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Lowrance connectivity questions

Old 04-22-2008, 04:50 AM
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Default Lowrance connectivity questions

Hello to all.

I am trying to decide on the best electronics package for a new small center console boat. So far it seems that a Lowrance LMS series would be the best choice for sonar/plotter combo with good features and decent price. However I am having quite a hard time figuring out the possible connectivity options when it comes to choosing a VHF radio.

The user manual for LMS-527c iGPS states that the GPS position information is not transmitted out to the NMEA2000 network. Therefore if I would get LMS-527c and the LVR-880 radio, I would need to connect them via NMEA0183 in order for the radio to receive position information (confirmed with Lowrance support). In that case, would the plotter also be able to receive DSC info from the radio via NMEA0183 or does the NMEA2000 network have to be connected as well?

Another option would be getting the LMS-525c with the LGC-3000 external GPS. That would give me position info on the NMEA2000 network for both plotter and LVR-880 radio and allow the radio to send DSC info to the plotter as well. But in case I want to add another NMEA0183 device like AIS or a different radio, I am not sure if I would have NMEA0183 position data available. Can anyone confirm if the LMS-525c is capable of outputting NMEA0183 position data when connected to the LGC-3000 via NMEA2000?

Digging trough different forums I am now fairly confident that the LMS units can receive and use standard DSC and DSE data sentences via NMEA0183, so different DSC-capable VHF radios could be connected, but if anyone can confirm or disprove that, it would also be great.

I have e-mailed Lowrance support with all these questions as well, but they have not given any clear answers, so any info you can share will be apprecieted.
Old 04-22-2008, 06:23 AM
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Default Re: Lowrance connectivity questions

Lowrance lms do not show dsc info when using 0183. It can send over the 0183 connection (to a radio etc ) but, they use an older 0183 code so it doesn't work when receiving position info from a radio. Lowrance is on version 2. The rest of the world is using version 3. I tried to do the same thing last year and it just didn't work.
Old 04-23-2008, 04:48 AM
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Default Re: Lowrance connectivity questions

tcm - 4/22/2008 4:22 PM
The latest software updates(2.3.0, a free download) installed on internal GPS units(lms 527) will now output their GPS data on a NMEA 2000 network.
Interesting, just a week ago Lowrance support told me that it won't work... But then again, the folks answering e-mails at Lowrance seem to have a policy of not spending more than a minute with each question, so they could have just forgotten about the recent software upgrade.

Thanks for the info, that's certainly helpful to know


edyer - 4/22/2008 4:23 PM

Lowrance lms do not show dsc info when using 0183. It can send over the 0183 connection (to a radio etc ) but, they use an older 0183 code so it doesn't work when receiving position info from a radio.
I am aware of the NMEA0183 version problem, but can't find any info on the actual differences between the DSC and DSE sentence formats in v. 2.x and 3.01. Apparently version 3 introduced the high-speed communication option and changed the format of some sentences, but I can't find any info specific to DSC.
Lowrance LVR-250 is outputting DSC and DSE sentences and I would think that it can work with the LMS, so does that mean it is also using NMEA0183 version 2.x?

Unfortunately many manufacturers do not include the NMEA version info in their specs, so it is almost impossible to determine which units would work here. For example it looks like the Northstar/Navman plotters are also using NMEA version 2, so one could assume that their radios would also work with the Lowrance units. Makes sense, since they are all in the Navico group, but can someone confirm it?
Old 04-23-2008, 07:09 AM
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Default Re: Lowrance connectivity questions

I don't think it's a dsc issue. I think the issue is the inability of the lowrance unit to display waypoints or coordinates under the 0183 protocol. The sentences ( version2,3) are probably the same but what the unit can do with them may be different.

You can share waypoints with 2000 (it's a menu option), but that ability is not included with the 0183 connections.

Last year I tried at length to network an icom 422 to my lowrance units. The only way to connect them is with the 0183 connections. Originally lowrance said "oh yea sure it will work". That was one of those 60 second phone calls you were referring to. After plenty of attempts to get the thing to receive and display waypoints or even coordinates I gave up.

So now I just do it manually with the crosshairs on the lowrance. For what it's worth though the ability to get other peoples info is not something I need to do often. Only when me and a buddy are trying to pass on secret fishing info. It might be handy in an emergency but it doesn't take long to read the icom display and then input a waypoint.

The simple answer is to use their radio which will connect to a 2000 network.

Old 04-24-2008, 01:33 AM
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Default Re: Lowrance connectivity questions

edyer - 4/23/2008 5:09 PM
I don't think it's a dsc issue. I think the issue is the inability of the lowrance unit to display waypoints or coordinates under the 0183 protocol. The sentences ( version2,3) are probably the same but what the unit can do with them may be different.
Well, the whole issue is really strange. In this thread one user is saying that he has been able to receive position info on LCX-19C and 113C units. Another user in the same thread is quoting an "official answer" saying that Lowrance software does not support DSC/DSE sentences. At the same time Lowrance is selling the LVR-250 radio and clearly specifying in the manual that it does output DSC/DSE and supports "high-resolution position polling via NMEA 0183 output to chartplotters". Hard to believe that the position polling function on the Lowrance radio would work only with non-Lowrance plotters...



edyer - 4/23/2008 5:09 PM
You can share waypoints with 2000 (it's a menu option), but that ability is not included with the 0183 connections.
Waypoint sharing is something different. That would be useful if you have more than one plotter connected to the NMEA2000 bus, then when you set a waypoint on one plotter you can see it also on others. But that has nothing to do with DSC.



edyer - 4/23/2008 5:09 PM
So now I just do it manually with the crosshairs on the lowrance.
Yeah, I probably won't have that much of a need for automatic position display either, so if it works - great, if not - no big deal. But it just bugs me that I can't get a clear answer anywhere. Shouldn't be rocket science for Lowrance to make clear specifications available for their products. [img]../jscripts/tiny_mce/plugins/emotions/images/smiley-undecided.gif[/img]

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