SmartCraft, the parallel universe

Northstar 12-inch 6000i Smart Craft

I got a peek at this display during NMEA , and I’m looking forward to going deeper in Lauderdale. What’s the docking display? How much control does the user get over engine alarms? Are detailed diagnostics also available? This Northstar 6000i is (theoretically) connected via a gateway to a Mercury inboard or outboard engine equipped with SmartCraft, a CANbus data networking and control system with many similarities to NMEA 2000. The big difference really is that SmartCraft was developed by Brunswick and is being used by its New Technologies group (MotoTron, Northstar, Navman, et al) mostly in boats build by Brunswick. Other companies like Airmar, Onan, Dometic, Xantrex, and DNA Group have gotten involved, but SmartCraft is essentially driven in a top-down, business-like way. By contrast, NMEA 2000 sometimes seems like chaos. Maybe that’s why there are currently lots more SmartCraft boats out there than NMEA 2000 ones. It may be a parallel universe, but if it works well for you…well, cool. Then again I’ve heard that there are some downsides to SmartCraft worth discussing one day. 

Note that the 6000i above is a new 12” model, meaning that you can now get these networked multifunction displays in a phenomenal five sizes—15”, 12”, 10.4”, 8.4” and 6.4”—which is great for folks designing a multi display helm like this (put together, unfortunately I think, before the 12 or 15 inch models materialized).

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.

3 Responses

  1. Pascal says:

    This very good display could acomodate a very good AIS as well. Ben, take a good trip and in the many of your excelent contacts with the builders int Fort Lauderdale show, please make more loby for AIS (at last, the receiver support on the current gps/ploters and/or VHF/DSC radios very soom, since yout told the problem of clas B will delay to end of 2006 the transponders..
    best Regards

  2. Damon says:

    Does anyone have any suggestions for what they’d like to see for an improved SmartCraft display on the 6000i? I work for Northstar and am willing to listen to any suggestions.
    Feel free to e-mail me. [email protected]
    Damon Michaels

  3. Brad Thompson says:

    Does anyone know whether the Northstar M84 supports Smartcraft for Cummins diesels? I’ve heard that the 6000i does, but nobody, including Northstar Tech support, can either confirm or deny for the M84. There is a difference, I think it’s something to do with SIM?
    Thanks for your help.

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