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patrscoe 03-26-2012 12:09 PM

In need for a crash course on Networking
Recently purchased a new Simrad NSS unit and I have been very impressed with the unit. The chartplotter is compatible with NMEA 2000 networking.

I want to network my wind and depth to the chartplotter but still want my instruments to function as is. My instruments are Datamarine and on the older side but are in excellent shape and function fine, so I don't really want to replace them at this time.

It looks like I will need a Simnet / NMEA 2000 which appears to be just a hub. Do you run the cable from the hub to the instruments or connect directly to the device of instrument e.g. transducer, wind anemometer, etc... How does it communicate to the chartplotter through the hub since there could be several input cabling (perhaps one from a autopilot, depth, wind, etc...)? If you need to hook them directly to the devices then the current instruments would not function since you would be re-routing the cables to the chartplotter. Or do you run back out from the hub to the instruments.

Additionally, if I later decide to upgrade the instruments but not the devices (again, transducers, wind anemometer, etc...), how compatible are Simrad and Raymarine instrument heads with these devices?


BarryL 03-26-2012 03:47 PM

Re: In need for a crash course on Networking

What you are trying to do may not be possible. It depends on how old your instruments are. In order for this to work you need to have instruments that support networking. The old standard is NMEA 0183. But not all Datamarine instruments support that. Some are just stand alone instruments that are not networkable.

If you do have NMEA 0183 instruments, to use them on an NMEA 2000 network you need a 'gateway'. Something like this
Actisense NGW-1. Bi-directional NMEA 2000 to NMEA 0183 Gateway > Introduction

If your older instruments are not networkable, you can get new NMEA 2000 sensors. This one will handle the weather needs:
Maretron : Marine Electronic Instruments
This one will provide speed / depth / water temp:
Maretron : Marine Electronic Instruments

The nice thing about NMEA 2000 is that most devices are compatible. Certainly all standard things like depth, speed, wind, etc. are.

Please note that I am not recommending any one manufacturer. I also haven't done very much if this stuff, I've just read about it. On my own boat I have a NMEA 200 network, but just for GPS information. I also have an NMEA 0183 network for AIS received information.


jsaronson 03-26-2012 04:48 PM

Re: In need for a crash course on Networking
The NMEA 2000 cabling has tees and 5 way "splitters" so you can run multiple devices into and out of the interface. The question becomes what data the NSS can use and display. It should display depth, speed and wind if you want it to and if the devices are NMEA compatible. You may be able to replace your transducer with a NMEA compatible model and display the depth on the NSS rather than on the DM, or get an AirMar trducer for speed depth and temp and eliminate a thru-hull and 2 displays.

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