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Old 05-30-2019, 07:28 PM   #1
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Question NMEA 2000 Brands?

Is there a quality difference between NMEA 2000 companies?

I've been eyeing this on Amazon but not sure of the quality.
https://www.amazon.com/Ancor-Marine-...s%2C167&sr=8-2

Since my chartplotter is Garmin, should I stick with Garmin branded cables?
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Old 05-30-2019, 07:46 PM   #2
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They should all work fine. That said, here are some of the differences that I have seen.


- Maretron cables have metal thread fittings on the ends, where most other brands are plastic. The metal will be more durable, but does it matter?


- The indexing on one company's Tee connectors is different from everyone else. I think it's Garmin. If you try to connect their Tee and anyone else's together, the branch taps won't be lined up, with some coming off at one angle, and others at a different angle. It's annoying to say the least. I can't say for sure if there is just one company who's different from everyone else, or if there are others.



Personally, if I'm buying cables, I pick Maretron. But I have used other cables that have been included with various products, and never had any issues so I wouldn't hesitate to use others.
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Old 05-30-2019, 07:58 PM   #3
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I agree with TT, the Maretron cables seem to be better made than most of the others. Be careful with Maretron's two different cabling designs - the Micro and the Mini.
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Old 05-30-2019, 08:20 PM   #4
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Raymarine reversed the male and female plugs. You have to get special cables to hook your Raymarine up to standard nmea2000.
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Old 05-30-2019, 09:15 PM   #5
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Thanks y'all.

All I have right now is my Garmin chartplotter, but I'm planning on adding my fuel sensors, and hopefully a new VHF with AIS. We don't have a need to be electronic heavy, but what I do have I'd like to have networked.
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Old 05-30-2019, 09:26 PM   #6
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Ebay is a good place to look for Garmin cables, tees, and other items. Often there are cables, tees and GPS antennas in the MFD boxes that go unused. Installers put them on Ebay to generate some extra cash as they didn't buy it, the boat owner did. Think I gave $50 for the last GPS mushroom antenna that was part of a multiple MFD installation.

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Old 05-30-2019, 09:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
Ebay is a good place to look for Garmin cables, tees, and other items. Often there are cables, tees and GPS antennas in the MFD boxes that go unused. Installers put them on Ebay to generate some extra cash as they didn't buy it, the boat owner did. Think I gave $50 for the last GPS mushroom antenna that was part of a multiple MFD installation.

Ted
My GPS antenna was just replaced in Feb 2018 when the new chartplotter was installed.

I'll check it out though.
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Old 06-03-2019, 09:35 AM   #8
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NMEA 0183 and 2000 are standards. The whole point of an RFC is to foster interoperability through universal compliance. Ancor is a well respected name in marine electrical.

For example, technically, while almost identical, with the exception of an extra wire for backward compatibility, SeaTalkNG doesn't actually call itself NMEA 2000 because it doesn't strictly follow the RFC.
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Old 06-09-2019, 01:43 PM   #9
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Having run a bunch of N2K on our boat this past winter I'll second the observation that Maretron makes some quality cabling. If you've got longer runs and plan to have a lot of devices attached it'd be worth considering use of Maretron cabling to handle it. As you add devices it's worth sticking with one brand for the tees or 4-port units. To avoid problems with one brand of tee not aligning with another. I'll second that Ancor seems to make some decent tee and four-point units, along with short device cables. Likewise Garmin.

Once you get to N2K you absolutely DO NOT have to use the same brands for cables or connectors. Simrad and Raymarine are examples where you can bridge from their connector scheme to 'generic' N2K with just a passive cable. The wrinkle would be if you had sensors or other displays also using their proprietary 'tweaks'. You could end up with one 'logical network' but with one portion using generic N2K and another using the vendor-specific stuff. This might make for some interesting cable planning.

Maretron offers free N2K network planning software, well worth using. Helps to figure out whether or not your design will meet network requirements for power and device support.

Power is an important factor to consider. Most N2K devices (sensors, small displays, etc) get their power directly from the N2K bus. As you add more devices your network will need to be able to support their draw. That and you may have some devices that you do not want to power all the time. It's possible to power some portions of the network separately from others. There are 'power blocking' units for this. I've got one off the back of my Furuno NavNet3D MFD to allow for powering the network from a separate breaker. This lets me power up the GPS, depth/speed/temp sensor and displays separately from the MFDs. Handy for displaying anchor watch, time and temp without the significantly added power drain from the chart plotters. As it stands now I don't have the upper/lower helm displays powered separately.. but will before the season's over.
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