LakeErieMonster

B&G Vulcan Reviews?

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Interested in the replies..... I'm hoping to get one before the end of the year. 

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Posted (edited)

Edit: I realize now that the link is from 2015 so not likely relevant.

Edited by inneedofadvice

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The above thread link isn’t exactly the same as your question but covers some pros and cons of the Vulcan vs Zeus.  I ended up going with the Zeus mostly because it’s mounted outside and I’m very glad I did.  If the Vulcan is inside in a dry place it would probably be fine.

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I've got a Vulcan 7 mounted in the cockpit, overall very happy with it.
Previously I'd used a GPS at the chart table & paper charts, with an iPad as well, the iPad wasn't very viewable in sunlight so it wasn't much good outside, the Vulcan I've had no issues.

Downsides is that I find it gets very hot in direct sunlight in summer, sometimes almost too hot to touch, it doesn't seem to affect it too much, but its made me wary about covering the back side of it as I want to keep some air flow.

Sometimes I find it can be slow to load the chart on first start up, but once it does it works fine.

Had it fitted about 3 years now and no issues.

I would highly recommend you set it up in the cockpit somewhere, on a few occasions I've been single handed in poor weather coming back into the local estuary (which is very busy with commercial shipping) and it was a real help then.

 

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i think the Zeus scrolls, or pans faster than the vulcan, and redraws faster than the vulcan.

the vulcan isn't actually slow, but if you are used to the Zeus, you might notice it

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I'm new to the B&G world.  I've had a Zeus for about a month.  So far, very pleased. It just takes a lot of digging through the manuals to get it configured for your personal preferences. 

I'll comment on the reliability after I've owned it for a year. 

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On 7/3/2020 at 11:18 PM, psycho tiller said:

The above thread link isn’t exactly the same as your question but covers some pros and cons of the Vulcan vs Zeus.  I ended up going with the Zeus mostly because it’s mounted outside and I’m very glad I did.  If the Vulcan is inside in a dry place it would probably be fine.

Is the Zeus more water/weather proof?  They are both listed as ipx6 and 7. 

And thank you for the link with the comparison.

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18 minutes ago, ordkhntr said:

Is the Zeus more water/weather proof?  They are both listed as ipx6 and 7. 

And thank you for the link with the comparison.

It's not so much that one is more waterproof, both should be safe when exposed to water without any concern for damage to the unit.  The issue is when the touch screen gets wet it starts doing some really funky things and becomes very difficult to use.  The zeus is a touch screen but also has buttons and you can lock the touch screen and just use the buttons to control the unit. The Vulcan is only a touch screen. There have been a number of times we didn't have the the touch screen locked on our zeus where it gets wet which changes the screen data or gets accidentally touched and changed.  Even wet lines rubbing against the touch screen can change it.  The Vulcan inside the boat should be fine and in a really well protected dry location outside it might be ok but from my own personal experience I wouldn't recommend the vulcan outside.  Some of this also depends how wet your boat is and what your typical conditions are where you sail.  

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I have a Vulcan, bought it in 2017. We do coastal cruising and the occational overnight regatta. We went for larger screen and not buttons. Thought that if B&G would put it to market it would work. And it does, we are pleased with it. Gets HOTin sunlight, but keeps on working. It’s a SAILORS thing, other ar more oriented on fish finder abilities. It has regatta mode with lay lines, current etc, and starter / timer function. It works in the wet better than me...

Edit: Haven’t got the wifi to work properly, cant’t figure out how to update SW and maps. Its silicone’d into a frame, with no rear access, so cant get to the connections without cutting it free.. thinking of installing a hatch in the front of the pedestal, also for cooling / ventilation..

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I've had the Vulcan 7 (or "Vulcan 7R", the latest revision for two seasons now in SF area. It is mounted in the nav station. I like it a lot better than the black and white circa 2001 Garmin GPSMAP 472 it replaced.

I've wired up my Standard Horizon GX2200 to provide AIS via yacht devices YDNG-03N
I've wired up my Hydra 2000 with a second YDNG03 to provide TWS, TWA and speed through water... also provides AWS, AWA... does not provide depth for some reason. The Vulcan 7 provides GPS back to the Hydra 2000.

Apple: my wife's ancient first gen ipad is too old to run the B&G app, haven't tried anything newer. My next tablet is going to be an iPad though.
Android: I am running the B&G app on a first gen Amazon Fire 7" tablet, runs about 95% full speed, maybe 100% most of the time, also works on my modern Android phone no problem. I prefer the bigger 7" tablet screen

Looking to add a B&G non-hydra NAC autopilot this fall. You cannot control the autopilot via the app, you have to use the screen or a physical button controller. I haven't tried this yet but appears to be fully supported.

Overall no issues, haven't played around with the "polar tables" much yet or the start timer but the unit is good. It probably gets hot because it's hermetically sealed and the whole body is the heat sink. Mine is usually at least 100 degrees to the touch.

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We've got the Zeus.  Chose it over the Vulcan because of water issues as pt said in #9 and for a few other features.  But it does have a steep learning curve (which I think is common among all B&G MFDs) and their included instructions kinda suck.  But their phone support has been great.  I've needed it when I can't find the answers in the instructions.

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I have had a Vulcan 7R for about 4 years now.  Some of this will depend on your use case, but I think it is a fantastic piece of kit for the money.  I have it mounted on a swing arm in the companionway, so I can get it into the shade if desired and with the hatch closed I can keep the rain off of it.  From a bang for your buck standpoint, it is really amazing how much is packed into it for $600 or so.  Occasionally wish I had the buttons and/or a larger screen, but for my use (mostly day sailing and club racing) it has been very good.  

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super thankful for all the information! I am new to the forum and I can honestly say, that I am very glad I joined :)

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Relevant to this discussion is the comment made by Suzy Leech who has been the primary navigator in the North Sails Doublehanded program on the Sunfast 3300 program.

The whole vid is worth watching but at the time stamp captured she mentions  about the Vulcan seen "if the screen stops working when its wet..." is one of the reasons why they have nav info posted next to the box.

vid link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMMWUBVM14I

 

image.thumb.png.1a6b7f0632980aa64e668bc8b4741c2b.png

 

 

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Do B&G have a fix for the unresponsive wet screen?  I can't imagine a product like that as fit for purpose. Is it a dodgy bunch or are they all like it?

I had a bike GPS that did exactly that and it drove me nuts. The manufacturer replaced the screen and all was good.

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I've had a Vulcan 5  with a Triton 2 system for the last two years.  It has more capacity than we can use.  We're literally finding a new thing it can do every couple weeks.  We installed the ZG 100 compass/GPS antenna combo this year and that gives us all the true/apparent data that we need.  

We use a wind shifts app in races to determine the rhythm of wind shifts and whether we need to TACK NOW or just ride out a knock.  The Sailsteer isn't that useful, there are too many weird currents on the Chesapeake with all the rivers flowing in and the wind is too shifty in most of the places we race.  The race countdown / startline timer is nice.  And downwind, there is a big data only option that shows true, apparent, compass direction and boat & gps speed, that in combination with the Triton2 wind instruments, has helped us sail to our polars a lot better.  

We haven't had the wet screen problem, except maybe that when the screen is wet the touchscreen option isn't as good as it might be.  I'm considering moving the 5' into the cabin and mounting a 7, or perhaps leaving the 5 where it is and slaving it to a 7" in the cabin, as we do a good number of distance and night races and deliveries and it would be good to have a proper nav station under cover where it is always easy to read the chart and to have a think where it's quieter and dry-er.  It syncs up nicely with our cheapo AIS device too, despite that device being a NMEA 0183 instrument.  

Solid product for the price and everybody on the boat, and the other skippers I've talked to who use it, would be happy sailing anywhere with it.  

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On 9/8/2020 at 8:22 AM, European Bloke said:

Do B&G have a fix for the unresponsive wet screen?  I can't imagine a product like that as fit for purpose. Is it a dodgy bunch or are they all like it?

 

Its a capacative touch screen, if it gets much in the way of water on it then it plays up, just like your phone. Its not something they can 'fix'. That's why the premium model has tactile controls.

That said, I've never found it much of an issue, I don't tend to fiddle about with it much once I'm actually sailing & whenever I've needed too its worked well enough.

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