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N2K for Dummies

Discussion in 'Musings With Maine Sail' started by dlochner, Apr 9, 2018. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    1,769 posts, 582 likes
    Sabre 362
    US Fair Haven, NY
    I'm about to install a simple NMEA 2000 network for instruments and MFD. Are there any simple guides for doing this? I don't think I need to get into the nuances of N2K, but information on topics like different types of cables, extending cables, power on the network, etc.

    Online references would be helpful.

    Thanks.
     


    pateco likes this.
  2. pateco

    pateco

    Joined Aug 12, 2014
    1,742 posts, 396 likes
    Hunter 31 (1983)
    US Pompano Beach FL
    Following
     


  3. Stu Jackson

    Stu Jackson

    Joined Feb 26, 2004
    19,713 posts, 464 likes
    Catalina 34
    US Maple Bay, BC, Canada
    Les Troyer wrote a great one, published in Mainsheet magazine a few issues back. Ask him for a copy of it.
     


    LeslieTroyer likes this.
  4. JK_Boston_Catalina310

    JK_Boston_Catalina310

    Joined Nov 18, 2010
    1,902 posts, 59 likes
    Catalina 310
    US Hingham, MA
    Which manufacturer are you using?
     


  5. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    1,769 posts, 582 likes
    Sabre 362
    US Fair Haven, NY
    B&G. Trying to break my habit of learning after screwing up. I want to learn first and then screw it up. :biggrin:

    From what I have read so far, I think I have a decent understanding, just trying to make certain. Something that points out common mistakes would be helpful. I prefer to make uncommon mistakes.

    Thanks Stu, I'll ask Les.
     


  6. Jackdaw

    Jackdaw

    Joined Nov 8, 2010
    8,306 posts, 1,756 likes
    Beneteau First 36.7 & 260
    US Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
    The only thing (for now!) ;^) I'll add here is try and get as much gear from one brand (or umbrella company). While the standard is getting much better at interop and plug-and-play, many non-plotter devices can ONLY be updated or configured by head units of same make, like GPS/compass senders, APs, RADAR domes, HiFi black boxes etc.
     


    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
  7. JK_Boston_Catalina310

    JK_Boston_Catalina310

    Joined Nov 18, 2010
    1,902 posts, 59 likes
    Catalina 310
    US Hingham, MA
    Right on Jack! I am installing a new autopilot. I went with a Raymarine unit. I can only update the firmware on that unit if I have a Raymarine MFD. So now I'm calling local dealers trying to get someone to update the firmware for me with their MFD or finding a friend to let me use there.

    The common mistakes I have fixed on the boats were the owners have done the install have to do with unbalanced power (usually from trying to use the autopilot computer power as the source for the whole network) or from unclosed backbones (i.e.) they end one side on a T or 5 slot connector but don't put the end cap on the last backbone section.
     


  8. billjoye

    billjoye

    Joined Oct 31, 2016
    10 posts, 0 likes
    Catalina 25
    5878 Frayed Knot US Charleston, SC
    I would also add- use just one source for cables, tees, power taps. Don't mix and match between manufacturers. Tees from Garmin, Simrad, Maretron connected at different angles to one another. For 90 deg connections, you need to use a 90 deg field attachable connector (I know of no manufacturer that makes an ots 90 deg connector) . When you need to use a field attachable connector, I found "Mid" bulk cable to be easier to work with than "Micro" bulk cable. Maratron also makes a bulkhead connector and a multi-port box that can make life a lot easier. For thru deck connections, the only solution I've found is to use a deck gland or cablecam.
     


  9. Meriachee

    Meriachee

    Joined Aug 1, 2011
    2,324 posts, 574 likes
    Catalina 270
    CA Wabamun - on the orange ball
    And the thing that should be considered is not the "here and now", but rather the "down the road", where the widget that you'll buy next year needs to have the installed devices firmware upgraded to integrate.
     


    JK_Boston_Catalina310 likes this.
  10. dlochner

    dlochner

    Joined Jan 11, 2014
    1,769 posts, 582 likes
    Sabre 362
    US Fair Haven, NY
    Yes, I'm staying with one vendor, B&G except for the AIS which is Vesper Marine. Vesperhas a good reputation for playing well with others.

    Ah, this is the kind of information I'm looking for.

    The one known issue I will have is the drop cable from the wind instruments. I know that anemometer has a terminator and the cable is 66 feet long. My mast come done every year and I need to put a connector in the cable near the mast or I have to rerun the cable every year. Also will have a new Speed/depth transducer and compass nearby but separated by the floor in the V-berth. Trying to keep everything simple and with as few connectors as possible.
     


  11. HMT2

    HMT2

    Joined Mar 20, 2014
    515 posts, 91 likes
    Hunter 31
    US Shoreacres, TX
    I had the same issue. My local West Marine did it for me, although I had to load the update on an sd card.
     


  12. billjoye

    billjoye

    Joined Oct 31, 2016
    10 posts, 0 likes
    Catalina 25
    5878 Frayed Knot US Charleston, SC
    Been there, done that. Cut the end from the 66 foot cable, run it inside your mast at the top, out at the base, through a cablecam mounted at the deck, and and cut to attach a field connector just inside the cabin. Now use a regular cable to connect to continue your trunk line. Remember the 'Male' side of any trunk line connector points towards the power source (assuming you have a bi-directional power tap).

    The Maretron bulkhead connector is perfect for routing from under the V-berth. The Drop line from the trunk to the bulkhead connector, then other side bulkhead connector to your depth/speed/temp transducer.

    I was fortune enough to have a channel in the cabin ceiling liner to run the trunk line along the side of the cabin the length of the boat. Otherwise, I would have used a bulkhead connector at each bulkhead, the length of the boat.

    Plan ahead. Use short segments of cable, connected end-to-end to create you trunk line. In the future, you will want to add new instruments at various points. I also 'started' with the B&G wind/speed/depth MFD package. Since then, I've added a chart plotter, another MFD, auto-tiller, and AIS enabled VHF (all B&G). Still up in the air about the need for an external GPS.
     


  13. LeslieTroyer

    LeslieTroyer

    Joined May 20, 2016
    1,338 posts, 405 likes
    Catalina 36 MK1
    US Everett, WA
    One thing not mentioned is having a single backbone. With N2K it is very easy to split the backbone. While it may work ok today, the next device you add may cause it to develop storms and in all likelyhood you’ll blame the new device rather than the network topology.

    @dlochner pm me your email I’ll send the article.

    Les
     


  14. HMT2

    HMT2

    Joined Mar 20, 2014
    515 posts, 91 likes
    Hunter 31
    US Shoreacres, TX


  15. chuckwayne

    chuckwayne

    Joined Mar 20, 2004
    1,381 posts, 30 likes
    Hunter 356 and 216
    US Portland, ME
    If you're using the B&G wind instrument the masthead end of the cable has a SIMNET connector - very small and easy to fish thru the mast. It is designed to terminate the backbone and has a tiny terminating resistor in the masthead connector. fish the cable thru the mast from the bottom, and if possible just coil up the excess cable at the base. Had the same issue with Escape but decided to just store the excess - about 8 feet - instead of cutting and putting on a field installable connector. run your backbone forward to a convenient location (mine is behind the port settee), install a tee and then a cable to the base of the mast. the wind instrument completes your backbone. The tee connects to the cable from your depth/speed sender (that's a drop cable). Works great, the yard had no issue disconnecting the cable and storing it coiled with the mast.
     



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