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Old 28-10-2015, 18:32   #1
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NMEA to Wifi

I have a Standard-Horizon GX2100 with AIS which is wired to a Shipmodul Miniplex multiplexor as well as a GPS antenna also wired into the MUX. This is fed into the laptop and used by OpenCPN, which works very well and allows to see AIS targets at a much greater range than looking at the tiny VHF screen.

I want to get the NMEA data displayed on an Android tablet, since there are now quite a few apps designed to read NMEA data over wifi or Bluetooth.

Can I use a USB wifi dongle to transmit the NMEA data, or do I need something more elaborate? I know there is software that will allow me to share the NMEA com port assigned to the MUX with another com port, but can't figure out what goes next.

Thank you,
jimthom
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Old 29-10-2015, 05:15   #2
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Re: NMEA to Wifi

If I understand your question correctly you don't need to share the COM port if you're running OpenCPN. You can set up OpenCPN to redistribute the data it receives to the network. Details are in the OpenCPN data connections info, or ask back here if you get stumped.

To connect the laptop to a tablet using a wireless dongle and no external access point, you have two choices: Set up an "ad hoc" connection between the laptop and the tablet, or set your laptop up to be a wireless access point. Windows not being my weapon of choice, someone else would have to provide the details (assuming you use windows). The former is in some ways simpler to do but clunkier to operate. The latter requires that the dongle you buy supports doing it (not all do) but when it's up and running you may find it simpler to use.

A far simpler solution is to buy a cheap, low powered travel router/access point which you use to connect the laptop to and the tablet to.

Or ebay your multiplexer and replace it with the wireless version of the same thing.
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Old 29-10-2015, 05:50   #3
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Re: NMEA to Wifi

Yes. You can.

You want an operating system on the laptop that will act in AP mode. (Older Windows do not).

1. Create a soft hotspot on the laptop.
2. Connect your tablet or phone to this AP.
3. Note / look up the IP.
4. Set up the laptop (you want NavMon, OpenCPN or similar software for this) to collect data from COM ports and forward the data to IP address.
5. On the Android set up your software to receive data from the a/m IP.

NOTE: not all tablet Apps are capable of correctly receiving network data. Some Apps are dedicated ONLY to specific hardware (often the case with Simrad, Vesper, DigitalYacht, etc.)

Full functionality with OpenCPN, Virtual Regatta, and other Apps cast at broad public.

It is not a very elegant way as when you put the laptop to sleep you lose the wifi network. Wiring your data via a wifi router is the solution then.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 29-10-2015, 05:59   #4
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Re: NMEA to Wifi

Quote:
Originally Posted by muttnik View Post

Set up an "ad hoc" connection between the laptop and the tablet, or set your laptop up to be a wireless access point. Windows not being my weapon of choice, someone else would have to provide the details (assuming you use windows). The former is in some ways simpler to do but clunkier to operate. The latter requires that the dongle you buy supports doing it (not all do) but when it's up and running you may find it simpler to use.
Yes. But there are some warnings here:

1) Many ANDROID tablets do not repeat do not connect to ad hoc infrastructure.

2) It is NOT in the dongle, it is a Windows glitch. Use newer windows (8.0 is fine, e.g., I think 7 too).

WORKAROUND: for android tablets: create hotspot ON THE TABLET now connect your laptop to this hotspot. Then you can have whatever system on the laptop.

Off course dongles only required when your laptop has no onboard wifi card, which could actually make it obsolete pretty soon.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 01-11-2015, 18:07   #5
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Re: NMEA to Wifi

Thanks everyone. I posted a similar query in OpenCPN forum and Hakan responded with a definite process for configuring OpenCPN.

It took 5 minutes to configure, I didn't need any additional hardware and I'm seeing the AIS targets on Android app Seawi! Up to 35n.m. range. Way cool.

I don't know how to link to Haken's reply but you can see it on the OpenCPN forum under NMEA to USB.

Cheers Jim
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