Originally Posted by andreanuzzo
I just purchased an ocean 430 and I found on it an Autohelm st7000 with the Autohelm 100/300 course Computer. I would love to interface it with my win7 laptop running OpenCPN in order to make OpenCPN drive my autopilot.
Here are my two questions:
1) Could you please advice what hardware interface should i purchase
to connect the laptop to the Seatalk
2) I noticed on the autohelm 100/300 course computer a nmea input output. Is it possible to directly connect that to my laptop?
Thank you for your help.
Can't help on question #1 except to ask the obvious - why do you want to do that?
As far as #2 question goes the answer is YES. The exact methodology is a bit complicated but its not rocket surgery either. If your laptop has an actual DB9 com port then its pretty simple. If (more likely) you only have USB ports
with then you'll first need a USB to COM adapter cable which will cost you in the neighbourhood of $20 at your local Radio
Once you have a DB9 connection to work
with, refer to the attached images
. Note that the common ground is essential. You absolutely need to connect the com ground to the ground on your autopilot.
You'll need to configure the connection (wrench icon) to be output - I'd actually advise making it output/input so that OCPN can receive heading information from the autopilot. Initially I had difficulty figuring out how to configure an output connection because you need to scroll down in the setup window - the output option is not immediately visible. You'll likely need to plug
in your cable first and then start OCPN in order for it to see the port so that you can then configure the port. After you make the physical connection then you need to create and activate a route in OpenCPN.
At this point all that should remain is to put your Autohelm into whatever its version of autonav mode is. You're on your own for that but I assume you have an Autohelm manual. OCPN provides a debug screen
to see the input/output stream if you need to troubleshoot your installation
. We use a similar system to drive a Cetrek autopilot every time we leave the dock
. Other than my sometimes flaky HP touchscreen that occasionally craps out, the system is dead reliable and dead simple.