Good instrument news: Garmin gWind Wireless 2 and Raymarine i70s

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Jul 9, 2016

Garmin_gWind_Wireless_2_and_GNX_Wind_aPanbo.jpg

Mount the new Garmin gWind Wireless 2 transducer on your masthead, plug the GNX Wind display into your NMEA 2000 network and -- badda bing, badda boom -- your sailboat has quality networked wind data that hardly uses any power and retails for $900 bundled. And if you already have a Garmin GPSMAP 7400/7600 or 8400/8600 chartplotter series, you don't even need the GNX Wind to display and network the data. Meanwhile Raymarine's updated i70s all-in-one N2K instrument display looks great on several levels...

Garmin_gWind_Wireless_1_hardware_aPanbo.jpgTo understand what's going on here -- and to avoid confusion about Garmin's various current gWind offerings -- note (above) all the hardware needed for the original gWind Wireless transducer that came out in 2013. In fact, the unusual sensor is actually a 2006 Nexus design and Garmin acquired Nexus in 2012. So the WSI connection box at top right bridged the wireless signal to the Nexus network and then the GND 10 box bridged Nexus data to NMEA 2000 for use on Garmin's growing selection of instrument displays. What's new? The gWind Wireless 2 uses the same ANT wireless protocol built into the already mentioned displays and thus neither box is needed anymore (unless your boat has a Nexus network or you want the GND 10 support for advanced integration with PC sailing programs discussed in these Panbo comments).

Garmin_GNX_Wind_aPanbo.jpgWhile the included ANT wireless wasn't mentioned when Garmin announced the GNX Wind in January -- surprise! -- its notably low 0.4W maximum power draw was obviously due to the unusual semi-monochrome LCD screen we first discussed regarding its sibling GNX 20/21 instrument displays. With the gWind Wireless 2, Garmin now offers a black-box-free GNX Wireless Sail Pack that adds a GNX 20 and a depth, water speed and temp Airmar DST800, and thus makes quite a powerful and easy-to-install instrument package for a small sailboat. And it wouldn't take much of a battery and solar panel to power it.

The gWind Wireless 2 would also be an easy addition to a Garmin equipped power boat -- the maximum range is 50 feet, incidentally -- but the sail packs remind me of the nearly all-wireless and solar-powered Tacktick gear which I once covered and tested and which is now available as Raymarine Wireless. I don't know if Ray has any plans to update these instrument systems to get the flexibility and integration that NMEA 2000/SeaTalkNG and maybe Bluetooth LE would provide, but Tacktick's design is still viable and Raymarine has certainly been busy on other fronts.

Raymarine_i70s_all-in-one_NMEA_2000_instrument_display_aPanbo.jpgWhile the new i70s Multifunction Instrument Display is a fairly minor update to the original i70 design -- especially compared to LightHouse R17 -- there's much to like. For instance, the i70s claims a maximum 1.7W power draw to achieve an LCD brightness of 1,200 cd/m2 (candelas per square meter or Nits), while the i70 uses 1.6W to put out a maximum of 700 Nits. So I'd expect the i70s to be much brighter if needed and also to use significantly less power to produce what looks pretty good as the i70's max setting. (All the marine LCDs I've tested seem to use much less power as soon as they're turned one click below max with the increments decreasing as you dim further).

The i70s also has the black, flat, square-cornered, mostly glass look, which has become so common for marine displays like Ray's own eS and gS Series, not to mention all the other major brand marine all-in-one, full-color instrument displays (and most computer monitors, televisions, phones, tablets, etc). I think that the style is going to stick and that helm stations, even mixed ones, will look better for it. (Presumably, Ray will offer similarly updated p70 and p70R autopilot heads eventually, and the existing silver bezels do take black spray paint fine ;-)

What's not necessarily common among all the square, black NMEA 2000 instrument displays are the available graphic screens, the understanding of less common N2K data types (PGNs), the calibration of sensors, and the availability of complete manuals. The i70s manual seems very complete (download under Documents tab here) and I noticed lots of goodies behind the screens.

Raymarine_i70s_STW_calibration_pages_cPanbo.jpgI was amazed, for instance, at how sophisticated Raymarine has become about the calibration of Speed Through the Water (STW) sensors. I've collaged snips from the four well-written manual pages above to show how choices range from a simple one-point routine using GPS Speed Over Ground (SOG), automated multi-point speed runs, and even manually editing a calibration table. And all this applies to a wide range of analog transducers connected to SeaTalkNG/NMEA 2000 with Ray's Speed pod or iTC-5, or to native N2K ducers like the same Airmar DST800 that Garmin supports. Accurate STW values are critical to quantifying sailing performance and also to calculating tidal currents and true miles-per-gallon fuel burn, not to mention your actual speed through the water. Is any other brand offering boaters such calibration?

Finally, I also collaged the extensive list of data items available on i70s Favorite Pages or on the Quick View screen that's specific to every Favorite Page and easily accessed from it, plus the list of NMEA 2000 PGNs that transport all that data around. It's impressive, but it's also similar to what's happening on a Garmin GMI 20, a B&G Triton, a Simrad IS35 or 40, a Furuno FI70, and whole lot of MFDs, not to mention the extended world of Maretron DSMs and maybe coming soon to Signal K apps of all sorts. There's a lot left to do, but I'm thinking that marine data collection and display has come a long way already.

Raymarine_i70s_data_items.jpg

Comments

Interesting wind sensor, Ben - ours is an olde ST60, which works just fine via a converter to STnG - but I'm dreading the day I have to replace the cable running up the mast. Would the Garmin wind sensor work to supply wind info to my Ray STnG network?

I have two i70 readouts on Atsa - one at the nav station and one in the aft stateroom - and they are both turned well down from max brightness - even my olde eyes see the nice & clear, day & night.

Posted by: Hartley at July 12, 2016 9:28 AM | Reply

I had the Tacktick instruments prior to them being bought by Raymarine, and loved the system. There were some challenges with the product, but overall I loved the wireless aspect of it, and am disappointed it hasn't become the standard for how all instruments connect.

I like the new i70s - I had the i70 on my previous sailboat and never really liked the styling. The software was super configurable, though, and I appreciated that. I have the p70 autopilot head, and would love to replace that if Ray does decide to redo those as well.

I'm definitely intrigued by the depth of PGNs they support - it would be nice to show battery voltages and tank levels on these instruments when I replace my older ST60 hardwired ones. That and the speed calibrations which are crazy!

Posted by: Steve Mitchell at July 12, 2016 12:29 PM | Reply

Ben, suppose you already have a GNT 10 ANT to N2K transceiver you installed a while ago to communicate with your Quatix.

Wouldn't the addition of the wireless wind sensor (and perhaps pairing with the GNT 10) just work and get wireless wind on to your non-Garmin N2K network?

Posted by: Itzmann at July 12, 2016 3:17 PM | Reply

I was interested to see on the site you linked ( http://www.raymarine.com/display/?id=17721 ), that they mention a new smart ducer - the P70 (not to be confused with the pilot head!). Any details on this Ben? Does not seem to be on the Airmar website yet either.

Posted by: Marauder at July 12, 2016 5:20 PM | Reply

Sorry, Marauder, I can't find any reference to a P70 smart transducer and I checked the i70s manual too. According to the latter, the i70 and i70s support two triducers directly over NMEA 2000/SeaTalkNG:

DT800-12 Bronze, part # A22147

DT800–12 Plastic, part # A80374 (replaces A22112)

Sort of listed here under i70 Smart Transducers tab:

http://www.raymarine.com/view/?id=1479

Posted by: Ben in reply to Marauder at July 16, 2016 8:24 AM | Reply

Itzmann, I don't see the GNT 10 listed as a compatible device with the gWind Wireless 2 and I don't think that's a mistake. I don't know why, but I don't think the Quatix 3 watch is compatible with the GNT 10 either. But note that the Q3 is compatible with the GNX Wind display.

It looks like Garmin changed the way the marine gear uses ANT somehow, apparently leaving you with legacy ANT ;-(

Posted by: Ben in reply to Itzmann at July 16, 2016 8:35 AM | Reply

Hi Ben, it's mentioned on the Ray i70s site under 'key features':
"Network the i70s with Airmar DST800 transducers and the new in-hull P70s smart transducer".
Indeed it does not get a mention anywhere else.

Posted by: Anonymous in reply to Ben at July 17, 2016 4:21 PM | Reply

Maybe "P70s" is a typo and what they really mean is the Airmar P79s in-hull NMEA 2000 depth sensor:

http://www.airmar.com/productdescription.html?id=108

Posted by: Ben in reply to Anonymous at July 17, 2016 4:49 PM | Reply

I'm sure Ben is right. Airmar P79S is not new, but the Raymarine branded version must be since it's not on their webpage. Ray does say DST800 and P79s in the same sentence elsewhere.

Posted by: norse in reply to Ben at July 17, 2016 11:04 PM | Reply

1200 nits, Wow !

Posted by: Dan Corcoran (b393capt) at July 18, 2016 1:25 AM | Reply

I also dred the day when I have to replace my wind transducer. It will require removal of the mast, not just a trip up the mast. If manufacturers could make something that could reuse the existing wires, even for something as simple as just power, while doing the data transmission wirelessly, that would be a great benefit. Then you could cut the wire at the top and attach the sensor to the power leads, while abandoning the signal lead in place. A relatively easy mod, compared to dropping the mast.

Posted by: rxc at July 19, 2016 5:07 PM | Reply

The new Garmin wind transducer is wireless, no power wires, no data wires, and is claimed to be good for masts up to 50 feet, so the usable range should be more than that. Garmin has a winner with this. Pulling the mast can be a big deal, so not having to do that is a huge plus. It has a little solar panel built into the arm ... clever ... and a battery that should last 3 years before having to climb the mast to replace it.

Posted by: norse in reply to rxc at July 19, 2016 11:10 PM | Reply

I have been waiting for Raymarine to update the TackTick offering, but it seems they are orphan products.

Its nice to see an alternative at last.

Posted by: Robert at July 22, 2016 12:18 AM | Reply

I've looked at the Garmin site and on line, and I can't find a definitive answer to the following:

Can you use the Gwind wireless 2 wind instrument to talk wirelessly to a GPSMAP 741xs? The 741xs has the wireless built in, but I can't find anything that says the wireless wind instrument will work with it even though it does work with Garmin GPSMAP 74xx type systems. anyone tried one to see if it does? This would be a good refit for those of us who want to use the sail features of the GPSMAP741xs but don't want to rewire our mast to get them. Any ideas?

Posted by: Jim Logan at September 7, 2016 2:16 PM | Reply

Alas, one of the Garmin options described in your article appears to now be gone. The wireless gWind using the WSI box appears to have been eliminated from the product line. For those of us with legacy Nexus systems, this is a disappointment. The next best alternative for most is probably the package with the nice looking GNX Wind display with built-in ANT receiving capability. I don't know if that will work for me as my displays are in an aluminum pod and I would think that might kill the ANT reception from the masthead unit. Checking with Garmin now.

Eric

Posted by: Eric at September 13, 2016 5:17 PM | Reply

Eric, the Garmin wind sensor page is confusing but I still see the original gWind Wireless with the WSI box (and GND 10 Nexus-to-N2K bridge):

https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/on-the-water/windsensors/gwind-wireless-transducer/prod146156.html

Posted by: Ben in reply to Eric at September 13, 2016 6:21 PM | Reply

Ben:

Yes, but as you will notice on that page - you can't buy it from Garmin. The button on the page is just to locate dealers. I've checked with several dealers and they have all told me they can't get it. I have sent an e-mail to the Garmin/Nexus tech support guys (who answered a bunch of my questions about that unit back in July) to make sure. I will update with whatever I find out. I guess this is what happens when you procrastinate!

Eric

Posted by: Eric in reply to Ben at September 13, 2016 7:05 PM | Reply

Right you are, Eric, and I also see what that means in terms of your cost. I believe that you can still get gWind Wireless2 to your Nexus displays, but you'll also have to buy the GNX Wind and GND 10 for a total cost over twice what the original gWind Wireless kit cost. I don't understand why Garmin kept the transducer price the same while eliminating two black boxes, and hope you can find the original kit somewhere.

Posted by: Ben in reply to Eric at September 15, 2016 9:30 AM | Reply

Ben:

I have a GND-10 already so, theoretically, I wouldn't need that. I say theoretically because it may end up being part of a Garmin product bundle (as it was with the old wireless gWind that included the WSI box and the GND-10).

The GNX Wind option is a reasonable option for most people and isn't cost prohibitive. My concern is that my on-deck instrument displays are mounted over the companionway in an aluminum pod. I doubt the ANT signal from the masthead is going to get through to an instrument in that pod. Also, that pod is already fully populated with Nexus displays. In addition to the appearance of the display being different, the control of the content would be through a different mechanism - that could be confusing or frustrating (or both).

All this came about because I have started having problems with my wired Nexus wind transducer. I've done enough diagnosis to know it's either the masthead trasducer itself or the in-mast wire. I thought I could avoid replacing the cable by switching over to the wireless transducer. A it now turns out, replacing the cable may be the best option. The wired masthead transducers are still available if that is the culprit (and if Dick Booth isn't able to repair it).

I still haven't heard anything official from Garmin about availability. Another dealer e-mailed me last night to say the old wireless gWind was not available.

Posted by: Anonymous in reply to Ben at September 16, 2016 10:07 AM | Reply

Ben:

I think I have found a reasonable, if slightly more expensive solution, to my dilemma.

I found a Garmin package deal (Garmin part # 010-01248-20) that contains the older gWind Wireless transducer, the WSI box, the GND-10 box, a GMI 20 instrument display, and a DST 800 depth/speed/temperature transducer. I found it on sale - very likely because it is also to be discontinued soon. At the sale price is was only about US$200 more than the gWind Wireless 2 and GNX Wind package and US$400 more than the original package I was hoping to buy with the Wireless Transducer, the WSI box and the GND-10.

This package provides a far more flaxible instrument display (the GMI 20 is a multi-function display where the GNX Wind is pretty much a wind-only display) and it separates the wireless receiver from the instrument display as it has the separate WSI box to receive the radio signal from the masthead).

I don't need the GND-10, I could keep it as a spare or try to sell it. I'm not sure about the DST 800 - it would allow me to eliminate a through-hull as the depth and speed/temperature functions are combined in one unit.

After reading your review of the GMI 20, I am excited to be adding that the boat. This will be my first NMEA2000 display head and it looks like a very nice one.

While I sometimes get frustrated with Garmin, I must admit they have attempted to provide the Nexus customers with a "migration" path and I appreciate that. Also, their technical support folks have always been very helpful.

I will follow up after I get it all installed and working!

Eric


Posted by: Eric at September 19, 2016 9:11 AM | Reply

Ben:

I have received the Garmin bundle (Garmin part # 010-01248-20) and I think this is a really good bundle for someone (such as myself) who has a "legacy" Nexus system and wants to migrate to the current Garmin products as well as converting to NMEA 2000.

I was happy to see that the DST800 that is supplied in this bundle is the NMEA 2000 version - that hadn't been clear to me in the documentation. Once installed, that will allow me to eliminate the "legacy" Nexus sensors for Depth as well as Speed/Temperature. The DST 800 combines those functions into a single sensor that speaks NMEA 2000.

The Wireless wind will still speak Nexus protocol but will connect, via the WSI box, directly to the GND-10. This eliminates another sensor input to the Nexus NX2 FDX Server.

The GMI 20 display, arguably the most flexible of the Garmin displays, will allow me to get a feel for whether it can completely replace the functionality of the Nexus displays (Multi, Wind, Compass, Multi, Tactical, and Speed Trim). I am also interested in seeing to what extent I can reduce the number of displays since they provide more functions as compared to dedicated displays.

In addition to the displays, I am interested in figuring out when, during the course of my upgrades, does the Nexus NX2 FDX Server become obsolete (completely replaced by functionality in the Garmin devices). I am looking forward to some experimentation.

I probably won't have a complete update until next season as I plan to have the yard install the DST800 during downtime over the winter.

Eric

Posted by: Eric at September 28, 2016 9:14 AM | Reply

Just added the GNX wind instrument and wireless transducer to my network which includes a Raymarine A65 MFD and autopilot. Everything plays together just great. This seemed simpler than adding a Raymarine wind package.

Posted by: Al at November 13, 2016 8:45 AM | Reply

I find that I am now asking the same question that Jim asked in September. Is there GWind 2 compatibility with the Garmin 741xs?

Posted by: Robert Patterson in reply to Jim Logan at December 19, 2016 3:17 PM | Reply

Sorry, Robert (and especially Jim), but no the 741xs is not on the GWind 2 compatible list. Until recently it was only compatible with the newer and higher end 74/6xx and 84/6xx MFD series (plus the GNX instrument display). But Garmin should be soon adding the really new but "budget" level 7x2 MFDs to that list, as well as new 9x2 touchscreens, and 10x2 and 12x2 keypad models. I tried to explain the platform change here:

http://www.panbo.com/archives/2016/11/new_garmin_fantom_radomes_panoptix_thru-hull_fls_plus_radios_budget_mfds.html

Note that once a GWind 2 is paired with any one MFD or instrument, the wind data is distributed to all other displays on the same NMEA 2000 network.

Posted by: Ben in reply to Robert Patterson at December 19, 2016 5:02 PM | Reply

Ben-

I'm getting conflicting information in my research and hoping you can help me with this. Problem is, Garmin tech support is very non committal as soon as you mention another mfg brand.

I have a Nexus wind transducer circa 2000. It uses a four conductor cable directly to a Nexus wind data instrument. There is NO Nexus server.

I'm looking to upgrade my electronics to N2K- have Raymarine Evolution AP and looking to add Airmar S/D/T, and Zeus3 9". (I know stick with one brand but.....)

I can get a Garmin GWind with an adaptor cable at the mast head to let me use my current mast cable. ( I just had the mast down last season, hoping to avoid dropping the mast to replace the cable). I can add a field install N2K connector to the existing cable at the base of the mast.

Will this give me N2K data? Do I need the GND10 converter box?

Do you suggest I just bite the bullet, drop the mast and put in a B&G Triton along with a new cable?

Thank you,
Tim W.

Posted by: Tim W at February 11, 2017 6:37 PM | Reply

PS- any idea how to get the pinout diagram for a Gwind to go directly into N2K. There is a pinout for for the GND10 box, but that's it. Thanks Again!

Posted by: Tim W at February 11, 2017 6:39 PM | Reply

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