Panbo

Furuno MaxSea PC Radar, only in Europe?

... written for Panbo by Kees Verruijt and posted on Jan 25, 2013
furuno_maxsea_pc_radar_german.jpg

What is it with radar on a PC screen that seems so enticing to yachties? Is it the fact that you don't need a MFD? Or do we want the ability to use the digital charts of our choice with the radar of our choice? Last week I wrote about how OpenCPN now supports Garmin and Simrad radar, or at least partially, and it was in that entry's comments where we learned about the existence of Furuno MaxSea PC Radar. Yes it is possible to use Furuno's excellent radar with the excellent charting program MaxSea Time Zero without purchasing a NavNet 3D or TZ Touch MFD!  But right now it may only be possible in France or Germany...

So far only Furuno Deutschland is actively marketing PC Radar online, but Furuno France also has it available as a special package. Actually PC Radar has apparently been available since January, 2012. Maybe it wasn't marketed very loudly, but if you look carefully there are some hints to be found. I found a March blog entry at maxsea.com (screenshot below) that details how MaxSea and Furuno were supplying a PC Radar solution for British sailor Sam Davies' use in the 2012/2013 Vendée Globe. On those extreme racers every kilo counts, so she was supplied with a solution that does away with the MFD, reusing her Microsoft Windows computer. It seems we haven't been paying attention, only becoming aware of PC Radar now that it's getting increased marketing.

furuno_maxsea_sam_davies_PC-Radar.jpg

That blog contains an interesting discussion, where someone points out that:

Commenter: Hi, this looks great and all, but the solution provided contradicts with the information provided in the FAQ about directly connecting an antenna to MaxSeaTZ. Which is true? 
MaxSea says: Dear Soffi, Thank you for your comment. Both are true in fact, the PC Radar solution is only available in France and Germany at this moment and requires technical intervention. For other markets, the FAQ is 100% correct.    -- Best regards, MaxSea Team

Interesting, no?  FurunoUSA replied to a Panbo inquiry as follows: "As far as a PC Only Radar is concerned, we have no plans to market such a product in the US."

Furuno and the competition

All of the Big Four have MFDs that are well received and generally run modern looking software. All four now have touch enabled displays. Furuno has taken the high road and has chosen to supply very good looking multi touch MFDs with fast processors and large memory capacity. This does make them the most expensive though. There are cheaper sonar/chartplotter combos but these do not support the digital radars. This is a different approach from the others who all supply plotters in wide size ranges that cover low end to high end using the same or similar user interfaces. They also support radar in low end ranges -- for instance the Lowrance HDS 5 has a list price of $ 695 and still supports radar. I think Furuno can't supply such systems because their TimeZero software base just can't be poured into such small hardware at a cost effective price level.

However, this same MaxSea Time Zero software base is also an asset. Furuno is the only one of the big four that has its own software that is up-to-date and and capable enough to run radar overlay. Raymarine's Raytech is behind the curve, Garmin's software is targeted towards planning, not live navigation, and Navico doesn't really have any software packages meant for the general public (there is B&G Deckman, but that is meant for tactical racing, and there is a software SDK for radar integration with 3rd party software but that requires a $ 1295 license.)

Apparently Furuno Germany and France have are seizing this opportunity to outflank the competition and sell more MaxSea and more radar scanners.

The Furuno PC radar solution

Both Furuno France and Furuno Germany market a PC RADAR solution. The French site does not report a price though.

Furuno Germany has the most detailed information, including prices. They also reveal what modifications are needed: new software in the radar scanner. They released a combination kit consisting of a power supply and this software upgrade. There are four versions of this kit -- 12 or 24 V for each of DRS2D and DRS4D, all costing € 455. As Henning reported earlier, this price is lower than apparently the same PSU when bought for use in a TZ Touch network.

So this means the minimal system, assuming you already have a GPS interfaced to your existing laptop or PC, is going to cost:

MaxSea TimeZero Explorer€ 1500
DSR2D radar scanner€ 2074
Software upgrade + Power Supply Unit€ 455
10m radar cable€ 184
Total€ 4213

which means that it will be about € 5000 including 19% German VAT. If this solution is ever available in the USA, expect the same sort of prices in USD (I see the DRS2D at $ 1900-2000 online). Furuno_MaxSea_NavNet_PC_Radar.jpg

Advertised as the ideal solution whether you already have a PC or not, the German brochure even explicitly mentions that you can also use an external touchscreen with the PC, so they really want to emphasize that a MFD is not necessary.

At first sight this seems like a big saving, but it does mean a EUR/$ 2000 investment beyond the cost of the radar scanner. For that kind of money you can't buy a NN3D (an MFD8 is $3000), but you can get a 7" to 9" Garmin, Furuno or Navico MFD. Maybe not touch, but still. You do end up with the excellent MaxSea Time Zero. So it is really a question of how you use your radar/plotter and how much you value PC navigation.

Hard- and software requirements

I checked the requirements on the PC to see if these pose any issues. In fact the official requirements are quite reasonable. Interestingly Furuno has lower minimal requirements than MaxSea itself. There is support for Windows 7, Vista and XP, 32 or 64 bits. Hardware minimum is 1 GB RAM, 40 GB disk and a video card with Direct X 9.0c with Pixel Shader 3.0 support. Gone are the MaxSea requirements that the CPU is at least 2 GHz and a Core2Duo. This means that you need a relatively new laptop or PC, with either a discrete graphics card or if it has Intel graphics, at least Intel GMA X3000 or GMA 950 video. This means that you could get away with a 2nd generation Atom, but it will be a minimal system. Given my personal experience I'd recommend an i3 or better -- you won't get any fluency with low end hardware.

Concluding thoughts

I'm actually quite amazed that they did this so soon after releasing the TZTouch MFDs, especially the black box version. The BB version is limited to a 1280x800 or 1280x1024 resolution, whereas PCs easily drive 1920x1080 or 2560x1600 displays. On a larger bridge I'd much prefer a 24" high resolution screen over the courser screen available with the black box. Also interesting is that it is a Germany and France only proposition for now. It seems like a rather arbitrary, and possibly confusing, marketing decision that may have worked BI (Before Internet).

Now let's see how the competition reacts.  Will Garmin release a full navigation package?  When will Raymarine update Raytech?  Will Navico drop the SDK end user license or lower its price?  Will FurunoUSA follow their European colleagues? Watch this space...

Comments

> What is it with radar on a PC screen that seems so enticing to yachties? Is it the fact that you don't need a MFD?

Not just yachties. My simplistic observation is that the trend is MFDs for exposed use, PCs for comfy wheelhouses.

> Or do we want the ability to use the digital charts of our choice with the radar of our choice?

Holy Grail!

I would add that MFDs go obsolete faster than PCs (at this point in time). Maybe that is just me.

Posted by: norse at January 25, 2013 4:02 PM | Reply

I think two things are happening here. First is it looks to be a higher adoption rate of PC navigation in Europe, and second it gives Furuno a hand in PC Navigation if and when it ever really takes off.

Posted by: John at January 26, 2013 9:37 AM | Reply

One thing that Kees didn't get into is system convenience and redundancy. Gizmo is a good example. When the NavNet MFD12 was installed on the flying bridge it was a bit of an annoyance to have to power it up in order to use MaxSea or Nobeltec TZ with DRS2D radar on the Mac mini in the main cabin. You could put the MFD12 in 'sleep' mode to save power but if the MFD failed, neither would get radar. But there was no way around it because the MFD12 contained the 48v radar power supply.

Now Furuno has loaned me a TZT14 along with a separate DRS2D power supply, so I think that means that all it would take is a bit of unlock software to give Gizmo two independent methods of controlling and displaying the radar. Isn't that a valuable feature (and good selling point) that FurunoUSA could easily add?

Incidentally, the German PC Radar brochure also shows Furuno's three models of NavNet black box fishfinders working directly with MaxSea TZ, but I'm not sure that any NavNet radar bigger than the DRS2D will work.

Posted by: Ben at January 27, 2013 9:12 AM | Reply

Ben,

What do you think about the TZT 14?

I'm thinking about the TZT9 for my boat.

Thanks!

Posted by: david at January 27, 2013 7:00 PM | Reply

Ben and fans of Pc navigation. Be sure to check out Nobeltec TimeZero software and the new Pc radar available from them. Much cheaper than the options listed

Posted by: thefan at January 27, 2013 9:26 PM | Reply

This news is precisely why I'm holding off on a radar purchase. I have the required comfy pilothouse, and am familiar enough with PCs/OpenCPN to prefer that solution over an MFD, which I consider expensive, limited and easily outdated.

I just hope my push-off date for voyaging is slightly beyond that of the introduction of gear like this, which closely matches my preferences.

Posted by: Marc Dacey at January 28, 2013 5:40 AM | Reply

Actually that german screenshot says "this solution is perfect if you do NOT currently have a PC on board".

You got it wrong in the article.

Posted by: Ben Kay at January 28, 2013 9:36 AM | Reply

Hi thefan,

Are you referring to IR2, the existing Koden based solution, or something new (that I am not aware of, but then that's entire possible?) I'm pretty sure that the only option that is available right now consists of the aging IR2 hardware. If Nobeltec's TimeZero supported Furuno DRS radars it would be logical that Furuno USA would be aware of this?

I've had a Nobeltec Admiral solution with the Koden MD5B scanner and the Ethernet black box installed from 2005 to 2010, and it worked but it certainly wasn't any cheaper -- I spent well over EUR 5000 on that.

Kees

Posted by: Kees in reply to thefan at January 28, 2013 10:01 AM | Reply

I did get a Nobeltec email announcing a package of MDS-8-2kW 20-inch radome with direct Ethernet connection and a copy of Trident software for $2,300. But I can't find anything about it on the Nobeltec site and I wonder if that radome predates their current IR2 radars? (Nobeltec of course is owned by the same company that owns MaxSea with Furuno and Trident is closely related to MS TZ.)

Posted by: Ben in reply to thefan at January 28, 2013 10:06 AM | Reply

Hi Ben Kay,

A last moment change in the last picture shown in the article does indeed juxtapose two sentences with opposite meaning. The German brochure mentions several setups, one where you can use your existing PC or laptop, and one where you use a new touch screen computer.

Thank you for pointing out my error, I'll adjust the text of the article to more accurately reflect that buying a new computer is also an option.

Posted by: Kees in reply to Ben Kay at January 28, 2013 10:10 AM | Reply

From http://cms.nobeltec.com/CMS/Products/NavigationSoftware/TimeZeroTrident.aspx

Trident supports Nobeltec InSight radars and the best of class Furuno FAR2XX7 radar making it ideal for light commercial and workboat users who want to optimize radar integration. Trident also integrates with Furuno’s entire DRS radar line (with at least one MFD on the network)

Posted by: Kees at January 28, 2013 10:33 AM | Reply

Apologies to Kees. It was me who changed the last image without realizing that it conflicted with his text. Sorry, Kees!

But I think that the idea of using PC Radar with an all-in-one touchscreen PC is interesting. I wonder if someone will package it with, say, a Hatteland X-Series. I also wonder if some boaters with protected wheelhouses will try Radar PC with inexpensive consumer all-in-ones like the HP TouchSmart.

Posted by: Ben in reply to Ben Kay at January 28, 2013 11:38 AM | Reply

It is in fact something new Kees. As Ben indicated, Nobetlec has recently put out the MDS 1R and 8R which is a 12 and 20 inch version of a PC radar. This is direct connect via Ethernet! with the deals they have with TimeZero software, it most definitely is a cheaper option. The connection of a DRS radar is strictly political obviously, as they can make it work with "technical intervention". its not far away gents!

Posted by: thefan at January 28, 2013 11:58 AM | Reply

From a sailors point of view, I like the idea of a MFD as well as sending the radar signal to a PC. There is no way a computer display of any kind will survive mounted in my cockpit. Because of this I have a Garmin 4212 mounted there. It would be nice if I could also use the Garmin GMR-24 to overlay radar on Coastal Explorer below decks where most of my route planning takes place using a Mac-mini. I'm not interested in eliminating the 4212 - just want to use the signal on the PC as well. I'll pay for the license - just make it available, Garmin.

Posted by: Richard C at January 28, 2013 3:33 PM | Reply

Richard, personally I couldn't agree more. A safety feature like radar needs high reliability, and a laptop or computer does not offer that, in my experience.

I've used with a Nobeltec/Koden/Panasonic CF07 for 5 years. Since three years I have a MFD + PC combo and I much prefer the MFD for underway work (better uptime, easier to use, uses less power.)

Posted by: Kees in reply to Richard C at January 30, 2013 6:32 AM | Reply

hi kees ,
dont forget that in europe it is very good bussines to sale charts for dealers. In US the charts are free. I think for US it is not so much profit on that system :)

regards
robo

Posted by: robo at February 11, 2013 9:18 AM | Reply

What's up with Furuno DRS4W WiFi radar? This UK distributor is taking orders:

http://www.prscomms.co.uk/webshop/radome-antennas/133-furuno-drs4w-wifi-radar.html

Apparently it was world premiered at the Stockholm Boat Show:

http://www.dagensbatliv.se/navigatorer/furuno-wifi-radar-sander-tradlos-radarbild-till-ipad-iphone

And whoever writes Marine Review already thinks it sucks:

http://www.marine-review.com/2014/03/news/furuno-drs4w-wifi-radar-ipad-iphone/

But I'm not even sure it's an actual Furuno product, or it any of those links have all the details of what this is about. Anyone know more?

Posted by: Ben at April 1, 2014 1:13 PM | Reply

Ben, all will be revealed in the next 3 weeks, yes it is a real Furuno radar. The guy from Marine review is a way off base, this isn't aimed at the MFD market. Surely this is a small yacht owners dream radar?

Posted by: Anon at April 2, 2014 4:07 PM | Reply

Hi Anon,

I'm the writer of Marine Review - and why am I off base? it is just a standard radar with WiFi interface?

The Radar is not the first thing you buy for a boat - and not the 2nd either. Furuno data shows it is a 100% standard dome radar - just with ONLY wireless interface. The use case for that is VERY limited.

I could understand if they did a super small portable radar with a "suction cup" mount and a battery clip. Most people do not need 36 nm radars - they need collision avoidance. But it is NOT - it is just a standard Furuno radar without a radar cable.

And it is just yet another thing that requires you to run your "1 app at the time" tablet with it. If you then have a wireless sonar as well - you have 2 wireless networks to switch between on your tablet. That means getting from Radar to Sonar would take ? 60+ seconds. Not something that INCREASES your situational awareness.

and again - tablets only work when light is limited - or you sit in a lot of shade. That is not usual on a boat apart from Greenland winter days or night sailing.

I do not understand this obsession with putting wireless access points in everything. It is not that much harder to let the "devices" be CLIENTS as well - and not only their own access points - that WOULD help the situation. It would also cut down on the number of "accesspoints" creating noise for each-other. Sonar - channel 1 - Radar channel 6 - NMEA WiFi channel 8 - Raymarine MFD - Channel 9 - suddenly ONE boat is using 4 of 12 available channels on the wifi band. Idiotic.

But I still don't see the market for a "Tablet" Radar only installation - especially when prices of MFD bundles with Radar are SO low. And with an MFD you do get a sunlight readable screen.

Posted by: Kaz in reply to Anon at April 3, 2014 1:08 PM | Reply

So no one could possibly own 2 iPads? They are getting pretty cheap.

Posted by: Arnie at April 3, 2014 2:27 PM | Reply

Kaz, why make so many presumptions about what the Furuno WiFi Radar is and how it might be used? Do you have solid information about that's not public yet?

I don't and I look forward to learning more. But I'm doubtful that Furuno would built a WiFi radar that could only be an access point and was meant to run mainly on consumer grade tablets. After all, Furuno made the TZT the first and still only (I think) WiFi MFD that can join a boat's own WiFi network.

Consider, too, the Argonaut A615, a 15-inch marine monitor with Android built in. Picture an Android version of Nobeltec TimeZero with support for Furuno WiFi radar running on that. Or might Furuno have cooked up a marine "tablet" of its own?

I truly don't know anything more than I've written here, but why trash this product before it's even real?

Kaz, I'm also curious why your Marine Review site doesn't identify you or your background in any way? I've read some interesting news and opinions there, but frankly the anonymity sometimes makes me wonder.

Posted by: Ben at April 3, 2014 7:02 PM | Reply

Hi Ben,

select - About Marine Review on the site - there is a lot more about me. But I am EE educated sailor who have worked professionally with Internet since 1994 - and wireless since 1995 since the first 200/400/800 kBit pre 802.11 wireless BreezeNET (Now Alvarion)

But what I have is what has been written in the press from the Swedish release - and there it states it is only iPad compatible and only Wi-Fi access point. I do read/write Scandinavian :) And the guys who showed of the DRS4W in Sweden - claimed that was the world wide official release.

But consumer Wi-Fi is still not a technology for running your safety marine gear on top of. Come close to another boat (or close to land) where same channel being used by others - bandwidth goes to

As I said - great if they do a multi radar where you CAN plug in a cable when you need/want to. But why put a radar on your boat that is NO different than any other radar - needs the same mounts - takes the same space - and the ONLY "benefit" is it runs wireless? It still needs to be mounted - power cable still needs to be pulled and so on.

So based on what is released so far - I can only say the use cases are very limited. If you ARE buying a radar - it is because you are safety focused. If you are safety focused you do not rely on a [current generation] tablet that is not meant for the task of keeping YOU safe(er) on the water. And yes - a weather proof high brightness tablet would be better. And if the DRS4W CAN connect to other Wi-FI - or if Furuno has made their own tablet - then great :) but I would still not rely on wireless for my boats safety features.

I can understand the "every device it's own access-point" in cases where you only need it occasionally. Like to configure an AIS receiver or pull some low bandwidth data once in a while. But if the Wi-Fi access point stays "on" as I wrote before - then you will have your entire boat occupying the entire available wireless space in no time.

Neither Android or iDevices are very good at "locking" down and staying on a single Wi-Fi network if multiple known Wi-Fi networks are available. They will jump to any of their known Wi-Fi access-point when they wake from sleep.

So what will happen is - you used your radar - did not press any buttons for while - as you are busy steering the boat - you screen blanks out as the tablet enter sleep mode - you then press the button to start the tablet again - and your iDevice/Android device connects to your AIS..... Then you need to go to Network Settings - connect to the radar - change to the radar app - and then you have your radar back. Such kinds of distractions in high stress/emergencies gets people killed.

And right now you can buy a Simrad NSS7 + 3G radar for

Posted by: Kaz in reply to Ben at April 3, 2014 8:37 PM | Reply

Arnie - iPads had not become cheaper. They cost the same as they have always has. Previous model is always a bit cheaper than the current model - but pricing is more or less the same. :)

But yes you can buy 2 tablets and 2 tablet mounts. You could even buy 3 :) But then you are tableting only to be tableting :) - not to gain any features.

I would love to get an iPad with a 1000 nit screen so I could use it on the water without having to climb into the shade or my cabin. But even then it would not be my primary navigation device. It would still be the device I use when planning a route - or sitting watching for wrecks to dive on while someone else is at the controls.

To make tablets / wireless devices suitable for primary status - there would need to be a communications standard - open enough so that my Nav apps can do multiple things.

So for example iNavX could show radar+sonar+charts+engine data++ from the same App. So no more app switching.

Remember tablets "kill" things that are not foreground apps if the foreground app needs the memory. Charting apps takes a lot of memory.... which can then force your tablet to close your radar app - which means when you switch to radar - it has to FIND the radar again and initialize from "start" - AND have you "accept" legal terms again.

So lets get a standard for marine device communications on wireless - and a standard for keeping app's alive - or something like Apples "Car Integration" for boats where your tablet "locks in" with the "automotive" network and becomes an extension to the already present systems.

I do hope that NMEA OneNet (Marine Ethernet) will get a wireless "extension" but I don't think that is in the cards in the near future.

Posted by: Kaz in reply to Arnie at April 3, 2014 9:13 PM | Reply

Apologies, Kaz, I didn't notice the About page before. Still I hope you understand that it's an odd mix to claim some sort of ethical high ground and heap scorn on NMEA and other "idiots" while never declaring who you actually are.

Posted by: Ben in reply to Kaz at April 3, 2014 11:28 PM | Reply

Hi Ben,

the manufactures mostly do know who I am :) And I'm not hard to find - my name is Kasper Larsen and I'm quite easy to find on linkedin - and I am not in it for personal attention - as I do not really like being centre of attention. But I do try to keep my personal life personal - which is why I don't plaster marine review with my personal details.

And I don't claim a morale high ground. But one of the very few websites I respect for Marine info - is Panbo. :) Too many of the others are just of the "pad on the back" types to get advertising - like BoatT***. I try to keep the same clean distinction between editorial and advertising as we did in my days at IDG PC World.

And someone should speak up :) All I hear when I talk to NMEA members is complaints about other NMEA members not following or "bending/abusing" standards and not working towards a joint "customer beneficial" network. Will they stand up in public and say so - no never - then they would loose their "positions" of relative power. Just check how many MFD's support Instance numbering... That has been a standard requirement since 2009....

But they talk to me because I do understand the standard despite not being member of their expensive/exclusive club :) - so I'm hoping to put out some OPEN SOURCE N2k "compliant" development boards this year - so people can play N2k on a range of Microcontrollers like TI MPS430/TIVA and Arduino. I started doing the hardware out of pure frustration with the lack of interoperability. I WANT my Garmin Auto-Guidance to control my NMEA non-Garmin autopilot... And I'm close. :)

Posted by: Kaz in reply to Ben at April 3, 2014 11:56 PM | Reply

Thanks, Kasper, I feel like Panbo passed over a pretty high bar ;-)

I don't think you mean the BoatTalk community radio show that I like listening to (and you might too):

http://archives.weru.org/boattalk/

Posted by: Ben at April 4, 2014 9:11 AM | Reply

Ben - nope something with test - not talk :) 5 minute boat "reviews" which I would classify as "infomercials"

I like Panbo :) and I do like your writing style. I just wish you posted more. But I think there are more chips in the electronics on your boat than in the wood...... I'm not much better - but my boat is fibreglass.

Anyway - I hope I can learn more about Furuno's future Wi-Fi solutions and hope they can find a "sensible way" to make it work across many platforms and maybe their own MFD's. But right now as written - I consider it a toy for iDevice users :) If they are smart - they sell a $100 upgrade board so you can get the cable connection once you buy the MFD. That should really be their target - sell more MFD's.

But just selling Wireless app's / devices for the point of being wireless apps - is a waste of time. And the Wireless sonars are not really a sales success are they? It is not on the front page of West Marine or other "Big Vendors" - and I think the same will happen with the DRS4W unless there is a much bigger master plan that is not 100% wireless. :)

Posted by: Kaz in reply to Ben at April 4, 2014 1:24 PM | Reply

"I just wish you posted more. "

As you say, copy/paste of a press release is easy. Original work is way more work.

Posted by: Kees in reply to Kaz at April 5, 2014 3:33 AM | Reply

Thanks, Kees! Actually I would like to post more entries, but instead I've gotten in the habit of writing long ones. The change wasn't planned! I'd also love to see more guest writers on Panbo but have been poor at making that easier.

Kaz, funny you brought up wireless sonar. I've actually started testing one -- the Vexilar SonarPhone T-Hub -- and tentatively think it works well and makes a lot of sense for the intended purpose. It's also a good value and I suspect that the fixed boat model has some real potential:

http://vexilar.com/info/sonarphone-mobile-depth-sounder-app/

Also, you seem to have a lot more trouble with on board WiFi and apps than I do.

Posted by: Ben at April 5, 2014 11:06 AM | Reply

See I do understand the T-Hub - great fun to put on my dinghy :) - battery operated - transom mount - and a wifi connection. That is a usable product in the portable category.

Which is why I say - the Radar is more marketing than useful. If they made a SMALL portable radar with 5 hours of battery - that I could place on a dinghy - or another small boat - then great :) - but just replacing the control board with a wifi version - is making it wireless just for the marketing factor.

It is not much harder to pull power + coms cable than it is to pull a power cable only.

But if I am lucky enough to visit panbo one day - I'll bring my portable spectrum analyser with me - then you can see just how much noise is emitting from all the wireless access points around you. The more you put in a confined space - even if they are on different channels - the more degraded all signals become and the end result is a LOT retransmissions and signal degradation.

While it might not affect sonar at 2000-30000 bytes pr second (modern average sonar is about 2000 bytes per ping plus/minus) - it can quite possibly affect a radar a lot more with maybe 500,000-2,000,000 bytes per second. Of course if Furuno compress a lot - then it might only be 100,000 bytes per second - but then you need the user device decompressing it again.


But lets see once it gets out. :)

Posted by: Kaz in reply to Ben at April 7, 2014 5:52 AM | Reply

I'm sure this has been mentioned in other threads, but I don't see it here. The real reason people are so excited about something like the wireless Furuno radar is that it separates the radar and the MFD. I have an older Raymarine MFD. I'd love to get the e7.

But guess what? If I want the e7 I have to buy a whole new radar scanner, because the e7 doesn't support the older radar scanners. But I like my current radar scanner just fine. It's infuriating that every time you upgrade radar or MFD you have to upgrade the other.

The Furuno wifi scanner solves this problem. That's why my next upgrade will be a wifi radar.

Brendan

Posted by: chicagocat at June 8, 2014 1:11 PM | Reply

Be careful what you wish for, Brendan. As best I can tell, the Furuno 1st Watch WiFi DRS4W Radar won't connect to any MFD, just tablets. And note that the existing Furuno DRS2D radar could already be independent of an MFD. PC Radar is the subject of this entry!

In fact, any radar that does its processing in the scanner and interfaces with Ethernet can be an independent sensor if the manufacturer develops the apps or gives access to other developers. And every major manufacturer has switched over from analog radar scanners to Ethernet. That's why they all did what happened to you with your older Raymarine scanner.

But the switchover only happened once. So "every time you upgrade radar or MFD you have to upgrade the other" is simply not true. I put a Raymarine Ethernet radar on Gizmo 5 years ago and it's worked with many different models since, and I think it will continue to.

So I don't see the problem the Furuno WiFi Radar is solving. In fact, I really don't understand the product, though maybe I'm missing something. It is an official Furuno product (though Furuno USA doesn't seem interested) with its own mini site:

http://furuno.com/special/en/wireless/radar/

Posted by: Ben in reply to chicagocat at June 8, 2014 6:45 PM | Reply

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