When I purchased my sailboat I knew that I was going to want to make changes to the instruments. It had a Garmin Chartplotter and a Garmin AIS receiver. The chartplotter was several years old and all of my recent experience has been with B&G chartplotters designed explicitly for sailing.
Before dealing with the chartplotter I spent a lot of time understanding the existing platform. What I found was that the chartplotter and ais reciever were connected via a NMEA 2000 backbone, but not connected to anything else.
The boat was configured with raymarine wind and speed instruments, as well as a raymarine autopilot but they were not connected together.
There were two switches on my breaker panel, one for instruments in general, and a separate one for the autopilot.
Reading the manuals for the smartpilot controller I learned that if it was connected to the wind instruments I could sail to a wind angle as an alternative to sailing to a magnetic compass heading. Because I planned to do a lot of single handed sailing, this was definitely something I wanted to implement, and was the first change I made to the boat wiring.
The only drawback of this connection system is that when the autopilot is turned off and the instruments are left on, the smartpilot controller alarms and reports loss of communication with the controller. This mainly happens in the evening when I want to turn off the autopilot to save power but leave the instruments on to monitor depth and wind speeds.
The next change I made was to add a Raymarine Seatalk-Seatalkng Converter A06064 to connect the legacy Seatalk network to the NMEA2k network. The Seatalk-Seatalkng converter allows the old seatalk instruments to communicate with seatalkng instruments. Seatalkng is essentially the same as NMEA 2000 (NMEA2K).
I replaced the Garmin GPSMAP 740 with a B&G Zeus3S
I replaced the Garmin AIS 300 Receiver with an em-trak B954 AIS Transceiver
I replaced a Sony Stereo and CD Changer with a Fusion Apollo MS-RA670 Stereo
My current set of interconnected instruments are as follows.
- Raymarine ST60 Tridata Instrument
- Airmar Speed/Temperature Sensor 20-399-01
- Airmar Depth Transducer 20-386-02
- Raymarine ST60+ Wind Instrument
- Raymarine ST6002 SmartPilot Controller
- Raymarine SmartPilot S2
- Raymarine Seatalk-Seatalkng Converter A06064
- B&G Zeus3S chartplotter
- em-trak Marine Electronics B954 class B AIS Transceiver
- Fusion Apollo MS-RA670 Stereo
- Raspberry Pi4 with PICAN-M NMEA 0183 & NMEA 2000 HAT
I’ve been thinking about changing my speed and depth instruments to newer models, with the possibility of using newer depth transducers that work with the B&G and look forward to provide a 3d view of the ground surface forward of the boat. The big question that I’ve not been able to come across an answer yet is if the Seatalk-Seatalkng converter communicates both directions, and if the apparent wind and water speed data were to be moved to the Seatalkng side of the converter, would the autopilot still be able to steer to the wind angle.