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Speed Control: Stargazer System VS Perfect Pass Digital Pro Upgrade 6.5 w/ Current PP Digital Gauge

ShakeskiShakeski Posts: 117 Baller
End of last season my Dad and I got a 2000 Mastercraft Pro Star with under 500 hours and a new engine in mint condition. The boat's current perfect pass system is a Digital Pro V5.0 year 2000 (stock with the boat from factory). This system is not working (broken) and we are in need of changing to a new system. The question is, what is the main difference between a GPS system and a RPM mode paddle wheel system. (advantages/disadvantages)

We are not new to the watersports scene by any means. We have a 2008 Malibu Wakesetter and have had other ski-boats previous. Having only Malibu boats in the past, we are not as familiar with Perfect Pass or GPS systems. We have a course in our back-yard and are looking to ski 70% in the course 30% open water (barefooting, open water skiing).

Which system makes more sense for the upgrade?


  • SpuddySpuddy Posts: 133 Baller
    I would go with the GPS, I installed it with no existing system in place and it was not that difficult. I understand with a system already in place it is much easier. As far as use hand down the GPS, you input speed, crew weight (this does not change often) and you go. With the older paddle wheel more work and from what I remember from other boats not quite as accurate.
  • DanEDanE Posts: 883 Crazy Baller
    @Shakeski You say a new engine, how new? If it's new enough to be ZO compatible that's the way to go.
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 2,589 Mega Baller
    Upgrade to GPS-based. Paddlewheel can get debris caught in it or it can be damaged by striking debris, particularly in a river. GPS is more accurate than paddle wheel, especially with a current. GPS with an accelerometer is more responsive and can maintain a tighter speed tolerance. GPS can provide timing information without magnets.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 2,589 Mega Baller
    Good point by @DanE. Check the engine and ECM combination. If you have an eControls ECM and the boat was converted to throttle by wire, the ZO is a plug and play. Otherwise, your option is StarGazer and Zbox from PerfectPass. Does the engine still have the servo on it? Maybe the engine replacement led to them disconnecting and removing the servo as well.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,874 Infinite Pandas
    The paddlewheel rocks! Place it well so your trailer and lift don't hit it and it will last forever. My 04 MC has never had its damaged despite college kids regular abuse. For tricks and wakeboarding, PP with the paddlewheel is as good as ZO.

    PP Classic is more work but I think it feels much better than the GPS based system for slalom. I was down a full pass on Stargazer vs Classic. I haven't skied behind a properly dialed in Zbox. PP Classic isn't that hard to figure out. Use the switch and it can feel a lot like ZO if you transition to tournament pulls. I don't think PP Classic uses the paddlewheel for slalom input, just RPM.

    The paddlewheel is cheaper as well as a better pull. If you upgrade (?) to a GPS option later, the paddlewheel will still be the primary input for tricks - you'll also get automatic calibration.

  • Steven_HainesSteven_Haines Posts: 1,033 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited March 2015
    you know what's wrong with it what's broken on it? There might be something simple wrong and an upgrade to stargazer with ZBox could be very simple and relatively inexpensive. I wouldn't spend a dime until I knew what the problem was.
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,874 Infinite Pandas
    @Steven Haines is right. Unless it's missing the paddlewheel - then you need to fix that by add one as part of the repair!
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 2,589 Mega Baller
    I specifically waited for StarGazer to be refined to not require a paddlewheel. There was no reason I could see to cut a hole in my boat. But, with Zero Off now, it is so much better.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • ShakeskiShakeski Posts: 117 Baller
    @DanE Not new enough for ZO sadly.

    @MISkier The Servo is on and is working properly (still need to water test) but my Dad was able to make sure it moves freely with the self wind test, which it does.

    @Steven Haines It seems that issue is somewhere with the gauge/computer as the Servo seems to be working fine according to our testing.

    @eleeski I fully understand the pain of paddle wheels and paddle wheel placement... have broken upwards of 5 of those things on the Wakesetter due to poor placement.

    All of these comments are great! After talking with my Dad and the folks from Perfect Pass, it looks like we are going with Star Gazer. Excited to have a GPS system.

    Does anyone know what the zbox upgrade is/does?
  • andjulesandjules Posts: 819 Crazy Baller
    If you don't ski tournaments I'd say it comes down to time + money. Which is to say, if you're open to shopping used parts, you might find a great deal on older system parts that will get you something that works. If money's not an issue, upgrading to stargazer is probably the better investment for the future.

    Zbox upgrade helps stargazer 'feel' more like Zero Off (which is used in tournaments nowadays, and its 'feel' is quite different from the older, perfect pass classic in terms of when-and-how-hard it resists/compensates for your pull behind the boat).
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 2,589 Mega Baller
    @Shakeski, there are some diagnostics videos from PerfectPass on their website that could perform additional tests to help you determine the problem.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • Mike GileMike Gile Posts: 314 Crazy Baller
    The Z box works great with a fairly similar feel to ZO, at least on a drive by wire boat. If you already have a PP setup it is just plug and play with the exception of mounting the GPS puck.

    We did struggle with the Z box on a 1999 Nautique. I did the plug and play upgrade to Stargazer prior to the Z box coming out. Everything worked just as expected. When I added the Z box, our group almost quit the sport. Not sure if the servo wasn't working properly, or there was too much delay in the throttle, or what. We were consistently skiing one to two passes worse than we did before.

    After removing the Z box ( and putting it on my DBW boat) everything returned to normal. That boat skis great now.

    Hopefully this is a one time thing, but thought I'd let you know
  • GOODESkierGOODESkier Posts: 1,107 Crazy Baller
    If you ski tournaments get the ZBox. If you are recreational skier that likes to ski the course, doesn't matter......... A properly set up ZBox boat is as close to ZO as it gets without putting up the cake to have a ZO boat.......... I ski very similar between the two set ups.
    2003 Nautique 196 LE Star Gazer & ZBox - GOODE NANO OneXT 66.75" - Powershell 5 (LFF) - Tournament PB: 2 Balls @ 39.5' OFF (34.2 MPH) on 7/18/2015 at BIG DAWG BROHO!
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