Nobeltec PC Radar & TZ v2 app, blazing trail two ways?

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.

25 Responses

  1. Quitsa says:

    I wonder what the TZ software can do to enhance performance with a more capable open array radar such as my DRS12A with the greater scope of tuning options.
    The ability to use the “My TimeZero” site to transfer waypoints and routes from the iPad app to a computer running TZ or better yet a Furuno TZT/TZT 2 display will be a very good feature for some of us. Hope it is rolled out soon. Now when I get up at 4:00am to plan an offshore fishing trip, I download the latest sea temperature charts and decide where to go. Then I have to create waypoints (or just write them down if it is only one or two), put them on an SD card, and then load them on the plotter (or enter manually) when I get to the boat. It would be great to just sit home and tap in the waypoints on the iPad and then have them easily synch up with the plotter on the boat.

  2. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Same for me as a cruiser, usually minus the 4:00am part 😉
    Creating routes with Garmin BlueChart Mobile and then sending them over WiFi to the Garmin MFD system works very well and I find it a highly useful feature. Navionics Mobile can once again do something similar with Raymarine WiFi displays, but the process remains awkward because you also have to import the route into the Ray MFD from the SD card.
    At any rate, I think it would be great if I could easily send routes from TZ app to TZT14, either locally or via the cloud. (The TZT14 is now often online via WiFi to my boat router, which is great for weather downloads and could do routes easily.)

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Something that maybe can’t be emphasized enough is how different the DRS4DW WiFi is from the DRS4D and its near identical DRS4DCW sibling, even though the model names are so similar.
    For starters, the DRS4DW WiFi is housed in the same 19.2-inch diameter dome as the DRS2D, not the 24-inch diameter domes the other 4kW devices are in. What’s more the WiFi radar only swings a 15-inch antenna inside the 19-inch dome, resulting in a 7.2 horizontal beam width, while the DRS2D has a full 19-inch antenna and 5.2 degree beam width. The antenna in the DRS4D dome is nearly 24 inches with a 2.3 degree beam width. The claimed bearing resolutions are closer together for some reason, but still no one should expect the DRS4DW WiFi to perform like the DRS4D, DRS4DCW, or even the DRS2D.

  4. Don Joyce says:

    Thanks for the post Ben!
    You mentioned the possibility to run a “mirror screen with touch control in the cockpit or on the flybridge” with Nobeltec Trident. This would a great solution for keeping the keyboard and mouse out of the rain etc. especially on stable platforms. Yet, when I search the Nobeltec and MaxSea websites, I don’t see any mention of touch control, nor are there video examples of touch control on their sites.
    Can I assume this is accomplished with underlying windows software? Somehow I always thought that software using touch control had to be much more tolerant of low precision input compared to other pointer inputs. Therefore even when the OS takes care of the the touch interface, the application software has to have this tolerance in its design to remain user friendly.
    The Furuno touch implementation of MaxSea uses relatively low resolution screens compared to what one might use to implement a PC based system. Unfortunately most monitor touch resolutions necessarily do not scale with the screen resolution….ie, my fat fingers can become very irritating
    Don Joyce

  5. Larry O'Keefe says:

    It seems to me that the killer combo would be having the PC Radar running through a wireless router so that you could run it hardwired to your PC in the pilot house and then via WiFi to your TZ app on the bridge. Any comments on the viability/likelihood of that?

  6. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I like that concept, too, Larry but the full feature set of PC Radar might be daunting to fit on an iPad. Conversely, WiFi Radar might seem too basic if integrated into the Nobeltec PC programs, though they are considering that.
    The possibilities here pretty wild, but what’s available now is two distinct systems: basic radar w slick iPad app for about $1,800 or highend radar with advanced PC charting for about $4,000.

  7. Howard says:

    I am considering the TimeZero sport fishing as it includes radar and bottom floor mapping (PBG)
    I want to integrate into my TZT network. If I don’t desire to control the DFF-1 sounder, just view it, do I need the sounder module?
    I am hoping to use the software for radar, navigation, and hopefully improving my fishing.
    Do I need to purchase the additional module? I really wish Nobeltec would provide a demo version to try before purchase ($1500)

  8. Anonymous says:

    Howard, I have the Maxsea sport fishing module which I believe is the same as the Nobeltec as they are the same company. You do require the sounder module to view, and indeed act as as additional TZT acreen in your system. In fact, I think the interphase is better that on a TZT as you have on screen icons for direct adjustment of your sounder instead of having to go through menu otions. Similar to the adjustments you do today for your radar, but not for the sounder, on the TZT. It costs extra but for me it was worth it. If you do botton fishing you will be very happy with the PBG. I have had Maxsea for 8 years and find it extremely useful for bottom fishing and was using it within a Raymarine system without problems but changed over to Furuno because of the integration and there is no looking back. I use 2 TZT14’s and 2 PC’s with Maxsea with 1 15″ and 19″ outdoor monitors and the results are very good. BTW, I use a keyboard for intearacting with the PC’s but if I did it again I would definitely have touchscreen monitors.

  9. evan says:

    I am looking to upgrade my aging Raymarine E120 Classic Plotter and radar etc. for my single helm pilothouse boat (Nordic Tug 37)
    A PC based system makes a lot of sense to me both from a cost and longevity perspective. I was thinking that I could run TimeZero 3.1 with a Furuno Digital Radar unit like the DRS4DCM with out having to purchase a very expensive low resolution Furuno MFD.
    It’s been some time since you posted this article.
    Would Ben or anyone else have any more up to date comments on the viability of this system?

  10. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know about stand alone PC’s but I use Furuno TZT’s with 2 fixed PC’s and 2 monitors and can tell you that V3 is very good and can make a reliable system. I use 2 PC’s because I think they are less reliable from a hardware POV than an MFD which is why I have 2 PC’s. I wanted redundancy in case something went wrong. I also did not go with a laptop as my installation is exposed to both sun and water but if you are in a pilothouse your monitors can be larger and lower cost.

  11. evan says:

    Thank you.
    It sounds like you have at least one Furuno MFD in your system.
    Looking at the specs for Time Zero it says that unless you have a Furuno TZT MFD as part of the system the only Radar unit that can be used would be DRS4DCM.
    I’m curious to know whether anyone has actually got this working with the PC / TimeZero setup? (i.e. without the TZT MFD.)

  12. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Evan, TZ v3.1 can work standalone with all sorts of Furuno radars, including the amazing NXT…
    …but it may require the Pro version. I’m confused about that part because I’m pretty sur there is a radar module for TZ Navigator.

  13. Howard says:

    My understanding is that is compatible with the Pro version ($1k+) and WILL be with the consumer version with the added radar module. I would contact Maxsea/Nobeltec for the latest updates

  14. evan says:

    Thank you for looking into this Ben & Howard.
    The TimeZero software looks to be quite well configured with many useful features in an ergonomic interface. (I currently use Coastal Explorer but Radar overlay and AIS data does not look to be possible with my setup.)
    With the potential for TZ 3.1 to have Digital Radar and AIS data overlaid on the chart, I would be happy to make the switch if it could be done without needing to buy the propietary MFD. (It seems to me that a well-designed system using PC’s and ethernet connections between devices would represent the ideal system with better customization, integration and a reduced rate of obsolescence. The MFD’s may be a good off the shelf unit for an exposed helm but I don’t need that level of weather resistance and the rather ridiculous price tag for the low resolution of these devices puts me off.)
    When I try to understand what software / hardware components I would need to set up a PC-based system using TZ 3.1 things get a little murky. It seems you need a TZ radar module added to the TZ Navigator software to get the Radar unit to talk to the software. This module is apparently only available for purchase through a local retailer.
    I will have to contact the local vendor I guess…
    BTW: From my reading, the NXT version of the Furuno Radar would require a Furuno MFD in the system. The only Furuno sensor that would seemingly work with a non-MFD setup seems to be the DRS4DCM. I’ve been trying to find the web page where I read that but it looks like it’s been taken down in lieu of that other compatibility document.
    Anyways, if anyone with a similar setup and some feedback on their experience could chime in I would be very interested in their findings.

  15. Howard says:

    I have TZT Professional running on a Microsoft Surface Book. The radar module is included with professional. My system consists of a DFF-1 fish finder, Hub 101 Ethernet switch, Airmar GH2183 heading/GPS sensor, AIS, Furuno TZT9″ plotter, N2K to USB converter, N2K to 0183 Converter, N2K VHF and NXT Dome.
    Timezero doesn’t need the plotter running for any reason other than chart license sharing if needed. I usually have the chart on the TZT and Radar on the Surface Book when visibility is low. I run chart on the Surface and the fishfinder on the TZT when I am fishing.

  16. evan says:

    Thank you Howard. That sounds like a good setup.
    Does the TimeZero Software that comes with the MFD plotter include the licensing rights to install TZ on a PC or do you have buy the PC version in addition? (If it is included, that makes the MFD a much better value…)

  17. Anonymous says:

    The MFD plotter does not come with any PC software. I will test my TimeZero Professional V3.2 without turning on the MFD to see if I can access and use the radar. Will let you know. I know that if I turn on the PC without turning on the radar or sounder modules I do not even show the sounder or radar workspace.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I can confirm that both the radar and sounder modules will operate without an MFD tuned on. I need to highlight that for receiving GPS or other NMEA 0183 or 2000 data you will need a serial port connection to the PC. If there was a way I would add a picture to see what an actual radar picture looks like on TimeZero. My radar is a 12kW open array.

  19. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, anon, but what version of TimeZero are you using? Also, I can post a photo if you send it to ben at

  20. Anonymous says:

    Hi Ben,
    I just sent the picture. As I mentioned in my mail, I have TZ Professional v3.2.

  21. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, Rolando. That looks like very complete radar integration, and here’s the photo where anyone can have a look:

  22. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I got solid info about PC TimeZero Radar and it sounds good. Here’s the word TimeZero (Nobeltec/MaxSea) CTO Iker Pryszo:
    “Before V3.1 of TZ Navigator / TZ Professional, you had to use a specially modified DRS (the “DRS4DCM”) in order to have PC Radar compatibility.
    Since V3.1, there is NO need any longer to use a specially modified DRS to have PC radar functionality.
    Since V3.1, TZ Navigator / Professional became universally compatible with all DRS (including DRS4D-NXT) for PC Radar compatibility.
    The “DRS4DCM” is no longer “produced” (it was just a regular DRS4D with fix IP address modified at factory) since now, you can use any regular DRS.
    The “Radar” function comes standard with TZ Professional (the Radar module is included in the base price of $1500). With TZ Navigator (base price $500), you have to add the Radar module ($500) making the price of TZ Navigator + Radar Module $1000.
    The least expensive package would be TZ Navigator + Radar Module + DR4DL.
    Although, in my opinion, I would go for the DRS4D-NXT (it is worth the $800 or so price difference).
    What is great with the “new series” of DRS (DRS4DL, DRS4D-NXT) is that you do NOT need a Power Supply Unit (PSU). This shaves off a couple hundred dollars (compared to the old DRS4DCM that required a PSU).
    Customer that have V3.0 can upgrade for free to v3.2 (the current latest version).
    Customer with V2 or below of Nobeltec or MaxSea TimeZero can upgrade to V3.2 for a small fee.”
    All this will be online eventually, but not until they finish merging and into:

  23. evan says:

    Thank you for the concise summary Ben. That’s exactly the information I was looking for. (It’s not that easy to find this information in any definitive form.)
    Much appreciated.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Great Summary and hard to find anywhere else. I have a 2007 vintage Navnet VX2, two radars, an open array 25kW, and backup 24″dome. I saw the dome NXT at Bremerton boat show last year and am very impressed. Thinking to replace my dome with an NXT dome but the MFD pricing was a turn off. If I understand correctly now I can install the NXT and interface directly with TZ Pro V3.1 on a laptop and have chart with NXT radar overlay? And if needed could purchase Sounder option and also link my DFF1 sounder. I have no need or interest to replace my Navnet VX2 so if my conclusions are correct I would be very satisfied. Can you confirm my thinking? Thanks.

  25. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Yes, anon, you can definitely do that, and you can use TZ Navigator 3.1 plus the Radar Module instead of the Professional version. That way you’ll save $500 as CTO Iker Pryszo explained in my 8/21/17 comment above.
    The TZ website still isn’t crystal clear about all this, but I am pleased to see this:

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