Elec­tron­ics

Whether you own a cen­ter con­sole or work aboard a com­mer­cial ship, Fu­runo’s line of new prod­ucts has some­thing for ev­ery­one.

Power & Motor Yacht - - IN THIS ISSUE -

Fu­runo’s new lineup has some­thing for ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing an au­topi­lot with a hand­held re­mote.

At the Mi­ami show, Fu­runo in­tro­duced in­ter­est­ing new prod­ucts aimed at both ends of the mar­ket. Prom­i­nent at its booth were two strik­ingly large mul­ti­touch dis­plays driven by a single TZ­touch2 black box, a good choice for larger ves­sels and an es­pe­cially easy up­grade for ex­ist­ing Fu­runo black box sys­tems. But nearby were en­tirely re­designed mul­ti­touch 7- and 9-inch plot­ter/fishfind­ers, plus an in­no­va­tive new au­topi­lot that con­firms Fu­runo is giv­ing more at­ten­tion to sys­tems for smaller boats.

NavNet TZ­touch2 Black Box

This unit—also known as the TZT2BB—is fairly sim­i­lar to the orig­i­nal NavNet TZ­touch Black Box (TZTBB), which is still avail­able. How­ever, the new ver­sion fea­tures dual HDMI mon­i­tor out­puts (in­stead of DVI), along with the abil­ity to sup­port dif­fer­ent res­o­lu­tions on each screen, in­clud­ing the rec­om­mended FHD 1920 x 1080 pix­els, which were scaled even higher on a wild Hat­te­land 55-inch “Chart Ta­ble” in the Mi­ami booth. I’m be­gin­ning to won­der if TZT2 will re­place TZT in the near fu­ture.

When Panbo cov­ered the 2015 launch of the TZT2, the new MFDs were po­si­tioned as less-ex­pen­sive al­ter­na­tives to the heavy-duty TZT hard­ware, and ideal for medium-size boats. The TZT2 soft­ware was also freshly re­built on the An­droid plat­form and lacked some fea­tures. But that strat­egy could be wind­ing down, as some of the TZT radar con­trols that were miss­ing on the early it­er­a­tion of the TZT2 have been added with firmware up­dates.

Fu­runo is pitch­ing the new TZT2BB as an easy up­date for the ag­ing NavNet MFDBB, which, af­ter all, was news in 2007. The TZT2BB doesn’t have a re­tail price yet, but Fu­runo says it should be un­der $6,000 when the box is ready to ship.

GP-1x71F GPS/Fishfinder

Fu­runo’s new 7-inch GP-1871F and 9-inch GP-1971F were look­ing bright and mod­ern in Mi­ami. They are multi touch glass­bridge-style dis­plays com­pet­i­tive in many ways with sim­i­lar size MFDs from the other big brands, but it makes good sense for Fu­runo to bill the de­sign as a “chart­plot­ter with a built-in CHIRP fishfinder,” even if it also sup­ports a radar op­tion. That’s be­cause

these dis­plays do not net­work with NavNet MFDs and their var­i­ous Eth­er­net radars, black box sonars, etc., and they don’t use the TimeZero chart­ing en­gine seen in NavNet. In­stead, they use C-Map’s chart­ing soft­ware and are re­port­edly man­u­fac­tured by C-Map, as were ear­lier plot­ter/fishfinder mod­els, in­clud­ing the GP1870F. But there’s clearly some Fu­runo/C-Map col­lab­o­ra­tion, as shown in the added fea­tures and the new in­ter­face.

The GP-1x71F dis­plays in­te­grate over WiFi with Fu­runo’s DRS4W 1st Watch Wire­less Radar. When this in­ex­pen­sive radome first came out I won­dered if a stand-alone iPad radar made sense, but then the No­bel­tec/MaxSea TimeZero chart­ing app in­te­grated with it. Now, you can use it on a wa­ter­proof 7- or 9-inch dis­play, which con­vinces me of its value. In fact, the TimeZero iPad app and the new GP plot­ter/fishfind­ers will ap­par­ently have a re­la­tion­ship even with­out a radar in­volved, though the de­tails aren’t spelled out yet.

The new GP-1x71F in­ter­face has var­i­ous TZT2-like fea­tures, such as slide-out menus and a slick screen page cre­ation sys­tem. There’s also a C-Map on­line weather screen, touch-friendly way­point man­age­ment and a multi touch method of en­larg­ing a func­tion win­dow to full screen. Again, re­tail pric­ing is not set yet, but ex­pect it to cost about $1,195 for the GP-1871F and $1,695 for the GP-1971F.

NavPilot-300 with Ges­ture Con­trol

The new NavPilot-300 is an au­topi­lot for small- to mid-size boats, and seems to be aimed at own­ers of out­board-pow­ered cen­ter con­soles as it fea­tures Fan­tum feed­back steer­ing and self learn­ing soft­ware, which sim­pli­fies in­stal­la­tion, and even the pro­cess­ing unit is wa­ter­proof. While NavPilot 300 shares a lot of the fea­tures found on the NavPilot 711C/OB, truly novel is the wire­less Ges­ture Con­troller in­cluded in the $1,550 re­tail price. (The price in­creases to $2,145 with a PG-700 head­ing sen­sor.)

The NavPilot-300 pro­cess­ing unit uses NMEA 2000 to com­mu­ni­cate with its color con­trol head, and with the con­trol apps on TZT2 or GP-1x71F dis­plays, but it’s Blue­tooth that con­nects a hand­held au­topi­lot re­mote. The Ges­ture Con­troller is a low­power Blue­tooth re­mote de­signed to work di­rectly with the pro­ces­sor unit as well as the dis­play. To use the de­vice, sim­ply press a but­ton on the con­troller and then point it in the di­rec­tion you want the boat to go.

When Fu­runo’s Eric Kunz demon­strates ges­ture con­trol, it does in­deed look easy to op­er­ate. It could be par­tic­u­larly use­ful for a fish­er­man when he has to step away from the helm to tend lines. An­glers can also use the 300’s “Sabiki Mode” to steer stern-to wind or cur­rent while work­ing a hot spot. So, yes, Fu­runo’s new elec­tron­ics suite for smaller boats is aimed at the fish­ing crowd, but Sabiki is also use­ful for cruis­ers who have to wait on bridges. Add the cruis­ing prow­ess of C-Map 4D, plus op­tional radar, and this Fu­runo setup could serve as an all-around sys­tem.

LH-5000 Loud Hailer

This new unit goes back to Fu­runo’s com­mer­cial roots. The LH3000 was de­signed for heavy-duty ser­vice, but this new model brings the fore and/or aft hail­ing power up to 30 watts from 20, and in­creases the num­ber of in­ter­com chan­nels to six.

In ad­di­tion, each chan­nel can be re­named. As a re­sult, you can cus­tom­ize a chan­nel’s name so you know who you are talk­ing to. “IC5” could be la­beled as “En­gine Rm,” for in­stance. It’s also possible to alarm all sta­tions with a single but­ton or a wired re­lay in­put.

While I value the fly­bridge-to-main-cabin in­ter­com on Gizmo, the LH-5000 ($995) is a util­ity au­dio beast that might serve well on, say, a big crab fish­ing boat and will likely en­dure Dead­li­est Catch con­di­tions for a long time. This speaks to Fu­runo’s core mar­ket and old-school rep­u­ta­tion. How­ever, when you think about the range of the new prod­ucts dis­cussed here—from An­droid-swip­ing in­ter­faces to point-and-shoot au­topi­lot con­trol— it seems Fu­runo does not eas­ily fit into any one slot.

Steer your boat with the wave of a re­mote. Yup, Fu­runo can do that.

By Ben El­li­son

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