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Old 13-08-2020, 04:30   #1
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Question electronics compatibility question

Hi everyone,
I'm trying to understand how I can plug my different electronics together.

I have a Raymarine St6002 underdeck autopilot
an old Garmin 492 chartplotter but looking at a very good deal on a used 4208
an old NX2 Nexus windmeter.

What I want to do is to be able to use the autopilot on a gps heading (instead of magnetic bearing) or on a fixed wind angle (as a wind vane). Can I do it or I need to have all Raymarine?
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Old 13-08-2020, 05:36   #2
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Re: electronics compatibility question

I have recently been looking at a similar issue (go with B&G or Raymarine chartplotter to interface with a Raymarine ST7001 controller, / S3 Smartpilot autopilot). Have decided with sticking with all Raymarine. In theory you should be able to interface a different autopilot. However I believe it will be a lot simpler and easier going with the one brand.

Also your Raymarine autopilot is fairly old. I believe you will need to purchase the Raymarine ST1 to STNG Converter Kit to convert seatalk1 to nmea 2000 plus Backbone cables to link to existing pilot.

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Old 13-08-2020, 05:39   #3
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Re: electronics compatibility question

You don't need to be all one brand in order to get everything talking. But sometimes it takes a little fiddling. I have a Simrad autopilot and a Garmin chartplotter and they work quite well together, even following preprogrammed routes. Granted my chartplotter is a little newer than yours...

There is something called NMEA networks. They generally come in two flavors, 0183 and the newer 2000. Your systems may be pre-NMEA 2000 so it's possible your only choice will be NMEA 0183. That involves connecting pairs of wires to the right terminals on each device and then configuring the devices' setup screens to listen to the other device. The manual for each of your units should have all the details on which terminals to connect and how to set them up to see each other after the connection.
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Old 13-08-2020, 08:37   #4
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Re: electronics compatibility question

I have a Garmin GPSMap 4208. The manual gives the impression that it can only link with Garmin autopilots. This is not so.
My autopilot is a 5yr old Raymarine P70/ST400, and it can take a heading from the 4208.
Also, the 4208takes inputs from my 10 yr old speed, depth & wind sailing instruments - all ST60 - and displays them
Just one thing: Raymarine uses proprietary, different configured NMEA200 plugs/connections - even between different generations of Raymarine kit.
AFAIK, Raymarine has a history of 3 versions of NMEA2000 connectors
To get Raymarine to "talk" to other brands or generations will require converter connectors. For example, the ST60 instruments need a converter to talk to the P70
BUT, once you have the right connectors, they communicate seamlessly.
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Old 13-08-2020, 09:12   #5
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Re: electronics compatibility question

If you have a ST6002 control head you probably have an S3 or S3G autopilot. The S3 will take nmea sentences from a gps.

However the S3 handles cross track errors very poorly. It will zig-zag trying to zero out cross track error. I tried it with mine. I prefer to just manually correct. It is part of watch keeping.

Can't comment on wind control - never went that route.
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Old 13-08-2020, 11:06   #6
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Re: electronics compatibility question

Thanks all!
I'm happy to learn I can make it work. I will figure the details with the manuals. I don't think I will use these features very often, but my idea was to have a backup to the fluxgate magnetic sensor. I have read a few stories about autopilots failing to work because this part was out of order. I figure I could use the gps feature in that case?

It happened to me twice that my autopilot stopped working and I got a "no data" message. I reset it and it worked imediately, but maybe it is a sign that it will fail at some point.
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Old 17-08-2020, 08:18   #7
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Re: electronics compatibility question

I have a below deck Raymarine autopilot and the rest of my nav electronics are all Garmin. You can make it all work, but there are some traps to be aware of. For one thing, unless you have a Raymarine chartplotter you will never be able to upgrade the firmware on your autopilot. And I had a nasty issue with a ground loop that resulted in quite a bit of current running through my bonding system due to the RF drain wire on the autopilot being connected to the STNG negative. It was a case where following the installation instructions precisely resulted in a situation that could have been a disaster had I not been in the habit of regularly monitoring my bonding system. Manufacturers can't test every combination of equipment, so when you mix and match you have to take on this responsibility.
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