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Old 01-11-2018, 10:01   #1
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Marine Electronics for Dummies

Ciao, all,
BLUF: Can anyone recommend a good reference work for (pleasure boat) electronics? I'm looking to do some upgrades and working through my confusion. I have individual manuals for current equipment, but no wiring schematic for the system. I have Garmin GPS, instruments and chartplotter, and Raymarine VHF. Wanting to add new ST60 wind instrument, electronic sounder (maybe), and AIS receive that displays on chartplotter.
Not looking to make anyone write a treatise, but looking for steers to good references.
Thanks!
Bob
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Old 01-11-2018, 13:14   #2
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Re: Marine Electronics for Dummies

Here are a few suggestions:


Nigel Calder's book: "Boatowners's Mechanical and Electrical Manaual'
Main Sail's website: https://marinehowto.com/

YouTube videos by Jeff Cote of Pacific Yacht Systems


Hope these help
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Old 01-11-2018, 20:38   #3
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Re: Marine Electronics for Dummies

The manuals should have all of the information you need. Sometimes there are separate user and installation manuals. Make sure your manuals cover installation; if they don't then you should locate and download the installation manual. 90% of what you need will be in the manual the other 10% you can get here, by asking questions.
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Old 01-11-2018, 21:19   #4
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Re: Marine Electronics for Dummies

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Kitchens View Post
The manuals should have all of the information you need. Sometimes there are separate user and installation manuals. Make sure your manuals cover installation; if they don't then you should locate and download the installation manual. 90% of what you need will be in the manual the other 10% you can get here, by asking questions.

Great advice. I'd add the word "specific" before questions, cuz after you read thew proper manuals, only then can you get specific enough to ask.


For example, sometimes you have to connect a blue wire to a light brown one. Seems counter intuitive, but then you can ask.


Beats asking "What wires do I connect?"


See the difference?


Good luck.
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Old 01-11-2018, 22:00   #5
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Re: Marine Electronics for Dummies

Calder's book is a must have.


For something closer to the "dummies" format, try



https://www.amazon.com/Boatowners-Il...s=charlie+wing


This book has a twenty page section that walks you through using I=v/r to think about all sorts of problems. It also walks you through how to use a multi-meter with examples.


I would never leave port without Calder, but if you are starting out, I'd recommend Wing's book.
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Old 02-11-2018, 00:27   #6
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Re: Marine Electronics for Dummies

I will take a bite. Marine electronics are various devices connected via networking protocols. If you want to have a solid installation, I suggest you pay attention to the following:

1. Main devices, chartplotter, radio, autopilot need to have solid and appropriately sized connections to power (typically 12V, positive and negative).

2. Most older Garmin devices interconnect via plain simple serial interface which is called nmea 0183 in the boating world. Garmin serial connections connect the negative to ground. In this case you need to run only one wire for the positive serial signal between the devices. Other serial devices use differential signalling, called RS485. Do not worry about that for now. The trick with serial devices is that the signal goes only one way, there is a talker and a listener. Typically, your GPS is a talker and sends its data to the chart plotter and the VHF radio. You can have multiple devices listening to the talker. Then you take the AIS signal from the radio output port (typically called nmea out) and feed it back to the chart plotter. You need to make sure that the chartplotter and the radio connect at the same speed or baud. For AIS this is 38400 but sometimes it could be 4800.

3. Most older Raymarine devices connect through a protocol called Seatalk. This again is a serial interface and is bidirectional. You have a red wire for 12V, yellow for the positive serial signal and ground. You can connect many Raymarine devices with just these three wires and they will work fine. However, AIS does not travel on top of Seatalk which is limited to 4800 baud.

All serial connections are very low current, so you can splice the wires anyway you want, the signal is very robust.

It is incredibly difficult to interconnect Seatalk and nmea 0183 on marine instruments. They just do not get along. If you get an ST60 wind instrument, there will be five wires going from the sensor to the ST60 display. You will not be able to display wind information on the Garmin chartplotter unless you have another Raymarine chartplotter on the system. Vendor lock.

3. A third protocol is called nmea 2000. It deserves a separate email.

4. Sometimes vendors use Ethernet for radar, sonar and weather data.

Let us know if you have specific questions.

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Old 02-11-2018, 03:47   #7
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Re: Marine Electronics for Dummies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pizzazz View Post
I will take a bite. Marine electronics are various devices connected via networking protocols. If you want to have a solid installation, I suggest you pay attention to the following:

1. Main devices, chartplotter, radio, autopilot need to have solid and appropriately sized connections to power (typically 12V, positive and negative).

2. Most older Garmin devices interconnect via plain simple serial interface which is called nmea 0183 in the boating world. Garmin serial connections connect the negative to ground. In this case you need to run only one wire for the positive serial signal between the devices. Other serial devices use differential signalling, called RS485. Do not worry about that for now. The trick with serial devices is that the signal goes only one way, there is a talker and a listener. Typically, your GPS is a talker and sends its data to the chart plotter and the VHF radio. You can have multiple devices listening to the talker. Then you take the AIS signal from the radio output port (typically called nmea out) and feed it back to the chart plotter. You need to make sure that the chartplotter and the radio connect at the same speed or baud. For AIS this is 38400 but sometimes it could be 4800.

3. Most older Raymarine devices connect through a protocol called Seatalk. This again is a serial interface and is bidirectional. You have a red wire for 12V, yellow for the positive serial signal and ground. You can connect many Raymarine devices with just these three wires and they will work fine. However, AIS does not travel on top of Seatalk which is limited to 4800 baud.

All serial connections are very low current, so you can splice the wires anyway you want, the signal is very robust.

It is incredibly difficult to interconnect Seatalk and nmea 0183 on marine instruments. They just do not get along. If you get an ST60 wind instrument, there will be five wires going from the sensor to the ST60 display. You will not be able to display wind information on the Garmin chartplotter unless you have another Raymarine chartplotter on the system. Vendor lock.

3. A third protocol is called nmea 2000. It deserves a separate email.

4. Sometimes vendors use Ethernet for radar, sonar and weather data.

Let us know if you have specific questions.

SV Pizzazz
All,
Gracie mille. Off to the bookstore. Will be back after I can form intelligent questions.
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Old 02-11-2018, 04:26   #8
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Re: Marine Electronics for Dummies

For folks reading this thread:
Amazon.it had Nigel Calder's book: "Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual'
Fourth Edition for €44.42 including tax. I have prime so don't know what shipping would be.
Bob
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Old 02-11-2018, 10:09   #9
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Re: Marine Electronics for Dummies

I recently replaced an old set of mixed instruments with a modest B&G system on a NMEA 2000 network. A "one-stop-shop" like B&G will save you a lot of grief. I also recommend checking out Maretron (https://www.maretron.com) who do sell complete systems, but you can use their N2K network gear with anybody's instruments. Maretron website is a great place to learn about networking and even has free software (https://www.maretron.com/products/N2KBuilder.php) for configuring a new network on your computer. Good luck. It's lots of fun and not terribly hard to install yourself.
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Old 02-11-2018, 12:30   #10
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Re: Marine Electronics for Dummies

Thanks! I don't intend to scrap what I have, but add to it. I see where individual components have different network capability (nmea 0183 and NMEA 2000 for example), but don't know what was actually implemented. It all works well now, so causing a system issue is one of my concerns. And I'm a port-to-port Med kind of guy, so it's not high risk to me. Just looking to do the easy installation/wiring myself if the protocols all line up.
Bob
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Old 04-11-2018, 08:05   #11
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Re: Marine Electronics for Dummies

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Kitchens View Post
The manuals should have all of the information you need. Sometimes there are separate user and installation manuals. Make sure your manuals cover installation; if they don't then you should locate and download the installation manual. 90% of what you need will be in the manual the other 10% you can get here, by asking questions.
Good advice.

The manuals are full of quality information.
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Old 07-11-2018, 23:54   #12
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Re: Marine Electronics for Dummies

https://marineelectronicsadvisor.com
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