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Author Topic:   Electronics package recommendation
TFLeonard posted 08-16-2009 12:10 PM ET (US)   Profile for TFLeonard   Send Email to TFLeonard  
I'm in the market for a 2010 Ventura 180 with Yamaha FP150 and my dealer now tells me that Boston Whaler will not be offering a factory installed electronics package. Originally I was going to buy the Northstar 650 GPS and Fishfinder with the Northstar VHF radio and add the C-Map chip for the northern Bahamas. That would have been fine since it would be installed correctly, and I'd get it covered under the warranty. Now I'm on my own and I'm scrambling to learn as much as I can as to what my choices are. Therefore, please give me some recommendations since it'll be likely that I have to buy this stuff sight unseen.

Some of the criteria:

--6-inch or bigger sunlight viewable screen, need to be able to read it without my reading glasses in an open deck

--detailed charts of New Providence Bahamas and perhaps a forward sensing sonar to help warn for coral heads before I'm on top of them

--integrated emergency broadcast with VHF radio - Radio can automatically know the GPS location and broadcast it when the panic button is pushed

--deally, off-line PC capability for plotting routes and entering dive spots with PC software.

Other than the Northstar 650 I've looked at:

--Garmin (screen a bit small, and VHF radio intergration is unknown)

--Standard Horizon CPV350 combo GPS/VHF (looks like a nice screen size and VHF integration solves one headache.)

--Raymarine A series (reviews say screen is just OK)

As far as SONAR, I really only want it if it will help warn of coral heads ahead of me. I don't fish so sonar which scan directly below the stern doesn't help much. Does anyone know if any through the hull transducers work on the Ventura 180? I've heard that due to Boston Whaler's hull construction through hull doesn't work. Any confirmation of that?

Obviously if you have any recommendations or caveats please let me know. I feel like a real novice here, especially with the installation stuff.

SJUAE posted 08-16-2009 02:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE    
TFLeonard

There is quite a few recent discussions on Combo units from Garmin, Lowrance, Standard Horizon, and Raymarine. Have a read through them and try and get some hands on experiance from a good supplier

All the above do larger displays >7" that will interface with your VHF and much more

Whaler parts shows a flat on your hull for a raw water thru hull fitting I would assume the mirrored flat could be used for a thru hull transducer, check the owners manual see if it's mentioned

Regards
Steve

jimh posted 08-17-2009 08:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
For the VHF Marine Band radio, get a Class-D DSC radio.

For digital cartography recommendations for your area, check with other local boaters. Non-US cartography is often quite different from the usual bundled charts included. C-MAP or NAVIONICS probably have good cartography.

There are no forward-looking SONAR sets for a small outboard boat.

jimh posted 08-17-2009 08:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Integration of the VHF Marine Band radio with the GPS receiver and chart plotter can be accomplished by using NMEA-0183 serial data connections. The GPS receiver sends the radio data about the vessel location. The radio sends the chart plotter data about other vessels locations. Once you select a radio and chart plotter, you can get help wiring the two serial data communication links.

Wiring and configuring serial data connections can be very difficult for people who are not familiar with it. There are endless threads seeking advice about this, so I would judge that it is a difficult task for many boaters.

An alternative is to get a VHF Marine Band radio with a NMEA-2000 network connection, and also a GPS receiver and chart plotter with a NMEA-2000 networking connection. Interconnection takes place on the network, and you do not need to fiddle with individual serial data connections. Of course, you have to build a NMEA-2000 network on your boat, but that is often easier than making those serial connections.

Plotman posted 08-18-2009 12:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
I was just on a boat that had a Lowrance suite - they had the 8" combo GPS/Fishfinder, a second fishfinder, two multifunction displays for things like fuel flow, fuel level, water temp, etc, and a VHF. All were networked with Lowrance's NMEA-2000 bus and worked flawlessly.
padrefigure posted 08-21-2009 05:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for padrefigure  Send Email to padrefigure     
I will vote for a Garmin solution. My Outrage 22 has a GPSMAP 540S that has performed very well, but I believe this is a bit small for your requirements. I have operated a 42 foot Post that had a complete Garmin suite of sonar, radar, XM weather, GPS, autopilot and it worked flawlessly. We navigated to specific hard bottom locations in the Gulf of Mexico up to 180 miles offshore. We used the autopilot and radar to navigate at night. It was neat to see AIS in action. I am sure that other brands offer similar functionality, but you asked for an opinion and having seen the integration of the Garmin equipment, that will be my choice (again) when I upgrade. I just look forward to having a boat that can support all of this sophisticated equipment.

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