NMEA 2000 realities, the pro installer view

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.

10 Responses

  1. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    A portable (and slick) way to scope a NMEA 2000 network is with a Fluke ScopeMeter. CANbus instructions here:

  2. Just curious, Ben – do any tools exist for N2K networks that would mimic the Time-Domain Reflectometer (TDR)that is so handy for troubleshooting RF cabling? It sure is a handy tool for spotting flaws – even small ones – that can cause SWR and/or IM issues.

  3. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Hi Hartley, I’ve never used a TDR ( https://goo.gl/yVhIYH ) but the UK company Warwick exhibited a diagnostic system at NMEA that can locate issues on an N2K network by distance (and many other things):

  4. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    There once was talk of having the NMEA Conference become part of the annual IBEX trade show, which sounded good to me. I wonder if that idea might rise again now that — holy cow — the owners of METS own 50% of IBEX:

  5. Hi Ben,
    Warwick sure has some powerful tools – looks like something anyone who does large system installation/debugging would need. I didn’t see a TDR-like function on their website, but perhaps it’s something coming soon.
    We called TDRs “cable radar” because that’s how they work – they send out a pulse and display the magnitude, sign (impedance mismatch) and delay (distance) of echos of that pulse graphically. With it’s branching structure, an N2K network would be tricky to interpret, but I bet one could home in on a trouble spot fairly quickly with some experience.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Ben: Was there any discussion at the workshop/training to support 24V DC (vs 12V DC) power on the N2K buss? Boats with 24V power need to install DC-to-DC converters, a 12V battery bank or some other alternate DC source to supply 12V power to their N2K buss.
    Given most newer electronics support a range of voltages, it would be great if NMEA would start to think about supporting those of us with 24V backbones.

  7. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Anon, it might have discussed elsewhere at the Conference but this installer/technician training was about N2K as it is, and I think that makes sense.
    24v N2K would be nice — it would also double the amperage available to small devices on the network — but it’s a tall order. How would NMEA deal with all the N2K devices designed for 12v and already out there?

  8. alex puskar says:

    Great Course, I would like to find out when they offer it next. Hugh taught me everything I know about N2k back at the International Yacht Resto School in Newport. Looks like it was a great event.

  9. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Alex, it looks like the next one scheduled is on Long Island November 18:
    That course may well be lead by Hugh, given the location, but NMEA could tell you for sure.

  10. So, lovely NMEA 200, first time setting up… I somehow missed the 12v restriction on my 24v system and hooked it all up (to the 24v). Trying to figure out the damage. Brand new Garmin 1222xsv and airmar 800 DST connected up. Garmin seems fine, but no info coming from the airmar. Have I destroyed it? Any thoughts?

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