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Old 27-06-2016, 06:41   #1
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Route Transfers to Navico (Simrad, Zeus, etc.) Plotters from O

This year I have had great success doing passage planning on O, saving the routes in GPX, and transferring those by thumb drive to my main nav system. I'm lucky that the Zeus at my nav table is the early non-touch screen one which has a regular USB port in the front panel.

This has turned out to be extremely useful, because sailing in the Baltic with millions of islands and torturous fairways, a day's passage may need dozens of waypoints. It saves a bloody huge amount of labor.

BUT -- it would be even better if I could transfer the routes over the network and skip the thumb drive.

Has anyone had any success in doing this with Navico plotters?

I am presently connecting the ship's computer running O with the nav system via wifi and GoFree. This gives me almost all the network data including AIS. I'm not sure however whether GoFree can be made to transfer data in the other direction.

If not, I could connect using an Actisense NGW, or maybe just an 0183 to USB adapter (since the Zeus has an 0183 port). I'm pretty sure both of these methods will do two-way comms.

But I don't want to go to the trouble, if the Zeus will fundamentally not accept routes using the "Transfer to GPS" command in OpenCPN.

Anyone have any real experience?
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Old 27-06-2016, 07:38   #2
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Re: Route Transfers to Navico (Simrad, Zeus, etc.) Plotters from O

Dockhead,

I looked into this last fall in my similar setup, only I use Coastal Explorer instead of Open CPN. The folks at Rose Point that produce Coastal Explorer had the following to saw about transferring routes:

"28-Oct-2015 Rose Point Staff Member brad
It's not possible to send a route from a PC to an MFD using NMEA 2000. Most MFD's use proprietary protocols to send data over WiFi so it is unlikely that that connection would work. If you can connect the PC to an NMEA 0183 port on the MFD, then it might work (depending on whether or not the the MFD supports the standard WPL and RTE sentences)."

There was then some discussion of workarounds including the new Signal K protocol, to which Rose Point responded:

"28-Oct-2015 Rose Point Staff Member brad
Signal K can only relay sensor information. It has no provision for transferring routes to an MFD or even an autopilot. In that regard it is still behind both NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183. In fact, Signal K does not add any capabilities beyond what is already possible with either NMEA protocol; it only makes it easier for some types of developers to access some of the information that is provided by devices connected to a Signal K gateway.

In fact, a new protocol cannot solve the problem of transferring routes. The problem isn't that the standards don't support it, the problem is that the MFD manufacturers don't support ANY of the existing standards.

The only solution to this problem is for customers to demand that the MFD manufacturers make it possible to exchange routes with other systems. (And to stop buying them until they do.)

Route exchange is something that ActiveCaptain has proposed a solution for, and Coastal Explorer supports this in the "next user interface" mode. Hopefully at least some of the MFD manufacturers will also support it or something like it."

So if you find a solution please let me know! I an in the same boat you are (pun intended) with respect to transferring routes.
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Old 28-06-2016, 23:04   #3
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Re: Route Transfers to Navico (Simrad, Zeus, etc.) Plotters from O

My main use of OpenCPN is for passage planning. The route is then transferred to a Garmin MFD via NMEA 0183. The OBabel plugin I wrote uses GPSBabel in the background to carry out this transfer.

At the moment the Obabel plugin is Windows only. Very close to developing a Linux version.

GPSBabel development is ongoing. If you can get GPSBabel transferring a GPX to your MFD then it should be possible to use the Obabel plugin, which means you don't need to leave O.

Mike
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Old 29-06-2016, 00:49   #4
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Re: Route Transfers to Navico (Simrad, Zeus, etc.) Plotters from O

So far, the best way I have found is to copy the files to an Sd card or USB thumb drive on the pc and move the card to the MFD. There is currently no way over the NMEA2000 network according to Navico here in NZ. :-(
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Old 29-06-2016, 01:03   #5
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Re: Route Transfers to Navico (Simrad, Zeus, etc.) Plotters from O

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neptune's Gear View Post
So far, the best way I have found is to copy the files to an Sd card or USB thumb drive on the pc and move the card to the MFD. There is currently no way over the NMEA2000 network according to Navico here in NZ. :-(
Clearly you can't transfer ANY routes to ANY plotter from OpenCPN over N2K, as OpenCPN doesn't speak N2K in any form. So far OpenCPN only speaks 0183.

It will be interesting to see whether SignalK helps in any way.
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Old 29-06-2016, 01:10   #6
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Re: Route Transfers to Navico (Simrad, Zeus, etc.) Plotters from O

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Originally Posted by Rasbats View Post
My main use of OpenCPN is for passage planning. The route is then transferred to a Garmin MFD via NMEA 0183. The OBabel plugin I wrote uses GPSBabel in the background to carry out this transfer.

At the moment the Obabel plugin is Windows only. Very close to developing a Linux version.

GPSBabel development is ongoing. If you can get GPSBabel transferring a GPX to your MFD then it should be possible to use the Obabel plugin, which means you don't need to leave O.

Mike
That looks very cool! Any plans to work on getting it to work with Navico plotters?

I'll download it and have a play with it; thanks.
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Old 29-06-2016, 01:19   #7
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Re: Route Transfers to Navico (Simrad, Zeus, etc.) Plotters from O

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Clearly you can't transfer ANY routes to ANY plotter from OpenCPN over N2K, as OpenCPN doesn't speak N2K in any form. So far OpenCPN only speaks 0183.

It will be interesting to see whether SignalK helps in any way.
Right, of course.
I did not word that very well! Let me try again.

Navico MFDs cannot receive the routes over N2K, from any non Navico device. Navico would not tell me how theirs works, but I guess it is a propriety method.
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Old 29-06-2016, 01:36   #8
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Re: Route Transfers to Navico (Simrad, Zeus, etc.) Plotters from O

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Originally Posted by Neptune's Gear View Post
Right, of course.
I did not word that very well! Let me try again.

Navico MFDs cannot receive the routes over N2K, from any non Navico device. Navico would not tell me how theirs works, but I guess it is a propriety method.

Between Navico devices, routes are sent over Ethernet, as far as I know.

There are check boxes in the Zeus' "Network" menu for "Receive Waypoints", in both the 0183 section and the N2K section. So I guess it must be possible to get waypoints, but nothing is said about routes.
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Old 29-06-2016, 02:45   #9
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Re: Route Transfers to Navico (Simrad, Zeus, etc.) Plotters from O

Zeus Touch does not have a USB but it does have a micro sd card, so that could be used with an SD reader on the PC. Alternatively the nmea0183 wires in the video cable could be used to connect to the PC. Has anyone tried it?
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Old 29-06-2016, 02:51   #10
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Re: Route Transfers to Navico (Simrad, Zeus, etc.) Plotters from O

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Originally Posted by rgleason View Post
Zeus Touch does not have a USB but it does have a micro sd card, so that could be used with an SD reader on the PC. Alternatively the nmea0183 wires in the video cable could be used to connect to the PC. Has anyone tried it?
Yes, as I wrote, I have been using a thumb drive and the front USB port on my non-touch Zeus to transfer GPX routes. The same thing could be done with a Zeus Touch using a micro SD card.

However, the question is whether it can't be done over the network, which would save quite a bit of fiddling. You can set the Zeus to "Receive Waypoints" over 0183. My attempts to do this last year failed, but later I realized that my adapter was not connected to the 0183 listener port. Then the adapter failed.

I would very much like to know whether anyone has been able to send routes as well as waypoints using the "Receive Waypoints" facility in Navico plotters, before I invest in another 0183 adapter, which brings us full circle back to the original question.
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Old 29-06-2016, 02:51   #11
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Re: Route Transfers to Navico (Simrad, Zeus, etc.) Plotters from O

I'm going to be trying transfers from PC opencpn to Seatalk Link from gadgetpoole.de to Seatalk1 port via windows Obabel_pi by Mike Rasbats
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Old 30-06-2016, 01:20   #12
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Re: Route Transfers to Navico (Simrad, Zeus, etc.) Plotters from O

Pretty sure this is not going to fly, using Obabel straight out of the packet.
At the moment the plugin will probably only talk to a Garmin MFD.

Rick,
Perhaps you could make some tests with GPSBabel. If you can get a transfer to your MFD with this program then record the script and I can make an option for that type of MFD, in Obabel. Obabel, as it stands, may give you some ideas about the wording of the script needed for GPSBabel.

If anyone else is using GPSBabel for this sort of waypoint/route transfer perhaps they can post scripts that they have used on this thread.

Mike
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Old 30-06-2016, 01:37   #13
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Re: Route Transfers to Navico (Simrad, Zeus, etc.) Plotters from O

About a year ago, I spent a bit of time on this. IIRC the situation was a rescue vessel, with a PC, producing search grids - routes in GPX format. How to get them to the Navico Nav systems?
PC has an actisense NGW-1 NMEA 0183 to NMEA2000 gateway, ethernet, and serial for NMEA0183 direct if required.
The end result was, with consultation with Navico, that there was no way to do it, other than "sneakernet" ie - copy to SD card, walk over, insert into Plotter slot.
Their SHOULD be a way to do this, but it appears not. Would only take a software update to make it possible - so please make your feelings known to Navico.
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Old 30-06-2016, 02:48   #14
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Re: Route Transfers to Navico (Simrad, Zeus, etc.) Plotters from O

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neptune's Gear View Post
About a year ago, I spent a bit of time on this. IIRC the situation was a rescue vessel, with a PC, producing search grids - routes in GPX format. How to get them to the Navico Nav systems?
PC has an actisense NGW-1 NMEA 0183 to NMEA2000 gateway, ethernet, and serial for NMEA0183 direct if required.
The end result was, with consultation with Navico, that there was no way to do it, other than "sneakernet" ie - copy to SD card, walk over, insert into Plotter slot.
Their SHOULD be a way to do this, but it appears not. Would only take a software update to make it possible - so please make your feelings known to Navico.
OK, thanks for that. That is a data point. Seems to indicate that even if the plotter can accept waypoints via the network, it can't accept routes. Bummer.
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Old 30-06-2016, 03:06   #15
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Re: Route Transfers to Navico (Simrad, Zeus, etc.) Plotters from O

I have managed to send waypoints over the network from OpenCPN to Zeus2 chart plotter. At present I haven't found a way to send routes.
All achieved using the "Send to GPS" menu option and enabling "receive waypoints" on the Zeus. I have created my own gateway device which I connect to via bluetooth that does the hard work.
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