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Smartcraft Speedo connected to a GPS Antenna?

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Smartcraft Speedo connected to a GPS Antenna?

Old 07-19-2013, 08:23 AM
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Default Smartcraft Speedo connected to a GPS Antenna?

Guick question.

I've searched the Verado forum and couldn't find my answer. There are so many warnings to not post and search first that I didn't want to ask a question and get beat up by the Verado boys.

I have a speedo connection question I know that I need to connect the speedo to a GPS antenna for it to work.

I currently don't have any other electronics other than my smartcraft gauges. Next year my plan is for a new Garmin, but for now this is all I have.

My question is this, can I connect ANY GPS antenna to the speedo and it will work?

I found a Smartcraft GPS antenna on eBay for $150. It's a Smartcraft GPS100. Is that the only antenna I should/can use? Could I use a Furuno? Any others? What cable do I need?

Also I assume it needs to be mounted on the hardtop for it to read accurately.

Any help will be appreciated. And if you're using a GPS antenna connected directly to your Smartcraft speedo, tell me which antenna you have.

Thanks.
Old 07-19-2013, 10:44 AM
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No I do not think you can if you only have smart craft gauges and nothing else.

If you have GPS wires in your SmartCraft harness - the only thing that will give you is potentially GPS speed and Lat/Lon shown on your SmartCraft displays. I don't see how useful that will be.
Old 07-19-2013, 11:03 AM
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I'm really just looking for speed.

Hooking the speedo through a junction box will give me fuel, etc.

I just want mph.

If I connect a GPS antenna to the speedo, will it give me mph?
Old 07-19-2013, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Norcoastal View Post
I'm really just looking for speed.

Hooking the speedo through a junction box will give me fuel, etc.

I just want mph.

If I connect a GPS antenna to the speedo, will it give me mph?
3 options to get the speedo show speed


1. paddle wheel + pitot sensor = standard on all engines for 40-115hp 4 stroke engines you need the digital upgrade kit

2. Smartcraft GPS Antenna

3. NMEA0183 GPS Antenna via the blue and white cable in the instrument harness

download the Smartcraft manual from the mercury homepage, it is explained in it
Old 07-19-2013, 11:27 AM
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I just looked in the mercury smartcraft manual and it describes how to WORK the gauges not CONNECT the gauges.

Interestingly it says that I can hook up a transducer to the gauges to read the bottom. My boat has a thru hull transducer (not sure which one). I wonder if I can connect that to my gauges also?
Old 07-19-2013, 11:45 AM
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If speed is all you want keep it simple and get a hand held GPS. You can put it in a cup holder and refer to it when you want.
Old 07-19-2013, 12:27 PM
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That's true. For that matter, I could use my iPhone.

I really want the gauges all to work. Gotta fill the dash panel holes with something
Old 07-19-2013, 02:11 PM
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Divefreak is correct. You have those 3 options. I actually use a small Livorsi GPS unit, mounted right on my helm (Does not need to be on t-top, they are very sensitive). Just hook up with the 0183 wire connections and your SmartCraft speedo will get speed from GPS. Just go into the gauge settings and change it from paddle or pitot to GPS and you are good to go.

Later, when you add Garmin gear, if you want to connect smartcraft to garmin, you have to buy the Mercury Monitor Gateway device.
Old 07-19-2013, 02:45 PM
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That is SO COOL!!!

Smartcraft is awesome.

Does it matter what GPS antenna???
Old 07-19-2013, 02:59 PM
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Not if you use nmea connections, however nmea 2k will require a bit more stuff.
Old 07-19-2013, 03:27 PM
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I'm not sure what connectors I need. Not familiar with any nmea cables.
Old 07-19-2013, 06:08 PM
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Get a GPS Antenna that outputs NMEA 0183 protocol and hook up the few small wires per the included instructions. Any NMEA 0183 GPS Antenna will work.
Old 07-19-2013, 06:25 PM
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Thanks Salty.
Old 07-19-2013, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Norcoastal View Post
I just looked in the mercury smartcraft manual and it describes how to WORK the gauges not CONNECT the gauges.

Interestingly it says that I can hook up a transducer to the gauges to read the bottom. My boat has a thru hull transducer (not sure which one). I wonder if I can connect that to my gauges also?
Your SmartCraft can't use a fish finder transducer - only a depth finder transducer - so one that outputs NMEA 0183 or NMEA2000 dependent on your engines SmartCraft control box. Airmar DT (Depth Temperature) or DST (Depth/Speed/Temperature) series is the one Mercruiser puts their branding on and puts on boats with SmartCraft Depth gauges.

Don't spend to much on a NMEA 0183 GPS receiver if you plant to put in a help GPS unit later. If you buy a Garmin 500 series with NMEA 2000 output - that has NMEA0183 output as well - and can feed the GPS data to your SmartCraft instruments. I think you can find 2nd hand Garmin 500 units from between $300-$500 with NMEA 2000/NMEA0183. Then you have all your bases covered.

Alternatively find a CHEAP GPS receiver with NMEA 0183 - don't spend more than $50-$70.
Old 07-20-2013, 05:09 AM
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Great advice Kaz. Thanks!
Old 07-20-2013, 06:00 AM
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Now the questions get complicated.

After reading the installation instructions, it says that the cables from the engines to the first junction box can be no longer than 6 feet.

I currently have the two motors wired as two singles with two long blue wires connected directly from the engine to the gauge.

I need to add a junction box behind the dash to connect the speedo and other gauges. The run between the engines and the junction box (what they call the "Harness Drop") is much longer than 6 feet. It's probably like 15 feet. But to take apart all the rigging will be a ton of work.

Can't I just put the junction boxes behind my dash???
Old 07-20-2013, 11:25 AM
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I have junction boxes behind my dash.
Old 07-20-2013, 12:32 PM
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Hey Van,

So your blue cables run from your dash directly to your engine? And no signal issues?

That's great.
Old 07-20-2013, 05:34 PM
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Pretty sure.
Old 07-21-2013, 08:46 AM
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Great. Thanks!

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