Yacht Devices N2K display, RedPort & PredictWind, NMEA & ABYC, and ONWA radar

... written for Panbo by Adam Hyde and posted on Apr 18, 2016

Yacht Devices NMEA2000 Text DisplayYacht Devices appeared suddenly on the marine electronics scene last summer when Ben discussed their new temperature and barometer sensors. Not resting on their laurels, they then launched a $189 voyage data recorder that similarly came with either DeviceNet or SeaTalkNG connectors to minimize additional drop and/or adapter cable expense. More recently they joined NMEA and have now launched a new NMEA 2000 (N2K) text display which seems to be the least expensive and least power thirsty N2K data display available...

Yacht Devices YDTD20 data typesAt $149 for the YDTD-20 text display, the major caveat is that it will need a dry location because it's not waterproof. The display might be a great addition to a lower helm, chart station or even in the galley to monitor tank levels (with a firmware update purportedly coming soon). The above graphic (click to enlarge) shows the data presently supported. You will be able to update the display's firmware via micro SD card (not included) and customize it to show additional data types not presently supported (extended engine info, DC sources, fluid levels, etc). Power requirements are 20 milliamps (1 LEN) from the N2K drop or adapter cable which you will need to budget extra for.

When I reviewed the Yacht Devices voyage data recorder in January, I was told a 2 battery voltage sensor is next in the product plan. With black case and blue screen, company news hints that there may be more text display color combinations coming. Speaking of "hints" perhaps we will soon know what is planned for the display's hidden connector and when we might see a firmware update with min/max values implemented.

RedPort and PredictWind integration

Redport Global XGate PredictWind Partnership

If you are an offshore passagemaker you have likely heard of PredictWind and their subscription service for worldwide marine weather forecasts primarily using the GRIB (Gridded Binary) data format. The challenge offshore is getting the forecasts you want while keeping satellite data costs as low as possible. Meanwhile, RedPort Global's core competency is simplifying narrow band satellite communications and minimizing slow, costly data overhead (company story here on Panbo). It seems logical then for RedPort and PredictWind to form a partnership to optimize the process of downloading the latest GRIB weather data.

The big news is that PredictWind subscribers who purchase a RedPort Optimizer WiFi hotspot along with XGate satellite data services can now easily use any satellite service (not just Iridium Go). An added benefit for cruisers new to PredictWind is that an XGate subscription now includes the Basic level forecast subscription that usually costs $19 per year from PredictWind. RedPort's sister company GMN thoroughly explains the Optimizer PredictWind relationship here. I tried the free version of PredictWind -- available for Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone -- with a regular WiFi connection and found it easy to use. Plus I noticed that before fetching any updated weather data the app tells you exactly what the file sizes are for various options, which allows you to better control those pesky sat bills.

NMEA joint training with ABYC

ABYC NMEA Partner for joint trainingIt's great to see two important marine standards organizations working together, plus it seems like earning three professional certifications in four days is an efficient use of time. Hopefully installers, technicians, mechanics, surveyors, and even ambitious do-it-yourselvers will also come away from these trainings with lots of valuable tips and best practices. And that's ultimately good for all boaters.

The American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) and National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) are offering certification courses in marine electrical, electronics installation, and NMEA 2000 networking. The first four day course starts May 23rd in Fort Lauderdale with further courses planned in the fall near Seattle and East Greenwich, RI. Members of either organization pay $1195 ($1695 non-member) and lunch is served! Further details are on the ABYC site as well as on NMEA's.

ONWA Network Radar

Onwa networked radarThe situation has improved, but a true "open radar" that can work with any developer's navigation software or app (without annoying the radar manufacturer) has remained elusive. But ONWA Marine Electronics recently emailed us the Network Radar promotional material partially shown above and it certainly looks like a more open system. Hongkong-based ONWA has virtually no presence in North America but seems better known in Asia and West Africa and has been discussed by value-minded cruisers. No pricing for the new Network Radar is available and the limited information I was able to get directly from ONWA indicated they are in discussions with various plotter manufacturers and software companies.

ONWA METS 2012Here is ONWA at METS in 2012 and you can see from the photo that they are a serious marine electronics manufacturer with a broad product line. Of interest is the poster second from the left showing the ONWA GPS navigator KP-32 that looks identical to the $495 Furuno's GP-32. It seems plausible that ONWA manufactures the GP-32 for Furuno (or the other way around) or is expert at mimicry. But while it seems quite doubtful that ONWA Network Radar is similar in features or quality to the Nobeltec Furuno PC Radar system introduced last year, let's hope that ONWA's new network radar is a viable opportunity for other developers to put together alternate navigation systems.

Comments

Morning Ben, I know for a fact that Furuno is in no way associated with ONWA - onwa have completely ripped off Furuno's cosmetic design (internals are completely different ) on a lot of there older generation product- presumably for the exact reason you have stated (that maybe the are the same) essentially sale by deception.

more info is available in a warning on furuno.com

http://www.furuno.co.jp/en/corporate/ip/similar.html

Posted by: Nick at April 19, 2016 3:58 PM | Reply

I'm super excited about the Yacht Devices N2K display. I already have one on the way to me somewhere, and am planning on integrating it into my Nav Panel as a quick way to see wind speed and depth. Much cheaper than a full Maretron or Raymarine display, and much better on the power budget!

Posted by: Steve Mitchell at April 19, 2016 6:38 PM | Reply

Nick, Furuno's warning doesn't mention ONWA specifically. If ONWA have been attending trade shows like METS for at least the past 3 years, they aren't exactly hiding. One would presume that Furuno's lawyers would have gone after any deceptive trade practices by now. What facts do you know? Ben and I would love more info than the little I was able to get out of the company?

Steve, Keep us posted on your thoughts on the display after you test it.

Posted by: Adam Hyde at April 19, 2016 11:16 PM | Reply

I just heard from a trusted industry insider (who does not work for Furuno) that ONWA at least used to be "...definitely rip off Furuno (you could take their scanners and plug into a Furuno display and vice versa). I expect they have moved on somewhat since the early days but they are obviously the intended target of the Furuno website 'similar products'"

I'm not surprised about this, but it doesn't mean that ONWA's Network Radar doesn't have possible value as part of a low cost nav system. I wasn't very impressed with the video, though, like the apparent lack of auto gain and clutter controls.

Posted by: Ben at April 20, 2016 10:58 AM | Reply

The industry is full of odd relationships and agreements as well as disagreements!!!...Like any niche industry...Let's just hope things keep getting cheaper for the consumers as they are supposed to when new competition is permitted and also welcomed aboard. If the top 5 manufacturers want to keep status quo in this industry with just thinking people will pay $9,000 US less VAT for the rest just for a new scooby doo 17" MFD/chatplotter combo unit? with or without an antenna? if so then new players and innovation startups will be able to take stronger footholds in the industry and eventually market share. We all buy on certain price points at some point..!! Crazy is not logical...and smart is not crazy....smart money does logical things not crazy things like pay 9K for a chartplotter that the paint will fall off in a few years and probably need a powercord or some type of service is kinda outrageous to me!! lol!! Im glad to see the competition...Bring em all!!! We as salty and non salty but still wet alike will only benefit from this. The manufacturers have been the ones making all the money to date.

Posted by: Marlinspike at April 20, 2016 4:14 PM | Reply

All what money, Marlinspike? It really doesn't matter how much a fancy MFD costs; if the unit numbers are small and all the R&D, manufacturing, tech support and marketing expenses high, there's not much $$$$ to be made. I'm not aware of anyone getting truly wealthy in marine electronics, and some say that no one brand can do well until there are less brands.

And who the heck made the rule about "things keep getting cheaper for the consumers as they are supposed to when new competition is permitted"? That's simply not how consumer electronics markets are working.

Sure, there is competition at the low end, and some perfectly good gear there thanks largely to the high quality manufacturing that seems to be easily available. But many brands are competing on features, style, support, etc. -- most everything except price -- and doing very well. Need I even mention Apple?

I presume you're referencing Garmin with the bit about the 9K 17-inch MFD as "crazy," but Garmin makes no bones about the 8600 series being a premium product. And plenty of people are putting them on premium boats. What's the problem? You don't have buy one, so why do you need to mock someone who does?

At any rate, as best I can see the "salty and non salty but still wet alike" -- thanks for that! -- all benefit from competition at multiple levels, certainly not just cost.

Posted by: Ben in reply to Marlinspike at April 20, 2016 10:33 PM | Reply

Panbo readers get 20% off XGate with PredictWind – one week only - to celebrate the release of the XGate and PredictWind integration! Use code bettertogether during checkout to get 20% off your XGate purchase. Offer ends April 28th.

Posted by: Adam Hyde at April 21, 2016 11:36 PM | Reply

Just finished using the Yacht Devices Text Display for about a month, and wrote up my thoughts around it at https://www.sailbits.com/blog/2016/06/yacht-devices-text-display-review/

It's a well designed little bit of tech, allows me to see everything I want right now without much of a power draw, and for not much money.

I'd like to see more configurable data, auto advanced pages, and tank level data.

Posted by: Steve Mitchell at June 8, 2016 1:32 PM | Reply

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