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Old 29-12-2011, 11:20   #1
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Maretron DSM-250 display review

Called the Rolls Royce of displays by many and it has a price tag to match that reputation, although street prices make it a bit easier on the wallet, but it's still the most expensive display by far. So how good is it? Well, very good! Let me start with a display that I like a lot:

The weather station. Here, that saves you a couple hundred bucks elsewhere.

The outside humidity figure is missing here, which was announcing bad things about to happen (my wind/weather sensor ended up filled with water!) and that also prevents the display from calculating wind chill and dew point. I do not have any inside sensors for temperature nor humidity. On the left we see the ground wind projected over a compass, and a barograph display below it. When you switch the display off, all data is lost and you loose the 24 hour graph like on this picture.

Here the display shows that my Simrad AP25 pilot does transmit rudder angle (starboard 7 degrees according to the AP25) onto the N2K network correctly:


GPS status. Remember that this is not a GPS, this is the data as transmitted over the N2K network. The sensor in this case is the Maretron GPS200. Check out the detail of this status and compare it to other such pages!


The display is expensive, but after the weather station, here is another way to save costs elsewhere: the traditional brass clock and barometer can go, plus you finally get to see UTC time as well for the SSB nets ! (and you can set alarms on UTC time as well!)


This Maretron is champion on selecting data sources, Here it even shows data from two similar sensors on one screen! Left is the gyro compass from the Simrad AP25 autopilot and right is the Maretron SSC200 sensor.


Of course this display supports all data like wind, depth etc. On the Maretron website you can download an emulator for this display on MS-Windows so that you can try out every possible combination of data.

There are some things that need to be mentioned besides the display of data. The DSM250 can be used to configure Maretron sensors in your network, like calibrating the compass, wind sensor etc. Also, the display can be used to configure alarms and this is an often overlooked strong point of Maretron imho. You can create alarms on any data that is on the N2K network and define the alarm as <value> on/off, greater than <value>, less than <value> etc. The display itself can sound the alarm but it can also control alarm modules that are plugged into the network elsewhere. This creates a single standardized alarm that can keep watch on all system aboard incl. engines, MOB systems, freezer temperature, propane sensors etc. etc. Right now, when an alarm sounds on Jedi, it can take me up to 5 minutes to find which dam thing is making that noise!

Time for the dark side of the display: to be honest, I did not find a single bug yet. Maretron is driven by a bunch of geeks that encode every PGN to perfection, they set the standards for others to beat. And that is also the weakness of this display imho... because what it needs is a higher resolution, brighter colors, and a team of designers that can designs screens that look as good as all the new displays from Furuno, Raymarine, B&G etc. In other words: it passed the geek approval tests with flying colors but needs to become a bit sexier. Do not let those software geeks design those screens!

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 29-12-2011, 11:54   #2
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Re: Maretron DSM-250 display review

Nick;

How much power has the display used in real life usage?

Chris
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Old 29-12-2011, 12:23   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by witzgall
Nick;

How much power has the display used in real life usage?

Chris
My clamp meter shows 0.00 forthe complete network

I may some day put a meter in the circuit to measure this, but I didn't yet. It is all pretty low power anyway. For these displays, power consumption is directly related to surface area of the LCD and brightness. You can control brightness and thus most of it's power consumption.

ciao!
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Old 17-11-2012, 03:43   #4
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Re: Maretron DSM-250 display review

Does anyone know whether this device will display wind speed and direction over time, as a graph? It does this with barometric pressure. For a really good weather screen you would absolutely need wind over time, too.
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Old 17-11-2012, 08:40   #5
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Re: Maretron DSM-250 display review

Read or skimmed a couple hundred pages from the manual - will NOT display historical wind data . Damn. . .

What is anyone using for NMEA 2000 weather display?
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Old 17-11-2012, 09:40   #6
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Re: Maretron DSM-250 display review

I use a Garmin GMI-10. The screen is smaller than the maretron, but the same resolution and the price is much lower, so you can get two for the cost of one dsm250. In fact you can get 3 GMI-10 displays, a NMEA-2000 wind instrument, and a depth/speed/log/temp transducer for $1329:
Garmin Ultimate Sailing Bundle - GWS 10, DST800, & 3 GMI 10s K10-00172-00

GMI-10 can display historical pressure or historical wind (you lose the history if you change the display type, however.) What I really like about it is that is has both NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 interfaces, so I can continue to use some of my older electronics with it.
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Old 17-11-2012, 10:20   #7
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Re: Maretron DSM-250 display review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
I use a Garmin GMI-10. The screen is smaller than the maretron, but the same resolution and the price is much lower, so you can get two for the cost of one dsm250. In fact you can get 3 GMI-10 displays, a NMEA-2000 wind instrument, and a depth/speed/log/temp transducer for $1329:
Garmin Ultimate Sailing Bundle - GWS 10, DST800, & 3 GMI 10s K10-00172-00

GMI-10 can display historical pressure or historical wind (you lose the history if you change the display type, however.) What I really like about it is that is has both NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 interfaces, so I can continue to use some of my older electronics with it.
That sounds good! Over what time, and in what form, does it display historical data? Is there a standard weather data screen?
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Old 17-11-2012, 12:14   #8
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Re: Maretron DSM-250 display review

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That sounds good! Over what time, and in what form, does it display historical data? Is there a standard weather data screen?
I don't remember the max history duration (I don't often use the graph mode). There are a bunch of preconfigured screens for displaying "air" data, including apparent, true, and ground wind, pressure, temperature, etc in various formats including graphs. You can can also set up up to 10 custom screens to display up 1 to 4 variables of your choosing. There are "analog" true and apparent wind displays, including a close hauled display that expands the angles between +/- 90 and automatically switches to a running display when you change course (I really like that one.)

Unfortunately, Garmin documentation does not have much detail on the screens, but it's pretty easy to figure out and use.

We've had it for 2 years now, completely trouble free except for a failed Maretron tee connector in our NMEA 2000 backbone (Maretron, to their credit, replaced the connector.)
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Old 18-11-2012, 04:30   #9
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Re: Maretron DSM-250 display review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
I don't remember the max history duration (I don't often use the graph mode). There are a bunch of preconfigured screens for displaying "air" data, including apparent, true, and ground wind, pressure, temperature, etc in various formats including graphs. You can can also set up up to 10 custom screens to display up 1 to 4 variables of your choosing. There are "analog" true and apparent wind displays, including a close hauled display that expands the angles between +/- 90 and automatically switches to a running display when you change course (I really like that one.)

Unfortunately, Garmin documentation does not have much detail on the screens, but it's pretty easy to figure out and use.

We've had it for 2 years now, completely trouble free except for a failed Maretron tee connector in our NMEA 2000 backbone (Maretron, to their credit, replaced the connector.)
I can't tell anything from their online documentation! Do they have a weather screen? Or enough weather you can put together into a custom screen? Ground wind direction? Barometer? Inside/outside temperature? Looks like a nice unit but can't find out anything about functionality.
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Old 18-11-2012, 05:05   #10
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Re: Maretron DSM-250 display review

I can't find any complete list of Garmin display functions.

The Raymarine ST70+, however, looks terrific! Full VGA resolution!

Raymarine ST70 Plus Instrument Features

And it says that it can display wind speed/direction logs and graphs, record and display minimum and maximum wind speed.

Looks like it has all or nearly all of the function of the Maretron 250 display at half the cost, and with four times the screen resolution. Looks really good.
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Old 18-11-2012, 06:21   #11
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Re: Maretron DSM-250 display review

The St70+ does look very nice. You can find a review of the display here. I think you need to buy a separate keypad to control it, and the network connector is different from the standard NMEA2000 but there are adapters available.

You can find a partial list of the Garmin GMI-10 display functions in their quick start guide. However, as I said before, their documentation is not very good.
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Old 23-11-2012, 19:03   #12
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I believe the DSM250 can put any received data in a graph? I'm not sure until I try, which will be a couple of months
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:48   #13
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Re: Maretron DSM-250 display review

I finally finished putting this display into it's spot. I first had to sell an electronic barograph that was installed there and is also replaced by this display:
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Old 04-04-2013, 13:45   #14
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Re: Maretron DSM-250 display review

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
I believe the DSM250 can put any received data in a graph? I'm not sure until I try, which will be a couple of months
And what about received data into a graph? This is will be interesting. Couldn't find anything in the documentation.
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Old 04-04-2013, 13:47   #15
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Re: Maretron DSM-250 display review

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And what about received data into a graph? This is will be interesting. Couldn't find anything in the documentation.
My picture already shows barometric pressure in a graph... but I'll try wind speed and report back here
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