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Old 18-08-2020, 21:04   #1
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New NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 board for Raspberry Pi

Ahoy sailors,

I wanted to let the community know of a new board that I think is pretty cool. I (somehow) influenced its creation but I am not affiliated with it.

It is a board for Raspberry Pi that can take NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 as an input, plus a Qwiic modular sensor for things like temperature and pressure sensors. It is called PiCAN-M, you can see more information at the link.

As I said, I am not affiliated with the product or the company. I just had bought a previous version of this board that I really liked, so I was exchanging messages with the maker/owner to convince him to build a version that has an NMEA connector and an NMEA 0183 interface. Along the exchanges, I also convinced him to add a sensor output. It is powered from the NMEA backbone so makes it even more interesting (at least to me).

I have one to play with but I have been overwhelmed with work and cruising and I didn't have time to test it out. But I will at the earliest opportunity and post my results. I think this could be a very interesting board if you want to integrate your marine electronics with a Raspberry Pi/Open Plotter/OpenCPN/Signal K etc.

Anyhow, sorry if this sounded like an advertisement, but I was very excited to see this product hitting the market and I played an indirect role in its development. I personally wanted something like this for a long time, so I wanted to let the community know.

I will send this thread to the maker himself so if you have any feedback, thoughts or suggestions, please shout.
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Old 19-08-2020, 01:09   #2
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Re: New NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 board for Raspberry Pi

I just placed an order. I’ll be happy to play with it.
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Old 21-08-2020, 01:54   #3
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Re: New NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 board for Raspberry Pi

Awesome. Just wondering about what case to use as a standard case will no longer fit. Alternatively put it in its own case and use a ribbon cable to connect.
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Old 21-08-2020, 02:04   #4
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Re: New NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 board for Raspberry Pi

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbhflts View Post
Awesome. Just wondering about what case to use as a standard case will no longer fit. Alternatively put it in its own case and use a ribbon cable to connect.
There is an enclosure listed on the site refered to. Will that do?
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Old 26-08-2020, 00:02   #5
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Re: New NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 board for Raspberry Pi

Ok, finally got to test this.

I put the board on a Raspberry Pi 4 and downloaded the latest OpenPlotter image. I connected the board to my Seatalk NG network with a Seatalk NG to NMEA 2000 cable and the Raspberry Pi got powered up automatically from the Seatalk NG/NMEA 2000 backbone. I really like not having the need to power the Raspberry Pi separately. At that point, I could VNC or SSH into Raspberry Pi without a monitor or a cable (I love OpenPlotter!).

It took a few minutes to bring the CAN interface up on the Raspberry Pi and that I point, I started receiving all the data from my Seatalk NG network! I fired up OpenCPN and it saw all the instrument data as well all AIS targets around me.

Next I wanted to test the Qwiic sensors and connected the Sparkfun BME 280 sensor to the board. Required a bit of tweaking between OpenPlotter I2C application and Signal K but I could get temperature and pressure readings into OpenCPN and also into the NMEA 2000 network using the same CAN interface. So the boat really works two ways, I would like to test the pypilot next.

All in all, this turned out to be a very smooth integration with OpenPlotter and OpenCPN.

Attaching a few screenshots. All the information on OpenCPN is coming from the board and the temperature reading on the Raymarine chart plotter is coming from the Sparkfun BME280 temperature sensor, via the PiCAN-M board and the NMEA 2000 network, the same goes for pressure though I didn't capture a screenshot of it. Pretty cool!
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Old 03-11-2020, 10:32   #6
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Re: New NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 board for Raspberry Pi

Steve published a nice article on this at SeaBits. Has good and detailed instructions:

https://seabits.com/nmea-2000-powered-raspberry-pi/
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Old 24-02-2021, 04:28   #7
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Re: New NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 board for Raspberry Pi

This is a very interesting product!
@Tenedos do you think this would work out of the box also with a Simrad SimNet network using a SimNet to Micro-C adapter cable?
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