Furuno TZT3 on the Water

Some of you will remember that I reviewed NavNet TZtouch2 for Panbo back in 2015 shortly after Furuno began delivering the system.  Proving that I am an incorrigible “early adopter”, I am back to share initial impressions of the TZtouch3 MFDs and other new hardware that Furuno introduced last winter.  

The saga began last October when I ran my 37-foot custom cold-molded wood/epoxy sport fishing boat from my home in Massachusetts back down to where she was built at Lightning Yachts in Beaufort, North Carolina.  The plan was to have the yard make a few changes and set myself up for early offshore fishing in the spring down south.  Three years of using an electronics suite made by another leading manufacturer (which shall remain nameless) had left me disappointed, especially in the radar’s reliability and performance.

Before TZT3 and NXT

The long trip down confirmed my dissatisfaction. I decided to swap out one of the two MFDs at the main helm for a Furuno TZT2 and replace the 25kW 6-foot radar array with the Furuno equivalent.  Although I would lose the flexibility of a fully networked system, this was the simplest way to get what I knew would be a much better radar. 

Then in the middle of the winter, Furuno started dropping hints in the market about the introduction of new products at the big Florida boat shows… so I just had to wait and see.  The Miami show came around and after getting assurances that Furuno had learned their lesson from the TZT2’s long shipping delay and was ready to ship the new hardware within a few weeks, I decided to remove and sell my old stuff and go to a full Furuno system.  The major exception was the autopilot, which worked fine and would be a lot of labor to swap.  That replacement did not seem necessary since it could take navigation data over NMEA 2000 just as well from a Furuno MFD as its own brand.

Next thing I knew, big boxes had shown up in Beaufort and my helm looked like this:

The system I have on board consists of the following:

After about six weeks using the new system, I am really quite pleased and don’t regret my decision to change at all.  Having had a TZT2 system in the past, the TZT3 was very familiar.  I would characterize the changes as evolutionary, not revolutionary.  The display screen is a little brighter and higher resolution.  The new user interface (which is now also available on the TZT2 with the version 7 software update) consists of many relatively small changes that taken together significantly improve ease of use and functionality.  

A good example is the ability to shift back and forth to full screen for each element of a multi-panel display.  Let’s say we have a custom three-panel screen with the left half devoted to the chart plotter and the right half split between the sonar and a “highway” navigation display.  The unit can be set so that a quick two-finger tap on one of the three panels will put it in full-screen mode.  A two-finger tap on the full screen takes you back to the split-screen display.  One very useful customization feature in the user interface is that there are two finger long tap and short tap gestures and each can be set to a variety of tasks. I use the short tap for full screen and the long tap for saving a screen shot. Either gesture can be used for other commands, however, such as saving a waypoint, opening the settings menu, showing the list of waypoints, or opening the tide graph.

Another very helpful change is the contextual menus.  If the radar display is active, swiping up from the bottom brings up a detailed radar settings menu.  The same is true for the chartplotter and sounder.  On the old TZT2 interface, it was necessary to go back to “Home” and then select the radar, chartplotter, or sounder settings.  Now one step takes the place of three.

From a performance standpoint, the TZT3 is a very fast system.  It retains the nearly instantaneous chart redraw that was a hallmark of the TZT2 and all of the menu and settings pop right up with virtually no delay — a lot faster than the TZT2 and the system I replaced.

TZ iBoat Cloud Integration and Furuno Apps

One of the most useful features of the new Furuno user interface is the full synchronization with the Nobeltec Time Zero internet-based infrastructure of apps and webpages.  The TZT3s and TZT2s with the version 7 software can be logged in to a free TZ Cloud account over WiFi and will automatically synchronize waypoints and routes in both directions.  If one TZT3 on a boat’s network is synchronized with the TZ Cloud account, the other units will all be synchronized locally as well.

This allows for a constant complete backup of all waypoints and routes to the Cloud storage in real-time whenever there is WiFi access from the boat. It also makes it very easy to plan a route at home using the TZ iBoat app on an iPad since it isn’t necessary to do anything at all to move it to the MFDs on the boat other than ensuring the MFDs are logged into the TZ Cloud account over WiFi, which they will do automatically if WiFi is available.  It’s quite impressive to drop a new waypoint on the MFD and then see it appear on the iPad a couple of seconds later or to delete a waypoint on the iPad and have it disappear from the MFD in a few seconds.  Of course it is always possible to create a backup file on the MFD and save it to a microSD card, or to export the current data set from the app and download it.  This allows you to create a “frozen” data set just in case something goes wrong.

Having used the Garmin Active Captain interface, my observation is that the TZ iBoat is much superior and completely seamless.  With Active Captain, the possibility of creating duplicates of waypoints and routes is high when uploading and downloading.  Active Captain doesn’t really synchronize so much as overwrite from the local MFD data set to the web based data set and vice versa.  Creating a route at home and transferring it to the boat’s MFD is fairly cumbersome and requires the user to go through a couple of steps, unlike the automatic synchronization of the TZ Cloud system.

The TZ iBoat app also largely replicates the chartplotter user interface of the TZT3 and can thus be used on the boat as an additional display even when away from an internet connection by using one of the MFDs to create a local WiFi access point.  The iPad will then get real-time data from the MFD for position, heading, AIS, and so on. In the iPad screen shot above, you can see the app displaying AIS targets, depth, wind speed, sea temperature, and sea temperature, all of which are coming from the TZT 3 and being updated. While the app itself is free, it is necessary to buy a chart subscription for the app if you want the full functionality. The US charts are about $20/year. 

Furuno has not updated the legacy NavNet apps for a long time.  These do work with TZT3 but have very limited functionality apart from mirroring the MFD display on board.  My impression is that they will eventually discontinue the legacy apps in favor of the Time Zero iBoat app.

I don’t own a copy of the Time Zero PC software and thus could not try out the integration with that platform.  Nobeltec says it works the same way as the TZ iBoat in linking to the Cloud accounts, however, and has more powerful tools for editing and managing the waypoints and routes.  It can also integrate fully with the MFD network and show radar and sounder displays.

SCX-20 Satellite Compass

From a value for money standpoint, the most impressive piece of new gear is the SCX-20 satellite compass.  It costs just a little more than most conventional heading sensors (typical discounted “street” price is around $1,000 versus $725 for the Furuno PG700 magnetic heading sensor) yet it provides remarkably better performance in a very small footprint compared to prior models of satellite compass.  With magnetic fluxgate heading sensors, even after going through the calibration procedures, small heading errors creep in.  Running north with no current or wind might see 0 degrees heading and 0 degrees course over the ground from the GPS, while running south might show 180 degrees course over the ground and 177 degrees heading. Rough seas would make matters worse from the pitching and rolling. 

With the SCX-20, the heading errors just don’t happen and it seems immune to sea conditions.  Indeed, using the three-axis speed output it can generate (Panbo illustrations here), it is easy to see what is happening when there’s a disparity between the heading and the course over the ground.  For example, you might be making 27 kts forward but also 0.5 kts to starboard from the current, producing a course over the ground of 90 degrees while the boat is headed 86 degrees.  The GPS position and speed data from the SCX-20 is also amazingly accurate due to the four high-performance GPS receivers it uses.  Apparently the SCX-20 is proving so popular that dealers cannot keep them in stock, so I don’t seem to be alone in viewing it as a breakthrough product in terms of price and performance.

DRS25A-NXT Open Array Radar

After 30 years of using magnetron radars, I made myself a guinea pig for Furuno’s effort to produce a solid-state open array radar that could equal the long range and target discrimination performance of their 25kW magnetron, which has been the top end of recreational radar for many years. The “25” in the DRS25A-NXT Furuno model designation is intended to signify that this is the solid-state equivalent of a 25kW conventional magnetron, but with all of the advantages of a solid-state radar such as instant-on with no warm-up, Doppler target tracking, low radiation levels, less power consumption, and longer service life. The DRS25A-NXT has 200 watts of output power, which is eight times the nominal power of the Simrad Halo 6 open array and nearly double the power of the new Garmin Fantom 126 open array.  It is derived from the high power commercial solid-state radars Furuno introduced a couple of years ago.

When I fired it up for the first time, I was a bit anxious due to my prior experience with other solid-state radars.  Those units worked just fine for navigation targets out 6 to 8 miles and would probably get the job done for most people most of the time.  But I need more than that.  I need to be able to see birds 4-6 miles away so that I can find the fast-moving tuna that will frequently be under them.  I also need to see small lobster pot floats in the fog or at night when they tend to leap out of the water unexpectedly to grab a prop. That’s also why I mounted the biggest antenna array that would fit (even though some people claim the six foot radar antenna makes the boat look like an idling helicopter when spinning).

Although I am by nature skeptical, I have to say that Furuno delivered the goods with the DRS25A-NXT.  Running with auto gain and auto sea state, I was inclined at first to switch to manual tuning to reduce some of what appeared to be clutter.  Lots of small low-intensity targets were speckled about here and there across the 3-mile range I had set.  But since it was a nice clear sunny day, I was quickly able to confirm that I was seeing real targets on the radar display, not noise or wave tops.  Those marks were birds and small pot floats, and even a few pieces of small floating debris such as escaped party balloons and tree branches.  The target discrimination was spectacular.  I spotted a pair of kayakers over a mile away paddling along less than 10 feet apart as two distinct targets.  The ARPA (automatic radar plotting aids) that Furuno calls “Fast Target Tracking” picked them up and quickly showed their course vector and speed.

Here is a screen shot that illustrates the ability of the radar to see small, weak targets.  The red targets with numbers are moving vessels being tracked by the ARPA.  The other red targets on the water are buoys, stationary vessels, and few lobster pots with radar reflecting flags.  The weak black marks are birds and small pot floats.  You can also see the convenient slide out data box on the left with the contextual radar control menu that allows immediate access to the gain, sea state, and rain settings (set to Auto here).

Furuno has also produced the first solid-state radar that can match the bird-spotting performance of their own magnetron radars, which in my experience are the best.  I have made quite a few offshore fishing trips and seen small groups of birds as far as six miles away on relatively calm days with the DRS25A-NXT.  The “bird mode” setting is not all that helpful, however.  I felt I was doing better with the traditional manual tuning approach of turning off the sea state filter and cranking the gain up.

The other weak performance aspect of prior solid-state radars has been showing targets at long range.  The DRS25A-NXT succeeds in equaling or exceeding the performance of a magnetron in this area as well.  Running home from offshore with the other manufacturer’s 25kW magnetron I had previously, the relatively low island shoreline would start to appear on the screen about 10-12 miles out.  With the new Furuno radar, I can see it from about 16 miles out.  It does extremely well with thunderstorms as well.  In the screenshot above, you can see a thunderstorm that’s 95 miles away and behind a large area of rain.

With the highly accurate heading data from the SCX-20, the radar overlay on the chartplotter is a perfect fit to the charted shoreline.  Above is a screenshot from my slip showing the harbor basin.  There are some sailboats rafted up on moorings ahead of me.  At the upper left, you can see two boats passing close together in the narrow entrance channel between the rock jetties. 

Note that the long-range rain storm image is overlaid on a raster chart while the harbor view shows you the vector chart.  One of the frustrations I had with my prior system was that it pretty much locked you into the manufacturer’s proprietary cartography.  The TZT3 is very flexible.  It comes with free U.S. NOAA raster and vector charts that are updated regularly.  For many regions, Navionics and C-Map charts are available for purchase.  Recently, the highly detailed C-Mor bottom contour charts also became available for purchase.

One of the major strengths of the DRS25A-NXT is its ability to track as many as a hundred targets that it can acquire automatically.  It identifies the moving targets through both the conventional ARPA and by the Doppler shift, which is something only a solid-state radar can do.

Above you see the “Target Analyzer” mode in which targets that are moving away or have no risk of collision are painted green and ones that pose a risk of collision are red.  The same shot in conventional mode is below. (The ARPA Fast Target Tracking is active on both screens and is tracking some small boats in a pond behind the shore as well as what are quite likely some cars on a road.)

Internal CHIRP Sounder

The TZT3 16 has a very capable 1kW built-in CHIRP fish finder, generally similar to what is available on competing MFDs.  As would be expected from Furuno, which has long had a reputation for producing excellent fish finders (the company introduced the world’s first commercial fish finder in 1948), the TZT3 internal sounder provides excellent results.  Of course sounder performance is very much dependent upon the quality of the transducer it is driving.  But even with relatively low-cost transducers, the performance is very good.  With the mid-level Airmar B175 pair of transducers that I have installed, which I was also using with the prior system, I definitely noticed an improvement.  The Furuno sounder does a great job showing fish holding close to the bottom and throughout the water column.

DFF-3D Multi-Beam Sounder

Furuno pioneered side-scanning sonars for recreational fishing boats a number of years ago.  Those units have an enormous transducer assembly that has to be lowered through a tube inside the hull, and correspondingly big price tags.  They are only found on very large multi-million dollar sport fishing boats.  Faced with competition in the recreational market from low-cost side-scanning sounders from Garmin, Simrad, and Raymarine, Furuno developed the DFF-3D as a moderately priced alternative.  It isn’t exactly cheap and will run over $3,000 with the special transducer that is required, which is quite a bit more than the systems from the other manufacturers.  

Is it worth it?  I think for many fishermen, it will be helpful but won’t exactly be a life-changing device.  The major advantage it has over the competition is the ability to operate at much greater depths.  The competitive offerings can’t really display much beyond 100 feet.  I have used the DFF-3D in 300 feet of water and it was holding bottom and showing good detail.  It will show bait and fish well off to each side of the boat with sufficient detail to identify whether something is out there. The most interesting display is the moving bottom map, which you can see in the screenshot above. The single red dot near the center is a fish. By tapping on the screen, you can drop a waypoint on the location where the fish appeared and steer back over it.

Weather Data Portal

Furuno provides free access to weather data and forecasts that can be downloaded to the TZT3 over Wi-Fi and also accessed through the TZ iBoat app.  It is a reasonably good source of predictions for wind, waves, temperature, and precipitation. Moving the time slider at the bottom advances the forecast period, and tapping anywhere on the screen shows local detail (as seen above).


In addition to my old autopilot, I had some other devices from the original installation that would need to work with the new Furuno TZT3 displays, including an Airmar 220WX weather sensor, NMEA 2000 fuel tank and freshwater tank sensors, a Digital Yacht AIT 5000 Class B+ AIS transponder, an Icom M604 VHF, and a Standard Horizon GX5500 VHF.

We ran into just a couple of minor quirks and limitations of the TZT3 hardware and software during the installation. Otherwise it all worked together. Though I suspect that Bill Schwabe at Lightning Yachts — who built the boat four years ago and did the electronics installations both times — might disagree.  He had to do some fine-tuning to get everything to fit because of the greater depth of the TZT3 compared to the MFDs I had before.  

As with the TZT2, the TZT3 does not have an NMEA 0183 input port, so getting the DSC sentences from the VHF radios onto the network would have required an adapter to convert them to NMEA 2000 PGNs.  I decided this just wasn’t especially useful or important enough to justify the cost.  In the quirk department, the TZT3 could see the fuel tank sensors and display the tank levels.  However, the Furuno software created a dilemma in setting up the fuel used and remaining range data boxes.  It has two modes that are exclusive and cannot be used together:  “manual” fuel management in which you input the quantity of fuel in the tanks and add every time you buy more fuel, and “automatic” in which the system uses tank level data from the sensors.  The problem with this is that tank level senders are not very accurate as the fuel sloshes around at sea and a poor option.  With the “manual” mode, the remaining fuel display is extremely accurate because the MFD is using the fuel consumption data from the engine ECMs and subtracting it from the fuel quantity you have entered. 

Manual fuel management was the way to go but oddly this made it impossible to display the tank levels from the sensors on the MFDs.  I came up with a work around by reconfiguring the fuel tank sensors to appear as “oil tanks” on the NMEA 2000 network.  It works but Furuno needs to do a little code writing.  I think that the other manufacturers’ products all allow for manual fuel tracking and fuel tank sensor data display at the same time.

The other installation issue we discovered wasn’t a Furuno problem.  My old autopilot was happy to allow me to set the SCX-20 satellite compass as the GPS source but refused to use the heading data from the SCX-20, which is vastly more accurate than the autopilot’s fluxgate compass and would improve steering. After a few exchanges with the initially puzzled but quite helpful and diligent tech support at the autopilot’s manufacturer, I was told that they had deliberately blocked the use of any heading data except their own because of performance concerns.  Sounds to me like a way to make sure that customers are forced to buy only their heading sensor.


Summing it all up, I think that the new high power solid state DRS25A-NXT has set a new benchmark for recreational radars.  It’s an expensive and somewhat specialized tool that makes sense for larger boats and offshore fishing, though it isn’t any more expensive than equivalent open array radar products from other companies and actually cheaper than some.  The SCX-20 is a no-brainer if you need a good heading source for chart radar overlay and want to improve the accuracy of your GPS position and speed data. Your autopilot will steer better if it will accept the heading from the SCX-20, which most will do (my old one being the exception). It brings the precision that was previously only available at two to three times the cost from earlier Furuno satellite compasses.

The TZT3 MFDs are a very well-thought-out product demonstrating that Furuno spent lots of time and energy incorporating all the lessons they learned from the TZT2 and prior MFDs.  It has a very polished, intuitive user interface with many nice little features that make it easier to use.  As with any new generation hardware, the display screen and processors keep getting better and faster as manufacturing costs continue to drop.  I like the flexibility that Furuno permits in the choice of cartography. Their free NOAA charts are just fine for most US users.

I think we have reached the point with MFDs that it is hard to go wrong with any of the “big four” offerings from Furuno, Simrad, Garmin, or Raymarine if what you need is a good GPS/ chartplotter. The TZT3 has really helped Furuno to catch up as the TZT2 was getting a bit outdated after five years.  This shifts the focus to the peripheral equipment such as radar and fish finders, especially as you go up the cost and performance curve.  Personal preference plays a big role in shaping a view as the who makes “better” recreational marine equipment.  The new products from Furuno are outstanding and represent a very favorable balance of cost and performance.  Especially when it comes to the new high power radar and fish finder units and the new SCX-20 satellite compass, Furuno has created a high benchmark.

75 Responses

  1. John Michaels says:

    Good morning,

    Thank you for the great article!!!!
    Also for having a good laugh this morning about the “manufacturer who will remain nameless”!!
    I thoroughly enjoyed the photo of your “old regime” boat…
    Thank you for all your hard work!
    As a sales manager of a large retail boating chain, I enjoy your writing!!

  2. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Yes, isn’t it great to have Fred Khedouri back on Panbo with all his experience owning and using serious fishing electronics? Please honk if you’re grateful, and especially if you hope he’ll share more detail about how to use the tools to find the fish you’re after (and get back to harbor safely)…

  3. Bill Schwabe says:


    After I finished up this installation I only had two days of running her while I ran his boat back home to play with the new system. I deliberately left almost all of the final configuration to his expertise. “Out of the box” the system did everything anyone could ask for and from his excellent descriptions and screen shots I can tell I was hardly utilizing half of it’s capability. I might have to find a reason to go do some warranty work after this virus situation calms down, an extended fishing trip, err, sea trial, might be in order!

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Bill, one pleasure of editing this article was looking closely at Fred’s photos showing how cleanly and beautifully this boat is built, even when you were further challenged with replacing most of the electronics. Tip of a Panbo cap to you, sir.

  4. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    With radar that can see a thunderstorm 95 miles away, even with a lot of rain in between, Fred practically has his own mobile NEXRAD station. But even a DRS4D-NXT radome does quite well at rain cell imaging (within about 12-16 nm), plus some of the screenshots I’ve put up over the years are good at illustrating the difference between the Target Analyzer and Fast Target Tracking (ARPA) features:


  5. Vaibhav says:

    very interested article… really appreciating your work… thank you for sharing this kind of information…

  6. Orin Guidry says:

    Great article. I particularly appreciated his comments about the SCX-20 Satellite Compass.

    I have a relatively new Simrad system. We could never get accuracy and reliability from the Precision-9 electronic compass.

    Replaced both the electronic compass and the GS-25 GPS antenna with a HS-60 satellite compass and it made all the difference. Probably not as accurate as the Furuno SCX-20 Satellite Compass but a huge improvement.

    My question is why don’t the manufacturers and installers push satellite compasses rather than electronic compasses and GPS antennas? The cost is equivalent and the installation much easier.

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      I agree that satellite compasses are generally under-appreciated, but most MFD systems include GPS these days and the suggested retail for an HS60 is $1,000 vs $645 for the Precision-9 (which has 9-axis rate compensation that likely works well on many vessels). Conventional sat compasses are also subject to multi-path interference that can really hurt performance.

      But the SCX-20 at $1,195 retail seems to be truly different, and Furuno has also addressed the issue of configuring and updating a device like this when their own MFDs are not on board, as explained at the end of this entry:


  7. John Michaels says:

    Very interesting article!!
    I’m in the process of changing to B&G Zeus3S with wireless 320, and not the DST indicator. Instead, I could use the the SCX20 and for depth, I could use a stracture 3D transducer that not only will give me depth and temp but a nice view of where my anchor will settle!!!!
    And no more speed wheels to change!!
    Any thoughts are welcome…

  8. Albert Diaz says:

    Great article. I also have a tzt2 and replaced an old navnet unit with the tzt3. I am really happy with the setup. New transducer b275lhw is amazing on the new tzt3 unit.
    One point you mentioned in your article is something I’ve struggled with for a while. I want to be able to set fuel tanks to manual so that I can see actual fuel burn but when I do that the tank % disappears. Seems that you found a work around but I am not sure I fully understand what you did. Would be great if you shared your insight. Many thanks.

    • The work around requires “fooling” the TZT 3 into recognizing your fuel tank by configuring it as another type of tank. I have Garmin GFL-10 NMEA 2000 tank senders. They allow designating the tank type as “fuel”, “fresh water”, “waste” or “oil.” I changed the setting from fuel to “oil”. The tanks miraculously reappeared while still in manual fuel mode on the TZT 3. Unfortunately, they are labelled “oil” now but at least I can display the readings. Mades the boat seem Italian — “gasolio” being what they call Diesel fuel.

  9. ilhan says:

    Very beautiful and carefully crafted article. Thank you
    Furuno Commercial fishing and maritime produces great products. This knowledge and experience will make feel more in sport fishing in the coming years.

  10. Anonymous says:

    FYI – The desired manual fuel management calculation while showing fuel tank levels is under discussion by our developers. We will try to provide the capability in the next TZT3 software revision. Thank you.

    Furuno Product Dept.

    • Great, it’s one of those minor annoyances that one hopes is an easy fix. We all enjoy watching the fuel slosh around bouncing the gauges around as well as knowing how much we actually have on board.

  11. Wolfgang Jansen says:

    Very nice article, personally because of the good review of the DRS25A-NXT. Thank you.
    (The DRS25A-NXT is on my shortlist. It requires an investment in Furuno MFD and/or TZ, but in my case this counts for other brands too.)
    I am also following Furuno’s electronics comparison on youtube particularly because of the radar part.

    • Perhaps I should have spent more time discussing the target tracking performance of the DRS25A-NXT, which is one of its most impressive aspects for someone who operates in waters with a lot of boat traffic. I was out fishing this morning and heavy fog rolled back in. Using the dual range screen at 6 miles on one side and 0.5 miles on the other, the radar was automatically acquiring and displaying the course vector lines of about 30 boats that ranged from 18′ center consoles to a 300′ survey ship. I tried cancelling all targets a few times to see how long it took for the radar to display them again. In just a few passes (less than 15 seconds), it had reacquired them all. The ARPA is one of the major differentiations between the Furuno radars and other companies. I think they do it a much better.

      • Wolfgang Jansen says:

        Maybe an additional article?
        Currently we have an inland radar (conform EU Rhine regulations), since 1995 or so. In this field there ar not much changes, approved radar systems are still magnetron based.
        Back then it was ownsome, it required (and stil does require) a resolution to separate close targets at 1000m. (In essence a 6-7ft antenna is needed for that.)
        Digital revolution for inland (Rhine) radar is more focussed on overlays, chart, ais etc.
        In my opinion sea radars improved much more, from the transmitting side, up to now with the current doppler radar systems.

        • I should think that for inland canals and rivers the DRS6A-NXT would be more than sufficient with a 1.8 meter antenna for best target separation. It has all of the target tracking and other related functions of the DRS25A-NXT at less than 2/3rds the cost. The performance improvement with the DRS25A-NXT mostly affects ranges greater than 8-10km, which is not so relevant to inland waterways. That is unfortunate that the EU has not revised its regulations to permit the solid state radars. The low radiation would seem an especially positive feature given the density of people on the banks and the proximity of other boats. We used to joke that with the 25kW magnetron radar, I could see birds at long range and cook them at close range!

  12. Don Joyce says:

    V7 firmware update for the “old” TZ2 MFD’s comes with a fly in the ointment: The installation instructions note that the unit will need to be rebooted at least every 12 hrs or else….. Apparently the features added with v7 are pushing the TZ2 hardware close to the edge. While not the end of the world for those of us out for multiple days, it does necessitate extra planning when approaching more challenging navigation situations to be able to avoid having the MFD fail and reboot on its own. I’ve already experienced this unanticipated reboot on two occasions with V6.21, albeit in the middle of no where and only after several days underway. I certainly hope this can be resolved.

    • I have two TZT 2 units, one on a small skiff and the other on my larger boat on the network with the TZT . Both were running the beta v 7 and now the released version. I have never had a reboot on either in many hours of operation since April when I got the beta.

      in fact I would say that v 7 appears to run faster than 6.26. I saw the reference in the update instructions to do the “housekeeping” restart, which is something I have never done. It seems very unlike Furuno to release software with a known problem. They tend to do fewer updates than some others and more testing before release. Have you had reboots with v 7 yet?

      One thing that helps clean up hidden issues when all else fails is to go into the Service Manager and do a true hard factory reset back to out of the box default condition.

  13. Always a risk. You are probably right to wait to do the update until next release. I did not have a choice because of having a mixed TZT 2/TZT 3 network. The TZT 2 has to run v 7 to be on the same network because the TZT 3 incorporated a change to the file system.

  14. Bill Schwabe says:

    I had the system powered up for long periods several times and never saw any issues. One time I left it on more than 24 hours to see if the SCX-20 would acquire a satisfactory signal while under our steel roof. During the delivery one leg was a 360 mile haul and it was on for over 12 hours, none of those times did I see any errors or any other problems.

  15. Cindy says:

    Where did you download TZT2 v7 from? I don’t see it on Furuno.com or Furunousa.com.

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      I had the same problem, Cindy, but with a little guidance found it under the TZT2 product page software tab:


      Install procedure is not stated but looks like it’s the same as v6.26, both SD card and USB stick.
      I may know for sure by end of day 😉

        • Cindy says:

          Thank you Ben and Fred for the links for V7. As much as I was looking forward to the new features, I will not be installing it until they fix the reboot issue. We are in route to the Mediterranean and will be doing multi-day passages. We can not afford to have a reboot while on a passage and possibly during a critical situation. Totally unacceptable. The software needs to handle long periods of use.

          • Wolfgang Jansen says:

            Probably the need to reboot is given by some possible counter overflow. Even airplane systems have such issue’s.
            I am not owning a tzt, but how long it takes to reboot? You can always do so, before entering cirtical situations like crossing ship lanes.
            Entering critical situations without any backup is anyway a bad idea, as systems do fail.

          • Cindy says:

            After the clarification from Furuno Support that the reboot requirement is only for networks containing cameras and SiriusXM, I upgraded our 2 TZT2 plotters to V7. Also on our network are: AIS, Radar DRS4D-NCT, B&G 5000 CPU, NavPilot 711C, B&G Graphic Display, 4 Furuno FI70 graphic displays. We have sailed several multi day passages and have no issues needing reboot. Thank you Furuno Support for the clarification. I love the cloud sharing between devices (TZT2, TZ Navigator, TZ iBoat).

  16. A further note on the impressive performance of the DRS25A-NXT radar. I was out fishing today in relatively calm conditions. I ranged the radar out in overlay mode and was amazed that I could see Nantucket, which was 36 miles NE, Martha’s Vineyard, which was 40 miles north, Block Island, which was 42 miles NNW, and eastern Long Island, which was 56 miles NW. These weren’t little speckles but well defined shoreline laid over the chart for miles of coastline.

    • Wolfgang Jansen says:

      Probably you had a lot of refraction today, to see shorelines so far out. Nice it can be done with this radar.
      The shortlist gets shorter

  17. Maldwin M Drummond says:

    There is a similar discussion about the rebooting issue going on on the Nordhavn owners group currently. Based on that, I had decided to replace my TZT2 system on my Nordhavn with TZT3 rather than having a hybrid system. I am also leaning towards replacing my radome Doppler Radar with the DRS25A-NXT, as well as addIng the SCX-20 Sat compass As I run a lot at night , I am also considering switching to the Raymarine system because of the way it integrates with color FLIR, and the augmented reality. I would still get the SCX-20. I like the Furuno Radar better, so I am in a quandary.

  18. Sven-Bertil Carlsson says:

    Why not a combine radome radar antennas with GNSS-compasses? It might of course make the radome a little bit higher with some radiation shielding materials between the antennas… 🙂

  19. Here is some clarification on the V7 update for TZT2 regarding a power cycle recommendation….the information provided by the Furuno USA Service Department was not clear in that this issue ONLY applies to large systems with IP Cameras and the Sirius/XM BBWX4 weather receiver….
    Note: Only for Large TZtouch2 networks with Version 7 software
    TZT2 v7 software requires a slight increase in memory. We have noticed that there is a slowing of very large systems after a few days of constant “on time”. It is recommended that users with very large networks cycle power once every 24 hours. Very few users will have all of this equipment in a system. A large network includes ALL of the following, not just one piece by itself:
     4ea or more TZtouch2 12” and/or 15” MFDs
     2ea or more Axis IP cameras
     BBWX4 SiriusXM receiver (not a BBWX1, 2, or 3)
    If your TZT2 network, or mixed TZT2/TZT3 network, system does not have 4ea TZtouch2 MFDs, Axis IP Cameras, and a BBWX4 Sirius/XM receiver, there is no need to cycle power on a TZT2 12/15 MFD. You may update to V7 Software without worry about this memory limitation. Even if the MFD does slow down and/or reboot, any TZT12/15 will still recover automatically without any intervention by the user.
    This power cycling recommendation DOES NOT apply to TZT2BB or TZT3 MFDs as they have expanded memory and hardware.
    Furuno USA Product Department

    • Donald Joyce says:

      Thank you so much for the clarification. I’m relieved to know I should not have an issue.

    • I had two times during the v7 beta where my TZT2s rebooted. I also have seen them slow down running v7 over running v6, and while they have not rebooted yet running the released version of v7, the slowness is a disappointment given that they are only about 2 years old.

      I do not have all of the items cited above, but I do have a significant NMEA 2000 network. Hopefully in future v7 software the TZT2 can get back to the faster speeds from v6, although I am not expecting that since the TZT3 is out….

    • Donald Joyce says:

      I’ve gotten about 300 hrs of experience with V7 software. in that time, my TZ2 “rebooted” 3X with heart stopping unpredictability…uncanny how it can happen at the worst possible times. I do not have any of the high load items mentioned. I guess I will start pre-emptively rebooting every 12 hrs at a safe moment. We typically are underway for 72 hr periods which is probably more than most TZ2 owners.

  20. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Furuno TZT3 MFDs and the TZT2 BlackBox now supports Victron glass bridge integration (HTML5) and Victron has a sensational illustration of it here:


  21. matt says:

    I was leaning toward a TZT3 system similar to this review and mentioned it to the builder of a boat I have being constructed now. He and the electronics guy both said “never again”. Evidently they had just completed one and had nothing but problems, said Garmin or Simrad. They specifically cited additional components and complexity compared to other manufacturers. Any idea on what they might have ran into? These guys crank out 30 mostly fishing boats a year and do all sorts of electronic setups, so it’s not a lack of knowledge.

    • You did not say how large or complex a system was involved. However, I am a little puzzled by their reaction. The basic architecture is exactly the same as with Garmin or Simrad. They all need an Ethernet network to connect the MFDs and some external components such as a radar array or black box sounder and a NMEA 2000 network to connect other types of devices such as an autopilot, AIS transponder, DSC VHF radio, etc. Large radar arrays also require a 12-24V power converter if you do not have 24V available but that is not exactly complicated to install and is needed on some Garmin radars too.

      The only “extra” component I can think of would be a NMEA 2000 to NMEA 0183 converter if you have older NMEA 0183 devices that have to send data to the TZT 3 because it does not have a NMEA 0183 input port. TZT 3 does have a NMEA 0183 output so the converter is only needed if you have something that has to send data to the TZT 3. They cost less than $200 and are very simple to install, just a few wires to connect to the NMEA 0183 devices. On my boat, my existing Icom M604 and Standard-Horizon GX5500S VHF radios output DSC information only in NMEA 0183. I chose not to get a converter because it wasn’t important to me to have that available on the TZT 3. With a new installation, you could get a NMEA 2000 capable VHF and this wouldn’t be an issue at all.

      The difficulties in my installation mostly related to the fact that it was a retrofit. The TZT 3 displays are deeper than the Garmin 8617s that were replaced and some of the other items such as the AIS transponder had to be relocated to make room. The only other issue we had related to using the existing pair of B175L and B175H CHIRP transducers because there is no Y cable that allows two single frequency separate transducers to connect to one TZT 3. That cable is in the works and may be available by now. Of course with a new installation, you can avoid the issue with a single dual frequency transducer such as a B275LHW. We just connected one transducer to one MFD and one to the other since I had two.

      Maybe you could get them to be more specific as to the problems they encountered. I don’t want to sound cynical but if they are selling you the electronics, the profit margin is much greater on Garmin and somewhat higher on Simrad.

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree – the networking components shouldn’t be any different across brands. Regarding the profit margin, these guys really aren’t the type – they tend to do whatever the customer wants. I was in the room and saw their reaction, whatever happened on the previous install was enough to make them recoil at the thought of doing it again. I get the sense it was more of the config or software setup as opposed to the physical installation.

        • ALBERT DIAZ says:

          I just installed TZT3, TZT2, Furuno radar, Furuno Autopilot, Fusion stereo, iCom VHF. my installer usually works with Garmin and was signing their praises. I had a furuno system previously and wanted to stick with that. Plus, I like sounder in the TZT3.

          Few things needed configuring. on VHF and Fusion but other than that it was plug and play. I will admit connecting the Fusion so that it could be controlled on the screen was a PIA but a little google searching and trial and error and I made it work. Don’t buy Furuno network hub. It is ripoff. $20 netgear hub will work fine.

          Does it take time to get all your settings looking the way you want, for sure. But it is a good way to learn how to use your new toys. I am really impressed with my new system.

          If system is much more complicated then maybe I am missing something but shouldn’t be different from any other brand system.

        • There are many user configurable settings available on the TZT 3 but that is also true of the comparable Garmin and Simrad systems. You could actually just turn the stuff on and use it with default settings without a long process of configuration. The initial settings are not especially complicated. For example, you have to set the radar antenna size with an open array. If you have a DFF-3D or an SCX-20 satellite compass, you need to input the location on the boat for it to work properly. Maybe they found that a bit daunting since there are several measurements required.

          One thing to bear in mind is that Furuno tech support is terrific and very easy to reach if any questions come up. Just my opinion, but you should get what you think is best for your needs. There may be some added difficulty in installation in the view of your boat builder — but you will have to live with the system long afterwards. If radar is important to you, that alone is reason to lean towards the Furuno hardware.

  22. RUYANT says:

    There is just one point missing in your article. The TZT3 still does not allow to date to obtain the ground discrimination (November 01, 2020). The advertising is false on this subject.

    • Do you mean the “bottom discrimination” feature of the sounder display? I am reasonably certain that the TZT 3 does support it. It is necessary to have a transducer that supports this feature and to turn it on in the menu. Which transducer model do you have? Perhaps it is not configured correctly in the setup.

    • ilhan says:

      You can use “bottom discrimination” with the appropriate Transducer.
      Example: list of compatible Transducers:
      B260 – 526TID-HDN
      B45 – 525T-BSD
      P66 – 525T- PWD
      50 / 2001T (Use MBOX)
      In the future it will be calibrated with B265LH Chirp.

  23. RUYANT says:

    Fred Khedouri, Ben Ellison, Ilhan, I know TZT3 can have the bottom discrimination with DFF1, P66, 520 PLD but then you don’t have CHIRP.
    The TZT3 is sold to work in CHIRP and to have the bottom discrimination, except this is false to this day and as said Ilhan in the future the TZT3 will work with B265 LH Chirp .
    So, the TZT3 is therefore not yet operational to have both the bottom discrimination and the CHIRP at the same time.
    Furuno does not seem in a great hurry to remedy this important flaw for fishermen who trust their equipment.

  24. RUYANT says:

    If I insist on this subject it is because I had the TZT2 with the DFF3D and the P66.
    As I wanted CHIRP, I could either add a DFF1HD box and the TM275LHW while keeping my TZT2, or go directly to TZT3 with the TM275 LHW and keep the DFF3D.
    The P66 was no longer needed.
    So I sold the TZT2, the P66 and bought the TZT3 with the TM275LHW.
    Big new investment for a big disappointment on the bottom discrimination which does not work for the moment.
    That is why I am talking about false advertising.
    It’s just to warn those who would like to do the same as me. This is my feedback and I sincerely hope that this bug will be resolved very quickly because the TZT3 is easy to use.

  25. I’m not sure that is correct. The problem may be that 275LHW does not support bottom discrimination. The B275LH, which has a narrower high frequency beam width than the B275LHW is listed as a “bottom discrimination” transducer and that is a CHIRP capable transducer. I have a pair of B175L and B175H and so I do not have bottom discrimination, which requires that the low and high elements be in the same housing

    • ilhan says:

      RUYANT is right, DFF1-UHD and B265LH can discriminate the bottom. But TZT3 is currently unable to discriminate bottoms with B265LH. W-angle models (X-275LHW) are unfortunately not suitable for bottom discrimination with Chirp technology.

  26. I stand corrected. I assumed that since the B265LH worked on the DFF1-UHD to give bottom discrimination with CHIRP, the TZT 3 internal sounder would also since looking at the specifications it is very similar to the DFF1-UHD.

    I am guessing it is a software issue so perhaps Furuno can include a fix in a future update.

    • ilhan says:

      I am telling my personal opinion, we can say that marketing strategy is not a software problem. However, in the future, it will definitely come with the B265LH bottom separation feature.
      TZT3 is perfect, I love it, additionally the feature I want it to be.
      Ability to use B275LHW or B175M and Traditional Transducer at the same time. This will give us perfect target distinction.

      • RUYANT says:

        Could you please, for me, during the next conference with Furuno ask when the TZT3 will be compatible to work in CHIRP and bottom discrimination at the same time. The jet lag obliges. Cordially.

  27. RUYANT says:

    Thank you for your reviews which recognize the current bug.
    Furuno will certainly do its best to remedy this but if it takes time it is damaging to the success of the TZT3 which has enormous potential and as I have already said easy to use.
    I won’t forget to let you know when bottom discrimination works with CHIRP.

  28. Sometimes software “problems” are not accidental. I have a Garmin Reactor autopilot that will not allow use of a non-Garmin heading sensor even though it clearly sees it on the NMEA 2000 network. Garmin told me that was to ensure “reliability” of heading data for steering. Yeah, sure, my Furuno SCX-20 satellite compass is less reliable than the mediocre Garmin heading sensor?

    My small boat has a TZT2 and a B60 transducer and thus has bottom discrimination on the sounder. I have never found it all that important or useful and leave it turned off usually.

    • Christopher says:

      I have a Garmin Reactor 40 and I use SCX20 as the main source of direction for the Reactor.

      • Garmin modified the software for the Reactor 40 to allow use of non-Garmin heading sources. I have the older Reactor model. Garmin has not updated its software to allow this function. That’s the problem. Garmin told me to buy a Reactor 40 CCU for $1,000 to fix the problem! That’s why I am so annoyed., All they needed to do was put the same code in the Reactor as in the React04 40 update.

  29. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Fred (and gentlemen), I really doubt that TZT4 is anywhere in sight, but apparently Furuno is about to debut a “brand new MFD”:

    “Furuno USA invites you to join us for a LIVE streaming premiere of some new technology for 2021. Be among the first in the world to learn about a brand new MFD, with a full walk-through of its features and options. This first-of-its-kind World Premiere will be presented by our own Furuno experts, followed by a Q&A session where all of your questions will be answered. You don’t want to miss this event!

    Join us from 4PM to 5PM PST on Thursday, November 12th, as we broadcast LIVE from our headquarters in Camas, WA. You can view this very special LIVE event on Furuno’s Facebook page or our YouTube channel.”

  30. No in case you are wondering I will not replace my TZT 3s this winter if they introduce a TZT 4. My guess is perhaps a new version of the GP1971 to compete with the new Garmin Echomap Ultra in the lower priced combo market. Another possibility would be a TZT 3 black box, which is missing from the product line and something that Furuno has offered in all its prior models back to the NavNet 3D.

  31. ilhan says:

    It shouldn’t be TZT4.
    Maybe it could be Tzt3’s new software?
    For example: Bathymetry map that we can create ourselves can be added to Tzt 3.
    I am waiting on November 12, wondering.

  32. Maldwin M Drummond says:

    I only have room for the 41 inch open array radar due to the way my mast is stayed. I currently have the Furuno radome Doppler Radar. Will I see much improvement if I replace it with a 200 watt 41 inch open array Furuno Doppler Radar?

  33. Just an opinion of course but much will depend upon what you hope to achieve. I assume you use the radar primarily for navigation to display targets at ranges of less than 6-8 miles, I am not sure you would get too much benefit from the 200W open array with the smallest antenna. The target separation would be a little better and you would definitely see weak targets such as small pot floats or debris or small boats that would be missed by the dome. The long range performance showing thunderstorm cells or higher shorelines would also be a lot better due to the greater power output. You might also pick up large vessels at greater distance than with your dome, however I assume you have an AIS receiver and can see those anyway.

    If you are fishing and want to find birds, the higher power open array will do better especially once you get to the 3-5 mile range. You mention a mast and stays so I assume you have a sailboat and that was not a reference to a radar mast so that may be irrelevant here.

    I am not sure if I would spend the extra money for the DRS25A-NXT if you cannot mount a larger array to take advantage of it. The 100W DRS12A-NXT would likely get you virtually the same improvements in performance and save a bit of money.

  34. Maldwin M Drummond says:

    Thank you Fred,
    You are correct in assuming that my primary interest is navigation, and that I have AIS. My boat is a Nordhavn 43 with passive stabilizers, hence the stays, which come forward from the mast. In order to accommodate the larger antenna,I might be able to mount the Radar a little higher, and a little farther off the mast with a bracket. I could also replace my Bimini with a hardtop and mount the antenna there, but that is probably another $20/30,000.
    The ability to see small objects at night such as pots, high flyers, fish nets and containers is the main reason I would upgrade. I am also considering a FLIR 364C to help with seeing small objects at night.

    • I think that is not an easy decision. The larger the array, the better able it is to pick up the smaller targets at critical near ranges of 2 miles or less. A 25W DRS6A-NXT with a 6 foot array would likely do better for that than a 200W DRS25A-NXT with the small 3.5 foot antenna. Of course the best performance will come from the combination of the largest array and the highest power but the longer the range and the smaller the targets, the more the power output matters. My DRS25A-NXT with a 6 foot array will show a high flyer with a a small radar reflector from 6 miles or more if the seas are not very rough. The 6kW 4 foot Furuno magnetron radar on my old boat would show them 3 or 4 miles away.

      Faced with the facts you describe, if you can squeeze in a 4 foot array without too much added work, I would suggest a compromise of a DRS12A-NXT (100W version) with a 4 foot antenna. That should be very noticeably better than the dome and give you most of what you would get with the 200W.

  35. Maldwin M Drummond says:

    Thank you Fred,
    I met with my installer today, and the tentative plan is to install the 4 ft 100 watt antenna you suggested along with 2 12 inch TZT3 screens in NavPods on the fly, which is where I run from 90% of the time. Then 2 15 inch TZT3S in the pilothouse. I am also going to add the SCX20 satellite compass. If a black box system is announced on Thursday, we may consider that.
    Many thanks,

  36. The SCX-20 is an excellent addition. I think you will be quite pleased with the radar performance and the extremely precise plotter radar overlay display that it will provide.

    There won’t be any issue of redundancy in GPS sources with four TZT 3s! On my system, I turned off the position, SOG, and other GPS related PGN outputs on my TZT 3s because the NMEA 2000 network would have had those three as well as the SCX-20 and my AIS transponder putting out the same data. The SCX-20 is set as the primary and the AIS transponder then becomes the backup. Your installer may wish to consider settings your system up that way to reduce the traffic of identical PGNs. I don’t know if it is really necessary but it seemed to make sense.

  37. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Sorry to report that Furuno’s “all-new NavNet MFD” won’t be revealed tomorrow:

    “Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Furuno LIVE streaming event scheduled for November 12th has been postponed to a later date. We will let you know when the new date for this event has been finalized. Until then, please visit our Facebook page for upcoming news and information from Furuno.”

  38. Maldwin M Drummond says:

    I am sorry to hear that because I am meeting my installer again tomorrow to go over the order. If the announcement were a BB TZT3, I might be tempted to do that rather than 4 individual MFDS.

  39. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    So no live presentation but Furuno did just announce a 9-inch TZT3 with hybrid control and more:


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