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Raymarine A70 problems

Discussion in 'Boat Electronics' started by Meindert Sprang, Jul 21, 2010.

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  1. Dear Sailfriends,

    A customer of mine pointed out the following problem:

    A Raymarine A70 plotter connected with port 1 to a MiniPlex multiplexer
    input and port 2 connected to the same multiplexer's output produces
    erroneous GPS data. Instead of outputting the correct data field in the RMC
    sentence, a date of september 2009 is output.

    A test where port 1 out of the A70 is directly connected to port 2 in
    exhibits the same error. When the loop removed, the plotter outputs the
    correct date in it's RMC sentence. Apparenly the plotter does not tolerate
    it's own data.

    I would like to know if this problem also shows up when an external GPS is
    connected to the A70 plotter. Are there any A70 users "out there" who are
    willing and able to try this out?

  2. Meindert,
    I'm sorry I cannot help, but I suggest you have definitely found a bug with the plotter's firmware and in that light, have every
    right to address this directly with Raymarine. I would assume they would have no problem when confirming your findings to set up
    the GPS test as well. They in turn will either provide a fix or a work around for you. Please keep us informed on Raymarine's
    response. Consider this a test of their customer support.
  3. Hi Steve,

    In the meantime, our local Raymarine distributor has performed this test and
    confirmed what I have found. They're taking it up with Raymarine now and
    promised to keep me informed.


    with the plotter's firmware and in that light, have every
    have no problem when confirming your findings to set up
    around for you. Please keep us informed on Raymarine's
  4. Larry

    Larry Guest

    Isn't it ironic we're still fighting RS-422 nonsense on one talker
    serial buses in 2010 when the rest of the electronic world has forgotten
    all this nonsense and moved on.

    It's way past time when the boats should be totally wireless....not
    proprietary wireless to keep your competitors' electronics off your
    private little data system, but STANDARD wireless with every piece
    aboard capable of communicating with every other piece aboard over as
    many direct links as necessary at STANDARD 802.11b/g/n speeds.

    We can lose this stupid TEXT sentence nonsense for some kind of
    STANDARDIZED data set that doesn't take up so much bandwidth and doesn't
    PLOD along like a snail all jammed up with buffered data that arrives
    too late to make the autopilot tweak the course on time.

    You simply connect the new GPS to DC power, its wireless chipset scans
    the boat every time you turn it on and connects with every device that
    uses GPS data and they all light up with the new GPS information pouring
    out of your laptop does when you turn it on in a new
    restaurant with free wifi. NO WIRING, no poking one more cable between
    the chart table and the helm console. No more having serial cables
    hanging out of wherever you want your laptop to run the nav software.
    You can lay in your V-berth with your laptop and see where we are and
    what AIS targets are around.

    It's WAY past time to make this happen.....leaving serial cables and
    multiplexers and other overly complex pieces of 1985 behind.

    As the boat approaches your slip, its wifi-connected marine electronics
    connects to the marina wifi and announces to your select list of users
    we have arrived, dumping all the pictures and the video from the mast-
    mounted webcam so they can see us waving at the big cruise
    ships do now.
  5. Larry,

    Your idea is great and I'm darn sure that 1000's of other people, in or
    outside the industry, have thought of this. Have you ever wondered why
    everything isn't wireless yet?

    There are quite a few practical issues to be solved: first of all, having
    wireless sensors scattered throughout your boat is a nice idea, but they
    need power. Wired power! Then there is a cost factor. A wireless interface
    costs at least 10 times more than a wired interface. Then there are
    infrastructural problems: when you wire things, this is YOUR domain. Noone
    can intrude, collide with your data or whatever. In a wireless system,
    everyone can collide and intrude. You have to take measures against that.
    These measures cost time and processing power; read: MONEY. Oh and then
    there are metal boats. Faraday cages.

    The problem could be solved from the start: when building a boat, install
    power AND data wiring from the start. That will give you almost unlimited
    and cheap ways to expand your system. Install a twisted pair bus. Cheap and
    reliable. RS-485 or CAN buffers cost next to nothing. And when instrument
    power and data are closely tied together, there isn't even a need for
    galvanic isolation which makes CAN/NMEA2000 so expensive.

  6. Because ethernet is also more expensive than a simple serial bus. Ethernet
    requires an ethernet chip which is more expensive than a RS-485 or CAN
    driver, a transformer and last but not least, a huge amount of code in a
    processor just to be able to handle ethernet traffic, compared to what is
    needed to do the sensors' job.

  7. Larry

    Larry Guest

    All this MIGHT have been an issue, in 1985, but not today. I sit
    watching TV at 1.2Mbps in a restaurant where wifi finds 12 open and 22
    secured wifi hotspots in a 1 block area. The TV works fine, except my
    Geelong Cats got beat (Aussie Rules Football). Noone intruded into my
    system, noone sent false information to me, all that old radio nonsense

    These old arguments simply are no longer true. You sit playing on your
    laptop in a marina full of laptops running off the marina wifi and
    rarely ever see a problem.

    What you all see as interference stopped when we went from dialup modems
    into FM radios to 802.11a, the first edition of tiny pulsed transmitters
    on broadband. Who apartment houses full of hundreds of wifi routers
    feeding thousands of laptop computers works just at ever
    increasing data rates over ever widening bandwidths to increase, even
    further, the availability of more and more data to all.

    Bluetooth isn't much better than an old serial port now. I wouldn't
    even want to go near Bluetooth devices. The licensing fees, alone, are
    a great reason to stay away. Bluetooth jams too easily as anyone in a
    Best Buy can attest.

    It's well past time to lay all these old wives tales from 1985 aside and
    go wireless on all the boats NOT made of steel, which is most of them.
    They'll still have NMEA's archaic ports for a long time or some
    proprietary bus nonsense to prevent other manufacturers from talking to
    Seatalk....but boaters should have that choice. NMEA will resist at all
    costs. So won't the manufacturers all going in divergent ways with this
    bus or that bus like Seatalk, for instance. Every boater suffers from
    the consequences of this proprietary nonsense.....
  8. Larry,
    You normally have your act together, but not this time. Meindert is correct about his stated risks, but he is overstating the cost
    of Ethernet solutions. Today they are canned in firmware and reasonably priced. The savings in installation complexity,
    drastically increased speed and system flexibility far exceeds any increase in component cost. Please don't get me wrong. 802.11
    has its place, but not in systems where data integrity are safety issues. CAN solutions work well and meet equipment
    manufacturer's requirements, but as an end user I must counter with a standardization argument. The only thing that is standard is
    the CAN pipe, everything else is proprietary and manufacturer unique. The ability to mix and match instruments and devices from
    different manufacturers would virtually disappear. Furthermore, the CAN bus is slow in relation to Ethernet, reducing the amount
    of net users and traffic the pipe could ultimately handle. Then there is the question of physical pipe length and noise
    susceptibility. Ethernet has it all covered, but Meidert and I have had this discussion a while back and I didn't convince him
    then. Maybe today, he's older now.
  9. Larry

    Larry Guest

    Meindert, no offense, but he makes NMEA multiplexers. Ethernet would be
    the end of that business.
  10. Larry,
    Actually, I think exactly the opposite is true. I believe NMEA multiplexers could be made using NMEA over TCP/IP on an Ethernet
    backbone transparently to the end NMEA device. This technique is used commonly in existing networks today, where the TCP/IP header
    is used exclusively for routing purposes and at the endpoint device, the TCP/IP header is stripped and the NMEA sentence is
    presented to the NMEA customer bit serial transparently in the normal manner. Similar devices already exist on the market as
    Ethernet gateways to RS232/422 devices. Additionally, advanced QOS is available for priority routing if required, preserving the
    advantage of manufacturer independence and all the advantages of Ethernet. I personally believe this represents a golden
  11. Not at all. I'll be having a MiniPlex-2E in a couple of days.

  12. correct about his stated risks, but he is overstating the cost
    priced. The savings in installation complexity,
    increase in component cost. Please don't get me wrong. 802.11
    CAN solutions work well and meet equipment
    standardization argument. The only thing that is standard is
    ability to mix and match instruments and devices from
    bus is slow in relation to Ethernet, reducing the amount
    the question of physical pipe length and noise
    this discussion a while back and I didn't convince him
    And you still cannot convince me of the idea that an ethernet interface can
    be as cheap as an RS-422 interface. The canned solutions you talk about
    still cost considerably more than a simple Rs-422 tranceiver chip. Of course
    I could have taken an ethernet version of the controller I use in my
    multiplexers, but I still would have to add a transformer and at minimum a
    UDP stack and, if you want the ease of ethernet, the complete DCHP stuff to
    the existing software. You simply cannot compare a dedicated non-mass market
    device to mass market PC stuff which cost next to nothing for two purposes:
    1) a huge market and 2) a complete multi megabyte OS to support the dumb and
    cheap hardware.

    This is the same discussion as with Bluetooth. You can buy BT dongels for a
    couple of dollars/euros but these rely on Windows to operate. The modules I
    use cost 20 times that much because 1) the volume is much lower and 2) they
    contain a complete processing system to do what windows would otherwise have

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