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Old 18-10-2015, 16:49   #1
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Need help building a system

I've been doing so much reading that I don't know if I'm making progress in my understanding or if I'm just confusing things even more. Please give me some direction. Here's my situation:

I have no electronics other than a VHF at this point. I already have a GPS iPad that I want to use for navigation. So I know I can get Navionics on the iPad, but my first priority is getting a depth sounder into the system. I eventually want to add radar, autopilot, and AIS.

So do I need a multiplexer? What do I need to add depth readings? Just add a NMEA transducer into the multiplexer? Help!
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Old 18-10-2015, 18:11   #2
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Re: Need help building a system

First, have the basics, for when things all go wonky: leadline, compass, yarn strands on the shrouds, a watch, paper charts, parallel rule and compass, sharp pencils, ship's log, Coast Pilot and cruising guides. Learn how to use these before anything else.

Then, figure out what you want to do in the next couple years. If you aren't sure, do nothing. You already have everything you really need.

If you are going to keep the boat, if you are going to gradually expand your theater of operations, and if you are willing to learn a lot more about navigation, then start saving your money to buy some electronics to make things quite a bit easier.

Don't do anything for a while, save your money, learn what is available and wait until you have no further questions. Then, you will have answered your own question successfully.
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Old 18-10-2015, 20:53   #3
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Re: Need help building a system

Roy - I appreciate you taking the time to respond, but that doesn't help me with my question. You're making some significant assumptions about my boating experience and abilities.

If anyone can shed some light on the technology question, I would appreciate some direction.
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Old 18-10-2015, 21:18   #4
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Re: Need help building a system

So do I need a multiplexer? What do I need to add depth readings? Just add a NMEA transducer into the multiplexer? Help!
Assuming you want this on your IPAD I guess you just need the APP and then a "marine network" guess you could start with just one instrument and add transducers maybe.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nmea...412806204?mt=8
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Old 18-10-2015, 21:39   #5
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Re: Need help building a system

Since you are starting from scratch, look at NMEA2000 equipment.
It's very easy to integrate, no multiplexer required, works like a LAN.

The Vesper XB8000 AIS box can take data from a NMEA2000 network (depth, speed, temp, wind, etc.) and send it over WiFi along with AIS and GPS data that it generates. All that data will be available to any APP on your iPad that can read and display it.

I do this with iNavX, and it works well.

Cheers,
JM.
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Old 19-10-2015, 08:11   #6
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Re: Need help building a system

TitanTn, sorry, I didn't mean to offend or demean. I did assume that you were confused about the variety of electronic gear available, and having done a fair number of installs, I can appreciate the challenges. It's like buying a computer after several years of getting on with your old one.

As others have suggested, consider a networked system. Multiplexers are for integrating older NMEA 0183 equipment with the newer stuff available. Why not go with a plug and play concept that NMEA 2000 (N2K) provides? Newer multifunction displays (MFDs) are faster, many contain the circuits that process the newer CHIRP depthsounder devices without having to add separate modules, and use less power.

I intended, in my first comment, that you might consider where you are going before you expend lots of money on gear. If you already are secure with your present boat, and you are capable of spending up to $10k (or more) right now, and you will be able to start using the gear to get present value out of it, then go for it. Otherwise, stuff changes so quickly you will be beating your head against the wall when you realize that you should have waited six months or a year from now to be making this decision.

I, personally, have gone through this experience. I purchased a Raymarine E120 system about ten years ago. It was state of the art stuff, complete, down to HD radar, forward scanning sonar, multiplexer and instruments. Because I was so busy working on the boat, plus making a living (before the Great Recession), I didn't get all the gear installed and in use before things went wonky with the economy. I should have waited until I was ready to install the gear and use it.

Since then, the economy has improved, I have become more sophisticated and wiser in my choice of gear, and had a chance to secure good prices. Now, I have a pile of boxes of gear sitting in the shop ready to install, but this time it's happening on my clock. Big difference.

And, just for the record, I went with the B&G Zeus2 system, with 4G radar, StructureScan (side scan) and powerful deep scan depth sounders (I still have the Interphase forward scan sonar that integrates with the other gear). Also, I now have an AIS and more sophisticated comms. The electronics infrastucture mates with the upgraded electrical infrastructure so I can start playing with this gear in the next few months before taking off on an extended adventure. I want to have enough time to play with it and learn the tricks and wrinkles before being over the horizon. This is all I wanted to say to you when I gave my first response. Good luck, and have patience. Buy good gear and do due diligence to make sure it fits your special needs and interests. And then use it.
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Old 19-10-2015, 08:35   #7
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Re: Need help building a system

Quote:
Originally Posted by TitanTn View Post
I've been doing so much reading that I don't know if I'm making progress in my understanding or if I'm just confusing things even more. Please give me some direction. Here's my situation:

I have no electronics other than a VHF at this point. I already have a GPS iPad that I want to use for navigation. So I know I can get Navionics on the iPad, but my first priority is getting a depth sounder into the system. I eventually want to add radar, autopilot, and AIS.

So do I need a multiplexer? What do I need to add depth readings? Just add a NMEA transducer into the multiplexer? Help!
While you can build very complex networks with most marine electronic options clearly there are issues.

We're planning a full instrumentation upgrade next year. The front runner is BandG. Chartplotter, wind, depth, speed, temp sensor, radar, forward scan sonar and several repeater instruments.

AIS, VHF and autopilot will not be integrated. Just search other forums and you'll see the integration problems others are having.

Our other electronic systems, video, engine monitoring and ancillary helm controls will all be air gapped.

We also have several levels of redundancy down to compass and paper charts.

To make sense of your options start simple and work up the complexity tree. Stop before you get confused or overwhelmed.

You're on the right track. Remember the ipad does not have a robust gps capability so dont treat it like a mission critical nave solution.

Sent from my SM-N900T using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 19-10-2015, 09:30   #8
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Re: Need help building a system

Great feedback. It sounds like I definitely want to be looking at NMEA 2000. I definitely want something that is networked and will allow me grow slowly into the system.

As I said, my immediate need is depth. I don't need radar, autopilot or AIS right now. I want to add them over the next year or two. What I don't want to do is buy a depth sounder now and then figure out later that it doesn't integrate into my network and feed the chart plotter, etc.

And I also don't want to look at a depth sounder as a stand alone piece of equipment if it'd be better to purchase with the "networking hub" like the Vesper XB8000 that was referenced.

So what are the components of a system as I'm trying to describe?

Chartplotter (iPad for now, but might want to add a dedicated unit later)
GPS receiver (in Ipad, but maybe need an antenna or even a separate unit?)
Depth sounder (what's needed? a transducer that connects into what?)
AIS - to come later unless I should start with the Vesper XB8000 that is the router for the network.
Radar - later
Autopilot - much later

Thanks for the direction.

p.s. this is not for blue water use, live-aboard, long passage, or on a sail boat
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Old 19-10-2015, 09:39   #9
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Re: Need help building a system

Sounds like you could get by with just a chartplotter with depth sounder then.
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Old 19-10-2015, 09:41   #10
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Re: Need help building a system

Roy - no worries. I am confused by all of the equipment available because I haven't been concerned with purchasing updated equipment for many years. I've used what was on the boats I purchased. Loran and GPS. A compass, etc. Now I have the opportunity to start from scratch and I want to do it right. I'm very familiar with land-based networking, but not marine. I'm not sure how all these components communicate and integrate. I do understand that N2K is the way to go, but what specifically does that mean. I know I'm going to start my system with my iPad, iNavx, and a depth sounder. I'm just not sure how to purchase a depth sounder that isn't part of a pre-built system.

These thoughts are the source of my confusion. I know what I need (generically) and I know the right timing for purchasing the equipment over time. I just need some help identifying the components of a system that is built a piece at time versus buying a complete, ready-to-go system.

I hope that clarifies where I'm coming from. Thanks again for all of the feedback.
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Old 19-10-2015, 10:09   #11
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Re: Need help building a system

Quote:
Originally Posted by TitanTn View Post
Great feedback. It sounds like I definitely want to be looking at NMEA 2000. I definitely want something that is networked and will allow me grow slowly into the system.

As I said, my immediate need is depth. I don't need radar, autopilot or AIS right now. I want to add them over the next year or two. What I don't want to do is buy a depth sounder now and then figure out later that it doesn't integrate into my network and feed the chart plotter, etc.

And I also don't want to look at a depth sounder as a stand alone piece of equipment if it'd be better to purchase with the "networking hub" like the Vesper XB8000 that was referenced.

So what are the components of a system as I'm trying to describe?

Chartplotter (iPad for now, but might want to add a dedicated unit later)
GPS receiver (in Ipad, but maybe need an antenna or even a separate unit?)
Depth sounder (what's needed? a transducer that connects into what?)
AIS - to come later unless I should start with the Vesper XB8000 that is the router for the network.
Radar - later
Autopilot - much later

Thanks for the direction.

p.s. this is not for blue water use, live-aboard, long passage, or on a sail boat
Here are some items that would do what you want:

NMEA2000 depth speed and temperature sensor:
This one is thru hull mounted, with speed and temperature, perhaps not what you need, but gives you an idea.
https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/shop...prod13578.html

NMEA2000 starter kit:
The wires and connectors to start a NMEA2000 network (all you need)
https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/shop...-11442-00.html

VESPER XB-8000:
Four items in one: AIS Transponder, Accurate GPS, NMEA2000->WiFi, WiFi router.
Vesper Marine XB-8000 AIS Transponder with WiFi

AIS antenna:
Can be connected to your existing VHF antenna with a powered splitter, or use a separate antenna. I think seperate antenna is better and cheaper if you can mount it.
http://www.defender.com/product3.jsp...062&id=1143468

Software:
InavX, or many others.
You have an iPad, if you have a smartphone or a laptop, you have a backup system as well.
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Old 19-10-2015, 11:21   #12
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Re: Need help building a system

There is a neat solution from Vexilar which is a fishing-style transducer (can be used with different transducers, I suspect) and the electronics to power it, plus a Wifi transmitter that allows this to be used with your iPad. While originally intended for anglers, it also works on larger boats. I have used it to 260', and you not only get depth, but also fishing sonar features (bottom contours) and the ability to update your Navionics charts if you sign up for Sonar Charts.

Attached is the survey I have done of Fallen Leaf Lake in the Sierra using this exact arrangement.

It may not be ideal, but I think it's worth considering.

Chuck Hawley
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Old 19-10-2015, 13:41   #13
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Re: Need help building a system

Quote:
Originally Posted by NahanniV View Post
Here are some items that would do what you want:

NMEA2000 depth speed and temperature sensor:
This one is thru hull mounted, with speed and temperature, perhaps not what you need, but gives you an idea.
https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/shop...prod13578.html

NMEA2000 starter kit:
The wires and connectors to start a NMEA2000 network (all you need)
https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/shop...-11442-00.html

VESPER XB-8000:
Four items in one: AIS Transponder, Accurate GPS, NMEA2000->WiFi, WiFi router.
Vesper Marine XB-8000 AIS Transponder with WiFi

AIS antenna:
Can be connected to your existing VHF antenna with a powered splitter, or use a separate antenna. I think seperate antenna is better and cheaper if you can mount it.
Shakespeare 5250-AIS Skinny Mini Antenna

Software:
InavX, or many others.
You have an iPad, if you have a smartphone or a laptop, you have a backup system as well.
Thanks so much! This is exactly the direction I'm looking to head and gives me specific products to see how it all fits together.
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Old 19-10-2015, 15:45   #14
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Re: Need help building a system

Listen to Roy,
The only question is not if your hard drive will crash BUT when will it crash
Bill


Quote:
Originally Posted by Roy M View Post
First, have the basics, for when things all go wonky: leadline, compass, yarn strands on the shrouds, a watch, paper charts, parallel rule and compass, sharp pencils, ship's log, Coast Pilot and cruising guides. Learn how to use these before anything else.

Then, figure out what you want to do in the next couple years. If you aren't sure, do nothing. You already have everything you really need.

If you are going to keep the boat, if you are going to gradually expand your theater of operations, and if you are willing to learn a lot more about navigation, then start saving your money to buy some electronics to make things quite a bit easier.

Don't do anything for a while, save your money, learn what is available and wait until you have no further questions. Then, you will have answered your own question successfully.
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Old 19-10-2015, 16:26   #15
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Re: Need help building a system

Quote:
Originally Posted by anacapaisland42 View Post
Listen to Roy,
The only question is not if your hard drive will crash BUT when will it crash
Bill
That's why you have redundancy Bill - but that's a whole different discussion.
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