For the very latest activity, click here: From a Bare Hull
Batteries Bilge Bilge Pumps Blog Bow Pulpit Bow Thruster Bulkheads Cabinets Cable Master Canvas Cockpit Construction Coosa Deck Deck Hardware Design Dinette Distributed Power Driveline Electrical Electronics Engine Engine Room Equipment Exterior Fiberglass Finish Work Floors Fuel System Fun Gadgets Galley Hard Dodger Heating and Air Conditioning Ideas Insulation Interior Keel Lighting Main Salon Mastervolt Masts Materials Mechanical New Technologies Off Topic Paint Panel Philosophy PlasTeak Plumbing Portlights Ramblings Rigging Rudder Sailplan Sails Sanitation Steering Tanks Techniques The Other Boat The Shop Thru-hulls Tick Stick Tools V-Berth Welding Wiring Wood
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Well, the market is now starting to see the new NMEA 2000 electronics. Note that NMEA 2000 is the new protocol that succeeds NMEA 183. Now, anyone who has tried to integrate more than two NMEA 183 units knows how much a hassle it is. NMEA 2000 is designed to address this. Whereas 183 is simply a "serial" protocol, requiring point-to-point wiring between devices, 2000 is a "single cable" protocol. If you know anything about the early days of computer networking, you will see some resemblance of the new protocol to the old "IBM Token Ring" network protocol. The primary computer network protcol these days is Ethernet. And some manufacturers like Furuno have already built in Ethernet to some of their lines. Hardware and Software Layer NMEA 2000 defines both the software and hardware specifications. These are two entirely separate specifications. The hardware specification sets the requirements for cable size, jacket durability and type of connectors. It is very robust and is designed to be reliable in harsh environments (like underwater!) and minimize RFI as much as possible. It turns out the cabling for NMEA 2000 is very expensive at this time. So much so that manufacturers like SIMRAD are developing their own hardware spec, but still run NMEA 2000 protocol. They call it SIMNET. Still in Infancy But NMEA 2000 is not a panacea for electronics integration. The message specification is only beginning to be filled out. If you want different brands of electronics to integrate data that is beyond the very basic, custom programming will have to be done. Makers, like SIMRAD have already done this WITHIN THEIR LINE of electronics. So you can get the full benefits if you stick to one brand. Otherwise you will have to wait, or hire an electronics integrator to do the programming. In anycase it is very exciting to see the new NMEA 2000 stuff hit the market. Things can only get better from here!
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
I know things seem quiet here, but we have been busy with a couple distractions. House is getting new carpet next week. So we have been pulling up the old and sorting through things trying to find stuff that can be thrown out or donated. I hate carrying too much clutter. Physical objects clutter your mind as well as your house (metaphysically speaking). Last week we attended IBEX in Miami Beach. This is the big annual boat builders exhibition. Lots of cool stuff out there. Not just equipment, but building tools, materials and general technology. I will post some reports in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.