SmartCraft NMEA 2000 gateway, looking good


Never mind that Mercury promised a NMEA 2000 gateway to its SmartCraft engine monitoring system back in 2001, the one it’s poised to actually ship in 2010 looks quite powerful and useful.  If you check out the Gateway PDF above linked to this MercMonitor gauge page, you’ll see that it can deliver a whole lot of engine messages to your N2K displays.  Plus it turns out that a gent named Glen Ersly has installed a prototype system and written about it in some depth…

Glen runs a great Web resource called the Verado Owners Group, as well as Electronics Unlimited’s site, and he seems to be having a good time experimenting with gadgets on his twin 250 center console Reel Estate.  A couple of months ago he detailed the install of a MercMonitor and Gateway on the Verado site, and also on the Hull Truth, and he’s been answering questions in both places since.  Plus he recently installed Garmin’s new Bennett Trim Tab analog-to-N2K adaptor and a GMI 10, and chucked his old trim indicator.
   SmartCraft has always seemed a powerful system, as did its proprietary gateway to MFDs of the Navico brands that parent company Brunswick once owned, but it was still annoying that it wouldn’t integrate with NMEA 2000 when both are CANbus-based networks. Apparently those days are almost over, and I dare guess that the possibilities will be stimulating.  Thousands of boaters will get new options for how they mind their engines, and what data they get to see.  For instance, not only can SmartCraft fuel flow info be calculated into MPG, range, etc. by many MFDs, but the gateway also means that N2K GPS data flows back to the SmartCraft displays like Vessel View so MPG, etc. can be calculated there too (lots more on that subject here).
   Plus the gateway will mean that boat builders who use any of Mercury’s many propulsion packages, which notably include both Axius and Zeus drive technologies, will have a lot more flexibility about how they design their helm electronics.  Which may stimulate other engine manufacturers to play better with NMEA 2000, and stimulate the electronics guys to improve the engine data display abilities in their MFDs and all-in-one instruments.  It’s all good.

PS  Glen used N2KBuilder to sketch out the system above…


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. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    By the way, I understand that the Gateway will start at about $400 for a single engine. Also, a big thanks to AaronH for first letting us know about this development on an entry about the new Garmin 6- and 7000 series:

  2. gene says:

    Nice, Ben (and Glen). I saw this and also mounted the Bennett adapter. I think it’s now up to the MFD mfrs to give us more flexibility in what PGN we want to show on the engine screen or better yet, the corner data boxes now avail for other items.

  3. Mark says:

    So, will this be backwards compatable with smartcraft from older boats/engines or just on future production models? I have a 2007 Sea Ray with smartcraft system view and two Raymarine E 120 mfd’s and would very much like to use the Raymarine units for displaying engine info and other stuff that the system view currently displays.

  4. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    The Gateway is compatible with all SmartCraft engines, I think. This PDF lists the data points various Mercury engines can send to the MercMonitor:

  5. gene says:

    I noticed on Glen’s board he has also figured out the new gauge will translate analog tabs directly from the backbone…using the Garmin adapter…

  6. David says:

    From the diagram, it shows hooking up a NMEA compatible outboard. Does anyone know if the MercMonitor must have a Merc or will a NMEA 2000 compatible outboard work with it? I’d like to use the EcoScreen but want to use an E-tec or a Honda outboard.

  7. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    David, the Gateway PDF you can find at the MerMonitor link above indicates that the gateway will receive as well as transmit NMEA 2000 engine messages, including fuel flow, trim, rpm, etc. However, Verado engines are SmartCraft, not NMEA 2000, and getting the SmartCraft info onto the N2K backbone is the main job of this gateway.
    In other words, it wasn’t really meant to work with an ETec or other N2K motor, but it might. Also, you can get the Eco Screen info from other NMEA 2000 engines in many ways, though maybe not as clearly as the Eco Screen. Once you get fuel flow and speed together to calculate real time MPG, it’s fairly easy to see what trim and RPM combinations are the most efficient for a given load and sea state.

  8. Peter says:

    I have smartcraft running through my Northstar M84 and would like to see if anybody would know if there is anything that i could set up so i could have it running through my ipad?

  9. harold says:

    have a 7.4 (454) mpi from 2000, will it work ??

  10. daniel says:

    Bonjour, j’ai un 200 verado avec compteurs vitesse et compte-tours SC1000 connecté via passerelle nmea2000 sur un sondeur GPS Lowrance HDS GEN3. Mon pb est que je n’arrive pas à obtenir l’information “to waypoint” (affiche la quantité de carburant nécessaire en fonction de la vitesse pour atteindre le point de cheminement. Visiblement personne de chez Lowrance ou de Mercury ne semble avoir la réponse. D’avance merci pour votre aide

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Sorry, Daniel, I failed French class (twice) but Google translates your comment as:

      “Hello, I have a 200 verado with speed counters and SC1000 tachometer connected via nmea2000 gateway on a Lowrance HDS GEN3 GPS sonar. My pb is that I can not get the information “to waypoint” (displays the amount of fuel needed depending on the speed to reach the waypoint.) Obviously no one from Lowrance or Mercury seems to have the answer Thanks in advance for your help”

      I also don’t have an answer to your question except the generality that many gateways fail to translate some data types from one protocol to another. But maybe a reader is using the same SC1000 or similar with an NMEA 2000 display and tell you if their Go To Waypoint translates. You might also inquire here:

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