Wireless NMEA2000 on OpenCPN

NavLink

Slowly but surely, NMEA2000 the latest marine electronics networking standard is making its way on to boats; old and new. With most new marine electronics equipment having an NMEA2000 interface, we are seeing more and more requests for our NavLink Wireless NMEA2000 Server, that allows you to wirelessly send NMEA2000 data to phones, tablets and computers.

Although there is some initial investment required to purchase and install an NMEA2000 “Backbone” (the T-Pieces, terminator resistors and cables) once you have your basic network setup adding extra equipment is very quick and easy. Just today we had a customer who phoned us concerned about how to install a new AIT2000 Class B Transponder and one of our NavLinks on to his new boat that already had an NMEA2000 network installed. The customer had never seen the “backbone” and had expected to need all sorts of tools, crimps, soldering iron, etc. He was very pleasantly surprised to discover that both units just plugged in to the network and the NavLink even took its power from the NMEA2000 bus.

NMEA2000 Backbone

It turned out that the customer was a big Apple fan and wanted to use all of the NavLink’s wireless NMEA2000 data in OpenCPN running on his Mac and maybe later on to purchase a suitable app to run on his iPad. With everything connected up, it was a simple matter of scanning for wireless networks on his Mac and connecting to the NavLink.

Then in OpenCPN, we got him to go to settings, select connections and click on the “Add Connection” button. Then in the connection properties section select “Network”, Protocol = UDP (so that multiple devices can receive the same data), Address = 169.254.1.1 and Port = 2000 (as shown below).

OpenCPN Connection Mac

Once the connection settings were entered, it was just a case of clicking the “Apply” button and then the “OK” button to establish the data connection to the NavLink and the GPS and AIS data started to stream in from the AIT2000 AIS Class B Transponder.

OpenCPN AIS on Mac

 

Our customer was extremely happy that everything was so easy to install and setup and is now looking at installing the Dashboard or NMEA Instrument Plugins for OpenCPN so that he can use more of the NMEA2000 data available on the network.

By selecting the broadcast UDP mode (rather than TCP)  in the connection to OpenCPN, it means that he can simultaneously get the same data on his iPad, when he decides what App to get.

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