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Old 21-03-2020, 17:33   #1
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NMEA 0183 help (Lowrance primarily)

Hi friends,

I am trying to upgrade my electronics network without replacing the existing instruments that are difficult to install (Wind and depth transducers). I'm pretty handy with most things electronics/electrical, but hoping someone can shine some light on some confusion.

Here's a link to photos:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/E52ZhZtEiZXpRYBB6

My overall goal is:
- Stay on my existing NMEA 0183 network (GPS, sonar, wind, VHF)
- Add a dedicated display mounted on bulkhead to show Wind and Depth. I purchased the Garmin GMI 20 for this but haven't hooked it up yet.
- Add AIS and WiFi support for Navionics (Digital Yacht AIT3000)


Existing equipment

Lowrance Elite-5:
- Display
- Sonar transducer (Depth, water temp) - NMEA 0183

Question 1) Lowrance Wiring

Everything I can find about the Lowrance NMEA 0183 cables mentions a different color scheme than I have. There are two cables going into the Power/Data port on the back of the display, one is Red/Black and I've connected it to power, the other had 5 wires: Blue/Black, Yellow/White, and unshielded ground. (see the photo I linked above).

Here's the behavior I was able to deduce for the following connections. All other wires were disconnected from the terminal block unless mentioned below.

- Blue + ground = valid depth reading on display, no twtr
- Black + ground = valid depth reading on display, no twtr
- Yellow + Blue + ground = valid depth and twtr. (Removing black and white had no efffect)
- Yellow + ground = valid twtr, no depth
- Yellow + ground showed a steady 2.3v on volt meter.

Is anyone aware of a wiring diagram for these Lowrance instruments?

New Equipment

- Digital Yacht WND100 transducer (Wind) - NMEA 0183
- Digital Yacht AIT3000 which is the "hub" of the network. It provides 2 NMEA 0183 inputs/outputs, GPS, AIS, and creates a local WiFi network to connect to an app like Navionics
- Garmin GMI 20 MFD

Question 2) Multiplexing the wind data in

Once I have a grasp of the Lowrance wiring, I plan to multiplex it with the Wind data. Unfortunately, I confirmed with Digital Yacht that the Wind transducer does not have a NMEA LISTENER wire (it can only talk), which means I may need to buy a separate multiplexer unless it's possible that one pair of the Lowrance wires listed above are for LISTENING and I can aggregate the Wind data in with the Sonar. Once I know more about the Lowrance wiring, hopefully it'll become clear if I have access to a Listener or would need to buy a multiplexer.

This post already got pretty long, so I'll end it here. I'm open to any other suggestions that I may be overlooking!

Many thanks as always!
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Old 21-03-2020, 19:09   #2
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Re: NMEA 0183 help (Lowrance primarily)

what exactly do you have?

the plotter likely has one input pair and one output pair. it's wiring should be easy to find. not sure why you are trying to guess those. you'd need the color codes of each piece of equipment. and figure out what to connect together. none of them are going to color match.

I have no idea what instruments you have. are these screens with transducers, and the screens have nmea 183 out? if each of the depth and wind is nmea 183. you'd only be able to feed one into the plotter. and need a multiplexer to get both.
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Old 21-03-2020, 19:30   #3
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Re: NMEA 0183 help (Lowrance primarily)

looking quikly at the manuals...

the AIS has one normal nmea input. and you have a nmea 183 depth sounder and a 183 wind? (why did you buy a new 183 wind?...)

you will need a multiplexer to feed depth and wind into. feed the output of the multiplxer to the AIS input. I would probably go into the high speed port.

use the low speed output of the AIS to feed the vhf.

you won't be able to feed AIS to the 5" plotter (if it even takes it), as the plotter will be set to low speed to feed depth out.

I would consider returning the nmea 183 wind for a nmea 2000 one. and not buy a multiplexer.


more thinking. the AIS does not convert nmea 183 to nmea 2000. so you still have no way of showing data on the gmi 20.

you are pretty screwed at this point
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Old 22-03-2020, 10:50   #4
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Re: NMEA 0183 help (Lowrance primarily)

I think the only option is to buy two actisense nmea 183 to 2000 converters.

Plotter Output to actisense to nmea 2000 bus

Wind output to actisense to nmea 2000 bus.

Ais to nmea 2000 bus

Gmi to nmea 2000 bus.

Then every thing is on nmea 2000 bus. And the gmi and wifi should have the depth , gps, and wind data.

At that point you can see if the ais will output nmea 183 gps data to feed to the vhf. If not you can double up the plotter output to feed the vhf and actisense. But then the vhf will only have pos with the plotter on.

I still don’t think you are going to get ais to the plotter If you want to get depth out of it. If you set the elite 5 to highspeed. You may get depth info comming out. At highspeed. But if you buy a highspeed actisense converter. I doubt it will convert depth info nmea 2000. But if it it did. That would allow you to send ais data to the elite 5 at highspeed on the input.

You’d have to do some testing. And but extra ($$) things to test with.

I’m still confused if you have a nmea 183 transducer feeding the Lowrance. Or a standard transducer plugged into the lowrance. And then trying to feed183 out
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Old 22-03-2020, 13:10   #5
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Re: NMEA 0183 help (Lowrance primarily)

Thanks for the help smac999.

You raise a good question about why I bought a NMEA 0183 wind transducer. I can see if the wind transducer I bought can be returned (I haven't installed it yet), and purchase a N2000 one instead.

That leaves my Lowrance sonar transducer as the only remaining 0183 instrument that I care about.

I see Garmin used to make a NMEA 2000 Transducer Adapter Kit but they've discontinued it.

Are there any other options for converting my the sonar transducer that came with my Lowrance Elite-5 to NMEA 2000? Unfortunately it's very difficult to get to so I can't actually see the device to get a photo.

The Elite-5 manual say it's a 83/200 kHz transducer.
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Old 22-03-2020, 13:46   #6
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Re: NMEA 0183 help (Lowrance primarily)

I should add that I'm not concerned about getting AIS data on the Lowrance Elite-5. I don't think it supports it anyway, and I use Navionics as my main chart software.

So my question about converting the analog transducer data to NMEA2000 was in case I ever get rid of the Lowrance Elite-5 display entirely but still want access to the transducer data.
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