Panbo

Furuno 711C Navpilot head & MCU002 remote keypad, TZT style

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jul 29, 2014

Furuno_711c_autopilot_head_SETCSE_aPanbo.jpgThe press release (PDF here) for Furuno's new color 711C autopilot control describe it as "completely redesigned to provide an excellent match with Furuno's flagship line of NavNet TZtouch MFD's... right down to the control knob!" There's no denying the similar handsome styling, and doesn't it make you wonder if Furuno will eventually offer a color NMEA 2000 instrument display with the same standard DIN size and 4.1-inch color screen? That's 100% speculation on my part, but doesn't it make sense as Furuno finds itself competing with Raymarine, Garmin, and Simrad over the glass style helm that the TZT Series arguably spearheaded? The MCU002 remote TZT keypad, also now official and shipping, seems like another step in keeping TZT competitive.

Furuno_711c_autopilot_screens_aPanbo.jpg

Furuno USA lists the 711C as a complete autopilot system, but in fact it uses the same NavPilot Processor Unit as the existing 700 autopilot. That's a good thing as you can purchase a 711C Control Unit for use with an existing Navpilot system, which already has a lot going for it. For instance, check this 2013 Miami Show entry for some detail on the Navpilot 700 series Safe Helm and Power Assist features. You'll also get to compare the old monochrome control screen with the 711C's bold new color graphic screens.

Furuno_711c_autopilot_head_aPanbo.jpg

I found the most detail about the new 711C Control Unit at Furuno's Navpilot site, particularly from the brochure you can download there. The diagrams below, for instance, explain the "FishHunter" mode in action on the screen above and also what "Advanced" means on the top screen. The 711C strikes me as a good autopilot -- anyone out there tried the 700 series? -- and it sure looks like it would fit nicely with most any glass style displays. Note, though, that if the 700 series is fitted with a TZT system, you'll also have autopilot control on your MFD. Same brand MFD autopilot control is now true for all of the Big Four electronics brands.

Furuno_NAVpilot_modes_aPanbo.jpg

Similarly, the advent of the Furuno MCU002 remote control means that all four multi-touch glass helm systems have an optional keypad. As noted in my recent shakedown cruising entry, I think these remotes can be quite valuable. Furuno's version seems compact and simple -- 2.3- by 4.5-inches with USB interface and power -- yet quite fully functioned. There's good overview document available on the product page, but better yet is this Eric Kunz demo video.

Furuno_MCU002_TZT_remote_control_aPanbo.jpg

Comments

While I'd like to try the Furuno remote keypad, it's interesting how much easier touch commands are now that the TZT 14 is mounted less vertically. And I'm having the converse experience with the Raymarine a-7 at the lower helm. It's harder to use now that it's lower and more vertical. Ergonomics really count. Latest installs here: http://goo.gl/3DACvn

Posted by: Ben at July 29, 2014 1:00 PM | Reply

So today I learned that FurunoUSA will be introducing the 1st Watch WiFi Radar here fairly soon:

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

I still "get" the product myself, so I'll be very interested to see how they pitch it. Meanwhile, Mark at i-Marine is excited:

http://i-marineapps.blogspot.com/2014/06/furuno-1st-watch-marine-radar-app.html

...but feelings are mixed over on the CruisersForum:

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f13/any-experience-with-wireless-radar-127562.html

I have figured that the DRS4W is NOT simply a DRS4D with WiFi in it. For thing, it's only 19-inch, like the DRS2D, and if it has DRSxD advanced features like ARPA, multi-speed rotation, dual range, true motion etc. Furuno isn't saying yet.

Posted by: Ben at July 29, 2014 8:19 PM | Reply

A big step foreword, and another nail in the coffin of old style (and expensive) MFD's.

However I am puzzled by why is the output limited to only two devices. Without this restriction, radar signals from a vessel equipped with a DRS4W could be transmitted to nearby boats, using a signal booster if necessary. Just think of the possibilities for collision avoidance, and as an alternative to AIS.

Posted by: Rick R at July 30, 2014 12:27 PM | Reply

A short answer to Ben's request for NavPilot user testimonials:

I've been using the NavPilot 711 on my 30-foot semidisplacement motor cruiser since 2010. It's connected to a GP-33 GPS and a PG-700 heading/rate sensor, both via NMEA2000. Route info is fed from Transas Navigator via an Actisense NGW-1-USB gateway.

I have only praise för the NavPilot, especially after the latest software update, which I got installed this spring. It keeps the course within one or two degrees at all times in Auto mode. In nav mode it follows the route from Transas so closely that I've been able to let it steer "hands off" even when passing under bridges and between islands in the inner parts of the Stockholm archipleago. Not really how you're supposed to use it, but it was fun!

Installation was straightforward, and the system didn't need any extensive calibration. Just let it do its dockside and trial run tests, let the compass do a few turns to deviate itself, and off you go!

If there are any questions, I'll be happy to answer them.

Posted by: Johan at August 7, 2014 4:19 PM | Reply

Perhaps a silly question, but how do you put the unit into standby mode? I see it on the remote but what about the head unit? Does it have the Garmin feature of going into standby when you touch the wheel?

This should be obvious so when you are leaping from the helm to grab the wheel in an emergency, you don't have to think. I like my old simrad unit with a simple button but someday I will want to upgrade it.

Posted by: George at August 9, 2014 1:34 AM | Reply

George,

on my head unit (the old B/W FAP-7011), the power/stby button is bright blue and clearly labelled.

I made some quick research regarding the new FAP-7011C, and the standby mode is still activated by pressing the power button momentarily, but there are no markings to indicate this. You make a good point; it should be obvious how to go into standby mode. It should not be necessary to read the manual.

There is no automatic standby function in the NavPilot like Garmin's "Shadow Drive". The autopilot will counteract your steering input if the wheel is turned when in auto or nav mode. However, it's possible to dodge obstacles by using the "left" and "right" buttons.

Posted by: Johan in reply to George at August 12, 2014 5:56 AM | Reply

Thanks, Johan, but actually Furuno is the only manufacturer I know of that offers an automatic standby (and resume course) autopilot feature like Garmin's ShadowDrive. Furuno calls it Safe Helm and it requires an accessory valve block and Furuno (Accusteer) hydraulic pump. The Garmin feature is also hydraulic steering only, but comes with the AP, I think. Then again, the Furuno system can also provide Power Assist Mode power steering and is highly adjustable. More info:

http://www.furunousa.com/products/ProductDetail.aspx?product=FPS8

http://www.panbo.com/archives/2013/03/furuno_at_mibs_2013_chirp_fcv587627_and_navpilot_fps8.html

Posted by: Ben in reply to Johan at August 12, 2014 8:54 AM | Reply

Johan, I'm considering getting the Furuno NAVpilot 711 for a 40' sailboat and was wondering what your experience has been following a route with a strong cross current or crosswind. Will the NAVpilot continue to correct and stay on the route line with accuracy? Thanks.

Posted by: Richard C in reply to Johan at October 12, 2014 9:10 AM | Reply

Richard,

I'm very satisfied with the 711's performance in cross winds. Most of the time, it keeps the boat so close to the route that I can't see the offset on my 15" nav screen at any realistic zoom level.

When following a route in Nav mode, naturally there will be an XTE value which makes the job easier for the autopilot, but there's also the "Advanced Auto" mode for course following mentioned in Ben's post. It sets up a distant waypoint internally in the autopilot, and then steers towards this waypoint. Thus, both Nav mode and Advanced Auto mode will actually make use of XTE to compensate for any drift. I have both COG and heading vectors in my nav system, and it very clearly shows the compensation in heavy crosswinds, with the boat "crabbing" along sideways! ;-)

Obviously, your 40-foot sailboat won't behave exactly as my 30-foot motor boat, and we don't really have any currents to speak of in the Stockholm archipelago, but from my experience I can absolutely recommend the 711.

Also, Ben;
thanks for enlightening me about the Safe Helm feature! It was not avaliable when I bought the Navpilot 711 in 2010 (quite early in the product life cycle, I believe), but it's nice to know that the possibilites keep expanding!

Posted by: Johan in reply to Richard C at October 12, 2014 2:19 PM | Reply

Leave a comment