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Old 02-02-2015, 18:36   #1
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Navico Network Problems -- What I Have Learned

Some of you may recall that I have had various problems with my N2K network.

With the help of Navico tech support, I've just solved some of them, and thought I would share in case anyone else is suffering from any of the same problems. I've been tolerating these problems for going on two years by now, and I sure would have liked to have solved them earlier.

The first problem I had is that there was a conflict between the pilot controller built into the plotters and the B&G Triton keypad controller. I was advised that a software update is needed to solve this. I have done the updates and will report after the weekend whether it worked.

The second problem I had, which has been really maddening, is that the B&G 4G radar stubbornly insisted on grabbing the wrong heading data, no matter how I set the network. I have two heading data sources on my network -- an Airmar H2183 (supposed to be the best fluxgate you can buy), and the heading sensor built into my Simrad GS25 GNSS receiver. I don't use the heading sensor in the GS25, but the bloody radar insisted on grabbing that heading data. Since the network, including the plotter, has been using the data from the H2183, this made the radar bearings, and radar overlay, not to mention MARPA, all useless. The only solution was to disconnect the GS25 and use the much less precise GPS receiver (no GLONASS, no EGNOS) built into my Zeus Touch.

I struggled with instance numbers and all kinds of setup parameters to no avail. I updated the radar software -- nothing. Finally, the Navico tech support guy (finally got a really good one; the last time I tried this I got a totally clueless, totally useless person, and gave up) pointed me to a radar interface software update (this being different from the radar firmware).

Voila, it works. I could hardly believe it. And now I'm getting position with accuracy of 1.8 meters instead of 30, as my lovely inexpensive GS25 receives data not just from GPS, but also from the Russian GLONASS constellation, and with differential correction from EGNOS. Hurrah!!

Rasberries to Navico for shipping this radar with this glaring defect, on account of which I wasted so much time and nerves. What a screwup!

I hope the pilot keypad problem is similar.


The third problem I had was that my GoFree module would no way work together with my radar. If I had the GoFree hooked up, the radar would not even connect. Result -- I left that valuable piece of kit disconnected for a whole year.

Solution: the same software update. The previous radar software is just some kind of a disaster. With the new software, the problem disappeared, and now I am pulling data onto my IPlod into INavX, which makes INavX (which I don't like all that much) just SO much more useful, with all my instrument data on it, and even AIS! Hurrah!


What else did I learn? Setting up instance numbers on an N2K network is really important. I never set them up, because I thought they were needed only in case you had two identical pieces of equipment on the network. Not so! If two pieces of equipment give the same type of data, you need to give them their own instance numbers.


Besides that, the Maretron DSM-250 has a mind of its own and doesn't necessarily follow all of the network commands from the Zeus. It is really confused by multiple sources of data on the network, as a result of which, I had different maddening problems with ground wind direction and speed, gps data, even heading data, on the DSM-250. The superb Maretron tech support people steered me to the solution -- first of all, instance numbers, as above. Second, don't rely on network source selection commands (why not? but that's the way it is) -- Display Setting > Advanced Configuration > Primary Device Selection, et voila -- you put in the instance number of the data source you want the DSM-250 to use.


Big kudos to Maretron tech support -- every time I've used them, always gotten a fast response from a smart person.

As to Navico -- the last time I got the most incredibly stupid person, it made me want to toss my system and switch to Fururno, or something. This time, I got a really response, smart person, who quickly sorted me out with problems I've had for two years. He answered my initial query on a Sunday (!), and responded to follow up questions in nearly real time -- great service.


So I'm very happy that it seems I've made a great leap forward with my network. Hate to say that the problems seem to mostly to have been caused by not-ready-for-prime-time software in Navico equipment. But better late than never, eh?
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Old 02-02-2015, 18:57   #2
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My INavX screen with data feed from GoFree



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Old 02-02-2015, 19:02   #3
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Re: Navico Network Problems -- What I Have Learned

And Zeus non-touchscreen Z8 with new software -- showing dynamic tides and currents.

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Old 02-02-2015, 19:25   #4
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Re: Navico Network Problems -- What I Have Learned

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Some of you may recall that I have had various problems with my N2K network.

With the help of Navico tech support, I've just solved some of them, and thought I would share in case anyone else is suffering from any of the same problems. I've been tolerating these problems for going on two years by now, and I sure would have liked to have solved them earlier.

The first problem I had is that there was a conflict between the pilot controller built into the plotters and the B&G Triton keypad controller. I was advised that a software update is needed to solve this. I have done the updates and will report after the weekend whether it worked.

The second problem I had, which has been really maddening, is that the B&G 4G radar stubbornly insisted on grabbing the wrong heading data, no matter how I set the network. I have two heading data sources on my network -- an Airmar H2183 (supposed to be the best fluxgate you can buy), and the heading sensor built into my Simrad GS25 GNSS receiver. I don't use the heading sensor in the GS25, but the bloody radar insisted on grabbing that heading data. Since the network, including the plotter, has been using the data from the H2183, this made the radar bearings, and radar overlay, not to mention MARPA, all useless. The only solution was to disconnect the GS25 and use the much less precise GPS receiver (no GLONASS, no EGNOS) built into my Zeus Touch.

I struggled with instance numbers and all kinds of setup parameters to no avail. I updated the radar software -- nothing. Finally, the Navico tech support guy (finally got a really good one; the last time I tried this I got a totally clueless, totally useless person, and gave up) pointed me to a radar interface software update (this being different from the radar firmware).

Voila, it works. I could hardly believe it. And now I'm getting position with accuracy of 1.8 meters instead of 30, as my lovely inexpensive GS25 receives data not just from GPS, but also from the Russian GLONASS constellation, and with differential correction from EGNOS. Hurrah!!

Rasberries to Navico for shipping this radar with this glaring defect, on account of which I wasted so much time and nerves. What a screwup!

I hope the pilot keypad problem is similar.


The third problem I had was that my GoFree module would no way work together with my radar. If I had the GoFree hooked up, the radar would not even connect. Result -- I left that valuable piece of kit disconnected for a whole year.

Solution: the same software update. The previous radar software is just some kind of a disaster. With the new software, the problem disappeared, and now I am pulling data onto my IPlod into INavX, which makes INavX (which I don't like all that much) just SO much more useful, with all my instrument data on it, and even AIS! Hurrah!


What else did I learn? Setting up instance numbers on an N2K network is really important. I never set them up, because I thought they were needed only in case you had two identical pieces of equipment on the network. Not so! If two pieces of equipment give the same type of data, you need to give them their own instance numbers.


Besides that, the Maretron DSM-250 has a mind of its own and doesn't necessarily follow all of the network commands from the Zeus. It is really confused by multiple sources of data on the network, as a result of which, I had different maddening problems with ground wind direction and speed, gps data, even heading data, on the DSM-250. The superb Maretron tech support people steered me to the solution -- first of all, instance numbers, as above. Second, don't rely on network source selection commands (why not? but that's the way it is) -- Display Setting > Advanced Configuration > Primary Device Selection, et voila -- you put in the instance number of the data source you want the DSM-250 to use.


Big kudos to Maretron tech support -- every time I've used them, always gotten a fast response from a smart person.

As to Navico -- the last time I got the most incredibly stupid person, it made me want to toss my system and switch to Fururno, or something. This time, I got a really response, smart person, who quickly sorted me out with problems I've had for two years. He answered my initial query on a Sunday (!), and responded to follow up questions in nearly real time -- great service.


So I'm very happy that it seems I've made a great leap forward with my network. Hate to say that the problems seem to mostly to have been caused by not-ready-for-prime-time software in Navico equipment. But better late than never, eh?
I would be interested to know what version of the 4G RADAR firmware you had/have now ? The latest published version is "Version 4.1.57 Release Date 20th December 2012". I have a Lowrance 4G.

Cheers,
JM.
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Old 02-02-2015, 19:26   #5
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Re: Navico Network Problems -- What I Have Learned

Have you found any other online sources of helpful info about the Zeus and Triton stuff. I've found the manuals to be mostly not helpful if you have issues. I'm slowly putting together a system and I would really love to have better reference material than what I currently have.

I'm not usually one to call tech support but if that's the best option then I'll work towards that.
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Old 02-02-2015, 20:04   #6
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Re: Navico Network Problems -- What I Have Learned

Quote:
Originally Posted by NahanniV View Post
I would be interested to know what version of the 4G RADAR firmware you had/have now ? The latest published version is "Version 4.1.57 Release Date 20th December 2012". I have a Lowrance 4G.

Cheers,
JM.
Yes, 4.1.57 is the latest radar firmware.

But beware that you also need the updated "radar interface software", RadarInterface_upd_v140.luf for my unit -- don't know about yours. That was the bit which gave me problems.
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Old 03-02-2015, 04:40   #7
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Re: Navico Network Problems -- What I Have Learned

I also have a good contact at Navico. When I call, I ask for him. He even helped me during his vacation. Emailed him and he answered the same day.
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Old 03-02-2015, 08:21   #8
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Re: Navico Network Problems -- What I Have Learned

Out of shear curiosity who are your good contacts at Navico tech support?
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Old 03-02-2015, 14:52   #9
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Re: Navico Network Problems -- What I Have Learned

I was going to get the RC25 rate compass anyway for MARPA and overlay, is it worth getting the GS25 in addition then instead of relying on the NSS8s internal GPS?
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Old 03-02-2015, 15:08   #10
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Re: Navico Network Problems -- What I Have Learned

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I was going to get the RC25 rate compass anyway for MARPA and overlay, is it worth getting the GS25 in addition then instead of relying on the NSS8s internal GPS?
No! Not even Navico suggest using the GS25 for network heading data!

In my opinion, the only sub-$1000 heading sensors worth having are the Furuno one (forget the model; and made by Airmar AFAIK), and the Airmar H2183, and even these are not really good enough for really good MARPA and radar overlay. Good heading data is a key challenge for good electronic navigation -- don't skimp here. On top of everything else, the quality of your autopilot function also depends on it.
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Old 03-02-2015, 15:31   #11
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Re: Navico Network Problems -- What I Have Learned

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No! Not even Navico suggest using the GS25 for network heading data!

In my opinion, the only sub-$1000 heading sensors worth having are the Furuno one (forget the model; and made by Airmar AFAIK), and the Airmar H2183, and even these are not really good enough for really good MARPA and radar overlay. Good heading data is a key challenge for good electronic navigation -- don't skimp here. On top of everything else, the quality of your autopilot function also depends on it.
I think you misunderstood - I am 100% getting the RC25 rate compass (or maybe that airmar one), but was wondering if it was worth getting the GS25 in addition - would it bring anything new to the table that the RC25/NSS8 internal GPS wouldn't cover?
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Old 03-02-2015, 16:00   #12
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Re: Navico Network Problems -- What I Have Learned

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I think you misunderstood - I am 100% getting the RC25 rate compass (or maybe that airmar one), but was wondering if it was worth getting the GS25 in addition - would it bring anything new to the table that the RC25/NSS8 internal GPS wouldn't cover?
My apologies!!!

Yes, I did this exact thing myself. The GS25 is light years ahead of the rudimentary GPS receiver, built into the NSS (or Zeus Touch). I am very pleased with mine! It receives GLONASS and Galileo as well as GPS, and has all of the differential systems. And it only costs $200. Go for it!
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Old 04-02-2015, 03:54   #13
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Re: Navico Network Problems -- What I Have Learned

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The third problem I had was that my GoFree module would no way work together with my radar. If I had the GoFree hooked up, the radar would not even connect. Result -- I left that valuable piece of kit disconnected for a whole year.

Solution: the same software update. The previous radar software is just some kind of a disaster. With the new software, the problem disappeared, and now I am pulling data onto my IPlod into INavX, which makes INavX (which I don't like all that much) just SO much more useful, with all my instrument data on it, and even AIS!
Can you expand more on the problem and the resolution? By "the GoFree" do you mean the wifi-1 module? and when you say that when it was hooked up the radar wouldn't connect, do you mean over the wireless (e.g. to the navico radar plugin in OpenCPN) or to your wired MFDs?
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Old 04-02-2015, 05:46   #14
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Re: Navico Network Problems -- What I Have Learned

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yeti View Post
Have you found any other online sources of helpful info about the Zeus and Triton stuff. I've found the manuals to be mostly not helpful if you have issues. I'm slowly putting together a system and I would really love to have better reference material than what I currently have.

I'm not usually one to call tech support but if that's the best option then I'll work towards that.
I agree, especially the Triton. You would think that they would at least put into the manual all of the screens and functionality -- they don't.

I suggest you ask on CF; there are a fair number of users of this equipment and I'm sure all of us will be glad to answer your questions.
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Old 04-02-2015, 05:48   #15
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Re: Navico Network Problems -- What I Have Learned

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Can you expand more on the problem and the resolution? By "the GoFree" do you mean the wifi-1 module? and when you say that when it was hooked up the radar wouldn't connect, do you mean over the wireless (e.g. to the navico radar plugin in OpenCPN) or to your wired MFDs?
Yes, I meant the WIFI-1 module -- sorry.

The problem was that with the WIFI module connected, the radar dropped off the network, so that the MFD's would report "No Radar".

The updated radar control software solved it.
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