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Author Topic:   NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 Compatability
rjgorion posted 07-12-2006 06:27 PM ET (US)   Profile for rjgorion   Send Email to rjgorion  
Greetings all. I have a Lowrance X-126 DF fish finder currently installed on my Outrage 18. I also have a Garmin GPSMAP 76S and recently purchased an ICOM 422 VHF radio. The VHF radio and the Garmin are both compatible with the NMEA 0183 format. The Lowrance X-126 came complete with wiring for NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 (see link below). I have not connected any of these NMEA wires yet because the Lowrance owner's manual says that the x-126 cannot communicate with other devices using the 0183 format so the wires will not be used.

Can I just wire the Lowrance with the 0183 wires anyway, hoping that it might work?


Can I wire the VHF and the GPS into the Lowrance NMEA 2000 wires?


Are just the VHF and the GPS compatible with each other and I leave the Lowrance out of the network? In other words, the big question is, are the NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 compatible with each other in some way?

Thanks in advance for thoughts and suggestions,


jimh posted 07-12-2006 08:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I cannot say for certain because I have not spend the $20,000 necessary to actual acquire and read the standards, but, based on what information I have been able to find out about these NMEA standards, they are not designed in any way to be connected directly together.

I would inquire directly with Lowrance about the capabilities of their product to interface with other NMEA-0183 devices.

JayR posted 07-12-2006 09:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for JayR  Send Email to JayR     
Looks like this USB 100 NMEA 2000 / NMEA )183 Gateway may fit the bill...
rjgorion posted 07-13-2006 10:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for rjgorion  Send Email to rjgorion     

Well, after speaking with a "technician" at Lowrance, I was informed that my x-126 unit is only compatable with NMEA 2000 and not NMEA 0183 so I will not be able to wire it in with the GPS and VHF. This is perplexing to me because the unit comes with wiring harnesses for both. At any rate, I can and will wire the GPS and the VHF together and leave the sonar independent of the network.


the Maretron sounds great but it appears that a laptop or handheld PC is necessary to facilitate the connection, which would be another significant expense - not to mention the installation space required.

Thanks very much guys,


jimh posted 07-13-2006 08:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The connection of NMEA-0183 devices does not constitute a "network." The NMEA-0183 protocol and serial data connection do not really provide for a network of devices like the NMEA-2000 protocol allows.

I do not think this is a terrible situation for you. The loss of depth data available on a NEMA-0183 output will not be an insurmountable obstacle. You will be able to see the depth data on the depth sounder instrument, but you will not be able to share the data with other NMEA-0183 devices.

The reason for wanting to share depth data with other devices--at least as far as I can see--would be limited to displaying the data on other devices. In the case of a small boat, however, most of the time all of the display devices are located at the helm station, so the lack of ability to display the depth data elsewhere does not seem to me to be a huge drawback.

Your Lowrance depth sounder will be forward compatible with other NMEA-2000 devices you might add to your vessel.

Chuck Tribolet posted 07-14-2006 10:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Another use for sharing the depth data is that when you
record current position in a way point on the GPS, with some
GPSs the depth will be saved in the waypoint.


Chuck Tribolet posted 07-14-2006 10:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
It looks like the Maretron has two connectors: NMEA 2000 and USB. The USB connector has a USB to serial converter, so
your laptop sees a serial port via software magic.

There's plain old serial connection, which is what you would
need to connect to your GPS and VHF.


bluewaterpirate posted 07-15-2006 08:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
The Raymarine E series Chartplotters can:

Network with SeaTalk, SeaTalk2, SeaTalk HS, NMEA 0183 or NMEA 2000 instruments.

Display data from NMEA 2000 compatible engine systems.

The newer depth finders can also pass NMEA info to your GPS .... i.e. with the new Furuno 585/620 series you can use the Mark Button on the FF to send a way points that include depth and water temp info to the GPS.

Note: My fish finders are connected to my GPS's so that depth & wt info is displayed on the GPS. It is easy to connect different vendors equipment via NMEA you just need some patience.

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