BAM! Raymarine Axiom MFDs, LightHouse 3, RealVision 3D sonar & FLIR M100/200 ClearCruise

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Feb 15, 2017

Raymarine_2017_Axiom_RealVision_and_LightHouse-3_aPanbo.JPG

Raymarine and FLIR are coming to the Miami Boat Show loaded for bear. Those three new 7-, 9- and 12-inch Axiom multifunction displays are showing new LightHouse 3 operating software and new RealVision 3D sonar. Moreover, you'll learn below about how new M100 and M200 thermal cameras can give the Axioms some features normally seen on superyachts. BAM! The theme that seems evident throughout is modern interface and hardware design with value pricing and a potent dash of innovation spice...

Raymarine_Axiom_MFD_key_features_aPanbo.jpgThe new Axiom MFDs are compact all-glass designs said to be very fast and capable with their quad core processors and ample memory chips, and you can learn much more by digging into the Axiom MFD web pages that just went live. For instance, if you want more than the multi-touch interface, you can add the new RMK10 remote keypad and/or the RCU-3 steering wheel remote. And while the slim Axioms are designed to surface mount with back fastenings -- an Axiom 9 can purportedly fit where an old Ray A7 like the one on Gizmo used to live -- there will also be a rear mount kit for flush installs and a front mount kit for those who can't fasten things from behind a helm panel (and the in-the-box trunnion mount choice of course).

The Axioms include WiFi, Bluetooth, NMEA 2000 and Ethernet communications, and they're compatible with most all of Raymarine's current displays, radars, sonars, etc. And, yes indeed, the Axiom 7 plotter-only model is just $650 retail with Lighthouse U.S. charts, and included Navionics+ US and Canada charts add just $50 more.

Raymariine_Axiom_backside_and_transducer_compatability_aPanbo.jpgMany Axiom models, however, are designed to show off the new 4-in-1-transducer RealVision technology that Raymarine is also introducing today. That's the RealVision RV-100 transom transducer at upper right in this slide from the preview presentation I received, and alongside is one of the RealVision thru hull transducers that will be available when all this gear ships (soon, purportedly). In fact, there will be RealVision thru hull transducers with 12 and 20 degree tilted elements so that many boats will be able to fit a linked pair without fairing blocks but with a full SideVision view as well as the 3D.

While there's more on RealVision below, note here all the other transducers that some Axiom models can support. Moreover, I understand that multiple transducers will be able to Y into that large rear sonar port. Meanwhile the other ports in this streamlined design are for RayNet, USB, and a combined 12/24 volt DC power and NMEA 2000 cable {correction 5/4/17: Axiom MFDs can only use 12v power}. The N2K connector will be standard DeviceNet, with an adaptor available for those who'd like to use SeaTalkNG style cabling (or already are). There's also a protected micro SD card slot on the back of Axioms, though there will also be a remote dash-mount SD card reader available and it will even include a powered USB port.

Raymariine_Axiom_7_models_n_pricing_aPanbo.jpgSo here's the Axiom 7 pricing picture with sonar included, and Raymarine is proud about it because existing 3D sonars like Lowrance StructrureScan 3D and Garmin Panoptix RealVü currently cost almost as much or more without the MFD. I haven't seen RealVision for real yet -- hopefully that will happen tonight and tomorrow -- but the 3D imagery looks a lot like the Lowrance SS3D I found quite fishing effective. Moreover, the RealVision transducers include AHRS-based "gyro stabilization" that sounds a lot like the technology I've watched keeping Garmin Panoptix imagery steady even in a small overloaded demo boat.

Raymarine_RealVision_4-way_sonar_aPanbo.JPGThere's more on RealVision 3D Sonar here, but you may appreciate the high-resolution screen thumb-nailed above (click on it for full size, like other Panbo images). What you're looking at is all four RealVision sonar channels working simultaneously, plus you've finger panned the 3D view a bit right from the default stern view. The white grid shows where your boat is in the 3D space, so those red and yellow "balls" near the grid -- they're color coded for depth -- represent the same fish or whatever seen off the bottom in the three other views. This screen also shows how Axiom with Lighthouse 3 lets a user build pages with custom size windows, quite easily I'm told.

Raymarine_Axiom_Lighthouse_3_charting_aPanbo.JPGWhile LightHouse 3 is a major rebuild of Raymarine's operating system -- lots of LH3 detail here -- one design goal was to keep the interface familiar to current Lighthouse users. In fact, LightHouse 3 will be coming to existing Raymarine MFDs, though it may take six months or more and some features may not be possible on older hardware. By the same token, not every feature seen in the latest LightHouse R17 software will be available in the initial release of LH3 -- advanced sailing features and full autopilot setup are examples -- though they will be eventually.

The chart screen above shows LH3's more iconic menus and also how major modes like chart views have been organized into easy top menu buttons. And don't worry if you notice the lack of C-Map references in the current Axiom material. That's only because LH3 compatible C-Map cartography isn't ready yet, which confirms what I heard at the recent Navico Hawks Cay writers event about how independent C-Map will stay even as a Navico sibling. (Much more coming to Panbo about that event, by the way.)

LightHouse_3_Live_View_Menus_and_Profiles_aPanbo.jpgWhile there's lots to LightHouse 3 (even an "Android layer" for you geeks keeping track), these slides illustrate two features I particularly like. One is live view menus, meaning that you get to see the effect of menu choices before you commit to them. That's being done elsewhere, and should be everywhere in my view, but I think that individual MFD profiles are new. Again, I haven't seen the feature live yet, but I gather that we'll be able to custom set up an Axiom for ourselves and also for other members of the crew or guests. Nice!

Raymarine_Axiom_showing_FLIR_ClearCruise_IR_Analytics__aPanbo.JPGNow here's a peek at what FLIR is calling "ClearCruise intelligent thermal analytics technology" and which so far at least is only available with Axiom and the new M100/200 Series cameras. Apparently ClearCruise can identify solid objects visible on the water in the camera view and can do it even while filtering out solid objects above the horizon. In fact, it can even alarm you when the camera image is not on screen. All of which sounds quite intelligent and useful, even with the fixed M100 Series with a first model retailing at $2,495.

FLIR_M2xx_with_JU3_keypad_aPanbo.jpgThis slide collage shows how the 9-inch-high M100/200 cameras look in comparison to their M cousins, and also the new compact JCU-3 controller that can be paired with the pan-and-tilt M200 Series (with a first model price of $3,495). The M100/200 cams also use IP over Ethernet for video as well as control, which means that they will be easier to install and that they will network across multiple displays without the bother of analog video coax cable switching.

I hope to double check tonight but I suspect that the M200 Series can also cue and slew to selected targets -- a terrific feature I experienced with the test M618CS -- and if they can't at first, they should be able to eventually. And, incidentally, most of the orginal M cams are getting refreshed to M Series Next Generation with improved cam cores, zooming and more.

Are you tasting the BAM! yet? Now obviously Raymarine has aimed Axiom and RealVision at the huge smaller boat fishing market, but they struggle to be reticent about how these developments could work themselves up and down their product lines. I will report on Ray and FLIR demos in the comments section below at minimum, and there will no doubt be lots more electronics news in Miami. It's show time!

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Comments

I'm struggling a little with this announcement. It's been five months since Raymarine released 17.46. I was hopeful that release would address several highly irksome stability issues I've been having. First and foremost is I have a relatively large Raymarine system consisting of two a series plotters and four e-series plotters plus AIS, Sirius weather, Radar, GPS, etc. when all the plotters are turned on there's too much traffic on the ethernet network and a number of features stop working including control of Sirius audio and receipt of Sirius weather.

Now Raymarine has introduced another new round of hardware and not released any bug fixes for the existing gear. It will now be a month until software is released for the new hardware and at least four months until the existing hardware gets updates. With the relatively recent introduction of the es series hardware it seems like Raymarine is whipping through hardware at a kind of feverish pace and likely to leave some people behind and annoyed.

I welcome the advancement of navigational electronics. I'd like to see Raymarine also support the existing technology in the field as well. And I think Raymarine is taking a chance of alienating recent purchasers of their equipment.

I'd welcome other's thoughts.

Ben

Posted by: Ben Stein at February 15, 2017 5:23 PM | Reply

will the eS series chartplotters be capable of running LH3?

Based on the above article, I am not understanding the advantages of the new hardware of the eS series.

Posted by: Andrew S. at February 15, 2017 7:38 PM | Reply

Ben, isn't this what is pretty common? Look at phones: manufacturers drop the phone on the market, then abandon it, no updates, no fixes, you're just stuck with it.

I myself wouldn't want to touch any product that isn't Open Source. At least then there's a chance someone else may produce a fix for you.

Posted by: Berend de Boer at February 15, 2017 9:11 PM | Reply

Axiom and LightHouse 3 looked great in table demo, and the Flir M200 Series definitely does cue and slew, and also has the imagery enhancements FLIR has developed over the year.

My enthusiasm has not waned but it's always good to have skeptical commentators temper my optimism. That said:

* Ray's chief product guy Chris Jones told me last night that even beta LH3 makes existing MFDs run noticeably faster, eS Series included. Code efficiency apparently, but really we'll have to wait and see.

* I don't know if that will help with large network issues, however. Ben, have you considered separating your system into two networks?

* Berend, I like open source but the least open device I use, my iPad, is the most reliable. Also, my old Samsung Note4 keeps getting automatic updates and most are improvements ;-) I'm not sure if consider Android used like that open, but I've never been tempted to "root" it.

Posted by: Ben at February 16, 2017 6:51 AM | Reply

A faster a-series, the a-series shouldn't have been slow to begin with, sounds like a band-aid, but I'm still eager to try it out.

Issues I have some with my Raymarine products...

1. I can't hear the alarm from the helm in the cabin. They don't sell an external alarm for the new MFD's they're official answer is to buy a whole new MFD for where you would like to hear the alarm.

2. Alarms are not audible on the raycontrol, rayview etc. apps either, go figure.

3. You can purchase s100 remote to control the autopilot but it's not allowed from the apps.

4. The wheel pilot didn't last two years.

All this appears to be designed to make the consumer purchase more products when its totally unnecessary.


Posted by: Chris Snow at February 16, 2017 9:22 AM | Reply

Hi Ben, the gods didn't let me go to Miami so I'm living it vicariously through Panbo. What the heck is an android layer?

Posted by: Bill Bishop at February 16, 2017 10:26 AM | Reply

Ben,

Interesting question about separating the system into two networks. I'd really hate to have to do that. A large part of why I selected the system I did is for the benefits of a networked system. Having two separate networks and having to segment functionality to the plotters would be very dissapointing.

Berend, I hear you on what is done with cell phones and many other consumer electronics. I will say the difference in my mind between those and marine electronics is the cost model. If I paid for my plotters what I paid for my phone and got the amount of functionality out of my plotters I get from my phone I would have many fewer complaints. Ironically, running Navionics and Garmin Blue Charts my phone and iPad can rival the functionality of the plotters. What I expect I get from the additional expense of the plotters is a better supported, longer product lifespan and more reliable platform. What I've observed from all of the majors with the possible exception of Furuno is that this promise is delivered unevenly at very best. Furuno pushes the cost curve even higher but does seem to deliver very solid performance in exchange.

Ben

Posted by: Ben Stein at February 16, 2017 10:26 AM | Reply

I'm with Ben (Stein :) - I've had 17.46 for a while now and it's clear to me that the processor in my (now antique) e95 is getting clobbered. Intermittent freeze-ups when zooming or changing charts, oddball response to autopilot input and occasional unexplained GPS "failures" [the MFD claims a momentary GPS fail, but examining the GPS status looks normal) - even with the internal GPS.
It all shakes out eventually, so as long as I don't do a massive zoom or chart change at some critical point, I don't have safety concerns (yet).

Perhaps the described code efficiency improvements in LH3 will help, I'll wait & see. Meanwhile, I'm not planning on adding any more loads to my MFD system (no FLIR or sonar yet) :)

S/V Atsa waiting out the wind at West End!

Posted by: Hartley at February 16, 2017 11:44 AM | Reply

Wow- I love the sound of the full edge to edge glass. I gather they mount super low to the helm. Very interesting and lovely looking bit of kit! Looking forward to seeing them in the flesh soon- impressed

Posted by: christain at February 16, 2017 11:45 AM | Reply

Hartley,

We're waiting out the wind at Green Turtle Cay, sounds like we've had similar experiences with our e series equipment. I like a lot of what Raymarine is doing right now but am a little frustrated with the lack of bug-fixes. From my perspective before the acquisition by Flir Ray was in a very bad position. They've built some considerable momentum and good will with the way the company has been run the last several years. Part of continuing that momentum is effectively supporting the existing installed base. I realize they have a challenge with many generations of product in the field, however the a/e/es gear is very current and effective support for product sold that recently isn't an unreasonable expectation.

Ben

Posted by: Ben Stein at February 16, 2017 12:05 PM | Reply

The e125 has a great balance of knob, button, and touchscreen in the hybrid interface.

Is there a hidden cost in getting the all glass Axiom for those users who enjoy hybrid controls, or do users just quickly adapt to all glass? ($369 Defender.com price for RMK-10 wired keypad)

Posted by: Dan Corcoran (b393capt) at February 17, 2017 6:23 PM | Reply

I have a C95, AIS650, M50 VHF, Fusion M50 and the new 200 series autopilot. I did an over the air update and it screwed up the gyro unit. Had the Raymarine support people in Australia scratching their heads. Eventually they replaced the unit and it has been trouble free since then. I think this time I will wait awhile before even thinking about LH3! One thing I wish they would do is a Windows version of their Raycontrol app. I have Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and love it. I can run Android emulators to get it but a native Windows app would be easier to support offshore.

Posted by: John Proctor at February 21, 2017 3:15 AM | Reply

Only 10,000 waypoints? I don't think I have actually made 10,000 marks/waypoits in 32 years of sailing.

You gotta laugh at this marketing feature.

Posted by: Jeffrey S. Orling at February 21, 2017 9:06 AM | Reply

Some of us need the 10,000 waypoint capacity. I have 6500 waypoints stored. All are marking fish caught by me or fishing buddies.

Posted by: abbor at February 21, 2017 4:30 PM | Reply

I'm not so sure you're experiencing bug issues. I suspect its more of a hardware issue, especially if you are using an 6 or 7 inch a series displays(which have much slower internals) in your network. You have a lot of MFDs and that taxes the system beyond its hardware capabilities. Raymarine recommends the g series for larger systems like yours that have beefed up hardware to handle the extra data traffic. the newer eS series also handles larger systems better. Not many customers run 6 MFDs and most that do would use g series displays.

Posted by: Anonymous in reply to Ben Stein at February 22, 2017 9:27 AM | Reply

Hi Chris, that alarm situation is interesting pretty dangerous for us users who can only afford one mfd on a sailboat. Makes you wonder if Raymarine are just a bit confused with their market, they're trying to cover so many user categories perhaps they have lost sight of real world needs?

Can you explain what you men in point number 3 please?

What displacement boat was your wheel pilot on?

Posted by: Anonymous in reply to Chris Snow at February 24, 2017 8:19 AM | Reply

If this was a computer that you were describing, I'd say wipe it and do a fresh install of the OS. I have no udea if this is possible for a plotter?

Posted by: Anonymous in reply to Hartley at February 24, 2017 8:25 AM | Reply

I agree with several others here. I'm glad Ray is continuing to innovate, but what happened to the software? I reported a number of bugs both before and after they moved their forum (bleh) and none seem to have been fixed.

My top-of-the-line-last-year eS MFD routinely erases my preferences and randomly reboots, and now it's been supplanted by the new Axiom. That's OK, because as everyone knows, that is soooo last year. I'm fine with the marine industry starting to act like the cell phone industry, but we use this gear for critical navigation and control. Some could say you do that with your phone, but your phone isn't driving your car for you (yet). They can't abandon hardware that is the last version for at least 2-3 years or people will stop spending $2k+ every 2 years and just start using off the shelf stuff.

I would definitely like to see some updates to RHII to fix things. RHIII is not going to be in feature parity for a while, so I'm worried about upgrading and losing the ability to use other Ray devices/features.

I really wish OpenSource or other solutions worked, but having tried Coastal Explorer, OpenSkipper, OpenCPN, iPads running Navionics and tons of other things, nothing replaces a purpose built system when it comes to this stuff right now.

I stayed away from Raymarine for years because of their lackluster software and lack of new features up until 2-3 years ago. The last few years have changed my mind, and my boat has almost exclusively Raymarine stuff on it now. I hope they continue keeping the older stuff updated at least for a few more years until it's time to upgrade again.

Posted by: Steve Mitchell at February 24, 2017 12:39 PM | Reply

Steve, I don't think that your eS is supplanted and moreover the promise is that its operating system will eventually be far better and faster. I liked a lot of what I saw in beta LightHouse 3 on the water in Miami.

I think the story here is that Ray had to start fresh, back to time zero as it were. In fact, I understand LH3 was begun a year and half ago and then got full attention when R17 was finished last spring. Axiom is a fast, clean platform to start with, but I'm not sure that LH3 for the existing MFDs would have come any sooner without Axiom.

I'm sure you're aware how tiny the numbers and resources are in marine electronics. Many comparisons to phones and such just don't work.

Posted by: Ben in reply to Steve Mitchell at February 24, 2017 1:32 PM | Reply

I don't think I can get behind the notion this is just the equipment working as designed and I selected the wrong equipment. When I've spoken with Raymarine both before and after the purchase of my gear they haven't raised any issues about the supportability of my installation. They frequently promote the use of a mixed network of plotters. If the issue were as simple as I need to remove one plotter for another I would be fine with that and do that. On the other hand the complete rebuilding of the system with drastically more expensive GS gear is not really in the cards.

Additionally, even if these are restrictions due to the hardware the handling of these restrictions needs to be much more graceful. Currently features just work at random and then don't work at random. For navigational gear I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a higher level of reliability and predictability than that.

Ben

Posted by: Ben Stein in reply to Anonymous at February 25, 2017 9:00 AM | Reply

I'm a bit out of touch with the current range of products - my experience pretty much stops at C-series plotters, S1/2/3 pilots and ST60 instruments. Can someone summarise how the Axiom compares with the other Raymarine ranges?

Looking at the 9" sizes since that's what will fit on my boat, the Axiom seems to be a bit cheaper than the eS (£2000 vs £1350 from a randomly chosen online seller). Surely physical buttons can't be worth £650, so is the eS series still higher spec in some other way?

Or, to put it differently, if one set price aside and wanted the best plotter from Raymarine, is there a reason that the answer wouldn't be the latest, Axiom?

Thanks,

Pete

Posted by: Pete at February 25, 2017 7:33 PM | Reply

Hi Pete. Compared to your Classic C-120 everything in Ray's current product line would be like night and day. My general advice if you're starting from scratch is to buy the newest tech. The only downside is that being on the bleeding edge means there may (will) be some bugs, so be prepared to do software upgrades as they are discovered. I think the Axiom may possibly have some interesting downstream capabilities not yet implemented.

Posted by: Bill Bishop at February 26, 2017 8:43 AM | Reply

But isn't that the problem when marine electronics manufacturers follow the path of consumer electronics? Just like the example that you use for mobile smart phones. You cannot expect the manufacturer to keep investing time and money into old models when we the customers have a throw away mentality. I don;t think basic economics allows a manufacturer to design, manufacture and support a 7" combination unit with charts with a MSRP for $500. Yet consumers buy it and there's the demand. When it breaks or a new model is released it's thrown away and replaced with newer brighter models. There is not enough return on the manufacturers investment to keep updating old models and that's why I do not but entry level consumer brand marine electronics. My leisure time is too valuable to spend weekends fixing software bugs, and the lives of my family and friends too valuable to put their safety in the hands of something that is not designed to last more than the warranty period.

Posted by: David in reply to Andrew S. at February 27, 2017 11:38 PM | Reply

ahem...skills how to navigate by papermap and handheld gps...

For what its worth, german SAR-service DGzRS use Ray-plotters in plain simple KISS-setup n their small nonSOLAS 8 + 10meters volunteer-boats with success for years now, dual e-series 165 MFD ( dunno if networked together ), HDcolor (now also Quantum trickling in ) radars, the small boats do have no autopilot as far as I know.
If Ray would be total useless crap DGzRS would not use it, even if being sponsored, I don't know wether DGzRS has to buy their gear.

The larger SOLAS-certified vessels sure all are equipped with pro layouts and brands on the bridge, N2K big nono on this level.

Sorry about all frustration after spending so much money but...FWIW, in my opinion some folks are expecting too much after bad purchase advice... a little chat with someone who knows CANBUS in depth from other professional applications will help to respect the complexity and problems, specifically with too many talkers and listeners on one bus.. sure ALL brands are stretching reality quite far into the future with those enormous integrated setup diagrams to be found in every manual.

Regards, Jan.

Posted by: jan at February 28, 2017 6:03 AM | Reply

Reminds me that Raymarine just won a huge U.S. Coast Guard contract:

http://investors.flir.com/releasedetail.cfm?releaseid=1011926

That's $50,000,000 worth of MFDs, radars, cameras, etc. "that will be standard fit on over 2,000 U.S. Coast Guard vessels, ranging from small-class boats through large cutter-class vessels." I don't know details about what the USCG specified, or which companies bid, but it seems like a significant win.

Posted by: Ben in reply to jan at February 28, 2017 8:06 AM | Reply

David, you are right, but it's a yin yang thing. Over the past ten years the capabilities of a MFD have far more than doubled, and the cost in inflation adjusted dollars has been cut in half. The $2600 Loran I bought in 1986 would cost $5600 today in adjusted dollars. Thirty years ago most marine electronics could be fixed. SMD and other assembly technologies dramatically cut product costs but at the price they were only repairable at a board replacement level.

I get your point and it's a good one, but the marine electronics market is highly competitive and we have all gained from it. Chart zooming happens instantly. Radars that can see a sea gull sitting in the water 60' from the boat. Touch screens with QWERTY keyboards make data entry easier. CHIRP and look ahead sonars. Systems are far more user friendly and installation is plug and play making it easier to do DIY installations. GPS accuracy is typically better than 10' and it's a very long list.

These are computers and there is always one more bug. My experience is manufacturers quickly correct issues when found and it only takes a couple handfuls of minutes to do an update.

Product life is another issue. Marine electronics bought in 2006 would last about ten years at best. Bought today I think it's closer to 7 years. But remember it costs much less to replace it then its predecessor so I don't feel to bad about it and the new stuff will be even better.

Posted by: Bill Bishop in reply to David at February 28, 2017 9:29 AM | Reply

Ah, ok.
Would be interesting to know which RAY-components are used on the large USCG-vessels and cutters...FLIR cameras for sure I'd guess, also a here in Germany a common encounter on Gov/SAR-vessels, tugs, offshore supply etc.
Along with FURUNO FAR radars, sonar, log.....SAILOR VHF's...., chartplotting/ECDIS by TRANSAS is quite common.
Does'nt mean too much for us low lifes, still I like the nerdy look over the fence.

I also find it quite interesting when larger (super)yacht-layouts intentionally avoid intense N2K networking like a plague, several walkthtru vids on YT can be found.

Posted by: jan in reply to Ben at March 1, 2017 3:42 AM | Reply

Thanks, Jan, but it looks like support for up to four camera inputs is just a small aspect of the Coast Guard's "Scalable Integrated Navigation Systems 2 (SINS-2)" specification. Interface and features scalable from small to large vessels is a big part, which makes sense given how much USCG personnel move around, but there's a whole lot more.

I have not found an easy source yet -- and am hoping that a certain someone will break down SINS-2 for Panbo readers, because a lot of thought went into it -- but here are the official documents:

https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=35c434738b0e1593205869e25439f573&tab=documents&tabmode=list

Check out "Attachment 2 Specifications" (under the "Packages" tab) in particular. It seems to sum up SINS-2 pretty thoroughly, and you'll see that certified NMEA 2000 networking and components are a big part of it. I also see easy route import/export, which a lot of us civilians would appreciate.

Now how about links to those videos showing how N2K is regarded as the plague on large yachts?

Posted by: Ben at March 1, 2017 9:30 AM | Reply

Hehe, caught a 30ft boat owner surfing on the royal soapbox, rambling on (super)yachts... right so, Ben, I'll stand corrected :-)

Did'nt bookmark it and can't find it right now, has been a while I stumbled across.
What I remember, a medium sized yacht 20-30m, skipper ( employed, not the owner ) mention the simple electronics layout, just sensors talking to independent master units, how it would help with troubleshooting, flexibility, clarity of information flow, introduction and training of new crew. He specifically mentioned the absence of a fully integrated network.
I remember some more vids in the same tone, f.e. by a Nordhavn-owner, 50-60ft, pretty much stating the same opinion.


I'll post the links when I find it again.
Cheers,
Jan

Posted by: Anonymous in reply to Ben at March 2, 2017 8:39 AM | Reply

Jan,
As someone who has transitioned from week end warrior boating to serious international cruising I second the comments of those concerned about networking of marine electronics. It's just really scary to have all these elaborate transducer and display and software/firmware combinations aboard when something goes awry at 3:30am on a foreign coast. Debug is impossible under these dynamic conditions and "tech support" non existent.

The fact that manufacturers keep rolling out half baked "new functionality" without cleaning up prior mistakes makes it worst.

It's interesting that the marine electronics pros I have engaged in foreign ports to try and fix the myriad of problems we have had with our all-new electronics suite installed by ABYC and Manufacturer Certified techs agree that a transducer hard wired to a display and a supply of power is the preferred, responsible seamanlike choice.

As one of the authors of the Ethernet standard I am a bit ashamed of its extension, and other LAN technology, into the realm of offshore marine applications driven by companies hell bent on rapid product introductions.

The net effect is to make us all Marine Electronics Hobbyists rather than improving competency and safety at sea.

Posted by: Anonymous at March 3, 2017 12:24 AM | Reply

It's sort of funny, anon, but sometimes when I've enthused about NMEA 2000, a whole other band of skeptics have hollered about how Ethernet should have been used instead!
Examples here:

http://www.panbo.com/archives/2012/08/onenet_nmea_finally_creates_a_marine_ethernet_standard.html

And what Jan wrote in the first place was, "I also find it quite interesting when larger (super)yacht-layouts intentionally avoid intense N2K networking like a plague."

I don't believe that's true but I can see how it looks that way. Big yachts are just really different, and they typically use all sorts of interfaces and networking. It's also where certain limitations of N2K -- like backbone and drop maximum lengths, and 12v only power -- come into play, though they're rarely an issue on smaller vessels.

At any rate, it seems to me that you should be quite proud of how much Ethernet is used in critical vessel systems. Here, for instance, is an example on some of the hardest used vessels afloat:

http://www.beldensolutions.com/en/Solutions-Markets/transportation/Other-Markets/Seaports/Austal_Ships/index.phtml

Posted by: Ben in reply to Anonymous at March 3, 2017 6:09 AM | Reply

@Ben Stein

Hello Mr. Stein,

I am Ron from FLIR technical support. I would like to help you with your Raymarine network issues. Feel free to call me 603 324 7900 or drop me an email at [email protected]

Posted by: Raymarine Support in reply to Ben Stein at March 3, 2017 8:42 AM | Reply

Shocked and humbled
http://www.asdnews.com/mobile/news-69395/FLIR_Awarded_USCG_Contract_for_Integrated_Navigation_Electronics.htm

Raymarine looks like it was selected over Furuno.

I am in deep with Furuno and truly believe I the product and company. I know this will be good for Raymarine recreational users and will force long term support and upgrade ability that I think is lacking. I know Furuno still repairs older Navnet equipment.

Good for Raymarine users-Maybe puts some pressure on Furuno?

Posted by: Howard at April 6, 2017 10:11 PM | Reply

Hi Howard. The specifications for the procurement are available online. If you read the procurement specs carefully for this competitive bid there are two significant requirements. First is the the product line has to support (fit into) everything from a small RIB to a cutter. The second is the the ability to support BFT (Blue Force Tracking (AIS)).

To the best of my knowledge only two of the big four have the ability to support BFT, Furuno and Raymarine which both build good products. I'm not the procurement officer but I suspect that since Furuno's smallest unit is the TZT9 (9") which also requires an external GPS vs Raymarine's aSeries which can be as small as 6" with an internal GPS may have had something to do with this. I'm completing a piece for Panbo about Blue Force Tracking AIS and the bid.

Posted by: Bill Bishop in reply to Howard at April 7, 2017 6:39 AM | Reply

Bill- looking forward to your report. I was unaware that Raymarine had a BFT product. My knowledge is limited to the Furuno and L3 product.

I would have thought that the NXT radar would have tipped the scales, especially on the small boats. All of the RBS boats had Navnet MFD12s, I would have thought that the importance would be on the 27' boats and bigger. The TZT9 is a bulky but well built product.

Please post a link to specifications.


Howard

Posted by: Howard at April 7, 2017 10:49 AM | Reply

have just discovered with shock that the axiom range only support "12 volt" ....
and will not natively support 24V
this is somewhat shocking for me ... given i'm replacing a multi station 24V system....
..also ben pls note that your initial report of axiom is misleading in your description
of the power connector "12/24V"
the axiom manual specifically states "for 24v vessel a suitable convertor is required"
... truly ridiculous and a show stopper for those with 24 systems IMO

Posted by: gregy in reply to Pete at May 3, 2017 7:36 PM | Reply

Thank you, Gregy. I fixed the mistake in the entry, and I too am surprised since so many new electronics can run on 24 as well as 12 volt systems.

I'm not shocked, though. The vast majority of boat helms are still all 12v, especially if they're under 40 feet or so, and I doubt there are any 24v boats that don't have at least one 24-to-12v converter. NMEA 2000, for instance, requires 12v, and 24v VHF radios are fairly rare.

Posted by: Ben in reply to gregy at May 4, 2017 6:58 AM | Reply

I would say the opposite a Furuno's approach. The new X class open arrays are 24VDC only.

Posted by: Howard in reply to gregy at May 5, 2017 8:40 PM | Reply

still waiting delivery of my axiom MFDs,
interestingly the raymarine web site still cannot list power consumption
figures ("TBA") .... for a product that is commercially shipping ....
once i get units and install i will post details

Posted by: Anonymous in reply to Ben at May 20, 2017 7:51 PM | Reply

Anon, what I hear is that Axioms will be shipping in quantity very soon, and I saw early 7- and 9-inch builds working well in Florida week before last.

However, it seems that Axiom development has not gone as quickly as hoped for back when I wrote this entry in February, and a number of features will not be in the first shipping version. Most of these are now noted in the online Axiom specifications as "available in future Lighthouse 3 software update":


* Audio device support over NMEA 2000
* Remote control support
* C-Map chart support
* WiFi features beyond software updating
* Pitch, roll, and heave correction when using RealVision transducer

I'll guess that there are more details missing if you are used to and a current Ray MFD and LightHouse 2 because it seems like most everything about Axiom and LH3 is new from the ground up. Patience may be required!

But what I saw was blazingly fast, easy to see in very bright conditions, easy to use, and a whole lot of power for the cost. I took numerous screen shots that I hope to write up soon.

I also heard that the LightHouse 3 update for existing Ray MFDs is coming along well.

Posted by: Ben in reply to Anonymous at May 21, 2017 7:22 AM | Reply

We just completed Fort Pierce to Beaufort, NC -- fairly nice trip, other than leaving Ft.Pierce, which was ugly.
Our e95 with 17.46 is continuing to display aberrant behavior, though fortunately not with it's core navigation mission. It changed my local time offset TWICE, and using the menus to reset this cause some odd behavior - click on "OK", the box turns orange - and stayed that way! Hitting it multiple times didn't fix it, but "Xing out" worked. I also had the "find ship" button act weird - I hit it, and the button went from it's normal dark blue to pale grey - but nothing else happened. Hitting it again restored normal operation.

These seem like software bugs to me - especially the time offset setting. The button behavior could be related to the saltwater baths the display was subjected to.

I'm going to install version 19 here in Beaufort, we'll see what happen on the next leg up to Hampton (when the WX clears up!).

Hartley
S/V Atsa

Posted by: Hartley at May 21, 2017 10:46 AM | Reply

I'm surprised you guys are still waiting - I received my 9" Axiom on the 27th of April. I've installed it and done a bit of testing at the marina, but haven't had a chance to go out and use it properly yet. Should be next weekend.

Agree with Ben that they seem to have slipped a few features. Hopefully they just missed the ship date and will appear in an update soon. The biggest gap for me is control of my autopilot - it's an older SeaTalk 1 model but I was expecting to be able to control it via the STng/ST1 converter as I believe is possible with the Lighthouse 2 plotters.

Delaying C-Map support is also a problem - if they're not available at launch then everyone's going to have to buy Navionics instead, and there's quite a cost to switching formats later.

I have discovered that the "accessory" socket on the back is actually just a USB OTG port, I was able to plug in a cheapo OTG card reader and view charts from a Navionics SD card in it. I had hoped that this would allow me to use my existing Navionics CF card from the C70 that was previously fitted, but seemingly not. It sees the card as a storage device, but doesn't load charts from it.

Pete

Posted by: Pete at May 21, 2017 12:00 PM | Reply

Pete,

I've been left behind with a Ray upgrade and an autopilot before. Curious if it just doesn't work or what the details are with your situation?

Posted by: Steve Mitchell in reply to Pete at May 21, 2017 12:07 PM | Reply

Steve,

Just that no UI widgets appear for controlling the pilot.

By "control", I mean actions such as dropping a waypoint on the chart, saying "Go To" it, and then additionally choosing to have the pilot engage and steer us there. Similarly on reaching a waypoint I could, from the plotter, tell the pilot to turn onto the course for the next one (if present) or just to continue on the same heading, or to drop into manual steering. I used these functions all the time with my C70, because on passage I frequently conn the boat from the forward end of the cockpit, under the sprayhood and next to the instruments, rather trapping myself right aft behind the wheel.

I assume that I can still select "track" on the pilot controller in order to steer to the active waypoint, but that means going back and forth between the plotter and the wheel which is less convenient, a backward step.

There is basic communication between the pilot and the new plotter, because on the "Instrument" mode the plotter shows a working rudder bar, which data originates with the pilot.

I would be curious whether newer STng pilots can be controlled in this way from the Axiom, to establish whether they've just not finished building the autopilot controls (presumably to be fixed in an update) or whether they've abandoned ST1 pilots even with the STng/ST1 converter installed.

Pete

Posted by: Pete in reply to Steve Mitchell at May 21, 2017 12:18 PM | Reply

Thanks Pete. Sounds like there is still some work to be done on their side for sure.

I have a new EV1 auto pilot paired with a mk2 Wheel Pilot so mine should work out of the box I would hope!

Posted by: Steve Mitchell in reply to Pete at May 21, 2017 12:20 PM | Reply

Ron,

I've tried to work with Winston for over two months now. Winston has been dark for over a month since a tech came out and took some data from the boat. I've emailed and received no response. Thus far none of the issues have been solved though Winston has asked for a lot of data and information on the system.

Ben

Posted by: Ben Stein in reply to Raymarine Support at May 23, 2017 7:32 PM | Reply

Excellent. Raymarine's Jim McGowan just sent this thorough explanation of what's in the initial Axiom/Lighthouse 3 release, and what's coming:

"I can’t give exact dates as to when we’ll address each and every feature, but I can say that we are well aware of what items are there, and which are yet to be implemented.

Notice that software update over Wi-Fi is in the initial version, and that is for good reason. We expect to be rolling out a regular pace of upgrade for Axiom that will add capabilities and features, new and old. The system is ready and able to easily accept them as they come out.

To address a few specific points that you and your readers have raised:

Apple Apps: We experienced a hiccup over this past weekend and our apps disappeared off of the Apple iTunes App store, worldwide. The issue was resolved by Monday evening, and all of the apps were restored and available for download as of early Tuesday.

Axiom Audio Support: Axiom audio support is in v1 for NMEA2000-compatible audio hardware. This can control Rockford Fosgate and Fusion systems using standard NMEA2000 entertainment sentences. Lighthouse II systems also supported an enhanced connection to Fusion over Ethernet that allowed album art to be seen on the MFD. That is not implemented yet in Axiom, but is on our list. On LightHouse II, there were 2 audio apps. 1 supported NMEA2000, 1 supported Fusion-only. In Axiom its all-in-one app.

C-MAP Support: Adding chart engines to the system is one of the most complex coding and testing tasks. To get Axiom v1 out the door, we needed to break down the chart engine implementation into smaller bites to ensure it all works correctly. Navionics and LightHouse charts were easiest to implement, but C-MAP is coming.

Wi-Fi Status: Axiom Wi-Fi for software updates over the internet is in now. Expanded Wi-Fi for mobile apps and internet connectivity is coming.

Autopilot Control: This will be back soon. It’s near the very top of our list of things to bring to Axiom LightHouse 3.

Some others that you did not mention, but we’ve had questions about from our customers:

Navionics SonarChart Live, Dock-to-dock Autorouting, and other advanced features will be coming soon.
Advanced Sailing Tools (as shown in LightHouse II v17) are coming soon.
The Theyr Weather App/GRIB Viewer from LightHouse II is coming shortly for Axiom/LightHouse 3. It is dependent on the Wi-Fi internet connectivity.
SiriusXM radio and marine weather apps will be coming soon to work with our SiriusXM receivers.
Axiom has Bluetooth hardware built in. It’s not live in the software yet, but will be soon.

If I can offer a little historical perspective to the discussion, I think it might be helpful. Our LightHouse II system was introduced in September 2011. The original 2 models were the e7 and e7D. In the 6 years since then, we’ve released 19 software updates that delivered new features, capabilities and technologies. Many of those did not exist in 2011. If you can find a 2011-vintage e7 or e7D, you can update it right now from version 1.00 to version 19.03, and immediately begin enjoying all of our latest capabilities. I don’t think there are many other MFDs out there by any manufacturer that have had that level of consistent support, development and expansion over their lifespan. Best of all, all of those updates came at no charge to the end-consumer. And we’re not done with them!

So now we are at the beginning of a whole new journey with Axiom. All-new Quad-core hardware. All-new Android-based operating system. Axiom is engineered for the future, and its future is very bright. We’ll be releasing the first update for Axiom LightHouse 3 systems soon. With our LightHouse II platform, our goal was to issue quarterly updates to the software. We have similar plans for Axiom and LightHouse 3. Quality software does take time. Our team is quickly but thoroughly coding and testing the next Axiom update. In addition to introducing some of the features mentioned to Axiom, we’re also looking to add all-new capabilities too. This new platform opens up a wide-world of possibilities for us, and customers will not be disappointed.

Thanks for giving us the opportunity to comment!"

Posted by: Ben at May 25, 2017 12:31 PM | Reply

Hi guys

On my Scout I already have a raymarine A125 linked with an autopilot (p70R) and a CP470 fishfinder.

For next season i'm considering the idea of installing an AXIOM 7 or 9 as slave MFD on my hard top (the mfd installed just above the steering weel is poorly visible from the aft fishing area)

My question is: Can I do that? (after the Lighthouse3 release on A-series MFDs?) Can I show the datas from CP470 on the AXIOM on the hard top? and use the RV100 unit to fish in shallow water? (actually, due to lack of bilge space, i have only a B175 L).

Posted by: Leon at June 5, 2017 4:57 AM | Reply

You might check on the Raymarine tech forum, Leon, but I believe what you envision is the plan. You'd have sideview, downview, 3D and two types of CHIRP sonar on your network. I also believe that Ray hopes to launch backward compatible LightHouse 3 this summer, but your timing is probably good ;-)

Meanwhile, I have an Axiom 7 and IP cameras sitting in my shop right now, ready for install when I get back from Florida ;-)

Posted by: Ben in reply to Leon at June 5, 2017 8:41 AM | Reply

As threatened, I installed V19.03 into our Ray e95 while in Beaufort - the update went smoothly, though I should have checked more things after I did it and before we headed North.
The time offset changed again, and it's done it since then, too - I hope this isn't a hardware problem with the memory. The update also rewrote some of the settings in the autopilot, even though the update to it had already been done with the update to 17. I guess it re-writes the already-performed update, which screws up the settings.
The bizarre button behavior is continuing - normal screens are fairly reliable, but if you drill down, sometimes things lock up, buttons go grey and unresponsive, etc. The screen has been rainwater rinsed of it's coating of salt :)

One glitch is really odd - if I interrupt the feed from my instruments (ST60s thru the ST - STng converter) by power cycling the instrument buss, the wind instrument reading won't show up in the e95 - depth, speed and water temp is fine, but wind doesn't show up until I power cycle the MFD.

Sure hope LH3 smooths things out.. :)

Posted by: Hartley at June 7, 2017 10:34 AM | Reply

noted the official raymarine response on axiom/lighthouse 3 support.

as a new axiom customer, its kinda hard to keep hearing "coming soon"
.. a rather unquantified commitment ..
im still waiting for my sonar transducers that are "coming soon"...

and whilst im sure raymarine didnt deliberately hide what was "not" in LH3 initial release,
at best it was very difficult to discover the finer details ...
hence why they are now (4+ months after "launch" clarifying what they dropped off initial release.... and admitting that some features were planned, but dropped.. obviously
to meet a launch date, but clearly with features they felt critical for launch, but dropped
to achieve a PR date/outcome)

their policy for retrospective support is admirable and should be applauded,
and im sure at a future point in time i will be happy for this.
but when i cant use more than half the chart (navionics) functionality,
my audio system is half supported,
i cant use remote application view/control ...
.. the list goes on.

i have a one year initial subscription to navionics updates for sonar and community edits .. but cant use them!! meanwhile my subscription period ticks along...
i dont get a discountbfrom navionics (or raymarine) because i cant use much of the navionics capability.

sorry to whine..... but much of the functionality from upgrading a 10 year old system...
remains to be delivered, so leaves me feeling "unfullfilled" with my $ outlay (at present)

frankly this has all the hallmarks of a product rushed to market .... even my raymarine dealer who continues to try to fullfill my and other customers orders has made the same observation.
.. im sure eventually it will resolve...

Posted by: Anonymous in reply to Ben at June 9, 2017 6:40 AM | Reply

Lighthouse 3 audio support - the plot thickens

Have my fusion stereo main head and remote control working over N2k/seatalkng as expected .with remote control working and controlling main unit over nmea2000 protocol ..... however axiom (LH3 ) says "no audio device found "

The raymarine manual (both short form AND advanced ) states '' compatable nmea2000 stereo units are Rockford fosgate RMX-5 and RMX-8 ".... no mention of fusion..
And raymarine pls note - you couldn't even get it right - there are no such models,
It should presumably list PMX-5 and PMX-8 - which ARE valid Rockford models... but I digress into details that should be the purview of raymarine manual copy writers)

So what is the correct answer mr McGowan of raymarine - does it support fusion in current LH3 build?
If yes - why is this in apparent contradiction with manual . and why is my axiom LH3 unit/s not recognizing the fusion unit on the nmea2000/seatalkng network ....

Posted by: Anonymous at June 10, 2017 8:35 AM | Reply

What model Fusion are you using, Anon? I don't know for sure, but the problem may be that your Fusion only supports the original Fusion-Link NMEA 2000 messages and not the newer standard N2K messages. I fear that what looked like an advance is still pretty messy, as I touched on here:

http://www.panbo.com/archives/2016/03/new_nmea_2000_stereos_rockford_fosgate_pmx-5_jl_audio_mm100s_navico_sonichub2_.html

It may not have anything to do with your situation, but it seems more evident now that the standard NMEA 2000 audio PGNs are not complete. That's why Raymarine, Navico, Garmin etc. are putting out updates with support for very specific audio head units. Messy.

Posted by: Ben in reply to Anonymous at June 10, 2017 9:11 AM | Reply

hi ben,
sorry for anon, im having trouble logging into forum
gregy

Fusion RA205 main unit
NRX200i remote unit
fusion units working across n2k all ok, and remote can read its other supported nmea msgs (eg delth, heading, etc) .. so its reading the other standard messages

i now see what you mean, and im sure you are correct,
the fusion site says "fusion link nmea 2000" for fusion link comtrol over nmea2000',
which im now assuming means "proprietary fusion PGNs over nmea200"
and NOT support of standard? nmea audio messages,
so in this case i believe both fusion and raymarine are probably both correct in what they say, but its not obvious to end users, its a play on words and interjects the "nmea" monicker all over the place, to confuse and mislead!

so, like many other features that the feature poor (NOT "feature rich " as advertised by raymarine ) lighthouse 3 doesnt support (currently) .. is fusion audio integration.
(which per jim mcgowan is "on the list")
..frankly the current LH3 functionailty is so poor, id guess its equivalent in many ways to where
LH2 was about 2 years back!!
not exactly a new product launch of a feature rich MFD/operating system that id be proud of.

Posted by: Anonymous in reply to Ben at June 10, 2017 7:58 PM | Reply

I just installed my Axiom 9 about a week ago and have been testing and playing with things.

I have a Fusion AV-650 radio and it will not work with the Axiom/Lighthouse 3 at this time. It works 100% fine with Lighthouse 2 on my es75 and on my B&G, so it appears that full Fusion NMEA 2000 support is not even in the current Lighthouse 3 builds, even though the post above from Jim McGowan indicates it should be.

Even Raymarine's forums say it will not be in the first versions of software, and that is likely to be de-prioritized:

http://forum.raymarine.com/showthread.php?tid=3105&highlight=axiom+fusion

I think there are quite a few things they still have to get working first before audio support. My 2 top ones are autopilot support (!!) and Navionics autorouting. The autopilot support is going to be a hard one not to have for me for any length of time.

I have found a few other things that are not in LH3 but were expected, but I am still going to be moving over to it for my primary MFD because of the speed and new features. Pictures and more details soon!

Posted by: Steve Mitchell at June 12, 2017 4:35 PM | Reply

Just posted my first impressions along with screen shots and pictures of the Axiom and LH3 at https://sailbits.com/reviews/raymarine-axiom-lighthouse-3-first-impressions/

So far I love the speed and usability, but definitely looking forward to the rest of the features showing up soon!

Posted by: Steve Mitchell at June 14, 2017 2:33 PM | Reply

Criticism of Jim McGowan's failure to specify the timeframes in which new and old features will be added to LH3 is unwarranted. No company will do that, because such statements might be considered (a) legally binding, leading to lawsuits if the dates are missed and (b) anti-competitive.

A couple of weeks ago, I happened to be in a chandlery while a Raymarine representative was setting up a display of Axiom MFDs. I spent several minutes chatting with him and learned that, in "a very few months", Raymarine will release the Axiom Pro, which will provide the "hybrid" (touch screen, as well as physical knobs and buttons) capabilities currently available on the e-series and eS-series MFDs.

I find a lot about the Axiom MFDs (and LH3) very intriguing, but I'm not ready to invest in yet another upgrade for a while. If and when I do decide to upgrade, it'll be to the Axiom Pro series.

Posted by: Jim Melton at June 15, 2017 2:28 PM | Reply

Thanks, Jim. Good point and good intel! It did seem fairly obvious that the first Axioms are intended to replace the all touch (though you can add remote keypad eventually) aSeries, and that a hybrid Axiom would be next, probably including larger sizes. But it's good to hear confirmation and a name.

I've spent time on the water with beta Axioms in early May and just this week installed one on my test boat. I'm impressed and am working on the entry now.

Posted by: Ben in reply to Jim Melton at June 15, 2017 7:46 PM | Reply

BAM! Raymarine Axiom Pro 9-, 12-, and 16-inch MFDs were announced and specified this morning:

http://www.raymarine.com/axiompro/

More on Panbo soon.

Posted by: Ben in reply to Jim Melton at July 10, 2017 8:59 AM | Reply

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