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Old 29-02-2012, 08:17   #1
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Navico BR24 Radar - Open Source protocol implementation

Some of you might be familiar with the Roboat project. Here are a couple of Austrian guys building an autonomous sailboat, and deciding that they need a good radar input for their navigational algorithms.

What to do? Well, reverse-engineering the protocol for Navico's Ethernet-connected BR24 "broadband radar" seems like a good start.

The communications protocol as well as the method they used to discover it is described in their excellent paper, and they have written a reference implementation in Java.

Roboat: Radar
OpenBR24 | Free software downloads at SourceForge.net

I immediately knew that I had to get this implemented as an overlay in OpenCPN. Then remembered that my C/C++ skills are a tad rusty...
I'm going to start playing around with this, but I don't expect to get anywhere fast, owing to the previously stated and a general lack of time. I suspect that I'm not the only one interested in these things, so if anyone else needs a(nother) pet project, you might as well get crackin'!

I'm planning to purchase a Navico radar soon (sold under Simrad, Lowrance, and a few other brands), to experiment with. The Roboat guys used the 1st generation "BR24", since then the "3G" and "4G" models have seen the light of day. Still trying to decide whether to gamble on a 4G and hope that the protocol has not changed radically/been ruined with some data protection scheme.

The openbr24 SourceForge project contains a good-sized collection of sample data captured from a radar in operation (pcap dumps) - don't even need to dig in the pockets before hacking away on that plug-in...!

I'm excited! Are you?
In my world, Open Source marine radar is one of the most critical puzzle pieces needed to bring the same revolution to marine electronics that Open Source has brought to mainstream computing.
And the neanderthal marine electronics industry could definitely do with some innovation and change.
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Old 29-02-2012, 15:34   #2
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Re: Navico BR24 Radar - Open Source protocol implementation

Really exciting. I really hope this will succeed.

/J
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Old 29-02-2012, 16:04   #3
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Re: Navico BR24 Radar - Open Source protocol implementation

So if I understand this correctly, this software will allow us to use the BR24 radar antenna with our own computers instead of a dedicated radar display correct? And your project will allow us to overlay the radar image onto an OpenCPN chart? That's more than exciting, that's outstanding news!
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Old 29-02-2012, 16:35   #4
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Re: Navico BR24 Radar - Open Source protocol implementation

That is correctly understood, and I sure agree. This is outstanding news. Let us just not celebrate too soon - the darn thing still has to be implemented before it can be used, and I am probably going to need a lot of time and the support of other OpenCPN developers, if I am to be the one to do it.
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:48   #5
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Re: Navico BR24 Radar - Open Source protocol implementation

This is good news if it can be made to work. I was seriously thinking of buying the Simrad 4G radar but baulked at the price of an NSE12 display which would only be used for radar. To have it combined with OpenCPN would be fantastic. Good luck!

Just out of interest, the 4G radar will only work with the latest generation of Simrad's MFDs and not the older NX types which will only show 3G. Is there a clue there?

Cheers,

Mike
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Old 01-03-2012, 13:23   #6
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Re: Navico BR24 Radar - Open Source protocol implementation

My interest is also in 3G
Good luck
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Old 01-03-2012, 17:33   #7
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Re: Navico BR24 Radar - Open Source protocol implementation

I think we all agree that a radar plug-in for OpenCPN should eventually support as many scanners as possible, including Navico "3G", "4G", Koden and Furuno's Ethernet radars, and so on.

When/if development of a radar plug-in has started, one of the virtues of the Ethernet-based radars is that it is simple for someone owning a particular unit to perform a traffic dump during operation, so that a developer not himself sitting on the hardware can still analyze the protocol and work on implementing a driver.
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Old 02-03-2012, 10:18   #8
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Re: Navico BR24 Radar - Open Source protocol implementation

More exiting news........

Dave will be back in wifi range within about a week to ten days time, with a newly developed "Prototype Radar Overlay PlugIn for Garmin TCP/IP Radar, reverse engineered from scratch."

Thomas
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Old 02-03-2012, 10:23   #9
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Re: Navico BR24 Radar - Open Source protocol implementation

Fantastic!
It should be easy for Dave to also implement the already reverse-engineered Navico protocol as well, then.

Joel
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Old 02-03-2012, 19:10   #10
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Re: Navico BR24 Radar - Open Source protocol implementation

This is really great news cannot wait for the results!!!
Tristan
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Old 18-04-2012, 09:09   #11
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Re: Navico BR24 Radar - Open Source protocol implementation

Any progress with this project (not pushing-just asking)?
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Old 18-04-2012, 09:44   #12
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Re: Navico BR24 Radar - Open Source protocol implementation

I was planning to buy a Navico radar during a visit to the US, but the trip has been postponed indefinitely. The price of these things here in Europe doesn't make me all warm and fuzzy about forking out on one right now...

Since sample data is included in the OpenBR24 project, though, it would be possible to start hacking away on a plugin. It's on my to-do list, but it probably won't be done until I have the hardware.

I currently have two 80's Furuno radars on my boat (one open 4', one radome) - I've looked into designing a "blackbox" interface for these, this is also something that's on my to-do list but won't be done in the near future.

Does anyone on the forums already own a Navico radar? It'd be good for whoever starts working on a plugin to have people who can test it.
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Old 18-04-2012, 10:31   #13
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Re: Navico BR24 Radar - Open Source protocol implementation

Hi
Dave is actively working on implementing Garmin's radome as an radar-overlay plug-in in OpenCPN.
He is collecting money to be able to acquire a radome, and we are quite a few that have chucked in a few $$ towards it...

OpenCPN | Official OpenCPN Homepage

The thread discussing it is here:
OpenCPN Radar Overlay PlugIn

Please contribute!

It would be interesting to know how much work it would be to adopt the module for other brands of radars in the future.

/Jonas
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Old 18-04-2012, 10:38   #14
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Re: Navico BR24 Radar - Open Source protocol implementation

I think the first step should be to get Dave/bdbcat a Garmin radar, so can finish the Garmin Radar Overlay Plugin.

Hopefully much of the code is then re-usable for the BR24.

To help, donate some dough to purchase the hardware Dave needs, we are at 58% at time of writing:

OpenCPN | Official OpenCPN Homepage



Dirk

Edit: Damn, Jonas was faster
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Old 20-04-2012, 13:50   #15
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Re: Navico BR24 Radar - Open Source protocol implementation

I was hoping things would go in this direction. I just set up with Open CPN and have purchased a 3g lowrance radar antenna.
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