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NMEA Boater Blog
 

Upgrading your electronics? SmartBoat can help
6/21/2022

One of the challenges in replacing your old onboard electronics with the latest wizardry is making the existing sensors work properly with that new multifunction display (MFD) or replacing the many sensors with compatible devices, which can be costly. Veteran transducer manufacturer Airmar introduced a solution that pulls data from the old sensors and converts it for use on the NMEA 2000 network. Below, company Marketing Director Craig Cushman explains how the SmartBoat module works.

By Craig Cushman

Modular system integrates existing sensor data with new MFDs


Planning a complete electronics upgrade on a vessel can be a daunting task.   Technicians need to have a solid understanding of which components have to be replaced and which existing components, if any, can be integrated into the new monitoring system.  It’s a certainty that the MFDs (Multifunction Displays) and network will be replaced, but a tougher question is how to integrate those new MFDs with sensor data from existing pumps, switches, resistive tank senders, diesel engines, and temperature sensors of many types. Replacing these sensors is complex and, depending on where they are located, nearly impossible to reach. Quoting a full-scale refit can be difficult since often assumptions have to be made during the bidding process as to what types of existing sensors are on board.  If you factor in the time and expense of just trying to figure out which individual sensor modules are needed for specific types of monitoring, it’s apparent that there must be a better way.

The SmartBoat system from Airmar is an easy and cost-effective method to integrate existing vessel sensor data with a new upgraded, modern helm.  Multiple analog sensors of nearly any type can be directly connected to the SmartBoat module, and regardless of their protocol, they can be converted to communicate on the NMEA 2000 network.  This NMEA  2000-certified device supports a wide range of analog sensor types such as thermistors, resistive senders, binary switches, relays, run detectors and more, all easily connected without the need for expensive, proprietary sensor translation modules, which can drive the cost of alternative upgrade paths out of reach of most customers.  With the SmartBoat system, if an early assumption about sensor types was wrong, simply choose the correct sensor type from the software’s drop-down menu. The correction is painless. Often, other solutions require re-purchasing sensor modules or adding more capability than what is needed.

"The overall combined features of one SmartBoat module makes it a powerful product.  The flexibility to connect multiple sensors to one module and easily configure and set conditions and alerts using the intuitive SmartFlex View software is impressive,” says Jennifer Matsis, VP of Sales and Marketing.  

Each SmartBoat module has an internal web server hosting browser-based software called SmartFlex View. This software features drop-down menus that guide installers through the set-up and allow for customization of each sensor on the network.  All modules have built-in Wi-Fi and NMEA 2000 capabilities, with advanced modules including a second CAN network (NMEA 2000, J1939 or diesel fuel flow sensors), Ethernet and USB 2.0 capability.  Modules can be added to an install as capabilities are needed and the network expanded to include wired or wireless connections between modules.  This makes larger vessel retrofit projects a straight-forward integration for bringing legacy sensors on the boat onto the MFDs at the helm.

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Xantrex Celebrates Solar Appreciation Day with its line of Solar Products & a Live Q&A Session

Costa Mesa, Calif. – March 11, 2022 – At Mission Critical Electronics (MCE), Xantrex’s parent company, we strive to bring sustainable solutions to consumers through Xantrex’s solar products that are both innovative in terms of being highly efficient and accessible in their affordability and ease of use.

Xantrex offers a wide variety of solar solutions ranging from rigid and flexible roof-mounted kits to a variety of portable kit. Xantrex Solar provides maintenance-free, renewable solutions to maximize battery life, helps prolong power supply as well as reduces dependency on generators.

 

Garmin unveils LiveScope Plus with enhanced resolution, clearer images and even better target separation

OLATHE, Kan., 2022/Business Wire – Garmin® International, Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NYSE:GRMN), the world’s largest1 and most innovative marine electronics manufacturer, today announced the LiveScope™ Plus System, the latest addition to Garmin’s revolutionary live-scanning sonar lineup with brilliantly clear live scanning sonar returns and 35% improved target separation over the existing system. Now with sharper resolution, reduced noise, and Garmin’s clearest images, it’s easier than ever to see structure, bait and fish around the boat in real time, even while stationary. With three modes – Forward, Down and Perspective – the LiveScope Plus System also includes the popular Perspective Mode Mount.

 

Furuno Unleashes Powerful 2kW/3kW TruEcho CHIRP™ Network Fish Finder

Camas, WA - Furuno is proud to introduce the new DFF3-UHD High-Power TruEcho CHIRP™ Fish Finder for NavNet TZtouch3, providing fishermen the ability to see fish and bottom structure deeper and clearer than ever before. Furuno’s superior digital signal processing interprets the echoes from fish and underwater structures with unparalleled clarity, accuracy, and resolution, at unprecedented depths - we're talking depth scales down to 15,000 feet! Capable of transmitting across Low, Medium, and High CHIRP frequency ranges, its high power output translates directly into greater resolution and depth capability. The DFF3-UHD is also compatible with the versatile NavNet TZtouch2 TZT2BB Black Box MFD.