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How to solve the problem that is SeaTalkNG

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How to solve the problem that is SeaTalkNG

Postby mastreb » Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:26 pm

I bought a Raymarine EV-100 wheel pilot so I can spend my time trimming sails single handed, and I now I'm having to deal with the stupidness that is SeaTalkNG.

SeaTalkNG is nothing more than typical NMEA-2000 with stupid proprietary connectors that make almost everything harder. They decided that they could include one extra wire and then it would be somehow backward compatible with SeaTalk (which is their proprietary connector and bus version of NMEA 0183).

With SeaTalkNG, cables only have female plugs and T-adapters only have male. Also, they've switched the position of the rotating lock-ring from the cable to the device. These seem like good ideas (you can now get the cable through a 7/16ths hole vice 9/16ths) and you only need female terminators, but the lock rings are terrible (they're quarter-turn locking rather than screw-down) and you now cannot create a backbone by chaining T-adaptors together, you either have to have a small cable between them or you can use a proprietary mini-backbone device that Raymarine devised to solve this problem. These cables are all at least $20/each, so every little bit of added complexity is an annoying extra cost.

But the biggest problem is that SeaTalkNG to NMEA2000 adapter cables don't seem to really exist. There's a part number, but I can't find it for sale anywhere. You have to cut and splice a SeaTalkNG cable and an NMEA 2000 together to adapt the two cable systems.

So I'm designing my system so that it's NMEA2000 on one side and SeaTalkNG on the other, necessitating only one adapter cable in the middle. This means I have to do two backbone runs--one for NMEA 2000 devices and one for SeaTalkNG Devices. Or I can hack up all of the SeaTalkNG cables and convert one end to NMEA 2000, which will look nicer but cost about $120.

Sorry about the rant, but it's just really disappointing to have all the good work of a single standard messed up by a big vendor for no good reason.

Fortunately, Garmin makes a field-wireable NMEA2000 connector you can use to easily adapt SeaTalkNG cables to NMEA 2000:

http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=435902
Last edited by Hamin' X on Sun Sep 22, 2013 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Repaired Link
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Re: How to solve the problem that is SeaTalkNG

Postby kadet » Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:50 pm

It is not just the plugs either Raymarine include statements that are not 100% NEMA 2000 compatible and often ignores other manufacture devices on the network. Have just gone this route with a Raymarine SPX-5 autopilot, Garmin Chartplotter and P70 control head. I did manage to purchase the raymarine adaptor cable to hook into my NEMA 2000 backbone and the P70 and SPX-5 talk happily to each other over the Garmin network and the Garman can see both the P70, the SPX-5 and my wind instrument. But the SPX-5 will not accept track, wind or any other data over the NEMA 2000 link from the plotter except speed over ground from what I can tell, the P70 seems to see everything. Wire in the NEMA 0183 port of the Garmin to the SPX-5 and everything works as advertised but this should not be needed if the NEMA 2000 standards were just followed.

If I ever get the bigger boat I think I will go the one manufacturer route for everything and it won't be a proprietary one either :x .
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Re: How to solve the problem that is SeaTalkNG

Postby mastreb » Sun Sep 22, 2013 6:25 pm

kadet wrote:It is not just the plugs either Raymarine include statements that are not 100% NEMA 2000 compatible and often ignores other manufacture devices on the network.

If I ever get the bigger boat I think I will go the one manufacturer route for everything and it won't be a proprietary one either :x .


Well that sucks! Hopefully they're using correct PGNs on this new autopilot or I'm going to be pi$$.

Another reason to hate the stupidity that is SeaTalkNG: The backbone cables are different than the drop cables. I guess the idea is that you can't mess up the networking, but the other way to not mess it up is simply to learn how to configure an NMEA 2000 network correctly. Now I've got to make yet another trip to WestMarine and get more field installable connectors.
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Re: How to solve the problem that is SeaTalkNG

Postby kadet » Sun Sep 22, 2013 8:16 pm

Just read this little gem on the Raymarine support site :)

Reply by NKO, Raymarine, US on April 9, 2013 at 2:23pm
Hello Bjorn,

Whereas the Raymarine course computer is not an N2K certified device it will not work in the configuration you propose. Others have gone down the path as you suggest, (an untested, unsupported configuration) it hasn't worked. They have addressed this by interfacing the X-Series course computers via NMEA0183 communications protocol to their systems. As such, it is recommended that the Raymarine course computer be connected to the Garmin 720 via NMEA0183 and not a direct connect to another manufacturer’s N2K bus.

The two choices for the Raymarine course computer connections would be direct connect to the Garmin 720 via NMEA0183, or utilize an Actisense, NMEA0183 to N2K converter. Part Number# NGW-1-STNG


" is not an N2K certified device" then why include the SeatalkNG port on it and market it as a NMEA 2000 capable device even though the only thing you can do over NEMA 2000 is plug in a control head like the P70.

Hope you have better luck mastreb as it looks like the EV100 is NMEA 2000 compliant :)
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Re: How to solve the problem that is SeaTalkNG

Postby Hamin' X » Sun Sep 22, 2013 8:29 pm

Maybe the "NG" stands for "No Good"? Jus' sayin'!

~Rich
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Re: How to solve the problem that is SeaTalkNG

Postby seahouse » Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:25 pm

If it's any comfort, the imperfect cross compatibility within NMEA “standards” (NOT being specific to your particular hardware Matt, which looks like a fairly new product to the market, and should be a fantastic setup once you get these initial woes worked out) has been an ongoing issue for several years (or more), and even experienced expert installers in the field have issues with these installations, as reported by said experts in sailing literature.

The devices do look good on paper (particularly their advertising), but when it comes to applying them in the real world they can be glitch-prone to install, and not geared with the consumer's interests in mind; even those that have had the chance to evolve on the market for several years.

I believe it is improving in time, though. Hope you get your system up and running soon. :wink:
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Re: How to solve the problem that is SeaTalkNG

Postby seahouse » Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:43 pm

So I did some surfin', 'cause at some point I'd like to do a similar installation. Is this part of any use to you Matt?

http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=144364&catalogId=10001&langId=-1&storeId=11151&storeNum=50157&subdeptNum=50177&classNum=50185
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Re: How to solve the problem that is SeaTalkNG

Postby mastreb » Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:04 pm

seahouse wrote:So I did some surfin', 'cause at some point I'd like to do a similar installation. Is this part of any use to you Matt?

http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=144364&catalogId=10001&langId=-1&storeId=11151&storeNum=50157&subdeptNum=50177&classNum=50185


Rich, yes, that's the part and it would be of use to me if it was in-stock anywhere locally :-( My frustration stems from the fact that I'm having to make more SeaTalkNG <> NMEA2K conversions than I'd planned because I didn't realize the backbone cables were different from drop cables (They're the same in NMEA2K) when I did my system design and ordered everything.

So what I'm doing instead is using the Garmin field-installable connectors and cutting the SeaTalk cables in half, making two adapter cables out of them, and using an all NMEA2K bus because I can get those parts in town. Waiting for shipping when you're in the middle of an install sucks.

But yeah, first world problems. I'll stop griping, the purpose of my post was really just to warn people about SeaTalkNG and the real solution of simply abandoning their cabling standard by using adapters on typical NMEA2K.

Oh, the P70 control head also has two connectors to allow daisy chaining of control heads on a drop cable (non-backbone) run. That's also not NMEA 2K compliant.

As for PGN compatibility (what causes the SPX series to be compatible over 0813 only) that's merely a software problem and I'd hope they have it resolved in this new generation. I'll post any problems with compatibility.

Matt
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Re: How to solve the problem that is SeaTalkNG

Postby mastreb » Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:19 pm

Well, I'm frustrated enough with SeaTalk cabling that instead of trying to do hybrid system with both, I'm just going to make adapters for each of the three devices with the Garmin connectors and use NMEA 2000 cabling.

The system got a bit beyond what I could think through while looking at it on the boat, so I made a system diagram to count parts, inventory what I have, and make a final run to West Marine.

Image

In the picture, ovals are the bus terminators, squares are T-connectors, green lines are NMEA 2000 cables, purple lines are SeaTalk adapter cables, and red lines are power connections. The bus begins at the bow at the wind instrument and ends inside the helm at the chartplotter. I'm going through the STBD side bilge, with the sensors installed below the forward seat next to the daggerboard trunk, the control unit installed below the galley next to the battery, and the heading display installed on the helm.

Given this, the difference between what I have and what I need comes down to a single Lowrance NMEA 2000 starter kit and two of the Garmin field installable connectors. That's $100, but worth it to get away from the hassle.
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Re: How to solve the problem that is SeaTalkNG

Postby Catigale » Tue Sep 24, 2013 6:03 am

Get the SFDC plugin and you are all set.... :D
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Re: How to solve the problem that is SeaTalkNG

Postby mastreb » Tue Sep 24, 2013 9:59 pm

My homemade SeaTalk->NMEA-2K connectors are working just fine. The EV-100 consists of the EV-1 sensor head, the ACU-100 controller, and the p70 display. The ACU-100 expects to wire-in the SeaTalkNG connector to screw terminals, so I chopped the spare NMEA-2000 bus power cable from the NMEA-2K starter kit and used that. Then I used the pre-cut and tinned SeaTalkNG cable for the ACU with a Garmin field install connector to make the cable for the p70, and then chopped the smallest SeaTalkNG cable and put another field installable connector on it for the EV-1.

Final body count: Unused bus power cable from the starter kit, two SeaTalkNG cables from the autopilot, two field installable Garmin NMEA 2K connectors, and three NMEA2K T-adapters to complete the integration.
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Re: How to solve the problem that is SeaTalkNG

Postby Catigale » Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:53 am

Was that about 200 in electrical plumbing? Ouch....
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Re: How to solve the problem that is SeaTalkNG

Postby mastreb » Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:34 am

Catigale wrote:Was that about 200 in electrical plumbing? Ouch....


Yeah, I'm carefully not counting all the fiddly bits necessary...
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Re: How to solve the problem that is SeaTalkNG

Postby RobertB » Sun Sep 21, 2014 5:43 pm

Matt,
You mentioned the P70 control head 2nd connector could be used to daisy chain on a drop/spur.
I am in the middle of wiring the RayMarine EV-1 (SeaTalkNG) to a NMEA 2000 setup with a Garmin chartplotter and the ETEC engine feed (all the NMEA 2000 is wired in the console). I am not done but was trying to use the P70 at the feed thru to the NMEA 2000 connections. I have not seen a detailed wiring diagram of how all the individual conductors are connected between the spurs and backbone to know if this will be an issue or not. I am the point right now where I need to extend a run a few feet and prefer to just make one more purchase. I am even considering splicing two spur cables together.
Real question, if I ignore the yellow wire on the Raymarine spur cable (the backbone does not have this and I have no idea how this wire ties in), does the circuit really care if I am using a spur versus a backbone to daisy chain?
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Re: How to solve the problem that is SeaTalkNG

Postby RobertB » Sun Sep 21, 2014 5:51 pm

Another question - Does the engine supply power to the NMEA 2000 circuit? Not really sure if this would be an issue but am curious.

If power is an issue, I can supply power to both ends of the backbone since one end with the sensor core and computer is at one end and the P70 control head and NMEA 200 devices at the other in the pedestal where I have power off the same breaker. I could cut the power leads in the backbone cable.
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