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Welcome to next generation navigation from Digital Yacht

Please remember our main website is at www.digitalyachtamerica.com so please visit there  for further product information.

This site is a daily news feed – packed with useful hints and tips on marine electronics in general, useful installation guides, white papers and links to other sites too. Feel free to subscribe by joining our list. Follow us also on Twitter and Facebook.

Crimping Small Wires

Crimping Small Wires

Time and again we see faults in marine electronic installations caused by bad or failed connections. Normally the harsh marine environment is the cause, with corrosion eating away at the electrical contacts but poor assembly of wiring connections is also a major culprit.

Digital Yacht’s products, like many other modern marine electronic systems, feature multi-core cables with relatively small power and signal wires. Lower power consumption, digital interfaces and the drive for smaller and smaller product sizes, has led to most electronic wiring in modern boats, using 24 AWG sized wires or smaller.

These smaller wires do create a challenge though when it comes to connecting them to the boats DC electrical system, which generally uses much larger gauges of wire and has large crimp and screw terminal type connectors.

Traditionally, those distinctive Red, Blue and Yellow insulated terminal crimps have been the most popular way of connecting low voltage DC wires in Boats, Cars and Caravans. They are cheap, commonly available and assembled correctly can make a very reliable connection. However, as we were reminded again this week, they can also create problems when poorly assembled.

Take the image above, where the two crimp connections appear at first glance to be OK. You can see the wire protruding slightly through the insulated ring and the crimp has been compressed to push down on the wire. However, appearances can be deceptive and the upper crimp which was attached to the positive power wire of one of our AIS units, was not making a connection with the red wire. When we cut the crimp off and did a resistance test, we found it to be completely open circuit (no electrical connection).

There are five simple steps to successfully crimping small wires:

1)  Strip the wire, being extra careful to not damage any of the internal strands of wire

2)  Give the strands a quick 180º degree twist to make them less likely to splay out

3)  Fold the exposed strands of wire back on the insulated wire (as shown in the image)

4)  Insert the wire in to the crimp so that it just protrudes out of the insulated ring

5)  Use a proper ratchet type crimp tool (see image below) and make sure the crimp sits in the “Red” labelled recess of the jaws

NOTE:  Always use the smallest “Red” range of crimps and never the Blue or Yellow ranges


There are two reasons for bending the stripped strands of wire back on to the insulated wire, firstly it provides more material for the crimp to bite down on and secondly if the wire is subsequently pulled or tugged, the strain is not taken just on the stripped wire but also on the insulation as well, creating a much stronger mechanical join.

Having the right tool for the job is also important and those cheaper crimp tools that you often see included in the box with a mixed set of crimps are just not up to the job. For approximately £10-£15 pounds you can buy a proper ratchet type tool that will consistently make good crimp connections for the life of the tool.

Talk at the Royal Ocean Racing Club



Last night Paul Sumpner our CTO gave a talk to members of the Royal Ocean Racing Club on the Latest Technologies and trends in the world of Marine Electronics.

Based in St James Place in London, the RORC has been organising ocean races around the world since 1925 including the Fastnet and Admirals Cup. In fact this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race is celebrating its 90th anniversary.

The talk proved very popular with all of the available seats taken and at the end we had lots of interesting questions across a wide variety of subjects including; crowd sourced depth data, wireless NMEA and the use of tablets and smart phones aboard a modern racing yacht.

Digital Yacht would like to thank all RORC members that attended the talk and made the evening a success. For anyone unable to attend, please download a copy of the talk by clicking here.

NavLink iOS App Gets Canada Charts

NavLink US is Digital Yacht’s popular and low cost charting app for iOS devices.  It utilises detailed NOAA Government charts for excellent detail and clarity of US waters.  Navigate in real time, create routes and waypoints and connect to your boat’s GPS and AIS system via any of Digital Yacht’s NMEA-WiFi servers for real time AIS overlays and reliable positioning.  Your iPhone or iPad is transformed into a powerful, simple to use, touch screen chart plotter.


AIS presentations are fantastic with vessel scaling and course prediction vectors – advanced visualisations that really enhance navigation safety.


Detailed Canadian Office CHS charts have now been added as a low cost (US$29.95) in app purchase.  To get NavLink US, simply visit the Apple App Store on your iOS device and download the app.  Contact us directly for details on our NMEA to Wireless devices for complete on board integration – details HERE

canada charts

AIS100 – Entry level AIS made easy…

At Digital Yacht, we’ve an AIS for just about every application but sometimes we forget to talk about our most simple AIS solution – the AIS100 receiver designed to interconnect with just about any AIS compatible plotter via a simple two wire NMEA 0183 interface.   Connect to a VHF antenna and you’ve an AIS enabled system that brings next generation navigation to your boat.

AIS100 Receiver (NMEA 0183)_optThe picture below shows your plotter before and after AIS

Without AIS


With the AIS100 installed your plotter will come to life with a display of local targets and drill down data on their identity, position and anti collision information.  If you want to learn more about AIS, then read our white paper HERE


With AIS


Despite its competitive price tag, the AIS100 has a sophisticated and highly sensitive dual channel receiver design allowing for reception of all possible AIS target types including AtoNs and AIS MOB SARTS as well as Class A and Class B targets.  Wake up your plotter today with an AIS 100 – more details HERE


Digital Yacht está expandindo sua presença na América Latina

Digital Yacht está expandindo sua presença na América Latina

Digital Yacht está expandindo sua presença na América Latina com a nomeação de Patricia Siqueiros. Ela vem de uma experiência em marketing e fornecerá suporte para todo o Digital Yacht e gama Digital Deep Sea na América Latina.

Embora baseada principalmente em Miami, Patricia vai coordenar as vendas para toda a linha de produtos através da America Latina. Ela pode ser contatada em +1 978 277 1234

“Com os atuais requisitos AIS nestes mercados, é importante para nós ter representação local em Espanhol e Português.”, Comentou Nick Heyes, CEO da Digital Yacht.

A gama de produtos Digital Yacht engloba AIS, a navegação sem fio com iPad e integração tablet, WiFi hi-poder e uma gama completa de sensores, PCs marinhos e produtos de rede.

Você pode baixar uma descrição geral dos produtos aqui ou CLIQUE

Você também pode baixa nossa lista de preços 2015 AQUI

Estamos ansiosos para trabalhar com vocês no futuro

Digital Yacht Latam +1 978 277 1234

Testing NMEA0183

NMEA Display Program

Back in the 1980s the National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) defined an interfacing standard that would revolutionise the way marine electronics operated together. For the first time a common standard was defined that allowed equipment from different manufacturers to talk to each other and do things that had previously been impossible.

After a few iterations (NMEA0180 and NMEA0182) the NMEA0183 standard was published and gradually manufacturers developed products that had NMEA0183 Inputs and Outputs that could be connected together. There were some teething problems but over time NMEA0183 established itself as a very compatible and reliable interface standard and even today most marine electronic systems have at least one NMEA0183 interface, although the newer NMEA2000 standard is gradually taking over.

Online information on NMEA0183 is fairly limited and often quite old, but Actisense publish a useful booklet on NMEA0183 and this website http://www.catb.org/gpsd/NMEA.html has also collected a lot of useful information on NMEA0183.

Testing NMEA0183 systems can be done in a number of ways. The simplest method, just to see if there is data being transmitted or not, is to place an LED across an NMEA0183 output. One way round the LED should flash and the other way round it will not flash. If the LED fails to flash in either direction then no NMEA0183 data is present. For more information on this type of LED test, please download our Tech Note by clicking here.

If after establishing that there is NMEA0183 present, you wish to go a step further and look at the raw data to see what messages are being transmitted then you will need an old laptop and an NMEA to USB adaptor cable like our Part# ZDIGUSBNMEA. This adaptor cable can easily be connected to any NMEA0183 Output (two wires) and then with suitable software running on the PC, the NMEA0183 data can be displayed and interpreted.


A few years ago, when Microsoft stopped including a utility called HyperTerminal in Windows Vista/7/8,  Digital Yacht developed a useful NMEA Display program that is free to download from here.  Our NMEA Display program is perfect for not only viewing the raw NMEA0183 data but also for interpreting and displaying the different fields of data i.e. Wind Speed, Depth or Heading. For more information on using this program and NMEA0183 in general, please refer to an earlier post we wrote, by clicking here.

With these simple tools and techniques, anyone can test and fault find NMEA0183 systems and with so many systems out there, it is a useful “string to your bow” that might just get you out of trouble.