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Old 01-03-2022, 11:21   #1
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Actisense NMEA 2000 & Autopilot Issues with Raspberry Pi Open CPN

I have an NMEA 2000 backbone on my 47' Catamaran sailboat and get GPS, wind, humidity, etc. from an AIRMAR Weatherstation at the top of the mast. I'm currently running Open Plotter (i.e., Open CPN) on a Raspberry Pi 4 using version 5.6.0 of Open CPN. I connected my NMEA 2000 backbone to the Pi through the Actisense NGT-1 USB cable and connected it to Signal K. Signal K is getting the information because if I go to SK Data Browser, I can see the info there. In Open CPN I can see some of the data too using the Dashboard plugin such as GPS location, AWS, barometric pressure, etc. but it does not display the satellites in the Dashboard window like it does if I just plug in my GPS dongle instead of the Actisense USB cable. Likewise, I get no data on the "show debug window" in the Options window with the Actisense plugged in, but I do with the GPS dongle. I'm including the following info in case it helps some others who may be having the same problems I was having. I updated my Open CPN to v 5.6.0 and all of the plugins. When I first plugged the RPi in to the NMEA 2000 backbone via the Actisense NGT-1 USB, I was getting the "no autopilot computer" error on my B&G Triton display so I knew I still had a problem. I had the Signal K to NMEA 2000 translator enabled, so I disabled that and restarted and the "no autopilot computer" error did not come on for quite a while so I went back in and enabled the Signal K to NMEA 0183 translator on and restarted again. Everything seemed to be working and the GPS was stable with three bars (it comes from my AIRMAR Weather Station at the top of the mast), the AIS targets showed up and could be queried (they come from my SIMRAD RS35 VHF radio that is also connected into the NMEA 2000 backbone. So it appears that my incompatibility between Open CPN and my SIMRAD AC-12 autopilot was caused by the Signal K to NMEA 2000 translator being enabled. I got the Lat/Long, COG, barometric pressure, AWS, air temperature, etc. in the dashboard with or without the Signal K to NMEA 0183 translator being enabled so somehow the NMEA 2000 data is getting to Open CPN from the Signal K server. I assume that is through the Localhost at port 3000 connection in Open CPN, but I don't understand the Open CPN connections concept good enough to know if that's true or not. Now that I've gotten this far, the major issue I have left is how to control my SIMRAD AC-12 autopilot from Open CPN. i.e., I want to put a waypoint and give the "navigate to here" command and have the autopilot execute that command or have it follow an activated route. Can anyone tell me exactly what "connections" I have to create to make that happen?
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Old 01-03-2022, 11:47   #2
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Re: Actisense NMEA 2000 & Autopilot Issues with Raspberry Pi Open CPN

Quote:
Originally Posted by SirChaunchy View Post
I have an NMEA 2000 backbone on my 47' Catamaran sailboat and get GPS, wind, humidity, etc. from an AIRMAR Weatherstation at the top of the mast. I'm currently running Open Plotter (i.e., Open CPN) on a Raspberry Pi 4 using version 5.6.0 of Open CPN. I connected my NMEA 2000 backbone to the Pi through the Actisense NGT-1 USB cable and connected it to Signal K. Signal K is getting the information because if I go to SK Data Browser, I can see the info there. In Open CPN I can see some of the data too using the Dashboard plugin such as GPS location, AWS, barometric pressure, etc. but it does not display the satellites in the Dashboard window like it does if I just plug in my GPS dongle instead of the Actisense USB cable. Likewise, I get no data on the "show debug window" in the Options window with the Actisense plugged in, but I do with the GPS dongle. I'm including the following info in case it helps some others who may be having the same problems I was having. I updated my Open CPN to v 5.6.0 and all of the plugins. When I first plugged the RPi in to the NMEA 2000 backbone via the Actisense NGT-1 USB, I was getting the "no autopilot computer" error on my B&G Triton display so I knew I still had a problem. I had the Signal K to NMEA 2000 translator enabled, so I disabled that and restarted and the "no autopilot computer" error did not come on for quite a while so I went back in and enabled the Signal K to NMEA 0183 translator on and restarted again. Everything seemed to be working and the GPS was stable with three bars (it comes from my AIRMAR Weather Station at the top of the mast), the AIS targets showed up and could be queried (they come from my SIMRAD RS35 VHF radio that is also connected into the NMEA 2000 backbone. So it appears that my incompatibility between Open CPN and my SIMRAD AC-12 autopilot was caused by the Signal K to NMEA 2000 translator being enabled. I got the Lat/Long, COG, barometric pressure, AWS, air temperature, etc. in the dashboard with or without the Signal K to NMEA 0183 translator being enabled so somehow the NMEA 2000 data is getting to Open CPN from the Signal K server. I assume that is through the Localhost at port 3000 connection in Open CPN, but I don't understand the Open CPN connections concept good enough to know if that's true or not. Now that I've gotten this far, the major issue I have left is how to control my SIMRAD AC-12 autopilot from Open CPN. i.e., I want to put a waypoint and give the "navigate to here" command and have the autopilot execute that command or have it follow an activated route. Can anyone tell me exactly what "connections" I have to create to make that happen?

I have no experience with the Simrad AC-12.

Have transferred the route information from OpenCPN to the signalK server ?

If that is missing then the following setup can be done:

In OpenCPN make a new connection outgoiing. (Not in and out)

UDP and port 2000

Go to the bottom of OpenCPN en click on the two points. Then you get the list of options.
Remove everything and switch on only the items you like to receive.

Then go to the SignalK server. Make a new connection nmea183, name, UDP and port 2000.

New you are receiving the route and waypoint info from OpenCPN.

Then you have the data in SignalK and can output these to other systems in the required format.

Why only restricted output ? Otherwise if you use input in OpenCPN with SignalK

All the data flow "sings" around.


Bram
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Old 01-03-2022, 16:37   #3
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Re: Actisense NMEA 2000 & Autopilot Issues with Raspberry Pi Open CPN

Quote:
but it does not display the satellites in the Dashboard window like it does if I just plug in my GPS dongle instead of the Actisense USB cable.
I can't remember the exact cause but either SignalK either does not parse the NMEA 2000 PGN 129540, does not generate the Satellites In View data in the SignalK data stream, or the Dashboard plugin does not extract the necessary data from the SignalK data stream (or perhaps all of the above). Details can be found in this thread.
Quote:
Likewise, I get no data on the "show debug window" in the Options window with the Actisense plugged in, but I do with the GPS dongle.
OpenCPN does not display the raw SignalK data in the debug window, it only displays NMEA 183 sentences.
Quote:
When I first plugged the RPi in to the NMEA 2000 backbone via the Actisense NGT-1 USB, I was getting the "no autopilot computer" error on my B&G Triton display so I knew I still had a problem
Unrelated to OpenCPN, quite possibly a NMEA 2000 network error, perhaps an address conflict caused by the SignalK->NMEA 2000 plugin. You may need to power cycle the AC-12 and/or get the B&G Triton display to rescan the network.
Quote:
Now that I've gotten this far, the major issue I have left is how to control my SIMRAD AC-12 autopilot from Open CPN. i.e., I want to put a waypoint and give the "navigate to here" command and have the autopilot execute that command or have it follow an activated route. Can anyone tell me exactly what "connections" I have to create to make that happen?
I have no experience with the AC-12 however I understand it to be a NMEA 2000 (aka Simnet) connected Autopilot Controller. With that in mind I don't think you will be able to control the AC-12 from OpenCPN.
OpenCPN only reads SignalK data, it doesn't transmit SignalK, it only transmits NMEA 183.
To attempt to use NMEA 183 to control an autopilot, you would need to create an outbound connection from OpenCPN and a corresponding inbound connection on SignalK as Bram described previously.
However to the best of my knowledge, SignalK and the SignalK->NMEA 2000 plugin do not convert NMEA 183 APB, RMC or XTE sentences to their NMEA 2000 equivalents. In addition, it is unlikely that the SignalK->NMEA 2000 plugin would advertise itself (transmitting PGN 60928 Address Claim with a Simrad Manufacturer ID, PGN 126996 Product Information and the myriad of proprietary Simrad NMEA 2000 messages) as a Simrad compatible autopilot computer display.
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Old 02-03-2022, 02:26   #4
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Re: Actisense NMEA 2000 & Autopilot Issues with Raspberry Pi Open CPN

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevead View Post
I can't remember the exact cause but either SignalK either does not parse the NMEA 2000 PGN 129540, does not generate the Satellites In View data in the SignalK data stream, or the Dashboard plugin does not extract the necessary data from the SignalK data stream (or perhaps all of the above). Details can be found in this thread.
...
Summarizing:
Using SignalK between NMEA2000 and NMEA0183 is a good source of problems.
It is much easier and safer to use an N2K <-> NMEA0183 gateway.
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Old 02-03-2022, 03:43   #5
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Re: Actisense NMEA 2000 & Autopilot Issues with Raspberry Pi Open CPN

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevead View Post
I can't remember the exact cause but either SignalK either does not parse the NMEA 2000 PGN 129540, does not generate the Satellites In View data in the SignalK data stream, or the Dashboard plugin does not extract the necessary data from the SignalK data stream (or perhaps all of the above). Details can be found in this thread.
OpenCPN does not display the raw SignalK data in the debug window, it only displays NMEA 183 sentences.
Unrelated to OpenCPN, quite possibly a NMEA 2000 network error, perhaps an address conflict caused by the SignalK->NMEA 2000 plugin. You may need to power cycle the AC-12 and/or get the B&G Triton display to rescan the network.
I have no experience with the AC-12 however I understand it to be a NMEA 2000 (aka Simnet) connected Autopilot Controller. With that in mind I don't think you will be able to control the AC-12 from OpenCPN.
OpenCPN only reads SignalK data, it doesn't transmit SignalK, it only transmits NMEA 183.
To attempt to use NMEA 183 to control an autopilot, you would need to create an outbound connection from OpenCPN and a corresponding inbound connection on SignalK as Bram described previously.
However to the best of my knowledge, SignalK and the SignalK->NMEA 2000 plugin do not convert NMEA 183 APB, RMC or XTE sentences to their NMEA 2000 equivalents. In addition, it is unlikely that the SignalK->NMEA 2000 plugin would advertise itself (transmitting PGN 60928 Address Claim with a Simrad Manufacturer ID, PGN 126996 Product Information and the myriad of proprietary Simrad NMEA 2000 messages) as a Simrad compatible autopilot computer display.

There is also a new 2 way adapter from Onwa type KC-2W. Works very well in combination with SignalK server.


Added the list of supported conversions.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf NMEA2000_0183 conversion table.pdf (636.6 KB, 41 views)
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Old 03-03-2022, 15:33   #6
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Re: Actisense NMEA 2000 & Autopilot Issues with Raspberry Pi Open CPN

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to understanding the issues I listed in my original request for help. I've had some breakthroughs in the past few days and it seemed to be working good so took the boat out yesterday to test it. I basically just disabled all of the connections except the local host connection on port 3000 to get info from Signal K. The NMEA 2000 network is connected via the Actisense NGT-1 USB to the RPi and on to Signal K as a CANBUS connection. I disabled all of the SK to NMEA 2000 and SK to NMEA 0183. It worked perfectly from the moment I turned it on until we turned it off back at the dock about 4 hours later and no "no autopilot computer alarms". The AIS targets showed up correctly, the radar was perfect including the guard gates and alarms, the routes showed up and could be activated and overall everything worked great. I still need to get it so I can control the autopilot from Open CPN but, from your comments that looks like a big hurdle. It may be a matter of connections or it may not be possible. The status bar was also very readable even in sunlight since I made the text bigger and made it bold. Right now, I'm very happy with Open CPN. Is there any plan to make Open CPN work with NMEA 2000 since that seems to be the way most new components are going?
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Old 05-03-2022, 06:42   #7
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Re: Actisense NMEA 2000 & Autopilot Issues with Raspberry Pi Open CPN

Dear Sir Chaunchy

Would you please write up your hardware and software configuration in more precise detail and post it here for all of us, while this is fresh in your mind, explaining what issues you started with and how you solved them? This should be clear enough for another user to follow. I will find a place under the RPI or SignalK documentation for this example for others to read.

You can post it here if you would like. I may edit or ask some questions.

Thank you.
R.



Quote:
Originally Posted by SirChaunchy View Post
Thanks to everyone who has contributed to understanding the issues I listed in my original request for help. I've had some breakthroughs in the past few days and it seemed to be working good so took the boat out yesterday to test it. I basically just disabled all of the connections except the local host connection on port 3000 to get info from Signal K. The NMEA 2000 network is connected via the Actisense NGT-1 USB to the RPi and on to Signal K as a CANBUS connection. I disabled all of the SK to NMEA 2000 and SK to NMEA 0183. It worked perfectly from the moment I turned it on until we turned it off back at the dock about 4 hours later and no "no autopilot computer alarms". The AIS targets showed up correctly, the radar was perfect including the guard gates and alarms, the routes showed up and could be activated and overall everything worked great. I still need to get it so I can control the autopilot from Open CPN but, from your comments that looks like a big hurdle. It may be a matter of connections or it may not be possible. The status bar was also very readable even in sunlight since I made the text bigger and made it bold. Right now, I'm very happy with Open CPN. Is there any plan to make Open CPN work with NMEA 2000 since that seems to be the way most new components are going?
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Old 05-03-2022, 12:02   #8
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Re: Actisense NMEA 2000 & Autopilot Issues with Raspberry Pi Open CPN

Yes, of course. When I first came to the forum for help I had the following setup. I have 47' Catamaran sailboat and get GPS, wind, humidity, etc. from an AIRMAR Weatherstation at the top of the mast through an NMEA 2000 backbone. I'm currently running Open Plotter (i.e., Open CPN) on a Raspberry Pi 4 using version 5.6.0 of Open CPN connected to a 15" touchscreen with a bluetooth keyboard for control. I connected my NMEA 2000 backbone to the Pi through the Actisense NGT-1 USB cable. I just followed the Open CPN manuals to go to the "serial module" to create the Actisense connection and it is NMEA 2000. All of my equipment is NMEA 2000. As directed in the manual I connected it to Signal K and declared the connection as a CANBUS connection. I could see that Signal K is getting the information because if I go to the SK Data Browser, I can see the info there. In Open CPN I can see some of the data too using the Dashboard plugin such as GPS location, AWS, barometric pressure, etc. but it does not display the satellites in the Dashboard window like it does if I just plug in my GPS dongle instead of the Actisense USB cable and it does not display TWS or TWA. Someone on the forum explained that the Dashboard doesn't display data from Signal K, only data connected directly through a serial port. Likewise, for the same reason, I get no data on the "show debug window" in the Options window with the Actisense plugged in, but I do with the GPS dongle lugged via a USB cable as a serial port. When I first contacted the forum I was running Open CPN version 5.4 and someone suggested I needed to upgrade to 5.6.0. I updated my Open CPN to v 5.6.0 and updated all of the plugins as well. That did not solve any of my major problems, but it did allow the Dashboard to display temperature in degrees F instead of only degrees C. I had the Signal K to NMEA 2000 translator enabled because all of my equipment is NMEA 2000 and I thought that might allow contact with my autopilot. After updating Open CPN and the plugins, I plugged the RPi in to the NMEA 2000 backbone via the Actisense NGT-1 USB, and as before, after a short while I was getting the "no autopilot computer" error on my B&G Triton display and my GPS was intermittent. I suspected a conflict between SK and my autopilot , so I disabled the SK to NMEA 2000 translator and restarted everything. That solved the "no autopilot computer" error and the GPS was solid as a rock so clearly the Actisense NGT-1 and the SK to NMEA 2000 translator were writing over each other or something. Someone on the forum confirmed that Open CPN only speaks NMEA 0183 and not NMEA 2000 so I went back in and enabled the Signal K to NMEA 0183 translator and restarted again. This did not seem to have any effect. I didn't get any additional information in the Dashboard other than now being able to display temperature as degrees F and I still could not command my autopilot from Open CPN. But it also did not cause my autopilot to crash. Since it didn't seem to provide any benefit I turned off the SK to NMEA 183 translator again and everything still seemed to be working correctly and the GPS was stable with three bars (it comes from my AIRMAR Weather Station at the top of the mast), the AIS targets showed up and could be queried (they come from my SIMRAD RS35 VHF radio that is also connected into the NMEA 2000 backbone. So it appears that my incompatibility between Open CPN and my SIMRAD AC-12 autopilot was caused by the Signal K to NMEA 2000 translator being enabled. I got the Lat/Long, COG, barometric pressure, AWS, air temperature, etc. in the dashboard with or without the Signal K to NMEA 0183 translator being enabled so somehow the NMEA 2000 data is getting to Open CPN from the Signal K server. I assume that is through the Localhost at port 3000 connection in Open CPN, but I don't understand the Open CPN connections concept good enough to know if that's true or not. Now that I've gotten this far, the major issue I have left is how to control my SIMRAD AC-12 autopilot from Open CPN. i.e., I want to put a waypoint and give the "navigate to here" command and have the autopilot execute that command or have it follow an activated route. Some on the forum imply that this may not be possible because my autopilot is a SIMRAD AC-12 and is NMEA-2000. I may still be able to make it work by enabling the SK to NMEA 2000 Translator but filtering the output to only the items the autopilot needs to navigate to a point or follow a route. I'm not sure exactly what all of those are, but there are some clues in the manual for NMEA 0183 systems so I can figure out the equivalent PGNs for NMEA2000. As I said, I have not solved this problem, so if you have some insights, please let me know. One last thing. The built-in status bar at the bottom of the screen for Open CPN was not readable for me in open sunlight. The font was too small and the letters are black on a fairly dark grey background. You can change the font, but not the background and you can only make the font bigger up to 18. You do this in the Options/Display window. There is a status bar plugin that has a great display in that you can change the font color and size as well as the background, but the Lat/Long for the cursor is in true degrees rather than magnetic which is what I work off of and I couldn't change it. It also doesn't list the "time to go" to reach a point where the cursor is as the built-in status bar does and that's very handy when sailing to a harbor or some other point. I eventually made the font size 18 and "Bold" for the built-in status bar. That made it readable even in direct sunlight so it's usable for me now although I would really like to be able to change the background color to make it even more readable.
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Old 05-03-2022, 15:29   #9
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Re: Actisense NMEA 2000 & Autopilot Issues with Raspberry Pi Open CPN

SirChaunchy

Thank you. I added this page about Integration Examples

https://opencpn.org/wiki/dokuwiki/do...gnalk:examples

I added an RFE Request for enhancement to the Statusbar plugin.
https://github.com/seandepagnier/statusbar_pi/issues/27

Also added to Tracker a Feature Request for Opencpn 5.6.0 Status bar.
You can also do this this type of thing once your register for Tracker, go to https://opencpn.org/ and find tracker at the top. Then register in Tracker and vote for this change.

https://opencpn.org/flyspray/index.p...s&task_id=2868

Others may have some ideas how to solve your AP problem. Have you used the Artisense software to view and control the data flow in and out from your N2k to the USB connection and OpenCPN? This can be very useful and it may solve your AP problem.
I have used this software to make other configurations for other purposes.

BTW, didn't I suggest earlier that signalK and artisense may be causing clashes? You need to know and control exactly what sentences and data goes in and out, using the OpenCPN Connections filters and the Artisense software and SignalK controls. It can get complicated, but it is best to keep it simple and working, then try something.
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Old 05-03-2022, 17:16   #10
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Re: Actisense NMEA 2000 & Autopilot Issues with Raspberry Pi Open CPN

Rick, yes you did mention earlier that Signal K and Actisense may be causing the problem, but I knew even less about how all this works then than I know now. I'm getting better educated on this now and starting to understand how the "connections" work. If I figure out a solution to my autopilot problem or get a solution from someone who has already solved it, I will let you know so others can do the same thing.
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Old 05-03-2022, 17:30   #11
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Re: Actisense NMEA 2000 & Autopilot Issues with Raspberry Pi Open CPN

Thanks for your detailed explanations.

This is the software you should download and use.
Perhaps find out what your Simrad AP is sending first.
It is just a viewer, but perhaps you can change some of it.

Also Viewer https://actisense.com/acti_software/nmea-reader/

file:///C:/Users/fcgle/AppData/Local/Temp/NGT-1-User-Manual-issue-2.01.pdf
See page 12 Selecting PGNs for transfer

"Record log files of received data as EBL files for viewing and analysing with EBL Reader at a later date" -- Might be a good source to make polar files.

I seem to recall more flexibility in selecting PGNs etc.
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Old 06-03-2022, 11:26   #12
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Re: Actisense NMEA 2000 & Autopilot Issues with Raspberry Pi Open CPN

Quote:
Originally Posted by SirChaunchy View Post
Rick, yes you did mention earlier that Signal K and Actisense may be causing the problem, but I knew even less about how all this works then than I know now. I'm getting better educated on this now and starting to understand how the "connections" work. If I figure out a solution to my autopilot problem or get a solution from someone who has already solved it, I will let you know so others can do the same thing.
Frankly, I don't see the need to employ SignalK for this purpose.
Any direct NMEA0183 <-> NMEA2000 gateway can do what you need without any hassle. If it's still time, swap the Actisense NGT-1 for an NGW-1.

The navigation sentences to your Simrad AP will be sent without problems, you only need to configure OCPN to send RMB, APB and XTE on the channel configured for NGW-1.

The only reason to use SignalK, and outside the scope of OCPN, is the processing of engine and transmission data (RPM, oil pressure, engine temperature, etc). It is not the case.
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Old 07-03-2022, 01:03   #13
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Re: Actisense NMEA 2000 &amp; Autopilot Issues with Raspberry Pi Open CPN

Sir chaunchy
Please read
https://opencpn.org/wiki/dokuwiki/do..._---_nmea_2000
https://opencpn.org/wiki/dokuwiki/do..._---_nmea_2000

Either device works. You have the usb version as i understand it.
The advanrage of the nmea2k - nmea0183 is that it communicates directly with your nmea0183 data bus if you have one.
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Old 08-03-2022, 12:54   #14
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Re: Actisense NMEA 2000 & Autopilot Issues with Raspberry Pi Open CPN

I haven't been able to get registered on line. It keeps saying it has sent me a code to the e-mail I used to register, but no e-mail comes with the code. I wanted to register a potential bug which is that when using Open CPN 5.6.0 on my Raspberry Pi 4, when hovering the cursor over AIS targets, nothing happens. If I click on one of the AIS targets it does give me the info and then while that target is still highlighted I hover over another target it shows up, but if no target has been clicked on and I hover over it with the cursor, nothing happens.
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Old 08-03-2022, 13:06   #15
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Re: Actisense NMEA 2000 & Autopilot Issues with Raspberry Pi Open CPN

Rick, thanks for your links to the Yacht Devices web site. I had already ordered the USB Gateway YDNU-02. It's supposed to arrive today sometime and hopefully I can test it out tomorrow. I'll report back on the results.
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