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Can you convert NMEA0183 to NMEA2000?

The top of the mast problem!

Yacht mast with blue sky and electronics

Many yacht's electrical systems use either NMEA0183 or NMEA2000 and so it's not often the situation arises where it would seem a good idea to convert from NMEA183 to NMEA2000, but sometimes it makes life much easier.

When you have a 2K system all the electronics around the boat connect directly to the backbone. However, many systems also have inputs for 0183 sensors and some have 0183 outputs – so why convert?

At Autonnic we think there is one place in particular where a converter is ideal and that is for the wind sensor/anemometer at the top of the mast. The top of a sailing boat's mast is just not a good place for NMEA 2000. It's all about the difference between backbone length and branch length.

Side-branches are where a piece of 2K equipment is connected to the backbone and they have a limited operational length. It’s only 6m! The backbone itself can be much longer – up to 100m. This generally means that the top of a 15m mast is the place where you are obliged to terminate the backbone – and our own Autonnic NMEA2000 wind sensors have a built-in terminator for that reason.

This is fine for a new installation, but many boats started out with the older NMEA0183 system and have upgraded later to a 2K system. There is a complex problem to solve when upgrading because you cannot use the old 0183 cable threaded through the deck and up the mast unless you have a NMEA 0183 to 2000 converter.

With a NMEA0183 to NMEA2000 converter you can install an 0183 wind sensor using the old cable or a new thin (easily threaded through existing runs) cable for the length of the mast and bring that to the converter. The converter can be inside the boat on a short branch from the 2K backbone and present 2K wind data to the rest of the connected devices.

For this reason we make the Autonnic (A5905) NMEA0183 to NMEA 2000 Converter. It makes upgrading the electronic system on yachts much simpler and less stressful. It even has a push switch to send a ‘zero’ command to the 0183 wind sensor so that final alignment can be done by a simple press of a button.

For more information click here.

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