KEP dual touch marine monitor, in the real world
Here’s one way to test a newly installed KEP Marine Glass Bridge Monitor, supposedly the first with dual touch technology (which happens to work well with Windows 7). The owner of this J160 racer/cruiser was purportedly very happy with it last season, but there was, in fact, a problem getting the touchscreen signals to consistently make the 25 foot trip from the helm to the nav station PC below. Adam White (left) — former electronics guy and now service manager at Yankee Marina & Boatyard — worked with KEP to solve the issue…
Actually White used extenders for both the VGA and USB lines due to both the length and the tightness of the cable runs. Apparently the Intelix VGA balun solution worked fine, but the Quiktron USB Superbooster not so much, occasionally losing signals after a half hour’s use. Just the sort of failure that can drive an installer or manufacturer nuts, not to mention the boater paying the bills, if the problem isn’t detected first. At any rate, KEP suggested a more expensive Extron USB Extender, and that’s working fine with Windows Solitaire or touch friendly programs like Nobeltec Admiral seen below…
KEP may not be a familiar name to many boaters, but it’s a big company which has built a lot of very nice marine monitors under other brand names. For instance, rumor has it that KEP manufactured the original Raymarine G Series screens, and are now making Simrad’s new — but little publicized — MO-L series LED-backlit monitors. The marine division of KEP also makes computers as well as AV and vessel monitoring systems.
Here’s a peek at the J160’s well-equipped nav station, where you can see a standard Samsung monitor apparently sharing the same PC as the helm display. The boat also seems to have a Furuno NavNet Vx2 radar/plotter, two on-deck cameras, and an Iridium phone sharing a Panasonic handset system with a cell set. I like the paint masking tape used to remember critical info, and note that Adam’s phone number made the cut!
All of that to play Solitaire.
Nope. Solitaire to test a high bright, waterproof monitor that can run high-end charting software right at the helm, or any other PC software.
Navigating at the helm is not a good idea, the last thing you want is A helmsman sticking his nose 2 inches away from a Monitor trying to figure out how to work it and navigate and steer at the same time is good way to run into something.
Dave, I haven’t found that to be the case — having radar, a chart plotter, and other info available to the helmsperson actually is safer for a sailboat.
I agree that if one has a very small display, it’s harder to use; and, certainly one shouldn’t substitute maintaining a reasonable watch. Further, if you’re moving at 20+ knots its a different issue than at 7 knots. ;^)))
Well said, SG. And let’s note two things about the specifics of the top picture. One, those two guys are testing equipment is an area just off Yankee Marina & Boatyard that’s very familiar to them. Two, this boat has a well equipped down-below nav station so that in trickier situations a dedicated navigator can share his or her work with the helms person visually. Which is pretty ideal.
I too like to have a multifunction display right where I can see it while driving a boat. And I think that one reason you see sailboats set up otherwise is that it used to be that MFDs couldn’t survive the location or weren’t bright enough. All that’s changed, and, as shown, it’s even possible to have a PC monitor at a sailboat helm. There are also some sailors who like their MFD under a dodger because they often use an autopilot or have a second person monitoring radar.
Above all, I think’s presumptuous to judge the safety of a navigation systen based on pictures. As in many aspects of seamanship it’s ultimately about judgement. There are many ways to navigate safely or unsafely, and the equipment setups can look the same!
I am curious what Radar do they use with the KEP?
I am researching PC navigation after Simrad let out their SDK for the 4G Radar.
I’m not positive but I think the boat is set up so that the RGB video output of the Furuno NavNet vx2 plotter/radar could go to the KEP cockpit monitor. They could have used Nobeltec radar instead but I think they used a Furuno radome on a pole.
Thank you, Ben!
The new double touch displays from KEP look very good. And their resolution matches the output of the new expensive Simrad NSO evo2. I am still looking for a PC solution.