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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Playing With Software

Been playing with Maretron's N2KBuilder program. It is a software package that aids in the design of NMEA2000 networks for boats. Somewhat like a CAD program, you can place N2K devices on the drawing and connect them with cables. The software will tell you if and where there are problems with things like connections, cable lengths and voltages. All before a single piece of hardware is installed. The cool thing about some NMEA2000 manufacturers is that they not only cover "typical" marine electronics like GPS, depth sounders, etc, but there are also manufacturers of devices like tank level monitors, engine monitors, etc. The type of device that could be connected is almost limitless. N2KBuilder is only in version 1.0 and it lacks some handy features (like multi-select). It will be interesting to see how it evolves. Of course our project is nowhere near the marine electronics stage, but, by the time it is, the NMEA2000 market place should be fairly evolved with lots of interesting devices.
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