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moongirl View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moongirl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: B & G Instruments
    Posted: 27 Jan 2017 at 7:07pm
As my boat's Instruments go back to the dark ages or non-existent I find myself looking for a completely new set up. Although I use an iPad with Navionics (no GPS) and will use it when entering a Harbour or narrow channel I need a GPS to use it. Currently I am looking at both Raymarine and B&G with the latter's Vulcan offering everything I need ie speed, depth,wind,AIS & Navionics + wireless connection to the iPad. Does anyone have experience of B&G?
COLIN
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moongirl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jan 2017 at 7:12pm
Meant to add that the Vulcan 5 might just fit on the 'pod' on the Coachroof - will have to measure it tomorrow (not in Norway!) but Ruth at JR's told me that max height available was 120mm which is the height of the Vulcan 5. Although it's small the unit would at least be less accident prone in that location.



COLIN
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Post Options Post Options   Quote CO923 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Feb 2017 at 5:12pm
We just installed a Vulcan 7 at the back of our chart table. The plan is to use a cheap tablet in the cockpit as remote display and controller. 

We seriously considered modifying the instrument "pod" on the coachroof to take the Vulcan 7, but after much dithering we decided to keep the main chart plotter instrument below decks. 

First impressions of the Vulcan 7 are that it is very capable but not particularly intuitive. It has far too much functionality, most of which we can't use! It boots up quickly and immediately displays AIS contacts from our new AIS, which was a major part of the motivation for the upgrade. 

The instructions are not very clear and it needed a lot of fiddling to understand how to set up custom instrument displays. 

The 7" screen feels small. The right-hand side has a set of numerical displays, which are useful but which I have not yet found out how to remove from view, or reassign, so that reduces the usable chart area to more like a 6" display. I think the 5 inch screen would feel too small.  

 The Vulcan chart plotters only have touch screen control, which doesn't work so well with cold fingers! - and presumably also when wet. I suspect for a cockpit mounted chart plotter you are better to spend the extra on hard-button controls, like the B&G Zeus series.

We decided to leave our old Raymarine instruments in place for the moment, because they still work (sort of), adding AIS was our priority, and getting the new AIS and Chart Plotter integrated with the DSC radio seemed a big enough step - as indeed it was, we had some very odd problems with our aerial connections which took a while to diagnose correctly. The B&G lay line software does look very useful, and the instrument displays are very clear. Maybe next year!

I noticed you currently use navionics charts on a GPS-free iPad. With the B&G wireless software, you can use your iPad as a remote display and controller for the B&G Vulcan 7 chart plotter. This seems to work well, though there is a slight delay in response to control inputs. I don't think you can use the Vulcan 7 as a GPS source for the Navionics charts on your iPad, at least not easily. This means that your Navionics charts on your iPad become sort of redundant except for planning, and for the ability to look at where you are going while the B&G shows you where you are. 

iPads with SIM Card slots do have GPS, which works well with the Navionics chart app most of the time. But my Navionics app and the iPad "location service" stopped talking to each other half way up the Sound of Mull last year, and only talked to each other again after I downloaded a software update at Tobermory!



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Post Options Post Options   Quote moongirl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Feb 2017 at 7:36pm
I have not yet tried the link between the Vulcan and iPad but as I understand it the former creates a wireless network enabling the iPad to see what is on the Chartplotter via connecting to the network. The Vulcan can log on to Marina WiFi to download Navionics updates. One of the main reasons for choosing the systems was that I will have 2 GPS position sources 1 via the DSC radio with its own GPS and 2 on the Vulcan which has its own GPS - we shall see!
COLIN
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Post Options Post Options   Quote CO923 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Feb 2017 at 10:41pm
That's right. The iPad (or an Android tablet) can not only mirror the chart plotter display, but also control the chart plotter. A smartphone can show the display but not control the device.
I haven't tried connecting to a marina network, though I'm not sure I would download chart updates over a marina network if it wasn't really necessary - the iPad Navionics chart download is around 500 MB, and I assume the chart plotter one is similar.
Like you, we have two GPS sources - well three actually - and have taken the opportunity to simplify the way the system starts up:
 - the AIS provides the GPS signal to the DSC-capable VHF radio (an old one which does not have its own GPS but accepts a GPS input on an NMEA 0186 connection); the AIS and VHF radio power up together on the "VHF" power circuit, so our "safety system" now only needs one button-press to bring it up;
 - the Vulcan 7, which has its own GPS and charts, and also gets the AIS targets over an NMEA 2000 connection;
 - our ancient Garmin GPS, which is now not connected to anything else, but is a navigation backup.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote moongirl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Feb 2017 at 9:04am
Agree re Marina WiFi but when away from base which I am planning later in the year & maybe next year I won't have much chance to update - not having a Laptop! Will research further!
COLIN
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