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Old 03-31-2019, 10:40 AM   #1
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Project- Engine gauges- analog to NMEA 2000

Our 1989 vessel was sorely in need of new gauges- the original VDO gauges were failing, and I couldnt rely on the information presented.

New gauges and senders (dual station) added up to over $1k, and I decided to make the change to NMEA2k integration.

Research led me to 3 contenders- the Noland RS-11, Actisense EMU-, and Chetco Digital Seagauge Pro. Weighed the pros and cons or each, and decided to go with the Chetco.

And...Im glad I did. A call to Chetco Digital, and Im talking to Joe- the owner, designer, and programmer. Hes not a one man show, but from the first conversation I was convinced that I was in good hands.

Placed the order, and then started the project:
  1. Larger Raymarine MFD for the lower station (used)
  2. Move the existing 12 Raymarine at the lower helm to the upper helm
  3. Fill in all existing holes in the fly bridge station and paint
  4. Construct a new housing for the flybridge electronics
  5. Connect the Chetco device, and run all electronic wiring

Simple, eh?

The easy part was the lower helm refit- remove the 12, modify the hole, install the 16. Updated the 16 to Lighthouse 3 so it would interface with the Axiom units on the flybridge. Done ✅.

Next, I installed the Chetco unit. The thing is robust- about the size of a paperback book. It comes pre-programmed based on your specific needs, and has 4 ready to install wire looms (power/ethernet, pulse/tach for mains and gender, 12 analog inputs, and 12 digital switch connections plus alarm connections). Another easy part- remove the sender leads from the existing gauges, connect the requisite analog leads to the Chetco, connect the NMEA backbone, and power it all up.
The system showed all gauges right away in the included vDash software. A call to Joe, and the required tweaks were done to have the info show correctly on the Raymarine.

Next- the flybridge. I used 2 pink structural foam to mock up the housing- I was going to make a plug, but the foal worked so well that I used it as the base. Figured all the angles, made the cuts, and soon had a perfect base to lay the fiberglass on. Followed the glass with 1/4 ply for additional strength, then added additional layers of glass and resin. Cut the openings for the Raymarine head units and autopilot and set aside.

After that, I stripped and filled in all the holes in the helm area from old installs, then faired them in and prepped for paint.

Primed, then painted all with Brightsides.
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Old 03-31-2019, 11:23 AM   #2
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I am heading down the same path. My 07 Mainship Pilot 34 was starting to have instrument issues, and I never liked the fact that the alarm gave no indication of what was triggering it. Looked into the mini panel with indicator lights like Rich Gano used on his single engine Pilot, but by the time I replaced the port tachometer which has a faulty ground internally, and installed the indicator lights I was in the neighborhood of the digital solution. Of course with the requisite project creep, I have surpassed that point.

I am also using the Chetco Seagauge to digitize the signals, then 2 Maretron dsm410 units to display the engine info, and adding a Garmin 7607 as a second MFD. At this point i have everything in hand and hope to begin installation in the next week.

I'll try to document the process as I go along. Glad to hear your project is going well.

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Old 03-31-2019, 01:15 PM   #3
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Looks great Peter! Your current project seems like a lot more fun than mine!
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Old 04-03-2019, 06:10 PM   #4
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Peter,

I have installed the Chetco unit and connected one engine's senders and so far, so good. The second engine should be just more of the same. I also want to connect the existing overheat, gear temp, and oil pressure alarm switches. Did you connect any of these devices? It seems that the Chetco wants a +12v signal, but the switches close the ground. I'd appreciate any insight you can provide.

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Old 04-03-2019, 11:21 PM   #5
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Peter,

I have installed the Chetco unit and connected one engine's senders and so far, so good. The second engine should be just more of the same. I also want to connect the existing overheat, gear temp, and oil pressure alarm switches. Did you connect any of these devices? It seems that the Chetco wants a +12v signal, but the switches close the ground. I'd appreciate any insight you can provide.

Thanks,
Brett
Hi, Brett,

Im using the existing alarms (low oil pressure/high temp) and havent utilized any alarm functions of the SeaGauge as of yet.

Id give Joe a call- he was able to quickly figure out a programming challenge I had.
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Old 04-03-2019, 11:22 PM   #6
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Looks great Peter! Your current project seems like a lot more fun than mine!
Indeed!
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Old 04-04-2019, 10:23 PM   #7
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Update- Electronics are installed and completely operational, and all is painted. Just have to hang the doors.
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Old 04-04-2019, 11:04 PM   #8
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Very nice work Peter, looks great. I'll get to that to do list line item someday....
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Old 04-04-2019, 11:16 PM   #9
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Wow looks great! I ended up going with the Actisense unit, but looked at a bunch before deciding. I'm glad I digitized the gauges, as my upper helm gauges have started to fail in random ways. It is definitely a worthwhile upgrade!

I also chose a simpler solution than an MFD for display at that location - a Furuno FI-70 display. I also have two MFDs that I could use to display things, but I like how this one can always be left on engine data.

Love that we can convert all of the old analog stuff to a modern solution.
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Old 04-05-2019, 06:43 AM   #10
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The next step is dedicated displays for the engines and system monitoring (tank levels, etc) at the lower helm.
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Old 04-06-2019, 09:37 AM   #11
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The next step is dedicated displays for the engines and system monitoring (tank levels, etc) at the lower helm.
How are you planning to operate this? I'm envisioning a dedicated Axiom 12. Certainly no need for an Axiom Pro - you're not going to zoom the keyboard, do a MOB, et cetera. So this display would never show anything other than gauges, right?

And if you create an engine panel, I assume you can share it with other MFDs - have you played with that yet? So if the engine MFD were to die, you could bring up the engine panel on another MFD.

I just looked at the Alarms section of the Lighthouse manual - a lot of configuration there. What I didn't see was any mention of networking alarms - does an alarm show up on all displays or just the Data Master?
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Old 04-06-2019, 10:34 AM   #12
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How are you planning to operate this? I'm envisioning a dedicated Axiom 12. Certainly no need for an Axiom Pro - you're not going to zoom the keyboard, do a MOB, et cetera. So this display would never show anything other than gauges, right?

And if you create an engine panel, I assume you can share it with other MFDs - have you played with that yet? So if the engine MFD were to die, you could bring up the engine panel on another MFD.

I just looked at the Alarms section of the Lighthouse manual - a lot of configuration there. What I didn't see was any mention of networking alarms - does an alarm show up on all displays or just the Data Master?
The Chetco is networked via NMEA 2000/Raymarine Seatalk NG, so the gauge info is available anywhere I put a display.

I used to run with a single Axiom Pro 12 at each helm station. The lower station has been reconfigured with a GS165 running Lighthouse 3 software- next to it is a 19 standalone MAC based nav system running OpenCpn. There is enough real estate on the GS that Ill split screen the gauges with whatever app I choose, and have the other screen for nav.

The old gauges are above the lower helm, and will be replaced with the I70 displays.

The flybridge console I just built has 2 12 Axiom MFDs- the left will be split screen with gauges and ______, and the right the primary nav screen.

I chose to use the original analog alarms (black round units on either side of the wheel), as I like that they are loud and demand attention.

If you network your alarms via the Chetco, there is no reason it wouldnt be available on any display.
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Old 04-07-2019, 04:37 PM   #13
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I used to run with a single Axiom Pro 12” at each helm station. The lower station has been reconfigured with a GS165 running Lighthouse 3 software- next to it is a 19” standalone MAC based nav system running OpenCpn. There is enough real estate on the GS that I’ll split screen the gauges with whatever app I choose, and have the other screen for nav.
The GS165 has the same resolution as the Pro12 - 1280x800. It's fortunate that they support the e and g series with Lighthouse III - they promised that for an a series I had and then cancelled it.

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The old gauges are above the lower helm, and will be replaced with the I70 displays.
Interesting. I had a P70 on my previous boat for the autopilot - nice little unit but an Axiom 7 has almost 6x the pixels, same touch interface, and are only a little bit more money. The pixels are small though - you have to be pretty close to read most text.

I also had a laptop, large monitor, Actisense N2K integration on that previous vessel. No engine inputs, but I had a lot of weather data from an Airmar 200WX.

I notice you have the rudder angle at the bottom - what is your source for that? I had the Raymarine unit on my previous boat, but had a heck of a time getting a responsive ST-STNG(N2K) signal from that.

And what are you using for fuel? I don't see a Chetco sensor for fuel so maybe Maretron?
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Old 04-07-2019, 05:28 PM   #14
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The P70/P670r are dedicated autopilot control heads, as is the I70. Not too worried about the pixel count, as they will be dedicated for engine data, with a secondary function of tank levels. The plan calls for 2 I70 units for the taxes, and 2 for engine data.

I have the Maretron FFM modules ready to install- looking for a killer deal on the sensor units.
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Old 04-07-2019, 10:06 PM   #15
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Sounds reasonable - did you see my question about where you're getting your Rudder Angle from?
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Old 04-07-2019, 10:11 PM   #16
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Ah- missed that one!

Rudder angle info comes from the Evolution 400 A/P unit via its SeaTalk interface.
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Old 04-12-2019, 06:01 PM   #17
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I have a 2007 pilot with twin 240’s..I love to know more about what your doing, I need to do the same

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Old 04-12-2019, 06:32 PM   #18
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I have a 2007 pilot with twin 240s..I love to know more about what your doing, I need to do the same

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Fire away- what would you like to know?
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Old 04-12-2019, 07:29 PM   #19
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I’m looking to get accurate fuel burn , oil temp , battery management and temperature.what would I need to be able to get this.
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Old 04-12-2019, 07:53 PM   #20
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Im looking to get accurate fuel burn , oil temp , battery management and temperature.what would I need to be able to get this.
Are your engines CANbus equipped? That is, was there an option from the factory for electronic gauges?
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