MFD engine alarming improves, but still needs more Maretron-ization

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.

11 Responses

  1. Richard C says:

    Although the Maretron equipment is terrific I avoid anything Maretron. For one, I don’t have the room on a sailboat for a DSM150 that is required to set up and configure the Maretron sensors and alarms. I already have a full suite of Garmin and B&G screens to view all the N2K data.
    When you buy, lets say, the TMP-100 and add in the the required DSM 150, ($495 List) or the DSM 250, ($995 List) or the N2KView ($995) it becomes very expensive addition. Why can’t Maretron allow their products to be set up and configured using any brand N2K instrument display of chartplotter? My Floscan fuel flow monitoring is adjusted for a full tank using a Garmin GMI-20. Actisense gives you a free configuration program to set up the EMU-1 and I can view the EMU-1 on a Garmin 7212. Is the Maretron equipment designed to make sure every customer has to buy their display or computer program?
    I was about to buy the Maretron WSO-100 wind/weather instrument, however, their tech support told me it can only be setup using a Maretron display or their Gateway, (other gateways will not work). Well, that was the end of that idea! If Maretron ever changes this I’ll be happy to take another look.

  2. Leo Starrenburg says:

    I wonder if it is possible to include a graph in the various displays. They start to look like the SCADA systems used in proces-control and there graphs are essential for the operators.
    Take the main engine (exhaust) temperature: if you could a create graph you could see how fast the temp. would increase over time, and perhaps even add an alarmpoint in the graph as with some of the gauges you have shown us. A smart graph could even include a rate-of-change alarm i.e. if the line of the graph exceeds an angle of say 5 degrees per per minute you get an alarm, even if the ‘gauge alarm’ temp. isn’t reached yet. This would allow you some time to take action to prevent an engine shut down.
    A display page with a 5 to 10 line graph allows a system overview that you can scan in a fraction of time and gives the state of the system over a period of time. It might take a while to get used to, but once you are it’s a great tool.
    w. fr. greetings, Leo

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, Richard, but I think you’re pretty mixed up about Maretron, particularly how they compare to other manufacturers. Here are some points:
    * Your Garmin GMI-20 is not configuring your Flowscan sensor. It’s letting you add gallons to a count it keeps based on the fuel flow PGN it’s receiving from any flow sensor. On Gizmo, it works the same way with Maretron flow sensors —
    * You can set up any Maretron sensor the same way you did the EMU-1. You need the Maretron gateway instead of the Actisense gateway, but N2KAnalyzer is free (and does a lot more than configurations).
    * So, no, you don’t need a DSM to configure or display PGNs from Maretron sensors. (But you do need at least one DSM for Maretron alarming, and you also get the benefit of the custom sensor output labeling I discussed.)
    * Incidentally, I’m not sure there’s any wind sensor (or depth, etc.) that can be truly configured by a different brand display. Some — like your B&G N2K instruments, I think — can overlay data corrections like offset but they are not actually modifying the sensor output, so non-B&G displays on the network won’t see the corrected data.
    * Finally, let’s note that no display maker is required to show any particular PGN. Of course they all do show the common ones, but it isn’t Maretron’s fault that a somewhat exotic value like Engine Room Temperature doesn’t show up on all of Gizmo’s displays. As noted, though, progress is being made.
    Hope all that makes sense.

  4. Richard C says:

    Ben, thanks for clearing up my misconception on Maretron. I see if one is going to buy the DSM (for maximum flexibility) it pays to dedicate most of the boats transducers to this family and have the ability to configure the sensors before the data gets to my other displays.
    In my case, I’m more interested in the temperature of the freezer then the engine. And, getting the external alarm output from my Simrad autopilot to wake the dead with a Maretron alarm module would be a great improvement, (is that possible?)

  5. ValkyrieYachts says:

    I have seen the FLIR AX8 first hand and it is a fabulous addition to the electronics, for engine room monitoring. FLIR created a marketing video:
    At first I was skeptical as there are many monitors already in the engine compartment that trigger if needed. However, there are some added thoughts and observations:
    1) Over the years I have had several false alarms trigger due to the sensors going bad. While floating in the ocean I was waiting hours for the overheating temp to “cool” only to finally determine it was a sensor that went bad. If I had the FLIR installed I could SEE if the engine areas were truly overheating!
    2) There are some areas which are not monitored by most engine electronics, such as batteries. When a battery goes bad it starts to “fry” and in turn can damage other batteries. If you have the ability to see this change in heat before it becomes an issue, you are way ahead of saving yourself an expensive headache!
    The AX8 triggers pre-set alarms and can be set to be “looking” at specific locations in the engine room.
    It is a game changer for engine room monitoring.

  6. HenryD says:

    I hope Simrad and Maretron continue to advance the customization features of their systems. When we left Florida this spring, I ran N2Kview on one of my M016T monitors and Simrad split screen on the other monitor. In an effort to reduce battery draw, I would shutdown the PC, and if I wanted to check the wind speed later, it would not be available.
    I added most of the items I displayed on N2KView on the side data bar of the NSO screen. I have two issues I am hoping gets improved by Simrad – 1) I wish the data could be presented as graphs instead of just numbers 2) the data side bars could be setup to display consistently if selected – the bar shown when viewing Chart is different than when viewing Radar unless you configure each bar to match.
    If Simrad would make the Dash/gauges screen customizable, I am thinking I would not need N2Kview at all. I am getting used to the side data bar performing the N2Kview function, so any improvements by Simrad will only make it better.
    The NMEA2000 alerts available from the Simrad saved me from spending $999 for Martron’s Alert module. Simrad’s display of my cameras saved me from spending $999 for the Maretron Video module.

  7. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I don’t understand, HenryD. I’d say that Simrad NSS evo2 alarming is pretty good for MFDs at this point in time, but not even comparable to Maretron’s alarming and I’m not even using N2KView, just the DSM displays. For instance, the Simrad system can not create a custom alarm based on any engine parameter like oil pressure or coolant temperature, and it can not alarm me about my Engine Room Temperature value, let alone call it by its true Engine Block Temp label. (Though Simrad, and maybe Garmin, do use CZone custom labels.)
    But, bigger picture, thanks for showing interest in better alarming. I’m hoping that the big guys will pay more attention to it, but so far you’re the only commenter to speak up.
    (PS I believe you can have one data bar on your NSO constant across screens: “You can configure Bar 1 for active page or for all pages except those that have a local configuration. Bar 2 can only be configured for active page.”)

  8. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks for the great video link, ValkyrieYachts! Is that you in the starring role? I agree that this is remarkable technology, and had a preview peek in Miami. Write up planned soon.

  9. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Richard, refrigerator and freezer temps are among the standard categories in N2K. I’m using one of the TMP100 channels to monitor my frig and can see the value on several screens, but can only alarm it on Maretron DSMs.
    I can set off the wake-the-dead ALM100’s based on almost any standard N2K value, but not all, and autopilot stuff seems particularly tricky. That’s one area of N2K where same-brand-only integration is pretty much the rule, and that probably makes sense at least for the control aspects.
    It happens that I bridged Gizmo’s two N2K networks last week to do this alarm research. So today I induced a couple of Simrad AC12 AP alarms, but sorry to report that they only showed up on Simrad MFD and instrument, not a peep from Garmin or Raymarine MFDs/instruments.
    I also used N2KAnalyzer to look at the PGNs coming out of the AC12, and a lot are proprietary. (This may change as I think the standard alarm PGN set is relatively new.) However, one standard PGN (127237, Heading/Track Control) being output includes a value called Off-Track Limit Exceeded and if Simrad uses it, that might what could trigger a Maretron alarm. However, I don’t know for sure that Simrad uses the field and it also looks like Maretron does not yet read the field. In the meantime, you can set a Maretron alarm on a custome XTE value and as long as the AP is steering to an external course, you could get blown out of your bunk by an off course situation πŸ˜‰
    PS I got reminded today that the Garmin gWind N2K sensors do not require a Garmin display for calibration. That’s because they include a GND10 black box that has a USB port you can use with free PC software for calibration. The settings are pushed to the sensor so any brand display on the N2K (and Nexus) network will see the corrected values. The Race model even supports a correction table with different values for wind speed and angle. Sounds slick!

  10. ValkyrieYachts says:

    Good morning Ben,
    For disclosure purposes, yes that is me in the video. I am a Raymarine ProAmbassador. This was actually done for FLIR specifically although I would not be surprised if down the road there comes a Raymarine branded version of the AX8 (conjecture on my part).
    When I was asked to use Valkyrie as a staging for the video, I was happy to assist, but skeptical of the “real need” for the thermal camera. As we used it during the day I saw many great uses and features which the regular engine monitors cannot do and as such became a convert.

  11. TPQ says:

    One of Maretron’s strengths is monitoring and alarms, not all of which can be displayed on all MFD’s. Having a single DSM for configuring their devices and then displaying data on MFD’s is a good approach…leaving the “special” data for viewing on the DSM. The annunciator versatility is worth the premium in my opinion where customizing the warning vs. alarms is especially valuable.
    Not all of these strengths are necessary all the time but picture the boater who just experienced an engine overheating episode and is heading out with an ever watchful eye on temperatures. Watching temps displayed graphically comes in very handy sometimes and when no longer needed the usual alarms can suffice.
    There are ways to use the TMP for special monitoring that I won’t elaborate on but I see some of the Maretron devices tools as much as instruments.

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *