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Old 01-24-2023, 04:39 PM   #1
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"non-marine" computer equipment

Hi,

I'm just getting my feet wet with NMEA gateways, etc to pull data from my existing instruments to a PC or Pi and ultimately to openCPN. I'd like to start simply by setting up a wireless network on the boat. I would like to place the router on the flybridge (this is a Mainship 40), under the helm station (an unfinished, but dry space with no splashing where lots of electronics and wiring already reside (e.g., course computer). Equipment that may find its way under there is the router, maybe an ethernet switch, maybe a voltage regulator...). All of these are easily available, but none is "marine rated" or if it is I don't want to spend crazy money. There's the electrical equipment itself, plus connectors, cables, etc. The question for people who have done similar setups on their boats, are you using "regular" electronics from Amazon, Best Buy, etc? I would never use non-marine wiring anywhere else on the boat, so this gives me pause. It would be one thing to have the equipment go down, but another to cause something more extreme (electrical fire...am I being alarmist?).

Thanks
--Howie
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Old 01-24-2023, 09:13 PM   #2
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My thought would be to set up a wired NMEA-2000 network (whether a generic DeviceNet, or proprietary wiring like SeatalkNG or SimNet). These networking components are marine-rated.

I'd keep all my data on that network, using NMEA-2000<-->NMEA-0183 gateways, as needed, to get NMEA-0183 data over to the NMEA-2000 network.

Then, I'd use a NMEA-2000<-->WiFi gateway to send all of the NMEA-2000 data (including the converted NMEA-0183 data) to/from WiFi, where it could be picked up by my PC running OpenCPN, among other devices.

For a NMEA-2000<-->NMEA-0183 gateway, something like the YachtDevices YDWG-02 (https://yachtdevicesus.com/products/...ateway-ydwg-02) is an option.

For the NMEA-2000<-->NMEA-0183 gateway, you could use something like the YachtDevices YDNG-03 (https://www.yachtd.com/products/nmea0183_gateway.html).

The YachtDevices devices can be ordered with any the common NMEA-2000 connector options (SeatalkNG, SimNet, DeviceNet). And, adapters can be bought relatively cheaply to convert among them, as needed, if any device has the wrong one for whatever type of NMEA-2000 network you have, or nearby part thereof, happens to have.

And, there are plenty of options beyond those from YachtDevices. Those are just what I happen to use and be most familiar with off of the top of my head.

To avoid the wired NMEA-2000 backbone, whether wholly or in part, you'd need to have a NMEA-2000<-->WiFi or a NMEA-0183<-->WiFi gateway on each and every device. This would likely also require an adapter or short length of cable between each device and the converter as well as WiFi "router" (switch) which could be located inside and out of the weather. This would be a lot ore expensive, have more configuration overhead, and take more physical space.

My basic goal would be to get everything practically possible wired to the NMEA-2000 network and convert that to Wi-Fi exactly once. And then, if there were any devices that were truly too much trouble to wire directly to the NMEA-2000 network, I'd go ahead and "cheat" and use a NMEA<-->WiFi gateway at the device. But, I'd keep those to a minimum for the reasns above.

Also, if you've got NMEA-0183 stuff with nearby wiring, you can bring all of that together into a single NMEA-0183 multiplexer and connect it to the NMEA-2000 network or Wi-Fi. Some gateways even have Wi-Fi, NMEA-2000, and one to a few NMEA-0183 ports. They basically combine small NMEA-0183 multiplexers with NMEA-0183<-->NMEA-2000 converters with NMEA-2000 or NMEA-0183 (or both) to WiFi gateways.

Have fun!
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Old 01-25-2023, 07:46 AM   #3
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Thanks for such a detailed response. Your advice generally aligns with my plans and there are some specific devices that you mentioned that weren't on my list. I'm still interested to hear what types of generic network equipment people are using and how they hold up in the marine environment (i.e., is a regular netgear router going to do the trick?).

Thanks
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Old 01-25-2023, 09:20 AM   #4
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For the WiFi access point, I use a home unit I bought at Best Buy. It is in the cabin, but has been working for ~4 years and counting.

I have a cheap mini PC in my flybridge console. It has b33n working 4 years and counting, but it does have an IP68 kiosk touch screen, so it isn't directly exposed.
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Old 01-25-2023, 10:12 AM   #5
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Thanks. Appreciate the info.
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