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Old 04-22-2011, 08:43 AM   #1
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USB to serial adapter

I'm trying to import routes from OpenCPN to my Raymarine Chart Plotter. This requires that I physically connect my notebook computer with my chart plotter via my computers USB port. I have to use a USB to serial interface adapter. The adapter Raymarine recommends is one by sealevel and it costs $79. There are others on the Internet for much less.

Anybody know if it's really necessary to purchase such an expensive one. Aren't serial interface adapters all pretty much the same? I will say sealevel claims their units are made to military specs, something I can't imagine I need.

Lastly, any body know how to transfer routes via NEMA 0183 from OpenCPN.

Note: I cannot transfer via a SD or similar card, my unit will not allow this.
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Old 04-22-2011, 11:35 AM   #2
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RE: USB to serial adapter

I have a bunch of these adapters at work. ("Old" scientific instruments talking to laptops.) The $5 Monoprice.com units are no different than the ones we paid $50 for. $10 buys you a spare for the day your main adapter isn't where it should be.*

*

There's a set of flakey drivers that keeps showing up on install disks and the web. Can't remember off the top of my head how you tell the difference other than the fact your install won't work. The Brookhouse website has a copy of the known good drivers:

http://brookhouseonline.com/downloads.htm
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Old 04-22-2011, 12:27 PM   #3
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USB to serial adapter

Well I'm learning. Didn't know I needed a driver to use a usb to serial port adapter.
Do most adapters come with a driver?


-- Edited by timjet on Friday 22nd of April 2011 03:45:13 PM
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Old 04-22-2011, 01:24 PM   #4
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RE: USB to serial adapter

All the ones I've bought have come with an install/driver disk.
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:02 PM   #5
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RE: USB to serial adapter

I am not in favor of spending any more than I have to, but I will say that Sealevel stayed right with me on the telephone until everything was installed and working.
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:32 PM   #6
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RE: USB to serial adapter

I'll be interested if this works. Navigation SW programs like OpenCPN typically have unique formats for storing routes which are frequently not compatible with the proprietary formats used by chart plotters like Raymarine.* To import a chart to the Raymarine may take some reformating.* Has anyone actually achieved this?*

Raymarine does provide free SW called RayTech Navigation.**This*restricted version*will generate a route on a PC that can be imported to their chartplotters via a*USB C-Card Reader.* This version, however, will not interface with the Raymarine system in real time.* I have tried this and it works well.*
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:46 PM   #7
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RE: USB to serial adapter

Quote:
Doc wrote:
I am not in favor of spending any more than I have to, but I will say that Sealevel stayed right with me on the telephone until everything was installed and working.
*That's what the Raymarine guy said too.

*
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Old 04-22-2011, 04:33 PM   #8
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USB to serial adapter

Quote:
Great Laker wrote:
*Navigation SW programs like OpenCPN typically have unique formats for storing routes which are frequently not compatible with the proprietary formats used by chart plotters like Raymarine.* To import a chart to the Raymarine may take some reformating.* Has anyone actually achieved this?*

Raymarine does provide free SW called RayTech Navigation.**This*restricted version*will generate a route on a PC that can be imported to their chartplotters via a*USB C-Card Reader.*
*This is the way I understand it works. OpenCPN and other non-proprietary*programs store routes and waypts in a format called .gpx amoung others. Perhaps some chart plotters can read .gpx files, in which case if a chartplotter has the capability of reading .gpx files from a SD, CMap or similar card then it's a rather simple process of transferring routes from a PC. *Transfer the .gpx file from a PC to a SD card, insert the SD card in your plotter and upload the .gpx file. Done

My plotter has neither the capability of reading .gpx files nor of uploading files from a card of any sort, CMap or otherwise. So the work around is to connect a PC to the plotters NMEA 0183 input. This involves a USB to serial adapter and then using OpenCPN to transfer the data in a NEMA 0183 code to the plotter. The plotter has to have the capability of recreiving routes and waypts in this manner which mine does. OpenCPN will transfer routes and waypts via NEMA 0183. I just haven't figured it out quite yet.*

The RayTech software you mentioned apparently does not have the capability of transfering routes or waypts via NEMA 0183 according to the Raymarine tech I talked to.*

Note: My plotter is 2000 vintage before PC's were used for route planning. I guess the engineers at the time didn't think that a transfer of routes from a PC would ever be needed so they did not program the ability of uploading routes via a CMap card.*

*

*


-- Edited by timjet on Saturday 23rd of April 2011 05:05:31 AM
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Old 04-22-2011, 05:48 PM   #9
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RE: USB to serial adapter

Quote:
timjet wrote:
The RayTech software you mentioned apparently does not have the capability of transfering routes or waypts via NEMA 0183 according to the Raymarine tech I talked to.*

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*
This Raymarine link describes the RayTech capability which includes transfering routes and waypoints via NEMA 0183.* It also shows which Raymarine chartplotters are capable of importing this data.* If yours is listed, it should work.*

http://www.raymarine.com/ProductDeta...0&PRODUCT=4265
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Old 04-23-2011, 05:23 AM   #10
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RE: USB to serial adapter

Larry, you're correct it does say the Ray Tech software is compatable with pathfinder MFD's which mine is.*

Raymarine has 2 versions of the pathfinder MFD, one that uses HSB 1, which mine is and the newer HSB 2. There are limitations with HSB 1 which include no capability to read routes from a C-MAP card and it uses the older C-MAP NT cards not the NT+ cards that HSB 2 uses.*

I'll call tech support again and point this out and post his reply.*

Thanks for pointing this out.*
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Old 04-23-2011, 07:24 AM   #11
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RE: USB to serial adapter

Jet:

Four years ago I had a similar situation with my Raymarine RL70C. The decision I made was to use the Ray charting as backup and install a charting program (I used Nobeltec)*on a laptop. A GPS unit feeds the laptop too - I used a marine tech to install/hook this up since the same old serial port question came up so he hardwired ends for the setup with a spare end on the FB when I choose to take Nobeltetc up there. The laptop is going strong still and the slow thinking Ray is now relegated to the third backup spot (its radar went kaput last year).*On the laptop you will be able to do all charting quickly and also plug in AIS if you so desire. You may even want to hook up the *AIS Class B initially ( four years ago this wasn't possible) so as not to have two GPS units fighting each other in the laptop. One word of caution, some say - "do not use your selected laptop for anything but charting" - I agree.
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Old 04-23-2011, 08:42 AM   #12
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RE: USB to serial adapter

I have OpenCPN on my notebook with a GPS puck. It works well but the screen just isn't bright enough. Since my radar still works, I'm going to stick with it.
Tim
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Old 04-23-2011, 11:09 AM   #13
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RE: USB to serial adapter

Tim

I have two monitors plugged into the laptop, good bright screens from Dell and less than $200 each.
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Old 04-23-2011, 11:14 AM   #14
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RE: USB to serial adapter

Besides using a laptop with OpenCPN and a USB puck for route planning, I consider it a fully redundant backup system to my Raymarine.* If the Raymarine fails, or the boat power goes out, I will still (within the limits of the laptop battery life) know where I am and which direction to go for safety.* After that it is back to paper and a compass.*
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Old 04-23-2011, 11:31 AM   #15
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RE: USB to serial adapter

Where does one get a USB puck, how much and what brand? Thanks
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Old 04-23-2011, 11:53 AM   #16
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RE: USB to serial adapter

Apparently not all USB GPS pucks work consistently well with laptops.* After some research and reading of blogs, I choose*the GlobalSat BU-353 USB GPS from Semsons & Co., Inc.*

Cost was on sale on Amazon for $36.95 plus $5.50 shipping.* It is small, waterproof, WAAS enabled, and has a strong magnet*and/or suctioncup for mounting.* It is easy to configure to a serial port and works consistently well just sitting on the chart table under the PH roof.* *

I can recommend it.*

*
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Old 04-23-2011, 03:50 PM   #17
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RE: USB to serial adapter

Thats the one I have too. OpenCPN even has detailed instruction on how to hook it up. It works well for me, but I don't have a lot of experience with it.
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Old 04-23-2011, 04:01 PM   #18
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RE: USB to serial adapter

Quote:
sunchaser wrote:
Tim

I have two monitors plugged into the laptop, good bright screens from Dell and less than $200 each.
*Tom,

I had given some thought to doing exactly what you did. I'm still going to stick with the chartplotter and see if I can download the routes to it from my PC. Failing that I may do what you did.

I don't have room on the FB for a laptop, but I could run a video cable from the salon to the FB, and with bluetooth and a trackball and a monitor mounted on the FB hard top be up and running.

What model # dell monitor did you have and is it made especially for daylight viewing?

*
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