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Old 07-15-2014, 10:09 AM   #1
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nav Upgrade-NMEA decision to make

I recently purchased a couple of new pcs for my Nav. System. I now have the following equipment I need integrate.

Rosepoint Coastal Explorer software running on a permanent PC.
Vesper 850 Watchmate AIS (0183)
Simrad AP 20 Autopilot (0183)
Raymarine E-120 c/w Radar, 0183 GPS, Circa 2008 (backup plotter for the PC)
Adding next : Maretron fuel monitor (2000)

Both PC and E-120 need to operate with the AIS and the AP.

Iím torn between converting everything to NMEA 2000 and trying to make this work on the old 0183 system.
.
Any words from the experts?
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Old 07-15-2014, 10:53 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbevins View Post
I recently purchased a couple of new pcs for my Nav. System. I now have the following equipment I need integrate.

Rosepoint Coastal Explorer software running on a permanent PC.
Vesper 850 Watchmate AIS (0183)
Simrad AP 20 Autopilot (0183)
Raymarine E-120 c/w Radar, 0183 GPS, Circa 2008 (backup plotter for the PC)
Adding next : Maretron fuel monitor (2000)

Both PC and E-120 need to operate with the AIS and the AP.

Iím torn between converting everything to NMEA 2000 and trying to make this work on the old 0183 system.
.
Any words from the experts?
I strongly recommend you go the NMEA 2000 route. The 0183 protocol is good, as well as proven- buta NMEA 2000 backbone is a simple install, and the expandability is almost limitless. Plus, as you further upgrade your vessel, you'll find the Maretron, Chetco, Actisense, as well as the usual suspects (Raymarine, Garmin, Furuno, Navico) have a full range of sensors for just about anything you might need.
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Old 07-15-2014, 11:30 AM   #3
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X2 on the N2K. Next boat is going be all N2K.
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Old 07-15-2014, 01:57 PM   #4
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So to go with nmea2000 would require a 0183-2000 converter for each 0183 device wouldn't it? Or at least a nmea0183 Multiplexer with a 0183-2000 converter. Something I am wrestling with at this time as well.

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Old 07-15-2014, 02:03 PM   #5
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We have an N2K network, but have been able to make (mostly legacy) 0183 devices work easily enough.

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Old 07-15-2014, 02:04 PM   #6
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This is what I'm trying to determine. A conversion module for every device or run the 0183 devices into a multiplexer then to a conversion to the 2000 backbone. Problem is none of these are cheap and you can't send back what you don't use so if better be right

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Old 07-15-2014, 09:17 PM   #7
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I'm start moving towards N2K, using it for the connection to Coastal Explorer at a minimum.

I'm not 100% certain, but I think the C120 will rebroadcast the GPS info on N2K (they have some special name for it like SeaTalkNG with special connectors, but it can be adapted to plug into N2K). It might also do it for the AIS, but that will be more problematic since AIS over N2K has only recently been solidified and the C120 predates that, so even if it rebroadcasts in theory, it might not work correctly. Anyway, all this means that the C120 can likely act as the 0183 multiplexer/converter that you are describing. Furuno boxes do this, but not with AIS.

And does the autopilot have a Simnet connection? If so, that's N2K in different wires much like Ray's SeaTalkNG, so it might hook right up too.

I think you'll need to sit down and read the manuals really carefully for all the parts.
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Old 07-16-2014, 01:30 AM   #8
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This N2K/NMEA2000 technology is a black art.I know a little about PC,Windows,and Linux.Heck,I even have a Raspberry PI model B running a linux distro and using it as a wired internet connected media hub.This form of networking (N2K/NMEA2000) is like I am trying to speak english to and alien.I want to learn this and possible utilize it in my boat when I build.It seems more fitting to use this technology in a fresh build rather than retrofit.I shall follow along with this thread until I am overwhelmed by technology and terminology.
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Old 07-16-2014, 02:51 AM   #9
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N2K is actually very easy to understand and use, as it's a general standard that has been grasped by the industry.

Install the backbone with appropriate drops for sensors, connect the sensors, calibrate as needed, and you're done.
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Old 07-16-2014, 03:45 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbevins View Post
I recently purchased a couple of new pcs for my Nav. System. I now have the following equipment I need integrate.

Rosepoint Coastal Explorer software running on a permanent PC.
Vesper 850 Watchmate AIS (0183)
Simrad AP 20 Autopilot (0183)
Raymarine E-120 c/w Radar, 0183 GPS, Circa 2008 (backup plotter for the PC)
Adding next : Maretron fuel monitor (2000)

Both PC and E-120 need to operate with the AIS and the AP.

I’m torn between converting everything to NMEA 2000 and trying to make this work on the old 0183 system.
.
Any words from the experts?

I'm no expert, but also dealt with a bunch of legacy 0183 stuff. You can do it with one multiplexor into your PC, eg Actisense NDC-4-USB. This also has 0183 output which can go to your E-120. 0183 is very easy to manage, and a lot of the old equipment is bullet-proof.

I assume your planned fuel monitor will go to the PC also, so it will need a N2K to USB converter. I'm guessing, but one such converter on an N2K backbone should be all you would need. From the list, at present you have no N2K devices?

I'm glad I installed the Actisense, which currently has Comnav AIS, Furuno GPS and Furuno Sounder inputs as well as being linked into a Furuno MFD12 with NavNet3D. My N2K network at present just consists of the MFD12 and Furuno AP system. There is also an ethernet connection between the MFD12 and the PC, providing radar on the PC. The PC is running Nobeltec Trident with the Furuno radar plus pack.

You do need to take care about what transmits where, as you want to avoid loops of data flow.
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Old 07-16-2014, 11:24 AM   #11
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Thanks everyone, I need to digest some of this. Nothing is ever straight forward.
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Old 07-16-2014, 02:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pau Hana View Post
N2K is actually very easy to understand and use, as it's a general standard that has been grasped by the industry.

Install the backbone with appropriate drops for sensors, connect the sensors, calibrate as needed, and you're done.
Yes, I just got my Maretron N2K system running yesterday and I am very happy. N2K is the only way to go and I have been very impressed with the quality of the Maretron products, like the connectors, etc.

Also, yesterday i did have problem with one of the connectors i made, but I found the bad connector relatively easily.

I bout the raymarine converter for E series MFD, but at this point I am not planning on installing it. Since I am going to use Coastal Explorer for everything except the radar.

I also did get the GPS200 just so I did not have to try to convert sea talk to N2K.
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Old 07-16-2014, 04:14 PM   #13
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It not that difficult.I found that my Chart plotters network and share information. The majority of that information is GPS maps, radar, tank level instruments, engine monitoring, water depth instruments VHS DSC and AIS. My chart plotters also will accept cameras and send navigation to an autopilot. For the information to be shared it must first be heard. You can get the information into or out of a chart plotter several ways. Radar usually gets to the Chart plotter by special connection. Water depth sonar may also be by special connection. Water depth can also be communicated by one of the NMEA protocols. Talkers have information. Listeners want the information. Older equipment uses NMEA 0183 and it usually takes a signal and ground wire to listen or talk. Newer equipment uses NMEA 2000 plug and play type wiring. Once you get talkers talking and listeners listening and NMEA 2000 stuff plugged and playing, you got everything you need and networked chart plotters will share the information. The most complicated part of this is the hook-up of the talkers and listeners to the first chart plotter. I personally landed all five listening ports and all three talking ports from my first chart plotter to a labeled terminal strip. I installed my NMEA 2000 backbone. Then I plugged in my radar and my sonar, connected GPS to NMEA 2000, connected VHS/DSC to 0183, connected autopilot to 0183, AIS to 0183 and fuel levels to 0183. My chart-plotters share all the information except camera images. I can only see my engine room on the chart plotter that the camera is connected to. The point of all this is don't buy new equipment just to get the newer and easier NMEA 2000.
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Old 07-16-2014, 07:22 PM   #14
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It not that difficult.I found that my Chart plotters network and share information. The majority of that information is GPS maps, radar, tank level instruments, engine monitoring, water depth instruments VHS DSC and AIS. My chart plotters also will accept cameras and send navigation to an autopilot. For the information to be shared it must first be heard. You can get the information into or out of a chart plotter several ways. Radar usually gets to the Chart plotter by special connection. Water depth sonar may also be by special connection. Water depth can also be communicated by one of the NMEA protocols. Talkers have information. Listeners want the information. Older equipment uses NMEA 0183 and it usually takes a signal and ground wire to listen or talk. Newer equipment uses NMEA 2000 plug and play type wiring. Once you get talkers talking and listeners listening and NMEA 2000 stuff plugged and playing, you got everything you need and networked chart plotters will share the information. The most complicated part of this is the hook-up of the talkers and listeners to the first chart plotter. I personally landed all five listening ports and all three talking ports from my first chart plotter to a labeled terminal strip. I installed my NMEA 2000 backbone. Then I plugged in my radar and my sonar, connected GPS to NMEA 2000, connected VHS/DSC to 0183, connected autopilot to 0183, AIS to 0183 and fuel levels to 0183. My chart-plotters share all the information except camera images. I can only see my engine room on the chart plotter that the camera is connected to. The point of all this is don't buy new equipment just to get the newer and easier NMEA 2000.
Glad it worked for you. It is worth trying it this way as you can avoid buying extra items but there are at least a couple of potential problems. First is that some talkers don't supply enough power output to drive multiple listeners. So it might not work. Second is baud rates. AIS really needs to be high speed (eg 38400) whereas some others only transmit low speed (4800). The issues arise when a listener will only work with low speed: sharing a common bus like outlined above wont work. Also, if you have two talkers supplying the same sentence to a common bus then there are likely to be problems.

With a multiplexor such as the Actisense you can configure the baud rates on the ports individually. I have two GPS inputs to the Actisense, one from the Furuno GPS at 4800 and one from the Comnav AIS at 38400. You can set port priority to use one ahead of the other and if the higher priority one goes offline then it uses the other one automatically. If that happens my autopilot beeps to tell me the GPS input source has changed! So two inputs of the same sentence are managed. For outputs, I have the USB output to the PC running at 38400, but Port 1 is outputting at 4800. That is because my Naiad stabilisers use a GPS signal and only take 4800 baud. The Naiad's are centered (off) at less then 4 knots.
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Old 07-16-2014, 07:47 PM   #15
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Keep in mind that with 0183 you can never have more than one Talker on a bus. I may be misinterpreting what you are saying, but two talkers wired together is a big no-no, even if they are transmitting different info. If it works at all, it's only by chance. So with 0183, you need a dedicated bus for every talker. In anything but a very simple system, the number of talkers will go up quickly. Then, every device that wants to listen needs a separate Listener port for each of the Talkers that it cares about. Now, even if you get all this wired up to work today, come back a year from now and try to figure out what you did and how to diagnose and fix something? God help you.

0183 is fine for minimal systems, which admittedly is fine for many boats. But as you make more complex systems it quickly spirals out of control and N2K starts looking REAL good.
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Old 07-16-2014, 10:40 PM   #16
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We learned this the hard way....
Raymarine C120 with Seatalk. Raystar GPS receiver died so we went the NEMA GPS route via our multiplexer.

To make a long story short, when the AIS sent data through the multiplexer the C120 insisted that it lost its GPS location fix and set off an alarm.

Discussions with Raymarine tech support followed and they said the few seconds the AIS information was in the data stream was enough to cause the MFD to timeout. There is no way to change that.

We had to go the Raymarine Raystar 130 route with a E22158 (Seatalk to Seatalk 2 converter). There is no display of satellite data.

"The SeaTalk to SeaTalkng Converter passes only critical GPS data (vessel position (lat/lon), COG, SOG, FIX Status, and HDOP) from SeaTalkng to SeaTalk. Operators of equipment featuring a SeaTalk interface which in turn has been interfaced to the Raystar 130 GPS Sensor via a SeaTalk to SeaTalkng Converter will not be able to view GPS satellite data from a Raystar 130 GPS sensor."

In addition we need to have the MDF powered up to use our Trridata and Depth display due to some rewiring requirements for the converter, something we didn't have to do before.

Maybe the E series is smarter than the C series.
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:07 AM   #17
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My chart plotter allows me to set the baud rate on each port. My AIS is actually set at a high rate. I have never experienced an interference because my chart plotter also allows me to screen the sentences that are or might be an interference. My entire point is you don't need to replace the older 0183 stuff just because NMEA 2000 has arrived.
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:17 AM   #18
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I guess I am also saying that my chart plotter is sort of a traffic cop for the NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 communications. It has several listening ports and several talking ports for the 0183. It takes in the NMEA 2000 communications as well. As you can tell I have a lot of the 0183 and a little of the 2000 and my chart plotter combines them very well. I have never experienced an interference nor a loss of service. I even 0183 my autopilot compass in as a heading sensor to help the plotter keep the chart right when I am standing still. I have terminated and labeled all my ports on a strip and have noted my installation on as-built drawings. I should have no problem sometime in the future understanding what I have or want to change.
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Old 07-20-2014, 09:14 PM   #19
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After reviewing everything I came to the conclusion that everything on the boat right now is still 0183. The Vesper I simply plugged into the CE via the USB ports on both pcs of hardware. I purchased the Rose Point GPS plugged it into the other open USB on the computer. The Simrad AP 20 is 0183 as well, bought a USB 0183 cable from Milltech and plugged it into the CE. (6 USB ports on the back of the computer makes life easy).
The E-120 is a completely stand alone back up plotter with 0183 to the AP as well. It is also the radar.
When I get the Maretron fuel management system installed I figure I'll plug it into the CE via its nmea 2000 converter into another USB port. If I add anything after that I simply add to the nmea 2000 back bone.

This actually was pretty simple EXCEPT I cannot for the life of me get my Simrad AP20 to accept the data in NAV mode. I have it hooked up from CE (talker) 4800 baud, only using the TX mode. This should be pretty simple, ran it this way out of the previous software (Raysoft) without a problem for 8 years. So why the blank is it not working now? Everything else with the AIS fired right up.

Anybody got any ideas?
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Old 07-20-2014, 09:40 PM   #20
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Could be baud rate - try some higher rates?
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