Simrad NX, the only True Malfunction is the N2K


At least one Navico competitor is having fun e-mailing around this scan of a major ad blooper that ran in a New Zealand marine publication. Of course the intended headline was “True Multifunction” not “True Malfunction” and no doubt some one is very embarrassed about the mistake. In fact, “multifunction”—as in multifunction display, or MFD—is not a term that has slipped easily into boating vernacular. The forwarded email that carried this image was jokingly titled “Truth in Advertising” but therein lies an unintended truth. Aside from the blooper, this ad better represents the actual product than some of Simrad’s other marketing.

What I noticed about the ad, full image here, is that it doesn’t mention SimNet/NMEA 2000. And that’s good! When I first saw the NX series last fall, I liked the idea of the good old Navman 8120/Northstar M series with N2K added. But I’ve got one in the lab now and don’t consider it a true SimNet/NMEA 2000 device. What Simrad has done is to bundle the unit with an AT40 N2K/0183 converter—which seems quite like the AT10 I’ve been testing—and a SimNet GPS. The latter works fine that way, but when I hooked the NX to the test network, only some basic PGN data like wind and depth got through, as seen in the screen shot below (Water Speed, RPM, Air Temp, and Baro pressure PGNs were available).
   In other words, while the NX superseded the Simrad CX series, it doesn’t have its NMEA 2000 abilities, which helped first excite me about the Standard three long years ago. And while the NX, like its predecessors, probably does good fuel management as discussed recently, I’ll bet it won’t with an N2K fuel flow PGN (yet untested). That’s why I think Simrad should qualify or downplay its NX SimNet claims, and why I like the ad. I may be a NMEA 2000 freak, but for many users it’s a small, possibly irrelevant, aspect to this MFD, which is quite able without it. 


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Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

7 Responses

  1. Microship says:

    This reminds me of the trade-journal ad back in the ’70s for an Intel CPU designed for multi-processor applications. Obviously written by the ad agency instead of the engineers, the headline shouted: “Unparalleled Performance!”
    Cheers from Nomadness, currently in Port Ludlow. An MFD12 is waiting for me instead of the other way around, which is a novel feeling.

  2. Anonymous says:

    More interesting is if you open up one of these (well my M84) is that the ‘unused’ Comms port says ‘CAN BUS’ on the PCB and has a couple of MCP2551 type driver IC’s adjacent. So is ready to go with a firmware upgrade.

  3. norse says:

    From the gossip I’ve heard, Simrad’s malfunction is in their North American distribution system.
    Multifunction displays should not be a big deal these days. If you have a decent screen (big or tiny) and the computing power to drive the graphics on it, then all you need is NMEA 2000 and you have a multifunction display. Any company could easily do this. The software is not hard. The hard part is the proprietary stuff: the radar interface (not the radar display itself), the chart reader (not the chart display itself), and so on.

  4. series 13 says:

    I have one of these units and the only data I cannot get out of it when hooked up to a B&G H3000 system is speed through water. Otherwise all other data is displayed. You need to set these up in the menus to make them display correctly though and it did take a little time.

  5. Benoit (fr) says:

    After 5 months of talk with NAVICO France, no way for AT-40/NX40 to send XTE on NMEA2K network, so no NAV mode on the SPX-30 Raymarine autopilot via Seatalk NG, only NMEA0183.
    I just wanted to complain 😉

  6. TED says:

    AT-40 is supposed to send the NMEA2000 standard PGN 129283 for xte information. Can the Raymarine SPX-30 read this information?

  7. Benoit (fr) says:

    Yes… it’s what they said. But it’s not true. AT-40 don’t send XTE at all.
    Raymarine receive the same PGN for XTE 129283.

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