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New networked electronics systems. Questions?

Old 02-08-2007, 07:32 PM
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Default New networked electronics systems. Questions?

I know there have been lots of changes since I last had rigging choices for electronics. (2002).

Seems like most manufacturers have gone to some type of network where multiple inputs or more than one display is required.

This has me and my fishing friend both concerned and confused. And raises many questions about how manufacturers seem to be headed off in different directions.

Direct PC networking is not an issue for us, because we specifically never plan or do not wish to take a PC to the boats. But I expect two displays. One principally for the finder, the other initially for GPS and maybe later expanded to handle RADAR as well.

We want all my way points, trip information and all on removable data cards than can be read by a standard PC 7 in one card reader. And we want good PC software to help us with the GPS portion of trip planning, way point management, track logs and such. Also, we want to be able to email data files between us. Also, we want to be able to take charts on a card with way points and all and plug that into the electronics of either of our two boats.

Neither his boat or mine is yet rigged, mine not bought, his not delivered. We are just beginning to decide our mutual preferences on electronics.

One of our big concerns is the reliability of all this new networked wiring and the related plugs/contacts over time in a salt environment. Any opinion of the quality of these from different manufacturers appreciated. We fear the worst after a couple of years.

Also, we believe there is one thing to see a nice screen at a boat show and another thing to hear from people that have this stuff in use.

Actually both of us are leaning toward Lowrance for FF and GPS. Realizing the future radar may tie us into them as well. (No room for a third display on either boat.)

All the cons and pros on separate individual functions (FF, GPS, RADAR) are discussed in most of the below threads to the point of no end.

The people we want to hear from is those that have a similar system operating that uses all of them in a networked system .

One boat is a 24' foot bay/near shore CC with single 250HP outboard. The future boat will be a 26-30 CC ' rigged for kings and occasional blue water out to about 65 miles with twin 250 OB's. The smaller boat will use about 5-6" color displays. The larger boat will have about 7-9" displays.

Feedback?
Old 02-08-2007, 09:08 PM
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Default RE: New networked electronics systems. Questions?

DogTired - 2/8/2007 7:32 PM

We want all my way points, trip information and all on removable data cards than can be read by a standard PC 7 in one card reader. And we want good PC software to help us with the GPS portion of trip planning, way point management, track logs and such. Also, we want to be able to email data files between us. Also, we want to be able to take charts on a card with way points and all and plug that into the electronics of either of our two boats.
How about a standard network protocol instead of the proprietary networking that mfg's use ?

IMO all of these requests are legitimate. I'm not aware of any system that offers all of these features

The closest may be Raymarine with either the C or E series and their Raytech Planner Software

http://www.raymarine.com/raymarine/D...535&Parent=710

While I agree that 2 displays are the way to go, it could be argued that 2 side by side displays need not be networked. 2 RM C Series (stand alone) displays could be configured as 1 with radar, the other with FF and both with GPS. This setup provides great functionality, redundancy without the expense of a networked system. Optionally 2 E series (networked) would provide complete flexibility.

btw, like most thing in life, bigger is better with displays. Look for 8" - 12" displays. IMO 5"-7" displays are too small for boats of that size





Old 02-09-2007, 06:57 AM
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Default RE: New networked electronics systems. Questions?

DogTired - 2/9/2007 2:32 AM

One of our big concerns is the reliability of all this new networked wiring and the related plugs/contacts over time in a salt environment. Any opinion of the quality of these from different manufacturers appreciated. We fear the worst after a couple of years.
If you're leaning towards Lowrance units then you would be talking about installing an NMEA 2000 network. Lowrance calls their implementation of NMEA 2000 network LowranceNet. NMEA 2000 network is a good choice because one of the major design considerations has been that all cabling and connectors need to stand the harsh marine environment. An additional benefit of NMEA 2000 is that many of the devices will take the power from NMEA 2000 network. This results in less wiring overall and hence potentially fewer electrical problems.

Lowrance hasn't adhered strictly to NMEA 2000 standard when designing their connectors, i.e. the connectors are proprietary. I'm getting ready to install my system using Lowrance components. Having seen the cables and connectors, I'm not positive that LowranceNet connectors are fully waterproof, even if NMEA 2000 standard specifies they should be. Other than that I think the cabling will stand up to the task.

If you want to be absolutely certain, you could replace Lowrance cables and T-connectors in the network backbone with e.g. Maretron cables and T-connectors, which adhere strictly to the standard. You would then connect your Lowrance equipment to the backbone with LowranceNet-to-NMEA 2000 adapter cables. Another alternative would be to use marine grade heat shrink tubing with adhesive lining to waterproof each of the connections. Mechanically LowranceNet connectors seem sturdy and reliable. The pins are quite thin though, and you have to be carefull not to bend them when making the connections. But this goes for all marine electronics cables.

I've seen someone mention that Lowrance would be replacing their proprietary connectors with standard NMEA 2000 connectors, and certain illustrations in their manuals for 2007 models indicate this would be the case. I haven't seen the new models yet, so I'm not sure if this actually is true. The cables I got roughly two weeks ago were still of the old proprietary variety.

What you have to realize is that you cannot share chart data & radar image over NMEA 2000 between two displays. GPS position information, waypoints and a multitude of information from other NMEA 2000 compatible sensors can however be shared across the network.
Old 02-09-2007, 08:22 AM
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Default Re: New networked electronics systems. Questions?

In re: PC software - Google Maptech, Inc - Chartplotter II - free download - Plan your cruise at home - stores waypoints that can be loaded ito your GPS. A little bit technical on switching some electronic chart formats to standard, but can be done if you use the help files - NOMEA charts are available on disk/electronic - convertable to program requirements, place them in the program chart folder - and both charts and GPS data can be loaded into your GPS Try it, the program is free, it you don't like it - blow it out.

NJM
Old 02-11-2007, 12:30 PM
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Default Re: New networked electronics systems. Questions?

Looking closer at Raymarine. But how does the Ray finder do vs Lowrance. We both have found in the past that Lowrance has superior FF technology as opposed to most others.

We like the idea that Raymarine seems fully compatable with NMEA 2000 and are somewhat discouraged that Lowrance may have chosen a propietary way to go on their network.

NMEA 2000 seems to be the industry adopted standard, so why would anyone choose a manufacturer's network that did not comply with that?

More?

Old 02-11-2007, 02:28 PM
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Default Re: New networked electronics systems. Questions?

DogTired - 2/11/2007 7:30 PM

Looking closer at Raymarine. But how does the Ray finder do vs Lowrance. We both have found in the past that Lowrance has superior FF technology as opposed to most others.

We like the idea that Raymarine seems fully compatable with NMEA 2000 and are somewhat discouraged that Lowrance may have chosen a propietary way to go on their network.

NMEA 2000 seems to be the industry adopted standard, so why would anyone choose a manufacturer's network that did not comply with that?

More?
DogTired,

I went to the Helsinki International Boat Show today. Local Lowrance dealer didn't have the new models on display yet, but he was able to confirm that Lowrance has indeed replaced their proprietary connectors with NMEA 2000 compatible micro series connectors for 2007 models. This obviously goes for the LowranceNet cables and connectors as well. Adapter cables to connect new equipment with old style proprietary connectors will also be available.

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