Navico: new GPS/Heading sensor & VHF/GPS handheld


Whether it’s called a Simrad GS25 or a B&G ZG100 or a Lowrance Point-1, it is not just another NMEA 2000 high-precision, high-refresh-rate GPS/Glonass sensor. Also integrated in is an “e-Compass/Gyro…heading sensor…that ensures access to stable and smooth vessel orientation” and “when used with a compatible” Navico display “greatly enhances navigational information by providing accurate course over ground (COG) data at any speed and enabling radar overlay on charts.” I’ve quoted the press releases heavily because I’m not yet sure that the sensor actually outputs Heading data, but the releases do say that whichever brand you buy, this souped-up overlay-enabling GPS is just $199 retail, and that sounds good. {Correction: it IS a compass, read on…}

I stand corrected and happily so. A few hours after I first posted this I got the following further info about Navico’s GPS/Compass: “The new GPS’s output the following NMEA 2000 PGN’s (approval pending): 127250 Compass Heading (Vessel Heading), 127251 Rate of Turn and 127257 Attitude. This is accomplished via an internal Ultra compact high performance e-compass, 3D accelerometer and 3D magnetometer module.”
So, wow, I believe this sensor will not only enable radar overlay but also a heading line, ground wind calculations, and MARPA targeting (Corrected again; not MARPA and won’t support an autopilot}. I think I over analyzed the press release because I can’t recall another device or set of devices that offer so much for such a reasonable a cost. Am I missing something? But that’s not all.
   Navico also has a new VHF/GPS handheld that’s coming out as the Simrad HH36 and the Lowrance Link-2. It’s a full Class D DSC radio — which distinguishes it from the Lowrance LHR-80 it resembles — and it also claims the “the largest backlit LCD screen of any GPS-equipped VHF handheld radio on the market” and “enhanced usability with easy-to-use soft keys.” These VHFs can do go-to waypoint navigation and apparently can even display a crude plotter screen. But what I particularly like about VHF/GPS/DSC handhelds is how they can be used by tenders or individual crew members for safety or to direct ring the mother ship, and how with the right system they can even be plotted on the mother ship. I gather that Navico enhances normal DSC plotting with its “Get Buddy” automated send-position feature, which I’d like to try. As best I can tell the two radios are the same but the Lowrance will retail at $199 and the Simrad at $249 when they ship in April.
   But that’s still not all. Navico kindly let Panbo break these two products ahead of tomorrow’s press releases, but they have at least three other announcements of interest. And this afternoon I’ll be out on Biscayne Bay with Garmin (tune in tomorrow for their big news) and tonight with Raymarine and FLIR (don’t have the releases yet, but I gather that they are multiple). It’s shaping up to be a very interesting Miami Boat Show and I’d be especially busy anyway as my new/old colleagues at AIM Marine Group will be there en masse. I’ll at least put up the Garmin entry but may have to go into “all input mode” until I get back to South Carolina on Sunday.


Oh wait, one more Navico thing; guess what the screen below means:


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.

80 Responses

  1. Jeremy says:

    I’ll bite…
    Is that a raster chart on the Lowrance display?

  2. Rcrogers6 says:

    It’s snowing?

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Note that I just edited the second paragraph quite a lot because I found out that the GPS/Heading sensor really does put out HDG, ROT, etc. Which, at $199, may move it from pretty neat to wow status.
    Sorry, fellas, that last image is neither raster nor snow. News tomorrow.

  4. Hendrik says:

    Nice thing that NMEA2000 GS25, GS50 or what’s it called unit.
    I suppose it will send roll and pitch as well?
    Refresh is 10Hz?

  5. Andreas Paulisch says:

    OK.. If I had to guess, based on the large number of soundings, I’d say crowd sourced mapping or something like that. I’m not sure what the strange magenta circles are.. Some sort of overlay.. Maybe weather related? Now I can’t wait to see what it really is 🙂

  6. Kees says:

    127257 Attitude means Yaw, Pitch and Roll data, although it doesn’t necessarily mean it provides all three.

  7. Hendrik says:

    Let’s wait for more Navivo news

  8. Hendrik says:

    Navico I mean

  9. Brian Engle says:

    Wow is right.I am cautiously excited about this development. Heading sensor selection/configuration for steel vessels is challenging and expensive. At around two grand, I’ve been nervous about having a satellite compass perched out on the radar arch like an Aztec sacrifice (and not having a back-up). At $200 the ability to have a spare (or two) suddenly becomes an option. If this lives up to the promise, then I’d be hard-pressed not to go with a stem-to-stern Simrad solution. The exceptions to date have been in the Wireless, AIS, VHF, and heading sensor areas, but Navico appears to be closing these gaps. What smart moves they’ve been making. Very encouraging.

  10. Henning says:

    I think a little bit more information is in order about the Simrad GS25/B&G ZG100/Lowrance Point-1.
    Is it a satellite compass?
    Is it a magnetic compass?
    Is it both?
    Or is it neither an just computes COG, maybe better than others, and outputs it as PGN127250?
    Radar overlay needs an excellent heading source, not based on distance traveled but on the direction the bow is pointing, as does an autopilot. So why would it support one and not the other?
    And if it outputs PGN127250, it *will* support an autopilot in that autopilots will try to steer to it.
    From the Simrad AC12 manual:
    “Heading Sensor Input: SimNet/NMEA2000 PGN127250, PGN130577”
    My AC12 does steer to an Airmar H2183 outputting PGN127250 and pretty well at that, much better than my previous Robertson 300X with an RC42 compass.
    From that 300X/RC42 experience I can tell that you’re not well advised to use any combination that technically works. It think the problem lies in overswinging in violent motion by which every magnetic compass is affected, some more than others.
    And it’s my understanding that satellite compasses do not overswing at all. Correct?
    So it would guide an autopilot but you shouldn’t let it?
    An they won’t by any chance finally upgrade their big black box radios RS82 (dual station) and RS87 (quad station) to make it play with the new handheld DSC radios?

  11. abbor says:

    This new heading compass is similar to Airmar G2183, but simplified. It has a GPS, a 3-axis magnetometer, a rate gyro and probably a 3-axis accelerometer as well.
    Due to the low price I’m quite sure it’s using cheaper sensors and have a simplified calibration scheme during manufacturing.
    This heading compass most probably don’t have the specifications needed to be used as an autopilot compass. Since it has a built-in GPS it will typically not mounted at the optimum position for an autopilot compass, which is in the center of the boat close to the sea surface either. The important is not only the PGN’s output, but the quality of what is output.
    I’m suspect Navico has implemented something avoiding this compass to be used as compass with their autopilots to avoid all the problems using a sub standard compass with an autopilot can cause.

  12. Sandy Daugherty says:

    Is that a modified S-57 ENC?

  13. Dan says:

    Can this be used as the compass to feed data to a Simrad autopilot? That would make it even more interesting since the fluxgate compasses for an autopilot are significantly more expensive.

  14. Hendrik says:

    Answer to the HDS quest from Ben
    (Did I win the prize?)
    February 14, 2013
    Jeppeson and Navico Announce Compatible Mapping Products
    C-MAP by Jeppesen Cartography Available on Lowrance, Simrad Yachting and B&G Chartplotters and Multifunction Displays
    ENGLEWOOD, COLO., February 14, 2013 — World navigation expert, Jeppesen, and Navico — the world leader in recreational marine electronics and parent company to the Lowrance, Simrad Yachting and B&G brands — have teamed up to provide consumers with a new charting option. C-MAP MAX-N now provides boaters and fishermen with an enhanced navigational experience by offering C-MAP by Jeppesen cartography for Lowrance, Simrad Yachting and B&G brand chartplotters and multifunction displays. C-MAP MAX-N will be compatible at launch with Lowrance Elite-7, HDS Gen1, Gen 2 and Gen2 Touch; Simrad NSS, NSE and NSO; as well as B&G Zeus Touch multifunction displays.
    “We are excited to partner with Navico, one of the world’s foremost manufacturers of marine electronics,” said James Detar, Jeppesen portfolio management director. “We are proud to work together to offer their customers a seamless, best-in-class navigation solution for boaters and anglers around the globe.”
    “With C-MAP by Jeppesen charts on board, we are able to give boaters and anglers an information-rich view of their world on the water,” said Leif Ottosson, CEO, Navico. “We will continue to define the future of marine navigation, as we work with industry-leading data providers for best-in-class charting compatibility and unrivaled product integration with our family of chartplotters and multifunction displays.”
    About Jeppesen
    Jeppesen is a market-leading provider of vessel operations services and digital navigation solutions, based on worldwide vector chart data type approved to ISO19879, meteorological information and transmission technologies. Jeppesen offers a wide range of navigation and operations products and services to both recreational and commercial marine markets. Safety-conscious boaters and operators of vessels ranging from coastal to SOLAS class, rely on Jeppesen for innovative navigation solutions that improve safety and efficiency.
    Jeppesen is a subsidiary of The Boeing Company. Jeppesen corporate information is available online at
    About Lowrance, Simrad Yachting and B&G: The Lowrance, Simrad Yachting and B&G brands are wholly owned by Navico, Inc. A privately held, international corporation, Navico is currently the world’s largest marine electronics company, and is the parent company to leading marine electronics brands: Lowrance, Simrad Yachting and B&G. Navico has approximately 1,500 employees globally and distribution in more than 100 countries worldwide.
    For More Information, Contact:
    Christine Pomorski
    (303) 328-6166
    Andrew Golden
    Rushton Gregory Communications

  15. Kees says:

    Why is this “simplified”? What do you mean with that? How do you know?
    Every smartphone or tablet with a GPS/Compass has this tech. Those in turn were able to exploit the already sizable numbers used in car airbag sensors.
    So what we’re seeing here is just economy of scale. A few hundred million units a year is orders of magnitude more than all marine yachting equipment every sold.
    If this thing sends out a heading and rotation PGN then there is no reason that an autopilot can’t use it. There is no field in the NMEA 2000 PGNs that would make it distinguishable by the autopilot from any other NMEA source of PGNs.
    My AC42 steers just fine when it uses the heading coming from an Airmar PB200 mounted over the stern at about 4m above sea level. If only it wouldn’t reset so often… which is why I’m glad I also have an RC42 mounted in the bilge. Not sure how long though… Saving a few watts by replacing the RC42 and PB200 by this sounds good to me…
    Kudos to Navico for innovating and providing more cost efficient choices!

  16. abbor says:

    What I meant with simplified G2183 is the same concept but using cheaper sensors and with much lighter calibration process during manufacturing.
    When designing a such a product it can be based on expensive professional grade sensor components or commercial components as used in phones and tablets in a version with extended temperature range. I’m working as an EE and I’m currently involved in evaluating the possibility of using commercial magnetometers for an professional application.
    My AP24 would not have done the job for my’ boat when slow trolling at less than 2 knots in heavy chops and strong winds if using a compass placed on the pilot house roof.

  17. Kees says:

    No, a fluxgate on your pilot house roof would be a bad idea. I’m not so sure location matters that much with solid state sensors though.
    A solid state magnetometer (compass) has no swinging mass like a suspended fluxgate. Furthermore a boat is rigid (or it should be): all parts of it are pointing the same way at a particular moment in time. Thus it will detect the same heading and rotation no matter where on the boat it is located.
    The attitude sensor isn’t there just for fun either: it is what they use to compensate for the change in the magnetic field that the magnetometer sees when the boat rotates. But again, a mass-less detector is not influenced by acceleration.
    And even if it were I think it should be possible to compensate for most if not all of the “location offset”.
    Thinking of this problem in one dimension:
    If the sensor sees roll “rot1” combined with an acceleration “a1” in the same direction it can calculate how far off the center of roll it is. A little bit of trigonometry, but nothing a microcontroller can’t handle.
    This then applied in three dimensions, makes it possible to calculate the center of rotation in all three dimensions.

    Kees (MSc EE)

  18. Hendrik says:

    I’ll just try it.
    Hendrik (SDU (Simple Dutch User))

  19. Kees says:

    Hendrik, me too. I just couldn’t resist…
    What do you think of C-MAP for our Waddenzee?

  20. Hendrik says:

    I go for for the DKW raster charts with updates.
    Used C-map in the past, but I’d rather use Navionics now.

  21. abbor says:

    I’m currently most worried about the accelerometer DC stability and the compass accuracy over the temperature range for the low cost compass and accelerometer modules so I haven’t spent much time considering how an elevated mounting position would influence the accuracy.
    Airmar H2183 is also fully MEMS and solid state when it comes to sensors. They still specify conventional mounting positions.
    From H2183 installation manual:
    •Mount the sensor as close to the vehicle/boat’s center of gravity as possible.
    The lower it can be mounted, the more stable it will be, thus giving more
    accurate compass readings.
    • Mount near the center of the vehicle/boat’s fore-aft axis. This will give more
    accurate pitch and roll readings. Avoid the areas near the front/bow and the

  22. stiletto says:

    Why no MARPA? Seems like it should be capable.

  23. Hendrik says:

    Ok I’ll put it on the middle of my dash

  24. bwp says:

    As a side note, Simrad has also redesigned the Sirius Weather Module. The WM 3 is now posted on their website.
    WM 3 Sirius Weather Module

  25. Patrick says:

    Finally an inexpensive but decent way (not involving 0183 and that silly ugly Azimuth 1000 KVH jacked the price up on) to bring radar overlay to the Navico MFD/BR packages.
    As Kees said, the attitude is not a superfluous feature but required for tilt compensation on the compass since it is not floating and gyro-stabilized. (Same reason your compass “floats” to be always level with the horizon!) Very important on a boat which is not only rocking but could be heeling to for extended periods of time! The accelerometer is used along with the actual magnetometer to make the “e-compass” itself – I doubt they are three discrete components, but the two components working together to provide the “e-compass” functionality. An accelerometer can instantly detect rotation/movement of the boat to more accurately update the heading.
    All this worry about accuracy is unfounded. These will perform well in reasonable magnetic installations and I wouldn’t be surprised if they made it into the MFD itself in a future fresh of the GPS-equipped lines. (HDS/NSS/etc) These are consumer level devices and will perform reasonably well up on the arch as they are intended. There’s a reason they are not used for auto-pilots! 🙂

  26. Dan Corcoran says:

    So much sensor technology. i am wondering if enough is there to be useful for motion correcting apparent wind angle if the raw information was published as a PGN and put to use.
    How often would that need to transmit, 10hz? How much bandwidth would that use up?

  27. Jason Taylor says:

    They are probably using the MPU-9050 chip which includes mag/accel/gyro sensors on one tiny chip (less than 5mm x 5mm).
    I have built my own tilt-compensated compass using an arduino Nano, MPU-6050 accel/gyro chip and the HMC5883 3-axis magnetometer. The software it runs is “FreeIMU”, a project intended for fly-by-wire stabilization of multi-rotor remote controlled helicopters. Of course, my project just outputs yaw/pitch/roll as HDG and XDR NMEA0183 sentences over the arduino’s USB port, but it works and has negligible drift once calibrated. Parts cost for my hack-a-job was under $30. Compared to existing NMEA tilt-compensated compasses, $30 was a great bargain and was a really fun winter project. However, if I can get this to speak to my PolarCOM then it’s a no brainer.

  28. Hendrik says:

    I use the Orange stabiliser in windy conditons.
    Must be the same basis.
    Atmega168PA Chip
    The all new RX3S OrangeRX Flight Stabilizer V2 adds support for V-tail & Delta models, it also offers a remote ON/OFF feature that can be controlled via your transmitter’s AUX channel. All of these great new features yet it’s even smaller/lighter than the original!
    Utilizing a single high precision 3-axis MEMS gyro, the RX3S OrangeRX Flight Stabilizer V2 is capable of stabilizing flight on just about any fixed wing aircraft! It provides added stability by automatically correcting the aileron, elevator and rudder channels in flight. This compensates for unwanted changes in the airplane’s attitude due to wind and other factors. In short, it makes your airplane much more stable in flight!
    The RX3S V2 is great for those who tend to fly in windy conditions, as it will compensate for wind gusts that would normally push your model around. It’s also an ideal add-on to your favorite FPV model to keep it on the straight and level while flying.
    This unit is very simple to install and use. The adjustable gain settings are pre-set to 50% offering mild stabilization. You can easily adjust the gain for each channel as desired to increase or decrease the compensation for the respective channel (AIL, ELE, RUD).
    Because we design, test and manufacture these units completely in-house (from 3D/2D drawing to materials sourcing, final assembly etc.) we can completely control production and ensure product consistency from design right through to shipping the product to you. Also, the removal of middle-men has meant we can drive better value to the market and retail these units at factory(our) prices!

  29. Liquidity says:

    Before I get worked up over these, let me ask the really stupid question…. Are those puppies Mushroom size, or Pizza Box size?? It’s impossible to tell from the Picture – or am I missing something.

  30. Hendrik says:

    Standard gps size

  31. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Or about the size of a medium portobello, before grilling 😉
    Actually the GS25/etc. is 90mm (diam) x 38mm (height), info I found in a specification PDF that also shows Heading and ROT Accuracy as 3 degrees:
    The word from Navico is that they do not recommend this heading sensor for MARPA or autopilot use. However, I have some screen shots showing excellent GPS accuracy and spot-on radar overlay even when the boat was doing donuts.
    I also learned that device has an automatic calibration system that it turned on by just rebooting its N2K connection and doing two circles. Then you just do a smooth 390 degree turn and it should be compensated for local magnetism. In other words, you don’t need a Navico screen to calibrate.

  32. Henning says:

    So Navico confirms that Navico autopilot computers (AC12 and AC42) will steer to the GS25? It works but is not recommended? Versus through some hack of the PGN 127250 output, the AC12 or AC42 fails to use the GS25 as a heading source?
    I have an Airmar H2183 compass that my AC12 uses and a Simrad GS15 GPS. As it does not look that I can afford wind steering, I have to think about a backup to avoid a scenario of having to hand-steer for a week straight in case of a lightning strike. The GS25 looks like an intelligent option for this, given the price, when compared to an Airmar GH2183, which offers the same basic functions, though probably with better performance, at GBP 549 incl. sales tax (about USD 840). But it’s sole purpose would be to drive an autopilot in an emergency, the exact use that is not recommended.

  33. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    No, Navico did not confirm AP use but they certainly didn’t say it wouldn’t work. They just talked about performance, and I have a page from the manual or something that compares “Acceptable performance for application” between GS25 and RC45N. The former gets “X” for AP and MARPA while the latter gets a check mark.
    I’ll put up some screen shots showing the GS25 output data and radar overlay later, but my guess is that it would work fine for backup ap compass. But, sorry, I do not know that for sure.

  34. abbor says:

    What is RC45N? A new autopilot compass with Micro-C cabling?
    I know RC42N, but RC45N is new to me.

  35. Brian Engle says:

    Hmmm… If I’m drilling holes and running wire then the portobello mushroom needs to steer an autopilot. Sounds like a Furuno SC30 satellite compass is the ticket.

  36. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    My bad, I meant RC42N, abbor.
    Brian, the SC30 — a true GPS compass — is an incredible heading device, the best I’ve used on Gizmo, but be careful that you give it a wide open sky view. Let’s also acknowledge that it’s about 10 times the cost of the Navico GPS/Heading device.
    On a separate note, the claims for the new Raymarine Evolution heading sensor suggest that the technology is making sensor location much less finicky. Apparently the thing doesn’t much care and can even compensate for deviation automatically.

  37. Hendrik says:

    Did I win the mapping prize?
    ……Oh wait, one more Navico thing; guess what the screen below means:…..
    What did I win?
    When will you send it to me?

  38. jeff says:

    A 10Hz GPS *plus* heading for $200? Amazing.
    On the other hand, have you noticed the rather weak performance specifications? Five meter GPS accuracy compared to 3 meter on most units, three degree heading accuracy compared to one degree on the other (admittedly more expensive) solid-state heading sensors.
    I think I’ll pass.

  39. Eliboat says:

    This is very interesting. As Jeff points out, there is lower accuracy in both position and heading, but I am willing to live with slightly reduced positional accuracy so long as it suffices to provide the heading data that I need for radar overlay, and possibly MARPA. I know that my old flux gate compass, which actually worked very well for the Simrad AP20 only had a 3deg accuracy, and the upgraded Rate Gyro compass halved that down to almost 1.5deg accuracy. I noticed smoother steering, but like I said, the original flux gate worked well. This antenna, at 1/10 the cost of the Furuno, Sci-Tex and other GPS compass units is very attractive as a backup at the very least, and possibly as a low cost alternative to expensive units from Maretron and others. Ben (or anyone else for that matter), have you done any more investigating into the use of the antenna for MARPA?

  40. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Good to hear from you, Eli; long time no see! Plus I think your intuition is correct about this sensor. I believe it will work for autopilot and MARPA — it’s sending the messages they’re looking for, how could it not? — but that Navico is being cautious about how well it will work.
    A skeptic might think that they are trying to protect the market for their gyro compass while providing low cost radar overlay for smaller boats, but I’ve seen them understating performance before. Like cautioning users that they can’t run a Broadband Radar with other radars, though I do it frequently. Plus I received some screen shots from a Navico friend who’s been testing the GPS/heading device and they look excellent in terms of tracking tight, fast maneuvers.

  41. Dan says:

    Has anyone seen this actually for sale for $199? The best I have seen is closer to $260.

  42. Anonymous says:

    The Lowrance Point-1 can be had for $199 or less. The Simrad GS25 seems to have an MSRP of $299. I believe this is because the Simrad has a SimNet connector with a SimNet to NMEA2K cable which tends to cost about $100.

  43. stiletto says:

    I visited Navico today and hopefully they will get me some good information this week detailed the differences between the Point-1 and GS25.

  44. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    I don’t think there’s any significant differences between the sensors and Anonymous is wrong about the Simrad GS25 having a SimNet port. New Simrad equipment have been coming out with regular N2K connectors for quite a while.
    But there are slight differences in the GPS/Heading device packages, which you can see by downloading the installation guide which covers all three:
    You’ll see that though they all use N2K connectors, the Lowrance model comes with a 4-foot drop cable already attached while the Simrad and B&G just have the port and a separate drop cable.
    The device specs and output PGNs are all the same.

  45. stiletto says:

    Ben – I was anonymous. Explain the $100 difference? The SimNet cable was the best guess i could come up with to explain the price difference. The package for the Point 1 includes the 4′ pigtail NMEA2K as well as a 15′ cable. Like I said, the guys at the Nashua Navico site don’t have any information to detail the differences, but hopefully they will get me an actual real list of differences. There will be something different, and I bet they are going to limit some of the PGNs supported by the Lowrance. When I know I will post it.

  46. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Stiletto, I can’t explain the supposed price difference and am not even sure it’s true. All three of the U.S. press releases I based this entry on put the price at $199.
    But price confusion is no reason to spread false rumors about a product. It was not hard to download the installation manual from the Simrad GS25 site and see that it uses standard N2K connectors. It’s also not hard to find out that the MSRP for a SimNet to N2K adapter cable is $35:
    Has it occurred to you that the Simrad guys don’t know about differences because there aren’t any?

  47. Hendrik says:

    I’ll just wait and see, until they are both on the market. The RC42 and GS15 are still working great.

  48. stiletto says:

    Ben – I said “I believe” meaning this is not fact, but speculation. I am trying to find out, same as everyone else, but I have done more research than most. I was sharing what information I have gathered and the best speculation I could come up with to explain the higher cost of the GS25.
    The $100 price delta comes from every shop selling the Point-1 and taking preprders for the GS25 has the GS25 listed at approximately $100 more. Even retailers that I know personally and will tell me their wholesale cost has the GS25 listed as $100 more.
    The $100 price for the SimNet to NMEA2K comes from this:
    This is an actual email I got from Navico tech support:
    “N2K connector, with the Micro C to Simnet adapter in the box. Same as the GS-15 did.”
    This was after the first email response was “The only difference is the sticker”. Of course they are not the same, and that can be seen in the install manual you pointed to which I had already read.
    The Simrad 4G RI-10 has a SimNet connector. The RC42 has a SimNet connector. Many current items of Simrad still has a SimNet connector. It wouldn’t surprise me if they put a SimNet connector on the Simrad version, just like the GS15.
    The install manual does not list the complete parts in the package. One can assume certain things, but it is hardly comprehensive. The Lowrance website has a “what’s in the box” but the Simrad one does not.
    But hopefully this will all get cleared up from the horses mouth. I am not sure when the Navico guy will get me the ground truth, but I want to purchase a heading sensor and I don’t want to pay $100 just for a sticker. I haven’t known Navico to charge more for Simrad just because it is Simrad.

  49. stiletto says:

    Why would you replace GS15 and RC42 with GS25 or Point-1? The RC42 has better heading accuracy and the GS15 has better position accuracy?

  50. Hendrik says:

    Just as a secondary unit and to get the roll and pitch info for trimming out the boat when I do some 100 miles rides to spare fuel.
    1 liter diesel is €1,60

  51. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    It turns out that you don’t even have to download the install manual to find out that the GS25 has a regular N2K port. Just open the “Specifications” section on the product page ( ) and the first lines are:
    NMEA 2000 Pending Certification…………Yes
    Connectors……………………..NMEA 2000 Micro C
    Stiletto, how the heck did you decide that install manual doesn’t show “complete parts” for Simrad/Lowrance/B&G GPS/heading sensors when it’s specific to the number and size of screws?
    And why did you do a price reference for a kit that includes two items besides the adapter cable (and is still overpriced)?
    Also, you are confused about the GS15 (which I have on Gizmo). It was one of the first Simrad products to come with a standard N2K Micro C plug and the adapter cable is only included for folks who already have a SimNet cabling system. In other words, it does the opposite of what you think (and in fact is a different adapter cable than you think, with a female instead of male N2K end). The other products you name went into production before the GS15.
    Again, I don’t know what’s going on with the pricing but they started the same and all three products are virtually the same. Those common specifications in the install manual are quite detailed. The only actual difference besides stickers and included accessory cables appears to be this:
    “If there are two Point-1 units (or an additional heading sensor) on the network, the Point-1 antenna (s) will stop sending heading information. This does not apply to Simrad GS25 and B&G ZG100.”
    In other words, Navico did a little automated N2K network management for the Lowrance users who are possibly unfamiliar with having a heading sensor or multiple sources.
    I’ll be very surprised if there is any other differences, and I really don’t understand why you are making such a big deal of imagining them.

  52. stiletto says:

    I guess I was confused by the lightness of the drop cables when most the known included items are bold in that chart. I have issue when I ask what the difference is to tech support and they start with they are the same. Then when I point out it has a pigtail on the Lowrance they say oh yeah, and that. Then you saw the email I got saying it had an NMEA2K adapter cable. Additionally I have an email that says if I used Point-1 with Simrad MFD I won’t be able to calibrate or apply firmware updates. And you just pointed out another potential difference. Just trying to make an informed purchase. Someone else above noticed the price difference and I believe he would like to know why also.

  53. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Let’s be clear that you don’t need any MFD whatsoever to do the main calibration, swinging the compass. As explained in the same install manual you initiate the calibration by cold starting the device (unplugging and replugging the N2K drop cable) and doing donuts on flat water.
    There may be some other calibrations possible, like heading offset, but in some cases Simrad equipment can do that with any sensor. In fact, I think I just put a 90 degree offset on an Airmar PB200 with a Triton display. I’ll know for sure tomorrow 😉
    I do know that I just upgraded the Triton’s firmware using an NSE12, no problem, so I’m a little dubious about what you were told about that.

  54. stiletto says:

    Ben, sorry if my initial post was either combative or agressive. I wasn’t trying to be. Just trying to put some pieces of a puzzle together, and getting a little frustrated doing it. I would hate to spend less for the Point-1 and miss a collection of small features that I would like. Similarly, I would hate to give them $100 just for a sticker. It’s not like $100 will break the bank, but I like to know what I am getting.
    I am just suspicious when the price is 50% more for the Simrad unit and the only known difference is the sticker and the 4′ pigtail (which should make the Lowrance cost more, no?) Additionally we know the Simrad will output heading information even with other sources on the network while the Lowrance will not.
    My first response from Simrad support was the sticker was the only difference, which the cable is a difference and up to buyers how important that is, but still a difference. My last response from Simrad (last, because I give up on them) is back to the only difference is the sticker and the connector. The heading information turning off I guess wasn’t important enough to make the list of differences, but it is a collection of stuff like that I would like to know about to make an informed purchase.
    I would agree with you on the calibration, and I think you are correct, but this is what Simrad support told me in regards to calibration and firmware updating:
    “I thought this was a new install you were considering.. With your Simrad gear, the biggest differences will be that you can not calibrate the Point-1 from a Simrad NSE, NSS, or NSO display like you can with the GS-25. And if you have ON-BOARD warranty service available to you, if you have the POINT-1, this will not be covered….
    Hope this helps.”
    “And one other thing…. If you use the Point 1 on a Simrad display, you will not be able to update software if applicable, and vice versa with the GS-15 on a Lowrance display.”

  55. Hendrik says:

    Last sentence GS-25 I guess

  56. stiletto says:

    I assumed he meant GS25 as well, but I cut and pasted his email so as not to introduce any errors of interpretation.

  57. norse says:

    automatic calibration system that it turned on by just rebooting its N2K connection and doing two circles. Then you just do a smooth 390 degree turn and it should be compensated
    The H2183 can be calibrated by this method also. It is critical that you do a constant rate turn though, which I find isn’t that easy. The radar overlay alignment highlights your sloppiness on some headings afterwards. It would be nice to be able to use radar overlay to calibrate the compass.
    There is another feature of the GS25 that has not been mentioned. I don’t recall ever seeing this before:

    GPS, WAAS, EGNOS and more
    100% compatible with WAAS, EGNOS, MSAS, Glonass, Galileo and QZSS satellite systems – get the most accurate location information, no matter where you are in the world!

    Since eLoran is dead, support for Glonass, Galileo, etc is welcome.

  58. Pete says:

    I just installed a GS25 with an NSS7 and 3G radar (RI10 interface on the NMEA 2000 network). MARPA is active and I been able to acquire targets.

  59. Henning says:

    I have a problem with my Simrad GS15 GPS (not the GS25 discussed in this entry but there is none specific to the GS15).
    On three occasions so far my GS15 has locked up in such a way that it kept sending the same values for lat/lon, COG and SOG (and presumably all other data) even though the boat was moving for an indefinite period until I restarted it.
    It did not disappear from the network. For 10 to 15 minutes each time the boat icon stayed put even though it was moving and COG stayed unchanged even though I changed course several times by more than 10 degrees. All the while “GPS FIX” was displayed in CE. When I turn off the GS15, CE displays “Lost GPS” after only a few seconds.
    Each of the three times, this condition lasted until I restarted the GS15 at which point the boat jumped by a good mile.
    Has anyone else had this problem?
    It is not something that I like to see on a GPS.
    There is no updated software available on the Simrad site.

  60. Peter C. says:

    I have experienced this with my GS15 once or maybe twice lately at dock.
    I have not investigated as my boat is dockside and under some renovations.
    I noticed the time was frozen…presume other data was frozen as well.I don’t think my NSE showed a GPS fix.A reboot fixed it.
    But yes a big problem if not resolved.Once I get the boat back together I will check out my GPS.
    I’m not sure if I am impressed with the GS15,it doesn’t seem that sensitive compared to a Garmin GPS for example.

  61. Henning says:

    Navico Germany tells me that they have not heard of the GS15 locking up-problem before.
    I was also told that the GS25 is pretty much a successor to the GS15 (which is still offered on the Simrad page, though).
    So anyone considering the GS15 should probably bypass it and go for a GS25 instead.
    It looks like I will either have to accept occasional freezes or ditch the GS15 and buy a GS25.
    What other brands GPSs are available with NMEA2000 and DeviceNet connector?
    In the comments above, stiletto says “and the GS15 has better position accuracy [than the GS25]”. Any more detailed information about this?

  62. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Hi Henning, I recall having some issues with a GS15 myself, though I never resolved if it just needed a particularly wide sky view to lock a position consistently and stay locked. I think I got frustrated and just swapped a Garmin 17x into the same spot on the SimNet network, which has worked fine ever since.
    I believe that most any marine GPS can work satisfactorily these days if given enough sky view, but Garmin always seems a bit ahead in terms of more marginal installs, fast lock-ons, and smooth Position/COG/SOG. On the other hand, they can also be arrogant about it, like the GPSMap 740 I returned last year; its internal GPS failed (possibly my fault) but it then refused to use a Garmin or any other GPS that was networked to it via N2K.
    However, if right now I had to choose one standalone GPS to use on my N2K network — which I’d only do under protest — it would be the Garmin 19x with 10 Hz refresh, Glonass support, and that extra Garmin moxie, whatever the heck that is:

  63. Peter C. says:

    The specs on the 19X look amazing.
    I know that whenever a customers Raymarine 125 would fail I would replace it with a Garmin 17X at the time.
    Superior performance and a lot cheaper.
    I think I will be adding a 19X to my network and leave the GS15 for backup.Nice thing about N2K.
    It’d hard to beat Garmin for a standalone GPS.

  64. Henning says:

    OK, Ben, you just directed some business towards Garmin – my first Garmin investment save for a 72H handheld GPS which I now keep as an emergency (ditch bag) unit. I bought it for an anchor alarm years ago but the alarm sound is so low it wouldn’t wake you up if your ear rested on it.
    I take it by “only under protest” you mean having only a single GPS up and running? Well, I have the GPS in my Airmar PB200 at the mast head and the GPS in my Weatherdock AIS transmitter for backup but I hear you and am thinking how best to install the Garmin 19X in addition to the GS15. However, the problem I have with the GS15 is that it doesn’t stop sending data but keeps sending identical outdated data indefinitely. This situation must first be recognized before a manual switch to a backup could do any good (imagine an autopilot steering to COG in this situation).
    Using a priority between position sensors now also possible with Coastal Explorer, I can assign the Garmin a higher priority than the GS15 and be good.
    Does Garmin also make a good standalone GPS with NMEA0183 output (vs. NMEA2000)? Through Panbo I know of the Digital Yacht GPS150 DualNav. I am looking for such a unit to connect to to the VHF (SH GX2000 in my case) so I can keep running the radio all day in Caribbean anchorages without having to power the NMEA2000 bus all the time. The new GX2200 just announced won’t work for me as it’s mounted below at the nav station with poor reception.

  65. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Henning, I want to emphasize my qualifications of “if right now I had to choose one standalone GPS to use on my N2K network…” I’m also interested in the Simrad GS25 discussed in this entry, not to mention the DY DualNav, but I don’t know enough about actual performance to choose as the one and only.
    And, yes, having redundant GPS on a boat’s N2K network seems nearly a “no brainer” to me as it usually works fine and it’s such an important sensor. But it sounds like you have a special problem; have you asked Simrad about your misbehaving GS15 and/or tried a different install position?
    Also regarding your radio, have you measured the actual draw on your N2K network? I was pleasantly surprised when I measured mine recently. It may not even be worth it to segment the network so I can leave it on 24/7 for monitoring via Maretron SMS100 (if and when I can the latter to work here in Camden’s strange GSM environment). Then again I have those big solar panels working for me, and happy to report that they are even making juice under white shrink wrap.

  66. abbor says:

    I have LGC-4000, which is the Lowrance version of GS15, and GS25. I’ve not experienced any problems with LGC-4000, but GS25 is a much better gps both when it comes to sensitivity and accuracy.
    I like to have redundancy for the gps so in addition to to LGC-4000 and GS25 I have two NSS7 and a HDS Touch all with built in gps on my network. In addition my em-trak B100 is also outputting positioning data on the N2k network, so that’s 6 sources in total.

  67. Henning says:

    Ben, Navico Germany tells me they have not had this problem so far and will test my unit if I send it in. Since Peter C above has the same problem (thank you Peter and I would never have found this out without Panbo), I consider it a software problem affecting all units out there, not just mine – it would be useless for Navico to replace it under warranty or for me to buy any more GS15s. It needs a software fix but there is no updated software available and, as Navico tells me this problem is unknown, I understand they are not currently working on a fix.
    I haven’t tried to relocate it as I don’t think the problem is a marginal fix. It always takes the same short time to lock in and it has never lost a fix in close to 5000 miles of use.
    Sending it in isn’t an option as we are currently in Rabat, Morocco, will leave from here as soon as weather permits and will then need the GPS. Also, they would have to run it for several hundred hours to reproduce the problem so that’s kind of a long shot.
    I will do as I have done so many times in my life and spend on a new unit but I have long learned to not buy the same model a second time hoping that the second one miraculously doesn’t have the problem.
    I found that the Garmin 19X is in fact available in a NMEA0183 version ( so I can get one each and they will look nice when mounted next to each other.
    No, I haven’t measured current draw. My bus is split into several power “segments” by using a number of power tees so I could power just the GPS but the NMEA2000-to-NMEA0183-conversion is currently via my Simrad NSS7 which uses in the order of 10 Watts – too much for 24 hrs/day. I could do the conversion with a dedicated Actisense NGW-1-ISO but the cost for this is very nearly that of a dedicated GPS.
    And yes, my NSS7 has yet another GPS in it but this has given me gray hair as it can’t be disabled and is mounted below, directly under the main DC breaker panel, where it can’t produce a good fix. Until about a year ago Coastal Explorer didn’t have a facility to select from multiple position sensors connected via the same port (the NGT-1). Now it has a very nice priority-based selection, not just for position sensors but all other types, too, but back then it alternated between the perfect fixes of the GS15 and the unspeakably bad ones from the NSS7 once per second. When zoomed way in on entering or leaving a harbor or anchorage, this has often not just made the boat jump but has put it all the way off the visible chart area.
    I tried to solve the problem by covering the backside of the unit with aluminum foil but this has helped only a little. Even though my pain is now gone I rolled my eyes when I read this “key feature” of the NSS evo2: “GPS works in flush mount installations”, meaning there is no more hope to solve problems with aluminum foil…

  68. Jason says:

    Henning, Many boaters have mounted the GX1700 below at the navstation or in electronics boxes and were successful. The GX2200 will have a 66 channel GPS receiver built in with AIS, please send me the specs of your vessel and I will confirm with engineering regarding the operation of the internal antenna. What do you mean by poor reception? What products have you used at the nav station that have lead you to believe that you have poor reception at the nav station?

  69. Henning says:

    Jason, I have not tried to use a VHF with built-in GPS at the nav station so cannot tell about performance. I have a GX2000 with a RAM Mic with which I am happy. I am not looking for a unit with integrated AIS receiver as I have an AIS transmitter and do not want to bother with yet another antenna to connect to an additional receiver that wouldn’t provide a benefit other than redundancy.
    The GX2000 has replaced a Simrad RS82 black box radio as that does not support position polling and they don’t have a model that does. The RS25 was introduced after I installed the GX2000 and I wouldn’t have gone for it anyway as I don’t like the wireless external mic.
    I have come quite a way to arrive at my current VHF setup and it does everything I want so I am not looking for things that I could change other than a way to make the VHF independent from the rest of the electronics that would normally only be used underway.
    Is there even a new model based on the GX2000 with GPS but without AIS receiver but with AIS input?
    Regarding poor GPS reception: my experience is with a Simrad NSS7 with internal GPS mounted directly below the DC and AC switch panel under 20 pounds of live wiring (the boat is a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 45.2). This screenshot of Coastal Explorer shows the results of two “competing” fixes when leaving an anchorage in Denmark:
    I had turned on the NSS7 and GS15. The GS15 locked on after the usual 30 seconds. We lifted the anchor and started moving. After a few minutes the NSS7 also managed to get a fix (maybe 15 minutes after power up) but it was about 1/10th of a mile from the actual position. So Costal Explorer centered the chart on that spot. From that moment on for the next 15 minutes, the two GPSs reported different positions and the chart center jumped wildly about once per second between the actual and the wrong position. After that, the NSS7 gave up again and reported no fix as it normally does – it just comes up with a fix for short times at the most unopportune moments. This behaviour at that moment was agravating as we were trying to snake through a maze of fishing nets in shallow water and wanted to stay on the track that we came in on.
    Based on this experience I think that any device containing a GPS as an add-on should have a facility to turn the GPS off. My Airmar PB200 allows this. The NSS7 does not.
    I concede that the philosophy of NMEA2000 apparently is for everyone and their grandmother to put any and all data on the bus, however bad, and for every device reading data from the bus to take extreme care in who to believe and who not to believe. The chart plotter-component in the NSS7 shows no problem at all for the same place and time because it is set to take position from the GS15 and therefore will not believe its own rotten fixes.
    But this is not to say that I like this philosophy much. Such settings can get lost and as long as bad data is out there, chances are it will get picked up, e.g. by a replacement unit installed by someone else.
    This experience also tells me that I would buy a radio with integrated GPS only if the position can alternatively provided by a NMEA input from an external source where the external source will override the internal in such a way that I can make sure that the internal GPS never gets used.

  70. Jason says:

    The GX1700 and GX2200 both have the capability to turn on/off the internal GPS.

  71. Henning says:

    In another context norse pointed me to this document today which explains the software upgrade of Navico NMEA2000 or Simnet devices using the example of a GS15:
    In the comments above I have described a problem with my GS15 locking up in such a way that it keeps sending the same outdated information indefinitely – the worst case of failure of a GPS.
    There is no new software available from Navico for the GS15 – possibly because it has been superseded with the GS25.
    However, I find it frustrating to see in the above document that a new software (Version 126) exists which may resolve my problem but is not made available to the public. My GS15 has version 120 per factory and there is no software available for download at all.
    Any hints on how I might come by a file with version 126, legally or otherwise, are very welcome.
    Apart from that, I am still pursuing an upgrade to a Garmin 19X as suggested by Ben but this is not so easy away from home base.

  72. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Henning, I read “GS15_Simrad_upd_v126.luf” as just an example in a general instruction sheet about software updates. It may not exist.

  73. abbor says:

    Contact Simrad customer support. They quite often have unreleased software versions for some of the NMEA 2000 products. I know there are versions available for Lowrance LGC-4000 which the Lowrance version of GS15. I know several people which have got never versions which have averaging of gps data for use with older plotters without such averaging. There may be other versions available as well.

  74. Roly says:

    So what was the final outcome of using the ZG100/GS25 as AP heading, anyone?
    Not that I need it but would be good for a backup. Curious as to why they developed it if not to compete with current units?

  75. Dan Corcoran (b393capt) says:

    Although I don’t have that specific product, a similar product and the new Raymarine heading sensor has had an effect written about here on Panbo

  76. wel says:

    I am now on my second GH2183. When the unit works, it works really good.
    However, now for the second time the Compass is failing. I am wondering whether I need to continue with this rubbish or whether the Navico/B&G device would do exactly the same for a lot less money?

  77. Howard says:

    Well, can you explain a bit more? No compass heading or inaccurate heading? How long till they fail? Where is mounted? NMEA200 or 0183?
    I have had mine for two years, no issues..

  78. Sparky says:

    No issues, year two with ZG100

  79. Don Joyce says:

    Our GH2183 has worked fine for four years. We have a PB200, a CS4500, and a GH2183 and all have worked fine.
    Only issue we’ve had, for which Airmar is not responsible is a lightning strike. Airmar repaired all without complaint.

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