Murphy HelmView, the many faces of


My April PMY column about Charles Industries, and isolation transformers specifically, is now online. Also up are some new product write-ups meant, in part, to illustrate how companies that traditionally supplied engine and boat manufacturers are now making plays for helm space and consumer attention. One is instrument maker F.W. Murphy, whose HelmView is seen above as part of Volvo Penta’s EVC system but is also capable of chart plotting using its SD slot for Navionics cards (below). This puppy can handled three simultaneous CANbus connections, including NMEA 2000, as explained here, and at the Murphy site (and  also as used aboard a Cruisers Yachts 447). HelmView’s retail price is not trivial, but it might make a super geek gauge.
  I also covered Charles’ new IMcharger series, which has optional helm display and/or N2K output, electronically controlled fuel tank selectors from Parker Fluid Control, and a nifty BilgeWatch8 monitoring system that I still have in the test lab, and will expand on here one day.


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Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

2 Responses

  1. MarinetteJoe says:

    Public review of Helmview
    The FWMurphy Helmview product is a well designed engine monitoring and multipurpose display. There is a lot to like about this stylish device and some things I’d like to see done better. That said, this is a plus up of a gauge package – NMEA2000 Chartplotter/gps (with Navionics), depth finder, 1939 engine connections, Genset monitor… etc. Engine diagnostic packages are key to mantaining a healthy engine, and I really wanted that built in. I chose the FWmurphy because of the realtime J1939 engine diagnostics. J1939 to NMEA2000 gateways are not the same thing (for example fuel flow messages are not passed).
    The Helmview opens up a lot of options, and I would consider it essential to have these options – I mean the “right now diagnostics” for any boat with expensive engines. Hence the name “Helmview” The Helmview is drawn from FWMurphy’s experience in engine gauges, diagnostics and montioring systems. In some ways, the onboard diagnostics at the helm were key to my selection. Engines are expensive and knowing the problem is half the battle. I purchased the Helmview with twin 5.7 Crusaders, and it now works well with these engines.
    After resolving a software issue with dynamic addressing, (hint to FW. put a debug logger for CAN option to the SD), I found the product reliable and easy to use. Having dual helms actually was an issue with the released software, but this was fixed with a software update.
    FW Murphy worked hard to resolve this and sent a map package for my cost and time.
    Good features
    – Lot of overall capability, it’s almost like having a Diagnostic Package built in, reliable and easy to us to configure both J1939 and NMEA2000 bus systems,
    – supports analog gauges with the Modbus,
    – well made with good side buttons,
    – reliable
    – good look and feel to use,
    – well supported by the company and factory,
    – quick enough for the purpose,
    – supports fuel flow and usage from the engines,
    – electronically and physically well made, and very EMI quiet,
    – better customer service support than the Crusader team,
    – monitors different types of engines in the same package (Onan Quiet Gas and Crusader for me)
    – Can have diesel and gas engine monitors together,
    – and lot’s of NMEA2000 PGN’s (rudder, fuel, depth).
    Not so great
    – A bit dim (but readable) for direct sunlight. The contrast and brightness could be better, but brightness in a monitor is the inverse of life. It should be 750 NITS bright to be easily readable.
    – A bit small of a display for the device as a main display. While 6.4 inches is small for a main display, the Helmview tries to cross from engine features to a chartplotter display. I will not use it as the main display. Processor speed is OK, but some features should be faster.
    – The DT06 NMEA2000 connector should come with an adaptor for NMEA2000 micro (Devicenet) for non OEM Sales in the box. These Deutsch connectors are hard to find for the end user, and harder to order from distributors.
    The Crusader harness adaptor is non standard for marine use, (not a Murphy knock) and is a pain to install and test to the Murphy system. The harness from Crusader is poorly designed and this is especially true for the dual helms installation. You really appreciate the NMEA2000 cable design after working with this.
    – Crusader was not impressive as the engine package integrator – Their engine manual for dual helmview installation was scanty and that cost money to resolve issues.
    – Sales distribution on the East Coast, it’s hard to find and to buy and the accessories are even harder to get. I had to get most of my info from good people at Marysville Marine (which I could not buy from) rather than from EDI in New Jersey.
    – NOTE: I’d like to be able to clear and download engine codes and diagnostic data – (as Diacom does by Rinda) – Hint add this feature to an installable SD card, and you have the winner.
    I would recommend the FWMurphy for modern engines and as a back up to larger and brighter display system. I would also recommend this as the direct J1939 connection over a J1939-NMEA2000 solution.
    Features I’d like to see….
    – Brighter display and a bit larger
    – Touchscreen
    – Better use of the SD card, and show me where on the engine I should check
    – Faster processor and better plotter options
    – Gateway capability – A high speed isolated USB port for PC features or RS-232.

  2. MarinetteJoe says:

    To the president of FW Murphy and Crusader (PleasureCraft). This regards a request for refunds of extraordinary charges and my experience with your two companies.
    J Guapsari is the author of a book on quality called “I know it when I see it”, and not as a Supreme Court test either. (It’s a QA joke). Total quality is in every part of the work, and I’ll come back to this book later….
    I am Joseph H*, a new Crusader and FW Murphy owner that had your systems installed in my 37ft Marinette. I am sending this to express my unhappiness with the quality issues that the package recommended by Crusader and FW Murphy has incurred in time and expense. I selected this package because I wanted the engine diagnostic features and fuel flow that were advertised to be on the displays as well as the dual J1939 and NMEA 2000 (this is why I did not choose a Maretron J1939 to NMEA2000 adaptor). I selected Crusader over Mercury and Indmar (at a premium) based on reputation, and other Crusader owners that have these engines and systems.
    In no case do I think that either of your companies have a poor product or lack commitment, but it’s as always the sum of all systems + the integration factor that provides the quality.
    I do wish to state that Levi B* of FWMurphy worked in an exemplary manner, in light of a problem that the addressing scheme problem. More on this later….
    Prior to Purchase
    First, Engine Distributors (EDI-NJ) took more than a month and a half to deliver the engines, and the FW Murphys and harnesses came 2 weeks after that. Significant effort was expended (at my cost) in having the boatyard (Cockrells) buy the system. And more effort to get this delivered and get status. Having dealt with Marysville Marine as a prior Chrysler 318 owner, I was familiar with a excellent and responsive engine distributor. The difference was like night (EDI) and day (Marysville). Actually it was Marysville Marine that answered many of our questions. (Kudos to them and thanks, they made the sale for EDI. Too bad I could not get them as distributors.)
    Second, when I contacted Crusader twice, I specifically asked whether this package (from the distributor) being Dual Crusader Engines and Dual HelmViews with SyncnCruz has ever been installed elsewhere. I was told after the purchase that my system was setup and tested. Well, neither can have been true, since the FWMurphy software would have failed in this configuration for Crusaders, everywhere and the harness required special customization for the install.
    What were the problems?
    FW Murphy
    FwMurphy had the more intractable issue, a problem with the preferred addressing on the J1939 with the software. The Helmview software had 2 issues:
    First, it failed to give or log the correct J1939 error (see SAE J1939-81 May 2003 Page 36) on “Cannot Claim Address” state. Without the correct error logging, Levi and Myles could not easily solve the problem. The logging software in the helmview (a “softig?” CANBUS) that Levi used did not provide the correct data for him to idenify the issue. Either the Helmview or equipment availaible to Levi should have identified the problem. (Comment: a USBee DX scope (has a can decoder in the scope) or the CANBUS dongle could have recorded data that could be sent back for analysis and problem identification.
    The tech needs – the right tools to identify all problems right away at the boat or it’s back to the lab for better systems support.
    Second, the Helmview should have been tested to comply with J1939 for versions with the same ID and name. A dual helm is not uncommon on boats and an application note should have allowed for this. The use of the MAN software is a workaround. Both displays were replaced in attempts to resolve this.
    J1939 is described in Voss’s book on J1939 If you have modern engines in a boat, you likely have J1939.
    Again FWMurphy’s commitment to quality and attempts to address issues, kept them on the boat.
    This also came down to two issues, first being the quality of the SyncNCruz and Crusader harnesses, for the 2007 engines We replaced 3-4 (my count is 4) SyncNCruz boards and the harness twice (a third harness was not installed as Harness 2 and SyncNCruz panel 4 did work. This isn’t complex, it just failed over and over. Moreover, the problem wasn’t correctly documented by Crusader until I called, yet we were on harness 2 and panel 3. The installer was in no way at fault for this issue. I was still somewhat concerned that the working configuration is not providing the engine diagnostic information I expected, but pulled a temp sensor plug to get a code. The tech at Crusader also pulled a SyncNCruz board from stock and it failed. ????
    The second issue is the lack of adherence to quality processes. In no way should replacements be sent without a corresponding defect (or CRM) ticket tied to the engine serial number. FWMurphy was correct in that they called Crusader, but a ticket for the engines should have been opened by Crusader. (Yes I work in the electronics field). But what ever… Quality, I know it when I see it. Crusader crossed over the VA lemon law in the 3rd fix attempt that did not work. The panels and harnesses should have been tested. ((it’s a plug in….)
    To Both companies
    Brunswick states in their marketing that 1+1 = 3. Systems Integration is their differentiator. My boat is not a Systems Integration Lab (SIL) and I am not Mototron, and neither is my installer. The customer is not the place to resolve technical issues. This install was a poster child for buying SmartCraft. It need not be.
    Additionally, both of your companies have crossed into the problem that INCOSE ( deals with in “systems of systems” engineering. This takes beyond the product engineering thinking to systems integration because to me … the customer, it’s the total quality of the systems working together.
    What I wanted – costs beyond the reasonable initial attempt to make it work
    I asked that the following costs that were beyond the initial attempt to fix reimbursed to be as labor. This split the difference of hours from early March to correct issues. Both companies directed the installer to attempt fixes that were ineffective and due to manufacturer defects. I’d forgone the extra equipment cost on the grounding (I added a NewMar power conditioner I did not need at this time, and initial testing) that were not part of the problem, but were incurred by me for attempts to resolve it.
    Log of costs
    Date , Time, Manufacturer, labor reason, Person
    March 20 2008 3.50 hours Murphy Troubleshooting Myles
    March 26 2008 4 hours Murphy Troubleshooting Myles
    March 26 2008 2.4 hours Crusader Install 2nd Harness and 3rd Panel Replacement Brian
    March 26 2008 .6 hours Murphy 2nd electric check Brian
    March 27 2008 1.2 hours Murphy RUN NEW WIRING Brian
    April 8 2008 1 hour Murphy Troubleshoot Myles
    April 10 2008 .5 hour Murphy Try new displays Brian
    April 25 2008 1.10 hour Murphy install new software (MAN) and test Myles
    April 25 2008 .6 hour Murphy Remount Helmview Brian
    April 29 2008 1.10 hour Crusader Install 4th Sync and Cruz panel Brian
    April 30 2008 1.30 hour Crusader test Sync and Cruz Myles
    Cockrells absorbed a lot of cost just dealing with this and did not charge for everything. I ate (incurred at my expense) an additional 16 hours+ in the first resolution. I am not asking for that or the orginal extra costs in installing this system. Effectively buying the system from EDI and specifying it added many thousands on dollars and much time was wasted.
    I am only asking for the extraordinary costs that were incurred over the last month and a half.
    Since Labor is 75 per hour …. it’s …
    Crusader 4.8 hours over the expected time about $360.00
    Murphy 12.5 hours over the expected time for about $937.50
    This did not include the hours that were spent with EDI and Crusader just trying to order it.
    Resoutions: FwMurphy sent a more package than makes up for it. (GPS and cables). Thanks to Jinger M and Levi…
    Crusader did not directly have anything I needed, so I asked that the extraordinary costs of $360 be donated to AM-TECH.ORG (the association of Marine Service Technicians). They responded positively and said they’d let me know. This also did not happen. Crusader pushed it’s defect and problem reports back to the distributor to resolve and did not log them (which increased the amount of effort to resolve the issues).
    This may not seem like a lot over the many hours, but consider, I’d already paid too much in time and effort. We ordered the engines in early August, and did not recieve them until Mid October, and were unable to run once the river was frozen in early December. Once the freeze was past, testing in March began and another 2 months of time elapsed as we attempted to relsolve issues. Had it taken one fix (ordinary costs), I’d not be writing this, but basic quality issues weren’t resolved. These issues affect nearly every install for 2007, and likely 2008. For these products, it shows a lack in testing (CM) management that a prior defect reenters production.
    I’d asked orginially these small sums refunded (to me, as I have paid Cockrells) relative to the effort and pain I and my boatyard have gone to. FWMurphy did the above and beyond.
    Again, Levi B*’s commitment to problem solving and getting the whole job done was exemplary, so despite the size of the issues (flickering reboots) I and Myles felt that we would reach a resolution. That follow through made a difference in my not ripping the system out and switching to something else.
    Would I buy this again…. Maybe not. FWMurphy probably, Crusader not. The total install cost was > 90K … when the cost should have been 70-75K. Note that repowering with new engines often means upgrades and replacement of much of the electrical and cooling systems.
    On quality, I recommend reading both AM-TECH.ORG (Association of Marine Technicians) brochure and John Guaspari’s book “I know it when I see it” is a fable about the company “Punctuation, Inc.” which invented punctuation. Punctuation is challenged by another company due to quality issues. It’s a thought-provoking read. Deep in that fable, a customer is called to come to “Punctuation, Inc.” headquarters and names problems that misidentify who is responsible for problems with the service and manufacturing of semicolons and exclamation points. Each time the customer is corrected. The customer responds “Whatever, I know it when I see it”.
    BTW: I did have some minor issues with Cockrell’s but most of these were resolved quickly. Still a B+ is rare in boatyards, and anyone who can keep the same docks (1926) in operation knows how to take care of things.

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