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Old 21-11-2016, 06:27   #1
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Building your own NMEA 2000 cables - A question

This is probably not an issue but I thought I would ask before I go and spend more money on materials I can't use.

Can I use Maretron mini field connectors on mid/mico cable? The Maretron mini cable that I bought for a short run up the SS grab bar at my helm pedestal is too thick to fit through the available hole.

At this point I'm thinking of just buying a short pre-built micro cable (Garmin appears like a good candidate given the moderate cost of their cables) and putting a Maretron mini connector on the end of it after I fish it through. I'm assuming that the Garmin cable with have standard NMEA 2000 wire colors when I take it apart.
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Old 21-11-2016, 06:47   #2
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Re: Building your own NMEA 2000 cables - A question

I'm no data cable expert, but I can't see why it wouldn't work just fine...

bumpin da post...
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Old 21-11-2016, 08:00   #3
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Building your own NMEA 2000 cables - A question

You could, but you will lose the watertight seal where the cable enters the connector and have no strain relief due to the diameter of the micro and mid cable being much smaller (7.2/8.4mm vs. 11.3mm for the mini).

I did an extensive (read: complete) refit of our boats networking after buying it and tried to save some $$$ where I could and looked at various brands of N2K cables including Garmin. Ultimately bit the bullet and went with all Maretron, there was just too much difference in quality and I only wanted to do things once. One suggestion, after installing the new end be sure to test your cable using a multimeter to make sure all the connections are sound. The micro/mid connectors are a PITA to wire and N2K is not tolerant of connections with too much resistance nor other wiring issues... I learned that the hard way! Maretron has a document somewhere on their website that tells you how to test a cable.

In thinking about this a bit more, you could conceivably build up the diameter of the micro/mid cable using something like rescue tape or maybe electrical tape where the cable enters the mini connector. Just a thought... probably not a very good one.
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Old 21-11-2016, 14:20   #4
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Re: Building your own NMEA 2000 cables - A question

Maretron stuff is nice, but be careful if connecting a metal Maretron connector to the back of a chartplotter that has plastic threads. Maretron sells a plastic connector for use in such cases.

Ask me know I figured this out :-)
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Old 22-11-2016, 04:42   #5
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Re: Building your own NMEA 2000 cables - A question

Pyxis, Moo, thanks for your feedback. Both very helpful.

I may see if I can widen the aperture that the cable needs to fit through and use the Maretron bulk cable I bought. If that fails, I'll bite the bullet and put the connector on a micro/mid cable and heat shrink it. It will be in a Navpod...not the most weatherproof of enclosures, so I'll do what I can to protect it.

I didn't realize that Maretron makes plastic connectors in micro/mid, but of course, given my luck, they are 2-3x more expensive than the stainless mini connectors. $50 for one is just insane IMHO.

And who the hell thought up the nomenclature of micro/mid/mini that makes no sense at all. I guess small/medium/large was just a little too straightforward for engineers.
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Old 22-11-2016, 04:45   #6
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Re: Building your own NMEA 2000 cables - A question

Yes, the nomenclature is annoying.

I think Garmin makes plastic connectors (maybe all their connectors are plastic?).
You can mix and match without a problem.
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Old 22-11-2016, 04:58   #7
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Re: Building your own NMEA 2000 cables - A question

I've done this, and for the same reason -- needed to fish cables (more than one) through openings too small for the connector to go through.

Has worked fine.

If the wires are not color coded, you can still figure out which is which with an electrical tester.

As has been mentioned, be very careful about stripping out the threads on plastic connectors, with the Maretron field connector. It didn't happen to me, but I could see how easy it would be to do.

Concerning waterproofness -- I used self-amalgamating tape plus heat shrink. Has been fine for 3 1/2 years on top of my mast.
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Old 22-11-2016, 09:28   #8
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Re: Building your own NMEA 2000 cables - A question

I installed ONE of the field attachable connectors.
After that I decided it was easier, cheaper, stronger and probably more water resistant to splice on molded cable ends from pre made cables
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