The big news from Furuno in 2008 is its NavNet 3D electronics integration system. The brains of the system come from its Multi Function Display (MFD) units in 8.4-inch, 12.1-inch or Black Box configurations. Add-ons include Ultra-High Definition (UHD) Digital Radar Sensor, digital fish finder, Sirius weather, GPS/WAAS receiver, AIS and more. Redraw time for the charts is nil, due to the company's TimeZero technology and a new graphics engine. Another feature is the ability to overlay completely opaque high-res satellite images on preloaded vector or raster charts, allowing for high-res land photography yet opaque shallow-water photography. Prices are $3,195 (8.4-inch); $4,495 (12.1-inch); and $9,995 (Black Box). UHD radar can add from $2,400 to $8,100, depending on the model. Contact Furuno at 360-834-9300 or www.furuno.com.
Lowrance debuted four 8.4-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) color displays (MFDs) with 600- x 800-pixel Super VGA resolution last summer at ICAST. Two - LCX-38C HD and LCX-37C (non-hard-drive; 30GB hard drive respectively) - are of interest to coastal boaters. Along with an Ethernet expansion port or high-speed networking and dual RS-232 interfaces for NMEA 0183 communications, all new models deliver direct connectivity with NMEA 2000 DeviceNet networks and sensors. They are completely waterproof, backed by a one-year warranty and feature two waterproof slots for charting on plug-and-play MMC/SD memory cards. Supported charts include NauticPath, Navionics (including the new Platinum) and others. Depending on model, prices run from $1,399 to $1,949. Contact Lowrance at 800-324-1356 or www.lowrance.com.
Seven years have passed since Maptech brought touch-screen technology from concept to reality in the marine world with the i3, but the company now plans to exit the hardware end of the business to focus on production of its Navigator software and expand it to other platforms. Meanwhile - aside from the Sea Ray's Navigator - Faria Instruments will take over hardware production in the form of its Maestro, to go along with the Navigator versions available from CaptN Jack's (www.capjack.com) on two different types of computer peripherals: Motion Tablet PCs and Samsung's Ultra-Mobile PCs. Contact Maptech at 888-839-5551 or www.maptech.com.
While no details were available at press time, expect some developments over the coming months to Northstar's flagship 8000i. The 8000i is still available as a 12- or 15-inch model, while the company's extensive Explorer lineup targets the small-boat market.
Northstar has also concentrated on the M121 ($2,199) and M84 ($1,699), 12.1- and 8.4-inch MFDs, respectively, that feature chart plotter, sonar and video capabilities. They also support the Automatic Identification System (AIS) and can utilize the company's recently introduced High-Definition Digital Radar. Both units come with built-in SmartCraft capabilities and a digital fuel computer for gasoline engines. Contact Northstar at 800-628-4487 or www.northstarnav.com.
Raymarine released its G Series MFDs in late 2007. Available in 12-, 15-, 17- and 19-inch models, they offer adjustable backlighting, a shock-resistant hard drive with Navionics Platinum cartography and a new, high-speed processor (the GPM 400, said to be 10 times faster than former processors). The G Series also comes with a 3-D graphics accelerator, nine video inputs (three VGA, two DVI, three composite and one S-video), picture-in-picture technology and interface capability with the DSM400 Sounder Module and Raymarine's new Super High-Definition Digital Radar. They're also NMEA 2000 compliant. Prices start at $5,995 for the G120; $6,995 (G150); $8,995 (G170); and $11,995 (G190). The DSM400 Sounder Module costs $2,795, and the Super High-Definition Radar runs from $5,090 to $9,590. Contact Raymarine at 603-881-5200 or www.raymarine.com.
Simrad's AP24 and AP28 - the company's latest autopilots - both aim at the 25- to 80-foot crowd. They incorporate Simrad's Virtual Rudder Feedback, which eliminates the need for a rudder-feedback unit when installed on outboard or stern-drive vessels. Both interface with Simrad's proprietary SimNet as well as with other NMEA 2000-based systems. The integrated turn-pattern capability provides programmable S-turns, zig-zag-, square- and continuous-turn patterns, along with depth-contour tracking. The AP24 retails for $2,497; the AP28 starts at $3,014. Contact Navico at 425-778-8821 or www.simrad-yachtingusa.com.
The new ColorMax Pro L, a full-featured GPS/WAAS chart plotter, utilizes C-Map MAX electronic charts as well as Loran-C numbers (no conversion). The 10.4-inch, daylight-viewable color screen consists of an active-matrix LCD display at 800 x 600 pixels. It features a full alphanumeric keyboard and all the necessary functions of a top-line chart plotter, including a Guardian Grounding Alarm, which allows users to set parameters for shoal conditions. The ColorMax Pro L carries a retail price of $2,799 (a GPS/WAAS-only version costs $600 less). A 5-inch version (Color Max 5 EL) is also available for $1,299 (GPS/WAAS-only versions also cost $600 less), and a 4.3-inch GPS/WAAS-only version (95CP) costs $529 (internal antenna $499). Contact Si-Tex at 727-576-5734 or www.si-tex.com.