Sola Instrument Changes

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.

Raymarine Original Connections

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.

Raymarine Smartpilot Connected to Instruments

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.

SmartPilot S2 connects to the compass, rudder position sensor, and rudder drive unit

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.

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.

Lewmar Wired Windlass Remote

When I purchased my sailboat one of the items that came up on the survey was that the windlass control was missing it’s button covers. Recently when I was preparing to drop my anchor, the controller would allow the anchor to be lowered, but not to raise it. The buttons had finally failed.

I searched around online to find a replacement. I found several places with the exact model controller for over $150. Looking at the Lewmar site, I was able to find a newer remote, and when I searched for it’s model number was able to find it available for significantly less than the original. It appeared to have a similar plug, and claimed to be universal.

Lewmar Wired Windlass Remote – 66940002
Lewmar Wired Windlass Remote – 66940002

I was pleased to find that the three conductor plug on the new model mates directly with the old socket. That meant that I simply had to plug the new remote into the existing socket on my boat, and store the socket that came with the new remote with the rest of my spare parts.

The new remote is definitely an improvement, being smaller and properly water resistant.

Details from Lewmar:

Product Description

The 2 button wired windlass remote is the latest design of IP rated hand-held remote from Lewmar. The new unit is designed for remote operation of all Lewmar windlasses. The wired remote is constructed with high-strength, glass-reinforced PP combined with a high-density rubber gasket to ensure robust durability and a secure grip whatever the conditions. These units are supplied complete with a connecting cable extendable up to 3 meters, a watertight deck fitting and socket, and a support bracket for stowing.

  • IP67 plug & socket included
  • Wall plate included
  • 3m of cable (pre-fitted with plug)
  • Waterproof to IP67 (EN 60529) handset
  • Over-molded soft touch rubber buttons
  • Can be used on both 12V and 24V systems
  • Flange mount socket and sealing cap included