Digital Yacht launch NAVDoctor for NMEA 2000 network diagnostics & testing

Modern boat electronic navigation, monitoring and instrumentation networks use NMEA 2000 as a universal interconnection standard.  It allows equipment to be interfaced across brands and a common format of physical connector and cabling used throughout.

NMEA 2000 networks are based on a robust Canbus architecture, but one bad device, cable or termination can have a detrimental effect on performance. Fault finding can be time consuming and tricky, so having a diagnostics device in your toolkit, will save you time, money and frustration.

Digital Yacht’s NAVDoctor is a portable NMEA 2000 network diagnostic tool/tester. It allows you to quickly check the NMEA 2000 network. It combines the functionality of existing NMEA 2000 display programs and test equipment into a single, cost effective, simple plug ‘n play box.

It’s self powered from the network and creates a local wifi point for a mobile phone, tablet or PC to connect. Once connected, you simply access functions through the mobile’s web browser so there’s no complicated software to install.  You can view and drill down on devices as well as the data on the network which is transmitted in packets called PGNs.  It can even monitor physical characteristics of the network including bus voltages and load and detect frame errors.

NAVDoctor is an essential tool for every marine electronics technician or advanced DIY installer and also offers the capability of printing a network health check certificate to validate an installation.  It’s available now – priced at £300 plus vat ($450)  and further details at www.digitalyacht.co.uk 



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7 Responses

  1. Wow could I use one of these. Lately I have developed some mysterious faults on my NMEA 2000 network that result in the autopilot losing connection to its controller and my engine gauges crashing and freezing up. Between device software, settings, and physical hardware of the devices and cabling, there are so many potential sources of the problem that finding the cause of an intermittent fault is really a challenge.

    Maybe some enterprising person could set up a rental program so “DIY” people like me could rent one for a few days since it is rather a lot to spend for someone who is not an electronics dealer or installer.

  2. Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

    Fred,

    You’re definitely not alone with your troubles. Ben Ellison and I have both experienced somewhat frequent issues with instability on the N2K network. I have long believed, with some incomplete evidence, that the issue is made much worse by large, heterogeneous NMEA 2000 networks.

    Anecdotally I’ve noticed much less instability on networks when only a single manufacturer’s devices are represented on the network. I’ve reached out to the Digital Yacht crew to see if we can arrange a review sample so we can report on what we’re able to find on our own networks.

    -Ben S.

    • Another issue that I have always worried would cause problems on the N2K network is having multiple devices sending out the same PGNs. Although they get differentiated, it just seems inevitable that there would be issues. For example, I have three chartplotters with built-in GPS receivers, a satellite compass, and an AIS transponder on my N2K network all transmitting position and related PGNs. There are lots of cables of course including runs up the tower leg. It will be great if this new product provides very clear diagnostics on both hardware issues and device conflicts. I hope you can get one to try out.

  3. I touched base with DY in UK and it looks like these won’t land here in the States until sometime in October. I carry a Maretron N2K Meter at the moment and although it is quite helpful it is not the easiest tool to get clear, actionable information from. And it was damn expensive. It can’t generate reports like the DY Doctor supposedly can. Really looking forward to getting my hands on one of these.

  4. Did anyone ever get their hands on one of these? They seem to be available for purchase on the Digital Yacht website. The $450 price tag falls into “ouch” territory for someone who is not in the business.

  5. Mine is sitting on my desk but I haven’t had a chance to play with it yet. Will let you know when I have the opportunity to tinker.

  6. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Fred, I do have a sample NAVDoctor and am not very impressed so far. It is nice to get this sort of diagnostic info on an iPad over WiFi with no app involved, and the info is neatly presented. But you can get nearly the same device and PGN detail with an Actisense NGT-1 PC interface and their NMEA Reader PC software for less than half the cost. Plus NMEA Reader can also be used to fix some possible system issues like Device or Data Instance numbers, and the NGT-1 can feed N2K data to PC nav software and some configuration apps. I do expect Digital Yacht to improve the NAVDoctor software, and they may also enable it to work as a WiFi gateway like their NavLink2, but it would still be pricey at $450 I think.

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