Panbo

Icom MarineCommander, the whole enchilada?

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Apr 6, 2012
Icom_MXP-5000_display.jpg

When I wrote about Icom's "New Look" VHF radios after Miami I also mentioned a new and "affordable" black box navigation system that impressed me for its rugged-looking build. Well, let's say hello to Icom MarineCommander. While I think that there are still many details to learn about -- online manuals and spec sheets will help -- a lot about MarineCommander is becoming clear, and, besides, I obtained some high res images that nicely complement what's on that Icom site...

So click on the photo below for more detail of the MXP-5000 processor that's the heart of MarineCommander. What you'll see is three video outputs, two of which can support independent MXD-5000 12-inch displays like the one seen above including button and knob controls, with the third apparently a repeater of one screen or the other. There are also four video inputs, four Ethernet connections, an NMEA 2000 port, and two other data connections. And I believe the MarineCommander brochure PDF mentions how those lower right power connections can also power the displays...

Icom_MXP-5000_black_box.jpg

The brochure diagram below shows how some of that connectivity can work. Note how two processors can be networked and share blackbox radar(s) and fishfinder via Ethernet. And no surprise that MarineCommander claims special relationships with Icom AIS and VHF radio products via NMEA 0183...

Icom_MXP-5000_data_diagram.jpg

And here's the end result, which looks like some powerful multi-window multifunction goodness to me...

Icom_MC-4-Panes.jpg

I particularly like the radar zoom window seen better on the full radar screen below. I don't recall seeing it elsewhere and if it's easy to set up it could be quite useful. But it also looks like the Icom interface engineers borrowed lots from other systems -- like those compact system icons, the easy-to-read databar, and various optional corner windows -- and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that...

Icom_MC-Radar-Screen.jpg

I'm not sure how multi-window screens are created but like the look of this picker. Notice how the use of the rotary knob is illustrated graphically in the bottom bar. I'm sensing that I could figure MarineCommander out pretty quickly...

Icom_MC-Selection-Screen.jpg

It's also not clear yet which standard NMEA 2000 messages are understood by Marine Commander, but the screen below certainly looks knowledgeable in terms of engine data fields. So what does it cost? The minimum advertised price (MAP) for MXP-5000 is $3,000 with MXD displays at $1,700 a piece. Besides the demo video at Icom, I found this one on YouTube. What do think so far? Can Icom extend its fine brand name into navigation electronics?

Icom_MC-Virtual-Engine.jpg

Comments

Two pedantic quibbles, Ben:

"Postedn by Ben aon Aprikl 6, 2012 1-:12 AM" ? I am reading this on April 6 at 9:52 AM PDST. methinks your Web site is off by a time zone?

Also, you use "compliment" whien I think y6ou meant "complement."

Nice post, though.

Posted by: Jim Maynard at April 6, 2012 12:56 PM | Reply

I am fairly new to all of this but it seems to me that if it doesn't have touch screen and doesn't interface with iPad, it is out of date right out of the box. Did I miss those features?
Arch

Posted by: Arch at April 6, 2012 3:57 PM | Reply

Sad to see that those video connections aren't standard DVI. And I'm wondering why there are so many Ethernet ports -- I guess the MXP-5000 has a built-in hub, which seems like a waste of space given that those appear to be standard (not weather-sealed) Ethernet.

Also curious about who makes the radars for Icom, and how they compare to the Navico BB stuff or "HD" radars from Furuno and Garmin.

Screen display looks nice, though, and I appreciate the high information density on this unit -- looks similar to what Simrad is doing UI-wise. Garmin and Furuno should pay attention to this trend.

Finally, given Icom's radio roots, any word on how this unit will handle N2K DSC PGNs?

/afb

Posted by: Adam at April 6, 2012 5:12 PM | Reply

The Ethernet ports are probably switch ports intended mainly for pushing around point to point video (high bandwidth) from the radars and between the main processors.

Curious that 0183 and not 2k is depicted in the diagram.

Posted by: Paul at April 6, 2012 5:44 PM | Reply

Considering the development period from absolute zero product experience to full blown deliverable, it seems obvious they had to lock in features and get on with production challenges more than a year ago. That explains why this is not absolute bleeding edge. This gives them a base to build on, but icom has not been known for leading the pack in innovation.
I find this interesting; the chip slot is on the display, meaning that chart data has to move from there to the CPU then back. Since most marine electronics failures are "outside the box" (in the connections and wiring) I see a double vulnerability.

Posted by: Sandy Daugherty at April 7, 2012 12:40 PM | Reply

Right on both counts, Jim. I'm in New Orleans (fun!) but my blogging software doesn't know it. Complement corrected. Thanks!

Arch, touchscreens and iPad relationships certainly have buzz and can be useful, but MarineCommander seems most aimed at the sort of fast open boats where both have issues.

Posted by: Ben at April 7, 2012 12:45 PM | Reply

Usually, 3rd party radar is furnished by JRC or Koden. But that's just a guess.

Posted by: Ron Rogers at April 7, 2012 12:58 PM | Reply

Icom did venture into gps plotters about 9 to 10 years ago with the gp 360 ml & gp 270 ml. They were not successes and were not supported for any length of time.

I am not clear as to where this new product will fit in with other instrumentnts. I

Posted by: Bob Austin at April 11, 2012 5:40 AM | Reply

The 90's called...

They want their SVGA display back.

Posted by: dsp at April 14, 2012 2:12 PM | Reply

Where come from fishfnder and radar technologies, that's what I wonder. How Icom can claim to be competitive with the others big electronics brands with this "first" product and interface. Want to know more ! ;)

Posted by: Benoit at April 25, 2012 3:24 PM | Reply

Does anybody own one of these Icom Marine Commander units -- the whole enchilada?

The internet is shockingly devoid of reviews and feedback by people who have actually bought or used one these systems. Which is more scary than my faith in Icom stuff is reassuring. I'm contemplating going "all in" on the whole package for a 40' schooner I am buying, that is currently a timewarp to 1980 with no electronics. Blank slate is a rare opportunity, but I'm having trouble pulling the trigger on this Icom system (which I want to do) without getting any feedback on usability and gripes.

Isaac in SF bay area

Posted by: isaac at June 1, 2014 8:14 PM | Reply

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