NMEA 2000 compatible electronics

Simrad Yachting Launches New Touch-Screen MF Displays

Simrad Yachting Launches New Touch-Screen MF Displays

Simrad NSS Sport Family Displays

Simrad NSS Sport Family Displays

Simrad Yachting last week announced a new series of touch-screen multifunction displays — the NSS Sport Series.  Available in 7-inch, 8-inch, and 12-inch models, the NSS Sport units feature LED backlighting and allow the user to control the display with the touchscreen, keypad and/or the “Simrad Yachting-signature” rotary control knob.

My friend Ben Ellison at Panbo was one of a special group of marine journalists invited to the product unveiling in Palma, Spain, last week and he’s got lots of details and thoughts on the overall Navico product strategy.  I haven’t had a chance yet to test the new MFDs but when I do I’ll report here on them.  In the meantime, here are some of the details from the Simrad Yachting press release:

The Simrad NSS Sport range features high-brightness (1200 NIT) bonded LED displays in 6.4-inch (VGA), 8-inch (SVGA) and 12-inch (XGA) diagonal screen sizes. All support NMEA 2000®, SimNet and composite video input. The NSS series uses little power and is designed for use in 12 and 24V DC power systems. The system has an operating temperature range of 5 degrees to 131 degrees Fahrenheit (-15 degrees to 55 degrees Celsius); like the NSE and NSO multifunction displays, the NSS Sport is waterproof to the IPx7 standard, and protected by a two-year limited parts and labor warranty. The new Simrad NSS Sport is also covered by Simrad Yachting’s 24-hour exchange program. In the unlikely event that the device is identified as defective within the first year of warranty, Simrad Yachting will ensure shipment of a replacement device within 24 hours.

The Simrad NSS7, NSS8 and NSS12 have suggested retail prices of $1,895, $2,845 and $3,995 US, respectively, and can be purchased from authorized Simrad Yachting dealers and distributors throughout the United States and Canada. For more information on the Simrad NSS Sport touch-screen navigation system, or the entire line of Simrad Yachting professional-grade marine electronics, contact 800-628-4487 (toll-free) in the USA or visit www.simrad-yachting.com.

Copyright © 2011 by OceanLines LLC. All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Electronics, Technology

Fugawi Offers Avia Instrument Display Software

Fugawi's Avia Motor Pro Instrument Software

Fugawi's Avia Motor Pro Instrument Software

Fugawi announced today the availability of its new Avia Motor and Avia Sail instrument software.  If you have NMEA 0183 or 2000 data streams, you can use this software to set up a nice monitor configuration that suits your preference.  The software will read 0183 data via a standard serial port input, or using an Actisense USG-1 Serial Gateway that will emulate a serial port in a USB plug.  For NMEA 2000 data, an Actisense NGT-1 NMEA 2000 t0 PC gateway is required. 

One of the neatest things about this is how Fugawi illustrated the software in action — on an HP Tablet PC.  Tablets may have a ways to go before we can all use them in bright sunlight on the flybridge, but in the pilothouse they’re going to be a real boon, soon.  See our piece by Christine Kling on the iPad’s utility aboard a boat for some examples.  Although the Avia software is only available in a Windows version now, I would be surprised if Fugawi doesn’t offer a Mac version somewhere down the road.  Fugawi already offers its iMap Topo Software for iPhones and iPads, compatible even with the latest iOS4 operating system.  And X-Traverse is also iPad compatible.

The Avia software comes in both Lite and Pro versions, for both “Motor” and “Sail” applications.  The Pro versions include more instrument templates and accommodate dual engines and some overlay capabilities.  Interestingly, even though I’m a powerboater, I might choose the “Sail” version because of its integration of wind data.  The Pro version will let you create and save 4 custom displays of instruments you choose, in digital or analog formats.

The software has native compatibility with both flavors of NMEA data streams, but the fact that you need hardware translation to use that data on even a remotely new laptop is just plain dumb.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not Fugawi’s fault, and they’ve handled it nicely by identifying the sweet (if somewhat expensive) Actisense connector/translators.  It’s just another example where the standards in marine electronics (NMEA) are still WAY behind even basic shore-side consumer electronics expectations.  A serial port?  Really??  I haven’t had a computer with a serial port for 10 years.

NMEA rants aside, I like the idea of this Avia instrument software, and I’d like to try it out on my laptop with the Fugawi Marine ENC.  If any of you already have, let me know in the comments and we’ll talk.  Meanwhile, look forward to seeing this at your next boat show.  I’ll look for it at Miami next month.

Copyright © 2011 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Electronics, seamanship, Technology
Northern Lights Shrinks Genny, Adds WaveNet NMEA 2000 Monitoring

Northern Lights Shrinks Genny, Adds WaveNet NMEA 2000 Monitoring

Northern Lights is basking in the southern sunshine this weekend at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) with a new skinny genny and a NMEA 2000-certified digital monitoring system called WaveNet.

Northern Lights M773LW3 Diesel Generator with WaveNet Digital Monitoring System

Northern Lights M773LW3 Diesel Generator with WaveNet Digital Monitoring System

The newly shrunk generator, the M773LW3, is a 9kW model and is almost 30% smaller than its predecessor.  “The overall size of smaller diesel generators and integration with vessel monitoring systems are two increasingly important issues with builders and boaters today,” said NLI sales and marketing manager, Colin Puckett. “We are looking forward to carrying this design philosophy throughout our power generation lineup. The smaller enclosure design and digital monitoring options further exemplify our commitment to keeping NLI at the forefront as a single-source supplier of marine systems.” 

According to NLI, the WaveNet system gives the user a digital window into the operation and output of the generator, including important parameters such as the generator output current, frequency and voltage that is being used at any given time. It also provides comprehensive data logging of generator-related events. WaveNet is NMEA 2000-certified allowing output to any number of NMEA 2000-compatible displays and can be retrofitted into existing NLI applications, the company said.

If you’re going to FLIBS this weekend, you can check out both new systems at the NLI booth, 1421.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Construction & Technical, Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Electronics, Engines, Powerboats, Sailboats, Technology

Furuno’s New WS200 Brings NMEA 2000 Ultrasonic Weather to Your Helm

Furuno WS200 Ultrasonic Weather Instrument

Furuno WS200 Ultrasonic Weather Instrument

Actually, it brings ultrasonic weather data to your helm. Are we straight with that now?  Okay. The basic ultrasonic instrument has been around for several years — the most recent version, still available, is the PB150, a NMEA 0183-compatible unit —  but the WS200 is a significant upgrade, both in sensors and networking. It’s also a little more expensive, with the listed retail price of $1,395.

New Features

These include a three-axis compass (used for internal true wind calculations), a three-axis accelerometer (for pitch & roll), a yaw rate gyro (for rate of turn), as well as integrating the latest generation Furuno GPS/WAAS receiver. Another key feature of the WS200 is the capability to output weather information in either NMEA0183 or NMEA2000. According to Furuno,

“We’ve also incorporated a unique in-line terminating resistor, allowing the WS200 sensor to be directly connected to any NavNet 3D DRS Radar. This feature allows for a simpler and more flexible installation, without the need to run cables all the way to the main processor. Using this configuration, NMEA2000 data is easily converted and distributed throughout the NavNet 3D Ethernet network. (Please note that while the WS200 has passed NMEA2000 Protocol Certification, we classify it as a CANBUS product, as it is not fully NMEA2000 Certified, due to the fact that we enhanced the product by adding this terminating resistor capability.)”

Complete Feature List

Here’s the rundown on the complete feature set:

True wind speed and direction
Apparent wind speed and direction
Barometric pressure
Air temperature
Wind chill temperature
Measures wind speed and direction ultrasonically
Three-axis solid-state compass (used for internal wind calculations)
Three-axis accelerometer provides stabilized pitch and roll info
Yaw rate gyro provides rate of turn data
Outputs both NMEA0183 and NMEA2000 data
Plastic housing is less prone to lightning strikes
WeatherCaster software
Simplified, flexible installation w/unique terminating resistor
Maintenance-free operation with no moving parts

If you’d like to see some suggested wiring diagrames of Furuno-related installations, you can download this pdf file.  For more info on the system, check out the product page on Furuno’s website.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Electronics, Powerboats, Sailboats, Technology