More and more, it seems, all the various pieces of electronics on our boats are interconnected; just take a look at the helm of a well-equipped contemporary cruiser and you can see the basic nav functions on the chartplotter and autopilot, but also digital info on engine, genset and even transmission functions all on the display in front of you. But how do all these separate pieces of digital information all come together?
Here’s a great introduction to new digital gateways that connect all the electronics on board from the Marine Electronics Journal. It used to be that NMEA 0183 language was used as the backbone to support a boat’s electronics. Now it’s the NMEA 2000 standards, with different gateway technologies working as translators so that individual devices connect to each other on the network.
Just as getting hardware and software to work on your home network is not always as easy as you’d like, getting all the electronics to connect for optimum performance on your boat is not just a matter of plugging product A into product B and hoping for the best. It is often particularly difficult to get engine information to work with other displays. But that’s where the gateway comes in. Read more: