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bdbcat 18-09-2009 17:57

Help / FAQ
This thread is reserved for general questions regarding the functions and features of opencpn, in its current RELEASED state.

It is intended that this is where a new user will land first, and hopefully answer most or all of her questions about initial configuration and operation of opencpn. This include things like "Where do I get charts?... What is an ENC?...How do I <blank>?"

Over time the thread will generate a list of FAQ's, by definition. These will be extracted at some point, and split off into a separate document or thread.

I would very much like it if some existing experienced forum members would take a proactive role in working with this thread. You know who you are.

Otherwise, it will be of little use to new users or to anybody, really.

I will be monitoring this thread only infrequently, and contributing rarely.


cagney 20-09-2009 03:35

Where to download OpenCPN ??
Click here to go to Sourceforge for download.
Here you will find the latest stable releases for Linux, Mac and Windows.
For Linux there is a precompiled .deb for Debian, Ubuntu and similar distros. For other Linux distributions such as Red Hat Fedora, you have to compile from source with the usual configure, make, make install commands.
For Windows download and install the ..._Setup.exe file.
The Mac releases are lagging behind due to lack of users and available hardware. If you are a knowledgeable Mac user contact "bdcat".
Right now the latest stable version is 1.3.2 for Linux and Windows and 1.3.0 for Mac. The 1.3.4 version is due to be released in the near future. Generally, the latest stable version is the one with the highest number.
Ask questions related to downloading installing and getting started here.

Beta Development Version
This is for information only and is discussed furher in the "beta" thread.
OpenCPN is developed at a fast pace, with new features introduced all the time.
If you feel like trying the development version, discussed in the "beta" thread you can download precompiled Windows beta here:
Windows opencpn beta
For Linux (and I suppose Mac) download the latest source with CVS and compile as usual.
Instructions here: OpenCPN - Develop

Don't ask questions about these test releases here in this thread.
Go to the "beta" thread in this sub-forum for a discussion about the latest development. It is a good idea to first read the posts about the current beta. If nobody mentions the problems that you came across, go ahead and post to help in finding possible bugs.


cagney 20-09-2009 08:39

Where can I get charts to use with OpenCPN??
The short answer is go to this website
There you will find download links to all free, publicly available charts.

The longer answer is.
There are a limited number of free charts publicly available for downloading:
US have made all their (non military) charts available to the public.
Brazil make all their raster/bsb3 charts available to the public.
Offshore vector charts for the South China Sea is available.
Some European countries make vector charts available for their inland waters.
Australia has one vector chart available for testing purposes.

That is it, as far as I know. feel free to enlighten me.....
If you think that this list is to short.......feel free to lobby your local politicians. Good arguments, at least for free offshore charts in busy waters, comes from East Asia Hydrographic Commission.

Of course OpenCPN works with a lot of charts, all BSB3 charts with files of type bsb/kap and nos/geo, all vector charts made to the unencrypted S57 standard, and finally with the old Cmap charts CM93-2. All these are "old" file formats, in the sense that commercial vendors has moved on to encrypted, copy protected formats. If you are lucky you already have old cd:s containing charts suitable for OpenCPN, or know someone to buy them from.

Please don't ask questions about downloading charts, of dubious legal status, from the Internet. This is not the place, due to this forums rules.


idpnd 20-09-2009 08:55

Linux compile from CVS instructions
I salvaged this from the large thread (contributed by Manimaul, thx):

1. Get required programs, remove old install

sudo apt-get install build-essential checkinstall libwxgtk2.8-dev
sudo apt-get remove opencpn

2. Download source code from cvs.

cvs login
##Just hit enter when it asks for a password##
cvs -z3 co -P opencpn
mv opencpn opencpn_$(date +%m-%d-%y_%H.%M%p)_cvs

3. Build it

cd opencpn_$(date +%m-%d-%y_%H.%M%p)_cvs
./configure --prefix=/opt

4. Install it

  sudo make install
OR you could do this to make and install your own .deb

sudo checkinstall -D make install
5. Create Desktop Icon

  sudo wget -O /usr/share/icons/opencpn.png
sudo wget -O /usr/share/applications/opencpn.desktop
cp /usr/share/applications/opencpn.desktop ~/Desktop

cagney 21-09-2009 08:46

Chart formats supported by OpenCPN
This is a slightly edited post from Dave on the "beta" thread.
Original post here.

Opencpn supports the following:

BSB / RNC / KAP Versions 1, 2 and 3.
BSB Version 4 not supported due to proprietary encryption algorithms.

CM93 Version 2

NOS/GEO Version 1 for sure. Subsequent versions probably supported. Needs test. This format is obsolete for new charts.

S57/S52 (ENC).
S63 Encrypted ENC is not supported.


cagney 21-09-2009 09:03

Where to download OpenCPN - 2
There is a precompiled RPM for PCLinuxOS available here.
Congratulations to for being the first Linux repository to publish a prepackaged version of OpenCPN.
Reports requested if this works for other rpm based Linux distributions.
Thanks to 50/50 for reporting this.


bhcva 21-09-2009 10:30

NMEA from Opencpn??
It's hard to believe that I've been unable to get anyone on this forum to tell me whether or not Opencpn is transmitting nmea data while navigating an activated route. I have a serial to usb converter which converts the nmea from Seaclear and transmits it just fine through the raymarine seatalk-nmea converter. The next waypoint is received on my radar screen. I'd love to do that with Opencpn Anyone???? Thanks, Bruce

bdbcat 21-09-2009 15:19


opencpn transmits the NMEA message RMB to the configured autopilot port during route navigation. This is how my Raymarine autopilot works in NAV mode.

On my onboard system configuration, waypoints also appear on my NMEA input Furuno radar in sequence.

Do you know what NMEA sentence your Raymarine radar is expecting? Do the waypoints make it to your autopilot, if so wired?


bhcva 22-09-2009 07:18

NMEA out
Thanks for the reply Dave. I'd have to do some research to know what the Raymarine radar is looking for, but reportedly SeaClear outputs APA,APB,RMB,BOD,BWC,WPL,and RTE. I assume the WPL is what the radar (and chartplotter) are using. They are being transmitted by SeaClear in upper case format and via a serial port. I have to use a serial to usb converter. Perhaps Opencpn is using USB?...I hadn't thought to try that. I don't have a way to test that at home. Bruce

blubaju 22-09-2009 09:36

RAYMARINE Smartpilots & NMEA
Raymarine "Smartpilot" Series accept:
APB cross track error, bearing to waypoint, waypoint number
BWC bearing to waypoint, distance to waypoint, way point number, time
BWR bearing to waypoint, distance to waypoint, way point number, time
GGA latitude/longitude, time
GLL latitude/longitude, time
HDG heading
HDM heading
HDT heading
MWV apparent wind angle, apparent wind speed
RMA course over ground (COG), speed over ground (SOG), latitude/longitude, variation
RMB cross track error, bearing to waypoint, distance to waypoint, waypoint number
RMC course over ground (COG), speed over ground (SOG), latitude/longitude, time, variation
VHW speed through water, heading
VTG course over ground (COG), speed over ground (SOG)
VWR relative apparent wind angle, relative apparent wind speed
XTE cross track error
ZDA time, date

SmartPilot computer NMEA outputs*

BWC bearing to waypoint, distance to waypoint, waypoint number, time
GLL latitude/longitude, time
HDG heading
HDM heading
HDT heading
VTG course over ground* (COG), speed over ground* (SOG)

blubaju 22-09-2009 09:51

RAYMARINE E-Series Classic
@ 4800, 9600, 38400


blubaju 22-09-2009 10:04

As the ethernet connection between PC & Ray E is very convenient I did not connect the NMEA yet, I'll do in the next few days.

bhcva 22-09-2009 11:57

NMEA out
Sorry...forgot to mention that there is no autopilot on the boat. The raymarine gear is the old SL72 and 620 chartplotter. Bruce

nono8888 22-09-2009 15:47

Hello, I isntall libwxbase2.8-dev but i am one error : sudo apt-get install build-essential checkinstall libwxgtk2.8-dev Lecture des listes de paquets... Fait Construction de l'arbre des dépendances Lecture des informations d'état... Fait build-essential est déjà la plus récente version disponible. checkinstall est déjà la plus récente version disponible. Certains paquets ne peuvent être installés. Ceci peut signifier que vous avez demandé l'impossible, ou bien, si vous utilisez la distribution unstable, que certains paquets n'ont pas encore été créés ou ne sont pas sortis d'Incoming. L'information suivante devrait vous aider à résoudre la situation*: Les paquets suivants contiennent des dépendances non satisfaites*: libwxgtk2.8-dev: Dépend: libwxbase2.8-dev (= mais ne sera pas installé E: Paquets défectueux Please help me, Jean-Nono

cheepguy 22-09-2009 18:06

How do I choose a compatible GPS and an AIS to work with OpenCPN?

I know they must be usb connectible. I do not own anything right now.
(Other than a laptop)

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