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Newer Boat, OLD electronics


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I recently purchased a 28' boat, upgraded from my 21' Lund. The electronics are really dated. I am looking for insight on replacing electronics.

I have twin 305 inboards. no Kicker at present but may look to it later.

Chartplotter/GPS

Sonar

Radar

Autopilot

I know this is a vague post, but does it make sense to stay with the same manufacturer for all? Do they network together?

or

Is one sonar company better, and radar from another.

Looking for brands and models that might push me to a good starting point.

Any Help is greatly appreciated

Thanks

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Integration between brands is much better now than in the past -- NMEA2000 is much better than the older NMEA0183 -- BUT it is still limited depending on what you want it to do. Most companies have gone to integrated multi function head units/displays where one screen can be used to display sonar/fishfinder, radar, chart plotting, engine monitoring and even autopilot information. Most now support multiple displays networked on their medium to high end lines. Various brands/models will definately be better than others for specific functions -- for example Garmin is highly regarded for GPS; Raymarine, Furuno,and Simrad for deep water sonar... Lowrance while good for fish finder and gps isn't so highly regarded for autopilot or radar.

I would start by determining what is the most important feature for you -- fish finder, gps, charts, radar, auto pilot -- and then what features are absolutely "must haves". For example, maybe you want to have built in trolling patterns on the autopilot; or radar overlay on the chart; or a specific map product supported; or AIS integration for the VHF radio or viewing sonar/downvision/sidevison all on the screen at the same time... Narrow the field by which ones do/don't provide that feature and then look at prices and how the individual units work -- ie: are they easy to use and work the way you think intuitively.

Another factor may be if there is any of the existing electronics you want to keep. How/If it will integrate into a new setup may narrow your choices.

Early this summer I won a new Raymarine MFD (a78) and that was the deciding factor to push me over the edge upgrade my 10+ year old system. The main components I already had were Raymarine (fish finder, radar, autopilot... with Standard Horizon VHF and GPS/Charting interfaced w/ NMEA0183) and I was very pleased at how they worked. The old system had 3 displays (console, stern, bow) so to replace I needed to buy 2 new displays and a new radar dome. The new stuff is not yet installed due to some unforeseen medical issues, but I think it will be great. I probably would have stayed with Raymarine even if I hadn't won the new setup because I had good results from it and liked their tech support.

The only think I am aware of it won't do that would be nice is forward scanning sonar... but the its cost wasn't going to have me getting that anyway.

Edited by SeaCatMich
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Had to put a new autopilot on my 28' after the old one (10 year old Sportpilot) puked out over the winter. Can't say enough good things about the Raymarine EV 200. Holds course in waves I wouldn't have fished before even though the boat could've handled them easily. Money well spent.

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