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Electronics – Roundup

Step aboard for a look at the future of navigation: integrated systems, chart plotters, digital radar and 3-D images. Read the other stories in this package: Electronics - 2008   Electronics - Sources   Electronics – Furuno   Electronics – Raymarine   Electronics – Solar flares


The new Si-Tex ColorMax ProL ($2,799) and ColorMax 5EL ($1,299) charting systems with external GPS WAAS/Loran receiver offer WAAS accuracy and true Loran positioning without conversions. The heading output using Loran-C provides bearing accuracy of better than 1 degree, according to Si-Tex, and GPS WAAS technology is accurate to within 10 feet of a waypoint. The ARM9 processor has 64 MB of memory for rapid screen changes and zoom capability. Daylight-viewable, color, active-matrix LCDs measure 10.4 inches for the ColorMax ProL (800 by 600 pixels) and 5 inches for the ColorMax 5EL (240 by 320 pixels). Both units are expandable with optional fishfinder and AIS sensors, and are compatible with C-MAP Max charts. A programmable antigrounding feature warns if a course will take the boat within preset distance of charted shoals, obstructions or shallow water. The ColorMax ProL stores up to 3,000 waypoints or marks, 50 routes of up to 50 waypoints per route, or 5,000 track points with five tracks of up to 1,000 points per track using up to seven track patterns. The ColorMax 5EL stores up to 500 waypoints or marks, 20 reversible routes and 1,000 tracks. A Depth Graph feature accepts input from an onboard sounder or optional active transducer to graphically display a vessel’s current depth and recent depth history. Also available are the ColorMax Pro (external GPS/WAAS antenna, $2,199), ColorMax 5E (external GPS/WAAS antenna, $699) and ColorMax 5I (internal GPS/WAAS antenna, $649), all without the Loran receiver. Si-Tex also has released the GPS-95CP, a GPS/WAAS chart plotter with C-MAP MAX charting on a 4.3-inch color sunlight-viewable TFT LCD. The unit is offered with external (GPS-95CP, $529) or internal (GPS-95CPi, $499) antenna and stores up to 2,000 waypoints, 10,000 event marks, 100 routes with up to 20 waypoints in each route and 50,000 track points. Optional XD-picture cards enable data storage.


Early last year, Garmin introduced its flagship line of GPSMAP 5000 series multifunction displays that feature touch-screen technology: the 5215 (15 inches, $6,428.56), 5212 (12 inches, $3,999) and 5208 (8 inches, $3,428.56). In the fall the company unveiled several new, large multifunction displays, an instrument display, an autopilot and a radome. The GPSMAP 5X15 series and the GPSMAP 4X10 series are designed for use in boats measuring 30-plus feet. The GPSMAP 5015 ($6,321) and 5215 ($6,428) feature the same menu-driven touch screen as its other 5000-series counterparts on a 15-inch XGA display. The 5015 features an enhanced satellite imagery worldwide base map, and the 5215 comes preloaded with detailed U.S. coastal charts and Explorer charts for the Bahamas, as well as a satellite base map. By connecting to the Garmin Marine Network, sonar, radar and weather can be added. Another option is a BlueChart g2 Vision card, with which users can view a 3-D perspective at “mariner’s eye view” above the waterline or “fish eye view” below. An Auto Guidance feature searches through relevant charts to create routes that avoid obstacles, shallow water, buoys and other obstructions. The GPSMAP 4010 ($2,357) and 4210 ($2,464) offer the same features on 10.4-inch SVGA (non-touch screen) displays. The GMI 10 ($535) is an NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 compliant instrument display that features a 3.5-inch sunlight-readable color screen and provides such information as speed, depth, wind and fuel-related data. Incorporating three soft keys and a dedicated “back” button, the unit can display one specific value or be configured to manually cycle through a number of different “pages” of information. The GHP 10 autopilot (price undetermined at press time) is a new generation of the TR-1 Gladiator autopilot. (Garmin acquired the assets of Nautamatic Marine Systems, developer of the TR-1, in 2007.) The GHP 10 features the patented Shadow Drive, which automatically disengages the autopilot if the helm is turned, allowing for quick manual maneuvers, then re-engages on a new steady course. The system doesn’t use a rudder angle sensor — which can be prone to failure — and incorporates a gyro-stabilized heading sensor for maximum performance and reliability in rough seas. The GMR 24 ($1,919) is a 24-inch 4-kW radome that features 4,000 watts of transmit power, dual rotation speed for faster near-target updates, and plug-and-play reliability on the Garmin Marine Network. The radome features a 3.6-degree horizontal and 25-degree vertical beamwidth, with a maximum effective range of 48 nautical miles.


Raymarine’s new flagship G-Series navigation system combines the manufacturer’s chart plotter, radar and digital fishfinder technology with high-speed processing and networking in a 3-D display. The G-Series multifunction system includes ultrabright displays, remote keyboards, and network sensors for radar, fishfinder, GPS, weather and video. High-resolution 12-inch (G120, $5,995), 15-inch (G150, $6,995), 17-inch (G170, $8,995) and 19-inch (G190, $11,995) displays feature wide viewing angles and sharp contrast with adjustable backlighting and a night mode. The displays are built on a marine-grade aluminum chassis and feature an impact-resistant glass fascia that is permanently bonded to the LCD panel, improving contrast, minimizing reflections and preventing condensation, according to Raymarine. The GPM400 processor module ($5,400) makes the G-Series 10 times faster than Raymarine’s previous generation of multifunction displays (E-Series). The processor features a built-in shock-resistant hard drive preloaded with Navionics Platinum cartography for all of North America. Each G-Series display features nine video inputs — three VGA, two DVI, three composite and one S-video — enabling boaters to connect and access all of their video sources, such as cameras, PCs and satellite TV receivers. Moving beyond analog, Raymarine’s new Super HD high-definition radars incorporate digital signal processing to automate and enhance target acquisition and definition. HD digital radar options: 4kW 48-inch open array, $5,090; 4kW 72-inch open array, $5,890; 4kW 48-inch open array, $7,090; 4kW 72-inch open array, $7,890; 12kW, 48-inch open array, $8,790; 12kW, 72-inch open array, $9,590. Other options include a digital sounder module for $2,795 and a video module for $750. An intuitive wireless keyboard ($650) allows for complete control of all stations from one location.


Following the release of NavNet1 in 2001 and NavNet vx2 in 2005, the next generation ofFuruno’s integrated navigation system adds 3-D imagery. NavNet 3D, however, is a completely redesigned, component-based navigation suite. The integral system uses 8.4- ($3,195) or 12.1-inch ($4,495) TFT LCD multifunction displays, while the black box version ($9,995) uses a 12.1-inch TFT LCD with control unit or monitor of your choice. Components that can be added include Ultra High Definition digital radar (options range from $2,400 for a 2.2kW, 24-nautical mile, 18-inch radome to $8,175 for a 25kW, 96 nautical mile 6-foot open array); Digital Filter fishfinder ($800), Sirius Satellite Weather ($995), a GPS/WAAS receiver ($350), autopilot (starting at $2,795) and AIS receiver ($900). Raster, vector and bathymetric NOAA charts for the entire U.S. coastline, including Alaska and Hawaii, are preloaded. Charts can be displayed in either 2-D or 3-D, and Furuno’s new TimeZero technology enables instant, real and seamless chart redraws. The chart can be zoomed seamlessly and continuously in and out to whatever scale is desired. Charts can be panned and scrolled in real-time then, at the push of one button, returned to the vessel’s position. High-resolution satellite photography can be fused with the raster or vector charts in a technique called Satellite PhotoFusion, which allows land areas to be completely opaque and displayed simply as satellite photos on the chart. As water depth increases, the satellite photography becomes more transparent to reveal where shallows end and deeper water begins. The satellite photography can be added at no additional cost by downloading to an SD card from the NavNet Web site ( and uploading it to the system. Ultra High Definition Ethernet-based radar sensors deliver a dual-progressive scan that transmits two separate echo signals, creating a real-time, dual-range radar.


ACR Electronics’ Nauticast B ($1,180) is a Class B transmit-and-receive AIS transponder for recreational and small commercial boats. The unit transmits and receives vessel information (identity, position, speed and course over ground) to and from surrounding traffic with AIS equipment. Data overlays directly onto a chart with an AIS-capable chart plotter or a laptop, with the option of either a remote Safety Related Message button that saves the coordinates of an incident and immediately generates a safety distress message to surrounding vessels or a stealth mode that enables receiving AIS data without sharing, which ACR added as a security feature to prevent being picked up in areas known for piracy. A safety switch can be mounted on the console for easy access in case of an accident. The DC-powered unit (9.6 to 15.6 volt) consumes 4 watts on average. The Nauticast B has yet to receive FCC approval in the United States and isn’t yet available at retail here. All Class B AIS transponders were awaiting approval as of press time.


Simrad’s new AI50 Class B AIS unit ($1,500) both transmits and receives data, unlike traditional Class B AIS units, which only receive data from Class A-equipped commercial vessels. The AI50 transmits position and course data, enabling all AIS vessels in the area to know the boat’s heading. The unit displays and transmits boat name and MMSI, type of boat, closest point of approach, time to CPA, vessel course, speed, heading and rate of turn on a daylight-viewable, waterproof, color LCD with built-in coastline maps for simple operation. Adjustable range rings can be set to trigger alarms that warn of potential collision with approaching vessels. Simrad also has introduced two new autopilots for both power- and sailboats from 25 to 80 feet: the AP24 ($2,349, excluding drive) and AP28 ($2,694, excluding drive). Manufactured by Navico, they feature Simrad’s Virtual Rudder Feedback technology, which eliminates the need for a rudder feedback unit when installed on outboard-powered or sterndrive boats. Both are compatible with SimNet, Simrad’s NMEA 2000-based data bus. Other features include no drift course, water depth contour steering, and advanced wind steering programs. The AP24 features a 4-inch digital display, while the AP28 has a 4.5-inch digital LCD and rotary knob control. Simrad’s new IS20 range of display instruments (price yet to be determined) consists of two digital and four analog instrument heads, all based on the SimNet data bus. The displays, which show real-time graphical representation of instrument data from Simrad sensors, can shift between a range of display styles, from large digital to detailed, multi-informational readouts.


Lowrance says its new broadband sounder offers dramatically better imagery and versatility for anglers. The plug-and-play Ethernet module, Broadband Sounder-1 ($599), produces digitally enhanced marking and separation of fish, structure, thermoclines and bottom without surface and turbulent water clutter, according to the company. Designed for salt- or freshwater use, the module is compatible with all Lowrance 2007 models with 5-inch or larger color displays, and works with all Lowrance transducers. The sounder has a nominal output power of 250 watts peak-to-peak, with an analog output power equivalent to 30,000 watts peak-to-peak and depth capability upward of 10,000 feet. An optional Navico Expansion Port-1 allows sonar sharing for up to four compatible displays. Lowrance plans to add XM Satellite Weather and Ethernet radar compatibility. The company also has unveiled a new line of 8.4-inch, 16-bit color displays with 600-by-800 Super VGA resolution: the LCX-38C HD ($1,699), LCX-37C ($1,699), GlobalMap 8300C HD ($1,599) and GlobalMap 8200C ($1,599). All feature Lowrance’s proprietary SolarMAX screen technology designed to maximize viewing at wide angles and in bright sunlight. Also new are two fixed-mount VHF radios (LVR-880, $189; and LVR-250, $119) and two hand-held VHFs (LHR-22, $129.99; and LHR-20, $99.99). Lowrance announced last summer that, starting with model year 2007, all of its chart plotters will be compatible with Navionics Platinum charts.


Interphase has expanded the capability of its SE-200 forward-looking black box sonar system, introduced a year ago, with a sunlight-viewable color display with integral keypad. The VGA-7 ($999.95) features a 3.4-inch-by-6.1-inch display with a 16:9 aspect ratio for full-screen forward views or split screen views showing the underwater area ahead and the bottom below. The unit, which comes with a quick-disconnect base for security, can operate as a single station, or a second unit can be added for use with an optional remote keypad. It is compatible with video-enabled multifunction displays, chart plotters and radars from Raymarine, Garmin, Northstar, Simrad and Furuno, according to the company, as well as large VGA flat panel displays from VEI, Nauticomp, Big Bay Technologies, Computech, Vartech System and others. The SE-200 Sonar Engine packages include transducer, black box and remote keypad ($2,149 to $3,099). Interphase also has integrated the SE-200 control box into its stand-alone forward-looking color sounder line. The iScan180 SE, Color Twinscope SE and iScanV90 SE all have the same features as the previous line but with the added SE-200 control box. Interphase also expanded its Chart Master line of plotters with the value-priced 169CSi ($649).


Navigation software manufacturer Maptech’s venture into hardware ended in 2007, when it halted production on its i3 touch-screen multifunction display. The company is going back to its strength: software. The i3, meanwhile, has evolved into The Maestro ($10,999), with Faria Marine Instruments making the hardware and Maptech providing the software. Faria calls The Maestro the first true “marine computer system,” and it consists of a sealed, fanless central processing unit and high-resolution daylight-readable TFT touch screen (12.1- or 8.4-inch), with Maptech Navigator software. Each CPU can simultaneously run up to two touch screens (helm and flybridge), and S-video output enables all system functions to be viewed on any other S-video-enabled television on board. Features include 2-D and 3-D chart plotting and chart overlay, photos and topographic maps, network radar, sonar, autopilot expandability and four-camera capability. The software allows users to control on-screen operations by touching and dragging a finger across the screen. The Maestro comes equipped with on-board Wi-Fi and a PCMCIA slot that enables broadband two-way Internet accessibility when wireless networks aren’t available.,


Navionics’ new flagship Platinum+ cartography ($499) combines high-resolution satellite and aerial photography overlays, XGA panoramic pictures, improved 3-D bathymetric bottom detail, and high-definition fishing data. Platinum+ has up to four times higher resolution (25 centimeters per pixel) than Platinum, according to Navionics, and features panoramic pictures of marinas, ports, passes and other locations in XGA (1,024 by 768) resolution, as well as more detailed 3-D contours and advanced bottom profiles. In addition, Navionics has geo-referenced the entire U.S. Coast Pilot. Platinum+ charts are available in the company’s XL3-size regions and are distributed on an 8GB SD or CF digital media card. All Navionics customers who own Platinum+, Platinum or Gold+ cartography for U.S. waters also can obtain Fish’N Chip high-definition fishing charts at no additional cost. Also available is the latest version of its lake cartography, HotMaps Premium 2008 Edition ($149), with charts for more than 12,000 U.S. and Canadian lakes.


Fugawi Marine ENC software now supports Navionics Platinum and HotMaps Platinum multidimensional electronic charts, allowing boaters using PCs as their sole electronics mapping and navigation platform to use Navionics charts. Likewise, boaters who use Navionics Platinum and HotMaps Platinum compatible chart plotters can use the same cartography in their navigation PC. A free upgrade for users of Fugawi Marine ENC version 4.5 ($279.95) is available for download from the Fugawi Web site ( Platinum charts feature 3-D bathymetric views, aerial photography, satellite overlays, panoramic photos, port information and pilot books. Customers with Fugawi Marine ENC version 4.5 also have access to such advanced features as Google Earth, AIS and weather overlays.


Standard Horizon has introduced two new floating hand-held VHF radios (one with built-in GPS and digital selective calling) and brought back a fixed-mount VHF with DSC capability. The HX750S ($149.99) and HX850S ($249.99) hand-helds are submersible to 3.3 feet for 30 minutes, according to the company, and are ergonomically shaped with rubberized armor for non-slip grip. The radios transmit at 6 watts and feature an SOS strobe light, built-in thermometer sensor, and speaker mic jack. Standard Horizon says the HX850S is the only floating hand-held VHF with built-in GPS. Advanced features include radio/position, radio /SOG/COG pages, and SC-101 DSC including position request and position report. Both radios come with drop-in cradles and 110 VAC and 12 VDC chargers. The Eclipse DSC ($99.99) is designed as an affordable, compact 25-watt fixed-mount waterproof VHF. Features include a large LCD that displays LAT/LON or channel numbers, programmable scan, priority scan and dual watch, all U.S. and international marine channels, NOAA weather channels with weather alert, and SC-101 DSC including position request and position report with NMEA in/output to a GPS chart plotter.


Jeppesen Marine, parent company of Nobeltec and C-MAP, has announced an OEM partnership with Koden that enables C-MAP MAX charts to work on two new Koden chart plotter/radar systems. The basic K-Link system consists of a professional-grade, dual-range radar and chart plotter in one unit that shares up to three displays (radar, plotter, GPS compass or sounder) using a high-speed Ethernet network protocol. With an optional black-box sounder and GPS/WAAS receiver, K-Link is designed to be an all-in-one navigation system. The K-Link MDP-600 Series ($2,650) features a high-resolution, 7-inch color LCD and a range of radar antennas, including 2-kW/24-nautical-mile and 4-kW/36-nm radomes, as well as a 4-kW/48-nm open array. The larger MDP-1200 Series ($3,760) features a 10.4-inch display with a 4-kW/36-nm radome or open array scanners from 4-kW/48-nm to 12-kW/72-nm. Both units combine color, daylight-viewable displays with programmable function keys and second station capabilities. Features include radar/chart overlay and a Semi-3D mode designed to help navigators size up the intensity of radar targets.


Both K-Link systems can store 8,300 waypoints, 50 routes and 7,000 track points. Last spring C-MAP updated its charts for the Bahamas ($199), adding 25 new C-Marina charts for key Bahamian ports — including Treasure Cay Marina, Marsh Harbour, West Bay, Great Exuma Island Marina and Turtle Cove Marina — and additional aerial photos of Bahamian harbors and inlets. Also, Wavey Line paper chart data for the Turks and Caicos has been digitized for use on MAX-based GPS/chart plotters from Furuno, Northstar, Simrad, Si-Tex, Standard Horizon, Cobra and Interphase. C-MAP MAX and NT+/PC v.10 ($199 for Wide, $249 for MegaWide), the latest and most comprehensive version of the company’s electronic chart database for use with PC navigation programs, was released last summer. Version 10 offers charts for the entire world on 13 CDs and now includes MAX bathymetric/ contour charts and MAX Lakes maps. ; ;