NMEA 0183 vs NMEA 2000
Ok, I'm a little confused by these. I'm 90% sure they are communication "languages" that allow different electronic devices communicate and share information with one another. I'm up to 99% sure that NMEA 2000 supercedes the 0183. Now for a few questions.
1. Does NMEA 2000 work with older 0183 devices?
2. How much longer will 0183 be good for?
3. Is there a significant performance difference or just a difference in how they are connected?
4. Is there a good source I can read to better understand NMEA and how different systems can be hooked together so it all works together with one display but can still operate independently in case of failure in a single device?
5. Am I the only person in the world who doesn't understand this stuff?:eek:
I'm not very electronicly inclined so speak very s l o w l y please!:o
NMEA 0183 and 2000 are completely different. They are not 'languages' but really specify the electrical connection between two (or more) devices. NMEA 0183 is like serial communications that old computers used. NMEA 2000 is more like Ethernet networking.
The two are not interoperable at all.
Most DEVICES (plotters, radios, etc.) that can accept NMEA 2000 INPUT will also accept NMEA 0183, but this is because the device will have two or more communication powers.
NMEA 0183 is an old standard that has been around for a long time and will continue to be around for a long time. It is simple and cheap. It is designed so ONE piece of equipment (TALKER) to communicate to another piece of equipment (LISTENER). For example, a DSC VHF radio can obtain GPS location position from a GPS, or a wind speed and direction instrument can send information to a chart plotter with GPS speed so the plotter can calculate TRUE wind information. The information can only flow from one device to another device. You can't connect multiple devices NMEA 0183 device together unless you add additional gear (multiplexor). NMEA is SLOW (2400 baud typically) and requires you to connect little tiny wires.
NMEA 2000 is a newer standard that supports true networking. Think of computer networking where there can be multiple devices all communicating at the same time and to each other. With a NMEA 2000 network there is a network backbone (wire) that ALL devices connect too. You can have a GPS sending location information, water speed transducer sending speed through water information, wind instruments, AIS, Autopilot, etc. It is simple to add displays that allow you see whatever information you want. To add another NMEA device all you need to do is plug it in to the network and it starts working immediately.
Some additional tidbits:
Raymarine used to have a non-standard interface called SeaTalk. This is now obsolete as Raymarine has gone to SeaTalkNG (Next Generation) which is really just NMEA2000.
A good place to learn more about boat electronics is the Panbo Blog run by Ben Ellison. Visit it here:
Panbo: The Marine Electronics Weblog
My own opinion is that if you just want a simple system, say chart plotter with GPS connected to DSC VHF radio, then NMEA 0183 is fine. If you want something more involved, say you want an autopilot that can get information from the plotter, and you want to add wind and boat speed through water as well, you are better off with NMEA 2000.
Thanks for the responses. Very informative. I've read in a few threads here that people have put together what sounds to me like pretty elaborate navigation and monitoring networks.
I don't have enough experience to know exactly what type of electronics I would actually need for what I intend to do but I'm sure I will go for a chartplotter and radio at the minimum. Since I will be mostly singlehanding, AIS strikes me as a useful tool, and possibly a simple radar package.
It seems to me that having information from all devices available at the helm as well as a good monitoring system for engine status would be pretty handy for those times when I would need to remain on deck. I like the idea of being able to display and manipulate everything from a single MFD rather than having a huge spread of instruments in front of me complete with airbag!
A NMEA Talker can power 4 NMEA listeners. A NMEA listener can only listen to one talker.
The big problem with 0183 is that people like Raymarine decided to violate the standard that says anything a listener hears needs to be repeated on the talker side of the instrument. They did this so they could sell expensive and unnecessary "conversion" boxes.
As pointed out above NMEA 2000 is the new standard. Usually manufacturers don't repeat NMEA 2000 data onto NMEA 0183 outputs. What does this mean. Well, lets say you purchase a NMEA 2000 wind instrument but have a NMEA 0183 multi-function display. Guess what, the NMEA 2000 wind data will not show up on the NMEA 0183 multi-function display. They do, however, usually repeat NMEA 0183 data on the NMEA 2000 bus. So if you buy a NMEA 0183 wind instrument and a NMEA 2000 multi-function display the wind data might show up on the the multi-function display. Confused yet?
Simple rule. If you have old instruments that communicate on NMEA 0183 you probably want to get new instruments that will talk NMEA 0183. If you are getting new instruments then go with NMEA 2000.
BTW most chart plotters talk both, but again the rub is what the rest of your instruments will display. The good news is that the tech support people at Garmin etc. are pretty good about telling you what will happen if you call them up and say "I have these specific instruments wired together like this."
Last comment to make it even more confusing: Back in the dark ages (yesterday) all of the manufacturers had proprietary communication protocols - Raymarine had SeaTalk, SeaTalk2, HSI, and a couple of others. None of these talk to NMEA 0183 or NMEA 2000 without a converter box.
You may start drinking heavily now. :)
Fair winds and following seas.
Yes, I think a stiff drink is in order!:hammer
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