LowranceNET NMEA2000, bad news, good news

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.

6 Responses

  1. Eli says:

    If Simrad and Raymarine have come up with their own versions of the standard that feature less expensive cables, yet take full advantage of the standard without limitations, why don’t folks at NMEA just adopt one of those designs as the new standard and be done with it? I’m sure hell will freeze over before anything like that happens, but it just seems to make sense.

  2. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Excellent question, with two possible answers. One is that the NMEA standard cabling is supposedly extremely resistant to physical abuse and electro magnetic interference (NMEA didn’t invent it; it’s called DeviceNet and it’s used a lot in industrial applications). One of NMEA’s goals was a wiring spec that could work no matter how close it ran near radar scanners, etc. (perhaps overcompensating for the weaknesses of NMEA 0183). The other answer I’d guess at boils down to: “How do you choose a 2nd wiring standard when 3 or more of your major players each offers its own (none of which have the track record of DeviceNet)?” At any rate, apparently some solution has been found, which sounds like good news for all of us NMEA 2000 enthusiasts.

  3. Ben,
    I was doing some research on cable and came across the following:
    Maretron 5 meter NMEA 2000 cordset – $31.08 MSRP
    Simrad 5 meter Simnet/NMEA 2000 cordset – $42.00 MSRP
    Raymarine 1.5 meter Seatalk2/NMEA 2000 cordset – $40.00 MSRP
    So it turns out that not only is NMEA 2000 cable better (waterproof and still operates while laying in bilge water, won’t come unplugged with a tug, better electrical shielding, etc.) it’s also cheaper than Simrad’s and Raymarine’s cabling!

  4. Chris says:

    A friend of mine just bought a pair of Evinrude E-TEC motors that boast NMEA 2000 compatiblitiy (they call it I-Command). I’m helping him put the NMEA2k system together. We’ve found that not only are the cablesets totally different from the NMEA standard, but some of the information that the motors send out over the NMEA2k network is only accessible with the the Evinrude branded NMEA2k guages (which, by the way, cost about 3x the Lowrance NMEA2k guages, and according to both companies, Lowrance manufactures the I-Command guages for Evinrude).
    What the heck is the NMEA standard group doing? This has got to be the weakest “standard” out there…anyone can apparently claim to be NMEA2k compliant no matter what cablesets they use, in addition it seems that manufacturers can cherry pick “proprietary” data for their own branded electronics off this “standard” interface. What a crock.

  5. Stefan says:

    What is the different between Lowrance LMF-400 and I-Command LCD? What�s missing in the LMF-400 that appears in the I-command display?
    I�m going to buy 2 LMF-400 and connect to my Evinrude E-tec motor.

  6. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Stefan, I think you’ll find that LMF-400 will display all standard engine messages but not proprietary ones like diagnostics. The I-Com gauge also lets you control some engine functions, like instant winterization. I wrote more about this here:

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