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Furuno Software Update

The just released Furuno software update for the NavNet3D system adds several new features, improves a few others, and fixes one known issue.

Software version 2.05 contains files to update the 12-inch and 8-inch MFDs, black box MFD, radar, and both black box sounders, DFF1 and DFF3.

Any of these marine electronics products that are on your network will update automatically from the master MFD as it updates. To perform the update you’ll need to be able to access the Furuno website, unzip files, and transfer those files to an SD card.

Once you have the appropriate files on the SD card it is just a matter of following some simple instructions and clicking a few boxes.

New Features, Improvements, and Fixes

    • Compatibility with Jeppesen C-MAP chart data.
    • Improved vector chart rendering with more contrast, better object representation, and thinner line drawing.
    • A number of vector chart color schemes are no available.
    • You can configure the chart, with one of six settings from 0 to 30 feet, to display depth soundings in red for shallow areas.
    • Data boxes opacity is now configurable.
    • Data have been added to improve the world base maps.
    • The data refresh rate for certain autopilot related NMEA 0183 sentences has been increased.
    • The world base map is now available in “Fishing Mode”.
    • A fault in the NMEA N2K data stream output has been fixed.

One minor item, only found in a few out of several thousand units in service, that is not addressed in this Furuno software update. The MFD8 or MFD12 may freeze if the tide or current overlay is left on for extended periods of time. We are talking anywhere from 12 hours to three days here. If this happens, all you need to do is power down and restart. Furuno recommends turning off the overlays when they are not in use to avoid this problem.

Which Furuno Software Update?

Before you do a software update you’ll need to determine which one is appropriate for your unit. There are two available; one is an incremental update for units with version 2 software already installed and the other is for units with only version 1 software installed. My test unit had software version 2.02 already installed so I used the incremental update.

Do the Update

Once on the Furuno site and on the MFD12 product page I went to the software tab and printed the instruction sheet. Next, I downloaded the files (took less than 5 minutes), unzipped them, and moved them to a blank SD card. Furuno gives specific instructions to do this in Appendix 3.1. They also list a method to backup your waypoints and routes prior to performing the update in Appendix 3.2. I did not backup waypoints or routes since I was updating a test unit. Although this update should leave all your data intact, you should still create a backup.

With the MFD12 turned on, I placed the SD card in the top slot, selected Menu, and used the Rotokey to choose “Files”. Then I used the cursor to select “Import Update Files” and hit enter. The machine will then tell you it has detected an SD card and ask if you want to continue. You click Yes, and will then see a “Please Wait” message. A moment late the screen will blank and show “Now Initializing…” After several seconds a list of files will display. My list was short since I was only updating the MFD12; if you have more gear on the network more files will be listed. Next, you’ll cursor to the “Start” field and hit enter and in a few seconds a flashing “Now Updating” will appear onscreen. Since I was only updating the MFD12 the actual update only took about 30 seconds. The last thing you’ll see is ready to shutdown message, click OK, and then wait for the system to completely shutdown. That’s it, update complete.

Point to Remember

Two caveats to keep in mind when installing this Furuno software update, if you are updating a black box MFD be aware that it will shutdown and restart twice, don’t fool with anything while this is taking place. Also, following the update Furuno recommends resetting the vector chart settings back to factory default on every MFD in your system. Once this has been completed you can go back and adjust the settings as desired.

More Downloads Available

Concurrent with this new software release Furuno has made available significant amounts of additional data for download. In addition to the ability to now purchase Navionics and C-MAP chart data in NavNet3D format, the library of NOAA vector charts has increased significantly.

When NavNet3D first hit the market only about 60% of the U.S. had chart availability, now that number is has risen to about 80%. According to Furuno Senior Product Manager, Eric Kunz, they expect to have full U.S. NOAA vector chart coverage available in less than 24 months. You can download Navionics or C-MAP data at any time, however to use the charts in your MFD you’ll also need to purchase and download an unlock code.

You will also find a long list of high resolution satellite photos available free for download. Current satellite photo coverage is available for the majority of the coastal U.S., Mississippi River, Great Lakes, and Puerto Rico.

If you have NavNet3D gear installed aboard your boat it is time to do this Furuno software update and check for any additional chart or photo downloads you might find useful.