Panbo

Ancor goes NMEA 2000 & the BEP Pro Installer line

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Nov 15, 2013

Ancor_NMEA_2000_cables_n_connectors_cPanbo.jpgPerhaps, coming soon to a marine electronics store near you (though not yet online) is a fairly complete line of NMEA 2000 cables and connectors under the well-known Ancor brand. I particularly like how the kits and explanatory packaging will encourage consumers to set up their own small networks. The 2 and 5-meter cables, for instance, are sold as Backbone/Drop Cables, while the 10-Meter is simply a Backbone Cable (because a spur shouldn't exceed 5 meters). I saw the preview Ancor line above at IBEX, but learned more about it in a special Soundings Trade-Only advertorial publication designed for next week's METS show...

Ancor NMEA 2000 connectors and cables.jpgOne notable feature of the Ancor N2K cables is that they use 18 awg power wires instead of the conventional 22 gauge, which means less chance of unacceptable voltage drop if the network grows large. They've also developed a tee connector with a built-on 1-meter spur cable that I've never seen before (though some other parts, like the multi-tees, appear to come from a source used by other N2K distributors). We don't yet know how Ancor pricing will compare to the competition, but I like to think "the more the merrier" in that regard. I was also pleased to learn from the Trade-Only page that in 2014 Ancor is adding back "200 products that had previously been rationalized out of" their catalog. (Thanks, incidentally, to reader Butch for sending me to the related Continuous Wave discussion.)  

Gizmo_3-2013_Maretron_MID_N2K_cables_cPanbo.jpgIt will be particularly interesting to see how Ancor pricing compares to Maretron's MID size cables, which also employ 18 gauge power wires. The pile photographed on Gizmo last spring is now a color-coded backbone, snaking from engine room up through both helms and back to the antenna mast. I know that some people wail at the costs -- which range from about $26 retail for a .5 meter to $51 for a 10 meter -- but I thought it a reasonable investment for high quality data/power cabling that will never be obsolete, no matter how the electronics change. It's also worth noting that the last remaining proprietary NMEA 2000 connector and cabling system, Raymarine's SeaTalkNG, also features 18 gauge power wires and is also designed with a color-coded backbone. But I digress. 
   The facing page in the Trade-Only pub advertises a new line of bus bars, fuse holders, battery switches, etc. from Ancor sibling company BEP. Fortunately, the Pro Installer line is well documented online, but I'll add that the gear looked very well made and smartly designed at IBEX (I thought) and I suspect it will be of interest to both real pros and informed do-it-yourselfers. Then again, Blue Sea Systems is also very strong in this area. The more the merrier!
   By the way, I will not be at METS myself, but I will be covering some major electronics introductions there and Kees Verruijt will again report after a show visit.

BEP_Pro_Installer_breaker_bus_switch_etc.jpg

Comments

PS Here's another Panbo entry about interesting NMEA 2000 connector and cable lines:

http://www.panbo.com/archives/2012/02/actisense_qpd_a2k_more_good_choices_in_nmea_2000_cabling.html


Posted by: Ben at November 15, 2013 1:46 PM | Reply

I suspect the BEP (motorized) battery switch redesign will include reversing the logic of the motor actuator to be compatible with Czone. Currently, if you want Czone to turn a battery switch on or off, the signal has to first go through a relay to swap the logic.

Posted by: Eric at November 17, 2013 12:46 AM | Reply

If the cable with the bare wire ends is a power tee, then apparently it can be inserted anywhere in an existing series of tees because it does not change gender as do the Maretron/Escha tees. That's good!
However, I see only one pair of wires? I would like to power the left and right side of the tee separately. This is possible with the Maretron/Escha and the Actisense power tees.
The tees appear to be a little longer than the Maretron/Escha which I don't like because I prefer a string of tees over a multi-junction box of some kind because this is easier to change later. However, there are multi-tees in the picture that more than make up for this. Also good.
I also like the easy way to screw them down to a bulkhead or wood mounting plate. I had to use a combination of cable ties and little polyamid blocks to screw down cable ties in order to hold my long string of Maretron tees in place.
Plastic and metal threads are a bitch to join together even when not trying to do this head down in some impossible spot. I would not want to mix plastic and metal.
How well do these mate with Maretron and Actisense tees (apart from the plastic/metal thread-problem)? Will the ports or exiting wires be aligned in the same direction? Maretron and Actisense don't mate well so at best these could mate well with either Actisense or Maretron but not both. Or they may not mate well with either.
Blue Sea Systems has a remote-operated battery switch that I have and am happy with (not N2K).
And if Ancor is re-adding products, maybe they also want to invest in better product availability in Europe, e.g. via a strong distributor and internet-based end user source. I would have liked to used tinned wire in all my boat-jobs but this is apparently unknown in Europe or unavailable in quantities required by end users or smaller installers.

Posted by: Henning at November 17, 2013 8:30 AM | Reply

By the way, this year METS will be full of surprises as rumors says... I'm here for the show and can't wait to see what is new at electronics corner... This year NMEA connect fest has also more interesting workshops anounced than usual (CHIRP, ONE NET etc...

Posted by: Petar Maksimovic at November 18, 2013 1:36 AM | Reply

It has been over a year since this announcement, but I don't see any sign of ANCOR branded NMEA wiring products. What happened?

Posted by: Jim Hebert at November 15, 2014 2:18 PM | Reply

I don't know, Jim. The cables and connectors sure looked ready to go at IBEX 2013 but no sign of them in the Global Marine catalog you can find at the Ancor site:

http://www.ancorproducts.com/en

I did notice, though, that Ancor now offers some handy speaker connector kits plus adhesive sealing butt connectors designed for mismatched wire gauges.

The Marinco, BEP, Mastervolt, Ancor, etc. conglomerate also added ProMariner this year and most recently Blue Sea Systems, so they have a lot on their plate.

Posted by: Ben in reply to Jim Hebert at November 16, 2014 9:36 AM | Reply

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