Simrad Electronics Makeover

Arawak has an upper and lower helm similar to this sistership photo. It’s certainly not designed for comfort, but the large wheel and good line of sight make it a fine perch in heavy weather. One area where our boat will change dramatically is the electronics set-up.

Surprisingly enough, this is a relatively low-price-for-big-improvement upgrade. The new combined GPS/chartplotter/radar packages available to day compared to the good ‘ole days of 1996 share a single display, so older dashboards don’t have to be reinvented, and they also combine the wiring into easier-to-run bundles with plug-and-play connections that reduce installation labor costs.

We’re going for a full Simrad suite for both the lower and upper helms. Simrad’s new NSO evo2 black box contains two independent main processors, which can drive two independent displays. The brochure claims that this architecture gives you "the freedom to view and control your onboard systems more easily while making every dual station installation or larger networked system simple a nd much more cost effective." We’re ready to put the system to the test on Arawak.

The NSO evo2 also offers some redundancy, at least to the extent that there are two processors each running independent instances of NOS (the Navico Operating System version of Linux). This was demonstrated to us at IBEX when a tech pulled out an iPad and showed how theSimrad GoFree app (running through WiFi1) saw the evo2 as two separate MFDs and could thus either mirror the single touchscreen we were looking at or function as a completely independent screen with access to radar, sonar, etc.

Each processor can drive a wide variety of screen resolutions right up to 1080p. The box even comes loaded with drivers that will work with several third party multi-touch monitors, and the touch commands travel on the HDMI cable unlike older implementations where a USB cable is required.

Here is the configuration we are planning for the boat; NSO 16-inch, 4G Radar; SonarHub; WiFi1, wifi module for iPad connection, SonicHub audio, Sirius Weather, RS25 VHF radio, NAIS400 AIS, + NSPL AIS splitter, IS40 instruments, and autopilot integration. Okay, so we can overlook the fact that there’s no comfortable place to set at the helm (yet). Stay tuned for installation updates and testing.

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