Raymarine e165, enough already?


On Tuesday Raymarine announced the e165 and while a replacement for the 14-inch E Widescreen was predictable, it’s pretty neat that they managed to get a 15.4-inch screen plus large second-generation “hybridtouch” controls into a svelte casing that can swap right into the helm panel hole currently occupied by an E Wide 14 (or a C Wide 14). That’s 20% more screen area, and the LED backlighting is said to be wicked bright though the e165’s maximum reported power draw is only 36 watts. And of course the e165 has the triple processing, WiFi, apps, Bluetooth, and new “Lighthouse” interface that seem to be drawing customers to the littler little “e” Series (breakdown of all four “e” sizes and seven models here). But I’m going to guess that many owners of E Wides — which was a brand-new ground-breaking Series only just announced three years ago! — are not happy to see them superseded. There is a dark side to Raymarine’s meteoric resurgence…

Just contemplate what Raymarine has accomplished in the last year. The e7 and an entirely rebuilt MFD operating system were only announced in late July, 2011, which almost overshadowed the noteworthy i70 instrument (and the p70 AP head). By the time I got to start testing a real e7, Ray had already announced new 9 and 12-inch “e” and “c” models plus its CHIRP fishfinder. The able control, remote, and viewer apps got real in May, and in July Ray announced the all-touch a-Series. Holy cow!  But when Ray touts the e165 as its “biggest and brightest display ever!” it makes me wonder about the still-existing G-Series with its two models of “ultra bright” 17-inch displays. Did refreshing the MFD lines also mean forgetting what went before?…


The answer to that in functional terms is complicated and hard to pin down. Well, actually it’s a simple fact that the CP450C ClearPulse CHIRP Sonar won’t work with anything but e- or c-Series MFDs, which may unpleasantly surprise boaters who just bought a Wide. But while I was a bit taken aback by the incompatibility warning addendum that came packaged with the e7, I had almost no trouble networking it via Ethernet and NMEA 2000  with the E Wide 14 on Gizmo, which having included sharing HD radar, DSM fishfinder, Navionics Platinum+ charts, and many sensors. Then again, I did need a special adapter cable in order to connect the e7’s new style Ethernet port into the older style SeaTalkHS network. I like the new plug, but as best I can tell the $50 one-meter cable is the only size available and you’re on your own if that doesn’t get you where you need to go. (Ray’s current SeaTalkHS page is unclear. {but — a correction! — it turns out that there are now all sorts of “RayNet” cables and adapters}) Which is all just the sort of things that get under the skin of pro and DIY installers alike…


But yet then again Ray’s efforts to make earlier SeaTalk sensors and instruments compatible with SeaTalkNG/NMEA 2000 networking — mainly the little Converter tee (tested here) — seem to work well, and the interchangeability between between STng and N2K cabling systems is better than ever (and was always better than many presumed). Ah, but on the other hand, I’ve heard several reports of networking issues with the previous generations of Raymarine STng MFDs and instruments, which may be a major reason they rebuilt the code from scratch but which does not leave previous customers with such problems any happier. (Note, though, that Ray has picked up the pace of software updates, including older gear, which is a good sign.)
   At any rate, there’s a certain amount of confusion and even downright resentment about Raymarine’s many product generations out in the field, and we’ll probably hear some examples in the comment section below!  And I’d have to say that the E Wide Series does look like a false start in retrospect. But I also recall that when I first got my hands on one the bigger subject was whether the company would survive its financial problems. And that if it weren’t for FLIR, Raymarine might now be a dwindling division of Garmin instead of being hell bent on outcompeting them…


I know one boatyard that currently advises customers to “Please just get Garmin; it works and we know how to install it!”…but is that actually a good idea?  I’m not questioning how well Garmin’s gear works — or Navico’s or Furuno’s, they all seem good these days — but I do think it wise to judge Raymarine mainly for what they offer now, which looks pretty powerful. There may be a little blood on the tracks, but I suspect that the plug set you see on the back of the e127 above — which is the same as the e165 except that the latter won’t have a built-in fishfinder option (and doesn’t contain its own GPS) — won’t change for a long time. And remember that the e-Series is purportedly 100% compatible with the a- and c-Series. And that there are two powerful connections you can’t see, WiFi and Bluetooth. How neat would be if Ray used the latter to interface with the DeLorme inReach’s two-way satellite connection? (Apparently there’s talk at least.)  But I’ve mouthed off enough; your turn, please!


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.

24 Responses

  1. John says:

    Options for longer Raynet to Seatalk HS cables were initially limited to the 1 meter length but are now available in 400mm, 1m, 3m, and 10m lenths.

  2. Eric says:

    Since I first went to the Annapolis Boat Show and talked with a representative, I’ve seen Raymarine as an arrogant company that prefers proprietary solutions over those that would be of more benefit to their customers. Perhaps lately they were dragged, kicking and screaming, into NMEA 2k “heaven,” but I don’t trust them and this looks like more of their business as usual.

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, John! It’s also good to learn that there’s a name for the new Ethernet cabling, “RayNet”, though I gather the network itself is still called SeaTalkHS. It’s all clearer now that I’ve seen your listings and found the detail page of Ray’s new HS5 Switch:

  4. Dan Corcoran (b393capt) says:


  5. Bill Bishop says:

    Ben, I’m not any more bewildered with Ray’s product line, any more than I am with the others. All of these system last so long. I suspect that the first generation “Wides” were a last ditch attempt to get some new product out the door, to keep the doors open at all. You can now buy the original C-wide’s new in the box at steeply discounted prices. I am as always disconcerted at both Ray’s, and Navico’s use of propriety cabling and connectors, it seems a bit churlish, and greedy. As for overall durability, and capability, Ray’s new gear is the equal of the best systems, with some new features to boot. I would bet though that this edge won’t last long in this very competitive and quickly changing this market place. Whew, I didn’t even have a Clint Eastwood moment…

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hi Eric,
    If you are referring to Seatalk NG being a’proprietary solutions’ you are probably correct.
    I believe that Raymarine went with a proprietary plug so that they could add an extra internal cable in their spur/drop cables to carry their legacy data (Seatalk 1 which has been around since the ’90s) through the same cables allowing customers to ‘mix and match’ old with new. I do not think this is a bad thing for people who have existing Seatalk information aboard do you?
    Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to Apple IOS and Android reflect that they are probably more open to external devices than some of the others.

  7. Richard C says:

    Because of Raymarine’s proprietary Seatalk they have never been on my buy list. After reading this post about the complicated maze of non-compatible / compatible models of Raymarine there is still no way I would consider them. The boat yard you mentioned that only likes to install Garmin is on the right track. I totally agree that Garmin gear is easy to wire and easily works with other brands of NMEA 2000 certified devices. Garmin’s software updates are outstanding and frequent. I suppose if you replace electronics on your mega yacht every three years Raymarine has some appeal, but for a small 40 foot sailboat just give me Garmin.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’m really happy that the new Raymarine MFDs are great, and that they have lots of new features.
    But since I’m currently stuck with a ‘Classic’ E120, and the newly installed v5.69 software seems to just disconnect and ignore my AIS instead of crashing the plotter as v5.52 did – why would I bother with the brand again?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Love the new Raymarine displays. I can’t wait for the a series to come out. My only fear is over extension of products. The new i70 and p70 are light years ahead of the ST70 they are replacing. Good work FLIR! Keep up the right balance between supporting the past and leading for the future!

  10. Sandy Daugherty says:

    Its awfully close to the Annapolis Boat Show, and I’ve heard no rumblings from Garmin (Garumblings?) about competitive products. What is the customary Big Player Strategy?

  11. Anonymous says:

    I view Seatalk as a huge positive. Of all the networks I have used, NMEA-0183 has had the most hassles and NMEA-2000 the least (e.g. none). Even now in 2012 with just two such NMEA-1083 devices, that network has been 100% of my hassles. Without Seatalk I would have had many more NMEA-0183 products in 2006 causing such hassles.

  12. dtgeno says:

    wow- can’t agree- I’ve spent the moon over the years on electronics,, and I’m in the business of electronics (aviation),, none of it lived up to the hype and it was all either limited in ability or just plain didn’t work, or work well (I have a brand new ACR Class B AIS if you want one for a good deal, couldn’t interface it at all so just went and got the 650 from ray and had it running in 10min),, I went with a full suite of the little-e stuff this year and I am thrilled,, it’s the first suite of electronics that lives up to it’s claims and performs,,, well, except for the rayplanner, it’s not worth using, they need a real full feature PC based nav software, possibly allowing us to run lighthouse on the pc. This is the best stuff ever to come to market.

  13. dtgeno says:

    Gents– I don’t like the proprietary cables either– so make your own,,, the pinouts are cat-5, I didn’t want to get fleeced with the extension cable for my new HD Color Radar so I just got some cat-5 cable and put some RJ’s on it and it works just fine,, you do need the funky interface cable for the back of the little-e so you so have to pop for their male to male thing but, I suspect you could knock one of those out in under an hour if you wanted to. I guess I give them credit for using normal cat-5 ethernet wire layouts.

  14. ValkyrieYachts says:

    I find some of the animosity over “rapid” deployment of new products from Raymarine interesting. The Computer and cellular phone industry launches new products often several times in a single year.
    The E-wide series followed several years after the E Classic. The new e-series did come a bit quicker, but competitive forces from Garmin and others means companies must stay on the cutting edge.
    If someone purchased an E-wide, they have a system that will last for years with great success. I have seen some older boats still using Raytheon Pathfinders. While this is an extreme example, my point is they still work and unless you want more technology, features or visual clarity, older still works…Just like computers and cell phones.
    The new e-series items are amazing and really do add some great new features. I do plan to swap out my 2 E-140 wides for the new MFD when they are released because I do like the cutting edge “toys”. In fact I just had my boat hauled out for bottom paint and had new chirp transducers installed in anticipation for the new monitors even though i will ahve to wait a while.
    Go Raymarine!

  15. Jeremy says:

    Ben, as usual is raising a couple of good points. One the one hand, it is a bit disconcerting to have thousands of dollars invested in products that are quickly outdated. But it is even worse to have invested those thousands on products that don’t work as promoted: The older ST70s—even after several years in the market—are still prone to rebooting and locking up. My E140W reboots every few hours and the wind vector is prone to strange behavior.
    The new E-series and i70 series are world class products. I have never had a lock up or reboot with either. (And I have a very complex set of networks—if there are bugs to be found, I usually find them quickly.) This means that earlier adopters of Raymarine’s previous generation products needs to upgrade, not because they crave the new features, but because it seems the only way to deal with buggy products.
    I am guessing that the bugs were part of the hardware and not something than could be fixed through a firmware upgrade. This means that Raymarine had to quickly release the latest generation of product lest their reputation for buggy products become impossible to erase.
    I do have a suggestion: Raymarine should consider a trade-in program for earlier customers. It would go a long way to rebuilding relationships with consumers that have stuck with them through so very frustrating product cycles.

  16. Labozza says:

    I’ve been very happy with every Raymarine product launched since the e7 and Lighthouse interface dropped, from the i70 to the ITC-5.
    However, in reference to the boat yard mentioned above that only installs Garmin because ‘it works and we know how to install it,’ that infuriates me. It might just be my luck, but every time a client has pushed for Garmin gear, it’s been disastrous. I went through 4 GMR18HDs on one boat before one worked without an error code after 3 minutes, 3 7215s before I got one that wouldn’t crash after running for 10 minutes, and Garmin won’t even provide information on what was wrong with any of these pieces in case there was possibly something else on the network that would cause a conflict.
    Garmin in my opinion produces junk ‘toys’, not tools for navigation, and boatyards who can’t understand how to install anything different are doing a major disservice to the unknowing client who simply wants a system to do its job. And because of that ignorance, the notion that Garmin is the answer spreads around the docks to other boaters who don’t know the difference, and you have people thinking a G2 AutoGuidance is going to take them wherever they want even though I’ve seen those routes ignore NavAids and marked channels, and boaters follow them blindly with the pilot engaged sitting back drinking a can of Schlitz.
    We don’t put junk electronics or engines in boats, because in a short season, any down time is unacceptable, and good luck getting someone from tech support at Garmin who has ANY idea on how to troubleshoot a problem without just telling you to send it back to Olathe. Just a joke. Every time I see a quality boat like a Hunt with a Garmin radar, I just cringe. Don’t even get me started on those plastic N2K connectors and tees, been down that road before and had a tee fall apart in my hands. Word is Garmin is set to debut all new gear at Lauderdale this year, I just wish they would spend some of their marketing dollars on improving their low-end product line.

  17. Bill Bishop says:

    Labozza, I would politely disagree with your assessment of Garmin. I find that the failure rate of almost everybody’s gear is about the same, and that rate is very low. I have recently pulled out a Garmin black and white GPSmap 215, and a Raymarine RL80 system. Both have been running flawlessly for well over a decade. All manufacturer’s product lines have some sort of a wart in their the mix, someplace.
    I also install what the clients want, and I have installed at least one of almost everything made, and a lot of many over the past 15 years. Half of the battle in putting together a system is spending enough time with the client to get a feel for their experience, and intended use of the boat. I don’t try to push clients into a particular direction unless I see a disaster, or kludge in the making. If they insist, I suggest another installer they can deal with.
    The Garmin tees are plastic, and so are majority of the tees in the marketplace. I have installed many Garmin tees, and others without tribulation.
    As for Auto Guidance, it’s like everything else, an aid to navigation. It generally works by dividing the chart into polygons. Any polygon that has a depth that is less than the system depth setting is discarded. A shortest path algorithm is then applied to to create the route. It uses chart depth data only, so if the chart depth is in error, the path will be in error. Our passes continually shit so its use in those locations is unacceptable. We also have a lot of thin water with private aids marking the channels. This can create some interesting and challenging routes that could require portaging of your yacht. I teach my clients how it works, and explain the pros and cons. I also suggest the depth settings should be very conservative. Garmin clearly addresses proper use of this function in their manual. It’s an aid, not a end all.
    Garmin’s customer service is also very good, and I have had no issues with their support. Sometime agents have to break away and go to their technical help desk for additional assistance, but in the end, I will get the help. Like all tech support calls, I may not get the answer I wanted, or instant gratification.
    In the end, I like Garmin a lot, have found the product to be reliable, full featured, and very easy, and intuitive
    to use. I can generically say the same for Navico, Furuno, and Raymarine. By the way, since my clients live mostly in Florida, they drink PBR while using the autopilot.

  18. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Well, Labozza, you’ve nicely illustrated one of my postulates about marine electronics: Somewhere on earth, every minute of every day, someone is developing a ridiculously exaggerated dislike of one brand or another!
    This morning I was checking out the adventures of the classic yacht Nordwind in the Northwest Passage and got particularly fascinated by a little boat called Dodo’s Delight that helped them when they lost their main anchor and their engine almost simultaneously. It’s an old 34-foot Westerly owned and skippered by a 77-year-old reverend and crewed by four mountain climbers. Yes, they’re not only doing the passage but also doing first ascents often right from Dodo’s deck. And what brand of electronics do you suppose is being used for such extreme boating? Garmin!
    At any rate, a related postulate that I share with anyone seeking good advice about marine electronics: Don’t trust any adviser who tells you that a whole major brand “sucks” or just makes “toys”; they’ve already revealed a disregard for the messy, nuanced truth!

  19. Bill Bishop says:

    Oops, sorry Ben about the Freudian slip that generated the missing “F” in shift, and have a fun trip. I know you can’t get lost on Gizmo.

  20. Labozza says:

    I love your blog. I check two blogs religiously each day when I get home from work, this one, and the MEIR.
    I respect both you and Ben and hold you in the highest regard as major contributors to the education of the public when it comes to marine electronics.
    My diatribe on Garmin was spurred by reading about the yard that only installs Garmin equipment because ‘they know how.’ Combine that with the experiences I’ve had this season with the Garmin issues I’ve had to personally deal with, I had to vent my frustration. Do I think everything Garmin makes is ‘junk’? No, they do make affordable products that provide a lot of features at half the cost of some of the competition. However, I’m someone who believes that only the BEST will do, so of course I’m biased towards the more ruggedly built systems out there that I’ve been lucky enough to not have problems with.
    I know I came across as a scorned woman with my rant, and I apologize for labeling an entire group of products as toys due to my experiences. I just feel the need sometimes to let people know that there are systems OTHER than Garmin out there, and that it isn’t a one horse race. When doing a boat show, you spend 50% taking about Garmin, and the other 50% talking about everything else combined. It’s the Kleenex of GPS systems.
    Regardless, I still provide a ‘Buyer Beware’ for any product that I have seen have issues. When Northstar had their fogging issues on the 6000i, when Navico first merged and had problems repairing items, I was there to try and prevent a disaster.
    When I called Garmin support this year and asked what the current draw of a GMR404 was supposed to be and was told ’20 or 30 AMPs’, and he didn’t know what ‘Error Code 6’ meant, you can imagine my surprise and shock that I couldn’t get an answer in order to fix a major problem. Experiences like this have happened on much more than one occasion, and perhaps its my luck, but even if it means I get ripped on here, I will still share my experiences at someone in the industry.
    Perhaps my frustration at the end of a long Monday got the best of me, and I apologize for offending anyone, but I always speak my mind (as Ben can attest) and I do so for the greater good of the marine electronics consumer. This is my passion, and I’m lucky enough to do this for a living. Sorry to have hijacked this thread, as the focus should be on Raymarine’s new e165 and the major progress they’ve made when they were just about written off and left for dead. I’m proud of their accomplishments, and we’ve had nothing but good luck with their new products thus far.
    Please don’t hold my opinions against me; just like XXXholes, everyone’s got one.

  21. Labozza says:

    Sorry for the double post, but I wanted to just touch on the G2 Vision Auto-Guidance you went into detail about, Bill.
    You’re absolutely right, it is an aid to navigation. And it’s a wonderful development. The problem is, and it could be the way it was marketed, or word of mouth stemming from people who do not understand it’s limitations, is the assumption that it replaces the need to actually look at the course and chart. In a world where an automotive GPS can bring you from point to point, where conditions rarely changed, it’s impossible to develop the same method of navigation for the water, yet many, many customers are convinced that that’s exactly what Auto-Guidance is. So unfortunately, I’ve had to spend countless hours explaining how the system was intended to work, as a ‘Guide’ with a suggested route based on draft and old spot soundings from surveys that could have shifted over time. I don’t want to be known as a random product bashed, but as someone who is simply trying to help enlighten the masses, just like you and Ben. I just have a different style, the NYC comes out and doesn’t translate well through text. However, to all, feel free to disagree with me and provide some good experiences along with a post. We’re all here to help improve the industry, and only through discourse can that be achieved. I just hope no one takes anything I say personally, that is never my intention.
    PS: I was very close to using PBR as my reference, but I figured Schlitz would be a more abstract alternative that would appeal to the older gentleman on the forum.

  22. Itteldoo2 says:

    Ben posted :
        There may be a little blood on the tracks,
        but I suspect that the plug set you see on
        the back of the e127 above — which is the
        same as the e165 except that the latter
        won’t have a built-in fishfinder option
        (and doesn’t contain its own GPS) — won’t
        change for a long time.
    We’ve heard much the same thing before, and then been sorely disappointed. Many times. You may well be completely correct; but you’ll have to forgive some of us for being “once burned, twice shy.” I, for one, feel that the jury is still out on “The New Raymarine.” I’m hoping for the best; but they’ll need to PROVE it — and that won’t happen overnight.
    Just as one data point regarding the sort of thing I’m talking about, are you aware that, just within the last week, they have reportedly removed the documentation for ALL legacy products older than the C/E-series from their publicly accessible web site? I’m told that registered dealers can still get to at least some of it; but what does this move say about their commitment to supporting their “loyal” customers?

  23. Bill Bishop says:

    Labozza, no worries about your New York accent, I often think my accent is a cross between an angry chipmunk and Clint Eastwood rambling on to an empty chair. You are correct about Garmin getting a larger share of my writing space. I write about what I do, and they are well over half of my business, largely driven by deep water tournament, and serious fishermen who want the much more powerful GSD 26 chirping sonar. Take out the sonar systems, and Ray is a close second, Navico is third, again because of the chirping sonar, and Furuno is fourth. Almost all of my clients, for better or worse already know what they want, I just make it work. Throw in satellite TV systems, updating older dash panels, and a zillion other things that are electrical in nature and I am rarely short of things to do.
    I have some mantras when dealing with clients. The first is what ever you buy, keep the gear within the family. Don’t put in a Ray system, and then add a Simrad pilot, you lose all of the designed in integration. Second, if your not sure what you want, go down to your local marine store and play with the systems before you buy them, and read about them on Panbo. My last piece of advice is that if you were happy with what you had before, buy that brand again. The learning curve will be much shorter. As far as the Auto Guidance goes, its sort of like the radar overlay issues recently discussed. Is something better than nothing? Maybe, maybe not. So again, no worries Labozza, I know it wasn’t personal, if you had said PBR, I would have said Schlitz, and I cut the line that mentioned drinking while loading their guns in Florida. Tnx Bill

  24. Robert says:

    The sad truth is that the problem of undereducated and/or unknowing boaters overly trusting features such as garmins auto guidance are far too common. for soomeone in the know, it can be a good tool. we should not be holding anyone accountable outside of the boat owner/boat operator who is ultimately responsible for the operation of the boat. new cell phones are easier to use but should we blame munufactures for their ease of use when someone is texting and driving?
    i ultimately did not buy a garmin, although tempted by ease of use and touch screen. i went with a B&G Zues. regardless it is MY responsibility and obligation to learn the equipment. i am in San Diego so the lessons of the Aegean are especially visible. it does not matter what equipment you use, they are only advisory, and assist in navigation and operation, not “the way” to navigate or operate the boat.

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