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Chetco-Digital Sea Gauge G2

Old 09-19-2017, 11:58 AM
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Default Chetco-Digital Sea Gauge G2

So I have been trying to update/convert my old Detroit 6v92's to NMEA 2000 and have finally succeeded.

It has been a two year road filled with let down and hard work with no payback at first, until now.

I tried using an Alba-Combi at first from Spain, with no succsess, except getting the tachometers to work flawlessly. Trying to get the engine senders for temperature and oil pressure was a venture in futility. It turns out that American senders have a completly differant curve then European, reverse in fact. So the Alba-Combi was set aside.

I then decided to move on to a NoLand RS11 after a bit of research and thought it sounded like a good dicision. The designer Kevin was a real nice guy and a pleasure to work with. In trying to get my tach's to work I sent him one of my senders, a Signalflex/Eatna Engineering signal generator. Eight pulses per revolution through two wires. I could never get the tach to be less then 60rpm off. That is a big deal for an engine that WOT is 2300 rpm and a cruise of 1850 rpm.

The RS11 itself would have worked better if the 12v system on my boat was regulated. The temperatue and oil readings were differant at idle vs. at speed. The alternator output is 12.8v at idle and 14.2v when spun up. That voltage differance was being seen by the senders, which were isolated by the RS11. I put a power regulator on the input and that resolved the issue, but came back when I hooked up the alternator inputs to the RS11. So I moved on to another device.

Next I tried the Chetco-Digital Sea Gauge G2, it is twice the cost of the others and it looks like it should be. It's a three engine module, 12 analog inputs, 3 pulse inputs, 12 switch inputs (on/off). It came with water tight connectors and leads for wiring it in place. A real nice package. There is also an optional web server to access the N2K data from and display your engine data. You still need to use there setup utility for configuration though.

http://www.digitalmarinegauges.com/p...face-unit.html

A big thank you to Joe, great guy who was more then helpful getting me up and going at 10pm at night!

With Joe's help, I had this up an running in 3-4 hours and works like a charm. I still need to connect the 12 on/off inputs. I am going to use them for a system monitor. Bilge pumps, engine low/high alarms, running lights on, etc.

They also offer the paddle wheel fuel flow senders in a mtached pair for diesel engines. So I might get a second one next year to be able to have fuel flow data as well. Right now with one device I can also monitor my generator as a thrid engine. Something that is used often but has no read backs above deck.

This divice has so much potential and works so well I could not be happier. I am actually glad the others didn't work out for me. I will post some pictures when I am finished with all of the hook connections for the system monitor.

Last edited by Skybolt; 10-03-2018 at 02:08 PM. Reason: Spelling - Sold Alba Combi
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Old 09-19-2017, 01:09 PM
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Wow, just spent about an hour on their site. Very cool. I'm becoming mildly facinated by the idea of being able to get digital info from my analog gauges. There equipment seems very comprehensive although, in reading through the manual I feel like you need to be an electrical engineer to understand some of it.

Couple of questions,
-how are you reading the info, on a typical chartplotter type device or on a monitor, or wireless connection?
-do you just cut (or somehow splice) your gauge wiring and direct wire it into the unit.
-do you connect a pc for configuration and then disconnect and all set?
Old 09-19-2017, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Prospective View Post
... Couple of questions,

-how are you reading the info, on a typical chartplotter type device or on a monitor, or wireless connection?
-do you just cut (or somehow splice) your gauge wiring and direct wire it into the unit.
-do you connect a pc for configuration and then disconnect and all set?
I have a few MFD's. I am using two Garmin 4212's, two Garmin GMI 20's and a Maretron DSM 150. The GMI 20's replaced the analog gauges. Very happy about that as the GMI 20's offer all the benifits of an MFD. I am using the DSM 150 as a system monitor display, along with other MFD functions.

At first I kept the gauges mounted and hooked up and ran the N2K in parallel with the existing gauges. I then removed the gauges all together and only use the G2 now. I ran the gauges in parallel for about a month. Then just connected straight to the G2.

Yes, you need a PC of some sort to do the setup of the G2. But you don't need it under normal operating, only for calibration.
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Last edited by Skybolt; 09-19-2017 at 02:04 PM. Reason: Added Picture of Helm
Old 09-19-2017, 03:36 PM
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Thanks for this post. Been debating which vendor to go with to convert a twin diesel over.

I was leaning towards Chetco because of the extra inputs, and it wasn't much more $$ than the Noland Md33. I'm glad to hear real world feedback.

Also, if they do fuel flow sensors, that would be sweet. I have some ancient floscans, but floscan are goons and want a fortune to get info into nmea2k. One of my floscans loves to read 4gph higher at all times, as well.
Old 09-19-2017, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by johnny.dollar View Post
Thanks for this post. Been debating which vendor to go with to convert a twin diesel over.

I was leaning towards Chetco because of the extra inputs, and it wasn't much more $$ than the Noland Md33. I'm glad to hear real world feedback.
I was going to go that route as well. The MD33 is no different then the RS11 according to the developer, except for the additional inputs. To bad it has the problems I mentioned.

Also, if they do fuel flow sensors, that would be sweet. I have some ancient floscans, but floscan are goons and want a fortune to get info into nmea2k. One of my floscans loves to read 4gph higher at all times, as well.
Funny you ask that, yes they do support flow senders.

My plan in the spring is to add the second G2 and get there matched senders. The senders take two of the pulsed inputs to operate. So with two engines and four fuel sender inputs you need to have two G2's to get fuel flow with twin diesels. Still worth the money compared to FlowScan NMEA 2000 senders.

Also a seconded G2 would give me more inputs for added engine sensors as well. I want to add exhaust temperatures and possibly boost pressure as well. I had an issue with a broken turbo flange that these sensors would have caught.
Old 09-19-2017, 04:26 PM
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To nerd it up more, I was pondering using a PLC from Automation Direct (probably the click, because it's cheap) to do things like tank monitoring, bilge alarms/operation, etc. This could potentially be tied into the n2k network with the device I listed on the other thread:

Late reply, but there is a company that makes such a gadget: https://osukl.com/modbus-gateway/ It's the 3155 to Modbus Gateway. If you read the manual on page 51 lists the PGN numbers. My understanding is that the 8 banks of 28 switches (224 total) are read/write via modbus....and all the other PGN are read only. So it's partly bi-directional.
But I'm not sure all this headache is worth it with chetco making the "seaSwitch". I'll have to give a ring and talk to them. The benefits of an off the shelf PLC is cheap, robust, cheap, cheap, and pretty much infinite ability to program and do logic/ control.
Old 09-19-2017, 05:31 PM
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That oceanic gateway module is more then the G2 alone. And you would still have to get all of that data on a 485 bus and formatted correctly. I was considering that same thing but decided it was too much work. And to be honest, I don't want my boat to be a science project. I just want it to work.

This is what I was going to start with: http://www.divelbiss.com/Products/Pr...sp?ProdID=5533
Old 09-19-2017, 06:23 PM
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Yes, the Oceanic gateway (which is n2k to modbus/485, for those wondering) is around $800, I think. I looked pretty hard, but did not find any other similar device. This seems strange as the PLC use MODBUS for everything. Having a way to get PLC on the n2k network should be very useful for large yachts. And I do agree, no need for a science project...I'm not https://www.panbo.com/

I'm still considering doing Click PLC for some simple tasks that require ability to program logic, not just do switching: https://www.automationdirect.com/adc...le_Micro_Brick)

A main reason for doing the analog to n2k for the engines is because I have multiple stations. Lower, fly bridge, and cockpit. Currently, there is only the oem gauges on the bridge. I plane to put them at the lower station (as backup) and then use n2k screens at all 3 stations. Eventually, tzt2 will be added.

Back to the fuel flow monitoring. It shows the G2 can take pulses from floscan sensors. So I can ditch my 25 year old gauges/totalizer and use the G2 with my existing floscan sensors????????

Edit: Thanks for the Divelbiss link. I browsed there products and came across the "Solves-It!". Looks to be a PLC/Relay that could be very useful around the boat for simple functions: http://www.divelbiss.com/Products/Ca...1&ProdFamID=23
Old 09-20-2017, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by johnny.dollar View Post
... Back to the fuel flow monitoring. It shows the G2 can take pulses from floscan sensors. So I can ditch my 25 year old gauges/totalizer and use the G2 with my existing floscan sensors???????? ...
According to Joe as Chetco, yes. That is the conversation I had with him. The only issue is/was I needed to have a second G2 to support the fuel flow senders. Each G2 only has three pulse inputs. But that is a whole lot cheaper then going with the Flo-Scan NMEA 2000 route and you basically get the same result.
Old 09-20-2017, 03:05 PM
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On another topic of Modbus-TCP to NMEA2000, Victron advertises and even suggests that on larger yachts, the integrator use Modbus for system control via the (CCGX) Color Control GX. If I summarize this correctly, tie CCGX is running unix and is open source and they allow developers to work on stuff.....or something of that. I'm not a programmer lol

Paper about it here: Whitepaper-Data-communication-with-Victron-Energy-products_EN.pdf

Introduction
Many of our customers integrate our products into their own systems, using
data communication protocols . There are several options to establish data
communication. The purpose of this document is to explain the different options, and help you choose one.
Communicating to a complete system? Use Modbus-TCP Rather than going for direct communication with Inverters, battery monitors or Sola chargers, consider using ModbusTCP. This has two advantages:
1.ModbusTCP is easier than most other protocols
2.Retrieve precalculated system , as available on the Color Control GX
Old 09-22-2017, 01:54 PM
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I have the system monitor connections half way connected 8 out to 12. They work like a charm. Very happy so far. I'll post pics after the weekend.

I am hoping to get the generator connected, oil pressure and temperature, next week as well.
Old 09-23-2017, 05:42 AM
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Very cool. Keep us posted.
Old 10-03-2017, 09:51 PM
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I am about to pull the trigger on the Sea Gauge G2 as well. How complicated was the calibration interface? the manuals in the website do not make calibration look user friendly. Is it a web based calibration? Have you tried displaying the gauge data on a tablet via the wireless interface?



Originally Posted by Skybolt View Post
I have the system monitor connections half way connected 8 out to 12. They work like a charm. Very happy so far. I'll post pics after the weekend.

I am hoping to get the generator connected, oil pressure and temperature, next week as well.
Old 10-04-2017, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Driverwagon View Post
... How complicated was the calibration interface?
The configuration application runs on a PC. It's called vDash.

the manuals in the website do not make calibration look user friendly.
Joe at Chetco is more then willing to help you get things going. The actual calibration is done with text files and then downloaded to the G2. The device comes with most of the files you may need already setup, you just need to choose the correct one. And like I said, Joe can help you with that.

Is it a web based calibration? Have you tried displaying the gauge data on a tablet via the wireless interface?
If you get the Ethernet add on (SmartNet) you can access the web page form any browser based device. The calibration needed to program the G2 is not web based but through vDash, a PC app. I had my G2 setup is a few hours and system monitoring in a few more.

The only negative thing I can say about the G2 is there are no updated manuals. The only manuals available are from the older product. There are manuals for vDash and the SmartNet side though, so it's not that bad. And Joe has pin-outs etc. for the G2. I didn't miss not having an updated manual for the G2.

I have not fully setup the web interface yet, I do have it functional as it comes from the factory. There gauge set looks pretty nice and if customized I imagine it would be really nice.

Right now I am using a Maretron IPG100 with screens programmed with there N2K View software. I am using that because they support all NMEA 2000 devices. So I can have a mixed screen of information from different devices but with a common look and feel. I will post some pics of that when I get a little further along. Right now I have only basic stuff setup in that.

One thing that I really like about this is the G2 has the twelve on/off inputs and I now have a real system monitor using an MFD (Maretron DSM150). The other nice thing is programmable alarms. So not only is my engine data displayed digitally, I also have the G2 setup to alarm as needed, hopefully before something goes honorably wrong and the engine shuts down. The G2 has an alarm output I have hooked into an alarm. You can also get an NMEA 2000 alarm panel as well. N2K has so many options you can really setup your helm/boat the way you want to and not the way someone else thinks it should be.

EDIT: Once I get the rest hooked up and working I will post some screen shots. I am still cruising with the boat on the weekends for the last few nice days. So hopefully I will get to this next week when the Genset is connected.

Last edited by Skybolt; 10-04-2017 at 06:48 AM.
Old 10-04-2017, 09:45 AM
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Thanks for the detailed info. I
Messed around with v dash a bit and it's not too bad. I will also say that at least in the pre purchase phase Joe has been very helpful on the phone and via email.
Old 10-04-2017, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Driverwagon View Post
... I will also say that at least in the pre purchase phase Joe has been very helpful on the phone and via email.
Same for me, Joe is/was quite helpful.
Tell him you spoke with Orlando

Last edited by Skybolt; 10-04-2017 at 10:15 AM.
Old 10-04-2017, 02:02 PM
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I'm installing one of these to be connected to the G2's alarm output. This should be a good alarm, a litle better then the typical buzzer.

https://www.amazon.com/Alpinetech-Fl...D8RJ9HN298X5WF

Last edited by Skybolt; 10-05-2017 at 10:11 AM.
Old 10-05-2017, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Skybolt View Post
One thing that I really like about this is the G2 has the twelve on/off inputs and I now have a real system monitor using an MFD (Maretron DSM150). The other nice thing is programmable alarms. So not only is my engine data displayed digitally, I also have the G2 setup to alarm as needed, hopefully before something goes honorably wrong and the engine shuts down.
Are you using a temp switch and pressure switch separate of the gauge senders for your alarm? I was planning to do this, and have the switch output go into an "old fashioned" alarm pannel with light/buzzer and also send the switch output into the digital inputs of the G2 to get it in NMEA2k.

My reasoning for this is that if the electronics or the n2k network fail, I still have alarm functions. Also, alarm function will be available without n2k powered up.
Old 10-05-2017, 01:57 PM
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My engines and Generator have both, senders and switches. When the switches trip they shut down the engine independent of N2K. No need for an alarm.

The G2 has programmable alarms that will trip an output on the G2 as well as send an N2K alarm. The link I posted is for a light/buzzer to be attached to the G2's alarm output.
Old 10-06-2017, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Driverwagon View Post
... How complicated was the calibration interface? the manuals in the website do not make calibration look user friendly. ...
So I did the manual calibration last night for my Generator. I performed this with the Oil and temperature gauges. These are gauges are being left on the genset and are also being utilized in N2K as well.

Basically you manually enter a few points and hit interpolate and save the file then send to the G2. You start by downloading a generic linear file and run the engine. The G2 app display will display an index number and then you edit the file for that index number. Save the file and send to the G2. That's it, that easy. Works like a charm. You can enter as many point as you like or only a few. I would recommend at least three, a low or zero one, a mid almost at temp one, then one under a load. I did five and just monitored the temps all the way up to running on a load. I just used the gradients of the gauge to be as close to a real temp as possible. I could have used a inferred gun but i trust this gauge as it has always been very close.

I am going to add a Maretron ACM100 to monitor the generator voltage and frequency (Hz) and display these on an MFD that will stay on when moored. And again, simple alarms can be set so if it sucks up a bag, the over temp will alarm before there is damage done to the system.

All in all I could not be happier with the money spent on this and what it provides me. Between other upgrades and the electronic upgrades, this almost 30yr old boat is has all the conveniences of a new boat, but with a look I love from the older ones.

Edit: I will post some screen shots next week, going away this weekend while the weather is so nice.

Last edited by Skybolt; 10-06-2017 at 08:25 AM.

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