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Silver_Surfer

B&G Zeus Touch

24 posts in this topic

Looking for any anarchists who have used the B&G Zeus Touch system and have some real world feedback. I have only used the system in the showroom and was impressed by the technology and intuitive nature of the software. what i was looking for was cruising/racing on the water comments.

i have a complete system for my 37 Baltic with radar/autopilot/triton tri-data and added the wifi bridge.

worked great in the store, wonder if there is any glitches/fixes that happened in the field. particular is the "touch" feature, i have heard some comments as to usability, as opposed to buttons, when the seas are not calm.

thanks

John

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I am in the same situation and would like some real feedback.

 

My navigator - read wife - are looking for the same unit. We are debating Touch or buttons? With wet, cold fingers and gloves can you still use the Zeus Touch? Or is buttons a better alternative? I have not seen any hard review of the product.

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Well I will be able to give a hard review as I purchased and having the system installed as I'm writting this. Made one change and upsized the chart plotter to the T12 instead of the 8" version. Made sense to me as the price difference between the T8 and T12 is about $800 and you go up in resolution as well as size. Will need to make the trek up the California coast from Long Beach the SF bay and I will probably go July so I guessing wind and water will be a factor.

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I do an have real world experience with it (sailed about 600nm with it) :wacko: and NOT good at all, bugs with grib display and resolution, polar functions, freezing the entire system, horrible nav mode, and the list goes on and on. Just like with any other B&G product it is full of bugs that becomes apparent only after you buy it and spend some time using it and depending on it.

 

Buy a laptop with Expedition (a surface pro, or any other for that matter) put it in a ziplock bag and get 8 times the reliability, 20 times the performance and a lot of money for something else.

 

I am not a B&G hater, but have I been using B&G for a long time, tried to work with B&G's development team and the guys just do not care much about the regular user (unless you are willing to spend over $50k on working around their bugs and writing you a fix)

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I checked out B&G Zeus side by side with a Raymarine i7, and thought the raymarine was much nicer.

 

The B&G seemed slow, (underpowered processor?) and wasn't very intuitive to me. The Raymarine has a much more polished interface, and was much more responsive.

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I checked out B&G Zeus side by side with a Raymarine i7, and thought the raymarine was much nicer.

 

The B&G seemed slow, (underpowered processor?) and wasn't very intuitive to me. The Raymarine has a much more polished interface, and was much more responsive.

 

And functionality?

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the functionality on the B&G is Ok WHEN it works that is a big WHEN. if you are really interested in the B&G spend a lot of time in the weather and performance facilities. try downloading and working with it. you will see a few things right out of the box. the grib display is inaccurate, if you use satellite provided weather updates they are at least half an hour late, high resolution gribs crash the system or make it so slow that becomes useless.

 

Spend time with it and ask your dealer to set a little B&G network for you. Do not get blinded by the B&G label. Have you looked at the Furuno or Raymarine? The Furuno software is supper stable and reliable, yes Furuno does not have the B&G "sailing je ne sais quoi" but it is the tool you need in the sea.

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I hear a lot of negative about B&G but most Americas Cup and Volvo ocean racers in the world use B&G, can it be that un-reliable? I know the older versions had issues as did the company itself. Being bought out I think helped the brand.

I checked out Raymarine, Garmin and Simrad. Was going with Simrad until I got a great deal on a B&G package through my rigger's wife that works at West Marine.

The selling point was the Sail Steer screen. On that I can see the waypoint, true wind, laylines for the current and opposite tack, rudder angle indicator, and even direction and velocity of the calculated tidal current all in one place.

If its reliable on the water, I don't see anything that compares, and with the app I already downloaded to my Ipad, I have a duplicate plotter at the nav-station.

time will tell, and i will post any bugs.

thanks for the input as always.

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I like the functions and find it pretty intuitive, but like any system I need to spend more time with it. I would say the touch screen gets accidentally hit by knees and such as crew move around. There's no way to lock the screen currently to avoid the page being switched. I requested that fix from B&G, as I did from Garmin on my last plotter. Garmin released an upgrade to allow you to lock it. I hope B&G will follow suit.

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I like the functions and find it pretty intuitive, but like any system I need to spend more time with it. I would say the touch screen gets accidentally hit by knees and such as crew move around. There's no way to lock the screen currently to avoid the page being switched. I requested that fix from B&G, as I did from Garmin on my last plotter. Garmin released an upgrade to allow you to lock it. I hope B&G will follow suit.

 

EaglesDare,

A locking would be good.

Since you have used both system Garmin / B&G can you give us some preferences? Or experiences?

 

How good are the touch screens? Dark, wet fingers and more. In those situation I think the no-touch screen is better.

 

~

Mogle

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Hi Mogle,

 

I'm still learning it, but the Garmin was definitely simpler. Changing the items that show on a particular page was quicker. But the Zeus offers a lot more options, both screen layouts and data that you can show. The scrolling screen that shows wind direction and speed over the last hour is pretty sweet.

 

Wet lines and knees do trip up the Zeus, as they did on the first gen Garmin. But I haven't found that it becomes insensitive to wet gloved fingers like that Garmin did.

 

The night mode on the Zeus is way better than the Garmin. It's nice and dark with orange lettering. The Garmin was way too bright even at its lowest setting. Only problem is if you start up the Zeus in night mode the next morning, you can't see the button to turn off night mode, but it's right in the middle of the screen.

 

I'll have more feedback after our first overnight race.

 

Cheers

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I hear a lot of negative about B&G but most Americas Cup and Volvo ocean racers in the world use B&G, can it be that un-reliable? I know the older versions had issues as did the company itself. Being bought out I think helped the brand.

I checked out Raymarine, Garmin and Simrad. Was going with Simrad until I got a great deal on a B&G package through my rigger's wife that works at West Marine.

The selling point was the Sail Steer screen. On that I can see the waypoint, true wind, laylines for the current and opposite tack, rudder angle indicator, and even direction and velocity of the calculated tidal current all in one place.

If its reliable on the water, I don't see anything that compares, and with the app I already downloaded to my Ipad, I have a duplicate plotter at the nav-station.

time will tell, and i will post any bugs.

thanks for the input as always.

 

The Volvo, IMOCAs, AC, TP52 campaigns all have personal development teams, and in most cases they use B&G displays and some sensors with Cosworth, Racing Bravo and FaRo processors, software/firmware, and network protocols.

The displays are good if you use other companies firmware in them, they do not freeze when sending "external" channels.

 

The fact is that the B&G technology is so dated that all companies mentioned above do way better job with B&G hardware than B&G themselves.

 

Not because you see a B&G display means that they are using B&G CPUs, software and firmware. If you go an look at the TP52s most of the leading teams use Cosworth., Bravo and FaRo.

 

I am not sure if anyone is using or used B&G in the last 2 ACs. I know for sure that at least one team was not in the previous one and one team is not in the current one.

 

In the last 2 Vedee Glove most B&G boats were using proprietary software in their GPDs, CPUs and ACPs.

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I checked out B&G Zeus side by side with a Raymarine i7, and thought the raymarine was much nicer.

 

The B&G seemed slow, (underpowered processor?) and wasn't very intuitive to me. The Raymarine has a much more polished interface, and was much more responsive.

 

And the Simrad NSS without the B&G software is faster than the Raymarine.

 

The Zeus Touch displays are just Simrad NSS's with custom software.

Normal Zeus = NSE

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The B&G chart plotters are not really intended for race boats - although some do have them.

 

Mostly, when they are on race boats, they are just used for basic navigation for delivery or cruising, and as a display for the radar/AIS on distance races - not for the sailing functions.

 

I used the older version- where the gribs are supposed to be uploaded with a thumb drive or something

 

That was something I never even attempted- why would I, when I have expedition running on my laptop?

 

Same with the polar functions and laylines - never used them on the chart plotter

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The B&G chart plotters are not really intended for race boats - although some do have them.

 

Mostly, when they are on race boats, they are just used for basic navigation for delivery or cruising, and as a display for the radar/AIS on distance races - not for the sailing functions.

 

I used the older version- where the gribs are supposed to be uploaded with a thumb drive or something

 

That was something I never even attempted- why would I, when I have expedition running on my laptop?

 

Same with the polar functions and laylines - never used them on the chart plotter

 

Very valid point.

 

There are also different level of racing.

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I hear a lot of negative about B&G but most Americas Cup and Volvo ocean racers in the world use B&G, can it be that un-reliable? I know the older versions had issues as did the company itself. Being bought out I think helped the brand.

I checked out Raymarine, Garmin and Simrad. Was going with Simrad until I got a great deal on a B&G package through my rigger's wife that works at West Marine.

The selling point was the Sail Steer screen. On that I can see the waypoint, true wind, laylines for the current and opposite tack, rudder angle indicator, and even direction and velocity of the calculated tidal current all in one place.

If its reliable on the water, I don't see anything that compares, and with the app I already downloaded to my Ipad, I have a duplicate plotter at the nav-station.

time will tell, and i will post any bugs.

thanks for the input as always.

This is ONE of the many of things that are wrong with B&G's "best in industry" pilot.

 

For example in GPD you can notice that it is set to polar, and that according to the target TWA is 99 (similar to heading 98), while in the GFD in the right the target TWA is 40 (which is correct) and the true wind angle is 42.

 

The way pilots steer to a wind angle is by steering to a heading and adjusting at a given rate to the difference between the wind angle and the heading, then giving a new heading to the pilot.

 

And this is why the B&G pilot does not tack, or even adjust to different target wind angles when in polar mode.

 

I would doubt that any Americas Cup, TP52, Volvo or any other sophisticated racing program would put up with a set of instruments that can't even at a minimum display correct numbers.

post-13907-0-20843200-1377733485_thumb.jpg

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I have been on a boat and have used it for 3 weeks solid. Apart from a small networking error between the Standard Zeus and the Touch I really like the system.

Yes its complex to set up and you will have some initial issues but now that everything is fully integrated it blows Raymarine out of the water. I was using a system with a Z12, T7 on deck and Z8 down below with AP 28 Auto pilot head hooked toT an RC40 and a Jeffa steering gear. Also H3000 system. The autopilot function on the Touch system works great and also works well with the WR20. My only have three issues: 1. I can't figure out importing routes from Nobletech. 2. I can't figure out how to change the size of the numbers on the chart plotter for soundings and they are a bit small. 3. After using the Touch, you then try to use the Zeus as touch screen and no go...you feel pretty stupid poking at a regular display...

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1. I can't figure out importing routes from Nobletech.

2. I can't figure out how to change the size of the numbers on the chart plotter for soundings and they are a bit small.

 

1: I'm not at all sure about coming from Nobletech, but from Northstar it was relatively straightforward: If you can get the Nobletech to export the waypoints and routes into a text file, that file can be manipulated into one that can be imported by the Zeus. There are a number of web sites (such as gpsbabel.org, takapu.com) that claim to be able to convert such data to allow transfer between plotters of various vendors. GPX (GPS Exchange) is a common format for such transfers.

 

2: If you have a navionics chart installed in your zeus touch there is a feature under "Chart Options" called "Easy View" that does this. Here's the text from the user manual:

 

EASY VIEW

Easy View is a magnifying feature which increases the size of chart items and text making key features of a chart more visible and easier to read and understand.

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i sail on two boats with the zeus - as i mentioned above, they are a few years old, from the first year they came out.

 

neither one displays the name of an AIS target - only the MMSI number.

 

is there a setting for this? I couldn't find anything...

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I don't remember seeing any setting for that. On mine, it show the MMSI only if the vessel name is not in the message from the AIS receiver (my VHF Standard Horizon GX-2150 in my case).

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i sail on two boats with the zeus - as i mentioned above, they are a few years old, from the first year they came out.

 

neither one displays the name of an AIS target - only the MMSI number.

 

is there a setting for this? I couldn't find anything...

 

I too wondered at this. Until I learned that Class AIS units do not transmit such info very often: Once each 6 minutes (at best). Not only that, but for other messages the transmission frequency is dependent on the speed and rate of turn of the vessel transmitting! It makes sense. Having said all that it might be possible that older units never send the vessel name. I don't know that. My Zeus does display vessel names, but when a contact is first acquired it appears as the MMSI number, only to be replaced by vessel name after a while.

 

Here's some info I have found about the message that contains the vessel name... Notice the note regarding firmware upgrades to be able to decode this message...

 

Message 24: Class B CS Static Data Report
This message is sent every 6 minutes, the same time interval as for Class A transponders. Because of its length, this message is
divided into two parts, sent within one minute of each other. Note that this message was defined after the original AIS specifications,
so some Class A units may need a firmware upgrade to be able to decode this message.
MMSI, boat name, ship type, call sign, dimensions, and equipment vendor id.
AIS data is transmitted at following intervals:
Class A:
Dynamic - Position, Time, SOG (Speed Over Ground), COG (Course Over Ground), Heading, Navigational Status, ROT (Rate Of Turn) At anchor/moored - 3 minutes
<14 knots - 10 seconds
<14 knots and changing course - 3.3 seconds
14-23 knots - 6 seconds
14-23 knots and changing course - 2 seconds
>23 knots - 2 seconds
>23 knots and changing course - 2 seconds
Static - 6 minutes
Class B:
Dynamic - Position, Time, SOG, COG
<2 knots - 3 minutes
>2 knots - 30 seconds
Static - 6 minutes

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on the two boats i am referring to, vessel names _never_ show up on the display.

 

sometimes if i select the boat with the cross hairs and look at the properties, i see a name, but generally not.

 

this problem is occurring even for boats that i know are transmitting their name, because I see the names when i am on boats with a different chartplotter.

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Does anyone out there have a manual (other than the User Manual supplied with the zeus touch) that describes what exactly is inside the zeus touch? By this I mean CPU, Memory, hard drive, OS, etc. I'm disappointed at the lack of such info. I'd like guidance on how to treat the micro SD drive. Can I hot-swap chips there or must I only remove / insert chips when the power is off? Where is this written? Where are tracks, waypoints, routes stored? On the hard drive? On the micro sd card? What is the hard drive directory structure? Can I create my own directories there somehow? Where is this information?



Does anyone out there have a manual (other than the User Manual supplied with the zeus touch) that describes what exactly is inside the zeus touch? By this I mean CPU, Memory, hard drive, OS, etc. I'm disappointed at the lack of such info. I'd like guidance on how to treat the micro SD drive. Can I hot-swap chips there or must I only remove / insert chips when the power is off? Where is this written? Where are tracks, waypoints, routes stored? On the hard drive? On the micro sd card? What is the hard drive directory structure? Can I create my own directories there somehow? Where is this information?

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