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Old 26-02-2014, 06:31   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Mayaguana
Boat: Valiant 40
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NMEA 0183 data speed in mixed environment?

I'm posting here because I'm a bit of a dullard when it comes to electronics installation and networking.

I currently have a Nexus Classic suite of wind/speed/data instruments. I'm not sure of the age of the suite but it's probably closing in on 8 years old or so.

The wind transducer at the top of the mast suffered damage during Sandy and I pulled it off. Looks like only the front wind blades came off as the spindle is sticking out and spins fine, but I have had no luck in finding a replacement blade during months of searching. Ergo, I have to get a new transducer. I have contemplated simply replacing the whole suite, but have put off that decision for the time being.

BUT, I thought why not install a good wind transducer, such as a Maretron, for the time being and then the rest of the system down the road. I was thinking that the system I have might be NMEA 0183 compliant, and not 2000 compliant but I can't find any info on the dates of either standard to make an educated guess about where I might stand.

Wrote to Nexus (now owned by Garmin) inquiring about the Classic's NMEA 0183 compatibility, and of course they suggest that I should use their replacement transducer, the nWind. They also wrote:

As for NMEA 0183, the server is compatible with those type of sensors but the data stream will be much slower than it would otherwise be across the network, so your performance would not be nearly as good as it would otherwise be by using a Nexus Wind transducer with this server.

Can anyone with more smarts than me comment on this statement, hopefully with a description of what kind of real world performance hit, if any, "much s lower" translates into?

Thanks much.
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Old 28-02-2014, 12:32   #2
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Re: NMEA 0183 data speed in mixed environment?

From looking in the manual, (around page 16) I believe I can clarify.

They're referring to the fact that their NMEA0183 data input has a lower data rate than their proprietary Nexus bus, and that would translate to slower less responsive view of fast-changing data... like a masthead wind sensor (MHU). If you're more cruising than racing, the slower update rate of the NMEA0183 MHU might not matter to you.

Would you get better value from buying a NMEA0183 MHU than the official Nexus MHU? In my opinion, no, because the push is really strong now for the NMEA2000 bus, and NMEA0183 support will be dropping away. (I went to the Raymarine technical briefing this week, and they stressed this as well). So whether you get the Nexus or a NMEA0183 MHU, it will probably be replaced again when the instrument package is replaced.

In your Docksiders™ I would proceed in this order:
  1. Try to find the oldest wisest marine installer/technician in your area, particularly one who's installed and maintained Nexus systems. S/he will give you the best advice, and may have a stash of used Nexus bits, maybe even the missing blade or whatever.
  2. If you think you can get two or more years out of the current system, then buy the cheaper of: the official Nexus replacement MHU, or a NMEA 0183 MHU. Regardless of choice you will most likely be replacing it when you do replace the system later.
  3. If the existing Nexus system is malfunctioning, and/or it seems like you'll be replacing the system sooner rather than later... replace the whole system.
The Nexus site has manuals and upgrade systems
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environment, men, nmea, nmea 0183

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