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Old 22-07-2016, 14:07   #1
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NMEA 2000 Network Components

I am in the process of assembling a new set of sailing instruments using B&G Vulcan 7 as the main display unit being fed from transducers for wind speed/direction, water speed/depth/temp and GPS/compass, plus a VHF radio with AIS receiver built in. I have the main parts now but have not yet purchased the NMEA 2000 network components. My question to this forum is whether or not there are differences in either performance or quality of said components between the various manufacturers. I am happy enough to stick to Navico brands, but see that Mareton offer the complete line and look very nice. Any advice or tips will be greatly appreciated.

Fair Winds
Bob
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Old 22-07-2016, 15:42   #2
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Re: NMEA 2000 Network Components

From experience Ray and Vesper can have minor issues. Other people I spoke to say the same thing NMEA 2000 SHOULD allow multiple manufacturers to work together. But reality is different.

You need to get into bed with one firm. When I upgrade my plotter and log--- it will be Ray to match the AP.


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Old 22-07-2016, 16:48   #3
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Re: NMEA 2000 Network Components

I built my NMEA 2000 network with Maretron hardware. There are, however, a few Navico drop cables in the system. They came with the various Triton displays. Where I didn't have a supplied drop cable, I made my own using Maretron field installed Micro C components. My backbone, Power T, connectors, cabling, and Micro Ts are all Maretron, as is my WSO100 wind/etc. sensor.
I like the ability to make the cable runs a specific length. I have also cut the various transducer cables to length and use Maretron field installed connectors to help make a tidy installation.
No complaints, at all, about any of the Maretron stuff. Customer support is first rate, too. And their N2K builder program (free!) is absolutely first rate and easy to use. It allows you to design a properly balanced network. After a short learning curve, you will be amazed at the ease with which you can design, and optimize, a complete boat network with (or without) as many bells and whistles as you want. It's awesome.
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Old 22-07-2016, 17:04   #4
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Re: NMEA 2000 Network Components

I helped build a major size SimNet to N2K net and we had plenty of problem getting e.g. SimNet wind signal onto the network. Later we discovered it was not possible in the configuration we had. Simrad 'technicians' were good for nothing, providing us with plenty of misleading information.

My advice: pre-study the elements you want then collect all the details you can from other people who have the same elements onboard, only then start building. You may save money NOT buying components suggested by brand names only to find later that you need to buy more of their components ...

b.
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Old 22-07-2016, 22:26   #5
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Re: NMEA 2000 Network Components

I recently refit our entire electronics system from Furuno / NMEA 0183 to B&G / N2K. My instruments are mostly B&G, AIS is Vesper Marine, Primary GPS is B&G, Heading is Maretron, Fwd Depth/Speed/Temp and aft Depth are Airmar, tank level sensors are Maretron and Offshore Systems, and numerous monitoring instruments are Maretron. So I definitely have a mixed vendor system. My entire backbone and all branch cables are Maretron, the quality is superior to anything else I found.

N2K is sensitive to everything being in spec with respect to resistances and in our original setup we were experiencing weird intermittent issues with some of the N2K instruments. Working with Maretron's tech support, I ended up testing every cable and connector and found two non-Maretron multi-port terminals that had high resistance (bad interior connections?) that were causing problems. We replaced and expanded with all Maretron gear for the network and everything has been working perfectly.

Another plus, Maretron cable ends have metal threads, most others don't and in my experience the plastic threads are really easy to cross thread or strip.

Happy to answer any other questions you might have...
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Old 23-07-2016, 08:11   #6
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Re: NMEA 2000 Network Components

Many thanks, guys. Your advice has given me greater awareness of the complexities of the N2K system, so I shall proceed cautiously. Thanks, Bill, for introducing me to the Marathon Builder. That looks like the perfect tool to get things set up properly from the beginning. I feel now that Marathon is the way to go for the network components. I'll also look into doing the custom setup to keep things neat and less cluttered as Bill has done. I'll just have to practice wire stripping and soldering some more. I used to build Heathkit radios and stuff, so should be able to pick it up again. Wish me luck!
Cheers to all.
Bob
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Old 23-07-2016, 10:10   #7
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Re: NMEA 2000 Network Components

check out Actisense they are all over my boat... no problems at all at a fraction of the cost.
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Old 23-07-2016, 10:25   #8
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Re: NMEA 2000 Network Components

Did not know about Antisense. Interesting. Many thanks.
Bob
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Old 23-07-2016, 11:14   #9
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Re: NMEA 2000 Network Components

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobmcd625 View Post
I am in the process of assembling a new set of sailing instruments using B&G Vulcan 7 as the main display unit being fed from transducers for wind speed/direction, water speed/depth/temp and GPS/compass, plus a VHF radio with AIS receiver built in. ...Any advice or tips will be greatly appreciated.

Fair Winds
Bob
Hi Bob,

I faced a similar issue when I upgraded all of the electronics on Surprise from pre-N2K stuff to networked stuff. While I don't have exactly what you have on your boat, I bet we overlap about 50%. I went with the standard Navico kit, for no particular reason other than it came with a lot of my B&G and Navico and Simrad components, and I figured what the hell. However, to my immense dismay, the guys at NMEA neglected to specify which way the keyway was molded into the T connectors, so the Garmin and Navico T fittings turn out to be 45 degrees out of phase with one another. C'mon, you guys, you couldn't agree to put everything in the same plane?

I mentioned this to Steve at NMEA at a boat show, and he basically just shrugged his shoulders.

Why does this matter? It matters because the T connectors are intended to be screwed to a surface, and if they don't lie in a plane, they cannot be screwed flat.

I don't know who is right and wrong, although I have great respect for Navico and Garmin, but jimminy crickets, pick one and go with it.

Cheers,

Chuck
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Old 23-07-2016, 11:58   #10
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Re: NMEA 2000 Network Components

We have a mix of Garmin and Simrad. Simrad is the primary display, Garmin is the network, transducers and secondary displays. I much prefer the configurability of the Garmin GMI-20s to any other I've seen. Our wind transducer is NEXUS (Bought by Garmin) and is proprietary to a converter box that converts it to NMEA2K. I wish Garmin would get rid of the proprietary protocols, but .... The DCS in our Standard Horizon VHF is connected via a NMEA 0183 connection, which required a special cable from Simrad.
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Old 23-07-2016, 14:44   #11
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Re: NMEA 2000 Network Components

The Maretron components are better quality than the Garmin


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Old 23-07-2016, 17:26   #12
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Re: NMEA 2000 Network Components

look at the Actasence QNB-1 better than T connectors when you have a bunch of N2K in a local area.. I'm using one at nav station where I have 2 GMI 10's, ais 600, fusion radio, auto pilot , and Open Cpn . Works flawless...
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Old 23-07-2016, 17:36   #13
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Re: NMEA 2000 Network Components

the lorance and garmin cables are good. (note the Tee's can't be mismatched in the same row) I avoid maretron cables and tee's like the plague because they are all metal. and the tees don't have mounting holes. the metal cables strip the connectors on the back of displays and units. the maritron cables are only good if you are connecting to maritron products which are both metal.

the maritron feild ends are good if you have to cut backbones though. only choice.
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Old 23-07-2016, 17:38   #14
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Re: NMEA 2000 Network Components

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Hawley View Post

I don't know who is right and wrong, although I have great respect for Navico and Garmin, but jimminy crickets, pick one and go with it.

Cheers,

Chuck
it's likely on purpose so you have to buy all their stuff.

same reason raymarine uses seatalkNG and simrad used to use simnet. all the same stuff just different connectors so you had to buy theirs.
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Old 24-07-2016, 11:31   #15
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Re: NMEA 2000 Network Components

Thanks to all who have contributed. Great wisdom shown through real experience, which I lack. I am still learning. The Maretron Builder tool is a great way to lay things out and think them through. In general I agree to stick to one brand and for me that is Navico. But Maretron field run cables make a lot of sence for the backbone at least. Most of my drops will be rather short so ready made cables should make life easier. Still your contributions have opened my eyes?
Fair winds
Bob
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