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View Full Version : Perfect pass, star gazer, z box question


jsta281
11-07-2012, 12:33 PM
Hello, new member here, I have a 94 Prostar 205. Looking to upgrade to perfect pass. Can someone explain the difference between perfect pass star gazer and Z box, or how the go together (or don't)? I guess more specifically what does Z box do or add to star gazer?

jsta281
11-07-2012, 12:35 PM
And to add to the confusion what is perfect pass digital pro?

bkblaida
11-07-2012, 08:07 PM
Thanks East Tx. That is the easiest to understand overview I have read. This should be added to the FAQ's list as I am sure many on this site have the same question.

east tx skier
11-07-2012, 10:53 PM
Thanks. Glad I could help.

jsta281
11-07-2012, 11:49 PM
What an awesome review! Thanks! So for somebody who will never run a course but wants accurate gps mph and rpm via the "unit" star gazer is the choice?

east tx skier
11-08-2012, 12:17 AM
To be honest, with SG, spend the extra bucks and, at least, get the V. 8 software so you can ditch the magnets. Also, I think this version gets things dialed in a bit better.

CantRepeat
11-08-2012, 07:32 AM
I screwed up on a copy to the FAQ lol. Posted by Eastie.

I'll see if I can answer these.

Perfect Pass Digital Pro is an older PP system. For slalom, it is rpm based system. That is, you run a timed pass in the course and it gives an rpm value for a particular speed. You add skier and crew weight to the equation and it adds rpm based on those values. It uses either a magnet sensor or a hand timer for timing and requires six magnets in the course for the former. It only makes two adjustments to the rpm---a ramp up in rpm based on 28% of skier weight to reach the baseline + skier and crew weight and an adjustment (a reduction I believe) at the 3 ball based on a second segment balance user input). Digital Pro is generally pretty reliable, but it is a "dumb" system.

Stargazer is a Pure GPS based system, that is, it continuously makes adjustments to an initial rpm baseline based on speed information it receives from a GPS antenna. The system traditionally required two magnets to determine where the course entry gates are. Thereafter, timing is based on a virtual slalom course. Version 8 does away with the need for magnets. Course entry gates are stored as waypoints. There are adjustments for how the system reacts at the gates, 1 ball, and 3 ball. Classic Perfect Pass, i.e., Digital Pro, remains an option in this system.

Stargazer with Zbox is intended to be a Zero Off emulator. It is an upgrade to SG, but the two can be purchased together. The zbox is a separate component that plugs in between the GPS antenna and the Master Module. It contains an accelerometer and causes the system to respond to the skier's pull. As a result, you can hear the engine rev/surge as the boat goes down the course. The system has ABC/123 settings in it just like zero off and the settings are intended to correspond with the same settings in ZO. Regular SG and Classic PP are included as options in the system. No magnets required. Zbox runs Software Version 8.0(z).

I currently have SG with Zbox and think it's great (I have had SG since the beginning and had DP before that. Times are consistent with SG/ZB within about 0.02 seconds ball to ball typically. Close enough for my amateur skiing.

All of the systems have trick and jump modes, too as well as wakeboard settings if you reset the system in WB mode. For Trick, if you have DP, you will need to use the Paddle Wheel to determine speed. In SG and SG/ZB, it uses the speed input from the GPS antenna. I never liked using the paddle wheel to determine speed. It never seemed to be too accurate on my boats. However, if you free ski in a river current, just remember that GPS does not determine speed over water. Accordingly, you will need to run in practice mode and remove a couple of mph to account for the current.

Added to the FAQ

east tx skier
11-08-2012, 10:39 AM
For consistency's sake, if you want to change it, on the FAQ link, I have all the links set up to open into a single post. I don't care either way, but just figured I'd float that out there. I'd change it, but the thread is locked (and for good reason). Thanks for updating it.

CantRepeat
11-08-2012, 11:49 AM
For consistency's sake, if you want to change it, on the FAQ link, I have all the links set up to open into a single post. I don't care either way, but just figured I'd float that out there. I'd change it, but the thread is locked (and for good reason). Thanks for updating it.

Not sure what I did that would change that behavior.

Unlocked, let me know when you are done.

Thanks Doug.

jsta281
11-08-2012, 11:49 AM
When you say get V8.0 software you mean the zbox software without the module? If so, do you just order it that way?

jsta281
11-08-2012, 11:52 AM
Oh and what do you save $ wise getting V8.0 and not Zbox?

east tx skier
11-08-2012, 12:16 PM
Not sure what I did that would change that behavior.

Unlocked, let me know when you are done.

Thanks Doug.

All done. Thanks.

east tx skier
11-08-2012, 12:17 PM
Oh and what do you save $ wise getting V8.0 and not Zbox?

Yes. You can opt for the V8 with SG last I checked. I think it locks in a bit more quickly and also does away with the need for magnets. I think it's about $99 to purchase separately. The zbox upgrade is around $500. So about $400.

Phntmski
11-08-2012, 12:37 PM
So, to help me understand. My SG adjusts speed at entry gates and each ball through the course so the (virtual) course is broken into 7 segments (?). Z Box makes it one constant with adjustments on the fly by reacting to the skiers pull. Right now my segments are generally either right on or .01 second off. It almost always finishes with actual times. So if I'm fast in the first part of the course I'm slow in the second half, and visa versa. Will Z Box erase this by holding a speed and not balancing a time? Is the system strong enough to stay on top of it? I think my boat is. Will it actually feel like ZO? Trying to decide if another $439 to PP will really make a noticable difference. Is V8 included in Z Box?


:confused:

jsta281
11-08-2012, 02:20 PM
Last question hopefully :-) if somebody has one of these for sale used are they interchangeable between boat manufacturers? Could I put a stargazer that was installed on Malibu on a Mastercraft?

east tx skier
11-08-2012, 03:43 PM
The gauge is interchangeable, but may have a competing brand on it. The master module is interchangeable, but if you find an older one, check the serial number with PP to make sure it can take the V8 update (some of the older ones cannot). The servo cable to throttle is length specific depending on year, make, and model. The wiring harness may be specific, but these typically don't come up for sale too often.

All in all, you can cobble some parts together, but some of it, i.e., wiring harness, servo motor, and cable, you'll just have to buy new.

jsta281
11-08-2012, 03:49 PM
Awesome info thanks!

east tx skier
11-08-2012, 03:53 PM
So, to help me understand. My SG adjusts speed at entry gates and each ball through the course so the (virtual) course is broken into 7 segments (?). Z Box makes it one constant with adjustments on the fly by reacting to the skiers pull. Right now my segments are generally either right on or .01 second off. It almost always finishes with actual times. So if I'm fast in the first part of the course I'm slow in the second half, and visa versa. Will Z Box erase this by holding a speed and not balancing a time? Is the system strong enough to stay on top of it? I think my boat is. Will it actually feel like ZO? Trying to decide if another $439 to PP will really make a noticable difference. Is V8 included in Z Box?


:confused:

To start, version 8(z) is included with zbox. If you have an older Master Module, you may need to sell it and start new. That's what I did. But mine was one of the very early SG models. My understanding is that SG is constantly adjusting based on what the GPS is telling it, not just at the balls. However, it is not reacting as quickly as ZO does because it is reacting to changes in speed rather than, how should I say it, anticipating them based on additionally input from an accelerometer. In that way, it is reacting before the boat has a chance to slow down, at least in theory.

I liked regular SG fine. End of course times were always spot on. However, unless you really have the Gate, 1, and 3 numbers dialed in, it tends to run away from you a little at the 3 ball to make up time.

Does it feel like Zero Off? Well, I can't tell much of a difference. But at my level, I can't tell much of a difference between ZO and SG. Again, at my level. The guys I ski with like it. One of them has Zero Off in his 2012 197. The other has ordered SG with a Zbox for his Malibu. From the driver's seat, you can hear the engine reving with the pulls. If you go on ballofspray, you can see what the hard core skiers have to say about it. In short, I think the consensus is that it's as close as you're going to get, but it's not perfect. They need perfect more than I do.

On my boat, it ran pretty well out of the box. However, I forgot to get the crew weight dialed in one time and it was pretty far off. I tweaked the settings (lowered the z-setting that controls how quickly the zbox information gets responded to, and it now runs really well. As I mentioned earlier, on my boat, the new software settles into the set point much more quickly than the older software did.

Phntmski
11-08-2012, 05:12 PM
To start, version 8(z) is included with zbox. If you have an older Master Module, you may need to sell it and start new. That's what I did. But mine was one of the very early SG models. My understanding is that SG is constantly adjusting based on what the GPS is telling it, not just at the balls. However, it is not reacting as quickly as ZO does because it is reacting to changes in speed rather than, how should I say it, anticipating them based on additionally input from an accelerometer. In that way, it is reacting before the boat has a chance to slow down, at least in theory.

I liked regular SG fine. End of course times were always spot on. However, unless you really have the Gate, 1, and 3 numbers dialed in, it tends to run away from you a little at the 3 ball to make up time.

Does it feel like Zero Off? Well, I can't tell much of a difference. But at my level, I can't tell much of a difference between ZO and SG. Again, at my level. The guys I ski with like it. One of them has Zero Off in his 2012 197. The other has ordered SG with a Zbox for his Malibu. From the driver's seat, you can hear the engine reving with the pulls. If you go on ballofspray, you can see what the hard core skiers have to say about it. In short, I think the consensus is that it's as close as you're going to get, but it's not perfect. They need perfect more than I do.

On my boat, it ran pretty well out of the box. However, I forgot to get the crew weight dialed in one time and it was pretty far off. I tweaked the settings (lowered the z-setting that controls how quickly the zbox information gets responded to, and it now runs really well. As I mentioned earlier, on my boat, the new software settles into the set point much more quickly than the older software did.


Got my SG late 2010. Gotta have gate magnets. It does great but the processor seems a little slow. With plenty of set up time it's near perfect with anyone driving it, all segment times. But where I ski we have a short set up on one end which requires a soft touch to get right and like you said, if segment times are off for 1 and 3 ball it's wacked the rest of the way. Seems like it's trying to crunch so much info it takes a little while to settle in. To be honest the old DP seemed to settle in a little faster. All that said I'm beginning to think I might give that Z Box a try. Or at least talk to PP about that $150 gizmo that will allow me to map (#, I believe) courses, especially if it'll speed things up for getting everything locked in.

Thanks Doug :D