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post #1 of 8 Old 11-06-2015 Thread Starter
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Upgrade from B&G Network and Simrad CX34

I suppose this should be posted to the electronics section, but fellow Pacific Seacraft owners are always reliable in providing help -- and I think other Pacific Seacraft boats of similar vintage (mine is a decade-old PS37) have the same electronics -- so I want to run this by the PS forum first...

I want to upgrade gradually my electronics system. I currently have a B&G Network system (depth, speed, wind, autopilot) and Simrad CX34 chartplotter and radar. Everything works fine except for some manufacturing faults with the chartplotter -- it works, but the internal battery has died (a new one is on order; got the old one out already) and I think it's getting to be frail.

Ideally I could replace the chartplotter alone (for the time being), but the local Navico dealer (Navico now owns both Simrad and B&G) tells me that this is impossible. Apparently, none of the new plotters (using NMEA 2000, I guess) can understand the old network (using NMEA 0183, I think), which is no big deal to me because I don't care if the chartplotter has that stuff (I'm old navy; anything with GPS is magical to me). However, a big problem is that the new plotters apparently cannot understand the radar. I would hate to replace that because it works great. I very seldom use it, but it's one of those things that's nice to have when it's needed.

Maybe I shouldn't say this, but the local dealer has not given the best advice in the past (not sure if it was ignorance or just trying to sell me stuff I didn't need), so I want to get a "second opinion." Can anyone give me advice? Is there a new chartplotter that can process data from decade-old Simrad radar transmitter?

Last edited by Lantau; 11-06-2015 at 02:43 AM.
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post #2 of 8 Old 11-06-2015
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Re: Upgrade from B&G Network and Simrad CX34

Lantau:

You state that you were advised "Apparently, none of the new plotters (using NMEA 2000, I guess) can understand the old network (using NMEA 0183,". That is not 100% true. Some understand both or you can mix NMEA183 with N2K using devices like what Actisense sells.

As far as radar data is concerned, I believe often that is run over Ethernet due to high bandwidth requirements (at least for Furuno, that we have).

One guy I know who maybe able to help, even if not local (he has customers all over the place) is Achilles at Chicago Marine Electronics.

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Ted
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post #3 of 8 Old 11-07-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Upgrade from B&G Network and Simrad CX34

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Lantau:

You state that you were advised "Apparently, none of the new plotters (using NMEA 2000, I guess) can understand the old network (using NMEA 0183,". That is not 100% true. Some understand both or you can mix NMEA183 with N2K using devices like what Actisense sells.

As far as radar data is concerned, I believe often that is run over Ethernet due to high bandwidth requirements (at least for Furuno, that we have).

One guy I know who maybe able to help, even if not local (he has customers all over the place) is Achilles at Chicago Marine Electronics.
Many thanks arisatx. I'm going to write to Chicago Marine Electronics. Fingers crossed.

I was suspicious of what I was told about the new instruments not being able to translate NMEA0183 data. Not sure about the radar. The cable looks like all the others.

One frustration is that the makers of this stuff won't help me. My inclination is to never buy Simrad again just because the service from the big company is awful (non-existent for products out of production). But I realize that these companies (brand names) have been bought and sold by conglomerates and service probably varies over time.
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post #4 of 8 Old 11-07-2015
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Re: Upgrade from B&G Network and Simrad CX34

Our boat has Simrad instruments. Most were installed before I bought the boat in 2004. Others I have added since.

Until last week the set up was a CP32 Mk11 chartplotter, a Simrad radar with a RA772 display, a RS35 VHF transceiver / AIS receiver with a HS35 remote, one TP30 tillerpilot with a HR20 remote, two additional TP32 tillerpilots, an IS15 transceiver (wind and water), a RFC35N compass, and four IS15 displays in the cockpit and a fifth located at the nav station with the chartplotter. Everything was connected with NMEA 0183 wiring. Everything worked on the system except the newer tillerpilots (the CP32s) would not accept data from the chartplotter in spite of both my trying for weeks and a paid technician trying for three hours, and the radar had some problems with true and magnetic north.

Last year the chartplotter cursor "button" broke and would move the cursor N, S, and W but not E, and the IS15 display at the nav station became dark in its center.

Last week I removed the CP32 chartplotter and the IS15 display at the nav station and installed in their place a Simrad NSS evo2 7" chartplotter and a IS40 display. I connected the NSS evo2 chartplotter, the IS40 display, the RS35 VHF/AIS, and the TP32 tillerpilots (Simnet) with new NMEA 2000 cabling. The NSS evo2 chartplotter has Tx/Rx for NMEA 0183 along with NMEA 2000 and passes the data between NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 instruments.

On startup everything seems to work fine with two exceptions. The depth shown on the NMEA 2000 instruments (which originates from the NMEA 0183 IS15 instruments) alternates between the DPT and DBT values, and the NMEA 2000 system does not seem to detect the CP32 tillerpilots. I had to leave the boat and come home, so I did not have time to sort those two items out. It's now time to read the manuals.

My radar does not output any data. It does receive data from the NMEA 0183; some it uses internally and some it just displays when in standby mode.

Bill Murdoch
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post #5 of 8 Old 11-08-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Upgrade from B&G Network and Simrad CX34

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My radar does not output any data. It does receive data from the NMEA 0183; some it uses internally and some it just displays when in standby mode.
Thanks for this Bill. It sounds like a very big project! I'll be very interested to know if you can get the Evo unit to operate the radar. Do you know what radar transmitter (the antenna bit) you have?
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Re: Upgrade from B&G Network and Simrad CX34

The radar is a Simrad Anritsu AR772UA radar with a RB714A scanner unit and a RF717A display unit. It can receive the NMEA 0183 sentences GGA, GLL, RMA, RMC, HDT, HDG, HDM, HSC, VHW, VTG, BEC, BWR, BER, BPI, DBT, DPT, XTE, and MTW. To my knowledge does not output anything (except an alarm). While the new chartplotter has an ethernet connector for a radar, my radar can not be connected to it. To my knowledge my new chartplotter cannot control the radar nor display its screen image. After all, the radar is a '96 design... that's almost 20 years ago.

I thought about buying a new radar, but mine works, and I could not justify the cost and trouble of replacing it and its wiring.

The hardest part of installing the new chartplotter, display unit, and NMEA 2000 cabling was drilling the holes for the cable (the micro end fittings needed 5/8" holes drilled in several inaccessible spots) and making an adapter plate to fit the new chartplotter into the old hole. To solve those problems, I bought a small right angle adapter for my electric drill and made the adapter plate out of 1/8" aluminum sheet painted black.

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post #7 of 8 Old 11-08-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Upgrade from B&G Network and Simrad CX34

Thanks again Bill. This is interesting. I think I have the same radar "scanner unit" (transmitting antenna system) that you have, although it's about a decade newer than yours. If I read your post correctly, you have a separate radar display unit. I don't have that; my radar is displayed on, and controlled from, the Simrad CX34 chartplotter. Now I wonder if it's possible for me to buy a separate radar control/display unit.

This gets to the root of my problem: I want to replace the chartplotter, but in doing that it seems that I must throw out the whole radar system (because new chartplotters cannot control/display the radar). I hate to do this because the radar works just fine and I rarely need it. In fact I have never genuinely needed it -- although if I get rid of it I have no doubt that I'll suddenly wish I had it.

I don't know what to do. When this happens I usually do nothing until I'm forced to do otherwise.
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post #8 of 8 Old 11-10-2015
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Re: Upgrade from B&G Network and Simrad CX34

Crazy Fish was built and delivered in 1989 was supplied with Datamarine depth, wind and speed instruments.

In 2000 I replaced the Datamarine system with a B&G Network system and was able to use the Datamarine cabling for the run up the mast. Spent a long hot morning into afternoon late October day in Puerto Vallarta at the top of the mast mounting and wiring the B&G masthead component into the system. I also have an old Raymarine Pathfinder Radar which I installed around 1998 that had died.

Sometime around 2005 I put in a Garmin GPS/Chartplotter that transmitted NMEA 0183.

A couple of years ago thinking I was going to replace the chartplotter and the radar I decided to pull the B&G Network system out and replace with the 3 B&G Triton displays and the B&G sail kit all running on the NMEA 2000.

If you get to the point where you are going to replace your chart plotter with one of the newer NMEA 2000 then you may want to do a similiar instrument upgrade. If so then you may want to plan this around the time you would pull the mast as you more then likely you will need to pull the mast to pull the NMEA 2000 cable up the mast.

I replaced the rigging one year and then pulled the mast for NMEA 2000 cable the following and should have done them as one job.

Your NMEA 183 devices will interface to a NMEA 2000 based chart plotter. There are several NMEA 183 to NMEA 2000 adapters on the market and NMEA183 multiplexors to NMEA 2000 adapters which might be a better way to go if you have multiple NMEA 183 devices as NMEA 183 is a single talker/single listener system.

I had 1 device that spoke NMEA 183 left on the the system and that was the Garmin GPS which I linked into the NMEA 2000 system using an Actisense adapter. One of the Tritons displays a page of info generated by the Garmin GPS.

The newer radars seem to all use an ethernet cable to link to their displays and now the displays and radars are sold as separate units. A manufactuer's radar displaying on any number of the same manufacturers displays. The signals have been reversed engineered, open source programmed and can be interperted and displayed on a PC or Mac using the compiled open source code (OpenCPN add-ons).
Perhaps some day there will be a NMEA or similiar standard for the radar signals so that one manufacturers radar will work on a anothers display but not currently.

One thing about running the NMEA 2000 cable - the cable is a simple color coded 5 wire cable and installation of field connectors is a strip 5 wires and use a small screwdriver to connect the individual wires to the proper connection in the field connector. Everything color coded so its pretty straightforward. If you have a tight run cut the connector off or use bulk NMEA wire and use the field connectors to terminate the cable once the run is complete. If the cable is terminated at one end outside I usually use the manufactuer's installed terminator outside, clip off the other connector, run the cable and install a field connector inside. I think Maretron makes the most robust NMEA 2000 cables/connectors for these outside runs.

I still have yet to install a new radar/chartplotter on the boat. It seems that a lot of developments/improvements of radars these days so best to put off the purchase until one is really needed and being based in San Diego one is seldom needed here.

Marc Hall
Crazy Fish - Maintaining, Upgrading and Sailing a Crealock 37 | SV Crazy Fish
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