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Perfect Pass StarGazer with Z-Box Owners Discussion

JC McCavitJC McCavit Posts: 503
edited March 2013 in Boat Talk
I am very happy with my Z-Box. My ball times are very accurate and the pull feels very similar on my 1997 196 with GT-40 Mechanical Servo to the ZO 196 & 200 I ski behind.

I would like to hear all the positive and negatives folks have run into so the information can be sent to PP for future improvements.
JC McCavit
«13

Comments

  • DirtDirt Posts: 1,677 Open or Level 9 Skier
    edited March 2013
    Zbox works pretty well on our 2000 MC PS190 1.5to1. Not so great on my friends 91 MC carburated powerslot. It gets pulled down into 2 ball, runs away until 4 ball and thens slows down.
    I also ski behind a Zbox early 2000ish SN that feels not as good as our boat but better than the 91 MC.
    I can still feel the difference between ZO and Zbox mostly at the gates.
    Zbox needs more real time throttle adjust especially at the gates.
    I learned everything I know not to do from Horton
  • Texas6Texas6 Posts: 2,197
    I like it on my 2003 TT197, but I still get hot one balls regardless of what I do to the settings on the box. They are one or two hundredths off, so it isn't the end of the world but I wish they were better. I'm pretty sure it has something to do with our fairly short set up combined with my tall prop pitch....
    Daryn Dean - Lakes of Katy, TX
    ***Robbed out of Hundreds of Panda Worthy Posts***
  • RynoRyno Posts: 252 Baller
    I'm also very happy with the Z-Box install on my boat (Flightcraft 18XL with 200hp Mercury outboard).
    My boat is never going to feel like a Zero off boat, but the Z-box gives me accurate times, so that's all I care about.

    The Stargazer display/interface seems counter-intuitive at times. Pressing the menu button to scroll between modes (rather than using the up and down arrow) etc.
    I find it always takes a bit of training for new drivers to use it. I'd like to see that changed to something that makes more sense, but I guess if they changed that, we'd all have to retrain ourselves in how to use it.

    Setting up the engine response in Trick (or wakeboard setting) can be a bit of a pain. For me it would have made more sense to have two adjustable parameters for this setting. Response (how far off the speed it applies an engine correction) and Amount (amount of throttle it uses for that correction. This is obviously going to be variable due to boat speed and the power delivery of the engine. So you could have a table adjusting those parameters for every 5 kph or so.
    Ryan McGill - South Coast, New South Wales, Australia
  • Texas6Texas6 Posts: 2,197
    @scotchipman, @brady, same exact problem on my 03 197....I've tweaked it until I'm blue in the face and I come in at 1.75/74 pretty consistently
    Daryn Dean - Lakes of Katy, TX
    ***Robbed out of Hundreds of Panda Worthy Posts***
    Brady
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,590 Mega Baller
    Anyone running the Zbox with dbw? I've heard it's better. I ski with on a 93 MC 205 regularly and on short setups it hard not to come into the gates hot.
  • JC McCavitJC McCavit Posts: 503
    How do you tell if the boat is coming in hot at the gates? I may have this same problem and would like to know how you measure the time in that area. Now that I think about it, ZO always feels a little slow thru the gates compared to my boat. I just assumed my boat was able hold the speed better. If this is a real problem, I can't imagine why this could not be corrected by PP if we asked as a user group.
    JC McCavit
    Brady
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,590 Mega Baller
    @jc mccavit. On my friends boat you can usually feel it when your driving. Also you can see the speed display. One end of our lake has short setup so you have to be careful not over throttle especially when your used to ZO and being able to hammer the throttle and not worry about it.
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,621 Mega Baller
    Razor1's '05 TT w/dbw runs good times, but I feel like it's a very stiff pull compared to ZO...like the addition of throttle is more abrupt. Feels like it skiing, and sounds like it driving. He has dialed it back pretty well...but I still think it's more abrupt than ZO.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • jackskijackski Posts: 265 Baller
    1995 Response 340 hp carb motor. Only skied once behind a ZO boat so I can't compare but Z box works well for me. We are mainly skiing up a few at 38. Times are all within .02. Ball one is consistent at 1.76 and I usually have at 3-5 actuals in a pass. No surging no problems.
    Jack
  • colo_skiercolo_skier Posts: 784 Solid Baller
    I put a lot of information about what I had to do to my 07 Response to address the issues I was having. Search for z-box. I thought it was due to an exhaust change but may have been more due to stargazer and z-box.
    Not sure I know what I am doing. The boat goes I follow. Trying to perfect the deep water start. Squirrel!
  • east tx skiereast tx skier Posts: 598 Solid Baller
    edited March 2013
    My Zbox has worked well on my 98 SN with the out of the box settings. The worst times I got were when I was using it in some serious wind and chop with my antisiphon valve gumming up the engine. Just goes to show that there are some scenarios good cruise control can't fix.

    Times at 30, 32, and 34 with a skier in the course are almost always within only .02 seconds variance of actual times. The people who have skied behind my boat seem as pleased with the pull as ever.
    Perpetual Longline Baller and curvy ski boat owner.
    My real name is in my profile.

  • kurtkurt Posts: 115 Solid Baller
    I have it in our 2001 malibu lx ,after I got the upgrade software midway through last summer it definately helped it settle in quicker, especially at 36 mph . I love it; now I am getting 1.77 at 1 ball pretty consistantly . Z-box is more operator intensive than ZO but once you get used to driving it it's great
    billy's puddle swerving around the frogs
  • MattPMattP Posts: 6,249 Mega Baller
    @efw easy answer ZO shows the times for each buoy and has an optional judges display. Time for an upgrade to make the little lady happy.
  • MattPMattP Posts: 6,249 Mega Baller
    @efw for someone who does not "revolve around skiing" pretty demanding. Yeah I think it has a larger display than the unit screen. I'm sure pp could rig something up might cost a few bucks.
    Brady
  • ForrestGumpForrestGump Posts: 6,202
    The judges display with ZO is still the same size screen as the in dash ZO head.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

    rayn
  • JC McCavitJC McCavit Posts: 503
    edited March 2013
    @efw - I do not have the elusive upgrade you mention. I have been waiting to hear if the update addresses the main concerns expressed by BallofSpray users and other serious competitive skiers. Your idea for a portable display the skier can read from the transom is genius. The problem I have with this is I would only use it during the initial setup, so I am not sure I could justify the cost. But it sure would be nice not have to ask the driver to read you the times.

    @mattp - PP has the option to show all buoy times, but you have to press the up arrow at the end of the pass. I would like to see PP auto display the times by default. If enough users agree, we could suggest this feature be included in future updates.
    JC McCavit
  • MattPMattP Posts: 6,249 Mega Baller
    edited March 2013
    Wait @efw your wife is complaining about pressing one button?... sounds like there are some other issues you did not inform us of.
  • DanEDanE Posts: 929 Crazy Baller
    Have Zbox in a 99 SN w/t GT-40 .
    Biggest (really only) issue I have is the dreaded slow 2 ball followed by catching up to actual by 4 ball issue.
    Tried increasing the Zbox value and it got better but at the cost of the system reacting kind of harsh.
    Hoping for an upgrade ths spring.
    Peebs
  • jackskijackski Posts: 265 Baller
    @DanE try adjusting ball 1 to 1.76
    Jack
  • DanEDanE Posts: 929 Crazy Baller
    edited March 2013
    @jackski - believe me, I´ve tried every adjustment there is, even while corresponding with PP but always ended up with the problem mentioned above.
    The system is flawed in this regard, now this only occurs while driving heavier skiers at shortline (I´m 190 ish and ski into 38 off) with lighter skiers at longer lines or slower speeds the system works perfectly.
    Now the quick fix I came up with (increasing ZBox value) was kind of promising, did it late in the season with no more time to tweak.
    Segment balancing tweaks might have a bigger impact with a higher ZBox #, who knows I´ll have to wait for the ice to melt before trying that.
  • brodybrody Posts: 330 Baller
    i have a 2001 malibu, just wondering which guage everybody replaced, the tach or the speedo. i'm thinkng about getting rid of the tach.
  • dtm8119dtm8119 Posts: 176 Baller
    I took the speedo out on my 2002 Malibu, since my hour meter is on the tach.
    Dan Cloutier
  • Ed_ObermeierEd_Obermeier Posts: 1,345 Crazy Baller
    Replace the speedo, you don't need it, plus the multi function readout is in the tach and I wouldn't think you'd want to lose that.
    Ed Obermeier - owner, EZ-Slalom Course Systems
    www.ez-slalom.com
    Brady
  • rodltg2rodltg2 Posts: 1,051 Crazy Baller
    I was considering Zbox for my 99 , SN , but as suggested I will keep PP classic and run in kx++
  • WaternutWaternut Posts: 1,511 Crazy Baller
    I don't look at my old tach or my old speedo once I installed Stargazer so put it in a convenient place to look at.
  • Razorskier1Razorskier1 Posts: 3,425 Mega Baller
    My 2005 197 is DBW and zbox works really well. I had to dial the throttle response setting (I think it is the zbx setting?) down to about 2/3rds of the factory setting to soften up the response. With the factory setting it was like leaning against a freight train. Much better now, and certainly helpful in terms of consistency with ZO boats that I ski at tournaments.
    Jim Ross
  • east tx skiereast tx skier Posts: 598 Solid Baller
    I think the software v. 8.0 that accompanied zbox was as much of an improvement as anything I have seen in a while. My boat has never locked in on speed as quickly (so far before the setup buoys) as it has since this upgrade.
    Perpetual Longline Baller and curvy ski boat owner.
    My real name is in my profile.

  • PeebsPeebs Posts: 14 Open or Level 9 Skier
    I completely agree with DanE's comments....I installed the system last fall on a 2000 SN GT-40, and the system works great for skiers under 180 lbs .. but at 205 lbs the boat "pulls" hard or accelerates into four ball....its brutal. Current Numbers are 13/40/27 with Zbox at 9, (stock numbers are 8/50/31 Zbox 11 for 34 mph) but I will bump the Zbox up to 13 on my next set as per Dan E's comments. We increased the ball 1 times to try to balance the segments but I agree the system needs a software tweak. I shouldn't complain as I was shoveling the snow from my house roof on sunday, and I am skiing NOW!
    Its not what you ski on, its how you ski on it!
  • Razorskier1Razorskier1 Posts: 3,425 Mega Baller
    I pulled my zbox setting on my 197 down as low as 6, and now I'm running it at 8. 11 was way too strong.
    Jim Ross
  • DanEDanE Posts: 929 Crazy Baller
    Seems like you can play a lot with Zbox setting depending on what Boat/Engine/tranny/prop combo you have, wether it's dbw or not, the list goes on.
    I do not recall exactly where I ended up but 15 seems to ring a bell.
    11 was way to weak on our Boat (1999 SN GT-40)
    The worst part of the speed increase between ball 2 and 4 is that the Boat keeps increasing rpms constantly so it runs away from you in the turns.
    I did not tweak enough with Zbox last year and I would also like to get input from more skiers than myself while doing so.
    From what I felt it was not too complicated tweaking, just increase it one digit at a time and when I went too far it became very apparent.
    I bought the system after I watched video here on bos and heard a Boat sound just as a ZO Boat.
    Our Boat sounded more like PP Classic and then a constant rpm increase from 2 to 4 and then settling in from there to exit.
    Increasing Zbox made it sound more like it should.
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