Cruisers Forum
 


Reply
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on Cruisers Forums. Advertise Here
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 13-06-2024, 00:30   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2024
Posts: 3
Starting from Scratch - Recommended Gear? (Radar, Sonar/FF, Computing, Radio{s})

hi all - the boat I'm working on has nothing on board right now with respect to marine electronics, not even a stereo. I plan to do a little eBay trawling over the next few weeks and am interested in adding more or less "the works" to this boat, partially for some kinds of convenience, partially for safety, partially for self-education. because the engineer in me enjoys a challenge (and deeply aesthetically appreciates centralization), I'd like to integrate as many features as possible into OpenCPN (or at least into the machine I end up running it on).

it looks like BBN is a great way to get started with this (https://github.com/bareboat-necessities/lysmarine_gen). what I'm wondering is whether or not any of you have thoughts on what specific gear 1) you know works with OpenCPN and its various plugins, or with the other components in BBN, and 2) is reasonably inexpensive on the secondhand market.

ideally I'd like to put this info together into a post collecting all the information about the build-out, and either put it on my own Github, into a thread here, and/or into the BBN project's documentation, for other weirdos like me who more or less want to have their own version of Star Trek's LCARS running the showare interested in Marine Systems Integration™️.

the stuff I want to put together and run from our BBN control panel includes:
  • radar
  • sonar / fishfinder (especially if I can overlay the former onto charts)
  • VHF (would this include an AIS transmitter?)
  • other two-way radios (I'm a General class Ham, if that helps)
  • information from the Victron power gear aboard the boat (she's all electric with a 48V motor)
  • stereo system
  • stretch goal - maybe a relay panel for things like operating the horn, lights, etc.??

TIA for any suggestions.
starkruzr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-06-2024, 06:26   #2
Registered User

Join Date: May 2013
Location: Portland, ME
Boat: McCurdy & Rhodes 56
Posts: 209
Re: Starting from Scratch - Recommended Gear? (Radar, Sonar/FF, Computing, Radio{s})

To provide better input, would be nice to know what your boat is, the use case and geography.
Mal Reynolds is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-06-2024, 10:39   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2024
Posts: 3
Re: Starting from Scratch - Recommended Gear? (Radar, Sonar/FF, Computing, Radio{s})

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mal Reynolds View Post
To provide better input, would be nice to know what your boat is, the use case and geography.
24' pontoon, use cases/geography will vary pretty widely because it'll include everything from lakes here in Texas to coastal waters near the mid/north Atlantic, Lake Michigan (specifically near Chicago), and the SF Bay. (she'll have a bit of a road show on the trailer.)

some fishing, some party boating, maybe even a little overnight camping on quiet lakes.
starkruzr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-06-2024, 15:53   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 461
Re: Starting from Scratch - Recommended Gear? (Radar, Sonar/FF, Computing, Radio{s})

Quote:
Originally Posted by starkruzr View Post
hi all - the boat I'm working on has nothing on board right now with respect to marine electronics, not even a stereo. I plan to do a little eBay trawling over the next few weeks and am interested in adding more or less "the works" to this boat, partially for some kinds of convenience, partially for safety, partially for self-education. because the engineer in me enjoys a challenge (and deeply aesthetically appreciates centralization), I'd like to integrate as many features as possible into OpenCPN (or at least into the machine I end up running it on).

it looks like BBN is a great way to get started with this (https://github.com/bareboat-necessities/lysmarine_gen). what I'm wondering is whether or not any of you have thoughts on what specific gear 1) you know works with OpenCPN and its various plugins, or with the other components in BBN, and 2) is reasonably inexpensive on the secondhand market.

ideally I'd like to put this info together into a post collecting all the information about the build-out, and either put it on my own Github, into a thread here, and/or into the BBN project's documentation, for other weirdos like me who more or less want to have their own version of Star Trek's LCARS running the showare interested in Marine Systems Integration™️.

the stuff I want to put together and run from our BBN control panel includes:
  • radar
  • sonar / fishfinder (especially if I can overlay the former onto charts)
  • VHF (would this include an AIS transmitter?)
  • other two-way radios (I'm a General class Ham, if that helps)
  • information from the Victron power gear aboard the boat (she's all electric with a 48V motor)
  • stereo system
  • stretch goal - maybe a relay panel for things like operating the horn, lights, etc.??

TIA for any suggestions.
There is extensive Supported Hardware section in BBN OS Documentation

https://bareboat-necessities.github....orted_hardware

Radar - Check radars supported by OpenCPN radar plugin. It can overlay over a chart.

Sonar - You are almost out of luck here. There is almost none with open specs of their protocols. There is only one with only some open source software which is POC quality.

VHF - for receiving you can you SDR stick and some SDR software on BBN OS image.
For transmitting… Well pi doesn't even have audio input to plug microphone.

AIS - receiver dAISy AIS. For transmitting MAIANA. But since you are on US lake not sure how it’s appropriate to have Polish issued MMSI.

Radio. There are many HAM programs included in FULL image of BBN OS. You can even run AirMail on wine in it. There is chapter in BBN OS docs.
There are weather fax decoders, satellite weather decoders, grib receiving (over internet or radio), Inmarsat STD-C, NavTex decoders. You need good radio and appropriate antennas.

Victron - good support in SignalK and Victron Venus web app is included in BBN OS image.

Stereo System - output audio to speakers and there are many programs included in BBN OS. You will be able to play Spotify or other music from a smart phone to speakers via pi over WiFi or Bluetooth.

Digital switching - some have done it with SignalK and sonoff smart relays. You can check Facebook group ‘Raspberry Pi on boats’. With HomeAssistant too. (Also included in BBN Full image)

A lot of things can be done with esp32, like m5stack
mgrouch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-06-2024, 21:49   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2024
Posts: 252
Re: Starting from Scratch - Recommended Gear? (Radar, Sonar/FF, Computing, Radio{s})

The answer really depends on your level of technical chops. If I was looking for what I think you're proposing, I wouldn't try to piece it together with a bunch of disparate systems. The end result will not feel cohesive, even if it technically works.

So, I would determine a lingua franca and build my own interface to a server that bridged the various services. And, I would give each system its own "converter", probably using something like an ESP32. Those converters would interface with the system in question, and send/receive data in some common format, like JSON.

Then, the server can connect to these converters using a common API-like interface, and the server also has a variety of connection methods for communicating with the converters including direct wiring (serial), Bluetooth, or wifi. By designing the system this way, it makes the system modular and much easier to troubleshoot and test.

I design systems all the time that need to use a variety of protocols and data formats, and believe me, this is the way to do it. The server can then see data from a variety of sources in a uniform format, and also send data/commands to systems using a uniform protocol/format. Otherwise, you just end up with a patchworked mess.

This is how I would do it, but I also do this sort of thing all the time. If that's not in your wheelhouse, then you are probably looking at the patchwork approach. I think you could make this work OpenCPN being your workhorse UI, and using a clever combination of plugins. I think the overall UX will be clunky, but maybe you can tweak it to your liking.

To me, one key element to a satisfying UI/UX is to have IO components dedicated to specific tasks. For example, a physical button that takes you to your "Comms" screen, or a bank of LEDs that indicate status of various systems. And, to get that level of UX refinement will probably take some custom hardware and software development.
Foswick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-06-2024, 13:27   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2024
Posts: 3
Re: Starting from Scratch - Recommended Gear? (Radar, Sonar/FF, Computing, Radio{s})

Quote:
Originally Posted by mgrouch View Post
There is extensive Supported Hardware section in BBN OS Documentation

https://bareboat-necessities.github....orted_hardware
this is very helpful, thanks -- for some reason I hadn't seen this page earlier when I was looking through the docs.

Quote:
Radar - Check radars supported by OpenCPN radar plugin. It can overlay over a chart.
looking at the documentation it seems like your best bet for a bargain is Raymarine units that are known to be supported, although it's not clear what to do with the cable that comes down from the scanner to interface it with e.g. a Raspberry Pi (or how to feed it the power it would require). https://busse-yachtshop.de/pdf/rayma...D218-RD424.pdf I'm guessing there's some kind of breakout cable for this?

Quote:
AIS - receiver dAISy AIS. For transmitting MAIANA. But since you are on US lake not sure how it’s appropriate to have Polish issued MMSI.
does this mean there's only one supported way to transmit AIS and it's Polish?

Quote:
Digital switching - some have done it with SignalK and sonoff smart relays. You can check Facebook group ‘Raspberry Pi on boats’. With HomeAssistant too. (Also included in BBN Full image)
this is also really helpful, thanks.

Quote:
A lot of things can be done with esp32, like m5stack
oooh, this is interesting 👀 I've actually been tinkering with M5Stack stuff myself already recently. what are you thinking here?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Foswick
The answer really depends on your level of technical chops. If I was looking for what I think you're proposing, I wouldn't try to piece it together with a bunch of disparate systems. The end result will not feel cohesive, even if it technically works.

So, I would determine a lingua franca and build my own interface to a server that bridged the various services. And, I would give each system its own "converter", probably using something like an ESP32. Those converters would interface with the system in question, and send/receive data in some common format, like JSON.
it sounds like you've already done something like this? put it this way: if I have chops, they are way more "technical" than they are "boat." haven't really done much with ESP32s yet (just goofing around with LED strips) but am interested to learn.

although, your description makes me wonder -- why reinvent the wheel, couldn't all of this be done as software that's part of BBN/OpenCPN? plugins or similar? you mention UX considerations but it seems to me that's mostly a matter of making things play nicely with OpenCPN's existing UX.
starkruzr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-06-2024, 15:25   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2024
Posts: 252
Re: Starting from Scratch - Recommended Gear? (Radar, Sonar/FF, Computing, Radio{s})

Quote:
Originally Posted by starkruzr View Post
it sounds like you've already done something like this?
I've done a lot of similar projects. I think the thing most similar to this is a dashboard for a very technical EV. It is also comprised of a bunch of disparate systems that don't necessarily talk to each other seamlessly, but which need to be drawn together into a single "command center".

[QUOTE=starkruzr;3908815]although, your description makes me wonder -- why reinvent the wheel, couldn't all of this be done as software that's part of BBN/OpenCPN? plugins or similar? you mention UX considerations but it seems to me that's mostly a matter of making things play nicely with OpenCPN's existing UX.[/QUOTE

I think that's a completely reasonable direction to go. And, there is definitely momentum in the direction of devices having a single touchscreen and no other UI. There is a lot to say for this approach, but the main advantage is that you can change your entire UI with software. The absence of physical buttons, switches, knobs, or specialized displays means that all of this is customizable with software.

But, when we start to look at useability surveys, folks almost always indicate greater satisfaction and exhibit improved productivity when commonly-accessed items (input or output) has a dedicated physical component. And, useability further improves when that component has tactile and audible feedback.

Put in more plain English, a button that clicks is better than a place you tap on a touchscreen. Both do the job, but the latter requires more attention and is more subject to unintended input. Likewise, if the heading is displayed an a dedicated instrument that you can glance at any time, this is almost universally more satisfactory than having this information appear only on certain screens and/or not in a consistent location.

Put even more simply, despite the devices we increasingly use, people are hardwired to interact in an analog way with an analog world.

I think the best way to illustrate this is with the keyboard. No one likes typing on a touchscreen. You "can" do it, but it takes more concentration, is more subject to mistakes, and just plain doesn't feel good. People like keys that are at very predictable and fixed locations and which provide positive tactile and audible feedback.

So, that's part of what I am saying - just that combining everything onto a single screen won't result in a very satisfying interface. It will work, though.

The other part of what I am saying is that if you try to consolidate your systems all within OpenCPN, then you have a lot of "moving parts" that are not well isolated. If there is a problem, it can be more challenging to troubleshoot because each subsystem has its own set of rules and each plugin is free to navigate those rules in its own way.

Again, you "can" make it work. But, I would much prefer to make sure every subsystem communicates with the central server using a common protocol and data format. That way, you can look at each subsystem and verify that it is doing what it is supposed to be doing without having to interpret different communication paradigms. The knotmeter expresses speed the same way your battery monitor expresses voltage.

Then, the server just needs to be able to parse one specific data format over one specific protocol. In other words, it talks to the knotmeter the same way it talks to the battery monitor.

It is all about being able to easily verify that each piece of the system is doing its job.

Again, I think it is completely valid to do this all through OpenCPN with plugins and use a single touchscreen as the primary UI. It just isn't the way I would do it.
Foswick is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
gear, men, radar, radio

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
wanted: Manual Zercom RTS Sonar (Real Time Sonar) KrazySailing Marine Electronics 0 29-07-2020 13:53
Distributed Computing to help in search operations socaldmax Cruising News & Events 18 26-04-2015 19:52
Integrating boat computing into one unit forsailbyowner Marine Electronics 1 31-08-2013 12:20
Cruising computing - Help - confused ribbony Marine Electronics 2 27-01-2013 02:03

Advertise Here


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:05.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.