Panbo

Garmin GWS 10, hands on #2

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Mar 9, 2009
Wind_GMI10_ST70_DSM250.jpg

I'm pleased to report that wind speed and direction data from Garmin's GWS 10 NMEA 2000 wind wand shows up fine on all the N2K instrument displays and MFDs in the lab.  (There is a small problem with the GWS's air temp and pressure data, which Garmin will probably fix quickly.)  The only oddity is a substantial response lag on the Raymarine ST70 (but I understand that a major software update of that unit is coming soon). Using the GMI 10 or a Garmin MFD like the 5212 you can correct the vane's offset (if the masthead install wasn't perfect) or dial in speed and direction dampening factors if you don't like the "auto" modes (I do, so far). Aside from the ST70, all displays responded instantly to such calibrations.
    While it's nice that sensor/display mixing is possible, Garmin deserves applause for the wind screens it created for the GMI 10. The Garmin coders might consider "borrowing" that rectangular gauge design from Raymarine -- which makes maximum use of the screen -- but Raymarine, and Maretron, ought to "borrow" a lot from Garmin...

Below is the first menu you get to if you're using the GMI 10's close-hauled wind screen. Here you can easily switch back and forth from Apparent to True, set the Speed Source for the flavor of "True" wind you want, and scale the close-hauled gauge to your desires (20-40 degrees is the tightest scale available, and it shows slight course/wind changes very well).  You can also set up and scale the automatic downwind gauge that can show up when you point your boat that way. When I first mentioned that feature I wrongly thought that it was part of the standard 360 degree wind display, but it is nonetheless a brilliant idea.
   If you simply set a GMI 10 to be a Wind display, you'll get all the screens seen on that last link plus a nicely designed Ground Wind dial (which is what most everyone but sailors thinks of as true wind), and another data screen set up to show air temp and barometric pressure, all of which can be customized to one degree or another from a context aware first menu. And it gets better. When I first tried the GMI 10, you couldn't use any of the fancy Surface, Water, or Fuel screens if you wanted to set up your own custom set of screen pages. That problem is gone.  Besides adding the Wind screen set, Garmin's new GMI software lets you use any fancy screen in a custom page set, and choose them in a neat way I hadn't even imagined. This is valuable to power boaters too (who may not have read this far ;-), and will hence be detailed in another entry.

Garmin_GMI_closehauled_menu


PS (3/11): Garmin sent some GMI screen shots. The set below pretty much represents what you get if you just choose Wind as the Instrument Type, but any can be used in a custom page set along with snazzy speed, depth, fuel, etc. screens.

Garmin_GMI_10_Wind_screens.JPG

Comments

Garmin sure is shy about showing screenshots of the GMI 10. I think all of the displays shown above are too much like a traditional analog wind display. I would like to see something like the heading display on the GHC 10, with a close-up of the appropriate section of a big dial instead of trying to fit the whole dial into a small window.

For screenshots, see the Garmin website or the Panbo article Dec. 7, 2008 "Garmin AP, P47 worthy; how about you?". BTW, I'm still waiting for a manual or something from Garmin to explain the bottom half of that screenshot. Or see the Panbo article Sep 12, 2008 "Garmin GWS 10, N2K weather whirly". BTW, the fuel gauge screenshot shown there has a rather unique set of tick-marks -- they divide the tank into 12ths.

On the downwind screen for the GMI 10, why do they have a gap between 160 port and 160 starboard? See Panbo Nov 5, 2008 "Garmin at FLIBS, 640 & GWS 10".

The screenshot on the cover of the GMI 10 "quick start manual" shows my least-favorite display. They put the digital readout right on top of the most important point on the analog readout.

The GMI 10 is a very nice looking display. Since the screens are really just software, it should be easy for Garmin to provide an upgrade to make them even better.

http://www.panbo.com/archives/2008/12/garmin_ap_p47_worthy_how_about_you.html

http://www.panbo.com/archives/2008/09/garmin_gws_10_n2k_weather_whirly.html

http://www.panbo.com/archives/2008/11/garmin_at_flibs_640_gws_10.html

Posted by: norse at March 10, 2009 2:49 AM | Reply

Excellent detective work, Norse! I checked out the GMI 10 downwind screen further and agree that it's flawed. You can set the maximum wind angle from 110 to 170 and the minimum from 100 to 160, and the needle does move through whatever blank area you've left around 180, but the max ought to be 180. Sailboats can go dead downwind, say wing and wing in light air, always a challenge.

But, as you note, this is easily fixed in software, and it's obvious from this latest release that the GMI team at Garmin is working hard and smart. But Garmin has a huge product portfolio and it seems like the folks who put screen shots on the web and write the manuals are way behind the software coders.

One very important guy who's used the latest GMI 10, and gotten the N2K religion, is West Marine's Chuck Hawley. Check out the videos:

http://tinyurl.com/aods7x

Posted by: Ben at March 10, 2009 12:30 PM | Reply

I must say, after seeing this Garmin unit (and their other products) at the boat show, they definitely have the corner on nice looking intuitive GUIs. Very pleasing to the eye.

Posted by: robert at March 11, 2009 8:59 AM | Reply

Ben, Did the air temp and barometer data from the GWS 10 show up on the Furuno FI-50 series?

I have FI-50 series instruments and would like to use a GWS 10 on the network because it offers air temp and baro plus wind data. Any hesitations to using the GWS 10 as my masthead device with the FI series and a HDS-7M chart plotter?

The only foreseeable problem is not being able to update the GWS software because I don't have a Garmin chart plotter.

Thanks,
Matt

Posted by: MattB at July 20, 2010 2:37 PM | Reply

Posted by: Anonymous in reply to MattB at July 21, 2010 1:05 PM | Reply

Neato; that Garmin link above is to a new $80 SD-card-to-NMEA-2000 update gadget I did not know about. That means guys like Matt can keep GMI 10 displays, GWS 10 wind sensors, etc. up to date without having a Garmin MFD in the system. Which is especially good as Garmin is in the nice habit of continuously improving (and debugging) their equipment.

Matt, I can't recall if I saw Garmin generated barometric pressure and air temp on the FI-50 instruments, but I think so. I've returned the GWS 10 so I can't check, but I'd guess that if there was a problem (involving the two Environment PGNs that can deliver the info), it's fixed.

Posted by: Ben at July 21, 2010 1:25 PM | Reply

Thanks Ben and Anonymous. Ben keep up the good work. This is a fantastic blog you have.

Posted by: MattB at July 21, 2010 2:45 PM | Reply

Hi, I'm the Anonymous. Something go wrong and there wasn't my name in post. I'm writing from Poland and I'm happy that I could help you.
Talking about devices, I personally using GMI 10, PB200,GpsMap720S.
The latest update of GMI (3.4) improve the work of device.

Chris

Posted by: Chris at July 23, 2010 4:18 PM | Reply

Leave a comment