Monday, January 21, 2013

REFIT Plan: Instruments

This part of my refit plan, I'm looking at replacing the Garmin 546s and Furuno radar. Lately, the Furuno stopped working which I may just need to trace the power to see if I can get it working again. While the 546s still works, I like the idea of having a bit larger screen.

Both of these are mounted by the electrical panel on a swing out arm to be viewable in the cockpit. Both take up quite a bit of space and I'm thinking it would be nice to consolidate the two into one system.

My idea for the upgrade is to get a Garmin 4208 chartplotter with a Garmin Radar, either the 18HD or 24HD. The Garmin 740s also seems to be popular and is touchscreen and costs less. Currently, the Furuno radar antenna is mounted on a pole on the stern rail. I'm thinking to mount it a little higher with a Scanstrut mount on the mast.

I can mount this single screen on the swing mount but I'm leaning more towards the idea of placing it where the bulkhead compass is currently mounted. This way, I won't have to have it swing back and forth on the swing mount. I'll look into how it might work out later but this is my current plan.

If this new chartplotter is mounted in place of the compass, I thinking to make a new companion way panel that is low profile, but big enough to mount the compass. This panel would removable for the times when not sailing.

Garmin also has AIS capabilities that can be viewed on the chartplotter. This is something I considered adding to this installation but I may not use AIS (yet). Maybe a VHF radio with AIS receiver could be a good alternative. Another aspect of some of the equipment is the possibility of using it outside of the US. That's when the FCC comes in where a Ship Radio Station license and Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit seems to be needed. Just something else to research along the way.


  1. Hi Dan,
    We don't have radar on Siempre Sabado and so far at least have not missed it. However, we replaced our old VHF radio with a VHF/AIS radio and now would not want to be without it. Down here in Mexico it doesn't get an awful lot of use as the biggest worries are fishing boats who aren't transmitting AIS info anyway. But coming down the coast of the US it was great. Sailing out of SF Bay in the fog and being able to "see" the shipping around us made it so easy to stay out of their way and have the peace of mind to know we weren't in their paths. Plugged it into my Garmin GPSMap495 although I had to provide a separate GPS antenna for the radio due, most likely, to older technology meeting new technology. It was a simple fix once I got it figured out.

    1. Sounds like a good idea to upgrade the VHF too. I was looking at the ones with AIS and thought if it was possible to tie into the Garmin network. I was guessing the correct cable for NMEA 2000 is all that's needed but I was still looking into it. Odd you need a separate GPS for the radio. I would have thought it would pull the info from the Garmin.

      Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. It would except that there are two data speeds required and my older Garmin can only handle one. It all had to do with data transfer speeds to/from the Garmin not jiving with transfer speeds to/from the VHF/AIS. In the end the easiest and cheapest solution was just to provide the AIS with its own antenna. Newer Garmins have probably got this glitch worked out.