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Old 13-12-2012, 08:09   #1
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Alternatives to Certain Maretron Gear?

You've got to hand it to Maretron -- they make everything, but everything you could ever dream about for building an N2K network. But some of the stuff is awfully expensive; seems overpriced!

Their N2KView software is nearly $500!

Their N2K to USB bridge is $500, while Actisense, another perfectly respectable company, makes one for $230, and makes an N2K to serial bridge for $170: Actisense NGT-1-ISO NMEA 2000 Serial Interface | Blue Heron Marine Electronics. Is there any reason to use the Maretron $500 bridge instead of one of these?

Maretron makes a network extender -- useful for separating your network into two parts -- but costs -- guess how much -- $500 -- looks like every little box Maretron makes costs $500. I wonder if there is a more reasonably priced alternative?
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Old 14-12-2012, 18:45   #2
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Re: Alternatives to Certain Maretron Gear?

Yes, they are pretty darn expensive. But so far I've found their stuff to be pretty good. I don't know if the Maretron N2KAnalyze program will work with the Actisense USB adapter. Has anyone tried it? N2K Analyze is free and I've found it to be very useful in debugging config problems and updating hardware.
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Old 17-12-2012, 18:25   #3
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Re: Alternatives to Certain Maretron Gear?

Dockhead:

As for Twisted's question:
I don't know if the Maretron N2KAnalyze program will work with the Actisense USB adapter.

I don't think so - I can check that out next time I'm on board, as I have both.

Your selection may be dictated by what else is on your N2K network and how you plan to use it. If you want Maretron's N2KView and their free N2KAnalyzer, I would say "yes" you need Maretron's box. N2K Analyzer is also the way you do firmware updates on their components.

If you plan to use Airmar's Weathercaster SW, it requires the Actisense. (That is also how you update firmware on the Airmar components).

Lastly if you use Actisense NMEAReader sw, you'll want the Actisense USB unit.
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Old 17-12-2012, 18:27   #4
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Re: Alternatives to Certain Maretron Gear?

I'd love to hear what you find.

So much for standards, eh?

Quote:
Originally Posted by arisatx View Post
Dockhead:

As for Twisted's question:
I don't know if the Maretron N2KAnalyze program will work with the Actisense USB adapter.

I don't think so - I can check that out next time I'm on board, as I have both.

Your selection may be dictated by what else is on your N2K network and how you plan to use it. If you want Maretron's N2KView and their free N2KAnalyzer, I would say "yes" you need Maretron's box. N2K Analyzer is also the way you do firmware updates on their components.

If you plan to use Airmar's Weathercaster SW, it requires the Actisense. (That is also how you update firmware on the Airmar components).

Lastly if you use Actisense NMEAReader sw, you'll want the Actisense USB unit.
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Old 17-12-2012, 18:41   #5
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Re: Alternatives to Certain Maretron Gear?

Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
I'd love to hear what you find.

So much for standards, eh?
Best thing about standards - there are so many to choose from.

I didn't mention our DC system is mostly Mastervolt - who have their own implementation of N2K called Masterbus. And yes, I have a 3rd N2K/USB adaptor for their Master Adjust software.
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Old 07-05-2015, 18:50   #6
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Re: Alternatives to Certain Maretron Gear?

Quote:
Originally Posted by arisatx View Post
Dockhead:

As for Twisted's question:
I don't know if the Maretron N2KAnalyze program will work with the Actisense USB adapter.

I don't think so - I can check that out next time I'm on board, as I have both.


Did you check? I am doing some rationisation of my gear. Need to know.
The NGW-1 is what I am curious on. Obviously the NGT-1 won't do the job.
Need to access my SSC-200 with out the dreaded terminal code.
Thanks.
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Old 08-05-2015, 04:27   #7
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Re: Alternatives to Certain Maretron Gear?

Lateral:

I don't recall for sure as this was a few years ago. I think the answer was "no". I am away from the boat but can check in about a week of that helps.
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Old 08-05-2015, 09:45   #8
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Re: Alternatives to Certain Maretron Gear?

We have had Maretron engine monitoring systems on both our yanmars, for the past three years and now recently connected to displays on the new Raymarine Lighthouse graphic displays with great results.
Recently we added sonic tank gauging system for fuel, water and waste tanks tied into a nmea 2000 backbone and displayed on the Raymarine chartplotter..
All worked flawlessly, when I had a question on sensors their tech spent 20 mins with me on the phone to ensure I understood the options.
To me, its important to consider the service support for the life of the product in addition to the price.
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Old 10-05-2015, 08:04   #9
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Re: Alternatives to Certain Maretron Gear?

Why is Maretron gear expensive?
- it's commercial-grade, well-engineered, and built to a very high standard.
- their 'ecosystem' of hardware and software is very well thought out
- the marine market for serious NMEA connectivity isn't that big
- NMEA is a closed society - it costs to join and get access to their standards, and it costs to ensure and certify compliance, and there's not as much support for NMEA2000 development as there are for other more open standards. By design, the NMEA2000 spec is obfuscated and hard to reverse-engineer.

I'm of two minds about NMEA2000. I'm angry that I can't 'mess' with it like I can with other comm standards, and that N2K gear remains expensive. On the other hand... I would hope that gear developed for marine use is truly dependable for several years, which is not something you can say about the average electronic device or assembly.

If a closed standard and higher costs are necessary to ensure that the marine market contains reliable gear... so be it.

As you all know, electronics is still a fast moving field. If the Chinese or others decide that there's a market for an open and lower-cost marine protocol, (and/or somebody finally produces a robust, mountable, waterproof, sunlight-readable tablet) ... the landscape will change yet again.
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Old 10-05-2015, 13:42   #10
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Re: Alternatives to Certain Maretron Gear?

Quote:
Originally Posted by arisatx View Post
Lateral:

I don't recall for sure as this was a few years ago. I think the answer was "no". I am away from the boat but can check in about a week of that helps.
That would be much appreciated. I cannot find anywhere on the net that states
specifically that it won't do the job. Maretron haven't answered my email yet.

This from maretron on the flip side:
Unfortunately, Maretron’s USB100 and N2KAnalyzer configuration software will not configure other manufacturers’ products. The NMEA 2000 protocol does a good job of defining data messaging, but there are no provisions or standard messages for configuring devices so manufactures develop proprietary messaging in order to configure their own products.
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Old 06-06-2015, 12:03   #11
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Re: Alternatives to Certain Maretron Gear?

Lateral:

It took me much longer to check this out, sorry. Posting anyway in case it may still be helpful. But the answer is "no". Can't use Maretron's N2K Analyzer SW w/o their gateway. Here is what happens when connected to the Actisense NGT-1:



But when I proceed to try to connect to another gateway, it only brings up a blank list of Maretron gateways:

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Old 06-06-2015, 12:16   #12
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Re: Alternatives to Certain Maretron Gear?

On another note, I've found the some of the cable fittings are a little off from different manufacturers. I used some Maretron end fittings on a Garmin unite and found them to be a bit tight getting them on.

Also some of the after market cables are not color coded the same as Maretron.
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Old 06-06-2015, 14:44   #13
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Re: Alternatives to Certain Maretron Gear?

Much appreciated Arisatx.
Looks like I need to switch to a H2183 so as to be able to configure in weathercaster.
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Old 06-06-2015, 20:11   #14
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Re: Alternatives to Certain Maretron Gear?

I am completely unhappy with my Maretron gear. Mostly because of the dealer, although Maretron did nothing to try to alleviate the situation and left me hanging out to dry. Over a year has past since my installation of the wso 100 and the dst 150, I was assured by the dealer that the N2K View software was compatible with Mac OSX. It is not! So I use my chartplotter software (MacENC) which can only interpret some of the data that the wso 100 will deliver. Also, my dst 150 quite often sends the wrong depth.
Maretron suggests, using their free N2K Analyzer to view the raw data as an alternative. It is not compatible with Mac OSX either. They just don't get it.
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Old 06-06-2015, 20:45   #15
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Re: Alternatives to Certain Maretron Gear?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lateral View Post
Much appreciated Arisatx.
Looks like I need to switch to a H2183 so as to be able to configure in weathercaster.
Lateral:
You're welcome. We have a H2183 and it has been great.
Good luck w/your install!
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