an add-on through-hull sonar sensor (~USD800-), although this provides only very basic functionality which, reportedly, is not as good as any of the dedicated forward-looking sonar equipment that is presently available – but better than nothing. The Vulcan v7R (‘R’ for radar-capable model) can be mirrored and controlled by apps on an iPad or iPhone.

The original 5x B&G analogue instruments at the helm were replaced with 3x B&G Triton2 displays (this was done when the original analogue B&G wind and depth sensors were upgraded to N2K digital).

Keeping with the brand-originality of the AMEL initial install, the original Furuno green-screen radar was replaced with a Furuno TZT14 chartplotter; at the same time, the original analogue FURUNO radar was upgraded to Furuno DRS4D (which is now superseded, but still supported). As an aside, I just updated our Furuno TZT14 with the latest version of OS+APP (was v5.01, newly 6.02). The update was done with the equipment in place on-board using a spare SD card. The instructions were clear, and the update process ran first time, no problems. I also updated the tide database to the latest datum. I then updated the Furuno DRS4D radome to the latest firmware, using a SD card in the TZT14. BTW, I prefer chart-plotters that have a roto-dial in addition to touch-screen – FURUNO calls these “Hybrid” models. I prefer having a roto-dial because a touch-screen can be finicky to use with wet fingers -- we almost always use the roto-dial as the primary control when underway, because even tough we are a ‘dry’ boat, our sheets do get wet and, with sail trim, we do sometime get wet fingers. (When we say this to non-AMEL owners, they are incredulous, as they are kitted out in their full wet-weather gear, which they live in for days at a time.) In the latest range of Furuno chart-plotters (the so-called ‘TZ3’ series) only the 9” and 12” models have the roto-dial. The larger models (16” and 19”) do not have the roto-dial, and are touchscreen only (but, to offset this limitation, I understand that all units can accept inputs from a keyboard and mouse or track-ball).

I have heard that the latest B&G autopilot is functionally equivalent to the Raymarine Evolution series of autopilot (we have the Raymarine EVO A/P on-board SM#396, and have been happily impressed by it’s performance even in strong winds and large confused seas). I have heard nothing adverse regarding performance with B&G autopilots when compared to the Raymarine, which in previous years the Raymarine had a better reputation. The only consideration for me now relates to the different clutch-control voltage if using a B&G ‘brain’ to drive a Raymarine linear drive (which can be easily compensation for by using a drop-down resistor). Accordingly, if we were planning an upgrade in the immediate future, we would now consider changing over to have the A/P brain, and the radar & chartplotter combo also all to be B&G, as this would enable to be able to use the B&G Vulcan (or Zeus) at the nav station to act as an Autopilot back-up control head.

There is also something else to consider, if you may be considering to incorporate OpenCPN into your on-board navigation suite. The radar program of some NAVICO radars can be ported to and seen on OpenCPN, which can be used also to control the radar. (Of interest, is that NAVICO is the parent company for Lowrance, Simrad, B&G and C-MAP brands, so there is a greater degree of interoperability between equipment from these brands; also, apart from the badging, some SIMRAD chart-plotters, displays and sensors are exactly identical to their B&G counterparts. I understand that SIMRAD is aimed primarily at power boaters, B&G for sailors.)

Anyway, I do not consider such enhancements or improvements, such as A/P control-head redundancy or radar-to-OpenCPN, are sufficient to change out our existing (and happily working) installation.

Regarding AIS: Our local Furuno agent has now done the update to the FA-50 AIS, as I could not do the update on-board (we do not have a PC). But the writing is on the wall, and so we are now in the process of upgrading our AIS, and have decided on the VESPER XB-8010. This is because this unit has an ‘always on’ stand-alone anchor-watch function (and it’s own independent alarm), plus it provides a WiFi access-point that broadcasts a N2K datastream that can be accessed and used by tablets, phones & computers (such as OpenCPN). This N2K datastream provides greater flexibility in addition to the dedicated brand-specific mobile-phone and tablet apps provided by Furuno, B&G, and others, that can link to and sometimes mirror & control the chartplotter (or other functions, such as A/P or radar/AIS).

I hope this helps your deliberations, and regarding the wind, speed and AIS problems you are experiencing with your Furuno equipment, I have found the Furuno support centres to be very helpful in resolving these kinds of things. And this is part of the reason I would stick with FURUNO, because of the proven reputation for on-going professional-level of service and support, which I have also experienced first-hand on a number of occasions.

Best,

David
SM#396, Perigee

From: <main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io> on behalf of Jose Alegria <Josealegr@gmail.com>
Reply-To: <main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io>
Date: Tuesday, 25 January 2022 at 4:17 am
To: "main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io Group Moderators" <main@amelyachtowners.groups.io>
Subject: [AmelYachtOwners] MERIT A55#003 - Eectronic with 10 years old

Dear Members

In the recent past I've had some problems with Furuno plotters (I've already replaced one of them) the speed doesn't stabilise either, the wind direction works bad and the Ais only work with a PC. 
Maybe it's time to update for new  electronics.
Does anyone in this fantastic group have experience with replacing these components and whether or not they need to replace the autopilot control as well. 
The idea is change at Hyeres with Pochon

All suggestions are welcome.
Thank you

José Alegria
A55#003MERIT
josealegr@gmail.com
Mobile: + 351 91 866 30 37


Joan Blaas
 

Yes Jose, our boats are about the same age and I am also replacing the electronics.

For the Ais+VHF I have chosen the Vesper Cortex with WiFi and portal smart phone type handset. So far I am very pleased with them. 

Other items still in the buying process. Please let me know what you choose.


Scott SV Tengah
 

I asked Furuno this exact question and the rollover problem is solved until July 16, 2039. For me, that is good enough.

http://www.furunousaforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=9575

To get our AIS and B&G data over wifi, we bought a cheap ($89USD) Yakker2 wifi gateway. My anchor alarm is an old android phone that runs an anchor watch app and uses almost no power.

I am sure a full system replacement yields other benefits, but I would not discount the ability to continue to use your existing system. Frankly, I have tried out the latest and greatest and still think using a keyboard and mouse on Opencpn beats them all.



On Mon, Jan 24, 2022 at 07:08 PM, David Vogel wrote:
Regarding AIS: Our local Furuno agent has now done the update to the FA-50 AIS, as I could not do the update on-board (we do not have a PC). But the writing is on the wall, and so we are now in the process of upgrading our AIS, and have decided on the VESPER XB-8010. This is because this unit has an ‘always on’ stand-alone anchor-watch function (and it’s own independent alarm), plus it provides a WiFi access-point that broadcasts a N2K datastream that can be accessed and used by tablets, phones & computers (such as OpenCPN).

 
--
Scott 
2007 A54 #69
SV Tengah
http://www.svtengah.com