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Old 08-05-2008
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There's generally no need for chartplotters to communicate with each other IMHO. However, most of the manufacturers are moving away from NMEA 0183 since NMEA 2000 has been certified. It has a lot of good advantages. First, it has a much higher data rate than NMEA 0183. Second, it has standardized wiring color, type and connectors, which can simplify adding new gear in the future. Third, it can handle multiple talkers and listeners without needing to resort to a multiplexer arrangement. Fourth, if you get high data rate equipment, like a radar, it is simpler to network them to things like AIS, chartplotters, existing instruments.

A lot of newer equipment isn't going to be backwards compatible to the older NMEA 0183 standard, since many are now coming with just NMEA 2000. As time goes on, I see this happening more and more.

Of course, you could always just bridge the two data networks with a NMEA 0183/2000 data bridge type device. However, the chartplotter and radar should be able to exchange data at a higher speed IMHO. If you go with the Garmin 3206, you'll basically be limited to getting Garmin radar, not that their radar isn't good. BTW, IMHO, a 6" screen is a bit small for radar and chartplotter unless they're overlaid, and that can present its own set of problems in terms of readability.
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Telstar 28
New England

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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