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Old 12-20-2010
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1 GPS/VHF antenna for several pieces of electronics possible?

Hello All,

I'm looking for general advice before I embark on my first marine electronics installation for my old 8.5m steel long keel yacht.

From what I've read so far, I believe it should be possible to create an NMEA 0183 network with the list of equipment below.

List of stuff I've acquired

Furuno Navtex 300 (not dual frequency 2nd hand)
Furuno 1623 radar (2nd hand)
Icom IC-M411 VHF (2nd hand)
Simrad TP32 Autopilot (new)
Comar AIS transponder ais-csb 200 (new)

List of antennas I have available

Mounted GPS (old) dedicated to Comar AIS transponder
1 unmounted GPS antenna currently unused (new)
1 mast mounted VHF antenna (new)
1 nx 300D antenna for navtex (2ndhand)

other

1 laptop
1 serial to usb connector



The only thing I have installed and working is the Comar AIS transponder with dedicated VHF and GPS (very old) antennas . The transponder is connected to my laptop with free chart plotter via serial to usb2 adapter. It works great, was easily installed and quickly fitted.


What I'm trying to figure out is how I can connect all the rest of this stuff together so I don't have thousands of antennas sprouting from the rail and mast)

The only thing I'm clear on is a special splitter for the VHF radio and the transponder (AIS AST200 Comar transponder splitter) to allow both to use the mast mounted VHF antenna.

However, I ask myself, 'what about the old mounted GPS antenna? how can I get the data coming from the GPS antenna to be shared between the furuno radar, navtex, simrad autopilot, ICOM 411 VHF and laptop all the equipment listed above when the coaxial cable is attached directly to the transponder?'

I'm thinking I have 2 options GPS splitters or an NMEA 0183 network (although don't think the transponder is NMEA compliant and requires its own dedicated GPS) - but again I'm not sure.

I like the idea of the NMEA network as it seems the tidiest. It's probably the only solution as the simrad autopilot only has NMEA 0183 wires .

In short, has anyone any experience in getting 1 GPS with a coaxial cable to talk to lots of different types of electronic equipment from lots of different manufacturers?

Quite honestly, I don't know what I'm doing. Any good advice/experience/weblinks of tutorials or videos will be greatly received.

In the meantime I'm trawling through the manuals and internet trying to broaden my knowledge before making a real 21st century mess of my boat.


Thankyou all!


Bobby
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Old 12-20-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbylockes View Post
Hello All,

I'm looking for general advice before I embark on my first marine electronics installation for my old 8.5m steel long keel yacht.

From what I've read so far, I believe it should be possible to create an NMEA 0183 network with the list of equipment below.

List of stuff I've acquired

Furuno Navtex 300 (not dual frequency 2nd hand)
Furuno 1623 radar (2nd hand)
Icom IC-M411 VHF (2nd hand)
Simrad TP32 Autopilot (new)
Comar AIS transponder ais-csb 200 (new)

List of antennas I have available

Mounted GPS (old) dedicated to Comar AIS transponder
1 unmounted GPS antenna currently unused (new)
1 mast mounted VHF antenna (new)
1 nx 300D antenna for navtex (2ndhand)

other

1 laptop
1 serial to usb connector
BTW, there is no such thing as an NMEA 0183 network. NMEA 0183 is a purely serial data feed, and the specification allows one talker device, like a GPS to be connected to FOUR listener devices.

Quote:
The only thing I have installed and working is the Comar AIS transponder with dedicated VHF and GPS (very old) antennas . The transponder is connected to my laptop with free chart plotter via serial to usb2 adapter. It works great, was easily installed and quickly fitted.


What I'm trying to figure out is how I can connect all the rest of this stuff together so I don't have thousands of antennas sprouting from the rail and mast)

The only thing I'm clear on is a special splitter for the VHF radio and the transponder (AIS AST200 Comar transponder splitter) to allow both to use the mast mounted VHF antenna.
Separate antenna would probably be better and safer. If the splitter fails, the VHF or Transponder might fry the other unit.

Quote:
However, I ask myself, 'what about the old mounted GPS antenna? how can I get the data coming from the GPS antenna to be shared between the furuno radar, navtex, simrad autopilot, ICOM 411 VHF and laptop all the equipment listed above when the coaxial cable is attached directly to the transponder?

I'm thinking I have 2 options GPS splitters or an NMEA 0183 network (although don't think the transponder is NMEA compliant and requires its own dedicated GPS) - but again I'm not sure.

I like the idea of the NMEA network as it seems the tidiest. It's probably the only solution as the simrad autopilot only has NMEA 0183 wires .

In short, has anyone any experience in getting 1 GPS with a coaxial cable to talk to lots of different types of electronic equipment from lots of different manufacturers?'
The GPS antenna is probably just that, a dumb antenna, and can't be shared with anything else. I am guessing this because you say it has a coaxial cable, which is what an external GPS antenna would require. The actual GPS circuitry is in the unit connected to the antenna--probably the Comar AIS transponder.

Quote:
Quite honestly, I don't know what I'm doing. Any good advice/experience/weblinks of tutorials or videos will be greatly received.

In the meantime I'm trawling through the manuals and internet trying to broaden my knowledge before making a real 21st century mess of my boat.


Thankyou all!


Bobby
Reading the manuals is a good start.

Without knowing what GPS Antenna (new) you have, it is hard to say what you can do with it. If it is a standalone GPS antenna with integrated GPS receiver, like a Garmin GPS 17, then you can use the output from it for several listener devices, like the Simrad Tp32 autopilot and such.

The Icom M411, the Simrad TP-32, and probably the Furuno 1623 will have NMEA 0183 ports.
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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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Old 12-20-2010
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Sailingdog,

Thankyou very much. very quick a clear reply. You've saved me alot of pain already.

Quote:
BTW, there is no such thing as an NMEA 0183 network. NMEA 0183 is a purely serial data feed, and the specification allows one talker device, like a GPS to be connected to FOUR listener devices.
No wonder NMEA 2000 had to be developed with there being so many electronics. Fortunately, you say NMEA 0183 GPS can be connected to max 4 listener devices. Perfect for my set up but why isn't it possible to connect to more than 4?


Quote:
Without knowing what GPS Antenna (new) you have, it is hard to say what you can do with it.
Just 2 dumb GPS antennas I guess as they have only coaxial cables.

Quote:
The actual GPS circuitry is in the unit connected to the antenna--probably the Comar AIS transponder.
I guess that means that if the transponder has an NMEA 0183 output possibility I could connect it to the device that splits it into 4? If not then I guess I will need a GPS like the garmin you mention because its only the GPS receiver that produces the NMEA 0183 output?

My plan with questions.

1) 2) Buy a GPS that has an NMEA 0183 output.
You mention garmin. I saw a secondhand furuno GP 30 & 31 . I'll have a read and see if they also product NMEA 0183 output.


2) Current transponder set up is ok . I'll ponder buying a 2nd VHF antenna for the rail but I think I will opt for the splitter simply for the greater range of a mast-top antenna (having said that the splitter is not cheap at all so not sure).

3) Regarding the device that splits NMEA 0183 GPS into 4, what is the device called ? the 4 listeners being my radar, VHF, navtex and autpilot.

4) I need to buy the plugs so that these things fit neatly together - output from GPS, input from my devices? It must better than soldering connections NMEA 0183 together. Again, any links to a good supplier with lots of these NMEA 0183 plug/box/wiring/options (just to set me on the right track - or again am I missing something here)?

Quote:
The Icom M411, the Simrad TP-32, and probably the Furuno 1623 will have NMEA 0183 ports.
yes, lots of extra coloured wires.

Once again many thanks for advice and tips.

Bobby
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Old 12-20-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbylockes View Post
Sailingdog,

Thankyou very much. very quick a clear reply. You've saved me alot of pain already.

No wonder NMEA 2000 had to be developed with there being so many electronics. Fortunately, you say NMEA 0183 GPS can be connected to max 4 listener devices. Perfect for my set up but why isn't it possible to connect to more than 4?

Just 2 dumb GPS antennas I guess as they have only coaxial cables.

I guess that means that if the transponder has an NMEA 0183 output possibility I could connect it to the device that splits it into 4? If not then I guess I will need a GPS like the garmin you mention because its only the GPS receiver that produces the NMEA 0183 output?

My plan with questions.

1) 2) Buy a GPS that has an NMEA 0183 output.
You mention garmin. I saw a secondhand furuno GP 30 & 31 . I'll have a read and see if they also product NMEA 0183 output.
I'd go with the Garmin GPS 17.

Quote:
2) Current transponder set up is ok . I'll ponder buying a 2nd VHF antenna for the rail but I think I will opt for the splitter simply for the greater range of a mast-top antenna (having said that the splitter is not cheap at all so not sure).
Getting an antenna, like a 3' 3 dB gain Metz for the rail makes more sense. It's less expensive, less prone to failure and gives you an emergency antenna for VHF use if the mast is lost.

Quote:
3) Regarding the device that splits NMEA 0183 GPS into 4, what is the device called ? the 4 listeners being my radar, VHF, navtex and autpilot.

4) I need to buy the plugs so that these things fit neatly together - output from GPS, input from my devices? It must better than soldering connections NMEA 0183 together. Again, any links to a good supplier with lots of these NMEA 0183 plug/box/wiring/options (just to set me on the right track - or again am I missing something here)?
No device is needed other than a terminal block. That's one reason the specification limits the listener devices to FOUR.

Quote:
yes, lots of extra coloured wires.

Once again many thanks for advice and tips.

Bobby
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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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Old 12-21-2010
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garmin GP 17 looks good as a GPS nmea 0183 talker. I guess it would save on battery power more than a dedicated GPS box that produces NMEA output. what are the advantages of garmin gp 17 in your opinion?



Quote:
Getting an antenna, like a 3' 3 dB gain Metz for the rail makes more sense. It's less expensive, less prone to failure and gives you an emergency antenna for VHF use if the mast is lost.
why the specifically a Metz antenna? Is an antenna is an antenna?


Quote:
No device is needed other than a terminal block. That's one reason the specification limits the listener devices to FOUR.

I've just found a well-written post on a forum regarding NMEA 0183 and would like to share on this forum.

NMEA0183 Interfacing - How To Guide - The Hull Truth - Boating and Fishing Forum

also found this box to enable nmea 0183 talker to be shared with 3 listeners.

Noland Engineering - NMEA XP15 Expander - XP15 - Electronics - NavStore - Your Pro Marine Source - Detail
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Old 12-21-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbylockes View Post
garmin GP 17 looks good as a GPS nmea 0183 talker. I guess it would save on battery power more than a dedicated GPS box that produces NMEA output. what are the advantages of garmin gp 17 in your opinion?
Doesn't require the power needed to drive a display. If all you need is GPS location data, that's the way to go. If you want to store route and do waypoints, you'll need something different.

Quote:
why the specifically a Metz antenna? Is an antenna is an antenna?
They're pretty much bulletproof and work very well. I carry one as my emergency backup antenna. I had lent it to a friend while they were sorting out VHF problems on their boat, and from inside the cabin, lying on its side, the antenna was able to pickup VHF traffic from the Cape Cod Canal, which is a pretty good distance from New Bedford.

Quote:
I've just found a well-written post on a forum regarding NMEA 0183 and would like to share on this forum.

NMEA0183 Interfacing - How To Guide - The Hull Truth - Boating and Fishing Forum
If you consider that well written, I worry about you.

Quote:
also found this box to enable nmea 0183 talker to be shared with 3 listeners.

Noland Engineering - NMEA XP15 Expander - XP15 - Electronics - NavStore - Your Pro Marine Source - Detail
Nice but really unnecessary in most installations.
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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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Old 07-23-2011
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sailing dog. thanks for your input I got the whole lot communicating and working together. I ended up buying garmin 17x and mounting a stub antenna in the mast next to the 1m whip antenna. stub antenna works well for vhf and the 1 m whip antenna for the transponder picks up ships incredibly far away. I have a nice little setup with reasonable backup. 2 gps antennas & 2 ariels, no splitter.
3 gps displays (1 via dumb gps antenna to the ais transponder connected to laptop and 2 displays using info sent from garmin 17x to the furuno navtex and icom vhf.) furunos GPS 30, 31 32 etc seem a waste of money when their navtex also has the possibility to show GPS position from the far cheaper garmin 17x.

Last edited by bobbylockes; 07-23-2011 at 07:10 PM.
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