Simrad AT10, handy but limited?


Simrad’s AT10, mentioned a while back, is a small and inexpensive utility device that translates certain NMEA 0183 messages into NMEA 2000, and vice versa. If you go to Simrad’s manual download site and use the keyword “AT10”, you’ll find a list of 0183 sentences it purportedly understands (but you may have to add a “pdf” extension to open the file). I was hoping to use an AT10 along with good old Nema Talker to simulate basic data on my test network. And as you can see in the N2K Analyzer screen above, bigger here, it works.

Everything on the network gets the depth, heading, water speed/temp, and wind speed/direction PGNs, as you can see here. But only the Raymarine E thinks it has GPS attached. You can see on the screen shot that PGN 12905 “Position, Rapid Update” is being sent, but my guess is that the Garmin 5212 and Lowrance LCX aren’t happy unless they see some of the other GPS PGNs (there are several). Now maybe this is a Nema Talker problem, though I checked all its output strings, or maybe there’s another explanation, but right now I wouldn’t count on an AT10 to get 0183 GPS into N2K.
   I also tried the AT10 the other way, populating the backbone with sensors, and opening Coastal Explorer to the serial cable I’d wired to the translator. There was a somewhat similar problem; CE gets a position from that RMC sentence shown below, but it doesn’t recognize the AT10 output as a GPS and won’t show satellite status. The data refresh rates are also painfully slow with all those sentences active (though it was fine in the other direction). By comparison, the Maretron USB Gateway understands a lot more PGNs and is much faster (and pricier). While I don’t think the AT10 is up to feeding a lot of data to a PC, I can sure see how it would be handy for more limited tasks. As always, though, don’t presume success until you’ve seen it!


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.

14 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    Please see my post on thehulltruth about this. Works for depth, lat/long but not speed. I’m bummed!

  2. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Chris, I think that’s an issue with Garmin output, not the AT10. If you look at the big version of the screen shot above, you’ll see that the AT10 is sending both SOG and Water Speed data in N2K format.

  3. CraigI says:

    Has anyone done a cross listing of AT10 NMEA0183 sentences to NMEA2K PGNs, similar to what Maretron has in their USB-100 manual? They’ve listed the NMEA0183 sentences, but they seem reticent to list PGNs output on SimNet. I think there’s a big opportunity in the market for a NMEA0183 MUX that puts everything on a NMEA2K data bus. Maybe Brookhouse or Actisense has something in the works?

  4. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Craig, You can see some of the PGNs generated by the AT10 in the top screen shot. I did ask Simrad for a full listing, but haven’t received it.
    I think Actisense, Furuno, and probably others are working on N2K/0183 translators, but I haven’t seen one yet.

  5. CraigI says:

    Ben – Simrad seems pretty reticent to divulge anything. I was trying to find the optimal NMEA0183 sentences to send from my Garmin 492 through the AT10 to my Simrad Wheelpilot WP32 and all they would send me were the PDFs listing the NMEA0183 sentences accepted by the AT10 & WP32. One would think that internally they could check what PGNs the WP32 was accepting and reverse map them on the AT10. Since the AT10 seems limited to the volume of data, I was hoping to minimize the amount of data my Garmin was transmitting.

  6. Kees says:

    At the METS the Actisense folks were indeed showing their USB to NMEA-2000 and NMEA-2000/0183 converter products.
    Both are to be very reasonably priced (all possible NMEA 0183 data. Obviously, you can’t convert all NMEA 2000 data to 0183 since some things just don’t have a 0183 equivalent.
    Their USB gateway is to be significantly cheaper than the Maretron product, and apparently includes enough “smarts” so that it will not allow invalid NMEA-2000 data on the NMEA-2000 bus as it validates everything that the PC software side sends. This will make it cheaper to validate the PC software as they don’t need as expensive a NMEA-2000 certification as they’d need otherwise.
    Actisense is working with several marine software suppliers to interface their new USB converter. It does not present a standard serial port (as that would be NMEA-0183 again) to the software; they’ll supply a DLL and API information to the software vendors.
    Both products are to be ready “real soon now”…

  7. Jon TC says:

    I am upgrading my instruments, displays and autopilot from B&G Network to Simrad (AP 28), but I have a question about my existing transducers. Does anyone know if there is a way to read the B&G data from the B&G Speed/Temp transducer and the B&G Depth transducer into the Simrad network? I really would like to avoid having to replace the existing thru-hull fittings, and it appears that the sensors Simrad sells (Airmar) would not fit in my existing thru-hulls. Once the data from the transducers is in the B&G system I can output it in NMEA 0183, but when I eliminate those B&G components is there anything that could look at the existing transducer data and output it in NMEA 0183 (or better yet, NMEA 2000)?

  8. Col says:

    Hi all, I was wondering if i could use a Lowrance EP60r fuel sensor going through a SIMRAD AT10 hooked up to a Garmin 550s Chartplotter that is NMEA 0183.
    Basically what i was after is a readout on my Chartplotter that gives fuel used, mpg and the like

  9. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Col, I think you’re on the wrong track. The Garmin 550S supports NMEA 2000, so it can be networked directly to the Lowrance fuel sensor. However using Garmin’s own GFS 10 fuel sensor probably makes more sense as you should get calibration access from the 550, and I think the two manufacturers have different ways of storing accumulated fuel info.
    Incidentally, I don’t think that there is a standard NMEA 0183 message for fuel flow. And even if there is, I don’t think it’s in the AT10 translation list (which you can download from Simrad, link at top of entry).

  10. Rick Kain says:

    The AT10 works fine as far as it goes. BUT, it’s very sensitive to the NMEA input format. Old sentences won’t work. When the say NMEA 3.01 they mean it. Also, when I wanted to use one to convert 10hz heading data from a Simrad AP20, I could never get Simrad to say specifically that the AT10 (even the HD version) would actually work at 10Hz. The spec sheet said 4Hz. I finally gave up arguing for them, and used an Actisense NGW-1, which they say will do it and it does.

  11. col says:

    Thanks Ben. The reason i was looking at the lowrance fuel sensor was because it is more accurate at and reads down to .5 of a gallon whereas the GFS10 only reads down to 2 gallons.
    If i do a bit of idling when looking for my fish shows , trolling or crabbing i won’t get a readout on fuel used from the Garmin.
    In the operators manual of the 550s, all the references to Nmea are 0183 version3.01 rather than nmea2000. You’ll have to excuse me as this is all new to me
    Thanks Col

  12. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Sorry, Col, I got confused. The 550S supports Garmin CAN but not NMEA 2000. It was the 551 that got N2K. Explained in the installation notes:
    I don’t think you can get fuel flow on the 550. Maybe you should consider a Lowrance LMF400?

  13. JEFF MILLAR says:

    I was wanting the AT-10 to be the answer to my technical problem. I want my Simrad system to integrate with the Furuno 1835 Radar.
    And accept output from my new Simrad SIMNET system.
    The 1835 has ports to accept NMEA 0183 for GPS, AIS and Depth.
    how can I make my Simrad talk to my Radar ?

  14. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Jeff, The AT10 definitely won’t translate AIS from NMEA 2000 to 0183, but your AIS receiver or transponder almost undoubtedly has 0183 ouput. You might be wise to consult a marine electronics professional about how to make the two connections.

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