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Old 10-09-2009, 03:53   #1
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Interfacing NMEA Data to Computer

Wondered how dificult it would be to have my raymarine st60 depth and speed interface with a PC ? Any one do it and if so what interface did you use?
Thanks,
Bob
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Old 10-09-2009, 08:55   #2
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Wondered how dificult it would be to have my raymarine st60 depth and speed interface with a PC ? Any one do it and if so what interface did you use?
Thanks,
Bob
Raymarine's SeaTalk protocol is not NMEA-compatible. You'll need to get a SeaTalk/NMEA bridge to do the translation. You can get one from Raymarine, but there are also other manufacturers like perhaps ShipModul (sp?) or Brookhouse who make NMEA multiplexers with SeaTalk input/outputs as an option.

Of course, you could also spend the big bucks and use a Raymarine C- or E-series chartplotter to act as a SeaTalk/NMEA bridge ;-) It works well. Or the ST-60 graphic repeater, which also bridges between SeaTalk and NMEA.
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Old 10-09-2009, 13:44   #3
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Thanks Jon
on the control module there is a NMEA interface for wires. So I figured it would output the data to there.
I want to get away from the proprietary system and go with a pc based system that would input radar, wind, depth, speed, gps ect and output to both a cockpit and inside display. Is there such a thing without buying all new instruments and autopilot (which I do not want to do) or is such a thing not quite ready yet ?
Thanks
Bob
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Old 10-09-2009, 15:27   #4
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But how do you get NMEA into your computer if you aren't using SeaTalk? Is it just bare wires to USB? I did a big interface on my boat with VHF, GPS, Autopilot and Seatalk to NMEA for my wind and depth instruments but never got around to plugging it into my cpu.
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Old 10-09-2009, 16:24   #5
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The old fashioned way is to run the NMEA-0187 data in through a serial port of your computer with a DB-9 connector. I don't remember which pin numbers(3 and 5?), but that's an easy look up. There are DB-9 to USB adapters available. Of course now there are very few computers being made with serial ports...like close to none. But if you have a desktop many motherboards still have a port where you can plug in a DB-9 connector.

Some manufacturers require you to connect bare wires and in that case you will need to use the DB-9. Other manufacturers provide have a mini-USB output port to regular USB connector that goes right into the computer.

When the chart software loads, it then finds the port where your NMEA data is coming in to your computer. No Raymarine hardware is used to do this unless of course its a Raymarine GPS putting out NMEA-0183 sentences.

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Old 10-09-2009, 18:47   #6
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Thanks Jon
on the control module there is a NMEA interface for wires. So I figured it would output the data to there.
I want to get away from the proprietary system and go with a pc based system that would input radar, wind, depth, speed, gps ect and output to both a cockpit and inside display. Is there such a thing without buying all new instruments and autopilot (which I do not want to do) or is such a thing not quite ready yet ?
Thanks
Bob
Bob, by control module do you mean the autopilot course computer? If so, do you know what model course computer you have? Most Raymarine autopilots output very little NMEA info. I have a type 300 course computer it only outputs autopilot related NMEA data - no speed, depth, wind, etc. Other course computers output even less data. As others have mentioned you'll need a Raymarine E85001 Seatalk to NMEA interface box (about $120 - $130 on the internet) or a multiplexer from Brookhouse or others (Brookhouse is about $200 with USB interface for your laptop). I use the Brookhouse multiplexer aboard my boat to distribute NMEA data including AIS to my laptop, the chartplotter at the helm, and the chartplotter and other NMEA listeners in the nav station.

Clear as mud?
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Old 10-09-2009, 19:08   #7
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The old fashioned way is to run the NMEA-0187 data in through a serial port of your computer with a DB-9 connector.
The better ones are made by pfranc. If you google them you can find them all over the planet. They add send receive lights to the dongle and it really is a better unit. They are purple too! the Admiral likes purple. In the world of boat crap it's just chump change to get something you know will be trouble free.

Some of the cheap ones sell for $9 but these are a bit more like $28. It matters. Serial ports never did have a true standard like we do for things like USB today. There is a reason modern computers don't do RS232C any more. RS232C was a lot of loose concepts that only sort of worked together. There never was a real standard for the hardware just the software and is no better even today. This is really old technology and I'm 55.
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Old 10-09-2009, 21:08   #8
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on the control module there is a NMEA interface for wires. So I figured it would output the data to there.
Yes, it's output only, but there absolutely *IS* a NMEA0183 output on many of the ST-series instruments, which you can run into your computer. I don't know what sentences it generates, I have an ST50, but run it through a Mux that handles the SeaTalk conversion, so don't use the direct NMEA output of the instrument.

I'd try it and see what you get before going to another solution - it may give you the data you need, in which case there's no point in doing anything else.
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Old 10-09-2009, 21:12   #9
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Serial ports never did have a true standard like we do for things like USB today. There is a reason modern computers don't do RS232C any more. RS232C was a lot of loose concepts that only sort of worked together. There never was a real standard for the hardware just the software and is no better even today.
Hrmmm, that's not really true, not at all, but has nothing to do with the topic of the thread, so we'll let it go.
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Old 11-09-2009, 07:43   #10
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OK I found it on line.
http://www.raymarine.com/SubmittedFi...T100_300CC.pdf

Seems the course computer outputs nmea data.
The NMEA interface is primarily designed to allow operation with
other manufacturers equipment by providing conversion between
SeaTalk and NMEA 0183 data format. Sentances decoded and
transmitted are as follows:

Data SeaTalk instrument
required
Transmitted
NMEA
Header
Cross Track Error Navcenter or Navdata or
GPS
APB
Bearing to
Waypoint
Navcenter or Navdata or
GPS
BWC
Distance to
waypoint
Navcenter or Navdata or
GPS
BWC
Waypoint Number Navcenter or Navdata or
GPS
BWC
Apparent wind
speed and
direction
Wind VWR
Boat Speed
(Through water)
Speed or Tridata VHW
Water Depth Depth or Tridata DBT
Longitude and
Latitude
GPS or Navcenter or
Navdata
GLL
Magnetic Heading Compass or SeaTalk
Autopilot
HDM, HDG,
VHW
True Heading Compass or SeaTalk
Autopilot
HDT, VHW
Locked autopilot
heading
SeaTalk Autopilot HSC
Water Temperature Speed or Tridata MTW
Course over the GPS or Navdata or VTG

NMEA 0183 Data NMEA Header Transmitted
Cross Track Error XTE
Bearing to Waypoint BWC
Distance to Waypoint BWC
Waypoint Number BWC
Latitude and Longitude GLL
Magnetic Heading HDG, HDM, HDT
True Heading HDT
Locked Autopilot
Heading
HSC
Course Over Ground VTG
Speed Over Ground VTG
Fix/No Fix GLL


So now, just have to figure out to connect it to a computer.... and get it to read it.
Thanks for the suggestions.
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Old 12-09-2009, 11:56   #11
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OK I found it on line.
http://www.raymarine.com/SubmittedFi...T100_300CC.pdf

Seems the course computer outputs nmea data.
The NMEA interface is primarily designed to allow operation with
other manufacturers equipment by providing conversion between
SeaTalk and NMEA 0183 data format. Sentances decoded and
transmitted are as follows:


So now, just have to figure out to connect it to a computer.... and get it to read it.
Thanks for the suggestions.
Bob, I have the 300 Course computer aboard my boat. The manual is very misleading. When the manual refers to the "NMEA Interface" it is actually refering to the optional & extra E85001 NMEA Interface box. The course computer alone will accept the following inputs:

Cross Track Error: APA, APB, RMB, XTE, XTR
Bearing to Waypoint: BPI, BWR, BWC, BER, BEC, RMB, APB
Distance to Waypoint: BPI, BWR, BWC, BER, BEC, RMB, WDR, WDC
Waypoint Number: APB, BPI, BWR, BWC, BER, BEC, RMB, APA,
WDR, WDC, BOD, WCV
Water Speed(through the water): VHW
Apparent Wind Angle VWR
Latitude/Longitude GGA, GLL, GXA, RMA, RMC, GXP, GDF,
GDP, GDA, GOF, GOP, GLF, GLP, GLA
GOA, IMA, GXF
COG/SOG VTG, RMA, RMC, VTA
Variation HDG, RMA, RMC, HVD, HVM



The course computer may output the following (depending on whether GPS data is available on Seatalk):

Cross Track Error: XTE
Bearing to Waypoint: BWC
Distance to Waypoint: BWC
Waypoint Number: BWC
Latitude and Longitude: GLL
Magnetic Heading: HDG, HDM, HDT
True Heading: HDT
Locked Autopilot Heading: HSC
Course Over Ground: VTG
Speed Over Ground: VTG
Fix/No Fix: GLL


Pretty limited data. Add the "NMEA Interface" and all Seatalk data generated by all the ST60 instruments (wind, depth, speed, water temp, etc.) including autopilot data becomes available on the output of the "NMEA interface". Whenever you see this:


Name:   85001 NMEA Box.jpg
Views: 7126
Size:  8.9 KB

In the autopilot wiring diagrams, they are referring to the E85001 NMEA Interface.

So, the bottom line is that the course computer alone outputs very little data other than GPS info that can be used by a Laptop/PC.

To hook the course computer NMEA output to your laptop, wire it this way to a female DB9 (female because most USB to serial adapters are male):

Click image for larger version

Name:	CC100-300-DB9.jpg
Views:	1160
Size:	39.2 KB
ID:	9860

If your laptop doesn't have a serial port you'll have to use a USB to serial adapter as others have suggested.

Hope that helps,
Rodney
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Old 12-09-2009, 13:51   #12
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Thanks Rodney.
Plan is to build a small mini pc onboard for all this, not a laptop. It will output to both a nav station display plus a weatherized cockpit display.
Would be nice to be able to see the speed, depth, cog, wind and autopilot data.
I also have a raymarine R70 radar, and wondered if it outputed to a pc as well. My guess is no, but really haven't read into it yet. It does have outputs for nmea and seatalk on the back. I have the book, just haven't really dived into it yet. To busy with other things right now.
Would be nice to have a type of open source for all this, instead of the proprietary stuff out there.
Bob
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Old 12-09-2009, 22:07   #13
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bob-
Two "gotcha"s to expect. The pfranc interface is one of the few with a great reputation that is not Windows Logo Certified. Keyspan and IBM are certified as are a few more brands these days. Pay the extra $5 to get a certified brand (if you're not getting the pfranc) because it means they have been more rigorously tested and are far more likely to WORK.

The other gotcha is that in NEMA/RS-232 terminology you'll see "RX" and "TX" meaning the "receive" input and "transmit" output lines. Except, you need to keep in mind that a wire which goes to "TX" on one end, goes to "RX" on the other end, at the other piece of equipment, most of the time. I've seen a lot of manuals that make it totally unclear which side of things they are referring to, so expect RX and TX may be confused.

And a wire run doesn't have to be that simple, you can for instance have two "talkers" connected in a "Y" cable to one "listener". Two TX connections going into one RX connection. Assuming all your devices will speak the same NMEA version, because some will speak 183.0 but not 183.2 or 180.1 but not...you know, whatever the numbers actually are. (It is late, I don't have them memorized.)
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Old 13-09-2009, 04:09   #14
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Two "gotcha"s to expect. The pfranc interface is one of the few with a great reputation that is not Windows Logo Certified
It works under Windows Vista and Windows 7. There are no device drivers required for newer versions of Windows for the pfranc. The XP driver is available for download and it works fine as well. There really are a lot of bad cheap USB to serial devices out there that won't work for this application.

NMEA allows three listeners per talker on the same line. So you could split the output form a GPS and connect it to the DSC on the radio the Autopilot and an RS232 port for a computer. The other option is input it all to the computer and then make a second port be the output. It then can do more things in software to support a few other options or support more sentences.

You can't talk and listen of the same port at the same time. You have to stop one mode and switch modes to do that. You would do that for example if you wanted to upload a route to a GPS. You can use the same connection but you can't monitor GPS data at the same time as updating a route. Most GPS's also require you to manually set them to receive mode to take in data as well.
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Old 13-09-2009, 06:44   #15
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We use these bluetooth multiplexers on the new fleet of Navy 44's at the Naval Academy. Work great with laptops with bluetooth and has built-in seatalk conversion. Not a good idea to connect multiple talkers to one listener directly. You can "diode or" them together but you will still have collisions so you should really use a multiplexer for that.

Eric
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