Ideal multi-function display size

Slick470

Member III
The above is true and it's pretty nice to be sitting on a settee with a tablet inputting waypoints and building courses than sitting out in the sun in the cockpit.

That said, there Navico (B&G's parent company) hasn't really made app development their highest priority and depending on your tablet/phone age, OS, etc. you may have some issues. I have been using an ancient android device that is too slow and old for anything else, but it works ok for this purpose, but have had friends with newer devices who couldn't get connected. There is a newer version of the app that may be better, but I haven't tried it yet.

There are also two apps and that seems to cause some confusion. One is more of a route planning tool with basic charts that you can use away from the boat and then (I think) upload routes via wifi to the plotter later. That one called B&G sailing and navigation in the android app store. The other I think is the more useful one allows for the screen mirroring for phones or full MFD control for tablets is called Link: Connect your Boat Navico GoFree in the android app store
 

goldenstate

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
Raymarine also has a similar portfolio of different apps (screen mirroring, control etc.)

Buttons and knobs seem to be going the way of the dodo. My fancy electric car just has a touch screen, no radio knobs on the dash. This of course represents great innovation, for example, when a new tetris 3D game comes out for the car's operating system, it can immediately be downloaded and made available with interactive buttons in arbitrary locations at the designation of the game designer. What a fantastic advancement for mankind, and especially for my children when we are waiting to pick up a sibling at a youth sports event parents are unable to attend because of bizarre Covid rules.

More seriously, the new MFD's are not single-purpose "screens" as much as they are self-contained computers that do a multitude of different things (receiving WiFi signals, broadcasting their own WiFi networks, reading data from networked devices). There are apps available from third parties etc. All of these features are easier for programmers to evolve if they don't have to worry about knobs etc. across platforms.

Don't get me wrong - I like tactile buttons too - that's why I kept my Autopilot control head with rubber buttons on the helm, even though I could set courses for it via the Axiom MFD.
 

peaman

Member III
I had decided that I wanted a 9" MFD at the helm, until I saw a 7" unit in real life. I tested it over the summer before mounting it in a New NavPod, and found it to be the right size both for function and appearance. I settled on the B&G Zeus for the knobs and buttons in addition to the touch screen functionality. I was concerned about the utility of the touch screen in rain and in rough seas. If I had a bigger boat, I might have been more inclined to get a bigger screen.
 

dhill

Member II
I had decided that I wanted a 9" MFD at the helm, until I saw a 7" unit in real life. I tested it over the summer before mounting it in a New NavPod, and found it to be the right size both for function and appearance. I settled on the B&G Zeus for the knobs and buttons in addition to the touch screen functionality. I was concerned about the utility of the touch screen in rain and in rough seas. If I had a bigger boat, I might have been more inclined to get a bigger screen.
I had decided that I wanted a 9" MFD at the helm, until I saw a 7" unit in real life. I tested it over the summer before mounting it in a New NavPod, and found it to be the right size both for function and appearance. I settled on the B&G Zeus for the knobs and buttons in addition to the touch screen functionality. I was concerned about the utility of the touch screen in rain and in rough seas. If I had a bigger boat, I might have been more inclined to get a bigger screen.
Thanks @peaman! Did you find that you used the knobs and buttons during the summer? Were there times when you found them better to use than the touchscreen? Under what conditions?

Thanks!
Dave
 

dhill

Member II
The Vulcan is able to Bluetooth what it shows to most any tablet or phone, PLUS you can use a tablet (not phone) as a control device from anywhere on the boat. No multiplexer or other special equipment required. This means you can install the chart plotter indoors at the nav station and use a tablet at the helm or even in bed.

(Ref Chapter 17: https://newcontent.westmarine.com/documents/pdfs/OwnersManuals/ELECTRONICS/B_G Vulcan Series Operator Manual English.pdf)

Already mentioned was that many (not all) tablets are hard to see in sunlight and somebody else mentioned the touch vs knob/button issue. The subject of weather-proof cases was brought up too, but those have an additional problem.

The screens on most iPads and other tablets only function up to a screen temperature which is normally around 95-100F. A tablet or phone in a case that has the sun shining on it can have the screen get a lot warmer than this and in my experience they seem to pick the absolute worst time to turn off. This can be a pain in the a$$ in a small airplane with a clear canopy if it is your moving map display.
@Tin Kicker Yes, I think this is a great feature. I would probably keep the plotter at the helm and use a tablet for the nav station and elsewhere for the reasons you mention.
 

peaman

Member III
Did you find that you used the knobs and buttons during the summer?
I haven't yet heavily tested the unit, since I bought it in September, so mostly, I was trying out functions, brightness and that sort of thing during few-hour day sails on familiar waters. But I was very happy with my choice. In Spring, I hope to share pictures and commentary on my complete re-work of instrumentation and helm, including a new pedestal guard, Navpod with wind, MFD and autopilot controls. I bought my boat last March, and I have a pretty active season planned for 2022.
 

mbp

Ericson 34
I had decided that I wanted a 9" MFD at the helm, until I saw a 7" unit in real life.
I had the opposite reaction. I had a Garmin 7xx MFD mounted on the companion bulkhead on a previous boat with a tiller. Even sitting near it, steering with a hiking stick, it was too small for me to read in a quick glance. I now have a Garmin 942xs at the helm, sharing a Navpod with the Raymarine autopilot control. I like this arrangement much better.

Something to consider: are you going to use this only as a chart plotter or as a full multi-function display? To me, a chart plotter uses the entire display to show the chart, like this with a Garmin 942xs. I also have a Garmin 942xs, but use it as a multi-function display. I show instrument values and the current autopilot settings in two columns on the right side. This reduces the chart display area to about 7” diagonal. Using a 7” device while displaying lots of instrument info will make the remaining chart area quite small.

1640999515697.jpeg

I don’t miss having physical buttons on the MFD. The button targets are big enough.
 

MMLOGAN

Member III
@dhill Sorry for the late response. I have had both types, physical controls, and a full touch screen. Even with the pinky/ring finger stabilizing my hand, I still have difficulty connecting with the sweet spot on a touch screen!!! Might just be me???

You could always walk into West Marine or (insert your favorite overpriced chandlery here) with a spray bottle of saltwater and jump up and down while the 1st mate sprays your face and you manipulate the floor models. Send me video.

Best of luck with your decision.
 

dhill

Member II
@dhill Sorry for the late response. I have had both types, physical controls, and a full touch screen. Even with the pinky/ring finger stabilizing my hand, I still have difficulty connecting with the sweet spot on a touch screen!!! Might just be me???

You could always walk into West Marine or (insert your favorite overpriced chandlery here) with a spray bottle of saltwater and jump up and down while the 1st mate sprays your face and you manipulate the floor models. Send me video.

Best of luck with your decision.
Thanks @MMLOGAN - Hmm, that would be a spectacle I would not want to go viral...
 

Teranodon

Member III
I have a 9" Garmin touchscreen, and I am very happy with it. It has no pod and, so far, there have been no problems. It displays AIS and radar data when I want. I'm poking at it all the time when I'm sailing. Here is the view from the helm, and I apologize because I have posted it a couple of times on other threads. I don't worry about compass interference; for me, the Ritchie is an ornament.

Helm view.jpg
 
Top