Furuno MaxSea PC Radar, only in Europe?

35 Responses

  1. norse says:

    > What is it with radar on a PC screen that seems so enticing to yachties? Is it the fact that you don’t need a MFD?
    Not just yachties. My simplistic observation is that the trend is MFDs for exposed use, PCs for comfy wheelhouses.
    > Or do we want the ability to use the digital charts of our choice with the radar of our choice?
    Holy Grail!
    I would add that MFDs go obsolete faster than PCs (at this point in time). Maybe that is just me.

  2. John says:

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

  3. One thing that Kees didn’t get into is system convenience and redundancy. Gizmo is a good example. When the NavNet MFD12 was installed on the flying bridge it was a bit of an annoyance to have to power it up in order to use MaxSea or Nobeltec TZ with DRS2D radar on the Mac mini in the main cabin. You could put the MFD12 in ‘sleep’ mode to save power but if the MFD failed, neither would get radar. But there was no way around it because the MFD12 contained the 48v radar power supply.
    Now Furuno has loaned me a TZT14 along with a separate DRS2D power supply, so I think that means that all it would take is a bit of unlock software to give Gizmo two independent methods of controlling and displaying the radar. Isn’t that a valuable feature (and good selling point) that FurunoUSA could easily add?
    Incidentally, the German PC Radar brochure also shows Furuno’s three models of NavNet black box fishfinders working directly with MaxSea TZ, but I’m not sure that any NavNet radar bigger than the DRS2D will work.

  4. david says:

    Ben,
    What do you think about the TZT 14?
    I’m thinking about the TZT9 for my boat.
    Thanks!

  5. thefan says:

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

  6. Marc Dacey says:

    This news is precisely why I’m holding off on a radar purchase. I have the required comfy pilothouse, and am familiar enough with PCs/OpenCPN to prefer that solution over an MFD, which I consider expensive, limited and easily outdated.
    I just hope my push-off date for voyaging is slightly beyond that of the introduction of gear like this, which closely matches my preferences.

  7. Ben Kay says:

    Actually that german screenshot says “this solution is perfect if you do NOT currently have a PC on board”.
    You got it wrong in the article.

  8. Kees says:

    Hi thefan,
    Are you referring to IR2, the existing Koden based solution, or something new (that I am not aware of, but then that’s entire possible?) I’m pretty sure that the only option that is available right now consists of the aging IR2 hardware. If Nobeltec’s TimeZero supported Furuno DRS radars it would be logical that Furuno USA would be aware of this?
    I’ve had a Nobeltec Admiral solution with the Koden MD5B scanner and the Ethernet black box installed from 2005 to 2010, and it worked but it certainly wasn’t any cheaper — I spent well over EUR 5000 on that.
    Kees

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

  10. Kees says:

    Hi Ben Kay,
    A last moment change in the last picture shown in the article does indeed juxtapose two sentences with opposite meaning. The German brochure mentions several setups, one where you can use your existing PC or laptop, and one where you use a new touch screen computer.
    Thank you for pointing out my error, I’ll adjust the text of the article to more accurately reflect that buying a new computer is also an option.

  11. Kees says:

    From http://cms.nobeltec.com/CMS/Products/NavigationSoftware/TimeZeroTrident.aspx
    Trident supports Nobeltec InSight radars and the best of class Furuno FAR2XX7 radar making it ideal for light commercial and workboat users who want to optimize radar integration. Trident also integrates with Furuno’s entire DRS radar line (with at least one MFD on the network)

  12. Apologies to Kees. It was me who changed the last image without realizing that it conflicted with his text. Sorry, Kees!
    But I think that the idea of using PC Radar with an all-in-one touchscreen PC is interesting. I wonder if someone will package it with, say, a Hatteland X-Series. I also wonder if some boaters with protected wheelhouses will try Radar PC with inexpensive consumer all-in-ones like the HP TouchSmart.

  13. thefan says:

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

  14. Richard C says:

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

  15. Kees says:

    Richard, personally I couldn’t agree more. A safety feature like radar needs high reliability, and a laptop or computer does not offer that, in my experience.
    I’ve used with a Nobeltec/Koden/Panasonic CF07 for 5 years. Since three years I have a MFD + PC combo and I much prefer the MFD for underway work (better uptime, easier to use, uses less power.)

  16. robo says:

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

  17. What’s up with Furuno DRS4W WiFi radar? This UK distributor is taking orders:
    http://www.prscomms.co.uk/webshop/radome-antennas/133-furuno-drs4w-wifi-radar.html
    Apparently it was world premiered at the Stockholm Boat Show:
    http://www.dagensbatliv.se/navigatorer/furuno-wifi-radar-sander-tradlos-radarbild-till-ipad-iphone
    And whoever writes Marine Review already thinks it sucks:
    http://www.marine-review.com/2014/03/news/furuno-drs4w-wifi-radar-ipad-iphone/
    But I’m not even sure it’s an actual Furuno product, or it any of those links have all the details of what this is about. Anyone know more?

  18. Anon says:

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

  19. Kaz says:

    Hi Anon,
    I’m the writer of Marine Review – and why am I off base? it is just a standard radar with WiFi interface?
    The Radar is not the first thing you buy for a boat – and not the 2nd either. Furuno data shows it is a 100% standard dome radar – just with ONLY wireless interface. The use case for that is VERY limited.
    I could understand if they did a super small portable radar with a “suction cup” mount and a battery clip. Most people do not need 36 nm radars – they need collision avoidance. But it is NOT – it is just a standard Furuno radar without a radar cable.
    And it is just yet another thing that requires you to run your “1 app at the time” tablet with it. If you then have a wireless sonar as well – you have 2 wireless networks to switch between on your tablet. That means getting from Radar to Sonar would take ? 60+ seconds. Not something that INCREASES your situational awareness.
    and again – tablets only work when light is limited – or you sit in a lot of shade. That is not usual on a boat apart from Greenland winter days or night sailing.
    I do not understand this obsession with putting wireless access points in everything. It is not that much harder to let the “devices” be CLIENTS as well – and not only their own access points – that WOULD help the situation. It would also cut down on the number of “accesspoints” creating noise for each-other. Sonar – channel 1 – Radar channel 6 – NMEA WiFi channel 8 – Raymarine MFD – Channel 9 – suddenly ONE boat is using 4 of 12 available channels on the wifi band. Idiotic.
    But I still don’t see the market for a “Tablet” Radar only installation – especially when prices of MFD bundles with Radar are SO low. And with an MFD you do get a sunlight readable screen.

  20. Arnie says:

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

  21. Kaz, why make so many presumptions about what the Furuno WiFi Radar is and how it might be used? Do you have solid information about that’s not public yet?
    I don’t and I look forward to learning more. But I’m doubtful that Furuno would built a WiFi radar that could only be an access point and was meant to run mainly on consumer grade tablets. After all, Furuno made the TZT the first and still only (I think) WiFi MFD that can join a boat’s own WiFi network.
    Consider, too, the Argonaut A615, a 15-inch marine monitor with Android built in. Picture an Android version of Nobeltec TimeZero with support for Furuno WiFi radar running on that. Or might Furuno have cooked up a marine “tablet” of its own?
    I truly don’t know anything more than I’ve written here, but why trash this product before it’s even real?
    Kaz, I’m also curious why your Marine Review site doesn’t identify you or your background in any way? I’ve read some interesting news and opinions there, but frankly the anonymity sometimes makes me wonder.

  22. Kaz says:

    Hi Ben,
    select – About Marine Review on the site – there is a lot more about me. But I am EE educated sailor who have worked professionally with Internet since 1994 – and wireless since 1995 since the first 200/400/800 kBit pre 802.11 wireless BreezeNET (Now Alvarion)
    But what I have is what has been written in the press from the Swedish release – and there it states it is only iPad compatible and only Wi-Fi access point. I do read/write Scandinavian 🙂 And the guys who showed of the DRS4W in Sweden – claimed that was the world wide official release.
    But consumer Wi-Fi is still not a technology for running your safety marine gear on top of. Come close to another boat (or close to land) where same channel being used by others – bandwidth goes to

  23. Kaz says:

    Arnie – iPads had not become cheaper. They cost the same as they have always has. Previous model is always a bit cheaper than the current model – but pricing is more or less the same. 🙂
    But yes you can buy 2 tablets and 2 tablet mounts. You could even buy 3 🙂 But then you are tableting only to be tableting 🙂 – not to gain any features.
    I would love to get an iPad with a 1000 nit screen so I could use it on the water without having to climb into the shade or my cabin. But even then it would not be my primary navigation device. It would still be the device I use when planning a route – or sitting watching for wrecks to dive on while someone else is at the controls.
    To make tablets / wireless devices suitable for primary status – there would need to be a communications standard – open enough so that my Nav apps can do multiple things.
    So for example iNavX could show radar+sonar+charts+engine data++ from the same App. So no more app switching.
    Remember tablets “kill” things that are not foreground apps if the foreground app needs the memory. Charting apps takes a lot of memory…. which can then force your tablet to close your radar app – which means when you switch to radar – it has to FIND the radar again and initialize from “start” – AND have you “accept” legal terms again.
    So lets get a standard for marine device communications on wireless – and a standard for keeping app’s alive – or something like Apples “Car Integration” for boats where your tablet “locks in” with the “automotive” network and becomes an extension to the already present systems.
    I do hope that NMEA OneNet (Marine Ethernet) will get a wireless “extension” but I don’t think that is in the cards in the near future.

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

  25. Kaz says:

    Hi Ben,
    the manufactures mostly do know who I am 🙂 And I’m not hard to find – my name is Kasper Larsen and I’m quite easy to find on linkedin – and I am not in it for personal attention – as I do not really like being centre of attention. But I do try to keep my personal life personal – which is why I don’t plaster marine review with my personal details.
    And I don’t claim a morale high ground. But one of the very few websites I respect for Marine info – is Panbo. 🙂 Too many of the others are just of the “pad on the back” types to get advertising – like BoatT***. I try to keep the same clean distinction between editorial and advertising as we did in my days at IDG PC World.
    And someone should speak up 🙂 All I hear when I talk to NMEA members is complaints about other NMEA members not following or “bending/abusing” standards and not working towards a joint “customer beneficial” network. Will they stand up in public and say so – no never – then they would loose their “positions” of relative power. Just check how many MFD’s support Instance numbering… That has been a standard requirement since 2009….
    But they talk to me because I do understand the standard despite not being member of their expensive/exclusive club 🙂 – so I’m hoping to put out some OPEN SOURCE N2k “compliant” development boards this year – so people can play N2k on a range of Microcontrollers like TI MPS430/TIVA and Arduino. I started doing the hardware out of pure frustration with the lack of interoperability. I WANT my Garmin Auto-Guidance to control my NMEA non-Garmin autopilot… And I’m close. 🙂

  26. Thanks, Kasper, I feel like Panbo passed over a pretty high bar 😉
    I don’t think you mean the BoatTalk community radio show that I like listening to (and you might too):
    http://archives.weru.org/boattalk/

  27. Kaz says:

    Ben – nope something with test – not talk 🙂 5 minute boat “reviews” which I would classify as “infomercials”
    I like Panbo 🙂 and I do like your writing style. I just wish you posted more. But I think there are more chips in the electronics on your boat than in the wood…… I’m not much better – but my boat is fibreglass.
    Anyway – I hope I can learn more about Furuno’s future Wi-Fi solutions and hope they can find a “sensible way” to make it work across many platforms and maybe their own MFD’s. But right now as written – I consider it a toy for iDevice users 🙂 If they are smart – they sell a $100 upgrade board so you can get the cable connection once you buy the MFD. That should really be their target – sell more MFD’s.
    But just selling Wireless app’s / devices for the point of being wireless apps – is a waste of time. And the Wireless sonars are not really a sales success are they? It is not on the front page of West Marine or other “Big Vendors” – and I think the same will happen with the DRS4W unless there is a much bigger master plan that is not 100% wireless. 🙂

  28. Kees says:

    “I just wish you posted more. ”
    As you say, copy/paste of a press release is easy. Original work is way more work.

  29. Thanks, Kees! Actually I would like to post more entries, but instead I’ve gotten in the habit of writing long ones. The change wasn’t planned! I’d also love to see more guest writers on Panbo but have been poor at making that easier.
    Kaz, funny you brought up wireless sonar. I’ve actually started testing one — the Vexilar SonarPhone T-Hub — and tentatively think it works well and makes a lot of sense for the intended purpose. It’s also a good value and I suspect that the fixed boat model has some real potential:
    http://vexilar.com/info/sonarphone-mobile-depth-sounder-app/
    Also, you seem to have a lot more trouble with on board WiFi and apps than I do.

  30. Kaz says:

    See I do understand the T-Hub – great fun to put on my dinghy 🙂 – battery operated – transom mount – and a wifi connection. That is a usable product in the portable category.
    Which is why I say – the Radar is more marketing than useful. If they made a SMALL portable radar with 5 hours of battery – that I could place on a dinghy – or another small boat – then great 🙂 – but just replacing the control board with a wifi version – is making it wireless just for the marketing factor.
    It is not much harder to pull power + coms cable than it is to pull a power cable only.
    But if I am lucky enough to visit panbo one day – I’ll bring my portable spectrum analyser with me – then you can see just how much noise is emitting from all the wireless access points around you. The more you put in a confined space – even if they are on different channels – the more degraded all signals become and the end result is a LOT retransmissions and signal degradation.
    While it might not affect sonar at 2000-30000 bytes pr second (modern average sonar is about 2000 bytes per ping plus/minus) – it can quite possibly affect a radar a lot more with maybe 500,000-2,000,000 bytes per second. Of course if Furuno compress a lot – then it might only be 100,000 bytes per second – but then you need the user device decompressing it again.
    But lets see once it gets out. 🙂

  31. chicagocat says:

    I’m sure this has been mentioned in other threads, but I don’t see it here. The real reason people are so excited about something like the wireless Furuno radar is that it separates the radar and the MFD. I have an older Raymarine MFD. I’d love to get the e7.
    But guess what? If I want the e7 I have to buy a whole new radar scanner, because the e7 doesn’t support the older radar scanners. But I like my current radar scanner just fine. It’s infuriating that every time you upgrade radar or MFD you have to upgrade the other.
    The Furuno wifi scanner solves this problem. That’s why my next upgrade will be a wifi radar.
    Brendan

  32. Be careful what you wish for, Brendan. As best I can tell, the Furuno 1st Watch WiFi DRS4W Radar won’t connect to any MFD, just tablets. And note that the existing Furuno DRS2D radar could already be independent of an MFD. PC Radar is the subject of this entry!
    In fact, any radar that does its processing in the scanner and interfaces with Ethernet can be an independent sensor if the manufacturer develops the apps or gives access to other developers. And every major manufacturer has switched over from analog radar scanners to Ethernet. That’s why they all did what happened to you with your older Raymarine scanner.
    But the switchover only happened once. So “every time you upgrade radar or MFD you have to upgrade the other” is simply not true. I put a Raymarine Ethernet radar on Gizmo 5 years ago and it’s worked with many different models since, and I think it will continue to.
    So I don’t see the problem the Furuno WiFi Radar is solving. In fact, I really don’t understand the product, though maybe I’m missing something. It is an official Furuno product (though Furuno USA doesn’t seem interested) with its own mini site:
    http://furuno.com/special/en/wireless/radar/

  33. Jeff says:

    Ben, in exploring the Nobeltec site I seen they have a private labeled radar (Nobeltec InSight)that also works with a PC running their software, no MFD required. Have you heard anything about it,good or bad?

  34. Kees says:

    Jeff,
    That is software intended for Nobeltec users that bought one of the Nobeltec Insight radars that were on the market until about 4 years ago. I had one on my old boat. They are Koden analog microwave radars with an Ethernet conversion box that converts the signal to an Ethernet signal. They were also available under the Si-Tex brand who still have a page on them: http://si-tex.com/kodens/item/mds50r51r52r61r62r63rradarpc
    This was a decent radar at the time, but there has’t been any R&D on them for a while so if buying new I’d go for a more recent model (like the Furuno radar).

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