State of the art data network for your vessel

Marine electronics and navigation guru, Errol Cain has supervised the installation of marine electronic systems into thousands of luxury cruisers in his 21 years experience.

This month Errol shares his knowledge and experience on the NMEA 2000.


The revolutionary NMEA2000 is one step ahead of other data networking systems with its super fast technology and ability to link all your electronic devices.

The National Marine Electronics Association established NMEA2000, which is the data protocol used in your marine electronics. NMEA2000 is the next generation from the familiar NMEA0183 that has been used to interface for so many years.

This next generation of vessel data networking has up to 20 times the bandwidth of previous technology.

R Electronics managing director Errol Cain said the protocol allowed electronic devices on your vessel to be networked seamlessly.

"Basically you can hook any NMEA2000 compliant device and send or receive data through it through the one network," he said.

"It enables communication between devices to be significantly enhanced - it's building a network within your boat - an information display super highway."

He said many manufacturers of marine electronics have now released products using NMEA2000 as their standard communication protocol because it allows simple interfacing between electronics such as Raymarine G series and Furuno NN3D.

"The company that is most advanced with interface or gateway products is Maretron," he said.

"Maretron manufacture a wide range of products to interconnect with popular NMEA2000 compatible multi function displays (MFD's), which enable MFD's to display data over and above the normal Charting / Sounder / Radar functions."

Interfaces currently available from Maretron are;

  • Ultrasonic wind and weather station (no moving parts)
  • Solid state compass (no moving parts)
  • NMEA2000 GPS antenna
  • NMEA2000 Depth / Speed transducers
  • J1939 (engine company protocol) to NMEA2000 interface to display engine data on a MFD
  • NMEA2000 tank level interface
  • NMEA2000 rudder angle interface
  • NMEA2000 AC current interface
  • NMEA2000 DC current interface

"The Maretron range of interfaces can take almost any analogue signal and convert it to NMEA2000 to display on a NMEA2000 compatible MFD or their own all in one multi colour digital display the Maretron DSM250," said Errol.

"All the NMEA2000 devices are connected into the backbone via a tee piece with a "spur" cable running to the NMEA2000 device and display.

"You can imagine in the not to distant future, a "glass bridge", which is a line of flat screens that display informational data, without engine instrumentation, as the engines, charting, sounder, and radar data will all be on two or three large displays."

For more information visit www.relectronics.com.au or contact R Electronics on info@relectronics.com.au or 07 5561 7900.




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Click to enlarge image: Errol Cain

Errol Cain

Mini NMEA2000 Network Example

Mini NMEA2000 Network Example

Micro/Mid NMEA2000 Network Example

Micro/Mid NMEA2000 Network Example