I know about NMEA2000 but I just don't like it. I think the standard may be useful for high speed boats, where data rates of serial may not be sufficient. But I have a sailboat. My main concern is convenience and saving electric power. Running ethernet bus does nothing for the latter (and not very convenient due to their weird wiring requirements - gotta use coax, all sorts of weird connectors that tend to fail, hubs - I have enough of that stuff at work). So NMEA2000 is almost a negative to me
Actually, NMEA 2000 isn't ethernet based, although the GarminNet is. The wiring on the NMEA 2000 is actually simpler and more reliable than the older NMEA 0183, which was pretty much a crapshoot, based on whomever made the equipment. You should be able to use and wire NMEA 2000 equipment much more reliably and simple than NMEA 0183—which didn't use any sort of standardized connector or color code at all. Given the data rates of things like RADAR, chances are you're going to need some sort of higher speed data network protocol, whether it is GarminNet or NMEA 2000, at some point.
But I do appreciate a point of the user interface, and preloaded charts might be a good way to equalize.
As I said to a friend who went and bought his daughter a non-iPod MP3 player... "Ain't no good if you can't get the music on it, is it?"
He went and returned it and bought her a Shuffle... she's much happier now.... Even though it was a bit more money... at least she could get her music on to it. Same sort of thing applies to GPS chartplotters and the user interface. If it isn't easy to use... doesn't make much sense in paying to use it to me.
Ok, so say I get Garmin and use one NMEA interface to connect the autopilot. Now I want to connect DSC radio and depth sounder (and may be wind instrument one day) - how do I do that if there is only one NMEA 183 port left?
The DSC Radio and Autopilot both need NMEA 0183 out...and can be setup as listeners on a single NMEA output port. The depth sounder, at least on the Garmin units, have their own input port, and don't use an NMEA port. The DSC radio and possibly the autopilot might need NMEA 0183 into the GPS chartplotter, which would use an input NMEA 0183 port each. However, last I checked, most autopilots don't require NMEA output to the chartplotter. So you're using a total of one NMEA 0183 port for input and output to the DSC VHF-radio and autopilot, and the sounder is connected separately, not using an NMEA 0183 port.
BTW, If you're using someone else's depthsounder and need to connect it via NMEA 0183... you're being an idiot... why ask for trouble when the Garmin supports its own sounder unit.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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