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  RAYMARINE Announces DragonFly

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Author Topic:   RAYMARINE Announces DragonFly
jimh posted 02-14-2013 01:06 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
RAYMARINE are introducing a new multi-function SONAR, chart plotter, and GNSS receiver device they are calling the DragonFly.

The most significant innovation in the DragonFly device is the combination of low cost and inclusion of very advanced SONAR technology. The DragonFly is said to be aimed at trailer boats, and has a retail price anticipated to be around $1,200.

The SONAR is said to have chirp technology. The device employs two ranges of frequencies. A range of 320-kHz to 380-kHz is used, as well as a range from 170-kHz to 230-kHz. The SONAR signals are conducted via a new Raymarine transducer, the CPT-60. The transducer is said to have dual characteristics. The higher frequency transducer is described as providing a "fan beam" of dimensions 1.4-degrees by 60-degrees. The lower frequency transducer is said to provide a conical beam of 25-degrees. In combination the two signals, the two transducers, and the chirp signal processing are said to deliver a clear, life-like image of the bottom and its structure. Raymarine refers to these features as ClearPulse and DownVision.

The display of the new DragonFly is a 5.7-inch color display with extremely bright, daylight-viewable characteristics.

The DragonFly device uses the Raymarine operating system and user interface called Lighthouse, which is claimed to be very intuitive and easy to operate.

jimh posted 02-14-2013 01:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Raymarine have updated their website and it now offers more information on DragonFly:

http://www.raymarine.com/view/?id=6854

jimh posted 02-16-2013 12:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Perhaps there is some confusion on the price. Others are reporting MSRP more like $700 to $800.
Jefecinco posted 02-16-2013 06:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
The Dragonfly sounds like an ideal device for my classic Sport 13. It might even make a good choice as a fish finder on the 190 Montauk pairing with a Garmin 740S for navigation. At $800 it looks to be a good alternative to larger screen fish finders at much higher prices.

Butch

jimh posted 02-16-2013 09:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
More information from Raymarine on the DragonFly is now available from

http://www.raymarine.com/view/?id=6855

Jefecinco posted 02-17-2013 10:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
Wow! $730 including tax and shipping with Navionics Gold from Star Marine Depot via a Froogle search. Msrp Is $999. I believe this item will be on back order for a long time.

Lower prices will probably be found with a wider search.

Butch

PeteB88 posted 02-17-2013 11:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
This sounds like a terrific unit. Might have to budget for one.
dfmcintyre posted 02-17-2013 11:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Jim -

How does (aside from size),this compare with the Lowrance units with the Structure Scan hardware?

Don

jimh posted 02-17-2013 02:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Don-- In general, the inclusion of chirp technology would tend to make the Raymarine SONAR device more sophisticated than units that did not employ chirp technology. Chirp implies much more sophisticated signal processing of the echosounding information that permits greater resolution and detail to be produced.

CHIRP has become a popular acronym to mean techniques often known as pulse compression when used in range finding methods like RADAR and SONAR. The nominal technique is to use pulses of linear frequency-modulated continuous-wave signals. A linear frequency modulation at audible frequencies sounds like a bird chirp, so the technique is known as chirping.

The method is explained mathematically (in an essentially incomprehensible fashion) at

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Pulse_compression#Pulse_compression_by_linear_frequency_modulation_. 28or_chirping.29

The cost to provide chirp technology in the transmitter-receiver portion of the SONAR system has probably become sufficiently inexpensive that it can be provided now in low-cost system. This benefit is realized by use of incredibly low-cost modern digital signal processing devices (chips). However, the implementation of a chirp SONAR requires use of transducers with much wider bandwidth and uniformity of response than the usual SONAR systems. The cost of suitable transducers has remained quite high. In some cases, a suitable transducer might cost $800.

At the moment it is not clear to me if the estimates of the retail price of the DragonFly are including the cost of the required transducer, or if the required transducer is a separately priced accessory. If the transducer is included at the estimated retail price of $800, the DragonFly will be a very attractive SONAR device.

jimh posted 02-17-2013 02:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Don--I don't really know precisely what Lowrance StructureScan really means. I think it is their name for side scan SONAR. As far as I can tell, the Lowrance side scan SONAR does not use chirp techniques.

From what I can read about the Raymarine DragonFly, the DragonFly is not a side scan SONAR.

Since Lowrance StructureScan is probably not chirp, and DragonFly is probably not side scan SONAR, I do not think there is a basis to make them directly comparable.

jimh posted 02-17-2013 03:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
There is a general notion that chirp techniques may not be a huge benefit in short range systems, such as shallow water SONAR. Use of chirp techniques may be more advantageous in longer range system, such as a SONAR in water of 500-feet depth.

One might say that improvement in target resolution in echo-sounding is most important in locating fish. If one just wants to locate the bottom, for depth sounding, use of chirp is not especially advantageous, unless in really deep water, say 1,000-feet or more. Chirp techniques will be most appreciated by anglers trying to locate and identify bottom structure or to separate closely spaced targets at longer distances.

That said, however, if chirp technology only cost $800 and includes all of the other accouterments of modern electronics like GNSS reception, chart plotting, NMEA-2000 networking, and extensive digital chart cartography, there is little not to like about chirp!

David Pendleton posted 02-17-2013 09:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
This is encouraging. For a while there it looked as though Raymarine had all but abandoned the small boat market. Not every boat has enough room for their giant MFD's and networked "black boxes."

I will consider one of these when my Raymarine L470 finally dies.

jimh posted 02-18-2013 10:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
To help understand how chirping improves SONAR resolution and detection, I offer this analogy. Imagine it is completely dark, you have no vision at all. Your only sense is sound. You want to locate someone in a crowd of people. All the people have whistles. People randomly blow their whistles, which all produce a constant pitch sound. The person you want to locate in the crowd has a different whistle than all the others, they have a slide whistle, that is, a whistle whose note changes frequency. This person blows their whistle in a very consistent manner, always changing the pitch of the note in exactly the same way. In the cacophony of whistle sounds you are listening to, the slide whistle will be easier to detect than another constant pitch whistle. Your brain will be able to process the stimuli from your sense of hearing to distinguish the slide whistle in the background noise of all the other constant pitch whistles. This is how chirp SONAR works. There is signal processing designed to filter out the constant frequency signals and emphasize the signals whose frequency is modulated in a particular way.
Jefecinco posted 05-06-2013 09:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
An interesting and useful feature of the Dragonfly is that the Owners Manual can be loaded in the device thus allowing for split screen operation with the manual on one side. This feature should shorten the time required to learn how to operate the device. It will also be a convenient feature for those who do not use the device often enough to become completely familiar with it's features.

I understand the Dragonfly cannot be connected to a VHF radio to provide position automatically during a distress call. Perhaps Raymarine left this feature out to lower cost believing that virtually all VHF radios will eventually have an embedded GPS chip or module.

Butch

PeteB88 posted 05-08-2013 09:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
I saw one two days ago on display at Mariner's Centre in Muskegon - extremely capable and reliable family owned marine electronics seller, installer and repair station. The Dragonfly is super cool for sure, surprisingly light weight (thus the name??) and easy to control with one hand. That's very important for my use driving (hanging on sometimes) to center console helm while pushing buttons through maze of menues and windows. The mounting bracket looks great as well and has Thule lock system (well known bike/kayak rack manufacturer) and display is bright and crisp.

I think Greg said retail cost is $598, definitely under $600 w/ transducer.

I have Raymarine A57D which I might keep, not sure yet.

I will say this - Dragonfly would be perfect for a 13 or 15.

Jefecinco posted 05-08-2013 10:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
I understand NAVICO has filed suit against RAYMARINE for patent infringement for the RAYMARINE Chirp feature on the DragonFly.

I agree this seems like an excellent choice for an MFD on a small boat. I'm also considering one for my 190 Montauk which is now equipped with a Garmin 740S. On the Montauk the DragonFly can serve as the primary fish finder and a backup GPS. Since I don't have a GPS on the Sport 13 I'll start there.

Butch

jimh posted 05-09-2013 09:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The mention (above by Butch) that the Raymaine DragonFly GNSS receiver does not provide any NMEA output surprised me. I downloaded the manual for the DragonFly to see what it had to say about that topic.

The acronym NMEA does not appear anywhere in the manual. The installation instructions show details of the cable connection, and there are only three conductors, all related to power. Wow--no NMEA output. That seems very strange. I presume that Raymarine has designed the DragonFly for application in small boats where they think connection of a GNSS receiver NMEA output to other devices won't be necessary.

jimh posted 05-11-2013 10:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
NAVICO has filed a complaint of patent infringement against RAYMARINE in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma--Lowrance's home turf. The complaint alleges that Raymarine infringes on Navico's patent rights granted under two recent patents:

--U.S. Patent No. 8,300,499, granted on October 30, 2012, for the invention of "Linear and Circular Downscan Imaging Sonar," and

--U.S. Patent No. 8,305,840, granted November 6, 2012, for the invention of "Downscan Imaging Sonar."

The complaint alleges the "Raymarine Dragonfly sonar/GPS with CHIRP DownVision" infringes on Navico's patent rights. Navico alleges that "[s]uch sonar systems constitute a material part of the [the two patented inventions and] are not a staple article or commodity of commerce suitable for substantial noninfringing use..."

More at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/139040664/Navico-v-Raymarine

The patents mentioned above can be found at

http://www.google.com/patents/US8300499

http://www.google.com/patents/US8305840


Peter posted 05-12-2013 08:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
To infringe a patent, all elements of at least one independent claim must be found. Navico's complaint alleges that Raymarine infringes at least claim 1 of each patent.

Claim 1 of the 8300499 patent defines the following as the invention:

quote:
A method comprising:

receiving linear downscan sonar data based on sonar returns from a series of fan-shaped beams produced sequentially by a linear downscan transducer mounted on a watercraft, the series of fan-shaped beams insonifying different fan-shaped regions of an underwater environment beneath the watercraft as the watercraft travels;

receiving conical downscan sonar data based on sonar returns from a generally conical beam produced by a second downscan transducer, wherein the conical beam is wider than each fan-shaped beam in a direction parallel to a longitudinal length of the linear downscan transducer;

combining the linear downscan sonar data and the conical downscan sonar data to produce combined downscan sonar data; and

rendering the combined downscan sonar data as at least one image on a display, the at least one image including a composite of images of the fan-shaped regions arranged in a progressive order corresponding to the travel of the watercraft.


This claim appears to require running both the conventional conical beam and the linear beam at the same time and displaying a composite image using both sets of data. In short, Figure 13C of the patent is the "composite image" and it would seemingly require the simultaneous display of the typical "fish arches" produced by the conical beam and the structure image produced by the linear beam much like a radar image overlay on a chart. In the Dragonfly brochure, I don't see any images where the detailed downscan image has classic fish arches. The only display I see where both downscan and traditional conical images are displayed is in a bifurcated screen (two windows on the single display). In that case, the data from both transducers is not combined to form a composite image in my opinion. Rendering two windows on a single display couldn't be the subject of this patent as that has been done for many years with all kinds of marine data on a multi-function display including 50 and 200 Hz sonar images. It's also not consistent with their reference to the Figure 13C image as compared to their reference to the 13A and 13B images.

Claim 1 of the 8305840 patent defines the following as the invention:

quote:
1. A sonar assembly for imaging an underwater environment beneath a watercraft traveling on a surface of a body of water, the sonar assembly comprising:

a housing mountable to the watercraft;

a single linear downscan transducer element positioned within the housing, the linear downscan transducer element having a substantially rectangular shape configured to produce a fan-shaped sonar beam having a relatively narrow beamwidth in a direction parallel to a longitudinal length of the linear downscan transducer element and a relatively wide beamwidth in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal length of the transducer element, the linear downscan transducer element being positioned with the longitudinal length thereof extending in a fore-to-aft direction of the housing;

wherein the linear downscan transducer element is positioned within the housing to project fan-shaped sonar beams in a direction substantially perpendicular to a plane corresponding to the surface of the body of water, said sonar beams being repeatedly emitted so as to sequentially insonify different fan-shaped regions of the underwater environment as the watercraft travels; and

a sonar signal processor receiving signals representative of sonar returns resulting from each of the fan-shaped sonar beams and processing the signals to produce sonar image data for each fan-shaped region and to create an image of the underwater environment as a composite of images of the fan-shaped regions arranged in a progressive order corresponding to the travel of the watercraft.

With respect to 8305840, it would seem that the Dragon fly would have all the elements.

However, how is the down scan system different from a side scan system? The patent tries to distinguish in the background section but I'm not sold. They both appear to use a "linear" transducer which produces a fan-shaped sonar beam. The only difference would seem to be the downscan transducer is pointed at the bottom or perpendicular to the surface of the water rather than at an angle relative to the surface of the water. If that is true, wouldn't it be obvious that if you wanted a detailed image produced by a linear transducer of the bottom versus the side you would simply point the side scan linear transducer capable of producing fan shaped images at the bottom than off to the side? How does this device operate differently than the side scan system?

jimh posted 05-12-2013 06:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I have not studied the patent claims. I will offer the observation that previously NAVICO (or perhaps it was their unit Lowrance) faced a similar complaint of infringement from HUMMINBIRD. That matter was settle by a confidential agreement between the two parties and was not litigated. The inference is that some bargain was struck between NAVICO and HUMMINBIRD to permit them both to manufacture and sell SONAR devices that used some technique that was covered by a patent owned by HUMMINBIRD. Now here comes Raymarine, and they are claimed to infringe a patent owned by NAVICO. Perhaps we will see another confidential out-of-court settlement.
Peter posted 05-13-2013 08:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
The last time I saw statistics on ligation, those statistic suggested about only 3 percent of all cases go to trial but interestingly for patent cases about 5 percent go to trial. Even with the higher likelihood, its still unlikely for a patent case to go all the way through a trial resulting in a verdict by a judge/jury that an item either infringes or doesn't infringe a patent.

I misstated what Figure 13C represents in 8300499. It represents the combined downscan image, not a "composite" image from the linear downscan transducer. The combined image has the traditional sonar return with fish arches together with the composite image from the linear transducer -- it's like a radar/GPS chart overlay image. From my quick read, all of the claims appear to require the combined downscan image. The Lowrance HDS 2 Touch products have a "Downscan Overlay" feature to which this patent appears to be directed and so I presume this patent was intended to protect that feature. Again, I didn't see that capability in the Raymarine brochure or operating manual. If I'm right that the Dragonfly doesn't have a "Downscan Overlay" and the patent requires the "Downscan Overlay" then I think the Dragonfly shouldn't be found to infringe this patent.

The References Cited section of the patents has quite a bit of Humminbird/Techsonic prior art listed.

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