NMEA 2000 cabling, Airmar's in
Another sign that 2008 is the year of NMEA 2000? Airmar tells me that orders for its various N2K Smart Sensors—depth/speed/temp info online now, high performance PB200 Weather Station plus GPS/compass and plain compass coming “soon”—are way ahead of projections. Plus the company is now offering “a full-line of affordable, NMEA 2000
certified cables and accessories.” I’ve got some samples in the lab, bigger picture here, and the cable is a wee bit thinner than the gray Micro size I’m familiar with—a little less individual wire insulation, I think—but otherwise seems very similar. The cabling source is LTW, and Airmar says it’s “been rigorously tested to comply with the NMEA 2000 standard.”
The especially good news? Airmar is selling cables, tees, power drops, termination resistors and field attachable connectors via distributor Gemeco for what it says are wholesale prices about 2/3rds of those charged for similar Micro-C DeviceNet type cabling made by the likes of Molex. Meanwhile, Garmin has more info up about its own N2K cabling parts, like the tee below. While any of the N2K cable options is vastly superior to what went on with 0183, I think I prefer metal-threaded gear, especially if it doesn’t cost appreciably more. Which looks like the case at multi brand outlets like JackRabbit. And if I understand the wholesale numbers correctly, the new Airmar/LTW option may be the best value once it gets into the retail market. This is the healthy competition that was hoped for when NMEA 2000 first came out, and everyone was whining about $30 tee connectors, and it’s good.