I just dipped my toe into the NMEA2000 pool a couple of months ago so maybe newbie experience to newbie would help.
First I googled a couple of docs about the networks (like the one Paul referenced) and how to connect them. Seems daunting at first but really a few basic, simple rules to follow. The connectors are set up to be pretty idiot proof and you would have to try pretty hard to hook them up the wrong way. The main thing I learned it you have a backbone which is the main cable running through the boat
and all the instruments branch off the backbone with T connectors. Then at each end of the backbone you must install a terminating resistor. Exception, a very long cable say to a wind
instrument at the masthead can substitute as the terminator at one end of the backbone.
With NMEA2000 you can connect anything that has an NMEA2000 connection and it is compatible between brands that use the standard. So I have a Garmin GPS
connected to a Simrad autopilot
. The Simrad
can see the GPS
position from the Garmin
, the Garmin can tell the Simrad to steer to a waypoint stored in the Garmin. The Garmin gets heading information from the Simrad AP compass
. Everyone is happy.
You can connect wind instruments, speed, depth
, even engine
monitoring sensors for temp, oil
I found it to be 100% plug
and play. One exception. Raymarine
uses NMEA2000 communications
protocols but non standard connectors and non standard power to the network. You have to get adapters to connect Raymarine
stuff to a standard NMEA network. One reason I am avoiding Raymarine gear