Garmin 3D AIS, & an 0183 issue


Not one of my better pictures, but the bigger version here will give you some sense of how the Garmin 4– and 5000 Series handle AIS targets. At upper left you can see the AIS target on a the regular 2D chart; my first impression is that the icon representation may in some situations be a bit too busy compared to a standard AIS triangle. But I do rather like the 3D target representation in the Mariner’s Eye 3D view (sorry it’s a bit indistinct; I’m going to have do videos of this stuff at some point). You can also see the target icon just showing on the radar screen (which also gives you a reference to how the 3D radar overlay looks in 2D).

Note how each window is individually zoomable on the 5212’s touch screen. But they can not be synched, as best I can tell (not everything is in the manual). I also don’t think the AIS targets can show projection lines, though Rate of Turn does show up graphically. Touching one of the windows will pop it up full screen, where you can, say, touch query an AIS target or make adjustments, then hit “back” to return to this “combination” screen. I’m still really liking the touch screen interface.
   There’s some interesting input going on behind this screen. I’ve got both a PC AIS simulator and an Airmar Weather Station going through the Ship Module Multiplexer and into one of the 4212’s NMEA 0183 ports, which is set to high speed. It’s then traveling via a Garmin Ethernet cable to the 5212, which is also in simulator mode. That latter connection worked fine without any setup at all. And if I turned off the simulator and went to a screen that showed wind data, you’d see the real world conditions outside my lab. But, strangely, neither networked Garmin seems to understand the GPS data also coming from the Airmar, or any other NMEA 0183 GPS data I send them. I called Garmin support about this a week or so ago, and was told that these units will only work with the included Garmin 17 active GPS antenna. What, you mean you can’t wire in an alternate or backup 0183 GPS (or a NMEA 2000 one either, yet)? This later came up in my phone interview and the gentlemen I was speaking to were sure it wasn’t true, or wasn’t meant to be true. I hope they’re right, but am still waiting to hear for sure.

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

23 Responses

  1. Norton Rider says:

    How resistant is the Garmin touch screen to oils and greases such as suntan lotion? I imagine the screen will need to be cleaned often. Scratching could become an issue.

  2. Brad says:

    You mention the Airmar set up is being fed through the multiplexer a 0183 port on the 5212, and the port is set to high speed. I wonder that isn’t the problem with the 5212 not receiving GPS data via NMEA 0183?
    The AIS needs the high speed, but does the Airmar station? Did you try connecting the Airmar GPS to an 0183 port set to standard speed? Like you, I would be shocked that only the GPS 17 antenna can be used. After all, it is just connected to another 0183 port, and the main unit sends and receives 0183 data.

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Brad, Yes I did try the Airmar GPS straight to a standard 4,800 NMEA input on the 4212. Also tried an old Garmin 45. No dice.

  4. Brad says:

    I figured you’re smart enough to have done the obvious. That’s why you have the lab coat, and the lab for that matter, right?

  5. George says:

    I do not have my unit yet, but have been reading through the manual online. Try playing around with the NMEA 0183 settings on page 35 and 36. I’m willing to bet that it is either expecting garmin format from the GPS, or that the number of digits provided by your GPS unit doesn’t match the “number of digits” setting.
    The manual is not all that good, but I would explore the settings under the “Garmin” button (which are not explained.)

  6. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, George, but, if you look again, I think you’ll see that those controls only have to do with NMEA 0183 output. The only choice regarding input is the speed. Which, by the way, is nicely simple.

  7. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Hey, Brad, check “”. You can have your own lab coat for $35, custom embroidering included! And that’s the classy garbadine model. Highly recommended. I feel…I don’t know…”special” when I wear it.

  8. Brad says:

    Sweet lab coats. The only problem is my wife already thinks I’m a huge nerd. A personalized lab coat would definitely confirm it. I have to leave some room for reasonable doubt.

  9. ricknav says:

    Where is the Chart in the 3D Mode?
    Does Garmin expect someone to use that image to Navigate?
    I don’t understand how it is useful…..

  10. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Rick, You definitely don’t have to use the 3D mode, or you can split it with a traditional 2D chart mode. But, yes, I think Garmin figures that some people will want to navigate in 3D, if not now then eventually. I agree.

  11. Brad says:

    Ben –
    Have you checked Garmin’s software update section lately? It looks like Garmin may have fixed the 0183 antenna support (or lack there of)issues. Release 2.40 for the 4208 lists three improvements; one of which is “Added support for NMEA 0183 antennas”. I can’t check it right now since I’m 800 miles away from my boat, but maybe this new version fixes the issue?
    Maybe you should test the new version – sometime between fixing your house and testing the bird zapper…
    BTW, I personally like that Garmin tells customers what the new software versions fix/enhance. Very nice “feature”.

  12. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, Brad. I loaded 2.40 into the 5212 yesterday, but it still doesn’t accept 0183 GPS data on a regular port. However, Garmin told me that I can put any NMEA 0183 GPS into the dedicated GPS port. I’m going to try that.

  13. Jeff K says:

    I also installed a 5212 and it’s light years ahead of my Raymarine pathfinder units. Easy to operate and easy to install. My only complaint so far is that the G2 chip supplies photo images that you can overlay from 100% down to 0% on the Chart image. But the photo images take so long to draw– first coming up all pixelated (is this a word?) and taking sometimes almost two minutes before the image completes and if your changing scales this redraw has to happen each time. Essentially the photo image overlay is a marketing story which in practice is really unusable. I think the unit needs a much faster CPU chip to accomodate the photo image resolutions. Even changing scales with just the chart screen in normal image mode takes too much time as compared to my old Raymarine Pathfinder unit that changes scales instantly. Except for the these problems with screen display speeds it’s a great system and perhaps as they release new firmware and software upgrades these problems will be fixed. Also I have one problem — if the photo overlay is set say to 60% – the screen will alternate between the photo image and the digital chart display every 20 seconds or so. Garmin tech support doesn’t seem to know why it does this. No setting seems available to stop this alternating behavior — setting the photo overlay to 0% solves all these problems and suggests the photo overlay capability was mostly so they could print pretty ads in boat magazines. Also we interfaced this unit via nmea to my Raymarine S2 autopilot and only the GO TO heading selection sends out nmea waypoint data the ROUTE TO option which is suppose to steer a safe route to the waypoint avoiding land and chart obstacles does not output any heading data via the nmea connection to the chartplotter. Perhaps there needs to be some nmea setting turned on in the Garmin unit to make this output the nmea waypoint data. Still testing. Tried to install the weather GDL-30a unit yesterday and could get the test CM audio station but couldn’t get the unit to initialize with the XM system completely so that the weather data would get downloaded and become functional. Tried two resets with XM and will have to try a complete restart on the XM account they tell me but it was too late at night to stay on the boat. Next I plan to install the radar unit and sounder module over the next several weeks– and finally an AIS receiver–

  14. Jeff J. says:

    I also have the 5212 and am liking it so far. I have the sounder unit attached and working using an Airmar transducer. I will be adding radar and XM weather. I would like to add AIS also. Which AIS receiver unit is compatable with the 5212?

  15. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Jeff, I think any NMEA 0183 AIS target output will work with the Garmin (and the other MFDs that can plot AIS). However, I don’t think it can yet decipher NMEA 2000 AIS data, though hopefully that ability will be added soon (same deal with most other MFDs).
    If you get an AIS Class B transponder instead of a receiver, you may also find that the Garmin does not see the GPS information mixed into the data stream. Some MFDs do, some don’t. All should, I think.

  16. Doug Winkler says:

    Morning, reading your web page sounds like you have broad knowledge. Can you help with this one about Garmin 4008 CHARTPLOTTERS. do they use both blue chart and g2 vision and where is the best place to buy new sd cards. Also is there somewhere to trade in cards no longer in use. Your help would be appreciated for i am down here in Australia and the knowledge bank is pathetic.
    Rgds Doug

  17. Casey says:

    I am installing the Garmin 5212, GPS17x and the GSD22 sounder module.
    Do I hook the power wire for the GPS17x antenna and the GSD22 to a switched 12VDC source or does it connect to a dedicated source?
    Does the 5212 turn them “on” when it is turned on?

  18. Bill Lentz says:

    Ben I thought I would also comment here about my problems I am using Garmin 4212, 4210 chartplotters connected both through the Garmin network as well as the NMEA 2000 networks; in addition I have a 3205, GSD22 and GMR18HD through the Garmin network only. I have a KVH1000 position sensor on one of the NMEA 0183 ports and my Uniden 625 VHF radio. I have the GXM-51 weather receiver (N2K), GMI-10 display (N2K), the GWS-10 Wind sensor (N2K), GPS-17X GPS antenna (N2K), 2 GFS-10 (N2K) fuel sensors and a Nautico NAIS300L (N2K).
    I have installed the GPS antenna supplied with the Nautico AIS Class B transponder and a Digital 4.5dbi high on my hardtop. As I had mentioned earlier the chartplotter thinks my own MMSI or boat is a target and I keep getting a red X through my vessel and the alarm pop up and lost target pop up. One important note since changing the antenna from a broadband VHF to a Digital Antenna 4.5dbi AIS antenna and raising it from low on the boat to high in the hardtop I pick up signals up to about 25 miles even during the day.
    I intend to replace my VHF radio which is also hooked up through the NMEA 0183 network to a Garmin VHF200 with the GHS-10 remote which is already on backorder. I am wondering if once I add the VHF200 to the (N2K) network if that might communicate with the Nautico (N2K) and the alarms might disappear? I will also be adding a (N2K) Intelliducer and remove the GSD22 and it’s transducer. The new weather “Puck” (N2K) seems to work better than my old GDL-30A and external antenna. I am running software release 5.0.
    Take care. Bill

  19. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Casey, Did you get the NMEA 2000 or NMEA 0183 version of the Garmin 17x GPS? If it is the 2000 model (which is probable), it will get power off your 2000 backbone, which might be switched independently. Garmin’s NMEA 2000 install manual is pretty good.
    Bill, That’s a heck of a system you’ve got! I think the major suspect regarding your AIS alarm problem is Garmin’s brand new software, which apparently changed much of the AIS code. Did you see that Garmin has already put out updates 5.1 and 5.2?

  20. Bill Lentz says:

    Ben I did not see version 5.1 or 5.2 I will load that then report back. Funny I was just on the site looking for a release date on the new VHF200 looks like 2 weeks or so. I have found using the NEMA2000 path to be one of the best decissions I ever made. I also have a FLIR and Raymarine cameras integrated into the 4200 series chartplotters and a 5.8ghz link that I can switch to any of the 3 inputs I have on a solid state switcher. I also have a GMR24HD that has been back to the factory 3 times for error code 6. I got tired of switching it out so I bought the GMR18HD and I haven’t had a single issue with it. I don’t normally bash any manufacture but I have had serious issues with the GMR24HD. Prior to that I started with the older 2kw and 4kw GMR21-41’s with -0- issues. I have a dedicated isolated qty.-3 8D Lifeline AGM house bank. I will comment on your use of the zener diode under that thread you might want to think about installing a fuse in series with the zener if it were to short you would have some smoke before the zener would hopefully open depending on who won the power supply lead amperage capacity or the diodes short.
    Regards. Bill Lentz

  21. Cameron says:

    I have been trying to track down information on the net about ‘error code 6’ and came across your posting Bill. My GMR24HD has just gone back to the workshop for repair for the second time with the dreaded code 6 problem. I doubt the unit has done more than a couple of hours in operation before each message and subsequent termination of service from the radar. Like you, I am starting to think this problem need a more permanent solution.

  22. Bill Lentz says:

    Cameron; Garmin eventually made good and replaced my GMR24HD with a newer or I should say later production new GMR24HD. In the interum I replaced the 24HD with a GMR18HD and it has been well over a year and I haven’t had a single problem with the GMR18HD. I just sold the 24HD to a slip neighbor so I’m hoping the old error code 6 problem on the GMR24HD doesn’t show up.

  23. Bill Lentz says:

    Ben, looks like this thread is back to life. I recently changed plotters my current line up is the Garmin 6212, 4210, 740s. On the Garmin network is a GSD-22 and GMR18HD. In addition I have a GMI-10 display. The NMEA2000 backbone now has 3 fuel sensors, a GWS-10, GXM-51, (2) VHF200s one with a remote mike/head, Navico NAIS-300L class B transponder and GPS-17. I feed my System View 5000 displays, NAVTEX receiver from the 6212 NMEA0183 output. I am currently using a KVH1000 heading sensor that inputs to the 6212 NMEA0183 buss, this will soon be replaced with a NMEA2000 heading sensor.
    My current issue is with the 740s and the AIS transponder thinking my vessel is a dangerous target. The self alarming issue was resolved on the 4210 and 6212 with software releases by Garmin. To stop the self alarm on the Garmin 740s I have to turn off the AIS alarm everytime I turn the 740s chartplotter on. I’m wondering if Garmin will have a fix for the AIS alarming in a future software release?
    Perhaps I should just replace the AIS transponder with the Garmin AIS-600? I have to admit I really like the NAIS-300L transponder.

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