Furuno GP-33 GPS, hand’s on


At the risk of sounding mean, what excites me most about Furuno’s new GP-33 GPS sensor and display is what it means regarding the coming RD-33 data display we discussed a while back.  That 4.3-inch 480×272 pixel LED-backlit screen — seen above in bright sunlight on Gizmo’s flying bridge — is pleasingly crisp and bright.  And note how legible and even handsome the screen designs are, and how Furuno has dropped some of the numerical over-precision that has drawn criticism from users of NavNet 3D MFDs and FI50 instruments. You get all that screen goodness — 50% more area than a Garmin GMI 10, Furuno claims — for a maximum of 7 LENS (350 milliamps) of 12v power off a NMEA 2000 backbone…

The GP-33 can also be powered independently, with 24v even, and there’s an optional cable for NMEA 0183 and/or RS232 connections.  In other words, it can be a standalone GPS, or part of a network.  Used in the latter mode, I was hoping that activating a go-to waypoint on the NN3D MFD12, or another MFD, would bring up the same waypoint on the GP-33, so I could easily use its nice steering, rolling road, COG compass, and plotting screens.  But that feature, while planned for a future software upgrade, is not yet enabled.
   At any rate, the GP-33 also seems quite quick and does come now with lots of GPS features, like an enormous track and waypoint capacity and the ability to convert LORAN TDs, even with offsets calculated in, if you saved them.  It can also accept and plot an external MOB alert, or activate an external alarm based on several criteria like waypoint arrival or anchor dragging.  And a user gets to customize two of the seven screens, though only GPS-related data fields are available.  Any navigator who likes to have a separate GPS — and I see them often, especially on fishing boats — may be tickled by the GP-33, which seems reasonable at $595 MSRP.  As noted, though, I’m keen to see how Furuno uses this fine screen for NMEA 2000 data display, purportedly with some neat graphics and 0183 bridging built in.


Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

13 Responses

  1. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Incidentally, I understand that uploading routes and waypoints from MaxSea to the GP-33 is easy, and I suspect it’s possible with Coastal Explorer, which already supported the GP-32:
    But do other progams support Furuno route and waypoint data formats?

  2. Ted Arisaka says:

    Have you heard any ETA on when the RD33 will be available in the US?

  3. Richard C says:

    I wonder if the Furuno, GP-33’s great display will automatically dim at night unlike the Garmin, GMI-10. There is nothing more annoying than to find every display has to be manually adjusted when nighttime comes.

  4. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I don’t think it has auto dimming, Richard, but it is pretty easy to change screen and keypad brightness with the Brill button and cursor keys. There are seven levels of brilliance.

  5. Len says:

    hi Ben. Just like to know how you upload waypoints to the GP33. I have been trying for days with GPSU and OpenCPN but no luck.
    I have the RS232 cab;e in place, see nmea coming in but can’t seem to get the waypoints over.
    Could you give me some advice, regarding furuno format f.i.? Thanks, Len.

  6. Max says:

    Has anyone had any luck uploading waypoints and routes to a GP33 from any charting software ? I have connected my GP33 via the RS232 plug as per the instructions in the manual and then tried to upload IAW Ch7.7 of the manual. The manual says it is possible but nothing seems to happen.
    I can see the GPS providing data to the laptop but nothing seems to travel the other way.
    I have been using Coastal Explorer
    Apparently the format for the GP33 is different than for the GP32.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Baud rate! (transfer of points at 38400)

  8. Access says:

    I just got a new GP33 and try to connect to my AIS Nasa receiver. The manual says that I should connect the blue cable from the AIS to the NMEA 0183 output from the GPS. Sice I just substitute my GP 31 by the GP33, I used the same white cable as connected before but the AIS persists saying that the GPS is missing! If someone has some idea I would appreciate. Thanks a lot, Flavio,

  9. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Flavio, I think the GP33 will show you a NMEA 0183 wiring diagram if you look under “I/O Setup” but I also don’t think it comes standard with an 0183 cable. The manual and much more info are here at the Furuno site: http://goo.gl/i4gbjO

  10. flavio says:

    Hi Ben, thanks by the advices. I had to buy a new cable to use the NMEA 0183. It working already. Next I will try to include the laptop and OPEN CPN.
    All the best,

  11. Larry Shick says:

    Your post said “It can … activate an external alarm based on several criteria like waypoint arrival or anchor dragging.” I can find no reference in the manual to any external alarm except speed. This is an issue for those of us with poor hearing who want to hear an anchor alarm, but the GPS is mounted some distance away from our sleeping quarters. Can you confirm or correct?
    Otherwise I may have to put together a little audio amplifier and a contact microphone with a speaker in my berth.

  12. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Hi Larry, My phrasing may be confusing. The external alarm on the GP33 (and many other devices) is not a separate alarm. It’s just an audio extension of the GP33’s internal buzzer. So all the references in the manual to the buzzer also apply to the external alarm if it has been installed.
    It’s also confusing that the GP33 has an input that can trigger one of its alarms, the one they call Speed Based Output in the manual. And furthering the confusion is that the nomenclature used in the manual is different than what’s used in marketing. “Speed Based Output” isn’t mentioned in the brochure but really it’s just the open/close input which the brochure calls “Contact closure capability available on the 10P connector.”
    The GP33 press release put it a little differently…
    “Contact closure input/external alarm output for external MOB pendant systems, external event switch input, or external alarm contact trigger output”
    … which I see quoted in catalog descriptions like Defender’s: http://www.defender.com/product.jsp?path=-1|344|2028688|2028744&id=1505147
    “External alarm contact trigger output” is what most every external alarm does, which is simply to provide an open/close on/off signal to a relay which in turn will switch any sort of external buzzer, whistle, etc. you care to install.
    You certainly might want to check all this with Furuno, and their forum may be an easy way:
    And note that the needed 10 pin cable, part # 001-112-970, is a $70 extra

  13. Larry Shick says:

    OK, the response from Furuno user forum:
    “If you connect an external alarm to the GP33 (even know it says “speed” alarm) then whatever alarm goes off (speed, anchor, XTE, WAAS/DGPS, trip, or odometer) will then use the external buzzer rather than the internal buzzer.
    So in short, if you have an external buzzer installed on the GP33, then the GP33 will use the external buzzer for all alarms.”

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *