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Original Autopilot Integration With New Chartplotter


svperegrinus@yahoo.com
 

David,

With regard to putting AIS on the N2K net:

Yes, the Vesper is a great solution, probably the best out there, due to its smart software that can filter unneeded information, provide anchor alarm, etc.

An alternate solution is to buy a cheap AIS receiver and to plug it into the N2K.

A third solution is to buy a VHF radio with AIS receiver and N2K interface and to plug it into the N2K.  This is what we've done.  Our system works like so:

1.  A B&G NAIS-400 transponder is normally on and working 24x7. This AIS is connected to N2K.  This AIS is 24V so it does not need a separate power supply.  This AIS is individually fused and individually switched.

2.  A B&G V50 VHF that is connected to N2K.  It takes a couple of clicks to enable/disable the AIS rx function on the radio's settings menu.

Thev B&G Zeus chartplotters simply plot whatever AIS data they find on the N2K net, like so:

A.  If there is no AIS data on the net, there is no panic; there is simply no plot of AIS targets. 

B.  If the transponder is on, the Zeuses plot whatever the transponder puts on the network. 

C.  If, conversely, the VHF AIS rx is on, that's what gets plotted. 

D.  And if both are on, the Zeuses plots both. 

No drama, no conflict.  I think most N2K chartplotters will behave similarly.  People interested in AIS or in AIS backup should have no concerns of having one or more connected AIS backup solutions, though I suggest not necessarily enabling them all at the same time.

Cheers,


Peregrinus
SM2K N. 350
At anchor, Elafonisos


SV Perigee
 

re: Vesper & B&G V50 VHF

Great info, and insights.

Thanks.


Cathy & Guillaume
 

Dear Amelians,

We became proud owners of SM hull #293 last summer... We received lots of help from Olivier Beauté and Bill Rouse, but there is still sooooo much to learn... This Forum is invaluable!

One question I have: the electronics on Carpathia is exactly the same as 18 years ago. Among other things, I would like to install a Vesper AIS transponder and a new VHF DSC/AIS (probably B&G V60), as well as create the beginning of a NMEA2000 backbone. How does it work for the antenna when two AIS systems coexist? The VHF will have an internal splitter but can there be another - external - splitter for the transponder, all this working from the same antenna, or do I need a second antenna?

Peregrinus, you seem to have installed this configuration? Others?

Many thanks for your help,

Cathy & Guillaume

s/v Carpathia III – SM2K#293


Alan Leslie
 

Hello Cathy and Guillaume,

Given that the AIS in the B&G is only a receiver not a transponder, you should have no trouble with a splitter between the VHF and the antenna to feed an external AIS transponder.
Certainly making use of the VHF antenna on top of the main mast gives you the ultimate in terms of distance.
We have a Furuno VHF, a GME splitter and a an AMEC AIS transponder and it all works seamlessly well.
You could also ask B&G.

Cheers
Alan
Elyse SM437 


Craig Briggs
 


Hi Cathy & Guillaume,

Your specific question has been answered in other replies, but I do wonder a bit about your overall plan for what seems an upgrade of the original equipment. 

While I'm sure the Vesper is good equipment, with it's full display, I wonder that you choose it over a "black box" transponder, assuming you'll be looking at one or two Multi-Function Displays that would eliminate the need for a separate mounting for the Vesper display and the need to jump back and forth to evaluate AIS targets.

For example, if you're looking to go B&G, their (Navico) NAIS would mount out-of-the way and a B&G Vulcan or Zeus MFD would show the data over-layed on a chart, combined with a radar overlay, if you wish, as well as on the VHF (if you want it - I have it on the B&G V50 VHF but never bother to go there, since its much more useful on the MDF). 

Anyway, just suggesting, as another reply did, that you may want to work with a vendor (be it B&G or other) to plan an integrated system, even if you want to replace things a piece at a time.
We worked with B&G at a boat show and they gave us an excellent integrated system plan, complete with schematics that we then tweaked to our final liking.

A fun project - good luck with it!
Cheers, Craig SN68


---In amelyachtowners@..., <carpathia3@...> wrote :

Dear Amelians,

We became proud owners of SM hull #293 last summer... We received lots of help from Olivier Beauté and Bill Rouse, but there is still sooooo much to learn... This Forum is invaluable!

One question I have: the electronics on Carpathia is exactly the same as 18 years ago. Among other things, I would like to install a Vesper AIS transponder and a new VHF DSC/AIS (probably B&G V60), as well as create the beginning of a NMEA2000 backbone. How does it work for the antenna when two AIS systems coexist? The VHF will have an internal splitter but can there be another - external - splitter for the transponder, all this working from the same antenna, or do I need a second antenna?

Peregrinus, you seem to have installed this configuration? Others?

Many thanks for your help,

Cathy & Guillaume

s/v Carpathia III – SM2K#293


Richard Middleton <middleton@...>
 

Craig might not know this but Vesper does sell both a black box AIS transponder and one with a display.  I’ve gone with the Vesper 'black' box - BTW it’s blue not black! - on my NMEA 2000 network.  The blue box repeats the NMEA info on its Wi-fi.  So I get an AIS display on my iPad, as well as on a chart plotter.

regards Richard
Maybe Amel someday, currently HR 35 Rasmus.


Craig Briggs
 

Hi Richard,
I had not picked up on that, nor that the Vesper Blue Box is also a Wi-fi router. 

Does your IPad also include chart and radar along with the Vesper's AIS, as the B&G system does? With B&G, and I'm sure the other major players, Garmin and Flir/Raymarine, an Ipad or other smart device can act exactly like another controlling MFD except for autopilot control.

Cheers,
Craig


---In amelyachtowners@..., <middleton@...> wrote :

Craig might not know this but Vesper does sell both a black box AIS transponder and one with a display.  I’ve gone with the Vesper 'black' box - BTW it’s blue not black! - on my NMEA 2000 network.  The blue box repeats the NMEA info on its Wi-fi.  So I get an AIS display on my iPad, as well as on a chart plotter.

regards Richard
Maybe Amel someday, currently HR 35 Rasmus.


Cathy & Guillaume
 

Many thanks for your advice, Alan, Mark, Craig, AIan and Richard, very helpful.


Mark and Ian: I am tempted by the redundancy of a second antenna, but does the 5m difference in height make any noticeable difference for the AIS transponder? I guess this should be compared with the loss coming from the splitter. Again, assuming this makes any difference at all.


Craig, I should have been more precise: the Vesper AIS I intend to buy is the XB8000, which is indeed blackbox, no screen. Preference over the NAIS500 because it has GPS, again for redundancy. I want to install a Zeus3 9” MFD at the helm and will view the AIS info on the Zeus. At some stage later, replace the Furuno radar by a B&G 4G. For chart table visualisation of all NMEA2000 info, I would start with tablet through wifi from the Zeus (any counter advice there?) to save the immediate expense of a second MFD. Plus a computer connection from the USB port of the Vesper.


There is the Paris boat show starting this weekend, so will follow your advice and approach a couple of manufacturers, probably B&G and Garmin. Indeed a fun project! I have developed a tentative multi-year evolution plan, but am sure to have many more questions!


Cheers,


Cathy & Guillaume

s/v Carpathia III – SM2K #293

 


greatketch@...
 

I'll add another vote for a second antenna on the mizzen  I have used an AIS with a splitter and never noticed a performance problem, but having a back up antenna is a good thing.  It is the way Harmonie came to us, and we would not change it.

As for the performance of an AIS antenna at mizzen mast height, that's where ours is.  We routinely see Class A AIS broadcasts from 50 nautical miles away.  Class B broadcasts with their lower power are broadcast power limited, not line of sight.  We expect to see a Class B transmitter by the time it is 10 miles away.  Since we have a Class B transceiver, our expectation is that other vessels will not see us at a range of greater than 10 nautical miles.  This is also not going to be affected by antenna height.  I imagine we could get a little increase in Class B receiving and transmitting range with a higher gain antenna, but probably not doubling it.

While theoretically, an antenna at the mainmast head will increase the receiving range for a Class A AIS, in the real world increasing the range beyond 50 miles, this not likely to be of any real world use. In fact, our MFD can not effectively display AIS targets at that range.

Your instrument upgrade path will can be a fun one!  We are just approaching the end of that path, and it is nice having a system that does everything we want it to do.

Bill Kinney
SM160, Harmonie
Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA


Craig Briggs
 

C&G,
I've got the B&G NAIS400 (2 years old) and it does, indeed, like the newer 500 model, have its own GPS, as you note the Vesper does. The GPS antenna is a "mushroom" dome which I've mounted on the dashboard and that can be selected as the system source of GPS, although I get great reception from the built in GPS's on the Zeus's (7" on dash (-9" would be a bit better) and 12" below).

I've got got a dedicated AIS (NAIS) antenna on the mizzen. Have never noticed any issue with limited range, although I've not got a comparison of a main mast mounted antenna.

Sounds like you've got an excellent plan. Th Zeus 12" below is a great supplement to the cockpit unit.and fits the hole for the old Radar - I did need to replace the mounting bracket knobs with hex head bolts and have to slide the adjacent panels out a bit before removing the radar - not a big deal.

Certainly a tablet would do the trick and may be even a little more convenient as you can be anywhere and do all that you could with the Zeus 12", except autopilot, but you're not going to do that from below anyway.

Best piece of our system is the Wireless Remote Bluetooth Autopilot Controller (WR10/BT-1 ). We rarely sit at the helm any more and just sit comfortably around the cockpit using a small tablet to check the chart, or just pop up now and then and scan the MFD. We've also got a Triton 10 and the H5000 displays in the holes of the old sytem, so we can see the key items like depth, speed and wind from a distance, as The Captain intended. :-)

With 20-20 hindsight I think I'd get a different brand VHF. The B&G is a bit clunky to operate with odd button sequences and ours kept jumping to a weather station by itself, which required a factory replacement, although that is likely an isolated incident. That the handset is wireless is great, and that is available in other brands.

Odds and ends: I see they now have a wireless masthead unit and a paddlewhee-less speed transducer, which looks interesting if you're building the system from scratch.

Cheers, Craig SN68


---In amelyachtowners@..., <carpathia3@...> wrote :

Many thanks for your advice, Alan, Mark, Craig, AIan and Richard, very helpful.


Mark and Ian: I am tempted by the redundancy of a second antenna, but does the 5m difference in height make any noticeable difference for the AIS transponder? I guess this should be compared with the loss coming from the splitter. Again, assuming this makes any difference at all.


Craig, I should have been more precise: the Vesper AIS I intend to buy is the XB8000, which is indeed blackbox, no screen. Preference over the NAIS500 because it has GPS, again for redundancy. I want to install a Zeus3 9” MFD at the helm and will view the AIS info on the Zeus. At some stage later, replace the Furuno radar by a B&G 4G. For chart table visualisation of all NMEA2000 info, I would start with tablet through wifi from the Zeus (any counter advice there?) to save the immediate expense of a second MFD. Plus a computer connection from the USB port of the Vesper.


There is the Paris boat show starting this weekend, so will follow your advice and approach a couple of manufacturers, probably B&G and Garmin. Indeed a fun project! I have developed a tentative multi-year evolution plan, but am sure to have many more questions!


Cheers,


Cathy & Guillaume

s/v Carpathia III – SM2K #293

 


Richard Middleton <middleton@...>
 

Hi Craig, I’ve kept my boat simple. No radar at all. My only chartplotter is Navionics on my iPad. Navionics cannot display the AIS. Instead the AIS displays on Vespers own app. So it isn’t very integrated. (No radar because I do a lot of single-handed passages, and I see radar as a distraction - I’d rather spend my limited resources on other watch keeping activities. I’d rather have AIS than radar.)
Regards Richard M


Craig Briggs
 

Hi Richard,
I guess that's why the make chocolate and vanilla 

Cheers, Craig


---In amelyachtowners@..., <middleton@...> wrote :

Hi Craig, I’ve kept my boat simple. No radar at all. My only chartplotter is Navionics on my iPad. Navionics cannot display the AIS. Instead the AIS displays on Vespers own app. So it isn’t very integrated. (No radar because I do a lot of single-handed passages, and I see radar as a distraction - I’d rather spend my limited resources on other watch keeping activities. I’d rather have AIS than radar.)
Regards Richard M