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Old 15-10-2008, 13:22   #1
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Laptop connection to Raymarine S3 corepack

Hi Guys,

I am looking at connecting Maxsea so that it is able to receive info (NMEA) and send info to a Raymarine S3 Corepack Autopilot.

I have some questions however:

1. Can this bi-directional setup be done with one cable? My research tells me yes, but I need it confirmed?
2. I have heard about people having to convert from seatalk to NMEA - but the S3 has NMEA in/out connectors so I assume I dont have to do any conversion?
3. Sounds like I need to use a optical isolater, like : Actisense OPTO-1 NMEA Opto-isolator - OPTO-1 - Electronics - NavStore - Your Pro Marine Source - Detail coupled with a USB to RS232 convert?
4. What gauge wiring should I use?
5. The S3 gets a variety of info from a varity of sensors, ie Water Temp, Wind info GPS sentences - I assume this is then all included in the NMEA output from the S3?

All and any suggestions gratefully received.

Cheers

-Al
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Old 15-10-2008, 15:28   #2
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Quote:
so I assume I don't have to do any conversion?
Yup, NMEA in and out are already translated.

Quote:
Sounds like I need to use a optical isolator
No not really it runs at pretty slow speeds and the distance is not far.

Quote:
4. What gauge wiring should I use?
I would use small stuff like 18 tinned copper. Nice heat shrink connectors are good too. Tie down all the lines and make it all look pretty.

Quote:
The S3 gets a variety of info from a varity of sensors, ie Water Temp, Wind info GPS sentences - I assume this is then all included in the NMEA output from the S3?
The standard supports all sorts of "sentences" not all receivers process them all. You may not be able to read every type on the bus but the ones you can read will be read. Having extra sentences is not a problem except that you can't see them.

I can send track sentences to the autopilot just fine but that really is all I need for the auto pilot. You should be able to identify what sentences are being sent.

NMEA is fine when you have on "talker" and a few listeners. If you want multiple talkers then you will need a multiplexer to serialize the sentences. You can't have two sentences on the line at the same time. A multiplexer will read from multiple sources and transmit one serialized NMEA out.

For the computer I find I only need pins 2 and 3 for the serial port. I cut off the end of a mouse cable and found the red and orange wires (they are not universally standard) then soldered up connectors and attached them to the NMEA bus bar I made.

To connect to the USB you want a decent USB / Serial adapter. Some suck. The one that is the best and not that expensive is the "pfranc". Search on Google to find a location that sells them. They work fine and will show up as Com8 on most computers. They have cute red and green blinking lights and they work on most all computers first time no hitches. You can get drivers for the O/S's that need them.
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Old 28-10-2008, 08:28   #3
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Al,

We have the same S3G autopilot on Beausoleil, and so far it's been great.
Quote:
3. Sounds like I need to use a optical isolator, like : Actisense OPTO-1 NMEA Opto-isolator - OPTO-1 - Electronics - NavStore - Your Pro Marine Source - Detail coupled with a USB to RS232 convert?
As Paul said, the opto-isolator isn't required, but it certainly won't hurt, as it will protect your laptop from any induced voltage surges on the link.

Quote:
5. The S3 gets a variety of info from a varity of sensors, ie Water Temp, Wind info GPS sentences - I assume this is then all included in the NMEA output from the S3?
Here's the key queston: Do you want to be able to receive NMEA data on your laptop when your autopilot is turned off? If not, then you should be all set. But if you do, then you can invest in a SeaTalk/NMEA converter, or you can get an ST-60+ Graphical Repeater, which can display tons of SeaTalk or NMEA data - wind, speed, depth, nav data, gps, etc - with the added bonus of it also doing NMEA-SeaTalk conversion in both directions.

Can we assume that all your existing instrumentation and transducers are SeaTalk? If so, then the above choices are your best bet. If you do have (or plan to purchase in the near future) more NMEA devices, then a full blown multiplexer like that shown on your opto-isolator link page(the ShipModul units are great devices) allow multiple NMEA talkers to be interfaced into a single network. As Paul said, multiple talkers are a problem in NMEA 0183, and is fixed in the newer NMEA 2000 standard.

I'm trying to talk the Admiral into purchasing a third graphical repeater (and perhaps a 4th) for installation in the aft cabin (and the midship cabin) so that the off-watch crew can see at a glance what's going on without having to run up to the nav station or out in the cockpit...
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