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Old 22 October 2008, 04:48   #1
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What to chose?

Sorry if this question has already been asked before but I am looking for some advice on what type of electronic navigation/depth finder equipment to fit to the boat.

I've read through many of the threads and there seems to be a multitude of kit out there that has a variety of good or bad points.

What I am hoping to find is a good quality waterproof unit that will display position, speed and depth in one go. A decent sized colour screen would be good. I will want it to interface with a DSC radio and an AIS program either stand alone or intergrated. The AIS only needs to display my position to others rather than receive other positions but if it did both then that would be fine.

With respect to the speed/depth transducer I would rather not have one that is transom mounted to avoid damage and would prefer either a through hull or hull mounted type.

I thought that I read somewhere that it is possible to get a depth sounder that will give a 3-D view of the seabed but I cant seem to find it! Maybe I dreamt it....?

The Cobra DSC radio that I have fitted to my Chinook rib is okay except the speaker volume is quite low and you cant really hear conversations over the engine noise. I am looking to get a Gekko type helmet that will be fitted with a headset and mike and which will plug into the radio. I will also need to speak to other crew members or passengers wearing similar helmets so any suggestions on suitable comms kit would be appreciated.

Once again sorry if I'm going over old ground but new kit comes on the market all the time.

Joe
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Old 22 October 2008, 14:19   #2
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The 3D stuff isn't all its cracked up to be. My choice would be Raymarine C80, but if the budget won't run to that then have a look at the Garmin 550s. Just fitted one to the yacht and linked it with Easy AIS, it offers split screen map and sounder which is useful. Works well and Garmin have an excellent reputation for sorting things out if they go wrong.

I glued a Garmin transducer just in front of the stern drive under the rear deck when I had a P22. Worked well.

Pete
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Old 22 October 2008, 16:21   #3
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.....Garmin have an excellent reputation for sorting things out ....
That's because they've had lots of practice

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.....if they go wrong....
It's not a matter of 'if', but 'when'
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Old 22 October 2008, 16:28   #4
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The C80 looks quite good. If I opted for that one would I need to add a transducer and Easy AIS to complete the package? Presumably a DSC radio would interface with it okay too? Is the AIS unitI need a class B transponder?

Joe
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Old 22 October 2008, 18:28   #5
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The C80 is stunning but not cheap - you would need the DSM300 fishfinder module and a transducer as well. Raymarine's AIS is great but very expensive - I would buy another AIS unit to save money.
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Old 23 October 2008, 02:51   #6
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The C80 is stunning but not cheap - you would need the DSM300 fishfinder module and a transducer as well. Raymarine's AIS is great but very expensive - I would buy another AIS unit to save money.
I Agree, ontop of the price for the C80 unit (I had a C120) which looked amazing , the fish finder module was a whopping 400 odd more
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Old 23 October 2008, 09:04   #7
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Lowrance

Having had a Garmin and now a Lowrance I can really big up the Lowrance, very well made and not overpriced.

I have the LCX 27C with a 7" screen. Excellent bit of kit and can be bought cheaper from the US as well.

Try www.marinewholesales.com
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Old 23 October 2008, 16:15   #8
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We have a Raymarime E80
it taken some serious abuse
I would buy another. but i also think the 3D thing is over done
i would rather spend the extra on a C120 the big screen is great
but its only my opinion
I know that early next year Raymarine are updating all there Chart plotters
if you are not in a rush might be some bargains about
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Old 23 October 2008, 20:12   #9
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Hi Joe

Let’s deal with these questions one by one

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigj View Post
What I am hoping to find is a good quality waterproof unit that will display position, speed and depth in one go. A decent sized colour screen would be good.
Most of the well known brands will do this. What you are after is a Chart Plotter/GPS with fish finder, antenna and echo sounder. Garmin, Raymarine and Standard Horizon have the best reputation with the outdoor wet RIB environment and you will find people that love and slag of each. I have tried many brands and have all of these three fitted to current boats. I agree screen size and button size is very important when bouncing around in a RIB.

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I will want it to interface with a DSC radio
Very straightforward with any of the above mentioned kit (and many others) and most modern DSC sets. Only involves connecting two coloured wires the same way round as the instruction manual says and then walking through the menu on the plotter to select the correct input.


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…and an AIS program either stands alone or integrated. The AIS only needs to display my position to others rather than receive other positions but if it did both then that would be fine.
This is sort of back to front to the norm, you can buy a fairly inexpensive AIS receiver/engine that will display commercial (over 300 tonnes, 24m or 12 passengers or dangerous cargo etc) ships to your screen, you can also hook this AIS engine up to your plotter (or PC/mac on bigger boats). All you will need is the AIS receiver or engine and a normal VHF antenna (separate from your actual VHF antenna).

However if you want to appear on their screens you are going to have to spend a few more beer tokens. Most leisure operators are happy enough to receive info from the large stuff without broadcasting themselves.

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With respect to the speed/depth transducer I would rather not have one that is transom mounted to avoid damage and would prefer either a through hull or hull mounted type.
Most brands suited to small craft should make both available, while through hull usually involves less wiring for RIBs it suffers 2 problems. Firstly it is a potential point of water ingress but a more common problem for a RIBk, is that unless it is placed very far aft it will lift out of the water when on the plane or in rough seas. This is the reason many RIBs go for transom mounted.
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I thought that I read somewhere that it is possible to get a depth sounder that will give a 3-D view of the seabed but I can’t seem to find it! Maybe I dreamt it....?
Yes they exist, Raymarine deliver as do Max Sea and I guess some others, this kind of software is best supported with a Lap Top or pretty top of the range plotters and therefore not fitted on most RIBs. What power boaters are more often after is a forward looking echo sounders. I have used a few and my conclusion is that you need to spend a few quid and calibrate them well. They are not uncommon on larger motor cruisers but the cheap ones seem to me to be pretty ineffective.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigj View Post
The Cobra DSC radio that I have fitted to my Chinook rib is okay except the speaker volume is quite low and you can’t really hear conversations over the engine noise. I am looking to get a Gekko type helmet that will be fitted with a headset and mike and which will plug into the radio. I will also need to speak to other crew members or passengers wearing similar helmets so any suggestions on suitable comms kit would be appreciated.
While Cobra is not the highest regarded brand on here they are well priced, Gecko has a pretty good rep. I am sure there will be someone who can fill you in more. There are a few lifeboat men and Cox’s who post on here that have similar kit and will be able to tell you what works/does not work.

As always only my own opinions, from my own experience but I hope it helps.

Brand wise a lot of it is down to personal preference, most people will swear by what they are familiar with. Do a bit of hunting on here and you will soon find which brands generally please or more importantly displease.
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Old 23 October 2008, 21:34   #10
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Raymarine A series

Have a look at the new A series plotters from Raymarine.

http://www.raymarine.co.uk/products/a-series/
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