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Integrating a Raymarine SeaTalk(ng) network with VHF-AIS, GPS and iNav

iNavX iPad NMEA 0183 Navigation Networking Multiplexer

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#1 SMBReno

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 06:38 PM

Lots of knowledge about marine electronic integration here, so I'm seeking advice about how to put together a minimal (ok, not really - minimal is lead line, compass, and dead reckoning I know) navigation/instrument system as shown in the attached schematic. This is for a 24' sloop (Moore 24) hence the rough layout in the schematic showing bulkheads etc.

The system took shape around the Raymarine X-5 Tiller Pilot and new p70 controller and i70 display. This combination necessitated SeaTalk(ng). I don't want to leap into a Raymarione MFD- no good place to mount on a Moore 24 unless I build a seahood and hard dodger, and power consumption, proprietary standards, etc. but I could be persuaded otherwise I suppose.

I need to integrate existing Airmar transducers for tridata, and a Standard Horizon 2150 VHF/DSC/AIS (receiver). It would be desirable but not essential to drive the X-5 from iNavX or similar iNavigation apps. I also want to integrate a GPS into the network. The primary display will be iPhone and iPad via wireless.

My questions (the known unknowns): 1) How to best integrate GPS in the system; 2) What multiplexer/WiFi/USB device to use (I'm exploring the options from ShipModul, Brookhouse, Digital Yacht, DMK Yacht Box, Chetco and Maretron) to connect with iPhone/iPad; 3) What other questions or options should I be exploring?

Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide. And as a related FYI, when I spoke with Jamestown Distributors yesterday (they ship Raymarine Seatalk stuff directly from Raymarine) some items were backordered. I suspect Sandy's carnage will result in a high demand for repairs.

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#2 WHL

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 10:29 PM

I am going to assume you ultimately want instrument, AIS and GPS data to be sent to iNAVX running on an iSomething via WiFi??

Will you use iNAVX for displaying your GPS and Nav info e.g. bearing, time and distance to waypoint, lat long, XTE etc... ? If yes, then the GPS feed can come from the GPS, via a wifi mux to iNAVX.
If you need to feed multiple devices with position data (e.g. VHF/DSC-IN, AIS-IN, MUX-IN) then you can use a terminal strip/bus bar to split the GPS NMEA 0183 OUT. Then connect these other downstream devices' NMEA INPUT ports to the terminal strip/bus bar.

Connect the AIS NMEA OUT to the Mux's high speed AIS input port.

Tap into the SeaTalk segment of your Raymarine buses and connect to the ShipModul's SeaTalk-to-NMEA IN port.

At this point, all your sensor data, position and AIS data is available to iNAVX via WiFi or a PC running some other Nav/charting software (e.g. Expedition) connected to the USB port of the mux.

#3 Total Slacker

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 10:31 PM

1) One idea: get a Garmin NMEA0183 GPS antenna and wire it to your 2150. The 2150 could then get wired to the wifi multiplexer (and/or plotter) to push the GPS & AIS data. If you need GPS data to the ng network, you might also need the RM GPS antenna rs130. Redundancy is not a bad thing. One thing that would be cool is getting the AIS data to the i70 display, maybe through the multiplexer with a NMEA to ST converter. You can always try this later.
2) Search on previous threads discussing wifi multiplexers.
3a) Are you going offshore or out for more than a few days? If so, it seems like you would want a nav/ais display wired to the house batteries. And something waterproof. And mounted. But then I'm old school.

#4 SMBReno

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 03:46 AM

1) One idea: get a Garmin NMEA0183 GPS antenna and wire it to your 2150. The 2150 could then get wired to the wifi multiplexer (and/or plotter) to push the GPS & AIS data. If you need GPS data to the ng network, you might also need the RM GPS antenna rs130. Redundancy is not a bad thing.

Hey, Slacker. Enjoyed your video on the STP - good stuff and great job. First T-10, no?

Agreed re: redundancy and I'll look into these solutions. I might also just get a marine handheld GPS and wire it to the 2150. For now I'm going to use my iPhone and Macbook Pro. I also looked at the online Sitex streaming AIS for SF Bay and it may be helpful for low visibility ship traffic.

One thing that would be cool is getting the AIS data to the i70 display, maybe through the multiplexer with a NMEA to ST converter. You can always try this later.

Very cool idea - don't know if this will work - but plan to try.

2) Search on previous threads discussing wifi multiplexers.

I've read this stuff for days - complicated stuff for sure and I'm not afraid to tackle tech stuff. Some approaches will just have to be tried out it appears. I liked the simplicity of the DMK Yachtbox but it has less ability to filter NMEA 0183 data which may be helpful in a hybrid environment. I picked the ShipModul because of their rapid response to questions (as did DMK I should add) and the extensive options for filtering data

3a) Are you going offshore or out for more than a few days? If so, it seems like you would want a nav/ais display wired to the house batteries. And something waterproof. And mounted. But then I'm old school.

We'll see, Slacker. SH Farallones first, if good, Long Pac second. 3rd? STP maybe if I'm up to it. Unfortunately in a Moore 24, probably the best I could do for a MFD is a RM a65 or e7 given the size/power constraints. It gets pretty darn tight in there! Hence I like the iPad in a waterproof case idea.



#5 SMBReno

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 04:00 AM

I am going to assume you ultimately want instrument, AIS and GPS data to be sent to iNAVX running on an iSomething via WiFi??
Correct.

Will you use iNAVX for displaying your GPS and Nav info e.g. bearing, time and distance to waypoint, lat long, XTE etc... ? If yes, then the GPS feed can come from the GPS, via a wifi mux to iNAVX.

Yes.

If you need to feed multiple devices with position data (e.g. VHF/DSC-IN, AIS-IN, MUX-IN) then you can use a terminal strip/bus bar to split the GPS NMEA 0183 OUT. Then connect these other downstream devices' NMEA INPUT ports to the terminal strip/bus bar.

Connect the AIS NMEA OUT to the Mux's high speed AIS input port.

Tap into the SeaTalk segment of your Raymarine buses and connect to the ShipModul's SeaTalk-to-NMEA IN port.

At this point, all your sensor data, position and AIS data is available to iNAVX via WiFi or a PC running some other Nav/charting software (e.g. Expedition) connected to the USB port of the mux.


I've attached a tentative schematic. You are talking about Option 2 for the GPS, correct?

Thanks for the input.

Thanks!Attached File  MiniPlex-2Wi.pdf   40.71K   27 downloads

#6 Total Slacker

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 02:56 PM


1) One idea: get a Garmin NMEA0183 GPS antenna and wire it to your 2150. The 2150 could then get wired to the wifi multiplexer (and/or plotter) to push the GPS & AIS data. If you need GPS data to the ng network, you might also need the RM GPS antenna rs130. Redundancy is not a bad thing.

Hey, Slacker. Enjoyed your video on the STP - good stuff and great job. First T-10, no?

Agreed re: redundancy and I'll look into these solutions. I might also just get a marine handheld GPS and wire it to the 2150. For now I'm going to use my iPhone and Macbook Pro. I also looked at the online Sitex streaming AIS for SF Bay and it may be helpful for low visibility ship traffic.

One thing that would be cool is getting the AIS data to the i70 display, maybe through the multiplexer with a NMEA to ST converter. You can always try this later.

Very cool idea - don't know if this will work - but plan to try.

2) Search on previous threads discussing wifi multiplexers.

I've read this stuff for days - complicated stuff for sure and I'm not afraid to tackle tech stuff. Some approaches will just have to be tried out it appears. I liked the simplicity of the DMK Yachtbox but it has less ability to filter NMEA 0183 data which may be helpful in a hybrid environment. I picked the ShipModul because of their rapid response to questions (as did DMK I should add) and the extensive options for filtering data

3a) Are you going offshore or out for more than a few days? If so, it seems like you would want a nav/ais display wired to the house batteries. And something waterproof. And mounted. But then I'm old school.

We'll see, Slacker. SH Farallones first, if good, Long Pac second. 3rd? STP maybe if I'm up to it. Unfortunately in a Moore 24, probably the best I could do for a MFD is a RM a65 or e7 given the size/power constraints. It gets pretty darn tight in there! Hence I like the iPad in a waterproof case idea.


FWIW, I started out thinking I would use a netbook being fed instrument, GPS, and AIS data. I got it all working but it was just too complicated and unwieldy, and the boat was a little too wet to run a PC. I ended up with a much more simple and robust set up, with the VHF/GPS/AIS hooked into a GPSMAP 546 and the RM instruments and X-5 hooked together in a separate ST network. Everything still works after 7,000 miles, it's hooked into the house battery so I don't have to worry about charging devices. The display is mounted so I don't use one of my hands to wake up my display. Sure, the 546 interface is not as slick as a touchscreen and I don't have all the bells and whistles a PC program provides, but it gives me what I need.

#7 SMBReno

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 05:32 PM

So you basically isolated the X-5 & controller (which with the p70 is a minimal STng network) and other RM instruments from navigation. Good idea for sure. Do you use an AIS transponder or VHF integrated unit?

I read more about AIS and i70 and mux I think most straightforward way to get the AIS data from 2150 to i70 is by splitting NMEA0138 out from 2150 and feeding this to Actisence NMEA to STng converter to the STng network.

I wish a manufacturer using NMEA 2000 would build an X-5 equivalent.



#8 Total Slacker

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 08:12 PM

Now your opening a can of worms. I have the SH 2100 with AIS. It's good because it's simple. It's bad because I've had reliability issues with the SH unit, and I wish I had installed a transponder. If I had to do it over, I'd put an Icom unit in, and get a separate transponder with either a splitter or the AIS antenna on the stern pulpit. Probably the antenna on the pulpit for redundancy and lower signal loss to the VHF.

When the fog comes in and there are ships around, I really want ships and fishing vessels to see me. I don't trust radar reflectors, so I get nervous. Fog often means light air, so if I'm sailing my maneuverability is likely limited. So yeah, I wish I had put a transponder in.

#9 Total Slacker

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 09:14 PM

Thinking about the Moore 24 a little bit more...do you really need the transducer data - depth, stw? Depth is useful when anchoring. maybe up your way it's useful in the Bay? Down here, only when anchoring. STW is not that useful. My RM paddlewheel is inaccurate at high and low speeds, so I just use it for relative speed - am I speeding up or slowing down when I let the sheet out?

The GPS SOG data would do the same thing, probably more accurately. So, what about just using a Prostart or Rockbox or something, wired up to the house battery? Then you would just want a wind instrument for your X-5. If I had to do it all over again, that's probably what I would do for simplicity. When I got Slacker with broken instrumants, I went out & bought replacement instruments, only because that's what everyone does, right?

Sorry, I know you've headed down a path already.

#10 SMBReno

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 12:23 AM

No, I appreciate the feedback greatly, particularly given your experience. Singlehanding presents all sorts of interesting opportunities for learning.

I already have the transducers from an ancient Standard Horizon MD50 so probably without thinking (rationally) I just spent $ (not so many, fortunately) to display the data but that doesn't mean I have to install it.

Based on your comment re: wind, sounds like you sailed to apparent wind angle at times. Based on other's comments on SSS it seems not as useful for an ULDB like the Moore off the wind and I wasn't planning to add this yet. I certainly agree about running everything possible off house batteries, even docked I can barely move below because of the wires charging iPhone, macbookpro, portable VHF...

I'm giving serious thought to adding a Standard Horizon CP190i chart plotter - affordable (<$500), good reviews, great AIS display, and SH has excellent technical support in my experience. Mounting is of course a challenge, unless I build a seahood/dodger and put it there. The cockpit is cozy and flush deck doesn't give you a lot of real estate for mounting stuff you don't knock off.

The AIS transponder is an excellent idea. The thought of being fog bound in the middle of three shipping lanes with an outboard that only works in calm water is not reassuring. I did note when I fired up the SiiTech website for AIS for SF Bay that a number of docked pleasure boats keep their AIS transmitter on, possibly explaining why commercial pilots may filter B messages.

#11 Total Slacker

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 04:56 AM

I use my wind instrument a lot, not just for steering to a wind angle. I use it to judge when I should raise or douse the chute, or to monitor offwind wind angle to sail to optimum VMG. I do also use the Wind function on the X-5 often when going upwind. Also when reaching or running when I don't want to be woken up by a small wind shift!

Be careful and figure out a mounting location before choosing the display. Better yet, go sailing for a while until you really know what you need. You can go far with paper charts and a handheld gps. Could you mount a display to the cabin headliner on a swing arm, so you could swing it out when in the cockpit, then back in when below? It looks like the 190i would be hard to mount in this configuration as I don't think it would like being upside down.

With AIS, I would guess the commercial guys just turn off the alarms, not filter the B messages out. One thing with a transponder is, when it's running you give your position away to your competitors. During the SHTP I remember Idefix and Bandicoot popping up on my screen in the fog outside the Gate. I wouldn't care, but many probably would. Most units allow you to go into "silent" mode.

Power consumption with AIS becomes an issue as you want the alarms on when you're sleeping or below, and you don't have an inboard to charge batteries. The AIS alarms only go off if you keep your SH2150 on, and it draws 0.6 amps. continuously. A feature I like about my 2100 is the ability to use dsc to call a ship by name without punching in an MMSI number. The ideal solution - feature-wise - is the Icom radio connected to their transponder, but the transponder unit alone will draw 0.7 amps. The lowest power transponder with alarms I've seen in the Vesper Watchmate 850, drawing maybe 0.3 amps. But with either solution you've got another display, not a problem if you have room, but not sure about the Moore. Another downside I see to the Vesper unit is no integration to the VHF. No elegant solutions here - yet, the technology is still evolving. If I were to do this over again, I would get the Vesper and an Icom VHF for my boat.

By the way, I love my Icom M72 handheld. Big, 20 hr battery so I don't have to worry about it staying charged, small so I can put it in my fwg pocket along with my PLB. Rock solid.

#12 SMBReno

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 06:07 PM

Thanks Slacker. Few responses/questions.

Interested that you used AP with the X5. What wind instruments do you use, RM or others? The NMEA 2000 unit from Garmin should speak to SeaTalkng.

Handheld VHF: I have the SH 851 (my second....SF Bay has the first. The second now has a spectra lanyard with a biner) with DSC. The radio is fine albeit too large because of the floating case and the belt clip rubbish. Battery life not as good as Icom, but not bad. My principal VHF and SF Bay has excellent traffic control available.

As to AIS, the EM-Trak AIS Class B Transceiver link is rated at 170 mA, not so bad. I think couple of GAM antennas, one mast head to VHF, other pushpit mounted to AIS and serving as spare for VHF makes some sense and is cheaper than splitter. Don't know how the 2150 handles input from a standalone AIS Transceiver - I'll check with SH tech folks. If it doesn't play well, then I'll be selling a NIB 2150.

I've ordered the new LifeCase for iPad or iPhone. IPX68 rated link, accepts GoPro mounts so you could move the iWhatever from cockpit to cabin, and WiFi essential stuff via a Mux and use some iOs iNav software like iNavX as discussed elsewhere on this site. I'm going to start simple with my iPhone and iNavX before adding anything else, and see how it works. I agree the location of the displays, especially the X5 controller is critical, which is why I added the S100. I found using the manually controlled Autohelm 800 more challenging especially when you are forward and messing with the spinnaker.

I'll check in later to let folks know how it all works.

Thanks again for sharing your experience. Quite helpful.

#13 TheOffice

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 12:04 AM

you cn connec the x5 to thr p70 using ng to nmea cables and nmea tees. no need to use an ng backbone.

#14 Total Slacker

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 01:44 AM

Interested that you used AP with the X5. What wind instruments do you use, RM or others? The NMEA 2000 unit from Garmin should speak to SeaTalkng.

As to AIS, the EM-Trak AIS Class B Transceiver link is rated at 170 mA, not so bad. I think couple of GAM antennas, one mast head to VHF, other pushpit mounted to AIS and serving as spare for VHF makes some sense and is cheaper than splitter. Don't know how the 2150 handles input from a standalone AIS Transceiver - I'll check with SH tech folks. If it doesn't play well, then I'll be selling a NIB 2150.


I use the RM Wind. I can't say the speed is very accurate, but I use it more for wind angle.

The black box AIS units don't consume much power. It's the display that enables the alarms that sucks the power - whether its the chartplotter, or iPad (depending upon the version), or the 2150. You'll want alarms when a ship gets close when you are resting, or even making dinner. Thats why I pointed at the Vesper unit.

One last thought. Do you have a battery monitor? Having one is highly, highly recommended. This is the unit I have.

#15 SMBReno

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 05:16 AM

Thanks for advice. No battery monitor yet but agree extremely helpful. I had a linkPro in my Sportsmobile and it a great tool to not end up with a dead 5 ton 4x4 way off beaten track. I'll check out your recommended brand. It will be interesting sorting all this out as long as I don't get lost in the weeds and forget to sail!

#16 SMBReno

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 05:17 AM

you cn connec the x5 to thr p70 using ng to nmea cables and nmea tees. no need to use an ng backbone.



#17 SMBReno

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 05:30 AM

you cn connec the x5 to thr p70 using ng to nmea cables and nmea tees. no need to use an ng backbone.


Interesting. Raymarine doesn't mention this approach and p70 uses only SeaTalkNG input (aka NMEA 2000). A diagram or sequential list would be helpful for me to better understand.

#18 TheOffice

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 09:30 PM

Yoou need a Seatalk NG to NMEA 2000 cable with a male end. Available from Defender and elsewhere. It connects to a NMEA T. I have 4 Tees - The X5 , E7, triducer and 12 volt all input into a T. Screw the Tees together with plugs on the ends. I started with a Garmin NMEA starter kit and added another T or 2.

#19 SMBReno

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 04:09 AM

Thanks, good tip.





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