diy-electronics-glass_helm_display-largeIn the April 2010 issue of Canadian Yachting, we were starting to "frame up" the glass helm from the perspective of an older boat that deserves better navigation and ancillary equipment.

Of course, the "glass helm" refers to the single screen onto which all the information can be displayed. Several companies now offer NMEA 2000-certified multifunction display systems and once the NMEA 2000 trunk line (or backbone) is installed in your boat, the next logical step is to buy your multifunction display screen.

That multifunction screen – your new glass helm – can display cartography, GPS data, depth and sounding information, alarm functions for fire, heat, CO, full monitoring of AC and DC loads and weather feeds as well as a host of engine information – anything that is now on a gauge and a number of things that aren't.

It can be far more than just the traditional engine rpm, oil pressure and temperatures. A NMEA 2000 display that is connected to a new, electronically managed engine can now show live, real time fuel flow and gallons per hour consumption; some can synchronize both engines to exact rpm levels and more. As long as there is a NMEA 2000-certified device to send the information (most of it taken from the electronic engine control module), a NMEA 2000 display can show it.

NMEA 2000 networks are the hot new setup with more and more manufacturers adopting or including this technology within their product offerings. This would include such companies as Furuno, Garmin, Raymarine, Mercury (requires a SmartCraft to NMEA 2000 gateway), Yamaha, BRP, Suzuki, Yanmar and Volvo, to name a few.

Noland Engineering, based in Florida, has just introduced the RS11. This will allow a boat owner to connect to his existing older analog engine sensors (oil pressure, water, rpm, etc.) and convert this information to NMEA 2000 format. He can then see his engine data on any screen that will accept it.

The benefits of a great new multifunction display are many. Considering the average age of the population though, the number one benefit is bound to be size. The bigger the display, the easier it will be to see. Some are up to 14 inches. Furuno using a NN3D BB, can go to any size screen you want 15,17, even 23 inches.

Next comes brightness. The feature to look for is "daylight viewable" so the display is clearly visible even in sunlight.

The user interface is key – it needs to be simple and intuitive to get the information you want without a lot of scrolling through screens or menus. That brings us to the latest development in user interface issues – the touch screen.

To get a better sense of what Canadian consumers were asking for, we contacted a few key retailers who carry a lot of electronics equipment: Ken Johnston at Roton in Vancouver, Jack Summers at Radioworld in Toronto and Chris Shaw at the Binnacle in Halifax.

We asked Ken Johnston if he felt the touch screen was a better product. His answer was that people have become attracted to the touch screen functions after using them on their iPods, their Garmin GPS in their cars and other home electronics.

In the calm waters of the marina or yacht club, it's easy to lay in a route using a touch screen but when the boat is rocking in rough water, setting waypoints and making adjustments on a touch screen can be more difficult. He likes the fact that some units, like those from Garmin and Raymarine offer a touch screen product that also has buttons.

Going back to the beginning, these displays were developed for showing cartography and the added functions have evolved from that. So, it is obvious that excellent cartography is important and expected. Chris Shaw at the Binnacle was very enthusiastic about the new Garmin charts and the fact that at his retail price of just $170, the new chips give you the proper Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) charts – great!

We also paid a visit to Jack Summers at Radioworld in Toronto. Jack pointed out that the Lowrance HDS 5 broadband sonar fishfinder is around seven or eight hundred dollars and it has an NMEA 2000-certified display. Once you're into NMEA 2000 you can add radar, weather, tank levels and more. The HDS 5 has a 5-inch screen, but they have models up to 10".

Most of the Garmin line is NMEA 2000 capable and the new 5000 series starts at $2899 MSRP on their web site for an 8.4 inch touch screen; the sounder is extra. That size screen is about the middle of the road with 14 inches being at the high end and 3.5 inches at the small end.

Jack Summers mentioned the Garmin 700 series which gives you a 7-inch screen at only $1300. Gamins' GPSMAP 5012 is $3399 and it's super bright as well as a 12-inch touch screen – an excellent value.

Jack describes Furuno as the Cadillac of the group. He pointed out to us that the Ontario Provincial Police use Furuno 1900 series screens that are only $1820.

Coming out in the next few months is the new Furuno RD33. This is an example of the latest technology; the screen is only 4.3" but it is "sunlight viewable" and has high contrast with very large numerals. Like many of the better multifunction displays, you can customize the display format from full screen to a six-way split screen presentation. It also has alarm monitoring capabilities for water, temperature, depth, speed, arrival, and eight other "alarmed" functions!

This aggressively priced new Furuno RD33 can display a wide range of different information about depth, speed, timer, wind, heading, navigation, environment, autopilot, engine and fishery information of all types too. It also has a built in NMEA 0183 converter to help connect older devices to a NMEA 2000 system. One of these on a mid-size cruiser would be great; it could also be an attractive addition beside a second larger display and it would be excellent to have an RD33 as a remote in the cabin.

Ken made an important point about how owners like to have the "cosmetics" of their equipment all fit together and the newer and more valuable the boat, the more important those aesthetics become. Even on older boats, the look of the helm is very important, particularly at resale time.

The idea that all this equipment is compatible and can be interconnected is a hard topic to grasp but as we explained in the previous issue of Canadian Yachting, in a NMEA 2000 cable system, there is just one line called the "trunk" (also referred to as the backbone) and then what is called "drop line" topology.

The trunk, or backbone cable includes five wires within a single waterproof cable: two signal wires, power and ground wires and a drain wire. The drain wire shields the signal, power and ground wires from external Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) and it also helps to reduce RFI emissions from the cable. From the trunk line, a "drop tee" connector is used to take a line off to any piece of equipment.

The NMEA 2000 cable system with one simple line, delivers both the power and the switching capability.

The key to how the network functions is in the "Parameter Group Numbers" or simply PGNs. The PGNs identify the manufacturer, the product, and functions to deliver information on the network. Each manufacturer will determine the information to be sent or received to their devices based on these PGNs. An example we gave last time was the wind sensor from Maretron, the WSO 100. This will communicate PGN 130306 which is wind data. If you connect this to a display that has this PGN included in its software then it has the ability to display wind information, regardless of manufacturer.

Applying that, you can take a drop tee off a NMEA 2000 backbone and connect it to your new "glass helm" display at the helm. If it was a GPS chartplotter unit, you have navigation capabilities. It could be a small screen to start. Later, you can add other drop tees to sending devices like your engine, water or holding tank, even video cameras on the back deck and if the software allows it, the little display can carry that information.

Let's say a couple of seasons from now you want to upgrade to a bigger display at the helm, you can still use your old display at the second helm station or in the cabin by your chart table...the flexibility is amazing!

What will NMEA 2000 offer next? A full AC and DC switching system is coming later in 2010. Imagine being able to do remote monitoring and alarming from your iPhone? You could even turn on the air conditioning from your car, on the way to boat...all because of NMEA 2000 technology.

Modern marine engines run at very high temperatures and rely on a few methods to keep their temperatures within an acceptable range (somewhere between 120 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit).
This beauty came our way from Reel Deal Yachts in ...
This new legislation from Washington State ...
For dedicated boaters, the quality and care of ...
The Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland and ...
The Royal Victoria Yacht Club with the support of ...

Destinations

  • Prev
In the 1920s, a small cove in Canoe Bay was used as a shipping point and safe-haven for rum runners ...
Here’s an update from Caroline Swann with some news for the adventurous types who may be heading to ...
The New Glasgow marina is located about six miles up the East River of Pictou in the heart of the ...
The British Virgins took a huge hit last fall from Irma. Boats were stranded on the shore by the ...
Located about half way between Shediac and the Miramichi on New Brunswick’s Acadian Coast, the town ...
Suddenly the once forsaken city of Hamilton, Ontario is booming for at least two good reasons.
The Salty Dawg Sailing Association (SDSA) invites all sailors to join a cruising rally from the ...
Long popular with New England and St. John area boaters, Passamaquoddy Bay is too often overlooked ...
We did breakfast yesterday in the Greek port of Piraeus, just outside Athens:strong coffee, crisp ...
After much speculation Prince Harry finally popped the question to American actress and longtime ...

 

My Happy Place – Lake Simcoe and the Trent-Severn Waterway

My Happy Place – Lake Simcoe and the Trent-Severn WaterwayBy Paul and Sheryl Shard

It’s funny how a body of water can shape you. Shape your mood. Shape your friendships. Shape your future.

Since you’re reading Canadian Yachting, then I’m pretty sure you have a sense of what I’m talking about here - a favourite lake, bay, pond, river or ocean that, when you’re near it, in it or on it, it makes your heart sing and good things happen.

For me, this is Lake Simcoe and the Trent-Severn Waterway in Ontario. Although my husband, Paul, and I have sailed over 100,000 nautical miles in the four sailboats we’ve owned and have been blessed to visit..

Read more about Lake Simcoe and the Trent-Severn Waterway....

 

The Moorings Banner

Lifestyle

  • Prev
This beauty came our way from Reel Deal Yachts in Bahia Mar, Florida. Why not charter for the ...
This new legislation from Washington State Department of Fisheries applies to boats launched in ...
Don’t miss this brilliant photo double header
In honour of Launch Day, our POTW this time comes from Wendy Loat in Port Credit. This shot, taken ...
Our favorite, Man-O-War Cay, is home to the Albury Boat Building empire. They have been building ...
On the Easter Weekend, the Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club from Vancouver Island, had its first ...
We were finally able to get a SIM card and data plan on our phone Monday morning. We could now ...
It’s Friday afternoon at the Newport Yacht Club in Stoney Creek, and that can only mean one thing - ...
As things are always better in the Bahamas, especially during Canadian winters, so too are things ...
We were all set with this week’s POTW when a real stunner came in as part of a story on the Blind ...
Canadian Yachting Digital May 2018

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
At the boat shows, the Ranger Tugs’ classic tugboat lines always grab the crowds, with the wives ...
Tactical Custom Boats announces the sale to a North American client of a custom Tactical 77’ – Fast ...
Bruce Elliott is an inventor. And when he sold the technology he developed to build utility poles ...
One often asks of a winning achievement or a fabulous design, could it have possibly been done ...
The latest new model from Cruisers Yachts is the Cantius 42 and this yacht made its debut in the ...
The Sabre 45 Salon Express is new for 2017, making its debut at the Fort Lauderdale International ...
Jeanneau’s newest NC model is the NC 33, and it’s an exciting and innovative inboard cruiser ...
The Four Winns H290OB combines two of the most popular new big boat trends to come up with a great ...
Commodore’s Boats is a full service shipyard with over 50 years of generational history and ...

 

Ranger Tugs R-23

Ranger Tugs R-23By: Andy Adams

At the boat shows, the Ranger Tugs’ classic tugboat lines always grab the crowds, with the wives and children most likely to want to stop and have a better look. Well, they should, because the Ranger Tugs R-23 deserves a second look…a long look in fact.

Yes, it’s really a “personality” boat that looks great out on the water, and it will turn heads and start conversations at the gas docks, the locks, or just about anywhere boaters congregate, but the Ranger Tugs R-23 is far more than just cute.

Read more about the Ranger Tugs R-23...

 

 

DIY & How to

  • Prev
Modern marine engines run at very high temperatures and rely on a few methods to keep their ...
Pyrotechnic distress flares have been around for decades, while electronic strobe distress flares ...
In the early spring, just after launch, with the hustle and bustle of engine checks, antifouling, ...
All engines, including marine engines (inboards, outboards and stern drives) have many moving parts ...
Most of us don’t give a second thought to our sacrificial anodes – those curious knobs of raw metal ...
I once heard an argument at a yacht club. Two old salts, patiently itching to let go lines and ...
In this time of boat show afterglow, many boaters are counting the days until launch. 
This one-day course consists of both theory and practical demonstration sessions, is designed to ...
Water has a funny way of making its way into a boat: through through-hulls, stuffing boxes, leaks, ...
If you walk the aisles at a boat show, visit a marine store, or stop in at a repair shop, you’ll ...

Marine Products

  • Prev
Industry Firsts Include Direct Injection and Integrated Electric Steering System
Verviers, Belgium, 18 May 2018 — Mercury Marine, the world leader in marine propulsion technology, ...
Again, we return to the beginning. We started this column with a look at marine navigation for ...
Ga-Oh (spirit of the winds in Algonquin) creates bags and other items from re-purposed sails.
The 2018 Northwest Boat Travel Guide just arrived. This time of the year is the perfect time for ...
We are all looking to gain a little more time these days, and technology is often the route we ...
While they are no longer a part of the CPS Flare Program, Fogh Boat Supplies and Fogh Marine, both ...
We have all had the experience of heading down below on a nice boat only to encounter an unpleasant ...
Starting from the top. If you partake in any winter activities, you have probably heard that your ...
Last year when this column launched a good deal of time was spent understanding global satellite ...