Maretron N2KView: prices slashed, architecture improved, and BNWAS

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.

16 Responses

  1. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I’d like to think that my enthusiasm for NMEA 2000 in general and Maretron’s still largely unique product line in particular influenced Steve Dashew. But the truth is that he was rapidly thinking of possibilities that hadn’t even occurred to me, like getting Maretron to enable simultaneous display of any data point with multiple custom averaging periods.
    By the same token I’m not sure that I would create N2KView screens with so many numbers even if I could. One thing I’m learning about monitoring — and a driving principal at Maretron — is that when it’s done correctly, alerting and alarming can free your eyes for other tasks (and pleasures). Plus I’m not an engineer.
    But that’s one beauty of N2KView; you can set it up however you like.
    Incidentally, I have some fairly good photos of my Windhorse visits which I must make into a Panbo entry.

  2. Rob says:

    “possibilities that hadn’t even occurred to me, like getting Maretron to enable simultaneous display of any data point with multiple custom averaging periods.”
    In several posts I’ve mentioned the need for chart plotter manufacturers to get a little smarter about averaging data inputs so they are far easier to understand. I sure hope someone like Dashew starts pushing this point because when I mention it to a manufacturer I get a response like “nobody ever asks for that” …. seriously?
    I’m a founder of a web db biz that focuses on effective UI design. Our product is the best in the market by a wide , wide margin. In hopes that someone is reading this that can drive change, here is how I would approach it (customization , averaging being just one aspect):
    – start in design mode with a blank screen
    – allow user to select a gauge style, set its position and size on the canvas,
    – after the gauge has been selected user picks one or more data inputs for the gauge… some gauges could have multipli inputs potentially, like a single gauge displaying true and apparent wind
    – for each input the user could select an averaging period… this should be a running avg calculated from maybe 10 samples of raw per second… so a 3 second avg is off 30 data points… update rate of screen might be 10 hz, so every 1/10 of a sec the screen is updated and 1 of 30 data points have changed the avg only slightly… even less if 5 sec avg because now 1/50 have changed.
    The net result is the user sees a very fluid gauge with smooth needle movements that take the noise out of the picture. The customization makes it easy to setup , say, magnetic true wind direction with a very long 15 or 30 sec avg (to capture shifts and oscillations ) while having maybe 3 sec update for TWD and a 1 or 2 second avg for boat speed. Etc etc. Sensible defaults (diff for each data item) and fully customizable.
    Excuse any typos as posted via phone…

  3. Adam says:

    I agree with Rob, and in fact have thought about how to write an open source N2K display library using those principles.
    One thing that surprised me is how infrequently Dashew uses graphs (at least per the screens shown). We graph almost all engine data on our N2KView screen, right next to the current value for each data point. We think that helps us get a clear read on any trends that might indicate flow blockages, overheating, fluid leaks, etc.
    But I LOVE that giant N2KView screen on the FPB!
    Ben, do you have any more information from Maretron on how the loosening of these N2KView licenses will affect existing owners? I’d like to think that the company would provide its earlier adopters the best of what capabilities current buyers get, in acknowledgment of their longstanding support.

  4. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, Rob! Interesting comments and the good news (I should have mentioned in the entry) is that you can download the demo version of Windows N2KView and see for yourself. There’s also a Mac version I forgot about.
    The demo is loaded with pre-built screens but you can start one with a blank slate, and I think you’ll find at least some of what you’re looking for. (I just downloaded the demo myself and easily tweaked a tachometer to my liking, but am already familiar with some of the gauge customization from Maretron DSM displays.)
    A neat thing is that I’m pretty sure you can use screens you build in the demo for an actual N2KView install. In fact, that’s how people who only use the free mobile apps will be able to create their screens. The design facility is not in the apps (understandably) but you can supposedly save screen designs from the demo software to the IPG1000 where they’ll be available to the apps.
    Adam, I’ve queried Maretron about the situation for existing owners, and I dare guess that it was big concern when making all these changes. Obviously you now have BNWAS and all the app usage you want, but there may be more.

  5. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Dare I add that the N2KView architecture change seems like a head’s up for everyone who wishes that their marine electronics integrated easily with their boat’s LAN (i.e. local area network via Ethernet, TCP/IP, etc)? I can testify that Maretron’s normally mild-mannered CEO Rich Gauer can get quite worked up when talking about all the not-N2KView-related router issues their tech support team has had to deal with.
    And another thing I probably should have mentioned in the entry is this suite of N2KView training videos:

  6. HenryD says:

    I do not see any of this information on the Maretron site or under their press releases. Do you know how this will play out for those of us who are already Maretron users? Will the additional modules become available to us?

  7. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Hi Henry,
    I don’t think there’s been a press release yet, but the new hardware and changed N2KView software licensing is all up at (and in my links). I believe I’m reporting on changes that have already happened, not just a future plan.
    Existing Maretron device users now have a less expensive upgrade path to N2KView, including just using the free apps. You do need an IPG100 to use those apps but I wouldn’t be surprised if that device becomes a OneNet gateway when the standard comes out (just a guess).
    Existing N2KView users obviously get a couple of goodies they didn’t have before Jan. 1: BNWAS and unlimited use of the apps (if they have an IPG100). The situation beyond that seems to be unclear and tricky. For instance, I didn’t get into the dongle aspect, which Maretron seems to getting away from and which apparently adds complexity to changing what current customers have access to. Maybe I’ll learn more today about what Maretron plans to do.

  8. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Henry and Adam, I got some info from Maretron about the situation for existing owners of N2KView:
    Aside from the unlimited free apps, most everything stays the same. Existing modules will continue to receive operational updates at no charge, and additional modules will still be available to purchase “although it may be more cost effective to buy a new fully bundled hardware license key depending on how many modules you want to add.”

  9. Adam says:

    Ben, that’s consistent with what I heard directly from Maretron. I’ll be on the boat tonight and will see if I can update the IPG100 and access it from the iPad app.
    Thanks for following up.

  10. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Great. I hope you can get the app working with your system and let us know about it. And if you get into it, please consider writing a Panbo entry about how to set up app screens using the PC or Mac software, load them to the IPG and so forth. With the new pricing scheme, I suspect that at least N2KView Mobile will get a lot more interest from us DIY types.

  11. HenryD says:

    Ben and Adam,
    I upgraded my N2Kview last night to version 4.x via the built-in sync functionality. When I tried to open N2KView, it would not connect back to the USB100. I called Maretron (Mark) today but I was at work and not available to be on the boat. Since they are Arizona time, I will have to try again one day when I am off work. There is no documentation yet on the new version.
    Fortunately I have a backup harddrive to recover my setup.

  12. HenryD says:

    I am trying to figure this out. I spoke to Mark and since I am using the very 1980s model of a USB dongle license, his comment was “nothing changes”.
    I have not purchased the Video or Alerts module in the past because they simply are too expensive and I can run the video through my RosePoint for free.
    Your article said
    “On January 1st Maretron N2KView changed from modularized PC software that could cost nearly $3,000 for the works — monitoring plus device control, fuel management, sophisticated alerting and video integration — to a $995 package with all modules included, plus a new BNWAS feature”
    But then your reply on the 14th stated the additional modules would still need to be purchased, adn the price sheet on Maretron’s site do not show any price reductions.
    What am I missing? I really don’t see any new features except you can use an iPad if you use the IPG instead of the dongle and BNWAS which you need Alerts for.

  13. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Well, Henry, it’s all true! Anyone buying N2KView today gets the whole package for $995 retail:
    But existing customers who don’t have the whole package can still purchase N2K modules as before. Nothing changed for you after Jan. 1 except that unlimited N2K apps are available without a license fee (if you have IPG100) and you get BNWAS if you have Alerting (I didn’t get that last part until now).
    I’m not sure that Maretron is treating existing customers as well as they could in this transition, even though you got some usexpected benefits, but I do know there’s almost always some pain to changes like this.

  14. HenryD says:

    When other software developers role out new features or licensing changes, usually they try to at least make things even for their exisiting customers. I was thinking from your first post that my N2Kview would now have Alerts, Fuel, etc. Yes, I would need to purchase the flow monitors, the the buzzers, etc.
    As far as iPads/mobile access – I would have thought if you had your N2KView on the network, you could connect to it – I do not undertand why the IPG100 supports it but if you bought the USB100 to get your N2Kview on the boat network, you cannot connect without another $995.
    I know several other users of N2KView who have the same questions.

  15. Howard says:

    Does the mobile N2Kview app sound alerts if it is the background? I use an iPad on board and if I am temporarily using another app it would be nice if the Maretron app could still sound an alert if something goes outside of limits.

  16. Adam says:

    Howard, I don’t know what happens with N2KView running in the background on your iPad, but you could always add an ALM100, which will sound a piercingly loud shriek if an alert is triggered.
    Alerts are pushed to the ALM100 from the IPG100 (assuming you have one), so it doesn’t matter if the iPad app is running or not.

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