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Old 12-12-2019, 15:32   #1
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Exporting routes from OpenCPN to Chartplotter via NMEA 0183

Hi all,

I am trying to find a way to plan routes on a pc and then send that information to my Standard horizon CPN700i chartplotter. I have spoken to Standard Horizon and they suggest using a program that can output NMEA 0183 WPL sentences and connecting that to the of via a USB to serial converter. Any suggestions for such program and such converter?

Cheers,
Tom
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Old 13-12-2019, 14:25   #2
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Re: Exporting routes from OpenCPN to Chartplotter via NMEA 0183

A number of chartplotting programs, including OpenCPN, will send routes to a GPS device in the NMEA0183 format. You will need a USB to Serial converter, and here is one thing to look for in these: Get one with the feature 'com port retention'. This feature prevents the PC operating system from re-assigning the Com Port, with frustrating results if you don't know to look for that. Other than that just be sure your operating system is supported. The converter works in both directions, so you'll also have GPS input to the PC. You'll need a geek to solder a mating connector (db-9, usually female) to the proper connections on the plotter, and make the correct communications port settings in both the plotter and OCPN. The converter comes with software that must be installed on the pc.
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Old 13-12-2019, 16:30   #3
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Re: Exporting routes from OpenCPN to Chartplotter via NMEA 0183

Thank you for the input! I’ve been playing around with OpenCPN and can’t seem to figure out how to do that, the other issue I am running into is that all the maps that I have been able to download so far don’t show depth contours shallower than 60 or so. Any suggestions for maps of the US east coast / Caribbean that are reliable and would work with OpenCPN ? Ideally free downloads but if not I don’t mind paying for the maps/ or an application like Navionics/ active captain which have community based info if they are capable of outputting NMEA 0183 sentences as well
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Old 13-12-2019, 16:42   #4
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Re: Exporting routes from OpenCPN to Chartplotter via NMEA 0183

I have used this converter with OpenCPN and NMEA 0183 on a Windows 10 machine with good success: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...5R5067ZO&psc=1

Note that is RS422/485 which is a better match for NMEA 0183 than RS232, but either one will work. This one comes with a terminal block adapter, so no need to solder.

For charts, all NOAA charts of the US are available for free, you can download them using the chart downloader in OpenCPN. For the Caribbean it gets a bit more complicated, but once you get some US charts to work with it will be easier to guide you through that process.
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Old 13-12-2019, 21:59   #5
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Re: Exporting routes from OpenCPN to Chartplotter via NMEA 0183

In the OCPN Route Manager, select the route and click 'Send to GPS'. In the next dialog box select the Com Port assigned to the serial converter and click OK. You can also right-click the route on the screen and select 'Send to GPS', but you can't select the Com Port there, if the right one isn't shown use the Route Manager. Subsequently, the selected port should appear in the right-click menu.

If you are using vector charts, check the chart display options if some information appears to be missing.
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Old 14-12-2019, 15:53   #6
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Re: Exporting routes from OpenCPN to Chartplotter via NMEA 0183

Thank you both for the advice that helps a lot! I have downloaded a number of ENC charts from NOAA, those are the ones that I am having trouble seeing shallower depth contours with unfortunately. Also is there a way to see data from communities like Active Captain for example on Open CPN?
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Old 15-12-2019, 09:02   #7
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Re: Exporting routes from OpenCPN to Chartplotter via NMEA 0183

ENCs have a bit of a learning curve. If you don't want to tackle that you can also download RNCs from NOAA. However, there's a lot of power in the ENCs, it's just up to you to decide what gets shown.

[On this PC my install is still 4.8.4 so if you are using 5.0 there may be a few differences, my 5.0 is on the boat and I have reasons to keep 4.8.4 here]

On the Tools:Options dialog (where you go to download charts) you'll see a tab for "vector chart display", this has all the controls for ENCs and how they are displayed. The easiest place to start is probably down at the bottom "CM93 Detail Level". By default this is probably "0", I tend to use "2" or "3". If you have an ENC open, you can select the level here and use the "Apply" button and you'll see the changes behind the dialog in the main window. You can adjust up/down until you like the level of detail. I just grabbed a Chesapeake ENC, at 0 it shows depths > 20m, at 2 it shows down to 10m, etc.

There are way more options you can adjust in here (including turning off soundings altogether), it takes some time to set things up the way you like them. If you look up at the top you'll see a box for "Display Category", which I suspect is defaulted to "base". I tend to use "Mariner's Standard" and then make adjustments.

[Edit] One more thing, if you like seeing contours you'll probably prefer that "Colors" (about midway down the left column of settings" is set to "4 color" mode. I go back and forth, sometimes 4 color is too much clutter for me.

Also, where those contours get drawn depends on your settings for shallow/safety/deep depth in the boxes below that setting[/edit]

Here a some screen shots (CM93=0, CM93=2, Mariner's Standard):

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Old 15-12-2019, 17:34   #8
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Re: Exporting routes from OpenCPN to Chartplotter via NMEA 0183

Cheers that's super helpful! yeah its definitely a bit of a learning curve but lots of info on those charts, very nice!

I think I am ready to play with the Caribbean, any suggestions how to acquire those charts? Bonus points if I can somehow get them onto my chart plotter as well
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