Simrad Remote, a NMEA 2000 surprise

Simrad WR20 f small

It made sense to me that Simrad’s WR20 RemoteCommander shared an innovation award with the Northstar 8000i at the Miami boat show. It uses Bluetooth to wirelessly connect (“up to” 300’, as they say) with a boat’s SimNet (aka NMEA 2000) network, and Simrad has equipped it with custom messages able to duplicate nearly every button push on all its SimNet-equipped devices. (These are the proprietary messages I was talking about here, and a good example of how they can be used innovatively). Potentially you can use this remote to power steer with your autopilot, zoom your chart plotter, change channels on your VHF, just about anything. Plus, if you do have the Simrad RS80 Series VHF that’s SimNet enabled, the remote can also be a wireless handset (the Bluetooth audio going directly to the radio, not through SimNet). The remote can also display one to four lines of data from many sources on the network, including non-Simrad sensors. And finally, it is supposedly ready to work with Simrad equipment that hasn’t even been developed yet, though I don’t understand how.

By the way, Simrad’s purchase of Lowrance seems to be a done deal. It’s interesting that both companies have done a lot with NMEA 2000, though in different ways. I wonder how their product strategies and lines will be merged, if at all.

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.

2 Responses

  1. Microship says:

    I have one of these on order, to go with the AP24. Do you know if the instrument data display is vendor-agnostic (other than the obviously proprietary relationship with the RS97 VHF). It would be very nice to be able to see at least textual data from Maretron and Furuno PGNs…
    I am delighted to see that the WR20 wireless base is a NMEA2000 device; I can park it in the binnacle of my steel boat and not worry so much about the signal finding its way through hatches!

  2. Microship says:

    Ah, I should have read your post more closely, Ben; you said it works with non-Simrad sensors. Now if it could act like an instrument display with graphic objects!

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