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Author Topic:   NMEA-2000 Instrument Color Displays
jimh posted 11-04-2012 09:45 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
For quite a while the market for a NMEA-2000 color instrument display has been the exclusive realm of the GARMIN GMI-10. The GMI-10 is a versatile color display that connects to a NMEA-2000 network. It can be configured to display many different data parameters available on the typical boat NMEA-2000 network. I had actually never seen a GMI-10 in person until just recently. The color display is quite nice. The on-screen graphics are very nicely designed. The display looked quite bright. The user interface is provided by a set of several front-panel buttons, and in a few minutes of using the GMI-10 the layout of menus and options seemed reasonably clear. The cost of the GMI-10 is typically in the range of $450 to $500. I was impressed with the GMI-10 overall, but I thought the display was actually a bit small.

In comparison, for about the same cost you could buy a decent 5-inch color chart plotter, GPS receiver, SONAR, and chart cartography. A Lowrance HDS-5 can be purchased for about the same cost as a GMI-10. In an HDS-5 you'd get a larger display, plus a GPS receiver, a chart plotter, a lot of digital chart cartography, a SONAR, a transducer, and mounting hardware. There would be a lot more stuff in the HDS-5 box than in the GMI-10 box. The drawback to the HDS-5 as an instrument display is its overall size. It is too big to mount on an instrument panel. The GMI-10 fits in the same area as a traditional 3.5-inch round gauge. Curiously, you can even buy a Garmin-brand chart plotter for less than the GMI-10. The GPSMap421 has a larger display, a GPS receiver, and a chart plotter, and it has an MSRP of only $400. The GMI-10 has an MSRP of $500, or $100 more.

Raymarine recently entered the NMEA-2000 instrument color display market with their new i7 device. The i7 is similar to the GMI-10, but it has a larger screen area. Raymarine says it is 30-percent larger than competitors. The i7 can show the usual NMEA-2000 data, and it also can display AIS targets. But it uses the silly SeaTalkNG connectors, making it a hassle to connect to a standard Micro-C backbone, requiring a SeaTalk to DeviceNET adaptor cable which will add to the cost. The i7 is selling on the web for $535. The sun cover is extra, another $15. And the adaptor cable is $30. This brings the total for an i7 to $580. Yikes--that is pricey.

I have not seen a Raymarine i7 in person, but it looks rather cool in the promotional images. Other than the price, it seems like an ideal solution for instrumentation on a small boat. But at $580 I am not tempted at all. At that price point I'd rather buy a small chart plotter. I guess the attraction of these displays are there small footprint on a dashboard or instrument panel, but you really pay for the smaller size.

jharrell posted 11-04-2012 10:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for jharrell    
I wonder if or when Lowrance will upgrade their LMF Guages to color and if they do can they retain the same pricing?

jimh posted 11-05-2012 07:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The Lowrance LMF series of monochrome instrument displays have been on the market a long time without any change or upgrade, and, when you compare the display quality to the GMI-10 or the i7, there is a very significant gap. Speculation about Lowrance offering a NMEA-2000 display device that is improved from the LMF series seems quite appropriate.
jimh posted 12-30-2012 09:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
MARETRON have introduced a small color instrument display for NMEA-2000 networks, their model DSM 150. The DSM 150 is a 3.5-inch color display that can be configured to show a wide range of NMEA-2000 data using many different presentations, including simulated dial pointer gauges, digital displays, tabular displays, and even Cartesian coordinate plots. More information is given in

http://www.maretron.com/company/documents/ 2012%2012%2011%20-%20DSM150%20Press%20Release.pdf

The MARETRON DSM150 has an MSRP of $495 and appears to be already discounted by resellers to about $400 to $425.

jimh posted 01-11-2013 05:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Panbo has picked up on the MARETRON DSM150. See

http://www.panbo.com/archives/2013/01/dsm150_maretron_for_the_masses. html

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