More B&G Zeus2 problems - Can I go to Zeus3 ?

George Dewey

Super Anarchist
2,055
109
Charleston, SC
My boat has two Zeus2 plotters, a 9 inch at the nav station and a 7 inch at the helm. I have had name problems with these, some of which I thought I got sorted but during a delivery from RI to SC, the real gremlins came out. The plotter at the helm would get phantom input and do annoying things. I learned to keep the sidebar selected to mitigate this issue. A bigger problem was that the thing would freeze, capturing control of the autopilot until we could reset it or just turn the pilot off.

Today, I noticed that the top half of the touchscreen is not accepting input, and the rotary dial is not working correctly. I think this thing is ready to be trashed. So, I'm wondering if I get a 7 inch Zeus3 (not the newer S, that starts at 9 inch) if it will directly replace the Zeus2 as far as physical wiring and connectors are concerned, and also if it will network (enet and N2K) with the Zeus 2 at the nav station. This stuff is pricy and I'm hoping to avoid replacing it all at once.

Also, if I do this can I eliminate the GoFree WiFi box? The Zeus3 is supposed to have WiFi built in.

Thanks very much, B&G does not have these answers on their web site.

 

George Dewey

Super Anarchist
2,055
109
Charleston, SC
Spoke with B&G support and they advised that this unit can not be repaired, as they no longer have any of the displays for this. They offered to sell me a Zeus3 W7 under the "five year plan" at a discount so I accepted that offer. They told me also that (1) it will be backward compatible with the other Zeus2 and (2) I can eliminate the GoFree WiFi as the WiFi in the new unit will do that job. 

 

Monkey

Super Anarchist
10,361
2,034
Spoke with B&G support and they advised that this unit can not be repaired, as they no longer have any of the displays for this. They offered to sell me a Zeus3 W7 under the "five year plan" at a discount so I accepted that offer. They told me also that (1) it will be backward compatible with the other Zeus2 and (2) I can eliminate the GoFree WiFi as the WiFi in the new unit will do that job. 
I hope you end up liking it. I just ordered one as well. It’ll mostly be to serve as a chartplotter for next season, but I’ll try tying it into the existing Nexus instruments just for fun. Then I have to sort out what to go with, with the intent of replacing everything with B&G. 

 

George Dewey

Super Anarchist
2,055
109
Charleston, SC
I hope you end up liking it. I just ordered one as well. It’ll mostly be to serve as a chartplotter for next season, but I’ll try tying it into the existing Nexus instruments just for fun. Then I have to sort out what to go with, with the intent of replacing everything with B&G. 
I sold my boat and my Nexus and Garmin stuff went with it, otherwise I would have stuck to that. I'm having a love / hate (mostly hate) relationship with the B&G stuff, although I'm chalking that up to just getting used to it. I hope the 3 is significantly faster than the 2, because the Zeus2 was dog slow. 

 

bosundog

Member
309
9
MRE
A little late to this thread - Did you ever get the Zeus 2 & 3 together ?    I'm curious if they played nice.  

 

zenmasterfred

Super Anarchist
1,532
534
Lopez Island
Just installed Zeus 3S w/ Halo radar and love it, it is playing nicely with my Raymarine wind/water/autopilot with a Raymarine SeaTalk/NMEA converter.  Only problem is it does too much, more data than my old brain can process sometimes.  Good luck!

 

George Dewey

Super Anarchist
2,055
109
Charleston, SC
A little late to this thread - Did you ever get the Zeus 2 & 3 together ?    I'm curious if they played nice.  
I did get a Zeus 3 from B&G, put it on the same N2K bus as the Zeus 2 and connected via enet as well. The chart cards (Navionics) are in the 3 at the helm, just in case the sharing fails. They don't play particularly well together. I start one and then the other, and it sometimes causes the first to restart. Sometimes the haring works, other times not so well and I need to restart one or the other. If I just turn them on eventually they will stop cycling and settle down and share charts. 

Now, the Zeus 3 was bought on B&Gs upgrade program, which means they sent me a refurb, and it looks new. It had a short warranty, like several months or something, and it failed two weeks after the warranty ended. I now have a plotter with a flashing screen. The flickering has become quite frequent, and I hope I never put an epileptic at the helm, at least until I get it fixed. 

I'm surprised at how frequently B&G stuff fails. I had Nexus stuff working perfectly after what, 15 years? Never had a problem with a Garmin plotter either. 

 

WHK

Super Anarchist
1,611
91
Newport, RI
...

I'm surprised at how frequently B&G stuff fails. I had Nexus stuff working perfectly after what, 15 years? Never had a problem with a Garmin plotter either. 
Different experience.  As you know I had Nexus instruments that the previous owner installed on my J/109.  I did like them but had the following issues.

  1. Multi-display buttons stopped working
  2. NWind Race sensor died. Replacement GWind Race required Garmin GND-10 to put data on RS-485 bus.  Not an issue but went through two GND-10s
  3. HPC Compass died

It got to the point that I needed to spend money buying used parts in order to keep the system running.  Garmin effectively abandoned the Nexus product line after they purchased it so I decided to switch to an all B&G system.  I have had zero issues with the B&G displays, chart plotters and sensors.  Last year the Garmin GWind Race sensor, the only remaining Garmin/Nexus piece remaining died, so I finally switched to a B&G wind sensor.

If Garmin had continued support of the Nexus product I might have stayed with it.  I've been happy with the B&G stuff and had no reliability issues.

 

George Dewey

Super Anarchist
2,055
109
Charleston, SC
Two days ago I spoke with the B&G guys while at Charleston Race Week, explain the problem with the new plotter. Instead of offering any kind of support, they told me I must have it hooked up wrong, probably a "power problem" they said. I asked how the screen blinking but the entire plotter otherwise working fine could be a power issue but they just kept insisting I probably didn't have it powered properly. 

I get that they are sales guys, but still...

 
Last edited by a moderator:

SimonGH

Member
341
75
Westbrook CT
Two days ago I spoke with the B&G guys while at Charleston Race Week, explain the problem with the new plotter. Instead of offering any kind of support, they told me I must have it hooked up wrong, probably a "power problem" they said. I asked how the screen blinking but the entire plotter otherwise working fine could be a power issue but they just kept insisting I probably didn't have it powered properly. 

I get that they are sales guys, but still...
It is possible - I haven't read the entire thread here, but are you confident that the power wiring to the unit is robust enough for the power draw and the connections are clean / solid / corrosion free?

I got the impression from the original post that you swapped the Z2 for the Z3 and used the existing connections / wiring.  So while i haven't looked at the specs, it's possible that the Z3 draws more power and could over-stress wiring that may have been marginal for the Z2 draw?

They do consume quite a bit of power to achieve the brightness required for daylight readability, so you definitely need a decent power source.  I've run them on a desktop power supply that tells me amperage draw, and it's not insignificant (I don't recall the exact numbers, but I do recall thinking - hmm, you need some decent wires for this...)

So a spotty power source could result in sufficient voltage drop that would cause screen flicker but perhaps not reboot the entire unit...

 
Last edited by a moderator:

WHK

Super Anarchist
1,611
91
Newport, RI
^^^ This! ^^^

Measure the voltage at the connection closest to the Zeus where the molded power connector is attached.  You may get IR drop on both the power and ground conductors.  Consider re-terminating every connection leading back to the power source (e.g. to the DC distribution panel). I've found numerous marine installations that have been impacted by oxidized connections, corroded contacts, poorly crimped but splices, etc.  Use quality adhesive line heat shrink but splices and make sure the connections are sealed.  Also make sure there is good quality marine grade tinned wire.  Raw copper wire will oxidize and degrade over time.

 

loneshark64

Super Anarchist
1,396
1,202
Midcoast Maine
Crap. Making me nervous. I have B&G Zeus 3s, autopilot, radar, instruments and vhf going in now. I was going to go Raymarine again because of familiarity but the guy at the yard convinced me on this. I think it’s the right stuff, the gear demos very well, but we’ll see. The frustrating thing is Raymarine support and quality has plummeted now they are owned by private equity, Garmin support has declined and they hose you on the cost of maps every chance they get, and B&G is an unknown. 

 

SimonGH

Member
341
75
Westbrook CT
Crap. Making me nervous. I have B&G Zeus 3s, autopilot, radar, instruments and vhf going in now. I was going to go Raymarine again because of familiarity but the guy at the yard convinced me on this. I think it’s the right stuff, the gear demos very well, but we’ll see. The frustrating thing is Raymarine support and quality has plummeted now they are owned by private equity, Garmin support has declined and they hose you on the cost of maps every chance they get, and B&G is an unknown. 
I don't think you need to worry.  As with all electronics, the installation is the bigger variable than the gear.  My previous boat was completely loaded up with B&G - Qty 4 MFDs ( 2x Zeus3 7", 1x Zeus3 12", 1x Vulcan 12"), NAC-3 autopilot, wireless remote, triton autopilot controller, wind sensor, Halo20+ radar, ethernet switch, H60 VHF & wireless handset.  The biggest issues had nothing to do with the units themselves.  The masthead unit had a bad wire, there was one bad ethernet connection, and the whole system was a lot better after a 12v-12v power supply for the N2K bus.  I think both wire issues were installation problems.

B&G was always easy to get on the phone, and the local guy was fantastic & knowledgeable.  So if you're doing the install yourself, just be very good about solid power connections, correct N2k bus configurations (with appropriate length drops, terminations in the correct place, robust power source).

 
Top