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Author Topic:   NMEA-0183 Serial Data Connections
Jim Young posted 09-19-2007 12:34 PM ET (US)   Profile for Jim Young   Send Email to Jim Young  
I have a Lowrance model LCX25C that has NEMA 0183 connectivity (both transmit and recieve) and am curious if this means when connected that I can use the GPS antenna information on my laptop version of Offshore Navigator? Also, if properly connected, can I then download routes from the Offshore Navigator program directly into the Lorwance unit? I have the connect information from the unit (ie orange - receive yellow - transmit shield - ground) but am not sure as to which pins on the 9 pin com connector to connect these wires to.

Any help will be greatly apreciated!

YTBhand posted 09-19-2007 03:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for YTBhand  Send Email to YTBhand     
You can use the NMEA 0183 data from your Lowrance unit to supply GPS data to your laptop for the Offshore Navigator software. The yellow wire will connect to pin 2 and the shield will connect to pin 5 of the 9 pin serial (comm) connector on your laptop. With this connection, the data flow is unfortunately only one way; from the Lowrance unit to the laptop. Don't forget to configure the Offshore Navigator software to look for this data from your laptop's serial (comm) port.

You may be able to transfer routes and waypoints from Offshore Navigator to the Lowrance unit using the NMEA 0183 connection. You would need to connect the orange wire to pin 3 of the 9 pin serial connector to try this type of data transfer. The Lowrance unit, of course, may or may not support this type of data transfer. You may have to configure the Lowrance unit (ie. its software options) to accept route and waypoint data from this NMEA 0183 connection (the orange wire).

Good luck.

Jim Young posted 09-20-2007 09:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jim Young  Send Email to Jim Young     
Thanks so much for the info.... I plan on taking the laptop down to the boat tonight and will let you know how it goes.
Again, thanks for the help.
Jim Young posted 09-20-2007 08:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jim Young  Send Email to Jim Young     
Thanks for your help! I was able to make the connections and was able to get the laptop to recognize the NEMA 0183 signal, and although the boat was just sitting there it did locate on the OffShore software. I think I need to check for updates on the software however. In the setup, Offshore Navigator recognized the standard NEMA 0183 output but when I specified Lowrance as the manufacturer it failed to get a GPS signal. I think I will need to correct this before I will be able to get the Lowrance unit to accept any route information from the laptop.
YTBhand posted 09-21-2007 03:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for YTBhand  Send Email to YTBhand     
I had some troubles using a Sitek GPS receiver to feed data to a Furuno radar. The radar was looking for a particular format to the NMEA 0183 data sentences. This was hard-wired in the Furuno. I finally gave up and switched to a Furuno GPS antenna/receiver. It sure must be nice for Furuno when one has to buy only Furuno gear to interface with Furuno gear.

If the software on either the Lowrance or the Offshore Navigator has other manufacturers or types of equipments to choose from, I'd try a generic choice, if available.

Certainly, your idea of upgrading your software is a good one. It can update the necessary support for more equipments.


Jim Young posted 10-04-2007 06:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jim Young  Send Email to Jim Young     
I need to continue this thread for a little advice. I need to get the opinions from people smarter than me about this and I am not sure that the answers that I am getting from the manufacturer are straight-up. What do you guys think?

First my inquery;

Question:> I am trying to set up my lcx25c to cominucate with my Offshore Navigator so I can transfer waypoints and tracking data but can only get outgoing data from the lowrance using the "generic" NEMA setup option on the Offshore Navigator software.
The Lowrance options within Offshore Navigator do not list the LCX25C but do list; The Eagle Explorer - Eagle Map Guide and Pro - Global Map 100 - Global Nav 12 and 212.
Do any of these have compatable software to my LCX25C or do you have any help as to what is needed for these two devices to comminuicate?
Thanks in advance for any help thatyou can be.

To which I get this reply:

Thank you for your inquiry,
This unit will output NMEA 0183 information as it pertains to GPS location. Waypoints an other GPS info will not transfer over this network.
Thank you for choosing Lowrance Electronics.

Lowrance Customer Service
12000 E. Skelly Dr.
Tulsa, OK 74128

Now this reply doesn't tell me much of anything so I send this request off:

So what you are telling me is that the Lowrance unit that I was so proud of buying will not do what even the cheapest nine year old handheld Gamin unit that I tossed in the closet has the capability of doing? So why is the receive data wire coming out of the unit? The capabilities of this unit have sure degraded from when I was making the buying decision. All this disappointing information and a two line "Nope we don't do that" from your customer service when I asked for help and/or advice will direct my boating dollars and anybody else's I can influence to your competitors in the future. But then your email attitude tells me that you probably don't care about that either.
Look for my Lowrance on an eBay auction soon.

Today they muddy the waters even more with this reply

NMEA 0183 does not have the bandwidth to transfer waypoints through that particular network. There is no NMEA 0183 sentencing to support that type of information. Our current units will connect via NMEA 2000 if you Navigator will accept that type of connection then the application you are inquiring about will be possible. But using the Older NMEA 0183 connection this is not possible.

Thank you for choosing Lowrance Electronics.

Lowrance Customer Service
12000 E. Skelly Dr.
Tulsa, OK 74128

I still do not know why the recieve data wire is on the unit if it doesn't recieve data and have asked them for conectivity information for the NEMA 2000 GPS date since I do have sonar and other data networked to the Lowrance via NEMA 2000.

What is the consensus out there? Am I getting information that makes since to you guys? Does it sound like my customer service repis being up front or hiding a lack of knoweledge?


Chuck Tribolet posted 10-04-2007 07:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
At least some of it is BS: "does not have the bandwidth".
Waypoints are small. No major bandwidth required.
And also BS: "There is no NMEA 0183 sentencing to support that
type of information.". The WPL (WayPoint Location) sentence
is exactly that.

Now, some things to check. Are you using Com port 1 or Com
port 2. Comport 1 can receive, Com port 2 cannot.

Have you set up com port 1 to receive NMEA data? See page
141 of the User's manual (at least in the PDF I downloaded).
And what NMEA sentences have you set it up to handle? See
the same page.


Jim Young posted 10-05-2007 08:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jim Young  Send Email to Jim Young     
Thanks for the input…. I am using com port 1 and I do have the option to receive data checked on the unit but did miss the options on sentences. I will play with that tonight, though I won’t be sure of what options to check so I will go through each.

Mostly thanks for letting me know that I am not being unreasonable for not swallowing all that they are feeding me. I don’t think that what I am trying to do is rocket science but I am a mechanical man and sparks and software sometimes needs explaining.

YTBhand posted 10-07-2007 07:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for YTBhand  Send Email to YTBhand     

NMEA 0183 route and waypoint data are transmitted using sentences RTE and WPL. This data is in a specific format and would have to be transmitted by Offshore Navigator and received by the Lowrance unit. Both units will have to support this type of data transfer and reception.

This data is a very simple type of data. The RTE sentence contains a list of the waypoints in the route. The WPL sentence contains the data for a single waypoint. I would guess that Offshore Navigator would have to send multiple WPL sentences and one RTE sentence in order for route information to be transferred to the Lowrance unit. Also, the Lowrance unit would have to receive this data correctly and know how to process it.

I would ask Lowrance specifically if their unit can receive and process the WPL and RTE sentences. Also, I'd ask Offshore Navigator tech support if their software supports transmitting WPL and RTE sentences.

The only question that remains relevant is whether or not Lowrance and Offshore Navigator support this type of data transfer.

Obviously, whoever replied to your inquiry has no idea of the WPL and RTE sentences that are part of the NMEA 0183 data protocol. No extra bandwidth would be required of NMEA 0183 data transmission in order for this type of data to be transferred. NMEA 2000 would not be required.

The mere mention of NMEA 2000 by this individual is only a ploy to get you thinking about upgrading your setup. Even then, you may still not get the ability to transfer routes from Offshore Navigator to the Lowrance unit. These manufacturers are not supporting each other as well you know. Best advice is to stick with one manufacturer for all your electronic needs. Whether its radar, sonar, gps or radios.

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