Panbo

Old instruments #1, Datamarine doubled

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 10, 2007

DMI_PH_family_crop

This week I’m hoping to find out more about private versus public Search and Rescue call centers (thanks for the interesting comments so far).  But I’m also on another mission, and am hoping for your help. I have a Sail assignment on upgrading instruments. Say your old boat (10 years plus) has broken or tired speed, depth, and/or wind gear, possibly manufactured by a company you don’t hear much about these days, like Signet, Kenyon, Nautico, Datamarine, or International Marine (are there more)? Can you get the old stuff fixed? Is it worth doing? Are there relatively easy upgrades, perhaps using the same instrument and transducer holes, or the same mast wiring? If replacing instruments, how far would you go…some networked variety…color…NMEA 2000? What instruments do you find nearly essential to sailing?


Repairing and replacing old sailboat instruments is a relatively small niche, DMI_windso I’m surprised to find that there seem to be two Cape Cod companies specializing in Datamarine gear. One is called Datamarine Instruments, which I thought was kaput, but is apparently still manufacturing those classic Corinthian gauges (right) seen in so many older boats. Then there’s DMI Marine which not only has parts for many Datamarine instruments but also makes new “Phoenix” speed and depth instruments (seen at top) that fit Datamarine hull and bulkhead holes. They use NMEA 0183 Smart sensors, which seems wise, and there’s a Phoenix wind instrument coming. Anyone had experience with any of these companies, or any sort of instrument upgrade?

Comments

You should also contact SEA, Inc. they bought Datamarine (or some part of it, I'm not clear on the details) and have their instruments listed on their website at:

http://www.sea-dmi.com/datmar/index.htm

Posted by: Brian Lane at December 10, 2007 8:44 PM | Reply

My B&G Hornet and Hecto will celebrate their 23 anniversary this February and have worked flawlessly. I added a NavAid which is a NMEA repeater and a RaceRepeater which computes true wind data. They don't do NMEA 183, but there is a firm in the UK which will supply a black blx to translate the Hornet and Hecto B&G language into NMEA 183.

I believe the AWI and the Transducers are compatible with more recent models.

I have replace 2 or 3 LCDs in their lifetime, but based on my experience I consider these to be among the most robust and well designed instruments out there. Expensive at the time, but amazing service!

I hoarded some speed log impellers and sent one to a sailor on the left coast who said they are not being manufactured. Mechanical things fail.

Posted by: DefJef at December 11, 2007 7:04 AM | Reply

We bought a 1994 46 Nordhavn a year ago that has a mix of Raytheon, B&G, and Simrad equipment. The Raytheon depth sounder cuts in and out, the B&G wind speed/direction doesn’t work, and I don’t think the Simrad AP300 autopilot could hit Alaska from 5 miles off shore and it’s lcd screens are almost all blacked out. Everyone I talked to about repairing the units said that the manufactures don’t support items that old, 12 years is too old for parts or support!, and it’s more cost effective to replace. So that’s what we’re doing with Furuno NavNet 2 systems. I want a proven, established technology and I don’t yet see the true value added of going to NMEA 2000.

Posted by: Frank Osborne at December 11, 2007 10:54 AM | Reply

I agree with Frank - manufacturers seem quite uninterested in even talking about the old stuff. My Amazon 44 came with a sick Robertson AP100 autopilot, and I have twice written to Simrad via their web form to see if service is available (or even a recommendation about what NEW product to buy!). No reply. I do like their products after having played with them at boat shows, but this doesn't inspire confidence in getting help down the road. And it's not just them... at this point, I'm choosing new products based more on support reputation than feature set.

Posted by: Microship at December 11, 2007 11:58 AM | Reply

Ben -- don't forget Moor Electronics of Buffalo, NY . My 1979 C&C Landfall 38 has the original Moor/EMS digital depth and analog speed instruments (of the old round type). Both units still work great, and Moor still supports the units, as well as selling new units with the same form factor. Great people over the phone, too.

Posted by: fgstreet at December 11, 2007 2:56 PM | Reply

Ben. How much of this market does Tacktick get?

I think if my instruments were on it's last legs in a sailboat from 18 to 28 feet (e.g. too small for a chartplotter or radar), TackTick would be a natural choice. Might even do the same in a larger sailboat and I was foregoing a radar and my focus was racing or daysailing only.

Instruments required? On a sailboat for me that would be depth, compass, watch and (two) handheld GPS's. Wind instrument would be a plus, but not necessary.

In addition to being wireless and solar powered, I might buy their instruments with an eye towards a concurrent or future purchase of a TackTick Racemaster.

Posted by: Dan (b393capt) at December 11, 2007 3:02 PM | Reply

Ben-
I'm still using a Datamarine International Offshore log and sounder and various remotes and they are serviceable by DMI Marine as you mentioned. Another dinosaur is my Wood Freeman autopilot, still going strong and still supported by Michael Freeman, son of Dr. Robert Freeman who invented and built it.
I've had so much trouble with my Raytheon/Raymarine video sounders and their Airmar transducers I'm reluctant to replace anything that works well and is still supported. Raymarine's flat rate repair schedule for out of waranty units is closer to robery than customer support and service.

Posted by: Jon at December 11, 2007 4:17 PM | Reply

I have original Data Marine instruments - Wind direction and speed, depth, and knotmeter on my 26 year old Wauquiez Hood 38. DMI has repaired the depthsounder a couple of times, and the masthead wind indicatior once. The depthsounder was somewhat of a success, but I have never gotten the sensitivity to work right after the first repair, even with a new Airmar transducer (typical conversation, "No dear, it is not getting shallow, we are in 600 feet of water!"). It does work fairly well in under 100 feet of water, which is when we need it. The wind indicator repair was less of a success. I am going to replace the instruments with new this winter, and look forward to your article. Tacktick is not an option, a friend of mine had one fail after a couple of years, and Tacktick gave him no help.

BTW, I have a Moor analog wind speed indicator on my aluminum cat powerboat. It works well at anchor, but at 30 knots it shows 50.

Posted by: Gary at December 12, 2007 9:04 PM | Reply

Ben, our 25 year old Tartan 37 has all the original Datamarine instruments except that the old loran course plotter was replaced last year with a new one that works with GPS.The original knotmeter,depth sounder,"wind machine", and Log/Control panels have had minor repairs done by me like new paddle wheels for the knotmeter, replacing spade terminals etc especially on the wind indicator.The knotmeter does pick up sea weed, but that isn't critical since the GPS readings can be picked up on the radar in fog. I suspect that the wind speed reading is somewhat lower than normal, and I've had minor problems with the depth sounder alarm, but on a trip from Rockland to Criehaven last year it was reading up to 2oo feet where the pot boys were placed but wouldn't read where in nearby areas there were none, and it was probably where the craters exist in Penobscot harbor. My sailing partner that day was inpressed by this.

Posted by: Lee Guite at December 15, 2007 10:22 AM | Reply

Who remembers Swoffer knotmeters? We have one on our Bristol Channel Cutter. Its a bear to keep clean but it generates its own power and has a big Meter. I just switched thru-hulls with plastic sleeve that Airmar sells with their model 650 knot meter. So if I do want to get with the 21st C I have the option. In the interim Swoffer still works!

Posted by: nate berkowitz at December 15, 2007 4:38 PM | Reply

Hi, I have an old data Marine Depth finder that just doesnt always work right so i'm wanting to replace it. I'm going to be using a depth/fishfinder with a thru hull fitting. My question is this, what do i do with the old transducer? Leave it there and just cut the wires, or should i try to remove it ( if there's a way )or drill another hold and mount another one near it?
I'd appreciate all the assistance i can get here.
It's going on a 1989 searay 38 aft with tunnels.
Again,
Thanks
harry

Posted by: Harry at February 18, 2008 8:43 PM | Reply

Harry, If the new transducer is larger than the old one (likely), or the same size, I'd sure replace it. If it's actually smaller, maybe there's a rational for leaving it, but I'd check on transducer choices. Unless, that is, that the performance problem is related to where the transducer was put in the first place. Doubtful, but suggest asking owners of similar boats, as well as DMI and Datamarine companies linked to above.

Posted by: Ben at February 20, 2008 11:36 AM | Reply

Hi - Like the Blog topic! We have vintage (25 yr. old)Swoffer instruments onboard and have served us extremely well - unfortunately the weak point is the potentiometers in both masthead and readout instrument. Bob Swoffer cannot source them anymore - any idea on who/where one might find some discarded/used parts etc...
Any help would be much appreciated - we love the instruments!

Posted by: Michael Ferguson at January 16, 2009 4:12 AM | Reply

I want to find a vintage 70-80 Moor sailing instrument that no longer works. I want the aluminum housing they came in. Anyone help?

Posted by: Rick at March 10, 2009 11:57 PM | Reply

Datamarine Instruments and DMI Marine each have roots in the old SEA-Datamarine company, and I’ve had experience with both, including buying new instruments and having repairs done on older instruments

In 2006 I bought a new NMEA-enabled wind indicator from Datamarine, which they said was the last one they had in stock. It’s plug-compatible with the older non-NMEA units, and uses the same MHU. Like most contemporary wind indicators, it will display true wind as well as apparent, if you feed it water speed. Additionally, I have one of their NMEA-enabled depth indicators, which can display heading from my Raymarine autopilot as well as depth. It appears Datamarine simply acquired the inventory from the predecessor company, and has pretty much exhausted the new products at this point, although when I ask, they’ll say “we’re out right now, but should have some in about two months”.

DMI, on the other hand, actually has made new Phoenix knotmeters and depthsounders for several years, which are similar to the most-recent Datamarine equivalents, but have more bells and whistles – including neat internal NMEA 183 combiners, and two NMEA outputs, one of which transmits only the instrument’s own signal, and one which transmits all signals present in the instrument. I currently have one of their knotmeters on my sailboat, and love it. Fits right in the old Datamarine hole, but gives lots of data I didn’t previously have, like VMG.

DMI has been saying for two years that it will introduce a wind instrument that worked with a smart NMEA MHU, but that hasn’t happened yet. Last month, however, they announced two new configurable NMEA displays with 4.5” square form factors. The Cameleon SEA-M is a wind/speed/depth indicator for $475, and the Camleon SEA-R is a nav repeater, also $475.

Up to now, DMI has had an interesting niche business focused on owners of boats who had previously installed 5” round Datamarine instruments. There’s a lot more competition in the crowded market for 4.5” square instruments, however, and I can only wish them well.

http://www.datamarineinstruments.com/
http://www.dmimarine.com/

Posted by: John at March 13, 2009 5:24 AM | Reply

Hi gentlemen:

I am a boater and I was exclusive importer of Datamarine products in Brasil during 90s and still have some brand new instruments, like Corinthian, Lx 201, etc and want to clear my inventory

If there people interested on them, please drop me a line.

Thanks a lot

Miguel G Neto
mgneto@ig.com.br

Posted by: Miguel G Neto at March 19, 2009 9:26 AM | Reply

I have an old Kenyon Marine Knotmeter. Where can I find replacement for the sending unit?

Thanks, Osvaldo.

Posted by: osvaldo ferramola at May 7, 2009 8:12 PM | Reply

My 1981 Tartan 37 sailboat still has 25+ year old Kenyon Depth, Knots and Wind instruments. Depth and knot meters continue to work flawlessly, without ever having been serviced at least since I bought the boat in 1992. Unfortunately, the AWI needs some service, but possibly only new wiring, since the masthead connectors are all bent and corroded. Does anyone know of a relieable service center for Kenyon??

Posted by: Alan Freedman at May 13, 2009 1:25 PM | Reply

Just found your site, Yes, I have datamarine instruments on my 1980 C&C 36 and yes I had DMI service them a few yrs ago. Since rebuilding the wind instrument it now kinda buzzes but the guy at DMI said it was normal, it has different levels of noise and sometimes while sailing it is noisy, I kinda like the noise of wind.

I am glad they are around so I can have a source for new pin wheels for the knot meter. Now the depth is being a not so accurate instrument and in the San Juans that can be a handicap, thou I mostly rely on charts and coastal navigator.

I have probably spent about 25% on these instruments oppossed to buying new wireless instruments and I might just do that some day in the near future.

Posted by: Thomas Stanton at May 18, 2009 12:53 PM | Reply

I have a kenyon KS-200 Knotmeter and the paddle wheel is missing does anybody know where I can get one?

Posted by: Anonymous at June 17, 2009 9:40 AM | Reply

Does anyone out there have circuit diagrams for the Datamarine LX360Q wind instrument. The unit I have is flakey.

Posted by: valerie at July 1, 2009 11:39 AM | Reply

I just replaced the DMI instruments with ST60. I had installed a Raymarine chartplotter and the ST60 instruments are visible in a window on the chart.
I had installed the mast head transducer when I bought the boat a few yrs ago, but was waiting to haul the boat to change out the speed transducer. I decided to adapt the DMI transducer to the ST display to negate having to haul it out to replace.... After several attemps to adapt, the patient lives. The circuit attaches to the spade terminals on the back of the ST60 and has a BNC connector for the DMI transducer cable.

http://www.angelfire.com/tn/santana525/cal92/DMI.html

Posted by: roline at July 30, 2009 8:23 PM | Reply

If you still need schematics, drop me an email at tom.calef@gmail.com.

I have all the old stock from datamarine, and all of their schematics. If you need any parts or information let me know!!

-Tom

Posted by: Anonymous at August 13, 2009 10:50 PM | Reply

I AM ABOUT TO BUY A NOS KENYON 35 MPH VITAGE SPEEDO (70'S) W/O SENDER..THINK IT WAS PADDLE...CAN YOU GET ME ONE??

Posted by: eugene guardiola at June 24, 2010 3:37 PM | Reply

Sometimes when I show up at a boat, I feel like the "Grim Reaper" replete with a black hood, and sickle. I stare at the nautical museum of antique navigation instruments with blackened LCD diplays, depth flashers, and paper recorders, Yeomans, radar displays with hoods, and SSB's that haven't operated for a decade, or more, and the ilk. I study the hopeful look of anticipation on the owners face, and shake my head. This isn't going to be pretty. All to often, the answer is to tell the owner that the device should get it's affairs in order, and call Hospice. From the installers viewpoint, in most cases, the costs involved, in even locating some place that might be able to fix it, will cost more than replacing it with new. As mentioned above, the life span of serviceability of equipment is all to short. In an odd way, the much older equipment, has a better chance of being fixed, than the middle aged equipment. The real old stuff didn't have circuit boards full of surface mounted devices (SMD's) assembled by a robot, and if you can identify the problem, finding a new part, and soldering it in can fix it. I call this the "If we had some bread, we could have a ham sandwich, if we had some ham" syndrome. On a SMD board, not so much, replace the board, or write it off. I would love to see a compiled list of companies who can still do these repairs, on some of the old gear. I would like to offer some affordable hope. No I'm sorry, you can't get a new mic holder for a Raymarine 215 VHF, try some Velcro, or buy a new radio. I think this is a good idea Ben, and the comments above show the need. Tnx Bill

Posted by: Bill Bishop at June 27, 2010 11:23 AM | Reply

Hello,

On this note, I have a brief history of instruments at http://www.iexpedition.org/history.html

It is biased to sailing, but is interesting nonetheless.

Nick

Posted by: Nick at June 27, 2010 6:18 PM | Reply

Regarding you 2007 posting, I believe offering to sell your Swoffer knot meter, by any chance if not yet sold, what are you asking for it?

Posted by: Steven in reply to nate berkowitz at November 15, 2010 2:11 AM | Reply

Dear Miguel:

I know it has been a couple of years since you posted that you had Datamarine instruments, but I wondered if you have any inventory left?

Thank you for your time.

Posted by: Steve in reply to Miguel G Neto at March 2, 2012 6:13 PM | Reply

I have a 1975 36' Chris Craft with a mod 2402 Datamarine thru hull depth finder and need a new or repair. Any help ??

It also has screw into gas tank -- top reading- works by a floating cork twisting a rod - need 1 or 2 new ones. Any help there ??

Reed

Posted by: Anonymous at March 26, 2012 1:07 PM | Reply

I need a Datamarine DART display unit circa 1988, because the plastic face is UV damaged making it difficult to see the numbers.

Posted by: Jim at January 7, 2013 2:09 PM | Reply

I have a model 2402 depth sounder which works perfectly. The case however is deteriorated badly. Would you be interested in an offer for your unit?

Posted by: Doug in reply to Anonymous at February 22, 2013 8:15 PM | Reply

Are you still hunting for one? I have 2.

Posted by: Tony in reply to Doug at February 27, 2013 12:57 PM | Reply

I have for sale, a Datamarine Corinthinan DCS100 speed/log display with transducer. Includes water temperature.

Never used - still in the box.

Email Dennis -- dlmckay69@verizon.net -- if interested in purchasing.

Posted by: dmckay at November 23, 2014 11:10 AM | Reply

I have the very old Standard Horizon WS-1, still working. However, the cups on the masthead transducer are long gone. Is there a close replacement. will a data marine masthead transducer work with the WS-1 mast wire?

Posted by: Paul at November 27, 2014 4:29 PM | Reply

I have a Datamarine Link 5000 system which still works fine and is quite accurate. I have used DMI a couple of times, for a software upgrade and a wind indicator repair. Service has always been excellent. I plan on replacing the system at some stage but all I'll get for my $$ is a less robust system which outputs NMEA data (Datamarine used a proprietary system). I'll wait till it breaks for good!

Posted by: Ian at November 28, 2014 1:15 AM | Reply

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