Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 17-03-2013, 15:42   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 242
Plotter or MFD recommendations - with ethernet

What marine plotter, or "Multi-Function Display" do you recommend with ethernet support?

Of course, plotters will vary greatly in the extent to which their ethernet support is open, and the functionality it has.

Has anyone been able to display a PC window on their plotter?
With touchscreen functioning as mouse on the PC?
__________________

__________________
dave777 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-03-2013, 16:10   #2
Registered User
 
Teknav's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Texas - USA
Boat: Twin Otter de Havilland Floatplane
Posts: 1,838
Re: Plotter or MFD recommendations - with ethernet

ummm...thinking and showing my age...a plotter is...a wide ruler with a built-in rotating compass, used to draw a course line on a chart...(no Ethernet needed, to use it.) Maurtz
__________________

__________________
Teknav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-03-2013, 16:30   #3
Nearly an old salt
 
goboatingnow's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 13,649
Images: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by dave777 View Post
What marine plotter, or "Multi-Function Display" do you recommend with ethernet support?

Of course, plotters will vary greatly in the extent to which their ethernet support is open, and the functionality it has.

Has anyone been able to display a PC window on their plotter?
With touchscreen functioning as mouse on the PC?
By "Ethernet support" what do you mean ?

Dave
__________________
Check out my new blog on smart boat technology, networking and gadgets for the connected sailor! - http://smartboats.tumblr.com
goboatingnow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-03-2013, 17:13   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 242
Re: Plotter or MFD recommendations - with ethernet

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
By "Ethernet support" what do you mean ?

Dave
Some of the current plotters, as well as related equipment like radars, are network based. I'm not referring to NMEA2000, which is a different type of network, but the "newer" stuff which is ethernet based. The "internet" is essentially ethernet based, just a standard protocol for data to be transmitted on wires. Obviously, there are lots of potential advantages for consumers (and forward thinking manufacturerers) when well defined open standards are used. Having said that, I'm not expecting eMail, webPages and such on the Plotter. Just the ability to easily share data via ethernet wires, or even Wifi.

OpenCPN (whose forum is hosted on this site) now supports configurable receipt and forwarding of all sorts of data on ethernet. For example, my AIS which only transmits via USB at 38K baud, could be forwarded to ethernet. It will be a required feature for my next helm plotter to be able to display AIS targets.

I believe that Lowrance has a few models that communicate on ethernet, and that Raymarine has a non-standard plug but it's just plain old ethernet underneath. The manufacturers seem to be claiming that they have proprietary networks. They don't necessarily publicize their protocols/API.

I'm hoping that we get a thread established where boaters can share their successes (or otherwise) with their chosen "ethernet capable" plotters / MFD.

They cost so much, that I'm sure many boaters will want to compare and shop for a model that has some "open standards" support. We've got weather, DSC, AIS, depth sounders, on top of the instrumentation and engineroom stuff. In the "old days", they didn't want you to hook up monitor or disk drive to a computer if it wasn't made by the same company. Obviously, that type of thinking won't last.
__________________
dave777 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-03-2013, 19:55   #5
Registered User
 
transmitterdan's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2011
Boat: Valiant 42
Posts: 4,019
Re: Plotter or MFD recommendations - with ethernet

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave777 View Post
Some of the current plotters, as well as related equipment like radars, are network based. I'm not referring to NMEA2000, which is a different type of network, but the "newer" stuff which is ethernet based. The "internet" is essentially ethernet based, just a standard protocol for data to be transmitted on wires.
I'm sure you know this but for others reading this thread the Internet is not Ethernet based. It is "IP" based which stands for Internet Protocol. The Internet (i.e. IP) could care less about Ethernet by design. So long as the Internet packets get delivered the Internet doesn't care if they arrive by Pony Express. Many marine vendors have chosen Ethernet as a high bandwidth companion to NMEA2000. I am not sure if all vendors using Ethernet are using Internet Protocol. Probably they are but I haven't done enough research to know for sure. It is quite possible that some vendors are using Ethernet without bothering to encapsulate the data in IP packets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave777 View Post
Obviously, there are lots of potential advantages for consumers (and forward thinking manufacturerers) when well defined open standards are used.
That may be true for consumers but I don't think manufacturers will agree. There are huge overheads needed to support open standards. The recreational marine markeplace isn't large enough to support the vendors out there now as evidenced by the significant consolidation seen just in the past few of years. I expect there will be more consolidation in the near term and the few players left standing will likely not see the benefits of supporting open standards. There is much to lose and not much to gain from the vendor's point of view.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave777 View Post
They cost so much, that I'm sure many boaters will want to compare and shop for a model that has some "open standards" support.
You will be looking for a long time to find even one open standards Ethernet based MFD. So far as I know there are no open standards for recreational radar or other high bandwidth marine transducers over IP whether Ethernet or WiFi.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave777 View Post
We've got weather, DSC, AIS, depth sounders, on top of the instrumentation and engineroom stuff.
There is NMEA2000 which is a "theoretical" standard but not "open". And it is not all that easy to mix and match products between different vendors. Many details required for real products were not included in the NMEA2000 standard. Details such as transducer parameter setup, calibration procedures and the like bedevil NMEA2000 to the point that you simply cannot mix and match most products from different vendors at will.

And AIS is still not defined within NMEA2000 so far as I know. If someone knows for sure I would be interested to hear about it.

The biggest problem with NMEA2000 is that it stopped adding devices some years ago. Now vendors are coming up with new devices like AIS and just inventing their own protocols within the CAN layer that NMEA2000 uses. But as an open standard NMEA2000 is pretty stagnant. Do they even still have NMEA2000 standards meetings any more?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave777 View Post
In the "old days", they didn't want you to hook up monitor or disk drive to a computer if it wasn't made by the same company. Obviously, that type of thinking won't last.
So far in the boat network world it is holding true to the "old days". I hope you are right but I'm guessing you will be dependent on some intrepid souls to hack the protocol of the various radar units and other high bandwidth transducers. Then one has to hope the vendors don't retaliate by changing the protocol.

My advice is find a vendor that you think will be around for a while (think Garmin, Raymarine, Navico). See if their MFD suits your specific needs then go sailing or motoring and don't worry about open standards. I do not expect manufacturers to hop on the open standards bandwagon any time soon.
__________________
transmitterdan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-03-2013, 22:42   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 242
Re: Plotter or MFD recommendations - with ethernet

Quote:
Originally Posted by transmitterdan View Post
for others reading this thread the Internet is not Ethernet based. It is "IP" based which stands for Internet Protocol.
Yes, I oversimplified in a big way but the main point is still valid.

I've read that owners of "big name" marine products with supposed proprietary networks have succeeded with simple splices to RJ45 cabling and low cost routers, including Wifi. That means, the data is there for the taking.

(Forum members can refer here for lots of detail on Al Gore's TCP/IP stack).

Quote:
Originally Posted by transmitterdan View Post
I am not sure if all vendors using Ethernet are using Internet Protocol.
I'm not sure of the terminology, when it's enough to be "internet protocol" or if it's just "tranport layer" - but
the rumors in the schoolyard are that UDP and/or TCP standards are used by at least one major vendor. These equate to broadcast & point to point connections, both methods have a use on a boat.

OpenCPN can send or receive on these, as well as Serial & USB to it is one free bridge available now.


Quote:
Originally Posted by transmitterdan View Post
That may be true for consumers but I don't think manufacturers will agree. There are huge overheads needed to support open standards.
I'd agree that vendors won't embrace openness - publicly, and in the short term. But rather than overhead, it's probably Product differentiation and their business marketing model that drives their efforts to cloak their use of standards. The fact that these vendors already have chosen ethernet shows that they have made the financial/engineering decision in favor of the low overhead of not reinventing the wheel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by transmitterdan View Post
And AIS is still not defined within NMEA2000
AIS is a perfect example. It's not "owned" by a vendor, and it can be shared. How do these Plotters/MFD display AIS which is forwarded from another device? Maybe it's only NMEA2000 for now, but it's only a matter of time before a vendor supports a UDP packet broadcast. (Actually, you can do that today with a PC).

I didn't know that NMEA2000 stopped adding devices, that sounds like nails in a wood box.


Quote:
Originally Posted by transmitterdan View Post
So far in the boat network world it is holding true to the "old days". I hope you are right but I'm guessing you will be dependent on some intrepid souls to hack the protocol of the various radar units and other high bandwidth transducers. Then one has to hope the vendors don't retaliate by changing the protocol.
Smart people already done or working on it with Lowrance and Garmin.

That form of retaliation reminds me of Woody Allen robbing the bank with the gun pointed to his own head and then says "Don't move or I'll shoot".

This story has already played out so many times in so many industries, it's an understood phenomena of technology product life cycle. Once one plotter will display a window from a PC, or AIS over the a boats net then the other vendors will have to match quickly or lose sales.

For now, these Vendors do some things very well. Rugged, Waterproof, sunlight viewable, near bulletproof displays. I will pay more for that, for One unit on the boat. But I want to be able to plan and review voyages on my laptop or desk, and take that info on and off the boat at my schedule. I don't need helm ruggedness at the nav station, but I do need email, web browsing, and such. And I think a lot of other cruisers are in the same boat. (sorry)

Time will tell how soon and fully various vendors support standards. It's kind of like this choice - Do you want BetaMax at your helm because it's "better", or VHS because it's the standard.

Thanks for your input, once the season starts I'll be on the water more and the forums less.
__________________
dave777 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2013, 00:58   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Mackay,QLD, Australia
Boat: planning a approx 45ft cat
Posts: 3,651
Images: 3
Re: Plotter or MFD recommendations - with ethernet

Seems it is starting to come together.

I believe Furuno uses an Ethernet based system as well as Wifi and can be controlled/viewed on Ipad/iphone/computer.

NavNet TZtouch 14" Multi Function Display TZT14 | Products:NavNet TZtouch Series | Marine Equipment For Recreational Boats | Business Fields & Product List | FURUNO's Product Site

The Vesper AIS units use both NEMA 2000 & 0813 and have both wifi and USB.

XB-8000 - AIS Transponder with WiFi
__________________
downunder is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2013, 06:47   #8
Registered User
 
denverd0n's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 3,949
Images: 6
Re: Plotter or MFD recommendations - with ethernet

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave777 View Post
That form of retaliation reminds me of Woody Allen robbing the bank with the gun pointed to his own head and then says "Don't move or I'll shoot".

This story has already played out so many times in so many industries, it's an understood phenomena of technology product life cycle. Once one plotter will display a window from a PC, or AIS over the a boats net then the other vendors will have to match quickly or lose sales.
Well put, and so true. It is going to happen eventually, you can bet on that. It's just a matter of one vendor deciding that enough customers want it (and I think it's pretty obvious that enough customers do--we talk about it here all the time). That one, forward-thinking vendor will come out with something and all the other vendors will lose customers in droves. And then they'll get on the bandwagon. Or they will go out of business. Whichever.

And your comment about not reinventing the wheel is right on, too. Using an open standard is not an additional cost for a vendor, it is a savings. All the work has already been done for them. The only reason they aren't using open standards is because they are locked into a last-century mindset that says they need to "lock in" their customers to their proprietary standards.

Well, that's not going to last. This is the 21st century, and you can't "lock" customers into anything that they don't want to be locked into these days. It's just a matter of time, and the first vendor who finally "gets it" is going to make an absolute fortune!
__________________
denverd0n is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2013, 18:07   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: San Diego, CA
Boat: Beneteau Oceanis 38.1
Posts: 244
Re: Plotter or MFD recommendations - with ethernet

transmitterdan summed up the IP/Ethernet issues pretty nicely, but actually there's a LOT going on with NMEA2k right now. The standards body is, in fact, still adding devices (really, adding PGNs) and new capabilities, although all at the (glacial) pace of the typical standards body. For example, AIS and direct DSC calling initiated from a plotter are recent additions to the standard.

The NMEA2k standards body is also working on an NMEA2000-over-Ethernet standard to make use of standard ethernet hardware and potentially allow direct communication with IP based devices. That standard is estimated to be 2-3 years from being published. I cannot comment on how friendly that standard will be to interworking with typical IP devices. For example, I don't know if they plan to encapsulate the NMEA2k CANBus traffic in TCP or UDP packets, or if they plan to host the protocol somehow directly on top of Ethernet.

As an aside, IP based networks (Ethernet and WiFi) are being used in a variety of ways by various vendors depending on what they're doing. It's not a given that vendors are doing things in any sort of portable or IP friendly fashion, and it's also not a given that they're sharing data in open formats. For example, the iPad/Android remote display applications that are starting to appear from MFD vendors are typically tied to their MFDs, meaning they're using some proprietary protocol on top of IP for them (and some aren't even hardware-sharing friendly, doing things like completely occupying one non-shared WiFi AP).

Not to defend what the vendors are doing, but just to explain...
__________________
gjorgensen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2013, 18:15   #10
Registered User
 
rolandcavanagh's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Jamestown, RI
Boat: Grand banks 32' Classic
Posts: 69
I've had great success with Rose Point's "Coastal Explorer" on a laptop. Very versatile and well integrated. No financial interest, just a delighted user.
__________________
rolandcavanagh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-03-2013, 19:14   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 242
Re: Plotter or MFD recommendations - with ethernet

Quote:
Originally Posted by gjorgensen View Post
The NMEA2k standards body is also working on an NMEA2000-over-Ethernet standard to make use of standard ethernet hardware and potentially allow direct communication with IP based devices. That standard is estimated to be 2-3 years from being published. I cannot comment on how friendly that standard will be to interworking with typical IP devices. For example, I don't know if they plan to encapsulate the NMEA2k CANBus traffic in TCP or UDP packets, or if they plan to host the protocol somehow directly on top of Ethernet.
Thanks for the info on NMEA over ethernet, but 2-3 years is like forever in consumer electronics/computer time.

My perspective could be wrong, but once data is being sent over ethernet wires it's fairly easy to listen in or even join the conversation. It's not a question of a consumer/3rd party developing compatible hardware - there's a PC on the network and these grammars are limited. Because it would be absurd not just for performance, it's a product liability ticking bomb, for a vendor to employ encryption.

Can you imagine a corporate officer explaining to a jury why the encryption failure is a defensible "cost of business" for the consumer to bear?

While this thread is usefull for sharing ideas, I had hoped for it to be more of a resource with owners listing displays they are using that have some "open network" features. Argonaut has some big displays which would work in big vessels with protected helm's, as waterproof -ish touchscreen monitors for a PC.

Anyone have a PC window displaying on their MFD / Plotter?
__________________
dave777 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-03-2013, 00:25   #12
Registered User
 
transmitterdan's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2011
Boat: Valiant 42
Posts: 4,019
Re: Plotter or MFD recommendations - with ethernet

Quote:
Originally Posted by gjorgensen View Post
there's a LOT going on with NMEA2k right now. The standards body is, in fact, still adding devices (really, adding PGNs) and new capabilities, although all at the (glacial) pace of the typical standards body. For example, AIS and direct DSC calling initiated from a plotter are recent additions to the standard.
It's good to know they are still having meetings and adding to the standard. Sure hope they will seriously look at interoperability. To my way of thinking interoperability is much more important than an open standard. Cruising boat owners who are also computer programmers wanting to kludge together their own code with various brands of hardware make up a miniscule market share. Boat owners that would like to be able to buy their favorite MFD from one supplier and their favorite radar transducer from another and an auto pilot from still another is a significant market in my estimation. Probably something like 90% of boat owners would say they are in favor of it. NMEA2K was supposed to get us there but it hasn't been the case. I am skeptical that it will ever happen and hope that I am wrong.

And while we are wishing for the moon I would like Raymarine and Garmin MFD units to accept the free NOAA ENC and S-57 charts.
__________________
transmitterdan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-03-2013, 03:33   #13
Nearly an old salt
 
goboatingnow's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 13,649
Images: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by dave777 View Post

Thanks for the info on NMEA over ethernet, but 2-3 years is like forever in consumer electronics/computer time.

My perspective could be wrong, but once data is being sent over ethernet wires it's fairly easy to listen in or even join the conversation. It's not a question of a consumer/3rd party developing compatible hardware - there's a PC on the network and these grammars are limited. Because it would be absurd not just for performance, it's a product liability ticking bomb, for a vendor to employ encryption.

Can you imagine a corporate officer explaining to a jury why the encryption failure is a defensible "cost of business" for the consumer to bear?

While this thread is usefull for sharing ideas, I had hoped for it to be more of a resource with owners listing displays they are using that have some "open network" features. Argonaut has some big displays which would work in big vessels with protected helm's, as waterproof -ish touchscreen monitors for a PC.

Anyone have a PC window displaying on their MFD / Plotter?
As an IT professional and an electronics engineer , I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for " open" systems based on TCP/IP. No marine manufacturer really wants open systems. The ones that could actually engineer it are the very ones that don't want it.

Look even at NMEA 2000 and see just how open that is , look at setup and config issues. Etc.

Anyways PCs are dead, were looking at tablet and smartphone integration and all the big manufacturers are supporting this to one level or another.

Tech geeks want open systems. The user wants a functional nav system and then go sailing.

You might as well ask for an " open systems" car.

You cannot make comparisons between IT infrastructure and on board navigation. Sailors are boaters not IT systems architects.

Getting the data around is simple, deciding on standards , data interoperability , setup and config processes , etc are all very difficult and technically involved , its one thing defining a say " open printer" if anything goes wrong you just get lots of paper on the floor , its an entirely different matter designing an interoperable and open Autopilot , or engine controls for example.

apple uses Ethernet and IP and loads of other standards. Ever tried using an Apple TV from a windows PC , how'd that work for you.

Little in the IT world is actually really open and fully interoperable, especially at a hardware level.

I'm sorry , a closer examination of the major manufacturers in this sector will reveal

* Ethernet is often used for certain high speed data like video sharing , closed protocols , closed interoperability

* no current standards and no proposed standards particularly for radar, charts, sharing etc ( digital rights issues too )

* NMEA 2000 over IP will predominantly read only. And controlled.

* increased integration with iThingys will satisfy most customer demand for " open" systems , ray, Simrad , at the lead, others catching up.

* no large manufacturer will design a system that removes its MFDs from the network as no manufacture wants to becomes " a parts" manufacturer. ( see Apple for guidance )

Its a pipe dream , marine electronics is a cottage industry ( see Panbo recently) , there is no incentive for manufacturers to actually produce open systems ( lip service yes) nor is there actually any real financial benefit.

Systems like OpenCPN are great , but they are statistically , outliers .

There are also stacks of reasons why " open " and supposedly " interoperable " systems are not a good idea on a boat . No more then you see it in cars. Yes cars use canbus , but no one discloses the pgns. Boats are the same as cars not iT infrastructure

Dave
__________________
Check out my new blog on smart boat technology, networking and gadgets for the connected sailor! - http://smartboats.tumblr.com
goboatingnow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-03-2013, 04:31   #14
Moderator
 
Dockhead's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cowes (Winter), Baltic (Summer) (the boat!); somewhere in the air (me!)
Boat: Cutter-Rigged Moody 54
Posts: 19,737
Re: Plotter or MFD recommendations - with ethernet

There is limited functionality of at least Raymarine and Simrad plotters over IP (and maybe others). The NSS Simrad plotters can be hooked right up to a wifi router with an ethernet cable (with a proprietary plug spliced onto one end), or to their GoFree wifi router using a Simrad network cable. Then if you connect to the wifi router, you can control and operate your plotter from your IPad or other device. It's very cool, I think, even if it falls far short of true openness. See: GoFree Apps - Simrad Yachting

As far as I know, Raymarine has something very similar.
__________________
Dockhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-03-2013, 20:05   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 242
Re: Plotter or MFD recommendations - with ethernet

Maybe things are a little further along than I first thought. Aparantly Lowrance/Simrad are openly encouraging, even providing an SDK.

GoFree then click on Toolkit

Quote:
By using the Lowrance WIFI-1 to create a powerful data bridge, the HDS system data can be shared via open source protocol to a range of third party PC and Mac navigational software and iOS apps. Open source protocol means app developers anywhere of any skill level can access the system data for display for FREE. Professional app developers have access to a GoFree development toolkit that allows for greater control of system data. Open source protocol adds up to an endless stream of boating applications. If you create an app that enhances the HDS Gen2 or HDS Gen2 Touch experience Lowrance will help you promote it.
I bet the others have it by next year.
__________________

__________________
dave777 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 18:48.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.