B&G Zeus2 Completed

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…the new B&G Zeus2 sailing screen…

After two days of working with the wonderful B&G tech support team, we have solved all our new network install challenges. The solutions were all simple and were a result of missed wires or disconnected wires during the clean up. Now, we have a fully running B&G Zeus2 Multi-function Display MDF and an NAC-3 autopilot computer, GPS, rudder reference, compass 9, DST, 4G radar and 508 wind anemometer with two Triton2 displays, one in the cockpit and one at the nav desk.

The NAC-3 Autopilot computer

This has gone more smoothly than first expected, but then again, we just jumped in and did it! We ripped out all our old gear on Nov 1, then pulled out all the old wires, and on Nov 2 or Nov 3 we started this install. Here we are on Nov 18 and everything is installed and running. All that is needed now is to configure the autopilot on a sea trial. Radeen and I are very proud and excited to have done 99% of the work ourselves while on a mooring ball. Imagine that!

Notice the plug was pulled out and was pushed over the board

So, what actually went wrong? This gear was just released on Oct 27. It is so new, in fact, the B&G staff does not have an NAC-3 pilot installed at the tech support center, so we are on our own out here testing, documenting and learning along with the consistently polite and helpful B&G staff. It is exciting, but also makes it even more challenging and we need to try to solve our own problems. In doing so, we jump back in and look at our installs, we get out the 50+ page installation manuals and re-read them for a ninety-ninth time. Yes, there are errors because they are new, version 1.0. Then we call tech support and they tell us that they are not sure, but go check all your connections and wires. While doing this in the sail locker, we discovered that the NMEA 2000 drop cable from the NAC-3 autopilot was pulled out of the circuit board. WHAT? How could this happen? Well it happened because B&G has no wire clamp or other fitting to keep the plug in the circuit board. So, if you happen to pull on this wire, it unplugs from inside the box (while still looking fine on the outside) Then the NAC-3 pilot is offline and cannot be found on the network. There it is, simply a wiring issue. It took a several phone calls and installing new updated software and rebooting until we found this easy wiring issue. Once it was solved, the gear configured itself and found the autopilot computer. Perfect!

Navico provides a 6 foot ethernet wire with their own end fittings.
I need this to be 50+ feet to reach the helm.

Now, the final wire to run is a new ethernet wire from the base of the mast to the helm. WHAT? WHY? We thought we were finished! We were told we needed only one special Simrad/Simnet $50 1 foot long drop cable from the radar interface box into the NMEA 2000 backbone. So we ordered this, waited a day, it came in, we plugged it in and then, foolishly, I spent lots of time making connections at the base of the mast look really nice. I secured all the wires and screwed all the wire ties down and made sure nothing will move when bashing into waves offshore. And then, it did not work. That is when we learned that we ALSO need Navico’s proprietary ethernet wire that will run from the mast to the helm Zeus2 display. WHAT? This did not show in the manual! It showed that we could connect it to the NMEA 2000 bus and it would feed to the helm. NO, that will not work, we need the special Navico Ethernet wire. It is part # blah blah blah and it is 50 feet long and it costs $110. Errrrrrrrrrr. Well, I am a Microsoft MCSE Certified Systems Engineer. I have run a lot of ethernet. I will make my own. I must use their proprietary end fittings, but for the 50 feet between the two, I will splice on cat 6 ethernet wire.  So THAT is the last wire I need to run. When that is added, then we will have radar control at the helm on the Zeus2. I can now write my own support manual on how to set up all this gear. Maybe I will!

Here are some photos:

While I worked on the network, Radeen did laundry. Thank you!

Look what I found behind the door, a disconnected NMEA 2000 plug!

The fix, plug it make in and add a wire tie at the bottom to prevent pulling this out ever again.

There it is, the NAC-3 Autopilot displayed on the Zeus2 9 inch screen at the helm,

Dockside configuration complete. The rudder reference needs to know where the stops are.

Notice the rudder reference at the top right.

We finally enjoyed a sunset and a bottle of wine tonite.

Life is good on a cruising sailboat!
We had a great dinner and a nice break from boat work with Drew and Deb of IP380 Shawnee
before they headed home to New England for the holidays.
Sadly, we have no photo of our delightful lunch with John and Honey, the original owners of our IP27, Cinnamon. We have been Spring Cove, Rock Hall, MD, friends since 1991!
It was fun getting to know Mo and George of IP35 Passages
before they also left to go home to New England for the holidays.
(Jim and Laurie of IP350 Kismet were only a few miles away,
but the wind was blowing and so they kept going!)

We are now winding down this B&G network install after 18 days. Today we picked up our Spectra Ventura 200 watermaker. It is time to start that project next. We also received our boom back from Mack Sails with new sheaves for an upgraded reefing design. Radeen and I reinstalled the boom tonight before just sunset. Island Spirit refit #3 is progressing very well. Thank you for following along and thank you for the emails and comments. We do hear from many of you and that is very fun.

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3 Replies to “B&G Zeus2 Completed”

  1. Awesome work
    Question about the Zeus MFD. In all the pictures so far you've not shown a chart. I assume it does function as a chart plotter – right? If so, when you are displaying the chart, are the other displays (speed, wind, depth, etc.) hidden or are they displayed as well (maybe at the margins)? If charts are displayed, which charts (Noaa, Navionics, Jeppson)?

    Its good to hear that the B&G folk are helpful. I've had no luck getting any help for the B&G equipment that came with my boat…yes it is 16 years old, but it still has the B&G name on the cover and I would have hoped that they would have wanted to help an old customer so that he might become a new customer…so I went with Raytheon when I got my MFD and radar. We'll see how it goes in the future.

  2. A few years back, there was talk that the next generation autopilot/course computers would integrate wind speed, wind direction, depth, chart topography,tides, currents,VMG and destination way points to provide real time dynamic tactical feed back to determine best tack and optimum course…..do these new b&g instruments do this?

  3. Hi. I just bought the same auto pilot system and I was wondering where you attached that grounding cable to in the NAC-3?
    Did you connect to the engine block or elsewhere?

    Thanks for your time


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