I have been away and have just seen your query re connecting a laptop.
I used a laptop on my trip up north last year and did quite a lot of research
I have used 2 types of connection in the process.
1: It can be connected serially to the Furuno server located behind the fridge. I did this as an initial trial by fitting a serial
connecter (wired to the Dsub9 serial port on the server) and power point on the big flat area above the fridge. You could route
this back to the Nav station with a bit of effort.
2: What I used on the trip: The boat is prewired with an NMEA
output that goes back to the Navstation. This is then connected to an NMEA
multiplexor (Brookhouse) which is connected to the Laptop via USB. Bluetooth is available in some models but I prefer a physical connection in this case.
There is one big advantage with using the multiplexor and that is that it facilitates connection of an AIS
transponder. These often need baud rate conversion as they operate at 51K Baud normally vs 4800 for NMEA.
I fitted a Comar transponder which worked well in this configuration. It is integrated with the Nav SW rather than have a seperate AIS monitor
I highly recommend use of an AIS transponder, it helped us safely avoid crossing traffic in the busy areas of Gladstone, Brisbane
The downside is that the way I have it set up I can't feed commands back to the autopilot. This is just a question of getting down to fixing it as I did it all in a hurry before we left and the autopilot was not a priority at that time.
As you are in Sydney
I can show you how my setup works if you are in the Bayview area.
I should probably do a detailed wiring
diagram for my maintenance
Has anyone managed to get an overall detailed wiring
diagram for the boat from FP? I asked the agents and got a very basic and useless diagram. It could have saved me a number of false starts in my modifications and would help any troubleshooting when things inevitably go wrong.