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Again, I’m posting from work so I don’t have all my technical notes before me so I can’t get into specifics, but here goes. I also was faced with a similar situation as you and was able to make it work with a single GPS. The Raymarine E system allows for either a Raymarine protocol “talker” (in this case the GPS) or one that uses NMEA protocol. The difference is Raymarine puts an extra letter (“R”?) in front of each message sentence that supposedly makes their network run better. You can hook the NMEA device into the proper connector in back of the “E” unit. The problem is the “E” unit processes the sentence and then puts the “R” in front of it, making it useless for any NMEA reading devices downstream (In my case my DSC radio). What I did to fix this was splice a junction block in the GPS cable before it connects to the “E” unit and run a cable from the junction to the NMEA reading device. You may need a multiplexer (highly unlikely) if the junction block solution doesn’t work. You can “bench test’ all of this on your boat before you start drilling and cutting cable.

I did this a couple of years ago on Freya and it took a little bit to all the devices to talk to each other – Just wait until you add an AIS unit to the mix! The good news is your oldest is just the right size for pulling cable. I was lucky, I used my nephew right before he had a major growth spurt. Now, I have to look around for another “little guy”. I think that your GPS mounting is perfect where it is and I see no reason to mount another (you can use a handheld unit as a back-up on your ocean trip.) Good luck on your installation.

One other thing. The coating Raymarine uses on their display screen isn’t very durable, making it subject to marring and scratching. There is a company that makes protective film coverings for palm Pilots and such that makes one for the E system. I highly recommend it. (I have that name down at the boat so I won’t be able to tell you before next week.)<O:p</O:p
 

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Demystifying Networks

Giu, I think that everybody you talked to is a little bit right. First, how is your Garmin set up? Do you have a GPS display at the Nav station and the GPS antenna is directly linked to it? (please say yes). Then what you do is run a four wire data cable from the display at the Nav station to the NMEA connector on the E-System. The antenna cable is just an RF shielded cable and is not part of your “network” and therefore you can’t split the signal on the antenna cable. What got guys like me lost is Raymarine builds their entire GPS unit inside their antenna housing for guys like me who use their networked displays (E-system in my case). And when I say pictures of your boat I assumed you had the same thing. Now of course, if you want some on-site consultation, please send an airline ticket to… All of our talk about junction boxes etc. is if you want to split the GPS data between a non Raymarine DSC radio and the E unit. If all you want to do is have your GPS “talk” to the E-system then the single data cable is fine.

Have you talked to anybody on how you will disconnect the Radar cable at the boat side when you remove the radar pole? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.<O:p
 

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Yes, that is the GPS unit I have. All of the electronics are located in the antenna housing. You have two mounting screws and a small hole for the data cable. The power to the unit comes through two of those wires and is supplied by the E-system. Very convenient. Shop around on the internet. You can get it for less. I bought mine through someplace called “Marine Electronics…” Again, I need to look at my notes. In the end, the new GPS is a “slave” to the E-system, but there are worse things in the world. I recommend that you run the “high speed” bus to your Nav station so you can use your laptop and a charting program to develop routes and waypoints. Keying them directly into the E-System is a real PITA.
 

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You are not doing your installation right if you don’t reflect on how simple it was to use the sextant and sight reduction tables at least once. Speaking of high speed buses – What is wrong with Sandra Bullock anyway? She can drive my bus anytime. In the network, the HSB is really the standard network bus we use with our computers. It’s just a lot faster compared to the serial port/RS232/NMEA baud rate. This enables you to utilize your laptop as a true repeater for your system. So while you’re lying seasick in your bunk, you can monitor the progress of your ‘best helmsman” as you speed towards Madeira. While you’re doing your install – have you considered adding the video camera function too? That way you will never have to leave your cabin until you hit the Canaries! Let me know if you want any more suggestions on how to spend your money.
 
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