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DrB 06-22-2010 02:40 PM

NMEA 2000 or NMEA 0183
Looking to replace my Garmin GPSMAP 215. The unit is over 12 years old and the screen "B/W" colors are difficult to read. On this particular model the water is the darker color and the land white. Totally goofs with my brain.

My eyes are bad, so I need a bigger screen and have the option to pick up a slightly larger screen from a fellow sailnet member for a decent price, but still on the fence about what to do. The screen on that model is only slightly large than mine, but I suspect it will be easier to read since it is color screen. The GPS will be mounted on a swing arm in the companionway about 4 ft from my eyes.

Not really looking for advice on which GPS to get, but the big question is, I can pick-up a 6.4 inch screen for about 50% of each original cost, but it has only NMEA 0183 inputs and is on clearance and a discounted model from Garmin. Newer models have NMEA 2000 inputs, and wondering if this is the way to go for future proofing. Obviously the newer models will be more $, but if it allows me to integrate other stuff later, than I would consider it.

So the question is: NMEA 2000 going forward or NMEA 0183 is well established, will be supported for at least 5 years, and therefore would be fine for sometime.



NCountry 06-22-2010 03:23 PM

NMEA 2000 definately if you plan on adding other devices to your network.

hangupndrive 06-22-2010 03:52 PM

I just upgraded all instruments to the Garmin GMI system. It is NMEA 2000. I networked my AIS capable VHf to the system via a NMEA 0183 input. The NMEA 2000 is far and away superior. the expansion potential is tremendous.

BarryL 06-22-2010 09:26 PM


What do you plan on doing with the system TODAY, and what do you think you will do TOMORROW?

It is MUCH easier to connect devices with NMEA 2000 than with NMEA 0183. However, if you don't plan on connecting things, then it doesn't really matter.

For example, a common use of networking is to send GPS data to a DSC VHF. The only problem is that very few VHF radios use NMEA 2000. If you have or plan on buying a DSC VHF with NMEA 2000, then by all means get the NMEA 2000 plotter too.

Do you plan on display Speed Through Water (STW) from a paddle wheel or some other type of transducer on the plotter screen? NMEA 2000 would make that much easier. How about wind speed and direction? Same thing. What about autopilot?

If you plan on having a dedicated display for each data source (speed, depth, wind, autopilot, etc.) then nmea 2000 is probably overkill.

Lastly, NMEA 2000 specifies how the data is sent, it doesn't mean that all devices can use all messages. I have a NMEA 2000 network with a Lowrance LMS 337 CDF plotter. I have a AIS receiver. My plotter does not understand the AIS messages, so I can't display the AIS information on my plotter.


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