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Old 08-12-2018, 07:22 PM   #1
Obx
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Advice in Auto Pilot

I have a Raymarine E series Hybrid chartplotter, I have a Simrad AP 25 but cannot find anyone to hook the 2 together, Also the AP25 is having some problems so I was thinking of going with a Raymarine AP. My GB 42 has cable steering.

Does anyone have a suggestion?
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Old 08-12-2018, 07:56 PM   #2
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Don't hook them together, that's one solution. Or look at the manuals for the AP25 and Raymarine, it will be in the installation guide. Call Seacoast in Oriental for help on the hook up and troubleshooting... kinda hard to nail down "having some problems" from here.

https://www.seacoastmarineelectronics.com/
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Old 08-13-2018, 08:43 AM   #3
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CAL when I said it was having problems I didn't elaborate that the AP 25 screen was fading I really was trying to figure out IF I changed over to a Raymarine AP what type should I get.
I've tried to get someone to hook the 2 together but no one in SouthPort NC wants to come by.

Any suggestions
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Old 08-13-2018, 09:18 AM   #4
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The only operational advantage you get by hooking your autopilot to your chartplotter is the ability to have your autopilot follow a route.

That said, the connection is one way from chart plotter to autopilot direction and is done using whatever version of NMEA that your equipment uses.
Older stuff uses NMEA 0183 and newer stuf uses NMEA 2000
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Old 08-13-2018, 09:25 AM   #5
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Marine electronic manufacturers have made it almost impossible to connect different brands together. Even older and newer versions from the same manufacture.
Still if both have NEMA 0183 or NEMA 2000 you 'should' be able to get some degree of connectivity.

Raymarine has a great forum on their site. You can ask questions and a rep will help. Good way to get ideas what would work from Raymarine anyway...


Unless you really want to replace the whole AP I'd look for a new AP head or maybe see about repair.
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Old 08-13-2018, 10:40 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the advice.


I'll try Raymarine forum and see if anyone there can give me detailed directions to connect the 2.
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Old 08-13-2018, 11:28 AM   #7
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This is not a different brands issue.

Anything with a NMEA connection uses that specific protocol. Inside of the NMEA 0183 protocol are a series of “sentences” that can be output to the autopilot.

For example on my boat I have A Furuno Navnet VX2 chartplotter connected to my Simard autopilot. In order for them to “talk” all I had to do is configure the NMEA port on the Furuno to output the standard stuff that autopilots need, which in my case was to turn on NMEA sentence AP1 and AP2 if memory serves correctly.

Yes complex integration between brands, things like map sharing and the like are challenging or just not possible. In the case of an autopilot there is just a little information that needs to be shared, and it is easily adressed by using the NMEA protocol suite.
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Old 08-13-2018, 05:15 PM   #8
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I just installed a new AP. One piece of advice I was given a while back and that was "Keep it in the family." Meaning if it is Garmin, then AP is Garmin or Raymarine etc.

A few years ago I chose Raymarine. Easier to connect and talk to all your different displays.
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Old 08-13-2018, 06:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaskan Sea-Duction View Post
I just installed a new AP. One piece of advice I was given a while back and that was "Keep it in the family." Meaning if it is Garmin, then AP is Garmin or Raymarine etc.

A few years ago I chose Raymarine. Easier to connect and talk to all your different displays.
Thanks
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Old 08-13-2018, 10:52 PM   #10
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The AP25 is the control head for the autopilot, you'll be connecting the chartplotter to the autopilot computer, it should be AC10 20 or 40. Your connection point for NMEA would be at the course computer (AC), not the control head (AP). I'm not certain, but I suspect your autopilot computer uses NMEA, the balance of this post applies to NMEA.

You'll connect the NMEA "out" of the chartplotter to the NMEA "in" of the autopilot. 2 wires. You can use cat5 cable or NMEA serial cable that has 2 pairs of twisted conductors. Twisted is best, it reduces crosstalk.

It would probably be helpful to also connect the NMEA "out" of the autopilot computer to the NMEA "in" of the chartplotter as it will probably port out a compass heading (HDG) that most chartplotters can utilize. Many chartplotter/radars require a heading for radar overlay or for (M)ARPA. A common misstep in connecting the NMEA between chartplotter and AP is that even though the NMEA cabling is run and properly connected, in most cases the NMEA on the chartplotter must be configured so that it "talks" to the device connected to that NMEA port. There may be more than one port, so it's not hard to get mixed up. Your autopilot manual should specify what sentences it needs (for ex.- APB, RMC, XTE, VTG), turn on only those sentences needed. Turning them all on can overload the connection, NMEA has narrow bandwidth and limited buffering capabilities, and it won't tell you why, it just won't work right. It's not terribly difficult, but it can be tedious, and requires attention to detail. Good enough usually doesn't yield successs.

Best advice? RTFM!!! Document what you do.
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Old 08-14-2018, 05:00 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaskan Sea-Duction View Post
I just installed a new AP. One piece of advice I was given a while back and that was "Keep it in the family." Meaning if it is Garmin, then AP is Garmin or Raymarine etc.

A few years ago I chose Raymarine. Easier to connect and talk to all your different displays.

I hear this same advice all the time, but really don't agree with it. I think it comes from installer who are either lazy and want as simple a plug-and-play, then walk away job as they can get, or installers who don't know what they are doing well enough to implement more complex systems. And they really aren't that complex.


Maerin described interfacing and chart plotter and AP really well. Attention to detail is key, and that typically translates into time, so I can understand why techs don't like it. NMEA 0183, though primitive, is absolutely rock solid reliable when installed correctly. There is a reason why it's the only accepted interface on IMO vessels (ships and passenger vessels).


I have all sorts of different vendor products connected on my boat, and it works perfectly. The interfaces are open, standardized, and well documented. That said, various vendors have implemented supplemental proprietary interfaces, largely with a goal of getting you to think you should stay "in the family". Seatalk is an example, but I think all the vendors have moved to 01830 and/or N2K, and do the proprietary stuff that way and with ethernet. Vendors also create glitzy features to motivate you to stay in the family. If that stuff is important to you, then by all means stick with one brand. But the down side is that if part of the one-brand package is a lemon, you can find yourself replacing everything, which again is just great for the electronics manufacturers.


Getting back to this situation of a failing AP, I don't see any reason why you can't replace it with whichever AP you think is best, regardless of brand. You WILL need to look at how it will connect up. How many 0183 ports (if any), N2K, etc.? But that's part of any good installation.
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Old 08-14-2018, 08:35 AM   #12
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TT is spot on with the installer angle. I have seen many "professionally installed" systems that were an absolute jumble of unlabled wires, didn't work, and were never properly configured. Incomplete. I attribute it to time constraints, and do understand how those constraints create a situation where a sloppy or incomplete installation is the result. The installer confidently recites some cock & bull nonsense about how it's not possible for those disparate brands to work with each other and their client, being unschooled in the details (along with the tech) takes it as gospel; repeats the story and reinforces the notion that you must "stay in the family".

Horsehockey!

There's more to it than cabling, and if your tech is reluctant to connect your Raymarine to a Simrad, Furuno, or anything else, you might consider finding a different tech. That said, keep in mind that knowledge/expertise comes with a cost. As an expert related: "you're not paying me for what I do, you're paying me for what I know." So in the end, it may come down to dollars. Although "staying in the family" may be a valid assertion, it's driven by expedience, but for whom? The argument could be made that it's akin to saying "I don't have the knowledge or the persistence to make this work,so let's keep it easy." Apologies for the rant.
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Old 08-14-2018, 09:14 AM   #13
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Much of the time having troubles between brands on the 0183 system is not turning on and off the right 0183 sentences or not using the "correct" (-) on different units 0183 wires.
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Old 08-14-2018, 10:23 AM   #14
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Much of the time having troubles between brands on the 0183 system is not turning on and off the right 0183 sentences or not using the "correct" (-) on different units 0183 wires.

Yup, and wiring 0183 (current revisions) to RS232 ports which is a crap shoot, yet done all the time.
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Old 08-15-2018, 12:56 AM   #15
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I run a ray e140w chartplotter with a simrad autopilot/ ap25 control head. You use NMEA 0183 and that’s already been well covered in above posts. It works just fine. The only thing I have to add, both raymarine and simrad have installation manuals on line that show exactly which wires are out(-),out(+) and which are in(-), in(+). The hard part is running the wire, not figuring out how to hook them together.
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Old 08-17-2018, 02:01 PM   #16
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I have my hummingbird connected to a EVO 100 ap. I went from 0183- 2000 using a converter that was $250 made it simple (not doable otherwise). You just need the manuals to tell you what each wires are for as they are often different colors between mfg for in and out. I can use my hummingbird to plot a course for the EVO no problem. If both are 0183 its a simple. Just look at both of the manuals to know what wires to connect to what.
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Old 08-24-2018, 02:57 PM   #17
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Old 08-27-2018, 02:57 PM   #18
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When I purchased Sanderling it already had a Simrad AP20 installed. Didn't take much work to figure out how to connect the NMEA 0183 out/in on the AP20 with the proper wires on Garmin 540 and 540S chart plotters, a Vesper Marine XB-8000 AIS, a VHF radio and a RS232 cable to a Dell laptop computer. Took a little googling around to learn that Garmin doesn't follow standard NMEA 0183 protocol, and connects their negative wires to ground (one I discovered that, everything became much easier). Chartplotter could control the AP using a route and fed location data to the VHF and laptop.

All that was made much simpler when I upgraded a couple of months ago to a newer Simrad NAC-3 computer and AP48 control head and NMEA 2k connecting everything (except the Dell laptop which uses a USB feed from our Vesper Marine XB-8000 AIS). NMEA 2K make everything mostly plug and play.

There's nothing about NMEA 0183 or 2K that requires the same brand of all the peripherals you'll connect with it. As Steve indicated, the technician doing the installation is the critical path!!!
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