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Our new to us boat has circa 2005 Raymarine electronics and we can't get maps for local area. Autopilot and sensors all work. Eventually everything needs to be updated but will start with MFD and work way thru autopilot, VHF, radar, AIS as time/funds permit.

I would say i am handy and like to read manuals. i have read install guides for all components and think i can do it myself. I found this article to be very helpful on N2K design along with some tips an gotchas. This is going to be expensive enough without paying for someone else's labor and i want to know all my systems inside and out.

What are the gotchas that i should look for? i expect making 100% sure i get the right level of equipment for my needs and pulling backbone thru existing conduit to be the hard parts. Any suggestions?
 

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Iirc, mark..colemj on this site..did a redo on his boat within the last 2 years, and learned the pros and cons of the different systems available
I would twist his ear
 

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We've done this twice on two boats. NMEA2000 is easy enough for a 6yr old to do. On a Sabre 386, you likely won't even need to run a big backbone around the boat. The determining factor is the wind transducer - if you use a NMEA0183 there to run down the mast, then convert its output to NMEA2000, you save the bother of having to run the backbone up the mast.

Then, your entire "backbone" can probably be a series of Tee connectors with terminators on each end. It is likely that all of your electronics will be within the 6 meter electrical limit of drop cables. We have a NMEA2000 network running around a 46' catamaran, and was able to use a series of inexpensive Tee connectors as the backbone, with all of the instrument and transducer drop cables coming to it.

I've not found any "gotchas" once the basics have been covered like power, drop cable length, no daisy chaining, proper termination, etc. Maretron has great free software program that lets you design your system and make sure the connectors are correct orientation, the power is injected in the proper place, etc. Maretron | N2KBuilder

Mark
 

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Radar is still proprietary I believe, the MFD must be same brand as radar. NMEA 2000 is great for all else, I'm using a new Garmin to display all the stuff from my 2001 vintage RM instruments. Same old transducers but looks so authoritative in full color all overlaid on a chart.
 

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Can a modern MFD interface with 2005 era Raymarine radar, instruments, autopilot, etc? My intuition is it may be technically possible with NMEA converters, but a likely nightmare for some of it.

Running all new is certainly possible by DIY. You lose any local troubleshooting and warranty work. If anything doesn't work, out of the box, it needs to be shipped back and you wait. A local installer has priority access to a replacement, if they don't actually have one in stock. I paid a pro. 3 yr warranty, parts and labor. One plotter and two wind instruments needed to be replaced, right after commissioning. It all worked, but the plotter did funny things on the display and moisture was showing inside the instruments. I didn't have to lift a finger.
 

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Can a modern MFD interface with 2005 era Raymarine radar, instruments, autopilot, etc? My intuition is it may be technically possible with NMEA converters, but a likely nightmare for some of it.

Running all new is certainly possible by DIY. You lose any local troubleshooting and warranty work. If anything doesn't work, out of the box, it needs to be shipped back and you wait. A local installer has priority access to a replacement, if they don't actually have one in stock. I paid a pro. 3 yr warranty, parts and labor. One plotter and two wind instruments needed to be replaced, right after commissioning. It all worked, but the plotter did funny things on the display and moisture was showing inside the instruments. I didn't have to lift a finger.
That approach is unnecessary. Electronics are reliable and usually have replacement warranties. Sure you may have to wait... but you can get overnight shipping if it is really needed. Ask the mfg.

N2K and electronics are really plug and play. There is no need to pay a "pro" to do what you can sure do yourself. It probably "helps" to get a suite of instruments from one mfg. But the idea behind network protocols is that this is not necessary.

MFDs often have both NMEA 183 and N2K capability. It's not rocket science to designate the protocol for a port. And then there are things like the Brookhouse MUX which is a sort of black box converter for NMEA data protocols.

There is hardly a need to interface an AP with a plotter although this has been the rage for quite some time. Not having an interfaced AP, but one with a very user friendly interface I see no reason for integration. In fact I prefer the control of steering "decisions" being informed by information from a GPS plotter. My AP steering is a dial,,, no +1, -1 , +10, -10 buttons (kinda crazy way to steer).
139575
 

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I've only done basics... VHF, Tiller Pilot, speed, depth, wind, GPS. It really is a lot easier to stick with one maker, but like others say NMEA2000 does make it easier.

I've only done one level on my present boat, Autopilot (Wheel pilot) with GPS. I never use the interface (yet). But when I get a chartplotter installed, I might. Yeah my VHF has GPS on it via NMEA2000. Eventually I'll upgrade my speed/depth/wind to same brand because I'm lazy.

My last boat I used Simrad (and Simnet), and it worked great.. this boat I'm doing Raymarine mostly because the wheel pilot was cheap, and its all I need on my tiny lake. Lots of guys with electronics experience here, but I didnt' see any of it as being rocket surgery... hard part is squeezing into/around parts of the boat (that is what makes it good to pick the Pay a Guy approach frankly). My port lazarette was designed for a 4ft tall contortionist to work on the helm/cables/quadrant.
 

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That approach is unnecessary. Electronics are reliable and usually have replacement warranties. Sure you may have to wait... but you can get overnight shipping if it is really needed. Ask the mfg.
I find electronics either work out of the box, or don't. That's the prime failure time. My point was the dealers have a different access and priority channel to inventory than the direct consumer. If one has the time and patience, go for it. You could always overnight the suspect equipment back too, but they'll still take time to confirm the consumer's diagnosis, before shipping a replacement. I'm betting they accept the professional dealer's word pretty quickly and then prioritize the replacement equip.

There is hardly a need to interface an AP with a plotter
You've espoused this approach before and you're not wrong. Just not mainstream. Last weekend, I had to motor through open water and I set my AP to Track to a waypoint that I knew would keep me away from danger. Still has to be closely monitored, but it's pretty nice not to have to tweak for current and drift repeatedly for two hours. I've used it under sail too, but having the wind to stay on a single course line is a gift. Not absolutely necessary to integrate, but awfully nice if it does and more demand for it that way.

On the other hand, I once bareboated, with the AP controls integrated back into the small plotter. That was pretty sweet to have the ability to make those moves, from the plotter location and not have to return to the AP control location in that cockpit.
 
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