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After Midnight

Marine Instruments

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I've heard of local Auckland boats experiencing problems with wireless instruments whilst sailing in the harbour, thought to be due to the 'noisy' electrical environment. They start working OK again once clear of the city.

 

I attended L&B's recent presentation of the latest Raymarine lineup a few days ago and I can confirm there are some sexy-ish new gadgets on the way. Which you'll like if you get exicted by the thought of being able to set a course of waypoints on your iPhone at the breakfast table then having them all synchronise automatically with the boat's systems as you step aboard. Oh and also you'll be excited if you are looking for digital fishfinder that has enough resolution to tell the difference between a male or femal cray on the seabed. OK, so I'm exaggerating about that one, but you get the point.

 

However, if you are less impressed by colourful screens and wireless digtail gadgety and are just looking for more reliability so your units last more than 2 years and you hope to avoid major $$$s on boatbuilders fees every time you need to swap out one proprietary transducer for another one, then like me you'll be disappointed. I find the whole convergence of the marine instrument makers depressing, you have so little choice now there are really one two major players out there plus some also-rans.

 

I'm still confused about what to switch to, to ensure maximum reliability for telling me speed/depth/wind/position, which is my #1 priority ahead of other wizzadry. The nice L&B/Raymarine guys had no answer to this question, btw.

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Watch the Asian made self-branded gear start taking the legs out from the big names ..... or the big company with all the big names.

 

Also as most is made there anyway does a brand name really count for anything much these days bar an inflated price?

 

I was going to add 'in some categories of products' thinking chain is one where a name is a good thing but then there is a pile of PWB chain drifting around NZ currently that is branded PWB but it isn't made by PWB. Understandably the Aussies (PWB is a Aussie) aren't at all happy but it looks like they can't do squat about it. That's a bummer as PWB is very good stuff, or at least the real stuff is. The knock-off is stamped exactly like PWB do theirs and the dodgy buggers website is a copy, word for word, of PWB's. Dodgy plus.

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Watch the Asian made self-branded gear start taking the legs out from the big names ..... .

 

Already happening. I just bought a 20amp, twin battery bank solar regulator ex China that was exactly the same, except for the logo, as a "brand name" unit in NZ. The specs were identical.

 

China unit was NZ$60

NZ unit was NZ$350

 

What alot of people dont realise is the big brand names are often simply rebranding chinese gear that is commonly available through places like ebay.

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Errr..... I wouldn't rely on many specs out of that country. We have been testing chains available in NZ, knot one of the chinese ones meets the Specs they say it is. Some close and in parts spot on but as yet knot one has met all the required conditions to be called what they are. And there are one or 2 outfits calling some a Spec when they are very obviously a completely differing one.

 

As my post above suggests, while it may look like a chicken and the numbers say it's a chicken, a lot still isn't a chicken or at least knot the chicken you think it is.

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For simplicity, interoperability and reliability:

 

NMEA2000 sensors: eg: Airmar DTS800 (triducer - depth speed and water temp), Airmar PB200 (wind speed and direction, compass, gps, pitch and roll, barometer and air temp)

multifunction display: eg: Garmin GM10, Furuno RD33, Maretron or similar.

 

This is basically the setup going into drums of time as she gets put back together. I can let you know how it goes.

 

My intention when I have time is to build my own segmented LED display (red LED numbers displaying a limited selection of the most important data for night sailing).

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Aileys you are correct about some wireless systems having problems in the harbour it is one brand that we used to do and the problem is that the specified frequency that is approved for is interfered by the sky tower broadcasting that same frequency as we later found out.

 

We haven't had any problems with regards to frequency on the nexus we had an early bad batch of batteries but thats about it as Paul R eluded to make sure it is charged before you put it up and they go fine we actually charge units in sunlight before they leave the warehouse now to cover that.

 

Paul R I tried to contact the guy both in here and by PM but he has obviously decided he just wanted to have a rant and doesn't want helping we are here to help if he wants it and been actual owners of Nexus we have a vested interest world wide on the service side.

 

Km that would be the chain that people keep ring up to say it doesn;t work in their windlasses stuff I have seen measures anywhere between 2mm under length and 2mm over in pitch.

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Gappy, there are several issues we find with the Chinese chain and KM will have greater knowledge tyhan me because he deals with the Customers, (they keep me away from the Humans) but what I find in the testing side, is that the Chinese chain changes shape very early on in loading. For ionstance, one chain I tested recently, had a supposed max working load of around (can't remember the figures exactly off top of head) ~1000Kg. It did very well at holding together till it broke up around ~2500Kg. But the chain had started to elongate at only 500Kg. Infact at not much over 500Kg, it was no longer able to fit around it's recommended Gypsy without causing significant wear or slipping/jamming on a Gypsy. It continued to stretch all the way to ~1900Kg where the loadcell registered no more increase while the chain just continued to stretch significantly. Then it increased again till it reached ~2400kg where it went through another significant stretch period with no increase in figures, then it slowly raised and then failed. A good failure figure and you could say that you would be safe in the case of a big blow. But the chain will never be retreavable afterwards, because it will nolonger go around the gypsy. What eve end up seeing in normal everyday use is that Customers complain that their winch is no good because their Gypsy has worn out far quicker than they expected it too and blame the manufacturer for a poor winch.

So to sum that up, as KM has said, it meets the figures it stated, but they left out certain figures. People ask what it the breaking load of a chain, or the safe working load and the Chinese chain state and do in fact meet those specs. But what don't tell ya is that the chain will be stretch beyond use at a figure way below the published specs.

Another area we often see is the Galv. The Chinese tend to have a nice smpoopth Galv. But that means very little as to the Quality of the Galv. Infact, the smooth Galve can often mean it has been applied very lightly. Thick Glav often looks a little ruffer. That all comes down to two factors. The temperature of the Galv Bath, which determines how "liquid" the Galv is, the Chemistry of the Galv used, which determins how "viscous", "Hardness" and zinc content the Galv is/has and the time the Metal has been in the Bath for, which determins how hot the metal being coated becomes, which affects the stength properties of the metal by annealing and the biuld up Galv. It is a real art to get the time right to allow a good clean attachment and a good runoff of excess after it is raised back up clear of the bath adn yet still maintain a good thickness. The quantity of Zinc determins the "Softness" of the Galv coating and the ability to "migrate" and self heal. Adding aluminium, which Chinese chains seem to have a lot of, makes a hard brittle coating which gives a smooth brighter finish, but will flake off easier, have little self healing ability and will corrode far sooner.

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Km that would be the chain that people keep ring up to say it doesn;t work in their windlasses stuff I have seen measures anywhere between 2mm under length and 2mm over in pitch.
Quite possible, it sure wasn't calibrated at all well, if any happened at all. But that's knot the only one, all the chinese in NZ has issues, none meet the spec it's being sold as, isn't what most think it is and it's being sold with massive burglar margins.

 

Speaking electriconics shite, I've decided I have to replace my gear so it all talks to each other better. Anyone doing old school stuff that doesn't involve freaky deaky words like 'server' and 'black box'? My programme of going away from anything electronics like that has more than one button, anything with the word 'multi' in it and has magic black boxes is proving to be a massive fiddling time saver and we getting a shite load more uptime. Too many outfits putting in to much wank into their gear 'just because they can'. Wank causes issues and crashes.

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