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Old 22-12-2013, 11:54   #406
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I have a 3G Simrad radar and have used the plugin from Dave with very good results .

You can find his plugin in this thread.
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Old 22-12-2013, 22:27   #407
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Re: OpenCPN Radar Overlay PlugIn

Thanks to Dave Cowell, I have the 3G dll and it appears in OpenCpn. I'm headed down to get a Lowrance 3G radar, but there's a few questions before I start. I have 30 days to get it to work or return it, so I'd like to understand a little more.

First, I assume that the ethernet setup is the same as for a Garmin radar, as shown earlier. Is this true?

Next, how do I initialize a new set? Clearly there is a software setup for initializing the radar, such as adjusting the bearing heading, setting the height , etc. Can I enter this page from OpenCpn? Is there a separate program for this?

For those of you who have installed and set up a 3G radar, how close was it to plug and play? Fastm, how did it go for you?

Thanks, Boris
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Old 23-12-2013, 03:47   #408
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Hello Boris, I try answering your questions.
- the ethenet setup is specific but depends on the scanner version (US has a direct standard connector, while EU has an adaptor in the middle - RI10 if I remember well - that allow simnet integration and transform the ethernet to proprietary connectors) Following the directions in the scanner install manual should help or search on the web.
- I did the setup with the NSS7, so I don't know if it's possible with the plugin. Not mandatory in my opinion.
I had to cut the wire and install a std connector to use a switch to connect to both the NSS7 and the pc. More than this only the calibration of the radar distancies on the plugin by comparing with the chart overlay.

Peaceful Christmas to all
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Old 23-12-2013, 07:44   #409
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Re: OpenCPN Radar Overlay PlugIn

Boris,

In the US, the Lowrance scanner connects directly to the charplotter. Elsewhere, it connects to a radar interface, and that is where you connect your computer (or network switch).

In either case, heading, if you want to have the radar overlay the chart, only works if you have a NMEA 2000 heading sensor that the radar can "See". This needs to be on the NMEA network, and at least with the Simrad scanner, you put the radar interface on the same network, and then the scanner can use the heading information. I am not sure how the US Lowrance scanner can get that information.

Since the B&G and Simrad scanners ALL have the interface included, my suggestion would be to buy one of those, unless somebody knows a trick I am unaware of?

Chris
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Old 23-12-2013, 22:19   #410
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Re: OpenCPN Radar Overlay PlugIn

After spending lots of time and many pages of this forum, we finally achieved success....but on an old "get home" PC.
In case we can't get Cindy's PC working, what is the minimum hardware configuration we need to run gradar on a windows machine? My concerns are with the graphics card as we have several PCS that won't run OpenGL...
Thanks in advance.
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Old 24-12-2013, 07:41   #411
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Re: OpenCPN Radar Overlay PlugIn

Matt...

We need a minimal implementation of OpenGL, say Version 1.4.
In my experience, if a graphics card does OpenGL at all, it will support at least v1.4.

Other specs are nominally the same as OpenCPN base version. More CPU performance and RAM is a good thing, of course.

Still thinking about Cindy's super-duper machine. I want to find some other multicast program and prove that it works in her setup. Have not had enough time to research yet.

Any ideas?

Merry Christmas
Dave
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Old 24-12-2013, 09:53   #412
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Re: OpenCPN Radar Overlay PlugIn

Hi Dave,
Merry Christmas back at you.
My question , I guess is related to the graphics capability of the machine, I'm guessing. I want to make sure I get a Laptop capable of running OpenGL, or based on the almost nothing I know about it, equipped with it?
How can I tell a PC has the graphics capability to work for OCPN gradar?
That said, I'm looking through the discount sites, newegg, tiger direct, techforless, etc th pick up a suitable PC for under $300.
As for Cindy's PC, I'm stumped. I'm sure there is a switch somewhere that once flipped, will start working.
Reminds me of when I got a near lightning hit, taking out my PACTOR modem. Sent it to the dealer for repair. Replacement part, $8.00. Knowing which part to replace, $180.00 (priceless)...
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Old 24-12-2013, 10:02   #413
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Re: OpenCPN Radar Overlay PlugIn

Matt...
The vast majority of machines you may get now have the Intel HD Graphics adapter integrated in the chipset. It generally works well. Unless you have the bad luck and hit a combination of the chip edition and drivers that has problems. To make it worse, some vendors put a lot of effort in not letting you install the official drivers from Intel to replace the obsolete version they ship with the machine. The easiest is to try before you buy, if you have a chance.

Pavel
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Old 24-12-2013, 10:05   #414
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Re: OpenCPN Radar Overlay PlugIn

Matt
I have a antique computer also, but it has been such a good one,and dedicated, i could not let it go with out trying.
So after i installed the latest updated Opencpn program and Gradar I found that i had to add a graphics card to make the chart program work faster, i found an old Nvidia GE force 6200 video card in a comptuer store that would fit my computer, It speeded things up considerably, also added extra stick of Ram, it works fine now.
I run Windows XP, Version 2002, service pack 3, pentium 4cpu, 3.20 Ghz,
1 gig of ram.

I know its an old school computer system, but i have put an average of 1800 hrs a year for the past 10 years with the Nav program going at all times, i had nobletec till 4 years ago before i converted to Open Cpn.

Any way thats what works for me, I find the simpler the better, for Navigation, less confilicts.

I also have a Acer 9 inch for back up, with latest Opencpn + Gradar, havent pluged the Radar in yet but will soon.

I have also hooked up a Heading sensor for better stabilization, and am slowly getting that dialed in.

Good Luck
Jim
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Old 24-12-2013, 11:38   #415
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Re: OpenCPN Radar Overlay PlugIn

Thanks Pavel and Jim.
Just to explain my graphics neurosis, we are somewhat computer-rich.
Cindy's i7 Asus, my Panasonic toughbook H2 daylight readable tablet, my backup Dell inspiron, circa 2006, and two retired Police car Tracer Datalux MIL 810F hardened daylight readable tablets.
Cindy runs Win7, the rest run XP. While trying to get Cindy's PC running, we tried installing gradar on one Tracer and the toughbook. As soon as I enabled OpenGL, the charts disappeared.
I'm not overly worried, as we are running TeamViewer, to slave the cockpit PCs (the two Datalux Tracers) off the PC at the nav table via wifi. this requires only a power hookup to the cockpit PCs and all the hardwired connections only to the nav station PC. Teamview allows control from any slave of the s/w running on the master.
So do you think I might be able to get OpenGL working on the toughbook with a driver update? That would be great. Where do I start?
Matt
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Old 24-12-2013, 11:47   #416
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Re: OpenCPN Radar Overlay PlugIn

might start here:

Panasonic Rugged Laptops - Official Panasonic Toughbook Rugged Computers

i run the VDL02 daylight-viewable touchscreens on both my nav computers and find drivers here for them. powerhogs but wonderful. (also from old police cars)
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Old 24-12-2013, 14:28   #417
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Re: OpenCPN Radar Overlay PlugIn

I'm pretty lucky. The Datalux is a complete PC, runs on 12 volts and usues about 25 0r 30 watts, about the same as a chart plotter
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Old 25-12-2013, 04:09   #418
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Re: OpenCPN Radar Overlay PlugIn

Boris and Chris:

You can use the 3g/4g Lowrance/Simrad radar without an interface box (RL10) and without a heading sensor. (But see limitations below).

To install one you basically just need to connect the wire from the radar to (a) power and (b) an ethernet jack. The wire from the radar has a standard RJ45 plug on it so it's much easier to NOT use the provided RL10 interface box which requires you to do some wire splicing (because the network wire out from the RL10 box has a proprietary connector on the end that you would need to cut off).

If you do not want to use a Simrad/Lowrance MFD and just want to use Opencpn (ie the cheapest and simplest solution) then you do this:

Provide 12v positive through a switch and a fuse to the red and yellow wires. Provide 12v negative to the black wire. Ignore the bare wire (screen).

Plug the ethernet plug either into a laptop directly or a hub (better). (The short power wires are inconvenient so you will probably want/need to entend them or extend the ethernet jack (by making, for example, a wire with a female RJ45 socket on one end and a male RJ45 plug on the other end).

If you plug into a hub it will probably just all work. The 4g radome uses multicasting so your laptop will "subscribe" to the multicast and receive the radar packets. You will not need to configure your laptop at all. However, note: (a) some linux boxes seem to have permission issues with multicasting (two of mine do). If you can't see any radar image, try running opencpn as root - this is only for linux of course. (b) multicasting only works over the wire not wirelessly - you need to be physically connected to the hub/radome. If you need a wireless radar screen you might consider vnc to a wired box (c) DISABLE your firewall while you play with this - mine wreaks havoc on the multicast signal.

The issue of the NMEA2000 heading is a bit confusing. You do NOT need this in the above setup. The reason why you you do need to inject a NMEA 2000 10k heading signal into the RL10 interface box if you are using a Simrad MFD is because the radome itself does all the heading calculations for chart overlay (ie the radome has the intelligence not the MFD). Also the radome must have the heading signal to do MARPA. We can't do MARPA in OpenCPN and OpenCPN does the heading corrections itself so in this simple setup the NMEA 2000 heading signal isn't needed. All you need is the data feed from the radome.

Limitations: this all works really well with some clear limitations.

(1) Heading: OpenCPN takes the radar signal and lays it onto the top of the chart. To do this it has to know which way the boat is pointing. It can take that information from the GPS COG sentence and if the boat is trotting along it works well. Once the boat slows down the COG jumps all over the place and so does the radar signal. If you are anchored the radar is essentially useless unless you have a heading sentence that you provide to OpenCPN in which case OpenCPN will use the heading sentence instead and things work. So...although you don't need to provide the radome with a heading sentence you really do need to provide OpenCPN with one - ie you need some kind of electronic compass. (A separate thread might well want to consider the cheapest way to do this - my solution is python + 1 arduino uno + a $20 compass from Pololu Robotics and Electronics). In general, COG filtering/smoothing becomes an issue.

(2) As the plugin clearly warns, it is alpha software. It is not stable. When I use it OpenCPN will frequently crash, especially when changing ranges. No doubt this will improve. This is not a criticism of the developers who have done a magnificent job - it is just a factor of the maturity of the code.

(3) The radome clearly has more capabilities than we can access with the plugin (eg MARPA, dual ranges, sharpening and filtering capabilities). You give up something without a Simrad/B&G/Lowrance MFD. I don't have one to compare so I can't say how much better the image would be with a MFD doing the tuning etc.

(4) The plugin controls are very limited. You cannot do much in the way of tuning the radar. The sea clutter/rain clutter controls/gain controls are currently clumsy - again this will probably change. (I wish I had the skills to change them and I hate to sound negative about the voluntary work for which I am so grateful). There also appears to be a conceptual error in the code (I haven't bug reported this yet because I'm not certain it's not my peculiar laptops): the range correction allows you to set a factor so you can line up the distance of an object that the radar reports with the distance on your screen ... but ... the 4g appears to need two correcting factors not one: one for ranges over 2NM and one for closer ranges. Eg on my machine the former is about 1.7 and the latter about 1.3. We have been calibrating using AIS targets so we can be quite precise about the differences. Maybe it's different on the 3g.

(5) We've been testing the radar's capabilities on simulated night approaches and it's been very enlightening. We have a person below reading the screen and calling instructions to a helmsman and a person above corroborating or correcting those instructions. So far we have been able to enter some tricky anchorages in simulated total darkness with a fair probability of surviving the experience. (We're not ready to try this in real darkness!) One "feature" of the radar can be disconcerting. There can be a target close to the boat that clearly shows at wider ranges (say 4NM) and vanishes from the screen at short ranges (say a fraction of NM). If you are approaching the target it is disconcerting to have it vanish. And this appears to be a software issue not a hardware issue because it will reappear when you switch out to a wider range. Of course, it is most probably the radome's software and nothing to do with the plugin because the plugin doesn't filter the data.

Overall it has been wonderful to have the radar image laid on top of the chart instead of on a conventional heads-up display.

HTH. It took weeks to work this out so maybe somebody else can save some time.

Pete
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Old 26-12-2013, 17:19   #419
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Re: OpenCPN Radar Overlay PlugIn

Pete/GHammond, et all:

The mechanics of wiring up and physically installing the 3G radar I understand. What I'm looking for and don't see is how to initialize the radome software. In the JRC radar I'm using, I have to use an initialization setup which tells the radar when it's pointing along the boat longitudinal axis, among other things.

You may be telling me this, and I don't understand it. So, let me restate the questions. After I bolt the radome to the arch and plug in the ethernet cable to the computer, how do I tell software (either in opencpn or the radome,) when the boat longitudinal axis (radar reference axis) and the heading are the same, and if need be adjust it? Is this necessary?

Is all I need to do is connect the radar ethernet connection via the RJ-45 plug, establish an ethernet interface and Opencpn does the rest automatically? And a 4G radar sets up the ethernet interface automatically?

Thanks for all help and please note, I need it.

Boris
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Old 27-12-2013, 01:49   #420
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Re: OpenCPN Radar Overlay PlugIn

Boris, the basic setup you asked for is in the plugin. Very simple!

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