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rimodico
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Bought a Star Glazer wake edition perfect pass system around 4 years ago for a Prostar 190 2001. I loved it ever since. I contacted the gentelmen at PP a couple of weeks ago as I became curious about a "z-box" upgrade to make the system similar to those high-end "zero-off" system most tournament ski boats use. Long story short, I installed it last night and used it for the first time this morning. It is AMAZING!!! timings for the course are excact same as specification. Big thanks to Gary, Mark and Carol from PerfectPass!
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Z-Box does what I need it to. These are open water passes on different boats, but you can hear the engine working. One is a ZO Rev Q on B2 on a TT197. The other is a Stargazer V9 with ZBox, also on B2 on my Malibu Response. Been extremely pleased with SG v9. It locks in almost as fast as ZO. Even with the most hamfisted driver, it won't overshoot speed by more than 1.5 MPH before settling in.

 

Video behind 197 with ZO Rev Q on B2

Video behind a mechanical throttle Response LX, SGv9 at B2

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Version 9 is better in every way! I literally have version 9.0 and it is a lot better than my last version, my friends has version 9.2 or something and his numbers are dead on every time. PP being the awesome people they are is upgrading me when I get my boat back because I am having some slight issues at 28 & 32mph.
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6.5NG locks in quickly on my boat. I have a friends who also has a malibu with 8.5 and you have to be careful to not overshoot the throttle, if I back off as soon as he is up it locks in fine. Sounds like they have fixed that in 9.
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I upgraded my 6.5NG last year to Star Gazer 9.12 and ZBOX. Works pretty well after some fiddling with the background settings. Even after a whole lot of trying the one ball times still seem to come in hot.

 

May be a bit off topic but I heard a rumor that there is a new version available that is a bit more responsive ie is closer yet to Zero Off. Can anyone confirm this?

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My brother has a set up so short that you pull out for the gates as the boat is getting on plane. That requires great throttle management to hit the speed correctly on his stargazer. Does the Z-box upgrade help with a short set up and hitting speed correctly?
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z-box definitely tightens up the speed at all phases of the course. That said it doesn't make it into something it isn't. It not going to respond like ZO but it will help your situation. Make sure your throttle return spring is working the way it should if your using a servo. The servo does take a bit of extra time.
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I was happy with it in my 02 196. I still upgraded to ZO. Truthfully, probably only worth it for the resale. The Z-box was very nice. I will say, though, the PP version 9.2 in my 97 196 is so good that I don’t really know that the Z-box is even necessary
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I have Z-Box 9.2 and have not had to fix any background settings, in old versions had surging but smooth and quick to lock with 9.2. This is a great product! Ski behind ZO boats and Z-Box almost everyday and pull is very close. 05 SN w Excalibur 330, FYI and still love my boat!
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@Bill22 - When I updated to 9.2 and installed Z-box .I had to do a fair bit of tuning and tweaking in my 98 CC. Without the tweaking it would run OK, often a slightly hot (-0.02) at 1-ball then slow for 2 and 3, then catch up 3-4. Gate to 3-ball was close enough and skied fine, it was going from +0.02 at 3-ball to -0.04 at 4 ball that was hard to deal with. Start with testing the normal or inverted tach settings, then be sure to calibrate baseline, then test baseline speeds. If the tach or baseline are out of whack, no amount of tweaking will get you where you need to be.
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Had similar experience as @BCM. Engine would surge and then get too soft at times in an effort to end up with good times. It also felt like we were skiing with a steel cable. Got tired of messing with the settings as none seemed to fix the issue. Changed to practice mode and the surging went away, the pull felt better and times were still good. None of us ski tournaments so practice mode isn't an issue.
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@igkya - I was able to get mine to settle down nicely. I had been running SG for a few years with no trouble, turns out I had to switch from normal to inverted tach settings, then some minor tweaking and it is working well. Prior to testing the tach setting I was getting frustrated.
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I put in Stargazer in my '02 196 last May and unfortunately it sapped about 1+ month of my prime ski season getting dialed in. Thanks to input from the BOS forum, I finally figured it out, PP was no help at all. I ended up flattening out the "Background Settings" all to the same level and adjusted from there; started at 25, then tuned to get actuals. The default settings caused a major surge after 1 ball.

First image is where I started:

rr4nkat4s1k5.jpg

 

This is where I ended up:

t5nr5fnlq5j4.jpg

 

Now that it's dialed, it works awesome! Pull feels great, early and wide, and all segments are +/-0.02. I would highly recommend SG w/Z-Box, but I honestly don't know what they were thinking with the high "Ball 3" setting as default. Didn't work for my boat. Didn't work for shortline skiing! I would love to hear an explanation about why the engine should "proactively" increase the engine RPM during a pass.

 

Oh... forgot, I also had to crank up my KX. Can't remember the numbers, but I had to go from like 8 to 15.

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@Gschmid - I am running something like 02, 60, ? and am close in my 98 with GT40. If I used your numbers at 34mph my 1-ball time would likely be real fast, at 10 I was -0.03. How is your baseline speed calibration? When my baselines were off my settings were getting real weird, after adjusting the tach settings and baseline speed it settled out. With factory settings I was within about +/- 0.03 with the occasional 0.04, now I am near even. I am also sorry to hear about your experience with PP support, they were super helpful for me. I was able to get my '98 skiable in about an hour and then dialed in after a week, maybe 2. I also had to tune down my KX to get a feel similar to ski partners SN 200.
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@GSchmid my 2002 196 with GT40 is in storage now, but I think my numbers are REALLY close to what your finals are. I am also running V9.2 with ZBOX.

I started a google doc last year for keeping a database of PP numbers:

 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1UsM99RDC-YlpybtqcjCv1-0ArnljSR_lNVITXSYwElA/edit?usp=drive_open&ouid=102524635880918549491

 

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@BCM, the defaults caused me to have a big RPM jump after 1 ball. I could feel it as skier, and hear it as a driver, so I needed to level that out. My break-through came from someone on BOS who posted that the 1 ball adjustment actually affects the 2 ball time; and the 3 ball adjustment actually affects the 4 ball time. (would have been nice for PP to mention that!). Anyway, after you heed that advice, it's all downhill. I was chasing at hot first buoy and it caused me to dial down the 1-ball number, which only made the surging worse. I wish PP was more open with how these 3 little numbers are used in their algorithm... and I wish they would explain why it's a good idea to give you different amounts of throttle at different places in the course. I do recall that PP Classic had a few of those fudge factors like SSB, but that had some logic to it (you don't pull out of 6 ball) I had that zero'ed out in my boat - I guess that's because I'm usually late out of 5 :)

@Windsurfnut, I need to write all of my numbers down and I'll plug them into your spreadsheet. That's a good idea to set up a database. I also recall others posting numbers on this forum a few seasons ago. The consensus, as I recall, was to level them out.

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@GSchmid - the way I understand it the system will try to bring things back to zero, so, if you have a slow 1-ball time it will hammer you in the next segment as it tries to catch up, then often over shoots. I checked the other day and I am running 02, 55, and ?? (I forgot already) and getting within +/-0.02. I find it interesting that similar boats with similar motor are running such different numbers. Again, PP was super helpful for me, quick responses with lots of detail. They are the ones who highlighted to me how each segment impacts the next.
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