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Old 02-04-2017, 12:06   #1
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Updating electronics: Vesper and GoFree (B&G) and more questions

So I am finally updating my electronics, specifically the chart plotter and radar, and going with Zeus2 + 3G or maybe Zeus3 + 4G depending on what prices look like when I pull the trigger. Some great deals on Zeus2 and 3G that may disappear soon.

Anyway, I'm also going to add a Vesper XB-8000, and one question is have is whether GoFree will work through the 8000's wifi functionality to control mirror/control my B&G stuff. If so, and I go with the Zeus2 (which does not have built in wifi) I could forgo adding the B&G wifi-1 module.

I understand that the Navico stuff is pretty open and the wifi-1 can share a lot of data with 3rd party apps, but does it work the other way around?

Lastly, I'm assuming that both the 8000 and the wifi-1 will feed data to OpenCPN on my Mac wirelessly, including GPS. Is this correct?

Thanks a bunch.
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Old 02-04-2017, 21:54   #2
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Re: Updating electronics: Vesper and GoFree (B&G) and more questions

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Lastly, I'm assuming that both the 8000 and the wifi-1 will feed data to OpenCPN on my Mac wirelessly, including GPS. Is this correct?

Thanks a bunch.
you would only be able to connect to one wifi network at a time.

the simrid system is not going to send Ethernet based data to the 8000 to share over it's wifi.

I don't know if the wifi 1 sends data that can be converted to a virtual port for a nav program, or it if only sends propitiatory data to it's own app. i'm guessing the later

the 8000 probably does
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Old 02-04-2017, 22:07   #3
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Updating electronics: Vesper and GoFree (B&G) and more questions

You can get data out of the xb8000 like gps, ais, nmea (wind, depth, etc) and into opencpn, iNavX, etc. it's really nice.

Regarding mirroring via apps, you have to get the Zeus2 into wifi somehow, and the only way I know is wired Ethernet to a wireless router like the GoFree. You can snip one end of the navico Ethernet cable and put on a standard rj45 tip, and then use a less expensive wifi 12v router.

The manual says you can join a xb8000 to an existing wifi network, like the GoFree. Then you can connect to the Zeus for remote mirroring and the xb8000 for gps and other data on the same wireless network.
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Old 03-04-2017, 05:28   #4
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Re: Updating electronics: Vesper and GoFree (B&G) and more questions

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You can get data out of the xb8000 like gps, ais, nmea (wind, depth, etc) and into opencpn, iNavX, etc. it's really nice.

Regarding mirroring via apps, you have to get the Zeus2 into wifi somehow, and the only way I know is wired Ethernet to a wireless router like the GoFree. You can snip one end of the navico Ethernet cable and put on a standard rj45 tip, and then use a less expensive wifi 12v router.

The manual says you can join a xb8000 to an existing wifi network, like the GoFree. Then you can connect to the Zeus for remote mirroring and the xb8000 for gps and other data on the same wireless network.
I was thinking that if the Zeus2 and the xb8000 are both on the NMEA2000 backbone, that would get the Zeus2 data to wifi. I think the wifi-1 is just on the NMEA2000 backbone. I guess the real question is, is there anything proprietary going on in the wifi-1 that allows mirroring between the Zeus2 and GoFree app. I'm starting to think not. I'll go ahead and ask Navico, but was hoping someone here had first-hand experience.
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Old 03-04-2017, 06:44   #5
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Re: Updating electronics: Vesper and GoFree (B&G) and more questions

True, if the zeus2 and vesper are on the same nmea backbone, you can get the zeus2 nmea data from the vesper over wireless of the vesper.

The only thing proprietary about the wifi-1 is the navico screw on Ethernet connectors.
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Old 03-04-2017, 06:52   #6
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Re: Updating electronics: Vesper and GoFree (B&G) and more questions

I used to have the exact setup you are asking about (lightening killed it). The short answer is "No the Vesper will not provide the same functionality as the B&G WIFI module"

The longer answer is the Vesper will bridge "SOME" of the NMEA data over to WIFI (Vesper doesn't support all messages). However it won't allow the Zeus2 to get on the internet. So you do not get a bunch of that functionality (e.g. auto update, map update, track posts, ect). Also if you plan to install B&G autopilot you will not get the remote control of that without the WIFI module.

Hope that helps.
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Old 03-04-2017, 07:10   #7
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Re: Updating electronics: Vesper and GoFree (B&G) and more questions

I have used both vesper and gofree but not at once. Gofree was not friendly towards third party hardware / software at all. Vesper connected with whatever we had at hand.

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Old 03-04-2017, 07:23   #8
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Re: Updating electronics: Vesper and GoFree (B&G) and more questions

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I used to have the exact setup you are asking about (lightening killed it). The short answer is "No the Vesper will not provide the same functionality as the B&G WIFI module"

The longer answer is the Vesper will bridge "SOME" of the NMEA data over to WIFI (Vesper doesn't support all messages). However it won't allow the Zeus2 to get on the internet. So you do not get a bunch of that functionality (e.g. auto update, map update, track posts, ect). Also if you plan to install B&G autopilot you will not get the remote control of that without the WIFI module.

Hope that helps.
My understanding is that this is right. While I only have the Zeus2 and Wifi-1 installed, I've looked into the Vesper. There is something going on in the Wifi-1 that allows the GoFree App to work, which is difficult, if not impossible, to have the Vesper mirror. I don't think it is a hardware thing, but certain settings that need to be in place. If you're a network engineer (or know one), you might be able to figure things out, but it won't work right out of the box. You'll also need the Wifi-1 for radar, if you ever get it.

If you get both the Wifi-1 and the Vesper, you can set the Wifi-1 as an Access Point, and the Vesper as in Client Mode, and link the two with an ethernet cable. This should provide wifi access and the GoFree App at the same time.

All this said, I've determined I'd go with the Vesper 6000, without the wifi. The Wifi-1 transmits all the data needed for iNavX on my iPad, so the Vesper 8000 is redundant in this respect.

Also think about when you'll need both the GoFree App/iNavX AND internet at the same time. You use the GoFree App/iNavX while sailing and the internet when stopped. The Zeus2 rarely needs internet, so the only hassle is selecting a new network on your iPad when you've stopped. When the Zeus2 needs internet, it only takes a few minutes to get it online. Not a big deal in my book.
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Old 03-04-2017, 07:43   #9
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Re: Updating electronics: Vesper and GoFree (B&G) and more questions

Can you explain what information/data you want to see on what "screens" and where will those screens be?

Without getting too involved... a sailboat has several data inputs from transducers.... speed, depth, apparent wind, and perhaps water and air temperature. For navigation you have GPS which overlays onto a chart which gives you computational capabilities for course, heading, distance to waypoint, time to go and so on... Radar is yet another bit of data that can be overlayed/presented on a chart.... and finally you have AIS signals from other vessels.

Is the wi fi so you can view these data on a mobile device?
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Old 03-04-2017, 09:56   #10
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Re: Updating electronics: Vesper and GoFree (B&G) and more questions

Wrong approach!
All data go into the NMEA 2000 Bus and the to the xb8000. There - unfortunately - they were converted to NMEA 0183 (only the most common) and sent out via a spcial port via wifi. I have connected the xb-wifi to an wifi-internet router and get the BNMEA port via this device to my computers.
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Old 03-04-2017, 10:06   #11
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Re: Updating electronics: Vesper and GoFree (B&G) and more questions

Suijin, No need for the Vesper 800. Just go with another N2K AIS B system. The Zeus 2 and re-distribute all N2K, N1830 and AIS data through the WIFI1, If you need to get to the internet, then you need a WIFI booster router like a Ubiquiti Bullet then you set up the WIFI1 as an Access Point and not a router. Your main router to the internet is the Bullet. Make sense? This is what I do on my boat.
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Old 03-04-2017, 12:18   #12
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Re: Updating electronics: Vesper and GoFree (B&G) and more questions

Suijin,

We are set up to function similarly to what Victor Raymond described in reply#11

We have a B&G Zeus Touch MFD [soon to be replaced with a refurbished Zeus2 acquired on sale...] and a GoFree WiFi-1 device for wireless.

We also have a Vesper Watchmate 850 AIS Transponder, but that has no WiFi so doesn't factor in as you were asking about- except as another AIS data provider via NMEA 0183...

The WiFi-1 device broadcasts all the NMEA 2k and 0183 data needed for the other apps we use on on various laptops [OpenCPN] and tablets [seaIQ Open, etc.]

RE: Mirroring/controlling the Zeus MFD- my impression is [without trying to hack anything...] that is only possible using the WiFi-1 device. I say this because the free B&G app [GoFree Link] you install on iOS and/or Android devices only looks for WiFi-1 devices- regardless of which WiFi network you subscribe the iOS/Android device to.

As an experiment, I subscribed our boat WiFi router to the WiFi-1, and a tablet with the B&G app was subscribed to the boat WiFi. The GoFree Link app couldn't connect to the WiFi-1 when associated to the boat WiFi- even though the boat WiFi was subscribed to the WiFi-1...

I hope this makes sense as I believe it answers your question regarding whether a WiFi-1 is necessary to control the Zeus MFD...

In hopes this is helpful.

Cheers! Bill
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Old 03-04-2017, 12:41   #13
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Re: Updating electronics: Vesper and GoFree (B&G) and more questions

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Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
I used to have the exact setup you are asking about (lightening killed it). The short answer is "No the Vesper will not provide the same functionality as the B&G WIFI module"

The longer answer is the Vesper will bridge "SOME" of the NMEA data over to WIFI (Vesper doesn't support all messages). However it won't allow the Zeus2 to get on the internet. So you do not get a bunch of that functionality (e.g. auto update, map update, track posts, ect). Also if you plan to install B&G autopilot you will not get the remote control of that without the WIFI module.

Hope that helps.

This is my experience as well, though I don't think you can control the AP with the remote app.
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Old 03-04-2017, 14:08   #14
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Re: Updating electronics: Vesper and GoFree (B&G) and more questions

Shoot a note to Vesper. They're incredibly responsive.
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Old 03-04-2017, 14:13   #15
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Re: Updating electronics: Vesper and GoFree (B&G) and more questions

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As an experiment, I subscribed our boat WiFi router to the WiFi-1, and a tablet with the B&G app was subscribed to the boat WiFi. The GoFree Link app couldn't connect to the WiFi-1 when associated to the boat WiFi- even though the boat WiFi was subscribed to the WiFi-1...

I hope this makes sense as I believe it answers your question regarding whether a WiFi-1 is necessary to control the Zeus MFD...
Thanks Bill. That does indeed answer my question. I basically want to run GoFree and have OpenCPN get data, but don't want to pay for more wifi capability in different units than I need. I was hoping I could forgo adding the wifi-1, as the anchor alarm on the xb8000 sounds like a great solution. Too bad the 6000 does not offer that, at least with just a connected external speaker
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