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WyeBlueStriper

J/109 Electronics

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The owner of the J/109 I race on is considering investing in some decent electronics as an upgrade to the existing Raymarine system.

From the research we have done, we are leaning towards the NKE package.

Any one use these instruments on a 109?

We would install a triple display TL25 on the mast with a pair (or three) multifunction displays over the companionway.

Any comments or thoughts?

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The owner of the J/109 I race on is considering investing in some decent electronics as an upgrade to the existing Raymarine system.

From the research we have done, we are leaning towards the NKE package.

Any one use these instruments on a 109?

We would install a triple display TL25 on the mast with a pair (or three) multifunction displays over the companionway.

Any comments or thoughts?

 

 

Go oakum...anything would be better than the Raymarine

...

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i had a thread on what electronics to put in our 109 a year or so ago, look in gear anarchy... or just do a search in general, lots of threads on what instruments to put in a keelboat...

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What sort of racing do you do ?

 

That's a lot of displays - the 4 SILVA/Nexus mast displays I had showed 8 pieces of data which was ample, possibly 6 would have been fine (each display shows one large output, one small)

 

Whilst NKE may have been a better choice initially, replacing the instruments now isn't going to make the boat go any faster - save your (his) money.

 

Do you have a tactical computer aboard, if the owner really wants to spend money you'd probably get more out of that and you can take it from boat to boat and use it for other things.

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NKE would be OK (especially their autoplilots seem to be the shit), but I'm not sure on service outside France + integratability?

 

We run Nexus + Expediition. Great bang for the buck...

 

quantrumbar2009-slide6.jpg

 

quantrumbar2009-slide7.jpg

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Blur

Thanks

Looks like a great setup!

 

The Raymarine system has the usual calibration issues.

Hard to judge performance when the numbers are inconsistent.

 

The boat is used for the usual one design and PHRF circles.

Our schedule this year includes some short (~50nm) and long (150-250nm) distance races, so we need a good system that we can trust and rely on.

 

I have done the searches on SA, and there is a lot of good info.

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NKE would be OK (especially their autoplilots seem to be the shit), but I'm not sure on service outside France + integratability?

 

We run Nexus + Expediition. Great bang for the buck...

 

quantrumbar2009-slide6.jpg

 

quantrumbar2009-slide7.jpg

 

um... is that a dodger you have sitting there?...

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The Nexus set-up I had is very similar to Blur except the controller was below deck with no additional displays. Having only mast mounted instruments wasn't ideal as with the main folded on boom you cannot see the depth. This could be solved by mounting above companionway (as per Blur) or having a remote which can display any of the data (which would be my ideal). Note on Blur's shot how you can see the large piece of data and the small one below - that works really well, eg large boat speed & small depth large compass & heading small COG/SOG. When I bought the kit in 2004 they were by far the cheapest large mast displays

 

Mustang we did a week long passage race event (tourduf.org) with the spray hood, I know it's seen as uncool but it actually weighs very little, fold out of the way and is great for when you are ashore in the great European summer (ie pissing with rain). In any case Blur could be cruising.

 

WyeBlue we never had any calibration issues with Raymarine, in fact the log and wind were easier to calibrate than the Nexus. The log on our Nexus was very unstable due to the mounting of the impellor I believe. Very accurately calibrated log is essential for sailing to polars, if you are just "sailing the boat" you need just relative speed (ie are we going faster or slower) and tell-tales. I like instrumentation and technology but quite often we all get a little bit obessed with it.

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yeah yeah i know... but its still fun to rib people about it... We have a dodger on our boat... or for our boat... hasnt been on in 4years. The raymarines are IMHO and experience uncalibratable... to get the wind centered one day i had it go from saying, say, 50deg TWA on starbored and 45deg TWA on port, clicked one unit to correct, and it gave me the opposite. So on and so forth. Then there's the inability to account for upwash, different tacks, etc. I spent more than one afternoon in a variety of conditions trying to calibrate that system and it was never right. .

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um... is that a dodger you have sitting there?...

:D Yup, this was going home from a late season informal party race (we actually raced with a 6 months baby stoved below).

 

Last year we had the dodger on for a full week in july... But I really wished I had it on some of the shorthanded races to keep the crew out of the elements and the boat as dry as possible. We tend to get lot's of water down the companionway when the sea builds.

 

While the mast displays are enough for racing, I try to get nav data (for cruising + strategic use) above the companionway. That way I get the stuff I need when cruising with the dodger up. Below is a laptop with Expedition + Nexus remote. This year we'll add a wireless display for Expedition, so there will be no need to go below.

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yeah yeah i know... but its still fun to rib people about it... We have a dodger on our boat... or for our boat... hasnt been on in 4years. The raymarines are IMHO and experience uncalibratable... to get the wind centered one day i had it go from saying, say, 50deg TWA on starbored and 45deg TWA on port, clicked one unit to correct, and it gave me the opposite. So on and so forth. Then there's the inability to account for upwash, different tacks, etc. I spent more than one afternoon in a variety of conditions trying to calibrate that system and it was never right. .

I'm going to try something next spring. We have integration through RNS. RNS does provide some butt-simple correction tables for upwash and different tacks to create a corrected TWS and TWA, which can be sent out on a custom channel to the ST-290 (or ST-80) displays. No useful documentation, but I can at least experiment.

 

For initial wind angle calibration, I've been using AWA and sighting up against a reasonably well centered windex while powering into very light air. That removes any variation due to the (slight) boat speed/course vector.

 

The other problem is speed calibration. There are calibration points at, I think, 3, 5 and 8 kts, but driving a J/109 to 8 kts and holding it there long enough for calibration is tricky to say the least.

 

Let's say for the record that the Raymarine stuff was a real disappointment. If I had a large fortune that I wanted to turn into a small fortune, I'd start a company...

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or get Ockam/Nexus/B&G/NKE, who all make better stuff than raymarine...

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or get Ockam/Nexus/B&G/NKE, who all make better stuff than raymarine...

+1

 

I don't know one single boat that sorted out their Raymarines...

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or get Ockam/Nexus/B&G/NKE, who all make better stuff than raymarine...

Definitely not springing for a new instrument package for the J/109, at least until the Raymarines turn into a pile of green goo.

 

I have not looked closely at NKE (wasn't an option when we bought), but everything else I've seen out there is overpriced, not robust, loaded with obsolescent parts, poorly integrated, badly packaged, doesn't take advantage of industry-wide economies of scale, has horrible human factors, with huge numbers of software defects per KLOC. How many complaints have we seen about all of them on Gear Anarchy? A first-rate engineering team plus a top quality contract manufacturer could do a lot better. Too bad there is no business case for such an enterprise.

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I know the Vitesse guys along with Custom Offshore did a super job wih a set of Ockams when they had their 109. Looked clean and was not over the top on cost.

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I know the Vitesse guys along with Custom Offshore did a super job wih a set of Ockams when they had their 109. Looked clean and was not over the top on cost.

We got a quote on the Occams. Don't remember the numbers, but it was WAY more than Raymarine, to say nothing of more than we wanted to spend. Plus if I remember correctly the central processor was blast from the past... Z-80 8-bit microcontroller, which was what I was working on when I started my first professional job as a junior software dweeb back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Didn't dig too deeply into what else was in there... 64k DRAMs? 4k EEPROM? Fuse programmed gate arrays? Don't get me wrong, I like the Occam guys, and ya hate to turn down the stuff that's used by the big programs, but still... refresh the freaking product and do some value engineering to bring the pricing in line.

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quote]

We got a quote on the Occams. Don't remember the numbers, but it was WAY more than Raymarine, to say nothing of more than we wanted to spend. Plus if I remember correctly the central processor was blast from the past... Z-80 8-bit microcontroller, which was what I was working on when I started my first professional job as a junior software dweeb back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Didn't dig too deeply into what else was in there... 64k DRAMs? 4k EEPROM? Fuse programmed gate arrays? Don't get me wrong, I like the Occam guys, and ya hate to turn down the stuff that's used by the big programs, but still... refresh the freaking product and do some value engineering to bring the pricing in line.

 

uh....hey Warbler. Bring your spec up to date as well as your spelling. Ockam does still have an 8-bit processor CPU, the 001, but they are rarely sourced anymore. The T1 is Pentium based. I won't go into all the details....probably don't even know them all, but it is among the fastest processing systems out there (please - before you other folks pounce on that note I said "among", not THE fastest) Updates most of the important shit at 8hz. Can take hispeed GPS at 19.2 or even 38.4 if you really want to. Is it perfect?.... hell no. But nothing is.

As for being WAY more $ than Raymarine - c'mon. How many GP programs do you see running Raymarine. They simply don't play in that league nor do they want to. They want the mass market and OEM business. You don't get that by being hi-end and expensive. Ray doesn't build to the hi end market, and their single moderate foray into trying (ST80) was a debacle. Ray is fine product for the right application, but it is not comparable to what the hi end guys have to offer.

 

And their website is www.ockam.com Shouldn't be that hard to figure out how they spell their name.

...rant over...

Heck, that wan't even really a rant.

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yeah, that was pretty weak even compared to the rants i've had...

 

Warbler, if you want to make something, go for it. Hell, i might even help somehow. But comparing Raymarine, both price and performance, to any of the other high performance packages, is like comparing a (insert computer jargon comparison here).

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Yep. Ray Marine will never be on any of my boats after a debaucle with them on the way to Ensenada in a fog bank. I actualy like Tac Tick for low end fun boxes.

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I know the Vitesse guys along with Custom Offshore did a super job wih a set of Ockams when they had their 109. Looked clean and was not over the top on cost.

We got a quote on the Occams. Don't remember the numbers, but it was WAY more than Raymarine, to say nothing of more than we wanted to spend. Plus if I remember correctly the central processor was blast from the past... Z-80 8-bit microcontroller, which was what I was working on when I started my first professional job as a junior software dweeb back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Didn't dig too deeply into what else was in there... 64k DRAMs? 4k EEPROM? Fuse programmed gate arrays? Don't get me wrong, I like the Occam guys, and ya hate to turn down the stuff that's used by the big programs, but still... refresh the freaking product and do some value engineering to bring the pricing in line.

Do you like "tech refresh" for the sake of it, or do you miss "functionality"?

 

Worry about things that matter instead. Like boatspeed. Or Crew. Or sails. Or training...

The important stuff will be done in the PC + software anyways. It's 2010, remember.

 

Full set of Nexus (as above) + Thinkpad + Expedition + 2xVHF = <10k USD

+ 1 day to caibrate = all the data you'll ever need.

 

But hey, if my competition is spending time trying to solve problems that doesn't exist, it's fine by me :D

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could you take the raycrap displays and set them up to receive data from a custom computer? ie, use a laptop or some sort of system similar to most marine instrument systems, but, have it completely remade from the raymarine system? ie, use raymarine displays, but run 100% your own software?

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We got a quote on the Occams. Don't remember the numbers, but it was WAY more than Raymarine, to say nothing of more than we wanted to spend. Plus if I remember correctly the central processor was blast from the past... Z-80 8-bit microcontroller, which was what I was working on when I started my first professional job as a junior software dweeb back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Didn't dig too deeply into what else was in there... 64k DRAMs? 4k EEPROM? Fuse programmed gate arrays? Don't get me wrong, I like the Occam guys, and ya hate to turn down the stuff that's used by the big programs, but still... refresh the freaking product and do some value engineering to bring the pricing in line.

 

uh....hey Warbler. Bring your spec up to date as well as your spelling. Ockam does still have an 8-bit processor CPU, the 001, but they are rarely sourced anymore. The T1 is Pentium based. I won't go into all the details....probably don't even know them all, but it is among the fastest processing systems out there (please - before you other folks pounce on that note I said "among", not THE fastest) Updates most of the important shit at 8hz. Can take hispeed GPS at 19.2 or even 38.4 if you really want to. Is it perfect?.... hell no. But nothing is.

As for being WAY more $ than Raymarine - c'mon. How many GP programs do you see running Raymarine. They simply don't play in that league nor do they want to. They want the mass market and OEM business. You don't get that by being hi-end and expensive. Ray doesn't build to the hi end market, and their single moderate foray into trying (ST80) was a debacle. Ray is fine product for the right application, but it is not comparable to what the hi end guys have to offer.

 

And their website is www.ockam.com Shouldn't be that hard to figure out how they spell their name.

...rant over...

Heck, that wan't even really a rant.

Just to clear this up, we purchased the boat and the electronics package in late 2003. You're right, I haven't been shopping recently, and now that you mention it remember that they introduced the new CPU a few years ago. But I also specifically remember looking at the T1 PCB, and asking the guy at the Ockam booth whether the microprocessor was it was what I thought it was, and he confirmed it was a Z80. You're right that from a functional perspective, it wasn't a huge big deal as long as it got the job done. From my perspective from years in telecom equipment, my thought was that I wasn't going to spring long bucks for obsolete hardware, knowing that with a decent effort they could reduce factory cost and increase reliability (as well as improve performance). [remainder of rant omitted for brevity] Maybe the new (T3 was it?) processor did that, just too late for us to consider.

 

We agree violently on the price of the stuff. Face it, a J/109 is not a boat you'd build a GP program around (ex-Vitesse guys notwithstanding), and putting very high end electronics on the boat would have been silly. We could have bought B&G midrange stuff for not too much more than the Raymarine, but at the time, B&G was on the block and we understood they were having customer service issues. The top of the Raymarine line was sold as if it was trying to play at the bottom of the big leagues. It definitely fell short.

 

Spelling error... oops. My bad. And speaking of which, it's spelled "Luxury Yacht" but pronounced "Throatwarbler-Mangrove".

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if you want to make something, go for it. Hell, i might even help somehow.

As I think I said, the way to make a small fortune in marine electronics is to start with a large fortune. It's fun to think about, but no way the business case could possibly work out.

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could you take the raycrap displays and set them up to receive data from a custom computer? ie, use a laptop or some sort of system similar to most marine instrument systems, but, have it completely remade from the raymarine system? ie, use raymarine displays, but run 100% your own software?

Current system is interfaced to a laptop with both HSB2 and Seatalk interfaces. I believe that boatspeed, GPS, AWA/AWS and so on are transmitted on Seatalk. There would have to be a fair amount of reverse engineering to figure out Seatalk protocol. Seatalk is a serial protocol, so you could probably use standard Windows drivers. There would be a very significant software effort, especially if the intent was to build the kind of calibration interface I'm thinking of. Truth be told, I got bored with the software game a long time ago, and it would take a lot of time and energy just to get my chops back.

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well, so far my only knowledge of programming was the introduction to my Access and HTML class today, but i still like the idea of messing around with this kind of stuff. Its just a shame that the idea of doing this stuff is more fun than actually doing it...

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