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Old 01-29-2014, 03:27 PM   #1
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Connecting Coastal Explorer to AP

Hi all. I've been on line for the better part of the day trying to figure this out. If I read anymore of this computer mumbo jumbo my head is going to explode.

Details:

Laptop with Coastal Explorer. Has USB and serial ports. So far loving the software, charts, photos and features.

Autopilot is AP35 Simrad with J300 box. Has a few 0183 inputs.

Backup plotter/sounder is Furuno 1650. Presently has 0183 connection to AP. It works, but I rarely use nav mode.

I want to connect the laptop to the AP. It seems there are a few options available: 1) RS232 cable from pc to AP. 2) USB converter to 0183 with isolator. 3) USB cable to 0183 without isolator. 4) 0183 multiplexer that can handle lots of inputs.

I've heard some of the multiplexers have data delay issues that affect the AP when following a track with curves. I don't want that. I would rather forego having lots of data running around, but keep accurate AP control.

If the multiplexer does not have a delay, then I guess that is the best method.

I would like to use the AP and PC to follow a few local routes that I transit often at night or otherwise poor vis. This might be a lot to ask, but worth a try.

A rs232 to ap seems most simple. If I chose to use the backup Furuno I can unplug the laptop and plug in the Furuno. No problem with that.

I'm not too worried about the ground loop currents as the pc is otherwise electrically isolated.

Any advice for a computer idiot. Not only an idiot, but untrainable.

Thanks,

Eric
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Old 01-29-2014, 03:48 PM   #2
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Eric ,

I used an Actisense NDC-4 multiplexer to do that with my CE setup. The funny thing is after I set it up and tried it, I don't use it for sending routes to the AP. My use of the autopilot is to just point the boat and go and generally follow the course line laid out in CE. I find that underway, the route on screen is an indicator of where I want to go, not necessarily the course I want to follow to get there, given winds, tides, other boats, surface debris, and sight seeing requirements. The primary use of the NDC-4 is to distribute the AIS data from a Standard Horizon GX2150 to my backup chart plotters and CE and get GPS data to the GX2150.

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Old 01-29-2014, 04:39 PM   #3
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Eric:
If you get the CE to AP figured out, please let me know. I gave it my best but gave up and just stay as close to the route line as I can when underway. What I did not do was un-attach the compass that currently inputs to the AP, just thought of that. Good luck and hope to hear how you did it.
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Old 01-29-2014, 04:45 PM   #4
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Go simple RS232 your junction box should have multiple 0183 inputs, so just use the next one instead of disconnecting your furuno. There's a menu on choosing which inputs you want it to listen to. We just got our garmin's hooked up to our AP-20's.
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Old 01-29-2014, 07:00 PM   #5
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Mike,

If that was fluxgate or gyrocompass of some type, the AP may need the input in order to work. Most APs need some type of compass input to know where they are going. GPS course over ground doesn't fill that bill in most cases. (I had a Raymarine that used course over ground but if you got below about 4 mph, it got lost.) The problem I had working with the NDC4 was that my backup chart plotters also wanted to put out autopilot NMEA messages. I had to configure the mux to block those messages (in addition to shutting them off in the chart plotters) from those ports and turn on the corresponding messages in CE. Rosepoint provides good support on these types of configuration problems. If you go to their support forum at coastalexplorer.net and search autopilot, you can get a lot of good information.

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Old 01-29-2014, 07:12 PM   #6
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Greetings,
BOY oh BOY! Am I ever lost in THIS thread! Apelco radar (1992 vintage) with CRT, Wood Freeman AP (probably earlier than '92) and compared to what you guys have, an entry level Garmin GPS/sounder (540S). I dread the day I have to replace any of this stuff. Post #1 tells me I'm WAAAAYY to old.
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Old 01-29-2014, 07:17 PM   #7
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Thinking of installing a high out alternator on one of my Perkins 6. 354's for better charging. Anyone have info on doing so & application? Jim
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Old 01-29-2014, 07:48 PM   #8
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Jim, you might want to either search the topic (there is a thread running now on alternators) or start a new one. This is CE related.
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:08 PM   #9
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Here's a link to an online version of your AP manual, just incase you don't have it. Also a little snippet from the manual. If you look all the way to the right you'll see NMEA #1&2, just connect to the second input. also to access the menu to change what device you want it receive from you have to tap the Nav button twice quickly. Oh and lastly a NMEA 0183 color code chart, this will be very helpful in the future.
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Old 01-29-2014, 11:04 PM   #10
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Rose Point, makers of Coastal Explorer has a forum where these questions can be asked. Link to forum: Coastal Explorer - Marine Navigation Software

The trick to connecting a serial cable is to find out which of the 9 pins are used, and how to find out which color wire in the cable goes with which pin.

Here is a link to the question that I asked: Coastal Explorer - Marine Navigation Software

After determining which pins are needed, strip the wires at the end of the serial cable and use an electrical tester to match the pin number to the wire color. There is NO industry standard for the color code. Each serial cable from different manufacturers has to be tested. After you determine the code, trim back the unneeded wires, leaving only 2 or 3 wires to be connected to AP.

For CE users, The Rose Point Forum is the best place to get answers, either from other users or Rose Point techs. If the Forum doesn't provide the answer you are looking for, you can call their tech support. I have found them to be very helpful.
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Old 01-29-2014, 11:45 PM   #11
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Thanks, guys. I queried both Rosepoint and Simrad later wed afternoon. Both have been very good in previous correspondence. I'll post what I find out.
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Old 01-29-2014, 11:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RT Firefly View Post
Greetings,
BOY oh BOY! Am I ever lost in THIS thread! Apelco radar (1992 vintage) with CRT, Wood Freeman AP (probably earlier than '92) and compared to what you guys have, an entry level Garmin GPS/sounder (540S). I dread the day I have to replace any of this stuff. Post #1 tells me I'm WAAAAYY to old.

RT,

no need to dread the day... you went right past it a LONG time ago!

HOLLYWOOD
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Old 01-30-2014, 07:05 AM   #13
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Thinking of installing a high out alternator

This is ONLY worth the effort if you use a 3 or 4 stage voltage regulator too ,

IF shortening the charge time is the goal.
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:46 AM   #14
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Tom:
Thanks for the compass info, I'm pretty famous for taking things apart and then wondering why they don't work when I put them back together.
Mike
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Old 02-11-2014, 04:37 PM   #15
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Eric:
Did you ever get the CE to AP figured out?
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Old 02-11-2014, 04:56 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Eric:
Did you ever get the CE to AP figured out?
Mike
I gave up for the time being. I had a computer guru connect a usb to serial interface and I connected it to the AP 0183 taps. Then computer started doing buggy things. I imported rudder angle and there was quite a delay in display. Computer did other strange things, too. I was heading offshore, so I disconnected it and rebooted. Computer and CE then operated flawlessly.

Being a computer idiot, there may have been mistakes made in that process. I did not purchase the interface hdw recommended by CE. The computer guy said he knew how to handle it.

I may revist this to get some more functions. I'm back to my old ways of just using a heading on AP and tweaking it to stay on course. AP is reliable and CE is reliable that way.

Still very pleased with CE. On the offshore fishing trip, it did everything I needed, including setting up anchoring to position over reef. Zoom way in and use tracking, cog/sog and mob. Much better than the old Maptech I used.
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Old 02-11-2014, 05:25 PM   #17
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I really like CE also, been using it since 2008, just upgraded to CE 2011, only $99. Sure had big dreams of just turning the AP over to CE and cruising along.
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Old 02-11-2014, 06:06 PM   #18
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Ski,

I finally moved away from serial to USB interfaces with CE as they seem to introduce more problems than they solved. If you stay with the "approved products list" things generally work real well. My Actisense NMEA mux (USB to the computer) and Actisense NMEA 2000 gateway (also USB) have been rock solid. The tools for diagnostics that come with Actisense (NMEA reader) are excellent allowing you to look at raw data traffic across the network.

Tom
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