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  #1  
Old 12-25-2009
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Help a noob with NMEA, OpenCPN, Garmin, Raymarine

Hello,

I'm new to boat ownership and have a few questions about onboard networking devices. I have a Garmin 440/s, and the ship has Raymarine, speed and depth. I've been fooling around with OpenCPN (which is awesome), and I'm wondering about the best way to put it all together.

It seems that I'll need a NMEA multiplexer with a USB port for the computer. At the very least, I'd like to be able to transfer routes and tracks between the 440/s and my laptop. Is it simply a matter of choosing a Multiplexer, wiring the NMEA port of the Garmin to it, and plugging in the laptop to the USB?

Any advice on most trouble-free multiplexer? Any particular troubles with USB drivers (I'm using win xp pro) for multiplexers?

Thanks for any advice!

-Bob
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Old 12-26-2009
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You don't need a mux to transfer such data. You can use your serial port at laptop wired to Garmin. If it doesn't have one, use a USB - serial adapter. Although not the designed option, the RS-232 adapter will work fine.
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Old 12-31-2009
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Using a PC as Realtime Chartplotter with a Garmin GPS

I would second Negrini's advice on connecting your PC to your Garmin, and also add that you can use your PC as a realtime below-deck chart plotter, with two pieces of software. First, you need a Garmin Blue Chart CD for your cruising area. Garmin is discontinuing this format at the end of 2009, but you can still buy one for about $100 through dealers; V 8.5 is the latest. Next, you need Garmin nRoute, which will overlay heading, speed, depth, etc. on your PC's Blue Charts. nRoute is free, but no longer available through Garmin, either; if you Google it, you can find an archived version--the one I use is v2.7.6, which I believe was the last. You will be communicating with your Garmin in the Garmin language with this setup.

Rose Point's Coastal Explorer will do all of the above using NMEA 0183, and has the advantage of free raster and vector maps, but the basic software costs around $395. A free trial version is available if you want to check it out.

Hope this helps!
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Old 12-31-2009
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Thanks for the replies guys. I got a USB-RS232 converter for the laptop and wired it up to the Garmin. It seems I'm receiving data from the garmin but not able to send. I'm using OpenCPN. The stream monitor shows all the NMEA sentences coming from the garmin but if I try to send a Route to the garmin, there's a progress bar but nothing happens. Also the chart name background in OpenCPN never turns green indicating successful handshake with the gps. I've looked over all the settings and in the time I've spent so far, I'm not seeing anything wrong. The D-9 shell I had in my junk drawer is not in great shape so it's possible the Tx line is not working. My local radio shack is all out of them too So the project is on the shelf until one that I've ordered arrives.
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Old 12-31-2009
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Can't upload from PC to Garmin

I never comment on things I have not done, and I have no experience with OpenCPN--although it looks interesting. I can tell you, however, that the Garmin likes to receive data in the Garmin language, not NMEA. This is the reason I use the $100 all-Garmin BlueChart/nRoute solution for my own below-deck PC. Garmin also has a Trip and Waypoint Manager that will let you upload waypoints, but as I recall, it doesn't give you realtime charting by itself. To receive data in Garmin language, you will have to set the port you are using to Garmin protocol.
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Old 01-01-2010
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Well that's certainly a bummer. I have the bluechart disc. I bought it when I got my handheld garmin a couple years ago. I'm a programmer and especially interested in open-source stuff so using OpenCPN was appealing to me. I thought one day I might even want to contribute to the project (in my spare time - HA!).

Well, thanks again for the reply. After I build my new cable, I'll try again and also investigate the garmin software.

-bd

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Originally Posted by RecoveringRacer View Post
I never comment on things I have not done, and I have no experience with OpenCPN--although it looks interesting. I can tell you, however, that the Garmin likes to receive data in the Garmin language, not NMEA. This is the reason I use the $100 all-Garmin BlueChart/nRoute solution for my own below-deck PC. Garmin also has a Trip and Waypoint Manager that will let you upload waypoints, but as I recall, it doesn't give you realtime charting by itself. To receive data in Garmin language, you will have to set the port you are using to Garmin protocol.
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Old 01-01-2010
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Realtime PC Navigation with BlueChart

If your BlueChart disc is V6.5 or somewhat earlier, it already has the realtime Nav feature built in, and you don't need nRoute. (With CDs, you can get a second license free from Garmin for the same region and version.) You might want to try hooking your handheld up to your laptop, using the free nRoute program if your CD is later than 6.5, just to get a feel for how the below-deck PC nav feature and waypoint transfer system works.

Disclaimer: I have no experience with OpenCPN, and none with a GPSMAP 440 other than reading the manuals. My experience is with Garmin 76CS, 3205, & 3006 units.
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Old 01-01-2010
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There is a way to send routes and waypoints to any Garmin GPS but it does not involve NMEA. Essentially you plan routes using route planning software , and export it in GPX format. As an author of such a product I certainly suggest PolarView but any product may work as long as it emits well formed GPX (and follows a few quirks to satisfy Garmin software).

Garmin provides a free utility called MapSource that will load routes and waypoints in GPX format and then send them to the device. There is also GpsBabel - another utility that can send routes and waypoints in GPX format to a wide variety of GPS devices including Garmin.

Granted it is a two step process, but it works quite well (I am a user of my own software and I do own a Garmin GPS though recently I've been using a PC almost exclusively).
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Old 01-03-2010
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Look at a this product GPS splitter, simulator and logger. Serial port splitter. - Franson GpsGate it not only allows use of garmin data with NEMA 0183 systems but also allows multiple ports so the data can be shared with multiple programs.
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Old 01-03-2010
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Thanks - I found that the other day and downloaded the trial. When I get a minute I'll play with it.
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