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Old 20-07-2013, 04:50   #1
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Interfacing OpenCPN to Raymarine ST 4000 autopilot

Hi folks, I am attempting to interconnect my ASUS netbook with a BU353 puck USB GPS and running OpenCPN to my Raymarine ST4000 autopilot using a Digitech USB to RS485/422 converter.

The converter LED flashes indicating that it is transmitting but there is no response from the autopilot. The autopilot is OK as it displays all the relevant data when I switch the data routing switch to the boats Magelan GPS.

Anyone out there successfully implemented a system using these or similar components and what should I go looking for to troubleshoot the system.
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Old 21-07-2013, 11:04   #2
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Re: Interfacing OpenCPN to Raymarine ST 4000 autopilot

Hi I have a Garmin GPS going into my Lenovo laptop, and a USB-RS232 converter.
All works well, O is configured to send the correct sentence to the A/P.
Remember the converter (yours is better) is one way only.
The only "feedback" I have is that when we activate a route/waypoint, it appears on the ST6000 A/P screen with the DTW/BTW etc agreeing with O.
Good luck.
OH, PS....in a route, the ST6000+ will not accept any waypoint name unless it is 3 digit integer incrementing. If you have a waypoint called 2-02, or B2, it will not advance.
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Old 27-08-2013, 06:07   #3
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Re: Interfacing OpenCPN to Raymarine ST 4000 autopilot

Hi Raymond,

I have a similar setup and have had some issues getting the usb/rs422/485 converter to talk to the AP..
How many wires do you have coming from the converter and how many are connected to the AP?

If you only have 4 wires and 2 of those go to the NMEA input of the AP then you might try reversing the connections - this worked for me even though my original config had the polarity correctly matched.

I have 4 different USB converters and they all behave differently and only work with certain equipment attached to each...

Also make sure that you have RMB, RMC and APB in your OCPN outputs and that they are displayed in the NMEA Debug window in Blue.. also check that RMB includes a value for Variation in the string, if not, install the WMM plug-in.

boat's are such fun when you add computers!

cheers,

Ian
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Old 28-08-2013, 02:27   #4
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Re: Interfacing OpenCPN to Raymarine ST 4000 autopilot

Hi Ian, after going through the process of finding a copy of Hyperterminal, Windows 7 - 8 don't have it, doing a loop back then figuring out how to get Realterm to work I finally managed to get the GPS puck's output to display on the second computer so I knew that OpenCPN was passing through the GPS sentences and also three others it was generating itself. However when I reconnected it with the autopilot it would not work. Finally, in desperation, I reversed the two output conductors on the converter and it all sprung to life. Perhaps the 0183 inputs labeling on the autopilot has the polarities reversed. So the solution you suggested is the correct one.

Whilst I was wandering around in one of the other OpenCPN threads I noticed a post which stated that the BU-353 does not support Variation so I checked the other puck which is a Holux GR-213 and it does not support it either, the sentence is included but there is nothing in the field. Consequently I located and downloaded the WMM software but have not figured out which version will work with Win 8 so have not installed it yet.

I am now fully retired and a permanent live aboard because I cannot stand the weather for about eight months of the year where my home is situated. Consequently mucking about in boats is pretty well my main recreational activity. My first computer was an 8bit Z80 kit on which I learned to program in basic. Optimum software capabilities are somewhere between the Z80's Basic and Win 8 I am battling with at the moment. I am tending to the opinion that they should have stopped at XP. I have used four nav programs and OpenCPN is the best of them so I have decided to learn as much as I can about it and use it's capabilities as much as I can however I am finding it a bit of a struggle.

Your advice has proven to be correct on both counts, thank you and sincere regards, Raymond.
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Old 28-08-2013, 03:21   #5
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Re: Interfacing OpenCPN to Raymarine ST 4000 autopilot

that's great news Raymond

did you get the WMM plug-in for OpenCPN? Download opencpnplugins from SourceForge.net

I've only been using OCPN for a short while but I do agree that it is the best - the team have done an amazing job!

I now have a tablet running OCPN in the cockpit receiving it's nav, wind, AIS data via wi-fi from the laptop downstairs so the next mission is to add radar to the OCPN display.

enjoy yourself and let me know if you have any other challenges!

cheers,

Ian
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Old 28-08-2013, 17:35   #6
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Re: Interfacing OpenCPN to Raymarine ST 4000 autopilot

Hi again Ian, I think I got it from another source but just used the link you kindly provided to download from Sourceforge anyway and will install that one.

One of my future projects is the tablet thing and also wireless connections. I had a bit of a glance at the wireless multiplexers but they are a little too expensive at the moment.

As a long term user of CAD programs I was very accustomed to using layers and was very pleased to find them in OpenCPN and am now building up a data base of the anchorages I use. I also have a collection of files of Google Earth images which I find useful for details of ground features around the anchorages which I will link to them.

Incredible program and only likely to get better.

Thanks for the help, Raymond.
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Old 28-08-2013, 17:53   #7
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Re: Interfacing OpenCPN to Raymarine ST 4000 autopilot

hi Raymond,
did you do any CAD development? or as a user? what brand? i have a history there too.
i use GE2KAP from phiggins for making charts, works well..
As for wi-fi, just set up your Win8 PC as a wireless access point (search MS for instructions) and use OCPN as the multiplexer with multi USB converters handling the NMEA connections to your instruments. A raymarine E85001 ($150) will take care of all the data to and from a seatalk bus..
cheers,
ian
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Old 29-08-2013, 01:18   #8
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Re: Interfacing OpenCPN to Raymarine ST 4000 autopilot

Thanks again Ian,

I mainly used TurboCad, V5 for many years then V15, to be truthful I preferred V5 but it had one serious fault in that it did not include tolerances in it's dimensions. For a while I was a sort of bespoke designer of equipment for oil and mineral exploration.

The Raymarine E85001 looks like an interesting gadget but I was more interested in a WiFi or Bluetooth to 0183 converter/multiplexer so that I had a little more flexibility as to where I placed the computer. My last dedicated nav computer was assassinated by sea water because the nav table is close to the companionway and I was stuck on the wheel in a very nasty short breaking sea from astern and could not close the companionway.

Regards, Raymond.
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