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Old 14-08-2011, 15:23   #1
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VSPE to Connect AIS and NMEA Bus to One Serial PC Port

I've been lucky enough (skill is just not in the equation) to get OpenCPN to interface with my Ship's NMEA bus AND AIS Engine. Its a thing of beauty to behold.
I'm also able to direct a plotted route to the Autopilot.
Perfect.
Issue:
I'd like only one data cable to the helm for weather and cable routing reasons.
The current config. has the AIS connected to my ONE serial port and a Serial-to-USB adapter connecting the NMEA bus to a USB port.
I've downloaded Enteric's VSPE s/w and can't get it to work.
Not even sure which config. to use.
Any help out there on how to configure VSP Emulator so I can Y cable my two serial connectors to a single port on my PC?
Thanks in advance,
Matt Salatino
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Old 14-08-2011, 15:36   #2
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Re: VSPE to Connect AIS and NMEA Bus to One Serial PC Port

Linux or Windows ?
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Old 14-08-2011, 15:39   #3
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Re: VSPE to Connect AIS and NMEA Bus to One Serial PC Port

Sorry,
Windows XP.
I have a second computer I will soon enable that is Windows 7.
The help PC is a waterproof daylight readable tablet with XP.
Thanks for the quick reply.
Matt
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Old 14-08-2011, 15:50   #4
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Re: VSPE to Connect AIS and NMEA Bus to One Serial PC Port

I meant 'helm PC' not 'help PC'
Big fingers small keys
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Old 15-08-2011, 03:17   #5
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Re: VSPE to Connect AIS and NMEA Bus to One Serial PC Port

[QUOTE=Helmsmatt;751061
Not even sure which config. to use.
Any help out there on how to configure VSP Emulator so I can Y cable my two serial connectors to a single port on my PC?
Thanks in advance,
Matt Salatino[/QUOTE]

I'd suggest you use NavMonPC. NavMonPc

Terry
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Old 15-08-2011, 05:08   #6
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Re: VSPE to Connect AIS and NMEA Bus to One Serial PC Port

AIS and NMEA run at different baud rates and so need separate com ports. If you want only a single connection to the pc, you will need to buy a usb hub and then rename the ports using vspe.

Not sure how you will be able to deliver AIS and NMEA information with a single cable to the helm station because they run at different baud rates (38,400 vs 4,800 I think)
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Old 15-08-2011, 05:21   #7
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Re: VSPE to Connect AIS and NMEA Bus to One Serial PC Port

You are correct.
AIS: 38400
NMEA: 4800
So am I resigned to two separate cables?
What about the previous suggestion of navmonpc?
Matt
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Old 15-08-2011, 05:59   #8
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Re: VSPE to Connect AIS and NMEA Bus to One Serial PC Port

Use an NMEA multiplexer. one cable (3 wires, TX RX) to your PC

Bart
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Old 15-08-2011, 07:34   #9
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Re: VSPE to Connect AIS and NMEA Bus to One Serial PC Port

The idea of a USB hub is a good one. Don't run a serial cable to your helm station at all, run a single USB cable. Have a USB hub at the helm where you plug in two serial-to-usb adapters. Let the USB hub multiplex the signals as USB at the data link layer. This will give you the best reliabiltiy without having to resort to software to multiplex. The USB specification allows a cable length of 5m for high-speed devices. The serial-to-usb adapters will be low-speed devices, but the hub will be a high-speed. So 5m from your PC to the USB hub at the helm station, and then 3m from the hub to each serial-to-usb adapter.

I would suggest this will be your most reliable system.
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Old 15-08-2011, 07:40   #10
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Re: VSPE to Connect AIS and NMEA Bus to One Serial PC Port

Thanks for this suggestion.
It sounds like it would work.
I do have a concern that now I'm depending on two USB to serial adapters and a hub. I have the adapters, the good Keyspan ones, and the hub is inexpensive, but I'm hesistant to depend on all the terminations and electronics. Also, the serial connection to the back of the PC is quite robust, but the USB one is just held by minor friction.
At the dock, this is an elegant solution. In a seaway, maybe not so much.
I took a look at the NavmonPC manual on line and it doesn't look too bad and might give me the solution I'm looking for.
Again, thanks, but it doesn't seem like the best solution from a reliability and robustness point of view.
Matt
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Old 15-08-2011, 08:23   #11
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Re: VSPE to Connect AIS and NMEA Bus to One Serial PC Port

Not to belabour the point, but if you do decide to go USB there are positive locking USB solutions for just that sort of thing. Amphenol LUSB and SeaLatch are two that I've seen used - SeaLatch more often (they also have a nice dual-serial-to-usb adaptor with the locking USB). Most laptops have a couple USB ports that are soldered on the mainboard, and a couple more that are connected by wires. Those latter ones are probably good candidates to replace with SeaLatch or hack in Amphenol screw recepticles. I myself would probably hack a SeaLatch screw mount into my laptop.
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Old 15-08-2011, 09:47   #12
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Re: VSPE to Connect AIS and NMEA Bus to One Serial PC Port

Thanks for the robust USB connection info.
I'm reticent to tear into my PC, but I'll save that for a last resort.

OK, I downloaded NavmonPC.
Nice,
I can receive my AIS data on serial port COM1, my only serial port.
I have the AIS serial cable connected to a Y adapter with my NMEA bus on the other end of the Y.
How do I configure the (virtual, I assume) port in NavmonPC s/w to get it to communicate with the NMEA bus?
There are no real directions in the NavmonPC user's guide.
Help!
Thanks in advance,
Matt
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Old 15-08-2011, 12:24   #13
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Re: VSPE to Connect AIS and NMEA Bus to One Serial PC Port

Another option, a serial "hub".

These take 4 serial cables, and output a single USB cable to the PC. I have both AIS and GPS going in, and both come out the single USB port. The PC has some software to install (as do all usb-serial converters), and basically creates 4 COM ports on the PC to use as normal.

USA-49WG - Keyspan High-Speed 4-Port Serial to USB Adapter

Used one for about a year on XP and works fine.

Not necessarily the cheapest option, but provides a pretty clean installation and 4 COM ports is typically plenty.
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