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
- 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.