Furuno NavNet 3D is the latest iteration of this well-known marine electronics company’s network operating system. I’ll be reviewing the system with a 12-inch multi-function display unit.
The 12-inch MFD package ships with the display unit, metal mounting bracket, user’s handbook, installation guide book, flip-card operators guide, and a computer disk with the full 262-page operator’s manual.
An 8-inch NavNet 3D MFD is also available. The two available NavNet 3D displays are technically known as the NavNet 3D MFD12 and MFD8.
Our MFD12 test unit is brawny and demonstrates the robust construction we’ve come to expect from Furuno. The display front panel measures 15.6-inches wide by 10-inches wide; unit depth is 5.2-inches.
Normally a unit of this size and sophistication would be panel mounted. A removable front bezel provides access to mounting holes that secure the unit for flush mounting. We used the accompanying heavy-duty metal gimbal bracket to mount the MFD12 to our test rig.
One thing you’ll notice right away is the time this unit takes to boot up. During my review it took, on average, about two minutes to get everything cranked up.
When connected to the appropriate optional sensors a NavNet 3D MFD will interface with a GPS sensor, radar, black box fishfinder, AIS, Sirius weather receiver, and video.
Multiple NavNet 3D display units can share information via high-speed Ethernet. A USB mouse can be added too. These display units will also interface with NMEA0183 devices with support for data transfer rates of up to 38,400 baud. They will also couple to a NMEA2000 network.
I connected a Furuno GP330B GPS sensor via NMEA2000 to the MFD12 for this test. NavNet 3D components will operate with either 12- or 24-volt DC electrical system.
I measured the power usage of the MFD with a GPS sensor connected at about 2.7 amps. Selecting sleep mode turns off the display screen and drops the power usage to about 1.3 amps.
Screen Size and Viewability
can display up to four windows at one time. Here you can see three at once with the chart page, sounder, and steering data.
The Furuno MFD12 is equipped with a 9.8-inch wide by 7.2-inch high display screen. The high contrast screen measures 12-inches on the diagonal and carries a very respectable 800 by 600 pixels of resolution.
I found the Furuno display screen to be clear, bright and easy to read. Certain chart details do require close inspection to read. This characteristic will likely be improved with an soon to be released software update designed to enhance chart rendering.
When viewed from straight out front the display maintains excellent screen brightness even when wearing polarized sunglasses. At steep side angles I noted no screen darkening or reduction in readability with or without sunglasses. I rated this Furuno multifunction display screen excellent for daylight viewability. No screen fogging was apparent in the display at anytime.
Screen brightness can be set to one of seven levels with the RotoKey after a quick press of the Brilliance key. With the brightness set to minimum the screen goes nearly to black.
The Furuno NavNet 3D MFD12 uses 14 single or dual function pushbuttons, a cursor pad, scrolling pad, and rotary enter knob known as the RotoKey to control and manipulate a variety of onscreen menus.
This is a very powerful MFD with gobs of functions and choices available. Some review of the operating manual and/or operator’s guide is needed to begin operating this unit. This is not a machine you just crank up and go.
This machine has literally hundreds of menu choices available to the user. The most common functions are page specific and are displayed with a press of the RotoKey. From here you can move through options and make selections with the RotoKey.
More in-depth menus are displayed by pressing the menu key. Here you’ll find full page menus for everything from waypoints to databoxes to alarms. The options seem almost endless.
A waypoint is built at the ship’s present position with a quick press of the Save key. To build a point at the cursor position you place it with cursor pad and then hit the Points key.
To edit a waypoint you’d cursor to it then use the right click button and select edit. From this waypoint list you can quickly change the name, position data, symbol, color, and group.
You can also add a comment, record the depth, or set up an avoidance circle around the point. It is always a nice feature to be able to add a comment to the waypoint data because a name doesnt usually tell the whole story.
Waypoints names can be up to 13 characters long, be identified with one of 32 symbols and one of 7 colors. Waypoints can also be placed in a specific group, like fishing or navigation, for easier management. A NavNet 3D MFD can store up to 2000 individual waypoints.
Building a route with the Furuno NavNet 3D MFD is actually fun. You simply press the Route key then use the cursor pad and left click button to add points. One really cool feature is the automatic chart advancement in the direction of your route.
Placing the cursor over a route and hitting the right click button lets you activate the route, reverse it, insert a point, rename it, or any other several other options. A NavNet 3D MFD can store up to 200 routes with as many as 100 waypoints in each one.
Odds and Ends
You activate the man overboard function by pressing and holding the MOB button. This creates an MOB waypoint on the chart and zooms the chart view into that area.
Onscreen databoxes, if properly setup, will give you precise navigation information to return the boat to the MOB point. I like the fact that it only takes a single key press to activate and use this essential safety function.
The Furuno NavNet 3D MFDs have two chart orientation options, North Up and Heading Up. Both worked properly during my at sea review. Adding a heading sensor to the system add more orientation options.
The adjustable course and speed predictor line can be set in one of eight steps from 10 seconds to 30 minutes. Setting this number to a value appropriate for your vessels operating speed range increases the already useful tools’ functionality.
Tide information is selected from the chart page using the RotoKey. The unit automatically displays the nearest tide station data in both a text and graphic format. Once your on the tide graph page you can choose any one of the ten nearest stations and change the date/time as needed.
The Furuno NavNet 3D MFD is a powerful tool that offers boaters the starting point to develop a total navigation package for their boat.