The latest “ball buster” product from Simrad is the new Simrad Precision-9 electronic compass.
It has not gotten very much attention – maybe because Simrad is downplaying the most important part of the product – it outputs Heave data – at a sensible price point (about 40% less of what the cheapest other Heave Sensors cost)
[update 19/02: Seems like Heave data won’t be in the initial release and mention of it has been removed from Simrad’s Website (see source link bottom of page). Heave will become available with a later software according to the trusted writers at TheHullTruth]
So what is that Heave anyway? It is the motion you have on a boat when boat is moving and waves are moving your boat up and down. And why is that important? Well – when you are using your fish-finder – you are (often) trying to capture images of the landmass below the boat. When the boat is rolling and moving up and down – it will look like the ground below moves up and down as well. Your boat moved 1″ up – then fish-finder thinks there is 1″ more water between you and the land below. So in choppy water – the scan of the land underneath your boat – will look like a newly plowed field on your fish-finder – even if it is not.
But with Heave Data – you can TRY to minimize the impact of the boats movements with your fish-finder data. That means the heave data will help your fish-finder to know if your boat is moving up or down relative to the ground below – and then the advanced software in the fish-finder can compensate for boat movement. So no more newly plowed fields – just a nice straight(ish) bottom scan. But it does require the fishfinder display to be able to read and understand heave data to compensate.
Simrad Precision-9 specifications
From Simrad’s own Blurb: “The Precision-9 Compass supplies accurate heading and rate-of-turn information to Simrad autopilot, radar and navigation systems over an NMEA 2000® connection. With an internal array of solid-state sensors constantly measuring motion and orientation on nine axes, the Precision-9 also provides roll, pitch and heave data to compatible equipment. An easily adjustable mounting bracket and single-cable connection allow simple installation aboard any vessel, including up-mast mounting suitable for steel hulls”
Hmm – heave data only mentioned in passing. I think it will also supply heave data to other companies fishfinders and other devices capable of receiving and processing heave data. But why downplay it so much?
Anyway – the Simrad Precision-9 connects via NMEA-2000(R) – and outputs ROT (Rate of Turn), Roll, Pitch and Heave. Accuracy is ±2° after calibration. It mounts like the “old” Airmar G2183 sensor – so with an adjustable base plate you can attach to bulkheads or up-mast. It is IPX7 waterproof as well so it can be installed externally.
It has a NMEA LEN of 1 (yes) – so it only uses 0.4 watt. That is very little power consumption even for an electronic compass. Airmar’s old H2183 uses twice that – and Maretron’s SSC300 uses 3 times the power of Simrad Precision-9.
It will of course be available in other Simrad related brands owned by Navico. So Lowrance and B&G will have the Precision-9 as well with their branding. Simrad has not announced any pricing – but Lowrance has – and Lowrance Precision-9 will cost $645.
If you do not already have a good GPS receiver then Simrad still sell’s the HS60 older generation GPS with Heave Sensor and compass for $1000. But it is a bit older tech.
But for people who already have a great GPS receiver – the Simrad Precision-9 looks like a real winner – and extra much so for sailboats due to the extremely low power consumption. We hope Simrad will send us one for review.