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Simrad GoFree Using a Generic Wireless Router

Old 04-13-2013, 08:09 PM
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Default Simrad GoFree Using a Generic Wireless Router

I searched and didn't see anything on this, so figured I would contribute. I didn't want to use the Simrad GoFree "Wifi-1" as I have other things (the Fusion IP-700) that use wireless as well. As such, I wanted to figure out how to patch simrad network into my onboard Linksys.

Works great.

Simrad's network is basically a little ethernet network. It is a direct connect. I happened to have an adapter that is for my 6kw radar system, that is a Simrad network connection converted to the radar's (old Northstar) RJ45 connection. I pulled that and took the plunge of just plugging that right into the Linksys router. Worked immediately, and I have full control of my NSS12 on my iPad.

So, the next real step is the pinouts as that little adapter is VERY hard to find plus is like $50 and that is stupid. And really, it is just four wires and is an easy splice. Assuming you know which is which to connect.

Using the actual pinout numbers from the Simrad manual, and on the RJ45 side looking directly at the metal blades on an RJ45 connector, assuming 1 is the left and 8 is the right, the wires would then be:

#3 is orange white and that connects to simrad network #4
#6 is orange and that connects to simrad network #3
#7 is blue/white and that connects to simrad network #2
#8 is blue and that connects to simrad network #1

Enjoy - this is an easy mod.

PS: most of the Linksys routers are actually 12V. $40, cut off the power adapter and direct wire to your fuse panel and you have wireless in your boat that you can fully configure.

PPS, if you want to do this but are scared, just buy these two part numbers and you have a Simrad cable with no cuts that does the same thing:
000-10438-001 Ethernet Adapter Cable (RRP $39) plus an Ethernet cable to run from the adapter to NSS Display (length dependent):
1.8m is 000-0127-51 ($29.95)
4.5m is 000-0127-29 ($29.95)

Last edited by JasonSTL739; 04-13-2013 at 08:24 PM.
Old 04-13-2013, 08:34 PM
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Ah - if you want to just make it really simple; take a Simrad network cable, cut one side of it off, and wire the colors to an RJ45 jack as indicated. The colors are exact match in the actual simrad cable. No need to map to the yellow 5 pin.

Old 04-13-2013, 09:03 PM
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MikroTik routers operate usually from 8-30 volt - and are both cheaper and faster than anything ever to come out of Linksys. But they do require the operator to have a bit more talent than setting up a Linksys.

I have mine setup to automatically connect to my home WIFIi when close to that (via bridging) - then 2nd is if harbour has WIFI - then it acts as a Client and opens VPN connection to home - and if out of WiFi Range - then it uses 3G and opens VPN connection to home. And all is fully automatic.
Old 04-13-2013, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by kaz911 View Post
MikroTik routers operate usually from 8-30 volt - and are both cheaper and faster than anything ever to come out of Linksys. But they do require the operator to have a bit more talent than setting up a Linksys.

I have mine setup to automatically connect to my home WIFIi when close to that (via bridging) - then 2nd is if harbour has WIFI - then it acts as a Client and opens VPN connection to home - and if out of WiFi Range - then it uses 3G and opens VPN connection to home. And all is fully automatic.
Agreed. In my case I'm running aftermarket firmware on the linksys so I'm doing similar, but figured I would leave all that out of the mix to keep it simple.
Old 04-14-2013, 12:41 AM
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Originally Posted by JasonSTL739 View Post
I searched and didn't see anything on this, so figured I would contribute. I didn't want to use the Simrad GoFree "Wifi-1" as I have other things (the Fusion IP-700) that use wireless as well. As such, I wanted to figure out how to patch simrad network into my onboard Linksys.

Works great.

Simrad's network is basically a little ethernet network. It is a direct connect. I happened to have an adapter that is for my 6kw radar system, that is a Simrad network connection converted to the radar's (old Northstar) RJ45 connection. I pulled that and took the plunge of just plugging that right into the Linksys router. Worked immediately, and I have full control of my NSS12 on my iPad.

So, the next real step is the pinouts as that little adapter is VERY hard to find plus is like $50 and that is stupid. And really, it is just four wires and is an easy splice. Assuming you know which is which to connect.

Using the actual pinout numbers from the Simrad manual, and on the RJ45 side looking directly at the metal blades on an RJ45 connector, assuming 1 is the left and 8 is the right, the wires would then be:

#3 is orange white and that connects to simrad network #4
#6 is orange and that connects to simrad network #3
#7 is blue/white and that connects to simrad network #2
#8 is blue and that connects to simrad network #1

Enjoy - this is an easy mod.

PS: most of the Linksys routers are actually 12V. $40, cut off the power adapter and direct wire to your fuse panel and you have wireless in your boat that you can fully configure.

PPS, if you want to do this but are scared, just buy these two part numbers and you have a Simrad cable with no cuts that does the same thing:
000-10438-001 Ethernet Adapter Cable (RRP $39) plus an Ethernet cable to run from the adapter to NSS Display (length dependent):
1.8m is 000-0127-51 ($29.95)
4.5m is 000-0127-29 ($29.95)
Let me get this straight, are you saying that you can just put a plain vanilla Wi-Fi access point on your network (and not just a Simrad Go-Free) and then for example use the Go Free app on an iPad that is connected to that same Wi-Fi network to control/display from your NSS? The only issue is patching from the proprietary Simrad ethernet connector? That is the opposite of what I have read in many places, though it makes perfect sense that Simrad could not be doing anything special inside the Go Free Wi-Fi router and is just a cabling limitation.
Old 04-14-2013, 04:00 AM
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A standard WiFi routers or access points can be used, but remember standard WiFi boxes are not waterproof (WiFi-1 is IPx7) and not ruggedized for use in a small boat like WiFi-1 is.

Standard RJ45 connectors are not suited for use in smaller or open boats. RJ45 don't have the necessary resistance towards vibrations, shocks and humidity in such environments. I have seen how standard RJ45 (without extra protection) fails in normal marine environmental product qualifications.

To use RJ45 in such environments protection like a Buccaneer is needed, but this can not be mated with a standard socket.



I prefer a round connector like the yellow Navico Ethernet connector over these modified RJ45 connectors for marine usage.
Old 04-14-2013, 04:34 AM
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Originally Posted by abbor View Post
A standard WiFi routers or access points can be used, but remember standard WiFi boxes are not waterproof (WiFi-1 is IPx7) and not ruggedized for use in a small boat like WiFi-1 is.

Standard RJ45 connectors are not suited for use in smaller or open boats. RJ45 don't have the necessary resistance towards vibrations, shocks and humidity in such environments. I have seen how standard RJ45 (without extra protection) fails in normal marine environmental product qualifications.

To use RJ45 in such environments protection like a Buccaneer is needed, but this can not be mated with a standard socket.



I prefer a round connector like the yellow Navico Ethernet connector over these modified RJ45 connectors for marine usage.
Good point. I have a very protected interior location in my cabin, however. A bigger issue for me is the requirement to have an NSS display in the network. Is there any prospect that some of the functional of the Go Free app might become available if there are just NSE displays?
Old 04-14-2013, 04:59 AM
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The current NSE will only support apps displaying digital information. The reason for this is the lack of mpeg encoder on the NSE x86 processor (Intel Atom), while NSS is using a smartphone type ARM based SoC with integrated mpeg encoder.
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Old 04-14-2013, 05:53 AM
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Originally Posted by abbor View Post
The current NSE will only support apps displaying digital information. The reason for this is the lack of mpeg encoder on the NSE x86 processor (Intel Atom), while NSS is using a smartphone type ARM based SoC with integrated mpeg encoder.
Thank you. Does "digital information" to which you refer include bridging to all the NMEA 2000 data available to the NSE from devices to which it is connected? That could be quite useful even without the full functionality of the Go Free app.
Old 04-14-2013, 06:01 AM
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Yes, digital information means NMEA 2000 data. There is no app available for this yet.
Old 04-14-2013, 07:33 AM
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Default Bluetooth?

Any way to hookup wireless on boat such that the bluetooth technology to smartphone works. That is, like in a car, when I get a phone call on my I phone, it is diverted to car speakers such that I can hear and talk hands free as if on speaker. Would be great on boat too no?
Old 04-14-2013, 07:45 AM
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It's not clear to me what you want, but Cobra offers Bluetooth based marine handsets for mobile phones.

http://www.cobramarine.com.au/marineproducts/mrf300.php
Old 04-14-2013, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by abbor View Post
Yes, digital information means NMEA 2000 data. There is no app available for this yet.
I became somewhat curious about all this and did a bit of searching about. It seems that NMEA0183 data from the NSE should already be accessible to apps that can be set up for TCP/IP such as iNavX. Since the NSE can bridge at least the basic NMEA 2000 PGNs to NMEA 0183 such as heading, GPS data, etc , that should mean I coukd put a wifi router on my ethernet network with the NSE displays and get all the data on my iPad running iNavX, which would then make it a full navigation tool.

Does this make sense to you?
Old 04-14-2013, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Nomans View Post
I became somewhat curious about all this and did a bit of searching about. It seems that NMEA0183 data from the NSE should already be accessible to apps that can be set up for TCP/IP such as iNavX. Since the NSE can bridge at least the basic NMEA 2000 PGNs to NMEA 0183 such as heading, GPS data, etc , that should mean I coukd put a wifi router on my ethernet network with the NSE displays and get all the data on my iPad running iNavX, which would then make it a full navigation tool.

Does this make sense to you?
This is possible, iNavX and a few other iOS apps can do it. Simrad has several on their site.

Originally Posted by Nomans View Post
Let me get this straight, are you saying that you can just put a plain vanilla Wi-Fi access point on your network (and not just a Simrad Go-Free) and then for example use the Go Free app on an iPad that is connected to that same Wi-Fi network to control/display from your NSS? The only issue is patching from the proprietary Simrad ethernet connector? That is the opposite of what I have read in many places, though it makes perfect sense that Simrad could not be doing anything special inside the Go Free Wi-Fi router and is just a cabling limitation.
Yup!

Originally Posted by abbor View Post
A standard WiFi routers or access points can be used, but remember standard WiFi boxes are not waterproof (WiFi-1 is IPx7) and not ruggedized for use in a small boat like WiFi-1 is.

Standard RJ45 connectors are not suited for use in smaller or open boats. RJ45 don't have the necessary resistance towards vibrations, shocks and humidity in such environments. I have seen how standard RJ45 (without extra protection) fails in normal marine environmental product qualifications.

To use RJ45 in such environments protection like a Buccaneer is needed, but this can not be mated with a standard socket.



I prefer a round connector like the yellow Navico Ethernet connector over these modified RJ45 connectors for marine usage.
Good point! But, I suspect it will work fine for a long while in a protected enclosed space. RJ45 ends are cheap.

Originally Posted by Nomans View Post
Good point. I have a very protected interior location in my cabin, however. A bigger issue for me is the requirement to have an NSS display in the network. Is there any prospect that some of the functional of the Go Free app might become available if there are just NSE displays?
Same here. Non-issue IMHO.
Old 04-14-2013, 01:35 PM
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The plating of both the RJ45 plug and socket will wear out due to vibration, then humidity will cause corrosion and intermittent contacts. For those who know and accepts such a risk it's not a problem, I just want to make sure the potential problems are known. I for sure don't want to waste my fishing days faultfinding electronics, when faultfinding electronics I prefer to do this on something I've developed myself and also to get paid for doing it

To be able to market an app interfacing to the BroadBand sounder and the BroadBand radar the developer will have to have a GoFree Tier 4 license. I would expect the fee to be at such a level that buying an NSS7 would be a better alternative.

There could of course theoretically be a possibility that Navico would develop such a full MFD app and use an NSE on the network as license key. I would expect Navico can use their engineering resources for other projects which will generate more revenue, so I doubt such a project would be prioritized.
Old 04-15-2013, 05:53 AM
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Certainly is beneficial to have a member like Abbor to provide input on Simrad products. Simrad apparently stands with there units, kind of like owning a Carolina Classic and calling the factory, you will get a quick answer or reply from the owners, even second / third hand vessels.
Old 04-19-2013, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by abbor View Post
The plating of both the RJ45 plug and socket will wear out due to vibration, then humidity will cause corrosion and intermittent contacts. For those who know and accepts such a risk it's not a problem, I just want to make sure the potential problems are known. I for sure don't want to waste my fishing days faultfinding electronics, when faultfinding electronics I prefer to do this on something I've developed myself and also to get paid for doing it

To be able to market an app interfacing to the BroadBand sounder and the BroadBand radar the developer will have to have a GoFree Tier 4 license. I would expect the fee to be at such a level that buying an NSS7 would be a better alternative.

There could of course theoretically be a possibility that Navico would develop such a full MFD app and use an NSE on the network as license key. I would expect Navico can use their engineering resources for other projects which will generate more revenue, so I doubt such a project would be prioritized.
Definitely! Good call, and nice to know the reality. From my perspective if the wifi to my iPad doesn't work, life will go on until I figure out the issue. All the important stuff isn't rigged like this.

I suppose another way to look at this is I could also have the Wifi-1 and then rig a cable to plug my stereo into it, as it will work the other way. (and thus have access to that via iPhone for stereo and also iPad for NSS's. That's really the issue here fundamentally: I don't want two wireless networks on my boat.
Old 04-21-2013, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Nomans View Post
Let me get this straight, are you saying that you can just put a plain vanilla Wi-Fi access point on your network (and not just a Simrad Go-Free) and then for example use the Go Free app on an iPad that is connected to that same Wi-Fi network to control/display from your NSS? The only issue is patching from the proprietary Simrad ethernet connector? That is the opposite of what I have read in many places, though it makes perfect sense that Simrad could not be doing anything special inside the Go Free Wi-Fi router and is just a cabling limitation.
Not quite - it gets more complicated if you have radar or sonar on your Ethernet and want to keep the data off Wifi:
http://slingthehook.com/?p=5271
Old 05-13-2013, 01:43 PM
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Panbo just pointed out there's now a manual explaining how to setup your own Wifi with Simrad/Lowrance devices:
http://www.simrad-yachting.com/Root/...ed%20Setup.pdf
Old 05-13-2013, 04:34 PM
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So can I use the yellow 5 pin to RJ45 adaptor from simrad (000-10438-001) and plug that into a linksys? Or do I get a SIMnet cable? I'm confused. I have a tool to make/crimp RJ45 connectors.

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