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Raymarine i70 odd bug?

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In the summer of 2014, I installed lots of new Raymarine on Atsa - e95, new HD radar, Evolution AP, AIS650 - and a Seatalk-to-Seatalk NG converter for my olde ST60 wind/speed/depth instruments (which are still going strong!).

I also installed the (free!) i70 Ray threw in to the system purchase.

When I'm working/living on the boat in the marina, I turn off the plotter, radar and AP, but I like to leave the wind and depth instruments on - so the i70 stays on as well, of course. I noticed that occasionally (averaging maybe once a week) the i70 would freeze up - the wind arrow would disappear, and the numerical readouts would go to dashes, though the lights stayed on. I could restore it quickly by cycling the power buss, but also discovered I could NOT turn the unit off by pressing the power button - the initial downcounting display would come up, but would never increment below 3 - and the unit would not shut off.

I figured it was just a glitch in the internal firmware, and since it never did it when all the systems were active, I didn't worry about it. BUT - I then acquired another i70 (for the master stateroom - a wonderful thing I've ALWAYS wanted!) and discovered a very odd thing - when one unit does the "freeze", they BOTH do! This implies that the fault (whatever it is) is being conveyed via the network, rather than being some sort of random glitch. I suppose it could be related to the power buss, but the fault is ALWAYS on both units, with identical symptoms - and nothing else seems to be affected (including the ST60 instruments, AIS650 and the AP heading/rudder position sensors which continue to work just fine!).

Anybody got any thoughts?

S/V Atsa

11 Replies

  • I suspect the root cause/solution will be the finding and fix of an electrical issue, specifically grounding (or) far less likely, some device on your network has a maximum run time before it does something weird.

    Any intermittent problem will be hard to find, maybe check this article from Ben for a starting point:

    Also be sure you don't have a ground loop (an arrangement of instruments or an extra ground wire that lets ground follow two different paths back to the batter)

    Maybe its something very obvious, like a bad connection, that can be found if you look for a big voltage drop. Use a VOM to check the voltages at the power into your nmea2000 network cabling and at the displays (carefully cut the end off an nmea-2000 cable to expose power and ground, expose just the power and ground leads so they won't touch, and plug it into an empty daisy chaining port on the display.)

    Also, maybe look for something timing out after a week. Perhaps try powering your network off/on every three days, and see if it still happens regularly once a week or the problem just goes away.

    Be sure to write back if this worked, didn't work, or you gave up.

  • I forgot to write above, since both displays froze at the same time, every time, I am thinking there is something on the bus both i70's didn't like.

    If it's bad data from transient noise on the bus that the i70's are choking on, then there is probably a whole lot of transient noise (as the i70's should be ignoring it all) for some odd combination to trip it up, possibly from a ground loop or bad ground.

  • Hi Dan! Well, I would tend to agree with your assessment that the power system might be the culprit - except I really don't think so..:)
    I did a bunch of rewiring when the new system was installed, and things like voltage drops (including transient ones - I used a 'scope to watch the buss while running the Autopilot pump and also stuff like bilge pumps, etc.) because I didn't want intermittents or mysteries..:) (Worked most of my life fixing stuff - I HATE intermittent problems!) The 12V feed is very low impedance, and the very small bumps noted don't seem to bother anything.
    Also, the original i70 is right at the power feed point, while the one in the stateroom is as far away as you can get in my system. In my nav system, there are 5 power feeds: the instrument buss (which also feeds the olde Seatalk buss), the e95, the AIS650, the Radar/high speed bridge and the autopilot driver box - all in accordance with Ray's instructions. All this wiring is new as of two summers ago EXCEPT the ST60 Seatalk network
    cabling. I could buy a flaw in that wiring - but I would think it would also glitch the Seatalk stuffe, which continues to work fine.
    None of the other devices (including the AP controller, which would seem very similar to the i70) seem to experience any glitches at all (or they self-recover and I never notice) and the interval is really random - sometimes I go weeks without it, then get two in two days. What is really remarkable about the flaw is that it appears to do a rather obscure and distinctive thing to BOTH displays - it stops the internal clock in some way that even pressing the "menu" button cannot shut the device off! (It changes the display, but the countdown timer never progresses.)
    At this point, I'm starting to think it's either some other device on the data buss randomly coming up with something rude that disturbs both displays equally - or MAYBE it's really tied to that clock - since the e95 is off, there aren't any time/date messages being sent around and perhaps this causes a combination that sets it off.
    In actuality, as long as it doesn't do it while I'm underway, it's just a puzzlement, not a real hazard. I've had the entire system up for many weeks solid, and it's never done it when the chartplotter (with GPS inside) is active.

    Thanks for your thoughts!


  • You made no mention of looking for ground loops. You could have a ground loop that responds different with the e95 on or off.

    From what you wrote I believe you have enough information to post on Raymarine's support board. That it happens or not with e95 on should be a great clue. When you do so, note to them how you turn on/off the e95, is it at the e95, circuit breaker, etc.

    Another thought. If you turn it off at a breaker, give some thought as to what else goes on/off with the breaker, and if you could experiment again with leaving the breaker on and just turning off the e95 at the power button.

  • It's real easy to establish a ground loop when using NMEA-2000 and seatalk. Also misuse of the drainwire can become a source of a ground loop.

    It's even easier to accidentally power seatalk from multiple sources especially with Autopilot's, then cause a voltage drop when you have the breaker to the autopilot off for example if you power seatalk from the Autopilot and another location. I think there is also a scenario with the p70 and the autopilot you need to watch for. (You need not always connect the red seatalk wire to every device, just ground and data wire)

  • Note the above "accidently power seatalk" reference is in regards to the S2G type autopilot, that has seatalk connections on it.

  • Hi Dan!

    Sorry for the delay - my wife & I just spent a delightful week touring the "Barrancas del Cobre" ("Copper Canyons") of Mexico - took the big steel ferryboat from La Paz to Topolobampa then the train "El Chepe" up to the mountains. Highly recommended!

    I've pondered on the ground loop possibilities (a familiar problem) but unless there is a fault somewhere inside the Ray boxes, it seems unlikely. All of the wiring is new, each buss has its own breaker (with it's own A- connection to the negative buss behind the electrical panel) and I checked to see if the AP pump and valve were properly isolated from the hydraulic ram (which would be connected to the bonding system via the quadrant). I normally leave all the breakers on and shut off the e95 with the button (that way I can turn it on from the helm..:-)
    The AP is all new "Evolution", so no SeaTalk connection - just the SeaTalkNG and 12VDC. The olde Seatalk stuff is the speed, depth and wind instruments, and while I didn't change the data buss wiring, it can only connect to power at one end, which is where I inserted it into the converter block (ST - STNG converter).
    This does bring in the possibility that the culprit may be that converter block - since there must be some sort of "smarts" inside to do the speed/data conversion - perhaps it's inventing something odd that disturbs the i70s - and it wouldn't affect the ST60 stuff at all since the data flow is only one way.

    Thanks again for your thoughts - I really do need to think it through all the way, and your questions have been very useful..:)


    Regarding the Ray Forum - I've used them very successfully in the past - they were very patient and thorough, and ID'd a truly bizarre problem involving my S-H GX1600 radio -- BUT - my recent experience with them has turned me off completely. I posted a query regarding a problem updating my AIS firmware, and the moderator who responded was a) rude; b) edited my posts (making me look like an idiot); and c) locked the thread after leaving an extremely rude response. Frankly, I don't know what has happened there, but I don't need the aggravation.

  • I see I am not the only person to too experience my original post being (heavily) modified, and a weird moderator.

    For this problem, you have enough information for a Raymarine engineer to help you, and your persistence will make a better product for all of us to use.

  • I had i70's on my previous sailboat, and had issues with them locking up every so often. I had a very busy N2K bus with about 40 devices, and ended up finding an issue with another vendors device (a well known one) sending out some garbage PGN's that caused one or more of the i70's to lock up.

    That vendor eventually issued a firmware update that fixed the problem. I was lucky enough to have an Actisense gateway and a Maretron bus tester that allowed me to track it down. I have found the i70's to be more finicky in general than the B&G Tritons & Maretron displays I have.

    In the last few months, I've also seen the downturn on Raymarine's forums. It's disappointing because they used to be a place where you could find good info.

  • Hi Steve & Dan,
    Well, I bit the bullet and posted a query on the Ray forum. The fellow there asked me what my voltage was on the far end of my network when the i70s malfunctioned, so I measured it - the same as my battery voltage at the time (13.5v) It took a while to catch a fresh failure, but I actually had two of them last week.
    What's got me scratching is that the behavior of the "off button" has now changed - when earlier it was failing to decrement (and turn the unit off), it's now working - though turning the unit off & on doesn't resolve the issue. This means I'm now focusing on the ST-to-STnG adapter - how or why it was exhibiting it's earlier behavior, I have no idea! And as long as it never does it while I'm underway, I guess I'm OK - though it IS annoying. I'm going to report this to Ray - their response should be interesting.

    Thanks Again!


  • Hartley,

    Is your ST-to-STnG adapter updated to the newest firmware? I know there were some issues with the older versions. Have you tried removing that from the network to see if it's causing some issues?

    I've had some off and on weirdness with the same device in my network, but after getting a Ray eS78 installed in the last 6 months, and keeping things upgraded/updated, they seem to have gone away.