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In transition from old to new electronics
Just bought new-to-me boat with Garmin electronics at the helm...installed 2011. The open array radar is not functioning and not repairable. According to Garmin, they do not have a replacement open array compatible with the 7215 multi-function display. It does have a HD dome unit that does work which hooked up to a smaller 5208 unit. I'm looking at having to replace the main display as well as the open array. More than I was hoping to do so early in the game. Good idea in the long run, given all the new features of the latest 8600 series displays ($$$) or should I opt for a ironclad stand-alone unit like the Furuno 1945?
Nordhavn 50. Will be running off shore for the better part of our trip with a couple of overnighters from FL to Portsmouth, NH in mid April. As I mentioned in my initial question/statement, it does have a functioning Garmin HD dome unit that is displayed on a smaller 5208 unit. Since the boat is new to me, it has been suggested by others that I use it as is to develop a feel for her before I make any changes. I was simply concerned, from a safety point-of-view, that an open array would be the way to go with the overnighters on the agenda.
Would like your opinion on those concerns, but also on a replacement. I'm not married to Garmin as the system is now coming up on 10 yrs old.
I would expect a closed dome to be more reliable than open array. Everything is well protected from corrosion and less wear and tear from a lighter spinning antenna that does not need to be weather proof. Furuno 1835 might be a good standalone. Nxt doppler 2' dome if you want something to go with a furuno mfd or timezero pc.
A couple of thoughts for you though I should caution that while I'm very familiar with the electronics side of this equation you're quite possibly planning cruising beyond my own experience.
From a safety perspective I wouldn't be too worried about a properly functioning 10 year old enclosed dome being able to provide adequate information to ensure the safety of the vessel on an overnight package. However, I personally would want to augment that data with an AIS transceiver. The good news is that whatever transceiver you choose won't wed you to a particular system as there's no advantage to matching the brand of your AIS transceiver and the rest of your electronics.
I do think the advice that you got to wait and see how you use the boat and what changes you'd like to make is very good advice.
I believe the 8600 series of MFDs is a very good piece of hardware and is likely to have a long life. That said, Garmin introduced the first 8600 in February of 2016 so it's been around for a while. But, we're definitely seeing a trend where manufacturers are running their MFD models a good bit longer. I think this is indicative of the fact the hardware has reached a performance point where upgrading for more power is rarely required.
Personally, for primary radar on a boat with a sizable pilothouse and console, like you have, I would want my primary radar to be networked and displayable in multiple ways on multiple displays, but I do also think a tried-and-true standalone secondary radar can be a great option.
The last thing I'd layer in is if you're looking at a more significant refit of your electronics is to take a look at What Furuno has just announced with their new TZT3 MFDs. Especially for a long range cruising boat like yours the combination of Time Zero on a PC, TZ iBoat on an iPad and TZT2 or TZT3 on your MFDs gives you an impressive array of options and tools.
Good luck and enjoy the new boat!