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Old 08-08-2015, 19:32   #1
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OpenCPN for Dummies

Is there an easy to follow instruction or manual for someone starting from scratch?

I am extremely interested in using this program and linking it to my Raymarine ST6002 and a radar that has yet to be aqquired on my end.

What would an ideal setup be?
What are good components that are user friendly?
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Old 08-08-2015, 20:56   #2
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re: OpenCPN for Dummies

Yes there is a manual. It is found on opencpn.org. Also there is a shorter manual often included in the install. I would suggest installing v4.0 to start.
What OS? There is windows, many variates of linux, and osx. Android is in the works and is looking better every day but not ready for a new user.
Getting charts is often a problem. Download the Chartdownloader and use it to get some charts for learning.

Then just start using it and then attach a gps. Pretty soon you'll have it on your boat.
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Old 08-08-2015, 21:16   #3
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[B]OpenCPN for Dummies[/B]

My current laptop is Windows 8 but I'm not afraid to get a new machine dedicated to this. I just purchased a 35' Beneteau and the previous owner had an old Dell Win 98 machine that he used but the machine is pretty ragged out and falling apart. I can't remember which program he used or if he had anything linked together. I would really like to have a setup where I could network the laptop with my iPad or iPhone wirelessly and be able to use one of the mobile devices at the helm and leave the laptop at the Nav Station.
Like I mentioned earlier, the only component I have for sure so far is the Raymarine ST6002 Autopilot. And a handheld GPS unit he had connected to his laptop.


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Old 09-08-2015, 02:57   #4
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re: OpenCPN for Dummies

Whar instruments? If any.
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Old 09-08-2015, 03:07   #5
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re: OpenCPN for Dummies

I did a little vid of opencpn for an electronics presentation the other day. You might be interested.
Here is the link
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Old 09-08-2015, 03:25   #6
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re: OpenCPN for Dummies

There is no hardware manual really, to build a complete computer setup as we all have different situations, environts etc. I currently use Surface pro 3 128gb with usb hub and connect Globalstar bu-353 s4 usb gps and a dAISy usb ais and a gadgetpoole tiny seatalk nmea bridge via rs232 to usb converter and connected to a seatalk 1 port for instrument data. I am working on that last connection now. Next year I hope to get a new radar connected. I also connect a holux bluetooth 240slim gps.
Others are using many diff configs. I hope to have instruments, ais and gps via bt or wifi eventually. I have SP3 on a 1 1/2" ball mount arm clamped to a dodger pipe underneath the dodger. I can see it from the helm and it is protected from most water and the display is shaded. It is not perfect but it works for right now. It is much better than garmin handheld colorado 1.5" screen, not to mention the charts are current to.

Others will help and suggest but you need to find your own way and make some hardware decisions by reading and asking. There are many alternatives and you may have preferences. I would go with linux if i were building a small marine computer, but i am a win guy. Others really like mac and that now has most of the plugins working due to recent efforts of pavel, peter and gerhard. So you asked a good question about hardware but there is no set formula with instructions (yet). There is an effort to get opengl running on raspberry pi 2 and there are other risk computer installations in various stages, all making progress and many being used for nav. Pick your poison.
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Old 09-08-2015, 07:04   #7
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re: OpenCPN for Dummies

I guess my main question would be better worded as "What are the minimal requirements of each device to be able to link them into the OpenCPN configuration?"
I have been window shopping and the question that continues to hit me is can this device be linked into the system without an MIT degree?


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Old 09-08-2015, 15:57   #8
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Re: OpenCPN for Dummies

OpenCPN is not for everyone. If you want a turnkey system, buy a plotter and associated instruments, and have them professionally installed.
However, opencpn is not difficult for someone who is computer literate.


Hardware - OpenCPN will "connect" to anything that can produce an NMEA0183 sentence, or NMEA2000 with the use of a converter (Actisense, Simrad AT10 etc). Your computer may need additional serial ports, which can be added singly, or as a multi port device. Radars currently compatible are Garmins HD's and Navico (Lowrance/Simrad/B&G) broadband models (BR24,3G and 4G).


So that means that OpenCPN will connect to most instruments, Autopilots, some Radars etc. You have to check the books for your intended products to make sure that they can speak some form of NMEA (Except the radars - only those listed above), and then get the appropriate converters, if required.


Good luck
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Old 09-08-2015, 16:52   #9
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Re: OpenCPN for Dummies

I'm fairly literate when it comes to the computer and you pretty much answered my question. I know an autopilot will not just plug into a pc and install the drivers and be ready to use. Same for the rest of the devices. I was really seeking the answer of what is needed between the pc and the devices for them to link together.
What types of connectors, cables, routers, converters, etc.
I got a bid for a standalone system and installation that came back at $7400.00. There is no way I can swing that right now. I have ability to do things myself but I don't have the money they are asking for a decent setup. 300 for a new helm guard and another 500+ for a plastic box to put it in just don't appeal to me right now.
I am doing everything I possibly can myself and with the help of friends and volunteers.


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Old 09-08-2015, 21:08   #10
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Re: OpenCPN for Dummies

No Problem, I hope it was helpful, - supposed to be! :-)


NMEA0183 can go direct to a serial port, but most Laptops don't have those any more, so a USB converter is needed - like this Black RS232 RS 232 Serial to USB 2 0 PL2303 Cable Adapter Converter for PC New | eBay
or a multi port one like this http://www.amazon.com/B-Electronics-.../dp/B000JU7J6E
If your device has NMEA2000, then the Actisense NMEA2000-USB adapter is suitable.
Also you may consider a Vesper Marine AIS - like the XB8000 - which has NMEA0183,NMEA2000, wifi and USB built in, with some multiplexing capabilities, AND WIFI for your Mobile connections.
Many boats have multiple connections - I have 4 NMEA0183 connections to the PC. For NMEA0183 remember that one "talker" can have 3 "Listeners". It can take some thinking to get the system sorted, so the connections make the best use of sharing the data, as some devices can combine received info (multiplexing) into single output...
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Old 10-08-2015, 10:17   #11
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Re: OpenCPN for Dummies

Quote:
What types of connectors, cables, routers, converters, etc.
I got a bid for a standalone system and installation that came back at $7400.00. There is no way I can swing that right now. I have ability to do things myself but I don't have the money they are asking for a decent setup. 300 for a new helm guard and another 500+ for a plastic box to put it in just don't appeal to me right now.
I am doing everything I possibly can myself and with the help of friends and volunteers.
So you can do it! Just get started.
There are several examples. Look at Rhythm Dr 's excellent docs on his setup. Does not have to be via Bluetooth, can be done with USB.

1. USB Hub.
2. USB Globalstar BU-353 S4 GPS
3. USB dAISy AIS Reciever and antenna
4. USB gadgetpoole.com Tiny Seatalk Link Nmea if you have Seatalk Instruments. Or just a USB to Serial converter as Matt showed above.

Then work on the Radar, and maybe getting it all wireless. Start simple with just the GPS.

Surface Pro 3 Use / Setup
Win 8.1 Surface Pro3 GPS
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Old 10-08-2015, 12:27   #12
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Re: OpenCPN for Dummies

just an idea, but try the search function...ie: put in the hardware you are lusting for and search the OpenCPN forum. It's true that the older the hardware and OS the better the results will be, but similar doofunnies as to manufacturer and model will point out peculiarities to watch out for.
Oh and of course "OS". These get worse the newer they are, excepting maybe linux.
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Old 10-08-2015, 13:53   #13
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Re: OpenCPN for Dummies

One more thing I will throw in here..

You won't be able to "control" the autopilot from OpenCPN over NMEA0183. You will only be able to send it waypoints and grab some data from it (i.e fluxgate compass). So you will be able to sail to waypoints on a route, but not +1, +10, -1, -10 from OpenCPN. You will want to interface the autopilot at the actual autopilot computer (SmartPilot mounted below) and not at the back of the ST6002 display.

As to Radar, my understanding is OpenCPN works very well with the Garmin brand of radars. Garmin has a radar bundle (radar and display) for under 2K (when on sale).
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Old 10-08-2015, 15:37   #14
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Re: OpenCPN for Dummies

I don't mind using older devices. They'll be a little cheaper. Lol.
I'm just not crazy about using this old WinXP that's about to fall apart.
Currently it has Nobeltech, Maxsea, and ChartVeiw Pro.


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Old 10-08-2015, 15:54   #15
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Re: OpenCPN for Dummies

I'm not sure how he did it but there is no way to connect to a wifi connection but it will connect to Bluetooth I think.


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