Panbo

Raymarine e7, a major refresh!

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jul 28, 2011

Raymarine_e7.jpg

The Raymarine e7 being announced today may be the most important launch of the year, because it's not only a hot new 7-inch MFD design but it also marks a complete refresh of Ray's multifunction display software. While it wisely retains the "HybridTouch" mix of touchscreen and keypad controls introduced in the E Wide Series -- though with notably fewer and bigger buttons -- I understand that the underlying code began at zero several years ago. And I see a lot of fresh interface ideas in the many product photos you'll find after the break. But while the e7 will network with up to five other e7s and all sorts of existing Raymarine sensors and black boxes, it apparently will not network with existing Ray MFDs, which may be the downside of a complete software rewrite {correction: will network with E Wide and G series MFDs, see comment}. But then again, it surely can make some interesting new connections...

The e7 has built-in WiFi and when shipped in October there will purportedly be a free Raymarine app available that lets you stream whatever is on the e7's screen to an iPad. What's more, the Plotter Sync feature of Navionics Mobile -- version 2.0 just came out, by the way, and is looking very good -- will work directly to the e7 instead of needing an onboard WiFi router. So, plan a fishing trip or cruise at home on the iPad and sync up when you get aboard; then let the crew use the pad to see what you're doing during the day, or to keep an eye on how they're doing at the helm; and, finally, take your track ashore for bragging time. Are people going to like this, or what?

Raymarine_e7_with_iPad.jpg

The e7 also has Bluetooth and can use it to control audio tracks on an iPhone or similar Bluetooth-equipped player that might be plugged into a stereo below. And the e7 can also take commands via Bluetooth...

Raymarine_e7_as_Bluetooth_audio_controller.jpg

...with the RCU-3 control that Raymarine is also introducing. It's designed to be clipped to a wheel as shown below or hung on a lanyard. I'm not sure just what it will do yet, but understand that audio control is one possibility.

Raymarine_RCU-3_Bluetooth_remote.jpg

Judging from the photo below, the e7 also seems to offer pretty complete autopilot control, though I'm not sure it can completely substitute for a dedicated head unit like the Simrad NSO/NSE/NSS series can.

Raymarine_e7_with_autopilot.jpg

And doesn't the screenshot below look like a new and improved route making routine (not to mention how much easier that chore is with a touchscreen)?

Raymarine_e7_waypoint.jpg

I'm a little dubious about this final shot of e7 video, wondering if isn't more a product of Photoshop than actual video resolution (though the LED LED backlit display is 800 x 480 pixels). But the image does speak to my day, which included nearly seven hours of making wakes in the good Gizmo. Now we're moored in Five Islands, I'm finishing up this entry on the boat's wondrous new computer system, and there a steamed lobster in my near future!

But you can keep exploring the new e7 because Raymarine has just put up loads of information. And get this: Today they're also introducing new i70 multifunction instruments and p70 autopilot heads.  I think it's safe to say that Ray is very much back in the game.

Raymarine_e7_with_camera.jpg

Comments

I forgot to mention the pricing, and that's more good news: The e7 will retail for $1,500, and the e7D with digital sonar will be $1,800.

Posted by: Ben at July 28, 2011 7:55 PM | Reply

Ben, I had a long conversation with Raymarine this morning and they are indeed back in the game. I could not get any details but they did say that the e7 is just the beginning of things to come and they have bean paying attention to all of the iPad and Tablet fans. More good news is that the Raymarine equipment design, engineering and manufacturing is now all geared to Flir standards and the problems of the past are in the past. Chuck

Posted by: Capn. Chuck at July 28, 2011 10:26 PM | Reply

Wow, 1999 called and they want their design back. Ipad streaming is interesting, but design is pretty blah!

Posted by: Chuck at July 29, 2011 1:05 AM | Reply

Can I interface this over Seatalk to Raymainr ST60 instruments? Or where do I need new sensors?

Posted by: Jens at July 29, 2011 2:11 AM | Reply

The obvious question, IMHO, is: when do the larger units come out? I had swung from Ray, to Furuno, to Simrad as likely candidates for next year's electronics upgrade, now Ray looks to be moving back into the lead. But not at that size. I'd want at least a 10" screen, a 12" at the new aspect ratio (very HDTV like) might fit in my available space, especially withthat new minimal bezel, and these slowly aging eyes would like a bigger screen when I split it into chart and data modes.

Any hints Ben?

Posted by: Doug Campbell at July 29, 2011 2:51 AM | Reply

Doug, As Capn. Chuck noted, Ray is not shy about the fact that the e7 design will be seen in larger MFDs to come, but they didn't say when. It shouldn't be hard to scale up, though, as there's really nothing missing in terms of hardware interfacing that I can think of.

Jens, Raymarine introduced a SeaTalk-to-STng converter last year: http://goo.gl/PSM1H

And it worked fine in my testing: http://goo.gl/An1SB

Posted by: Ben at July 29, 2011 6:15 AM | Reply

Very nice new unit indeed, finally some real innovation in terms of WiFi connectivity.

Ben, do you know if there is any info about streaming to iPad. Is the iPad only a remote display or does it have any control over the WiFi to the e7?

I would guess from the specs that it is only a video stream, so iPad can not control e7 over WiFi.

/Chris

Posted by: Chris at July 29, 2011 8:43 AM | Reply

Chris, It is my understanding in my discussion with Raymarine that the connection to the iPad is essentially a repeater but that video, etc. from the iPad can be displayed on the e7. At this time only Apple is supported. Android may be in the future. I also have the impression that this is just an introduction and there will be more to come in true integration between the MFD and mobile devices. Chuck

Posted by: Capn. Chuck at July 29, 2011 9:40 AM | Reply

Thanks Chuck for this info. I am sure that Raymarine will continue developing this WiFi connection even furher now when the game is on.

/Chris

Posted by: Chris at July 29, 2011 9:54 AM | Reply

It's good see what Ray can really do, given some resources. It looks good, and finally a smaller unit from Ray that has some flair, and real capability. As a side note Ben, I noticed in the pic with the video segment (photo shopped?)that the lat long is the Miami area, and the video has some impressive hills in the background. When I last looked, Miami is barely above sea level.

Posted by: Bill Bishop at July 29, 2011 10:34 AM | Reply

This looks great, I have been waiting to up date my Raymarine Grey Boxes for such a long time. At last a piece of marine equipment that looks good, just like all my other gadgets. I hope it perform's as good as it looks.

When will we know details and sizes of the bigger MFD's, will they be doing a 9" with the small frame size? I might be able to squeeze and even larger screen mfd in.
Well done Raymarine, Good job!

Posted by: Graham at July 29, 2011 11:47 AM | Reply

I'll come right out and admit that I never been a fan of Raymarine products. I have had their instruments for years and have 2 long passages with a recent dual helm, dual display G Series setup that left me wanting to pull my hair out. Raymarine has definitely been the price point and marketing leader of late, but seemingly at the cost of quality and R&D. However, the Hybrid Touch series plotters seem to be much better than their predecessors, and now it looks like Raymarine has kicked it up a notch. The instruments look great as well, I have ben an an admirer of the ST70 Plus units for a while, but finding a spot for one is challenging. This new set seems to bridge the gap pretty well.

This announcement by Raymarine definitely makes me question my current plan. I was all prepared to buy a whole Simrad setup next Spring. I was planning on putting an NSS 7 or 8 at the helm in place of an Autopilot head, and an NSE 12 up under the dodger. I still like that I can use a Simrad plotter instead of a dedicated autopilot head. I also like the DVI out on the Simrad units and the remote keypad that would allow me to use my nav station monitor and a keypad as a remote station below. And last but not least, the Sonic Hub is pretty darn cool. I will be closely watching what both of these companies do with their product line in the next 6 months.

Either way, this is good news for everyone. It seems that Raymarine is listening to customers and is looking to innovate. This will drive more innovation and competition in a marketplace that has lagged behind and the consumer will benefit. The iOS integration is brilliant and is a strong selling point. I might actually become a convert based on where they take this.

Posted by: sailoutbound at July 29, 2011 2:46 PM | Reply

Nice kit - but I'll wait for the bigger screens.
It's doubtful, having regard for product lead times, that Flir had anything to do with the development of these products. But well done Flir for bringing these to market.

Posted by: Roger B at July 29, 2011 4:38 PM | Reply

After handling both the e7 MFD and the i70 instrument range at the Sydney Boat Show, I can confirm that they are very impressive. What stood out:


  • The iPad streaming app works a treat to replicate the e7 screen on the iPad
  • The displays on both e7 and i70 are very bright and clear
  • The new "Lighthouse" user interface is intuitive in presentation and control. It was easy to navigate.
  • Packaging is nicely styled and compact.
  • Raymarine have overhauled their NMEA-2000 pgn coverage. On the i70, I observed coverage for fresh water tanks, black water tanks and a host of environment pgn's in addition to all of the expected navigation data. Although not confirmed, I expect that the e7 has the same coverage.
  • The i70 can have up to 6 user configurable display zones and can support combinations of digit, bar graph and dial type displays.
  • The i70 autopilot version with the knob has a power steer mode.
  • The i70 instruments have two Seatalk ng style NMEA-2000 connections that allow a daisy chain to the next instrument. I see this as a big plus as you have the choice to single end a spur drop or daisy chain within a spur.

Congratulations to the team at Raymarine for putting together an outstanding product line-up.

Posted by: outbackgary at July 29, 2011 8:15 PM | Reply

Hello Ben ... I have not posted on Panbo in a while but I still absolutely love your site, and read it nearly every day.

In the last year (as well as my education as a Naval Architect) I have become a Cisco Networking expert (CCNP, CCDP, CCNA, CCDA, etc.). This leads me to my first comment/thought about this new e7 product.

1) I need to learn more about the networking of the e7. The PDF no longer references seatalkHS but "ethernet and 802.11 b/g". We all know that there are only 3 actual non over-lapping channels in 802.11 b/g standards. As any of us know who live in densely populated areas (townhouses, apartment complexes), the problem with Wifi is that signals seriously degrade when other devices are using the same channel. Also, WEP encryption can be hacked in 5 minutes ... WPA can be hacked in 30 to 40 minutes with a good dictionary attack. So only AES encrypted WPA2 which takes strong processors is really secure for 802.11 b/g. Next, we are going to have tons of broadcasting SSIDs (wireless network names) from a bunch of e7s in the marinia (assuming we can even specify our own SSID in the e7 interface (if we can't and say the SSID is fixed with something like Raymarine ... I can imagine opening up the iPAD wireless networks in a marinia and finding 100s of networks all named Raymarine) [Just imagane trying to find a wifi network where you can get internet access with all of these new wifi networks]. Also, do I loose all "internet" access when connected to the e7's wifi? Am I jumping back and forth from my internet wifi network and my navigation wifi network (there are two of the three available wifi channels on my boat alone). Or can I finally put my e7 on my regular privately addressed ethernet network and not on a custom segregated raymarine network? To sum up my questions are around Wifi Channel oversubcription, wifi security over the controls of my boat, and ipad internet/e7 simultaneous access?

2) I have never understood the 5 device limitation of MFDs. I feel like the ethernet networks used by navigation programs are ethernet hubs and not even switches. Do e7s use any of the advanced networking technologies ... layer 2 switching, layer 3 switching, static or even dynamic vlans that could seggement MFDs into thier on own broadcast networks with special multicast addresses ... or even have true routed multicasting, how about the implementation of IPv6 and all of advanced addressing / unicasting / broadcasting / anycasting / autodiscovery, finally with proper CaS and QoS tagging you could prioritize the delivery of important data. It feels like the ethernet networks are 15 to 20 years old. Modern Ethernet is amazing, and with proper tunning can have response times in 100s of miliseconds. You could have data going from the right device to the right device group perfectly. The possibilities are amazing. So I just don't get the 5 device limit unless they are sitting on some old CDMA-CD network.

3) Finally ... the 37 and i70/p70 look amazing ... but why such a dark color ... aren't they going to get hot in the direct sunlight?

Posted by: Matt S. at July 30, 2011 3:06 PM | Reply

Matt S raises some good questions. In general I am underwhelmed by the technology in MFD's, such as processing power, networking, wireless. My curse is that I'm an electrical engineer :-(. All the excitement about how it "looks" seems premature. I'm anxious to hear about functionality, e.g. how responsive is the U/I, panning, zooming? Have they improved the autopilot? Does the touch screen work in cold, soking wet, wet or gloved hands. Like SailOutBound I've little hair left. Thx to OutBackGary for some initial user impressions. Looking forward to more of the same.
-Mic

Posted by: Waveguide at July 31, 2011 12:05 PM | Reply

These are what I have wanted for a while, now all we need to do is convince them that the new i70 can repeat the chartplotter content so we have an instrument sized display at the helm!

Posted by: Anonymous at August 1, 2011 11:23 AM | Reply

A good news correction from Raymarine is that e7 will network to existing E Wide and G Series systems. "There will be a few limitations, but basic functions like chart, radar, and sonar will be shared."

I'm also told that e7 screen viewer app will work with Ipad 1 and 2 and the iPhone 4, and that Ray is "also looking at an Android version for the future."

Meanwhile the three button RCU-3 remote "allows you to range in/out chart, sonar and radar; drop a waypoint at your position; and call up the home screen and select apps." And will "also let you control audio functions of connected Bluetooth devices."

And finally NMEA 2000 fans will be pleased to hear the e7 manual will include a full list of PGN’s processed.

Posted by: Ben at August 1, 2011 3:08 PM | Reply

I've been meaning to correct the prices I listed in the first comment, which are more like "street" than MSRP. The list price for the plain e7 with U.S. charts seems to be $1,849, with a MAP (minimum advertised price) of $1,649, and a few online stores are purportedly selling them for under $1,500. However, some of those guys are confused, too. I see one site that claims a list price of $2,195 which means their $1,649 price is a huge discount. But has anyone actually seen an e7 in a store, or, better yet, bought one?

I haven't received a test unit yet, but did get a personal preview in early August: http://goo.gl/5pQOO

Posted by: Ben at September 13, 2011 7:19 AM | Reply

Today official launch of the bigger displays at "boot" in Duesseldorf (Germany). Raymarine pesented the new e-Series Touchscreen models such as e95 and e125. According to the e7D model you will find build in fishfinder capacity in the models e97 and e127. And there where some other new products on todays Raymarine show.

Posted by: Tobias at January 21, 2012 10:35 AM | Reply

Here is a link on Raymarine's UK site for the new larger e series as well as a new version of the C-wide: http://www.raymarine.co.uk/view/?id=397

-Earl

Posted by: EarlM at January 21, 2012 11:12 AM | Reply

It looks like the new c series (lower case c vs C-Wide) is basically the same as the new e series only without the Hybrid-Touch screen (it does support iPad video streaming).

Buried in the new 2012 product brochure (available here: http://www.raymarine.co.uk/view/?id=895 ) they mention the new c series will network with the new e. So people will be able to mix and match touch and non-touch on the same network (like Simrad and Garmin). Very big news for Raymarine.

Also, they have a nifty bezel kit to allow the replacement of previous generation MFDs with the new units without making new dash holes or replacing expensive NavPods.

The product line seems to be a bit simplified now, touch or not and then screen size 7", 9" & 12" (looks like the 14" may be gone). Also the new e series has a built-in GPS in all models, the E-Wide did not have a GPS built-in.

If only they could use more letters in the alphabet to name their products. The old C and E "Classic", the "new E and C-Wide", now the "new,new e and c". Identifying what a customer has on their boat over the phone is getting more confusing now, especially since the new units don't have their model on the front bezel.
-Earl

Posted by: EarlM at January 21, 2012 11:40 AM | Reply

Wow, the cats are coming out of the bag!

While I feel bad for Raymarine USA -- which was trying to keep the new gear embargoed until the Miami Boat Show -- no company can introduce a product in just one region anymore. Worldwide Web is a meaningful term!

And if you look at page 50 of the Raymarine UK product brochure, you'll see some new software that the US team has even mentioned under embargo yet. It's called VoyagePlanner and it may be a collaborative effort with Fugawi. All sorts of chart types and wireless syncing are supported, and there's a related VoyageXChange cloud-style program for sharing/storing routes, charts, etc.

Posted by: Ben at January 21, 2012 1:00 PM | Reply

Thanks for the head's up, Earl. I just posted an entry about all of Ray's new gear and hope the conversation can continue there: http://goo.gl/qsbNU

Posted by: Ben in reply to EarlM at January 21, 2012 4:17 PM | Reply

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