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Old 14-09-2015, 04:57   #1
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AIS TRANSPONDER WILL NOT SPEAK WITH OPENCPN

Hello all,
I'm new here and I hope I'm at the right place/ forum.
We bought recently a AIS transponder for our ship because it is mandatory for ships longer than 20 meters since the beginning of the year in the Netherlands.
The transponder is successfully installed and working well, everybody can see us.
The problem is that we can't see them!!
I bought an oceansat AIS transponder and a external cable with an usb plug.
Open CPN is running on a windows laptop, I put the com-port on 38400 baud as told in the instruction manual
The usb plug gives red and green let lights for sending and receiving but I can't see it in openCPN.
Probably I have to do something in the program (openCPN) but I don't know what and how.
I hope there is someone out there who can help me.
We are on holiday with our ship at the moment so it can take some time before I respond, we have to find a place with wifi.
Already thanks, Esther
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Old 14-09-2015, 05:56   #2
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Re: AIS TRANSPONDER WILL NOT SPEAK WITH OPENCPN

Scheepskat....

First, read OCPN wiki about installing a GPS in Windows. The procedures for port finding and troubleshooting methods are the same apart from baud rate 38400 as you mentioned.
See: Setting Up GPS | Official OpenCPN Homepage
As mentioned there Windows must also recognize the serial/USB connection, otherwise the port will show up in Windows device manager as a "unknown (red cross)" connection and you must get the driver for the unit.
Also check your AIS if you have to check any option to really send to the serial(USB) port.
If you think all this is ok you should be able to see what's coming into OCPN in the NMEA debug window you can find in the connections tab. There you should see what's coming in via the serial port you use for the AIS. If you're unsure take a screenshot and publish it here.

Good luck/Håkan
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Old 14-09-2015, 06:46   #3
bcn
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Re: AIS TRANSPONDER WILL NOT SPEAK WITH OPENCPN

And be sure that just ONE program is using the connection at a time.
If you have still the set-up or configuration program open OCPN will not be able to connect to the COM port.

You might need to power cycle the AIS - that depends on how good/bad/ugly the USB driver for the serial/COM converter is...
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Old 14-09-2015, 08:07   #4
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Re: AIS TRANSPONDER WILL NOT SPEAK WITH OPENCPN

Is the cable provided by AIS manufacturer in the package?

Basically, this is what you want to know to get a working installation:

A) is the AIS out signal rs232 (3 cable, RX, TX, GND) or rs422 (4 cable, TX+, TX-, RX+, RX-)?

B) or is the AIS signal already USB standard?

- if A, then you want serial to usb converter cable that matches the rs standard (many off the shelf cables are rs232 standard only),

- if B, then you want just a plain USB cable,

Make connections, plug into a PC and go into "device manager" (I assume you are on Windows).

In device manager make sure the USB cable / device has been connected and recognized correctly (not under USB but under serial COM ports).

If not, install / reinstall the USB/serial driver. Make sure Windows can see the cable (often displayed by chipset name: ftdi, prolific and belkin seem most common),

Then go into Open CPN and configure data input (COM port)

Then ask OpenCPN to display NMEA data window. You will see data flowing in this window.

I hope this helps somewhat. In fact it is a very simple process that at times gets a bit messy because of various serial data standards or at the point where some USB to serial chips/drivers are not correctly installed by Windows.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 15-09-2015, 05:59   #5
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Re: AIS TRANSPONDER WILL NOT SPEAK WITH OPENCPN

Thank you so much for you're replies!!
When we come on board later, I have work to do.
But with all your explanations I might not be a problem anymore.
I will let you know when it is working properly.
Thanks again Esther
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Old 18-09-2015, 15:39   #6
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Re: AIS TRANSPONDER WILL NOT SPEAK WITH OPENCPN

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scheepskat View Post
Hello all,
I'm new here and I hope I'm at the right place/ forum.
We bought recently a AIS transponder for our ship because it is mandatory for ships longer than 20 meters since the beginning of the year in the Netherlands.
The transponder is successfully installed and working well, everybody can see us.
The problem is that we can't see them!!
I bought an oceansat AIS transponder and a external cable with an usb plug.
Open CPN is running on a windows laptop, I put the com-port on 38400 baud as told in the instruction manual
The usb plug gives red and green let lights for sending and receiving but I can't see it in openCPN.
Probably I have to do something in the program (openCPN) but I don't know what and how.
I hope there is someone out there who can help me.
We are on holiday with our ship at the moment so it can take some time before I respond, we have to find a place with wifi.
Already thanks, Esther
Beste Scheepskat,

do you have the A or the B AIS Oceansat transponder ?

If it is a B transponder then is it the same as a lot of other trademarks. These are all based on a AIS board from SRT in the UK. Only the enclosure is different.

You can use the usb connection. But then there is a small risk of damage to the transponder. Better is to use the NMEA high speed serial port. You only have to put a serial-usb convertor in the line and connect the usb to your computer.

If you encouter still problems. I have made a bootable USB stick with Debian 8.2, OpenCPN 4.1.909 and with the detailed ENC maps of the Delta area. You can try this as you like.

Groeten uit Zeeland,


Bram
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Old 19-09-2015, 03:54   #7
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Re: AIS TRANSPONDER WILL NOT SPEAK WITH OPENCPN

Thanks all!!
It is working!!
I managed, with all your advices, to open the comport in openCPN, that was the problem.
Haha, on the last days of our holiday we will be able to see the other ships on the computer!
Thanks so much!!
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