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Author Topic:   I-Command, Navman, or Both
kamie posted 10-30-2006 08:39 PM ET (US)   Profile for kamie   Send Email to kamie  
I currently have a Navman 3100 Fuel Flow monitor and I am repowering with a E-TEC and I-Command gauges. Since the gauges can provide fuel information such as fuel remaining, trip information and other functions currently being performed with the Navman, do I need to have both? The one thing the Navman does for me, that the I-Command does not is take speed information from my GPS and display it so I don't have to clutter up my GPS screen.
Thoughts anyone? Have the people who repowered and upgraded to I-Command, dropped or kept their Navman or other fuel flow instruments?
andygere posted 10-31-2006 11:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I have a Standard Horizon FF-14 fuel flow instrument, and I kept it despite installing the I-Command tach with my new E-TEC. I like it's low fuel level alarm function, and I like to keep my fuel burn rate showing in the large display. I did not opt for the I-Command Speedo, which is needed if you want to monitor tank level, etc. To me, calculating fuel level based on fuel burn (done automatically by the SH instrument) is more than adequate. If you like the NavMan, I'd keep it.
jimh posted 10-31-2006 10:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I have a had NAVMAN 3100 Fuel instrument for two seasons, and I think it is just about the coolest addition to the boat since power trim. Having a reading on instantaneous fuel consumption in MPG is just great.

However, in spite of my fondness for the NAVMAN 3100, I would give serious consideration to switching over to the LOWRANCE NMEA-2000 fuel monitoring gauges because of their network compatibility. When you re-power with an E-TEC--and here I am assuming it will be one of the E-TEC motors with NMEA-2000 certification--I would move all my instrumentation over to the network approach.

I don't know if there is going to be any real advantage to going with the NMEA-2000 fuel monitoring. I don't even know if it will duplicate all the functions on the 3100. But I do like the concept of a digital data bus for all the instruments. I guess it is the technology that attracts me.

It will be hard to beat or even measure up to the 3100. But, if the NMEA-2000 networked system comes close, I'd give it a try, just to explore the concept and to get acquainted with the new system.

Off the top of my head, I don't recall if the I-Command instruments offer all the features of the 3100. The LOWRANCE LMF-400 display and EP-xx fuel flow transducer, together with a NMEA-2000 GPS receiver will give you most of that functionality.

What way to go? It is really a tough call. That NAVMAN device works so well there is really no reason to change it!

Let me give you a parable about networking:

We have recently acquired a nice laptop computer--in fact I am using it now. The laptop belongs to Chris (technically) and she just has fallen in love with the thing. (Of course, it is a Macintosh PowerBook G4). She likes to sit in the living room using the laptop.

About two weeks ago the wireless base unit went into test mode. I think it is a goner. It is about 3 years old, and it was an early model. I have been busier than usual the past several weekends, and I could not get to the store to buy a new wireless base. So there was no network connection for Chris's laptop.

Now this laptop is a fantastic computer. I mean just a few years ago anyone would have given their left arm to have a computer like this. But since then a huge paradigm shift has occurred in computers. Without a network connection, computers are not as much fun as they used to be. And, without a wireless network connection, this great computer just sat unused for two weeks. As soon as I got the wireless base station replaced, the laptop was back on and being used several hours every night. But without the network, this great computer just sat there. This is the new paradigm: the network is the important thing, not the computer. It is the power of the network that really brings the fun to the computer.

This same sort of thing will happen in your recreational boat. You'll have a network of all the devices on the boat. They will all be talking to each other. The engine, the GPS, the SONAR, the RADAR, the fuel tank, the battery--they will all be networked. That is what NMEA-2000 is going to do for us.

kamie posted 11-01-2006 08:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for kamie  Send Email to kamie     
It is true, I will have 2 networks on the boat using different protocols, not a single integrated network. I believe that the two networks will function quite nicely and not having to replace all of my electronics to achieve seamless integrations will be a cheaper option. Future requirements of technology refreshes on Evenstar will include mandatory integration to the single preferred network, the protocol as yet to be determined.
mfrymier posted 11-08-2006 07:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for mfrymier  Send Email to mfrymier     
Kamie, some other thoughts:

The iCommand fuel stuff is pretty darn cool -- can't imagine data that you would want that isn't there. I do recommend the iCommand digital option (vs icommand classic) as the fuel manager options are a bit easier to display in this format.

Three options on speed:

1) you could install the iCommand compatible tri-ducer with paddle wheel speed, or

2) You can order the Evinrude "branded" GPS receiver that mounts in your console to drive the iCommand system, or

3) You could upgrade your GPS to an external NMEA 2000 device (Lowrance), giving you the best of all worlds, defaying the cost by selling both your current GPS and fuel flow stuff.

BTW, I didn't integrate a GPS into my system, to be honest I don't mind turning on my GPS to see how fast I'm going, and to be REALLY honest, do we really care exactly how fast we're going???? I don't miss the "speedo" at all.

kamie posted 11-09-2006 05:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for kamie  Send Email to kamie     
Thanks Matt,

If I had know the engine would going to die I would have gotten a fishfinder with NMEA 2000 and then I would have just faced swapping the GPS to connect everything. I did not know that, crystal ball was broken that day so I have the fishfinder, GPS and Navman that can all talk NMEA 0183, with the I-Command on NMEA 2000. For what I am going to do, I think I will leave the setup I have until I decide to replace all the electronics at some point in the future.

I am going with the I-Command Digital for the ease of install and I really think they look pretty cool. Just not sure if it will be analog or digital screens.

jimh posted 11-09-2006 08:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
These days a GPS receiver is not every expensive, and you can buy a NMEA-2000 compliant GPS receiver for a modest amount. The GPS receiver just sits there receiving satellite signals and deducing your position and speed.

When most people speak about their "GPS" they are really talking about a chart plotting device that has a GPS receiver combined with a large display and digital chart cartography. In terms of the value, the GPS portion of these devices is only a few hundred dollars. All of the rest of the value is in the display, the digital cartography, and the operating system that wraps it all together into an easy to use navigation instrument. In a $3,000 "GPS", the real GPS receiver is probably only $150 of the cost.

The idea that the GPS receiver can be built out from the display system will become more common in recreational boats.

kamie posted 11-19-2006 05:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for kamie  Send Email to kamie     
There are now gateways to allow you to connect your NMEA 0183 devices to any new NMEA 2000 backbone.

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