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Old 28-01-2015, 03:04   #1
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Comar CSB200 AIS reprogram

Hi all;

I have a Comar CSB200 AIS installed connected to Raymarine chart plotter. I changed registration after buying the boat and got a new MMSI number. I got the serial port and connected in OK but the unit won't let me reprogram the MMSI. Anyone know what to do?

I emailed Comar in the UK but no response from them. Not a good situation now because I'm using the old MMSI from Singapore and the boat is registered in Canada! Help!!

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Old 28-01-2015, 05:08   #2
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Re: Comar CSB200 AIS reprogram

You need to send the unit back to the factory.

Its easier/cheaper just to use the old MMSI
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Old 29-01-2015, 02:42   #3
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Re: Comar CSB200 AIS reprogram

I'm sure there's a Comar dealer in Singapore as a friend of mine bought a CSB200 here not too long ago, hence cheaper to send it here than to UK.
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Old 29-01-2015, 03:09   #4
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Re: Comar CSB200 AIS reprogram

Thanks for the answers. What a ridiculous system. I have the same problem with my Raymarine DSC radio. The 'old' MMSI is in there and I have to send it to the factory to change it. Someone didn't think this whole MMSI concept through very well IMO. I guess I'll just be cruising as someone else because I can't afford 2 months without a radio or AIS...what a joke.

Anyways, I appreciate your help. I'll try Singapore but it does say 'back to the factory' in the manual, which means the UK.
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Old 29-01-2015, 03:37   #5
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Re: Comar CSB200 AIS reprogram

If this is (as some stuff I've seen suggests) based on an SRT board (did it come with ProAIS software?) then take a look here regarding the command required to reset.
Yacht Electronics: SRT proprietary AIS commands

(Note: I have not tried this but I have used other info in this article to do stuff with my (SRT-based) Raymarine AIS 500 which Raymarine told me was "impossible").
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Old 29-01-2015, 03:38   #6
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Re: Comar CSB200 AIS reprogram

Quote:
Originally Posted by millhouse_44 View Post
What a ridiculous system. .
Well, not really.

In the post 9/11 world it was thought that being able to easily change your MMSI could mean a pirate boat, drug runner, etc could disguise itself as an innocuous boat.

You would hardly get upset if in an unsecure area a Coast Guard boat came up towards you and called for you to stop... But if that was a mob of theives who had changed MMSI to a known navy boat then you are dead meat....



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Old 29-01-2015, 07:07   #7
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Re: Comar CSB200 AIS reprogram

If you bought the COMAR unit in the UK or in Europe, you should be able to reprogram the MMSI number. If it was a US software version, The USCG has determined that the user can NOT reprogram the MMSI. IN Europe, there is no such restriction ( or wasn't) on AIS. There is a global restriction on MMSI programming in VHF sets by the IMO. ( limit of two I believe)

The issue is to prevent misuse or mis-representing yourself as someone else.
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Old 29-01-2015, 17:31   #8
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Re: Comar CSB200 AIS reprogram

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Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Well, not really.

In the post 9/11 world it was thought that being able to easily change your MMSI could mean a pirate boat, drug runner, etc could disguise itself as an innocuous boat.

You would hardly get upset if in an unsecure area a Coast Guard boat came up towards you and called for you to stop... But if that was a mob of theives who had changed MMSI to a known navy boat then you are dead meat....



Mark
I hear you but a better way would have been a requirement to verify the validity of your MMSI with ID rather than locking out all electronics putting the burden and onus on boaties, often who need the equipment, are far from reliable communications and subject to expensive and cumbersome removal. Just my opinion. The system as it is is obviously failing if people are just using the old numbers, which from the comments and my own experience it appears they are. Grade=fail.
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Old 29-01-2015, 18:48   #9
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Re: Comar CSB200 AIS reprogram

Quote:
Originally Posted by muttnik View Post
If this is (as some stuff I've seen suggests) based on an SRT board (did it come with ProAIS software?) then take a look here regarding the command required to reset.
Yacht Electronics: SRT proprietary AIS commands

(Note: I have not tried this but I have used other info in this article to do stuff with my (SRT-based) Raymarine AIS 500 which Raymarine told me was "impossible").
Thank you for this information. It is ProAIS software. Unfortunately I hate to admit this but the information on this link is over my head! I have contacted COMAR and they have replied and sent me some software. I'll keep this thread updated with the results. If not I might dive in and try some of the stuff but knowing me I'll probably corrupt the whole thing and then have no AIS...that's my track record with stuff like this!

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Old 30-01-2015, 03:53   #10
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Re: Comar CSB200 AIS reprogram

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Originally Posted by millhouse_44 View Post
Unfortunately I hate to admit this but the information on this link is over my head! I have contacted COMAR and they have replied and sent me some software.
There seem to be at least three versions of proAIS out there: The end user version, the borked end user version Raymarine supply which doesn't allow you to control GPS output, and the "dealer" version which I believe allows you to reset the unit so that a new MMSI can be input.

It seems that proAIS communicates with the AIS unit by exchanging "proprietary" NMEA 0183 sentences i.e. messages in NMEA-0183 format but defined by the manufacturer for use with their products: In this case the manufacturer is SRT who supplied comer, raymarine and others with the guts of their AIS units.

Bottom line is you don't need the proAIS software to do this: hook up a serial line to your laptop, configure the serial port appropriately (38400 baud, 8 bits, no parity, one stop bit) and you can send the AIS unit the relevant commands (as documented in Kees's blog, apparently from monitoring exchanges using the dealer version of proAIS). You could use a terminal emulator (e.g. hyperterminal, screen or minicom) and type in commands directly or any other method (a judicious combination of stty, cat and subshells with redirected i/o for *nix users perhaps: sorry my windows serial-** is sadly lacking).

...but if they're sending you the software to do it then that is undoubtedly the best tool to use :-)
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Old 19-03-2018, 19:19   #11
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Lightbulb Re: Comar CSB200 AIS reprogram

Quote:
Originally Posted by millhouse_44 View Post
Hi all;

I have a Comar CSB200 AIS installed connected to Raymarine chart plotter. I changed registration after buying the boat and got a new MMSI number. I got the serial port and connected in OK but the unit won't let me reprogram the MMSI. Anyone know what to do?

I emailed Comar in the UK but no response from them. Not a good situation now because I'm using the old MMSI from Singapore and the boat is registered in Canada! Help!!

Millhouse
Small Cat Fun
Phuket


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I just (finally!) managed to do this myself with my own COMAR CSB200.

All it takes is:

1) A connection to the unit (I got a cheap USB to serial port cable, but you can also do it via your existing network. As long as you can send commands TO your AIS)

2) Download PROAIS software (for windows). Note: There is also a ProAIS2 version which SEEMS to work, until you get to the writing part (it stalls). This is for newer AIS units.

3) In PROAIS, go to the Serial Data tab, and look below for “Enter commands below”

4) Enter the secret reset command of $PSRT,012,,,(--QuaRk--)*4B$PSRT,RDP*6F - note this will totally reset the AIS settings.

You now have to enter all the information again (boat name, call sign - if any, MMSI, GPS antenna position.).

I didn’t see anywhere to enter beam and LOA, but guessing this is off the GPS position. But where can I enter the draught? Is this only for class A AIS?

Before anyone says I am making it possible for people to spoof their AIS: Anyone can simply buy a new unit and enter whatever details they want. This “protection” is mainly to make you buy a new unit, rather than use the one already installed on the vessel you just bought.
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Old 19-03-2018, 22:35   #12
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Re: Comar CSB200 AIS reprogram

As for newer AIS units: I heard the password was changed so it will depend on how old your AIS is (and which brand, obviously). Something tells me that ... if I update the firmware (called software in ProAIS), the password to reset the unit wonít work any more.

If it ainít broke ... so I wonít update. Just in case the unit needs another reset some day.
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Old 11-09-2018, 23:40   #13
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Re: Comar CSB200 AIS reprogram

Quote:
Originally Posted by DITB View Post
I just (finally!) managed to do this myself with my own COMAR CSB200.

All it takes is:

1) A connection to the unit (I got a cheap USB to serial port cable, but you can also do it via your existing network. As long as you can send commands TO your AIS)

2) Download PROAIS software (for windows). Note: There is also a ProAIS2 version which SEEMS to work, until you get to the writing part (it stalls). This is for newer AIS units.

3) In PROAIS, go to the Serial Data tab, and look below for “Enter commands below”


4) Enter the secret reset command of

$PSRT,012,,,(--QuaRk--)*4B$PSRT,RDP*6F

- note this will totally reset the AIS settings.

You now have to enter all the information again (boat name, call sign - if any, MMSI, GPS antenna position.).

I didn’t see anywhere to enter beam and LOA, but guessing this is off the GPS position. But where can I enter the draught? Is this only for class A AIS?

Before anyone says I am making it possible for people to spoof their AIS: Anyone can simply buy a new unit and enter whatever details they want. This “protection” is mainly to make you buy a new unit, rather than use the one already installed on the vessel you just bought.
Thank you thank you thank you. I found this thread because I too have a CSB200 from Comar. It features the same common board as many units and works with the PROAIS software from Digital Yacht.

I was able to go to the FCC and get an MMSI for my vessel. I sail international so the cost was $220 USD

I purchased a cheap GPS designed for cars. It is a LAN type frequency 1575.42 MHZ Voltage 3.0-5.0 V. It worked fine and even inside the vessel. (I have a composite hull and not a steel hull. So there was no need to run an external wire out. The one complication here was cutting the termination off and connecting it to an adapter to connect into the Comar. I had an electrical shop help with that.

I reused an exisiting VHF antenna and simply purchased a new cable. The same shop attached terminals for this cable and I needed another adapter to connect to the back of the Comar.

I am running a Windows 10 laptop and connected to my USB port using a USB to Serial Adapter. Mine is called IOCREST and the brochure didn't claim it was compatible with Windows 10. It was purchased locally in the Philippines, however I found something similar on Amazon

Likely the USB converter you buy will not connect directly to the Comar. So as with everything else you need an adapater.

I had to get a nine pin cable male to female to connect the adapter to the back of the Comar.

The power cable I ordered from the USA rep in Washington for Comar. Be sure to indicate how many pins are on the power cable. The older Comar units are two pins. The power cable the rep had on the website only showed a cable with 7 pins. So it was a case of having to know what you are asking for.

Note: The power cable has not arrived yet. However, I powered the unit up as follows. I took a small cable and cut it 3 inches long and pulled out a few strands of copper wire. This allowed me to slide the small cable onto the pins. If you attempt this, do not cross connect plus and minus. As you are looking at the back of the device, the pin that is on your right hand side is the positive pin. This can be confirmed using an tester. If you touch the left pin and shield for the VHF cable or GPS cable (I don't recall which) you will notice that the two are in common.


I downloaded the PROAIS software directly from Comar, however, I also obtained the earlier version from Digital Yacht. I used the earlier version to reset using command listed above to reprogram the AIS. I suspect the software from Comar would have reprogrammed it too.

I cannot attest this works with the newer versions of the CSB200.

One side note the website for Comar shows a "Legacy" manual for the CSB200. It is this older version of the CSB200 that matches the older manual that I was able to reprogram.

Next step for me is to improve the antenna since I suspect I have a limited range.

I was able to get the CSB200 to show ships live on my Open CPN. One thing to remember is to turn off the ProAIS software for ships to show up.

I was so excited about having this working on my PC I went out and purchased a backup PC. Well guess what. I didn't get anything to work on this new backup PC. So if you have done everything correctly and dont' get communication working try a different computer.

Total investment for working AIS class B transponder

Used Comar CSB200 gift
USA FCC international MMSI license good for 10 years $220
GPS $15
New antenna cable and quality fittings $30
USB to Serial Adapter $25
9 pin cable 1.5 meters male/female $9
New power cable from Comar rep $21
Adapters for VHF and GPS $15
Labor at electrical shop $10
Trips to town 4.

New backup computer that is currently not talking to the AIS. Grumble.
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Old 13-09-2018, 00:36   #14
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Re: Comar CSB200 AIS reprogram

Update:
The "new" backup computer I purchased had Windows 7 and in my previous post I was unable to get it to communicate with the Comar CSB200. Today I loaded the driver which came with the USB to Serial Adapter which is type FTDI. If you are going through this, make sure your USB adapter is type FTDI.

The Windows 10 system was able to handle the adapter without requiring me to load the driver, which is a good thing since my Windows 10 computer doesn't have a CD Rom.

The Windows 7 happened to have a CD-Rom and loaded the driver fine. I had to close the ProAIS2 software and then reopen it again before it would communicate.

Now I have two working computers both running OPEN CPN and switching between them to get the AIS to display is now just a matter of switching my USB cable.

Neat.

With this level of redundancy I am confident I will have a working AIS when I sail to Singapore next month.

Of course can't do a dang thing about those satellites and meteorites dropping from above but at least this now appears to be a 98% success. The only thing I need to work on more is a better antenna.
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