Datamarine masthead wind transducer

Bolo

Sustaining Member
Yesterday my mast was taken down by a rigging crew at the marina for long overdue needed repairs. After it was down one of the riggers came over to me with the Datamarine masthead wind transducer and simply said, "I think it's broken." He handed me the wind transducer and the separated knurled ring that locks the connector. The Datamarine wind/direction gauge at the helm was working before the mast was taken down and I've never had a problem with it so I'm assuming that all that needs to be done is to have the connector replaced but assuming is always a dangerous thing to do. I suppose I could simply upgrade to a Raymaine wind transducer and gauge (I already have a Raymarine control head in one of the OEM Yacht Specialties pods at the helm) but that would be rather expensive compared to simply replacing the connect on an old but still functioning wind indicator system.

Has anyone ever faced a similar situation and if so how did you resolve it?

IMG_1121.jpeg
 

andy beach

Member I
Check out DMI Marine Inc. I hope they are still in business. I used them about 8 years ago. We love the old school analog apparent wind gauge on the old Datamarine instruments.
 

Chschaus

"Voila"
I upgraded when I put in a new Nav system to all B&G. my Datamarine wind transducer disappeared last year and I have yet to get a straight answer from my marina as to where it went. that being said last time I needed repair DMI was very helpful.
DMI Marine, Inc.
52 Center Street
Middleboro, MA 02346
main phone number: 774-213-9744
fax number: none, please use email
email: dmi@dmimarine.com
 

Bolo

Sustaining Member
I upgraded when I put in a new Nav system to all B&G. my Datamarine wind transducer disappeared last year and I have yet to get a straight answer from my marina as to where it went. that being said last time I needed repair DMI was very helpful.
DMI Marine, Inc.
52 Center Street
Middleboro, MA 02346
main phone number: 774-213-9744
fax number: none, please use email
email: dmi@dmimarine.com
I'm very familiar with DMI since I have used them to service my depth gauge years ago. I did look at their web site for wind instruments but couldn't find anything right away until I looked in the "Parts" page. There I found a mast head transducer that sells for $850 with "limited quantities" which means what? We don't have any? If you order one it'll take three months to get it? Either way for I can purchase the Raymarine i60 Wind System that comes with a masthead transducer from Defender for $940 (https://www.defender.com/product3.jsp?path=-1|344|2028690|2028817&id=2075791) . I already have the Raymarine auto helm along with the Sale Talk system with the i70p control head that lives in one of the OEM pods at my helm (see photo in my first posting). So I'm thinking that it's about time to upgrade even though I too "love the old school analog apparent wind gauge on the old Datamarine instruments", as Andy wrote. At least I can keep the OEM pods which I think look cool and still "Old school".
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
I've been looking at those recently because my Raymarine ST40 has become erratic. But I'm a bit hesitant because the i60 and others require a new cable to be routed from the mast head down to deck level and then back to the pedestal. I have a deck stepped mast with no ready access to the wiring inside. It's a bigger problem than I anticipated.
Frank
 

Bolo

Sustaining Member
I've been looking at those recently because my Raymarine ST40 has become erratic. But I'm a bit hesitant because the i60 and others require a new cable to be routed from the mast head down to deck level and then back to the pedestal. I have a deck stepped mast with no ready access to the wiring inside. It's a bigger problem than I anticipated.
Frank
Well, with my mast down its now the best time for this sort of thing. That also includes new sheaves, standing rigging, anchor light, radio antenna, spreader boots, jib halyard, etc. Getting as much down as possible while it’s down short of re-painting which is unbelievably expensive to do and not really necessary for functionality. The black has lost it’s shine but tha5s the way it was 15 years ago when I bought her so I’m use to it.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Well, with my mast down its now the best time for this sort of thing. That also includes new sheaves, standing rigging, anchor light, radio antenna, spreader boots, jib halyard, etc.
That's what we found, in 2021. Replacing the old shot pvc tubing inside with two new tubes was "worth the price alone", as the saying goes.
We probably will not have to refurbish the spar system for another 30 years. (Not likely to be my worry, at that point in time.)

Edit: our spars were/are clear anodized and I see now that we are lucky in that regard.
 
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Bolo

Sustaining Member
I paid $7k last winter, mast and boom. It was and is white, but looked awful with flaking before. Is that in line with what you figured?
The price for repainting was estimated by the yard to be $15k to $20k and would take an additional 3 to 4 weeks to do. Since the refit is going to be around $9k I couldn’t justify spending and additional $20k on paint. Most of the cost is labor because the mast would be completely taken apart, and stripped of paint, sanded, painted with two layers of primer and then the final gloss black gel coat. After which it would have to be all put back together. I can live with a flat black but functional mast.
 
Hi I'm about to be in a very similar situation as well. My masthead wind transducer has stopped working and it's also the original DMI unit.

It's interesting because parts are technically still available from DMI but they're really expensive. I'm in the same boat as you wondering if I should just upgrade while I have my mast down in 2 weeks.

It looks like all of the wireless units are absolutely garbage unfortunately, and it looks like most of the entry level units, definitely Garmin and maybe raymarine are absolute trash as well.

Who is the best bang for your buck in sailboat instruments these days? Someone must be making something that's both affordable and reliable. Is it B&G?

What about this?
And then I could figure out an NMEA display or get a new chart plotter and wire the NMEA up into the pedistal.

Phew, it's really enough to make you want to throw all the electronics overboard and just go sailing.
 
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windblown

Member III
Hi I'm about to be in a very similar situation as well. My masthead wind transducer has stopped working and it's also the original DMI unit.

It's interesting because parts are technically still available from DMI but they're really expensive. I'm in the same boat as you wondering if I should just upgrade while I have my mast down in 2 weeks.

It looks like all of the wireless units are absolutely garbage unfortunately, and it looks like most of the entry level units, definitely Garmin and maybe raymarine are absolute trash as well.

Who is the best bang for your buck in sailboat instruments these days? Someone must be making something that's both affordable and reliable. Is it B&G?

What about this?
And then I could figure out an NMEA display or get a new chart plotter and wire the NMEA up into the pedistal.

Phew, it's really enough to make you want to throw all the electronics overboard and just go sailing.
We purchased the B&G wireless wind package three years ago (it included two Triton2 instruments, the masthead transducer, and the Bluetooth wireless receiver). I wouldn’t buy the wireless unit again; they’re notoriously difficult to pair with the base, and the replacement rechargeable batteries are hard to find or expensive. Although the battery packs are the same type and size as many cordless phones, B&G uses a tiny connector that is designed for laptop computer boards. However, I might buy the wired version If I found it on sale. The transducer works great, when working. They are pretty popular in our basin, and though they seem rather fragile, most people who leave their masts up on the hard leave their transducers on through our rather rough winters. I selected B&G because I already had a Zeus3 MFD, and I thought the brand was a quality upgrade. I find the B&G support to be lacking (understatement). It reminds me of Jaguars in the 1970’s and 1980’s: they were finely tuned, expensive, beautiful vehicles that were a joy to drive, when they weren’t in the shop. (Note: I never had a Jag.). I’ll be moving away from the B&G MFD when it expires. I’d rather go sailing.
 
We purchased the B&G wireless wind package three years ago (it included two Triton2 instruments, the masthead transducer, and the Bluetooth wireless receiver). I wouldn’t buy the wireless unit again; they’re notoriously difficult to pair with the base, and the replacement rechargeable batteries are hard to find or expensive. Although the battery packs are the same type and size as many cordless phones, B&G uses a tiny connector that is designed for laptop computer boards. However, I might buy the wired version If I found it on sale. The transducer works great, when working. They are pretty popular in our basin, and though they seem rather fragile, most people who leave their masts up on the hard leave their transducers on through our rather rough winters. I selected B&G because I already had a Zeus3 MFD, and I thought the brand was a quality upgrade. I find the B&G support to be lacking (understatement). It reminds me of Jaguars in the 1970’s and 1980’s: they were finely tuned, expensive, beautiful vehicles that were a joy to drive, when they weren’t in the shop. (Note: I never had a Jag.). I’ll be moving away from the B&G MFD when it expires. I’d rather go sailing.
Yeah, this is the review I get from basically every instrument I can find. Is EVERYONE just making cheap junk these days?

Someone out there must have something that they've had for years without trouble. It is not impossible to make reliable, weatherproof electronics. It just may be counter to their business model.

I am going to make a bit of effort to fix the DMI instrument but if I can't, I'd like to know the backup plan.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Someone out there must have something that they've had for years without trouble. It is not impossible to make reliable, weatherproof electronics. It just may be counter to their business model.
Long shot, but maybe find an NOS Raymarine ST-60 or St-60+ instrument. We have the whole ST-60 package installed in the 90's, and working perfectly. Hard wired, of course.
 

Pete the Cat

Member III
I installed the Raymarine (formerly TackTik) wireless instruments and I would not buy them again. They were delivered with defective batteries but were repaired free and now charge and require no power other than sun. They were not difficult to pair or calibrate, but they require some fidgeting to get them to network (I have the home phone number of the guy at FLIR who actually services these instruments if anyone else is having problems--he was an instant help after hours of talking to folks who just read the manual to me over the phone). The Raymarine wireless instruments also lag and are not very precise in measuring wind speed and direction. I have some old wired ST 60+ Raymarine instruments on my Tartan 37 which I would not trade for anything I have seen on the market at this point. I have had them for 15 years and they have been through hell and are way more responsive, accurate, and easily calibrated. I have not been impressed with Garmin Marine MFDs when I was doing some deliveries with yachts with them, but this company is improving all the time and my experience is a couple years ago so maybe things are better with their new generations. I have a new wireless Furuno radar which is a might better than my old Sitex professional CRT and sends the image to an Ipad so you can take it anywhere on the boat to keep track of traffic. Wireless might be the future, but some of it is not here yet in the marine world.
 

windblown

Member III
Yeah, this is the review I get from basically every instrument I can find. Is EVERYONE just making cheap junk these days?

Someone out there must have something that they've had for years without trouble. It is not impossible to make reliable, weatherproof electronics. It just may be counter to their business model.

I am going to make a bit of effort to fix the DMI instrument but if I can't, I'd like to know the backup plan.
I’ve shifted my thinking a bit. When we first got the boat, it was evident that the first owner had chosen quality, regardless of cost, and it had them served well. I set out to do the same, but couldn’t seem to get clear information to choose well. I now believe that many of the products are basically the same technology, all with planned obsolescence, but marketed with different branding. I lean toward choosing more popular brands of production quality. While they might not last as long as I’d like, its easier to find others who can troubleshoot, and they’re not so costly or difficult to replace. . . Of course, one doesn’t need a wind transducer to enjoy a fresh breeze.
 

Pete the Cat

Member III
I will just add that if marine electronics goes the way of aviation electronics, we should see a lot of stuff migrating to the Ipad and leaving the specialized boxes of electronics and displays we have been buyiing, cabling and replacing, behind. Those of you who are pilots know that, in just a few years, most GA pilots are largely ignoring all the very expensive and complicated avionics in the GA aircraft and using the substantially better technology and software of the Ipad for operation, navigation and collision avoidance--the brain of an Ipad is way more capable than the chips they generally put in the boxes. Furuno did it with the radar but the other marine electronic folks are still trying to get us to buy a lot of old, weak technology in boxes that we have to jump through hoops to network with very expensive and proprietary network cables. I think all this stuff is going the way of Almond colored kitchen appliances in the near future. You really should be able to plan a trip and integrate the weather (and weather updates and warnings) and have the device steer the boat in real time, alert you to traffic and hazards and monitor the technical and engine performance of your craft. The Ipad can do that for aviation right now and it should be able to do that shortly for boats if we stop buying boxes and proprietary cables. But I just bought a bunch of marine boxes and cables--we are not there yet. FWIW.
 
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