Jump to content

Best Budget Plotter for smaller yachts!


Recommended Posts

B&G have released the Vulcan. It is a small (7") plotter designed for sailing boats. It has really great features. including Sailsteer (laylines etc), wifi screen clone to Apple or Andriod, Autopilot control, and more. Even better its $1300!!

It is not meant for larger (say 35 ft + ) boats. No networking, and No radar or other overlays (weather etc). For that you need the Zeus 11. Oh, and the Vulcan, I'm told, will soon include "Startline" - currently only available on the top of the range H5000 systems as used in the Volvo etc. Startline will allow you to "ping" the start boat and pin, and will draw the start line on the chart, as well as give you time and distance info! This is a really great unit!!

Send me a PM if you want one, I'll answer questions on here...

Pics and more info etc here http://www.bandg.com/en-GB/Product-Groups/Vulcan/

 

Matt

Link to post
Share on other sites

Kevin, no comparison to most apps on andriod. They do not (normally) interface with the boats instruments, nor control them or an AP.No laylines, no recording of wind history/direction to get you on the right side of the shifts etc. They have no provision for Polars or boat performance configuration, and they don't speak NMEA2000. Of course the Andriod app for control of the Vulcan itself has exactly the same features as the Vulcan unit, but you cannot control the AP.

 

The andriod or apple apps only provide chart plotting.  It is the Sailsteer and the Startline functions the set this system apart from anything else currently available in this price range. Unless you have a ruggedised tablet, the Vulcan is also much tougher - IPX7 waterproof, solid mounting outside is fine. Runs off the boat power, so does not get flat, trodden on, dropped overboard. IMO tablets are fine as a backup, and sometimes convenient, but are risky for primary navigation. The Vulcan is a serious sailing and navigation tool. Standalone tablets are not. Again IMO.

KM, yes touch only. The Touch control is pretty advanced though - won't be activated by rain or spray, and seems to work pretty well. Pinch to zoom, and onscreen touch menus. Touch can also be locked so it won't inadvertently be changed. Simple short press of the power button to enable touch again. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bugger, that's a shame I liked the look of that one. But I've yet to find a touch screen that works reliably with wet paws.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Provided that your hands are not actually dripping onto the screen, this one works well in the wet. Shake off the drops, and away you go. That is what it is meant for! Even the Zeus 11 models are all touch screen now that the interface works well - the older models have both touch and buttons, but due to the interface improvements this is deemed no longer required...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like a nice unit and a bargain to boot. Not sure I agree with the touch only though. I have found the buttons and dial on our Zeus invaluable in heavy weather when it's difficult to be accurate with the touch interface.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Willow, is your Zeus an original or a Zeus 11? I'm not certain if the new software for the touch is applicable to the first Zeus. Either way, if your have not done a firmware update in the last 6 months, you should do one. There have been some good improvements that you can get with a simple firmware update.

On the subject of the updates - the Zeus 11 and the Vulcan have wifi included. Give them an internet connection (hotspot on yr phone?) and they will update themselves like your tablets and cellphones can do. Easy! It will be an update that ads the startline feature described above.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I.T, is a Zeus 7 touch, I think the last firmware update was about 6 months ago, really like the unit and it has proven solid after a RNI race as well as half a dozen other coastal races wouldn't like to be without it now. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, first gen Zeus. Should be on sw version 2.0-46.1.139-28533-r1. Different screen control (and different screen!) than the new one and the Vulcan. The demo of the new screen in the wet that I saw was pretty impressive...

 

oh, Willow, if you need the SW update instructions, they are here http://www.bandg.com/Documents/software/Zeus_Touch_Upgrade_instructions.pdf

 

You'll need a SD card or USB drive - no wifi on your model sorry

Link to post
Share on other sites

The sales blurb is pure marketing dept and detail free, as seems the way these days.

 

Does it have AIS in any form?

 

My concerns with touch screen only are the same as Wilows. My Sony was promoted as being able to be used underwater, the website even had videos of it being used in a pool............ but try it in real life and you will be sadly disappointed. Also that whole pinch to zoom/whatever is hard work at the best of times. On a small device in the pissing rain and wind against tide off North head or off East Cape in a Force 8+.... I stand to be corrected but I would be expecting issues.... and lots of bad adjectives.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Having just sailed to Fiji with the latest, best and pricey chart plotter (and everything else there and integrated), with a iPad alongside, it was interesting the comparison. Certainly the iPad was a great back up on independent power. 

 

But the good news of this offer is finally a marine unit is getting close to the size and functionality of what we mortals can afford in a marine unit, before we just go and buy a tablet and a cover...

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have a metal boat an external antenna can be used.  AIS compatible - you must ad a transceiver or receiver (lthough why you would currently use a receiver only now is beyond me!) - will display all current AIS items, including ATONs and SARTs. KM, in your case, I'd expect it to be installed below, and you can use your tablet in a cover and mount in the cockpit. On the tablet App, pinch to zoom does not work, you have a + and - button at the bottom of the screen instead....

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been looking at the Standard Horizon GX2200 AIS/VHF, a compact unit with GPS included, along with DSC to talk to any shipping re their intentions. Just under NZ$500.00 on special via Amazon, Just on NZ$1000.00 at Marine deals, not sure why the big difference. There are other S.H. models sans the gps etc that are considerably cheaper still.

I saw one (of the earlier models) in Fiji a couple of years ago, that the owner thought was better than sliced bread.

It can apparently interface with other screens, ipad, etc.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Steve, it can, but it is a RECEIVE ONLY. If super budget is your choice, then I can do an Asian AIS transponder (Both SEE and BE SEEN) for less than $500 NZD. This has NMEA0183 output and will interface to anything that can accept AIS data. I really don't recommend these units though.

The best unit on the market is made here in NZ - The Vesper Marine units. Twice the price plus a bit (around $1200) but way better features, NZ language, efficient support, meets all international standards, has Wifi, NMEA 0183 and NMEA2000, so provides a much longer useful life. If you buy the wrong transducer, and it does not meet the NZ laws, it is illegal to use here!

 

If it is a VHF you want, buy a VHF - preferably one that can have a remote or wireless mic so you can use it from the wheel (better than a handheld, as the base set has 25watts transmit power).

This is a digression from the topic, which was Chart Plotting (or MFD - Multi Function Displays) as they are now called. If the AIS discussion continues, we should start another thread!

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Vulcan isn't a downstairs gizmo, it's a cockpit gizmo. No point having the Startline/layline and that sort of info downstairs where you can't see it. Having a tablet makes no sense on my boat.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...