Panbo

NMEA 2000 cabling, Airmar's in

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Mar 4, 2008

Airmar NMEA2000 cabling cPanbo 

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.


Garmin N2K Tee

Comments

Hi Ben. You obviously should go the route with the 2000 wire and connections for your new boat now that finally more products are compatible. Rewiring for me over the last 8 years (grr) has been 0183 which is now done except for occasional replacements like updating the grounding wiring done a year ago to get to code. The price of copper now has brought anything new to a halt for my 24 year old sail boat. Lee

Posted by: Lee Guite at March 5, 2008 10:13 AM | Reply

You bet, Lee! There may be two backbones, one for real stuff including shift, throttle, and autopilot control, and another for experimenting.

Posted by: Ben at March 5, 2008 3:08 PM | Reply

It's been brought to my attention that Airmar's NMEA 2000 cabling is apparently not NMEA certified. I'll take responsibilty for the mistaken quote up there, which came from my (flawed) memory.

As to what cable certification means in the real world, I'm not sure. I don't think SimNet, SeaTalkng, LowranceNet, or Garmin cabling is certified either, and Airmar's "looks" most like the real thing, and has purportedly passed Airmar's own testing, which I suspect was vigorous.

However, the cabling sold by Molex and Maretron may have the very best shielding and be superior in other respects, it's price competitive with most everything else, and it is CERTIFIED.

Posted by: Ben at March 20, 2008 12:13 PM | Reply

I lost my temperature reading on my 4y old Airmar paddle wheel transducer hooked up to Furuno Navnet 1. Any suggestions? Thank you Walt

Posted by: walter schumacher at July 18, 2008 12:33 PM | Reply

@Walter:

This is the most common failure mode for the combined speed/temp transducers. It happens to most of us. Learn to live with it, or buy a new one.

Posted by: Kees at July 21, 2008 3:02 PM | Reply

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