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Old 31-08-2015, 06:19   #16
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Re: OpenCPN and Electronics Configuration

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Originally Posted by rgleason View Post
This discussion is changing my nmea 0183 -centric concept of how to wire stuff. At this point all we have is simple slow nmea 0183 and Seatalk original. I have purchased a gadgetpoole seatalk- nmea link converter and will eventually want broadband radar, ais and seatalk instruments all connected, preferably with most of this on wifi. Mux are expensive. What config do you suggest would be best? I've been hoping that Standard Horizon will come out with a new VHF + AIS transponder + GPS which would simplify things in small boats. This should have nmea2000 and 0183 and usb port for pc.
At some point, it really does start to make sense to just EBay the old stuff and go to all N2K.

N2K is not a panacea and has problems of its own, but it is SO much easier to connect and use and is SO much more powerful.

A simple N2K network is not expensive. Even if you want to use OCPN as your primary plotter, why not buy a single 7" Zeus to use as a dedicated radar screen at least?

I would consider something like this:

7" Zeus (about $900) at the helm (or buy a used first generation Zeus or Simrad NSS7 for peanuts)
OCPN and PC at the nav table
Some black box AIS
Actisense NGW-USB to connect the PC to the N2K network.
4G radar
Maretron ultrasonic WSO100 wind.
Two (or three) B&G Tritons to display wind, speed, depth, GPS & nav data, etc., etc., etc.
GoFree module to WiFi everything to whatever tablet devices you want to use.
Use the excellent cheap Simrad GPS/Glonass receiver or just use the internal GPS in the Zeus.


You can easily use existing speed and depth with an inexpensive box from Actisense, which converts the data to N2K, or EBay your existing senders and buy new ones.

I'm not sure about your pilot -- you might be able to feed it with 0183 from the 0183 talker port on the Zeus.

This system would have huge, huge advantages:

1. You have a real daylight visible, marinized, rugged, waterproof display at the helm, and using it you have a real radar screen with all radar functions available and not just a radar overlay. Highly recommended, as radar overlay is a fairly small part of what makes radar useful; e.g. radar guard zones.

2. GoFree gives you all possible network data over wifi, including AIS.

3. It's all N2K except possibly your pilot so extremely simple to wire up.

4. Modern multifunction instruments like the Triton (or comparable Garmin or Ray) are extremely useful -- depending on the situation you can display instrument data in many, many different useful ways. Once you see one of these, you will never want to go back to the old single-function instruments.

5. With one Zeus on the network, you can use a tablet (IPad or Android) and GoFree to fully control the Zeus including radar from anywhere on the boat.

6. All this ideally complemented by OpenCPN at the nav table.

7. Your old gear will still have considerable value on EBay; I sold my RL80CRC+ ancient steam-powered MFD for almost the same money as an 8" Zeus costs new nowadays. The ST60's also fetched good money.
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Old 31-08-2015, 07:42   #17
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Re: OpenCPN and Electronics Configuration

So you think I should consider selling the ST60 Tridata-Depth/Temp/Speed and ST60 Wind ? and replace them with N2K instruments?

I have an old Autohelm Wheel Autopilot ST4000 which I repaired the control head several years ago after it started leaking. It still works. Have had motor apart too.
It is Seatalk too.

I think I am going to run out of money on this and will have to do it incrementally.
I was hoping not to buy a Multifunction, but what you say makes sense.

Maybe Defender will have a sale.
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Old 31-08-2015, 08:05   #18
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Re: OpenCPN and Electronics Configuration

Thanks Dockhead, the list gets me thinking about an ultimate configuration.
Right now we are using a MS Surface Pro 3 with a 3 port hub and USB BU-453-S4 GPS and the Gadgetpoole Seatalk-nmea 0183 link converter for my Seatalk instruments and Wheel pilot, with the open questions being the Radar, AIS, and wifi. I am a little nervous about using the MS SurfacePro3 under the dodger in really bad weather.
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Old 31-08-2015, 08:20   #19
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Re: OpenCPN and Electronics Configuration

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Navico make the radar, which is why they might help him.

But if you have tested radar overlay in OCPN without heading supplied to the radar itself, then you have superior knowledge (actual observations versus speculation ), and this is really useful, and he won't need Navico tech support.

Concerning MARPA -- yes, in my experience, it's nearly useless, so no big loss if his system is configured without it.
Yes I too am running the Lowrance/Simrad 3G radar with heading provided by an old Raymarine E85001 (seatalk/NMEA) interface to OpenCPN not to the radar. It works perfectly.

I chose not to bother with MARPA on the 4G unit as this is almost obsolete now AIS is so common.

FWIW I have the following all interfaced together (by wires).

RM ST5000 AP (with flux gate compass and rudder reference)
E85001 Seatalk Interface
Garmin 128 GPS
RM ST60 wind
RM ST60 depth
Yeoman "Paper Chart" plotter
ICS Plus Navtex/NMEA repeater
Digital Yacht AIS transponder (with own GPS)
Vesper AIS display
Standard Horizon DSC VHF
12volt PC with 2 RS232 ports 4800 and 34800
Pipo Android Tablet (Splashtop App)

You can input waypoints via OpenCPN, Yeoman or using GPS directly. The AP will acquire and sail to a WP. Both radar and AIS overlays work fine. All info is available and controlled by mouse and keyboard on the main display or using the Android tablet using Splashtop. The wifi interface to the tablet is a bit slow and can get very clunky with lots of AIS targets.
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Old 31-08-2015, 09:27   #20
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Re: OpenCPN and Electronics Configuration

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgleason View Post
Thanks Dockhead, the list gets me thinking about an ultimate configuration.
Right now we are using a MS Surface Pro 3 with a 3 port hub and USB BU-453-S4 GPS and the Gadgetpoole Seatalk-nmea 0183 link converter for my Seatalk instruments and Wheel pilot, with the open questions being the Radar, AIS, and wifi. I am a little nervous about using the MS SurfacePro3 under the dodger in really bad weather.
Different people have different opinions about this, but I cannot imagine why anyone would prefer an Ipad or tablet to a real marine, rugged, waterproof, daylight viewable MFD at the helm. Cost is no excuse since you can get the 7" ones for less than a grand. On top of that, there are some functions which simply cannot be done so far from a tablet -- namely, full control of a radar set (other than the special Furuno wifi radar).

The tablet and PC (running OCPN) are great for everything else, but when you're at the helm (or under the dodger) in a storm with horizontal rain and zero visibility and really need to see the radar, and/or how to get through a gap in the rocks on the chart, consumer electronics is not what you need.
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Old 31-08-2015, 10:19   #21
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Re: OpenCPN and Electronics Configuration

Waterthight, shockproof and 100% marine For Sale: 15,6' Multi-Function waterthight plotter - USD 1,590
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Old 31-08-2015, 12:09   #22
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Re: OpenCPN and Electronics Configuration

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgleason View Post
So you think I should consider selling the ST60 Tridata-Depth/Temp/Speed and ST60 Wind ? and replace them with N2K instruments?

I have an old Autohelm Wheel Autopilot ST4000 which I repaired the control head several years ago after it started leaking. It still works. Have had motor apart too.
It is Seatalk too.

I think I am going to run out of money on this and will have to do it incrementally.
I was hoping not to buy a Multifunction, but what you say makes sense.

Maybe Defender will have a sale.
Defender may do a "fitting out discount", and also this stuff could be bought used on Fleabay.

If I were you, I would sell the ST60 stuff while there is still demand for it. It's good stuff, but the multifunction displays are a huge leap forward, and ultrasonic wind is far more accurate and stable.

The Triton displays (which are not the only ones; Garmin and Ray also make nice ones) have a huge variety of useful screens which you will really like. The wind display gives you True and Apparent speed and angle in one screen, with the angle in digital as well as analogue form -- it's the t*ts. No need for close hauled wind now.

Speed and Depth on one highly visible screen.

Depth with graphic display of history for when you're negotiating skinny water.

Wind history for 60 minutes showing how speed and direction trends of the True Wind are developing -- invaluable for sailing.

True Wind speed and compass direction, temp and barometer.

GPS with all the data you used to get from a traditional hand held GPS, including distance to waypoint, ETA, bearing to waypoint, SOG, COG, etc.

An excellent compass screen.

Autopilot control (no need for separate pilot head, but works only with Simrad pilots).


Incidentally, a Zeus MFD is also not only a plotter, not only a radar screen, but also has a variety of screens for different kinds of instrument data, wind trends, etc. So if you are navigating with OCPN, there are still tons of things it will do for you.


I'm not particularly advocating Navico gear; it's just you were talking about the Navico 4G radar. I have had problems with bugginess of this gear. A simpler network than mine should be better, but Furuno, Ray, etc., might also be worth a look. But I think the Navico integration with WiFi is probably the state of the art at the moment, so might be the right choice for you in any case.


You CAN do it gradually. If you get a single stream of data from your ST60's, the Zeus can accept it via its 0183 listener port (you might have to convert from Seatalk to 0183, but no need for anything else, and no need for any MUX). You can even use a Triton or two with the data which comes out your ST60 instruments.


So you could start with the radar and Zeus (there are often cheap package deals on this), heading sensor, and GPS, and gradually replace the pilot and other instruments, if finances demand. Or you could just brace yourself and do it at once, offsetting the cost with selling your old gear. Install it all yourself to save money (as I did) -- N2K is very easy and no need for professional help.
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