Electronics Upgrade (B&G and Raymarine)

Jun 21, 2016
26
Hunter 30 Noank, CT
This past Spring I purchased a 1990 Hunter 30 and brought it from MD to the NorthEast (Mystic, CT area). Prior to leaving the Chesapeake, I had some upgrades to do to prepare for the 6 day voyage. After careful (so I thought) considerations, I opted to go with B&G products. The boat had no masthead wind instrument, no chartplotter, but did have a Raymarine TriData S/D/T display and a first generation Auto Wheel Pilot that had been upgraded with a ST4000+ controller, SmartPilot X5 computer, and newer FluxGate compass.

The first step was to bring down the mast and add a new masthead wind instrument. I went with a B&G unit, wired it into a new NMEA 2K backbone and then added a B&G Vulcan 7 chartplotter and Triton T41 MFD to a newly installed NavPod at the binnacle. Since the SmartPilot had an input for SeaTalk NG, I thought that all would work well connecting this into my NMEA 2K backbone. I also knew that the Vulcan 7 had the limitation of no radar capability, which I thought would be okay at the time.

Fast forward to the end of the summer .... everything seemed to work okay, but very mismatched and independent from one another. I added a B&G Triducer (DST) to the mix before leaving MD and tied that into the NMEA 2K backbone. So, I now had the Raymarine TriData connected to just the old Depth transducer as a sort of secondary depth monitor, the Auto Wheel Pilot works through its own ST4000+ controller, but will not talk any info to the Vulcan 7, hence no steering to waypoints and definitely no use of the B&G SailSteer features. The Vulcan 7 and Triton T41 see and display the NMEA 2K info from the masthead wind instrument and the B&G DST transducer just fine.

Now that I am in the NorthEast, I am rethinking this whole setup. I have contacted B&G support for some ideas without much successful guidance ... the Vulcan 7 now has a Vulcan 7 FS model out that can connect to a Forward Scan transducer (nice, but another $700 and not compatible to my Vulcan 7 from 6 months ago). The Vulcan 9 is now out with radar and FS capability, but limited without networked ethernet (has ethernet only for radar), plus in the same price range of the Zeus2 7 that has it all minus built-in WIFI. My thoughts and priorities are as follows:

1. Upgrade the Raymarine Wheel Pilot to the new Evolution 100 Pilot that may be better able to integrate with the existing Vulcan 7 that I have (steering to waypoints, but doubtful that the SailSteer will work without a B&G computer like the AC12N). In this upgrade I would save the radar addition for another year (my mast comes down for over-wintering at my marina, so I have the benefit of installing mast related items each season without the added expense of having to unstep the mast just for an upgrade). I would also keep costs down by still using my existing Vulcan 7 as is and hold off on the idea of Forward Scan for a future year upgrade.

2. Keep my existing Auto Wheel Pilot motor & fluxgate compass setup and replace the Smart Pilot X5 with a B&G AC12N computer to see if it will get the SailSteer functionality to work with my Vulcan 7 (this would be a $950 hunch ... no one can tell me if this would really work)!

3. Bite the bullet and upgrade all to Raymarine products (e7 series chartplotter, EVO-100 AutoPilot and controller, Broadband Radar, new NavPod to house the new setup). This would be something around a $4,200+ setup.

My thoughts on all this are leaning towards option #1 to see if I can at least get plotting to waypoints working. At that point, I can always go ALL Raymarine after that to get everything to function properly. The negatives I see are with not continuing with B&G products .... I was attracted to B&G for its SailSteer functionality and that it is all about sailing! But, Raymarine is the king of AutoWheel Pilots on this size boat since they are the ONLY ones that I have seen that offer a Wheel Pilot. My rudder post is fiberglass encapsulated from the cockpit to the rudder and there is no way to install any other type of Auto Pilot to this boat. I cannot even install a rudder feedback sensor since the steering pulley on the top of the rudder shaft is under the floor grate in the cockpit and has no room to mount one (even if I wanted to expose it to the elements and being in a "wet" area.

I never thought that a 30' boat would have so many limitations for basic electronic setups with what is on the market today. But, then again maybe I am out of the norm in trying to add so much to this sized boat. And just to better understand my planned sailing area .... I plan to typically use this boat for long weekend sails to/from Mystic to Block Island, Newport, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Shelter Island, Sag Harbor, Port Jeff, and maybe further week+ trips through the Cape Cod Canal to P-town, Glouster, and maybe eventually southern coastal Maine (this I would definitely want radar for).

Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated! I have yet to see any posts of anyone successfully integrating B&G with Raymarine Wheel Pilots.
 
Oct 30, 2011
542
klidescope 30t norfolk
Sounds like you already got a sweet electronics set up I got same boat with original depth; and speed works intermittent added a 8" color GPS and the st4000 original too still works so just gonna go with it and save $ for next boat
 
Oct 1, 2007
1,739
Boston Whaler Super Sport Pt. Judith
This past Spring I purchased a 1990 Hunter 30 and brought it from MD to the NorthEast (Mystic, CT area). Prior to leaving the Chesapeake, I had some upgrades to do to prepare for the 6 day voyage. After careful (so I thought) considerations, I opted to go with B&G products. The boat had no masthead wind instrument, no chartplotter, but did have a Raymarine TriData S/D/T display and a first generation Auto Wheel Pilot that had been upgraded with a ST4000+ controller, SmartPilot X5 computer, and newer FluxGate compass.

The first step was to bring down the mast and add a new masthead wind instrument. I went with a B&G unit, wired it into a new NMEA 2K backbone and then added a B&G Vulcan 7 chartplotter and Triton T41 MFD to a newly installed NavPod at the binnacle. Since the SmartPilot had an input for SeaTalk NG, I thought that all would work well connecting this into my NMEA 2K backbone. I also knew that the Vulcan 7 had the limitation of no radar capability, which I thought would be okay at the time.

Fast forward to the end of the summer .... everything seemed to work okay, but very mismatched and independent from one another. I added a B&G Triducer (DST) to the mix before leaving MD and tied that into the NMEA 2K backbone. So, I now had the Raymarine TriData connected to just the old Depth transducer as a sort of secondary depth monitor, the Auto Wheel Pilot works through its own ST4000+ controller, but will not talk any info to the Vulcan 7, hence no steering to waypoints and definitely no use of the B&G SailSteer features. The Vulcan 7 and Triton T41 see and display the NMEA 2K info from the masthead wind instrument and the B&G DST transducer just fine.

Now that I am in the NorthEast, I am rethinking this whole setup. I have contacted B&G support for some ideas without much successful guidance ... the Vulcan 7 now has a Vulcan 7 FS model out that can connect to a Forward Scan transducer (nice, but another $700 and not compatible to my Vulcan 7 from 6 months ago). The Vulcan 9 is now out with radar and FS capability, but limited without networked ethernet (has ethernet only for radar), plus in the same price range of the Zeus2 7 that has it all minus built-in WIFI. My thoughts and priorities are as follows:

1. Upgrade the Raymarine Wheel Pilot to the new Evolution 100 Pilot that may be better able to integrate with the existing Vulcan 7 that I have (steering to waypoints, but doubtful that the SailSteer will work without a B&G computer like the AC12N). In this upgrade I would save the radar addition for another year (my mast comes down for over-wintering at my marina, so I have the benefit of installing mast related items each season without the added expense of having to unstep the mast just for an upgrade). I would also keep costs down by still using my existing Vulcan 7 as is and hold off on the idea of Forward Scan for a future year upgrade.

2. Keep my existing Auto Wheel Pilot motor & fluxgate compass setup and replace the Smart Pilot X5 with a B&G AC12N computer to see if it will get the SailSteer functionality to work with my Vulcan 7 (this would be a $950 hunch ... no one can tell me if this would really work)!

3. Bite the bullet and upgrade all to Raymarine products (e7 series chartplotter, EVO-100 AutoPilot and controller, Broadband Radar, new NavPod to house the new setup). This would be something around a $4,200+ setup.

My thoughts on all this are leaning towards option #1 to see if I can at least get plotting to waypoints working. At that point, I can always go ALL Raymarine after that to get everything to function properly. The negatives I see are with not continuing with B&G products .... I was attracted to B&G for its SailSteer functionality and that it is all about sailing! But, Raymarine is the king of AutoWheel Pilots on this size boat since they are the ONLY ones that I have seen that offer a Wheel Pilot. My rudder post is fiberglass encapsulated from the cockpit to the rudder and there is no way to install any other type of Auto Pilot to this boat. I cannot even install a rudder feedback sensor since the steering pulley on the top of the rudder shaft is under the floor grate in the cockpit and has no room to mount one (even if I wanted to expose it to the elements and being in a "wet" area.

I never thought that a 30' boat would have so many limitations for basic electronic setups with what is on the market today. But, then again maybe I am out of the norm in trying to add so much to this sized boat. And just to better understand my planned sailing area .... I plan to typically use this boat for long weekend sails to/from Mystic to Block Island, Newport, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Shelter Island, Sag Harbor, Port Jeff, and maybe further week+ trips through the Cape Cod Canal to P-town, Glouster, and maybe eventually southern coastal Maine (this I would definitely want radar for).

Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated! I have yet to see any posts of anyone successfully integrating B&G with Raymarine Wheel Pilots.
If it were me, I would go all Raytheon. Let's face it, they really are the only game in town for us sailors. I have all Raytheon on my boat and after 9 years, no problems. And they have good support. With my previous boat I had Furuno and loved it. But with the new boat, Raytheon was the only answer. I'm not in love with their chart plotter but it gets the job done. And trying to integrate Brand X with Brand y, fuggedaboutit. Just too hard.
 
Jun 21, 2016
26
Hunter 30 Noank, CT
I had not considered Raytheon, mainly because I have just not reviewed their offerings. But my basic problem still exists if I were to go this path .... no one other than Raymarine offers a Wheel Pilot system. Since auto pilot via wheel helm is a must for me and the only option on this size boat, am I only to go the route of all Raymarine so not to get tangled in the mess of Brand X working correctly with Brand Z? NMEA 2K standardization is one step closer than NMEA 0183, but still lacking when it comes to features like SailSteer with B&G. It still puzzles me that Raymarine calls their NMEA 2K connections SeaTalk NG. It leads me to believe that they are following the standard .... maybe too loosely with their own twist on it. Frustrating.
 

Joe

.
Jun 1, 2004
7,503
Catalina 27 Mission Bay, San Diego
I had no problem contacting B&G customer service. Their solution for my AP install was an adapter cable for the Nmea 0183 output. It allows the AP to steer to course and wind on the N2k network.... which is, I think, what you're wanting to do... It would definitely be worth your time to make another effort to talk to them before you go spending a lot more money unnecessarily.
 

BarryL

.
May 21, 2004
840
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409 Mt. Sinai, NY
Hello,

I admit I'm a little confused about some of your statements. A little background: I have a Garmin 740S plotter, Raymarine Evo 100 wheel pilot, B&G VHF / AIS receive radio, and Raymarine ST60+ wind, speed, depth. The Garmin and B&G VHF use NMEA2K. The wheelpilot uses Ray SeatalkNG, which is the same as NMEA 2K .I bought a converter from Raymarine to get the ST60+ SeaTalk converted to NMEA2K. And everything works together. I can have a route loaded on the Garmin Plotter, the wheelpilot will steer to the waypoints on the route. The Garmin plotter is receiving wind info from the ST60+ (and can display true and apparent wind). The wheel pilot can also steer to a wind angle.
You should be able to do the same. Convert the Ray stuff to NMEA 2K and put it on the network with the B&F Vulcan and you should be all set.
Regarding Sailsteer, my understanding (I have never seen it in action but I would love to get it) is that it has nothing to do with actually steering the boat, but instead allows you to see the effects if wind shifts, current, and other factors on your chosen course. With Sailsteer you should know when to tack, when you are getting lifted or headed and make better decisions.
If I were you I wouldn't buy any new gear but get the gear you have communication and working together. It should be simple!

Good luck,
Barry
 
Jun 21, 2016
26
Hunter 30 Noank, CT
Barry, Joe,

Thanks for all the valuable input! I do think that my next step is to connect everything I have today with a little more due diligence. What I mean by that is I added the NMEA 2K backbone into the mix and connected the SeaTalk NG connection on the Smart Pilot X5 directly to the NMEA 2K backbone, thinking that would communicate across the NMEA network to the Vulcan, picking up the waypoint info from the Vulcan accordingly. When I have tried to engage the AP to steer to waypoint it gave me the error of NO DATA. I think that I just need to start back at square one in the early Spring and go through all this and my connections again. As for SailSteer, if I initially read the info correctly, I think that it needs to control the AP directly and not just get data points from it ... but I could be all wrong. It has been a while since I read through that info and warrants another deep dive.

When I last spoke with B&G Support I basically asked if I could get this all to work with SailSteer on the Vulcan. Their response was that I would need a B&G AP computer to communicate the relevant info needed, not just data from the NMEA 2K backbone. It is encouraging to hear you say that this should work ... that alone makes me want to take another stab at making what I currently have work (even if I need some adapter cables, etc).
 
May 20, 2016
2,995
Catalina 36 MK1 94 Everett, WA
I think the main difference between N2K and Seatalkng is just the connectors (maybe the power delivery) - the conversion cables are dumb (no active electronics). The big difference I see is that N2K - it is hard to tell the difference between a spur cable and the backbone - so you could end up with multi-backbones connected by spur cables, which may not perform. Raymarine has different color and clocking for spur and backbone - so it is much harder to screw it up.
 

BarryL

.
May 21, 2004
840
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409 Mt. Sinai, NY
Hey,
When I connected everything and started the Garmin 740S, I needed to do a 'discovery' or something like that. Then the other devices on the N2K network appeared and became accessible. I can see that the AP control head is getting wind, speed, waypoint info. The plotter sees the VHF and AIS info, and all are communicating.
Have you tried doing a similar thing with the vulcan? Also, make sure that you only have 1 N2K backbone and that it is terminated properly.
Good luck,
Barry
 
Jun 21, 2016
26
Hunter 30 Noank, CT
Good points about the STNG connectors! While I was researching the Evolution Wheel Pilot, I saw that it comes with the STNG connection kit that included the color coded connection block and cables (spur, backbone, and power). But, I agree with others that I should try to get what I have working without adding more cost to the picture with a new EVO-100 system, since it should work.

I did do a discovery via the Vulcan, but was really only looking for the masthead wind, DST transducer, and chartplotter ... didn't think about the AP at the time since the control head was not connected to the backbone (I forgot whether it recognized the SPX5 ... I believe that it did). Good point about the AutoPilot and control head! I do have only one NMEA 2K backbone terminated properly (one end at a Tee and the other via the auto-termination via the wind sensor at the mast head). Currently, the STNG connection point on the SPX5 connects to a Tee on the NMEA 2K backbone and the SeaTalk (non NG) connection on the SPX5 connects directly to the ST6002 control head (not through the NEMA 2K backbone) .... maybe this is the issue? I am only guessing that I can have two SeaTalk connections to the SPX5 ... one to the SeaTalk connection (there are two of these), and the other to the STNG connection point. Maybe connecting the ST6002 control head directly to the NMEA 2K backbone via conversion cable to a Tee is the ticket.

I'm going to the boat this weekend to check on the shrink wrapping that was done and maybe I will just pull some of the electronic from the boat and bring home to test (control head, SPX5, NMEA2K backbone) ... I already have the Vulcan and the Triton T41 home.
 
Jun 21, 2016
26
Hunter 30 Noank, CT
I went to my boat yesterday and brought home the SPx5, spare fluxgate compass, ST6002 controller, N2K backbone, and cabling. I have it all hooked up at home like I did on the boat with my Triton T41 MFD and Vulcan chartplotter, minus the wind instrument and depth/speed/temp triducer.

The Vulcan sees the the compass heading via the fluxgate connected to the SPx5 via the N2K network, but does not see any AutoPilot. I would think that if it can see the compass connected directly to the SPx5 on the Vulcan and Triton MFD I should also see the SPx5 listed as an AutoPilot option to select in the device list. The only connection from the Vulcan to the SPx5 is by way of the N2K backbone. So, if I can see the compass, I should also see the AutoPilot. I was able to finally also see the software version of the SPx5 via the device list on the Vulcan ... it reads v1.20. So, I'm not sure if this is a problem or not with this setup.

IMG_1024.JPG image1.JPG image2.JPG image3.JPG image4.JPG
 

Johann

.
Jun 3, 2004
251
Leopard 39 Pensacola
I had the same autopilot installed and connected to a Garmin chartplotter via NMEA0183. Quite often the autopilot would not navigate using the "Track" function. It turned out that the waypoint names were too long for the SPX5. I changed the waypoint output on the garmin to waypoint #s instead of waypoint names, and the problem was solved. Not sure if that's your issue, but maybe worth a try.

Also, maybe the SPX5 doesn't show as an autopilot because the MFD can't control it?
 

BarryL

.
May 21, 2004
840
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409 Mt. Sinai, NY
Hey,
With my system (garmin 740S plotter, Ray evo 100 AP) the Plotter can't control the AP. Instead, all share data. This allows the AP to steer to a wind angle or to a waypoint. The plotter doesn't interact with the AP at all, all is does it send data.
Can you select a wind angle for the AP to steer to? Prob not without the wind instrument being connected.
If I am navigating on a ROUTE (instead of GOING to a waypoint) I can have the AP 'track' which means it follows the waypoints. Can you try that?
Good luck,
Barry
 
Jun 21, 2016
26
Hunter 30 Noank, CT
Barry,

That is essentially what I am trying to do with this setup (steer to waypoints along a charted route). When you do a discovery of devices on your network, does the EVO 100 show up as an AutoPilot? I understand that I will not be able to control the AP from the Chartplotter or MFD, but I would think that it would show up as an AP in the device list to be able to see it for waypoint routing. Thus far I can only use the AP to steer to compass heading.

I am trying to steer to waypoint first, then possibly to wind with that instrument installed on the network again. I am particularly interested in your setup since that would be my next progression ... upgrading the AP to the EVO 100 setup to see if that has been interoperability with a NMEA 2K network.
 
Jun 21, 2016
26
Hunter 30 Noank, CT
Good tips Johann! I am going to rename my routes to be sure and try again. I'm not sure if the AP category in the device list needs to say "SPX5" or remain blank for this to function without external control. You maybe be right here .... more testing! Now that I have it all home, I will try a few more things.

On another note, does anyone know how to upgrade the software/firmware of the SPx5 without a Raymarine chartplotter connected? I have a feeling that it is impossible. I am curious as to how many updates have come out following the version that is currently installed. My thinking is that maybe I would have better discovery and interoperability on the N2K network with a later firmware or software update. Just a thought.
 

Johann

.
Jun 3, 2004
251
Leopard 39 Pensacola
I think for raymarine updates it has to be connected, or you can send it to customer service. I don't know what they charge, but I found in the past they are pretty quick on turnaround time.

Just to check something simple though, in the Vulcan network setup menu, NMEA2000 send waypoint box is checked right?
 
Jun 21, 2016
26
Hunter 30 Noank, CT
I have an email out to Raymarine support to see about sending the unit in for software upgrade. I found the upgrade info on their support site that details each release (not sure if it will help my situation or not ... (nothing stands out, v3.0.5 is the most current). As for the NMEA2000 send waypoint and receive waypoint on the Vulcan, both are checked.
Screen Shot 2016-11-08 at 7.02.27 AM.jpg
 
Jun 21, 2016
26
Hunter 30 Noank, CT
I was able to verify that my Chartplotter and MFD were sending values in XTE, DTW, and BTW. But, when I used the STANDBY button on my ST6002 Pilot Controller, the controller displayed "---" indicating that no data was received. So, at this point I boxed up the SPX5 and sent it off to Raymarine Support to perform the software upgrade. Like I previously noted, I have doubts that the upgrade will help with this connectivity issue, but it can't hurt to have it on the most current software release going forward.
 

BarryL

.
May 21, 2004
840
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409 Mt. Sinai, NY
Hey,
Sounds like you are making progress.
My last point: My garmin unit can GOTO a waypoint or ROUTE to a waypoint (I don't recall the difference). The AP can only steer to a waypoint if I running the ROUTE. If I select ROUTE on the garming, I can TRACK on the AP. If I GOTO the route on the garmin, I am not able to select TRACK mode on the AP.

Barry
 
Jun 21, 2016
26
Hunter 30 Noank, CT
Thanks for that note of difference Barry! I was using GOTO in my tests. I am not sure if I also tried selecting ROUTE. I'll test this as soon as I get the unit back from Raymarine ... hopefully sometime next week.