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Author Topic:   Mercury Readies Smartcraft to NMEA-2000 Gateway
glen e posted 09-17-2009 10:52 PM ET (US)   Profile for glen e   Send Email to glen e  
Mercury will soon release a new gauge and gateway box that will finally let SmartCraft talk to NMEA-2000 devices. Details at this point are sketchy and not yet [available] thru [unclear] or the dealers. [The new Mercury products] will take the form of a new MercMonitor set for guages and then a gateway behind the dash that will send Mercury data to your Garmin and Furuno. Various gateways can be purchased based on what information you want to display.

No other data at this time. Vessel View will get a upgrade that will retrofit those out there now using the USB port currently on the back. This is not NMEA stuff, just their software tweaks, such as ability to hide screens you don't use.

No other details at this point. Part [numbers] later this month.

glen e posted 09-19-2009 12:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
Mercury has decided to release the part numbers now, but parts not avail until October.

[I added these to the listing below, or see link below.--jimh]

bluewaterpirate posted 09-19-2009 01:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
Good for Mercury. Thanks Glen
jimh posted 09-19-2009 09:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
It seemed inevitable that Mercury would have to provide some method for networking their closed SmartCraft network to the open NMEA-2000 network which has gained very wide acceptance. To pass data between the two networks Mercury has created a series of devices called gateways. The gateways connect to both the SmartCraft network and the NMEA-2000 network and contain software which allows them to translate the data from one network to another. The translation is not universal, that is, the gateways do not understand how to translate all data carried on either network; they only translate a subset of the hundred of parameters available. The gateways are provided in four tiers, each handling a different number of parameters. The gateways are also limited to the number of Mercury engines they can accommodate. Mercury engine owners will need to buy one gateway per engine, except for the QUAD models, which can handle four engines.

Interpreting from the chart Glen has referenced:

The BASE and single gateway (879337K51) provides nine parameters:

--RPM
--Voltage
--Oil Pressure
--Coolant Temperature
--Tank Level Fuel
--Fluid Level (Fuel 2, Oil, water, waste)
--Trim position
--Water Pressure
--SmartCraft Alarm Data (only 7 alarms)

The RPM SMART TOW and single gateway (879338K51) provides 18 parameters:

--Boost Pressure (Verado)
--Voltage
--Oil Pressure
--Coolant Temperature
--Tank Level Fuel
--Fuel Flow
--Engine hours
--Boost Pressure (Verado)
--Oil Temperature (Verado)
--Fluid Level (Fuel 2, Oil, water, waste)
--Trim position
--Water Pressure
--Tabs
--GPS Speed/COG/Lat-Lon (IN ONLY)
--Depth
--Sea Water Temp
--Paddle speed
--Pitot speed
--SmartCraft Alarm Data (only 7 alarms)

The RPM SMART TOW and quad gateway provides (879339K51) 25 parameters:

--RPM
--Voltage
--Oil Pressure
--Coolant Temperature
--Tank Level Fuel
--Fuel Flow
--Engine hours
--Boost Pressure (Verado)
--Oil Temperature (Verado)
--Genset IN ONLY J1939 Kohler
--Fluid Level (Fuel 2, Oil, water, waste)
--Trim position
--Water Pressure
--Tabs
--GPS Speed/COG/Lat-Lon (IN ONLY)
--Depth
--Sea Water Temp
--Paddle speed
--Pitot speed
--SmartCraft Alarm Data (only 7 alarms)
--Rudder Angle
--Gear Pressure (CMD Diesel)
--Gear Temp (CMD Diesel)
--Fuel Pressure
--Capacity

And finally a SMART TOW PRO and quad gateway (879337K52) with 24 parameters, same as above minus the Genset:

jimh posted 09-19-2009 09:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
To put some history on this concept, Mercury used to have an affiliate electronics company, part of the Brunswick New Technologies group (BNT), called NAVMAN. NAVMAN was an innovative and independent marine electronics manufacturer from [New Zeland] that was founded by Peter Maire. Under the leadership of George Buckley as CEO, Brunswick acquired privately held NAVMAN.

Brunswick also began to use NAVMAN electronics, such as their GPS receivers, chart plotters, SONAR units, and VHF Marine Band radios as original equipment on boat brands owned by Brunswick. This introduced the NAVMAN equipment to North America on a wider basis.

Mercury and NAVMAN collaborated and produced a series of similar gateway devices, which they called dongles, that allowed SmartCraft data to be shown on the displays of certain NAVMAN chart plotter devices.

However, not long into their operation as a Brunswick-owned electronics company, a change in leadership at Brunswick occurred. Mr. Buckley, an engineer with a Ph.D degree, left, and was replaced by Mr. McCoy, who was previously the corporate legal counsel. Under Mr. McCoy, Brunswick re-focused their corporate vision, and decided that ownership of a marine electronics manufacturer was not appropriate. They announced that NAVMAN was for sale. After a long and awkward period of uncertainty about their future, NAVMAN was eventually sold to NAVICO, and their products blended into the various brands of NAVICO, such as NorthStar. This appeared to essentially end the development of the SmartCraft dongles or interfaces to NAVMAN and other products.

These new products, when they become available and if they work as intended, will allow any NMEA-2000 device which is capable to display the available parameter from Mercury engine. This may allow the Mercury engine owner the option to use many NMEA-2000 display devices. It will be interesting to see the cost of the various gateways, and also how well they interoperate with NMEA-2000 certified devices.

We should keep an eye on the NMEA website to see if these Mercury gateway devices are listed as certified NMEA-2000 devices.

jimh posted 09-19-2009 10:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Looking at the available parameters that are included with the different gateways the tiers seems to be configured for different models of Mercury motors. It appears that owners of non-Verado motors with SmartCraft, say an OptiMax or Veradito, will probably be interested in the BASE gateway.

Owners of a single Verado motor will want the RPM SMART TOW gateway.

Owners of boats with multiple Verado motors may want two of the RPM SMART TOW gateways. I imagine the pricing will determine if it is better to buy several single gateways or one quad gateway for multiple engine installations.

jimh posted 09-19-2009 04:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
With the complete adoption and standardization on NMEA-2000 by all other marine engine manufacturers, marine electronics manufacturers, and marine electrical manufacturers, Mercury and their closed SmartCraft were left out on their own from the modern vessel networking scheme. There was no particular incentive for any of the other manufacturers to develop a gateway to SmartCraft, so apparently it fell to Mercury to develop a gateway from SmartCraft to NMEA-2000. It will be helpful for owners of Mercury motors to have this option. Of course, we will have to see how much it costs, and see if it works, too, before we declare it a success.

The key benefit of having NMEA-2000 certified devices is that the NMEA-2000 standard "offers a safe, high-quality means for marine electronics devices to interface and communicate with each other." (Source: NMEA-2000 literature.) You can safely connect devices to a common network.

It was smart for Mercury to pursue their own standard in the earlier days of development, as it allowed them to proceed at a faster pace without the need of compliance with a standards organization and its certification. Using SmartCraft, a closed and proprietary system, also fit well with the usual Brunswick philosphy of lock-out competitors and force the customer to buy Brunswick products in a mandatory tie-in arrangement. Brunswick also thought for time that SmartCraft would be so attractive that other electronic manufacturers would pay Mercury to license it. That has not seemed to come to pass. But with NMEA-2000 compliance just about universal among display devices, it is time for Mercury to finally come to the NMEA-2000 party, even if several years late.

jimh posted 09-27-2009 09:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Several years ago Brunswick offered a gateway device between SmartCraft and certain NAVMAN chart plotters. The cost of the gateway device, which was called a dongle and was provided by NAVMAN, was $280. It will be interesting to see what the cost of these new Mercury SmartCraft to NMEA-2000 gateway product will be.
glen e posted 10-06-2009 08:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
I have received the gateway/gauge and have installed it with outstanding results. Pictures and text here:

http://www.veradoclub.com/smf/index.php?topic=2403.0

glen e posted 10-11-2009 11:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
I have posted on my site a quick review of a new feature on the gateway gauge that could be of much help to new boaters. Once the gauge is released this week at IBEX, I'm sure Merc can answer your questions as to it's inner workings.

http://www.veradoclub.com/smf/index.php?topic=2426.msg16183#new

jimh posted 10-11-2009 11:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Glen--Since you appear to be the only person on the planet with access to the prototype NMEA-2000 Gateway product from Mercury, I appreciate you sharing the information with the rest of us.
glen e posted 10-11-2009 12:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
Mercury has some consumer testers in the field and some with boat builders - and yes, I received it directly from Mercury, and was given permission from Mercury to post about it. I was given the device to test how easy it was to install without directions. (very)

The week at IBEX they will be given to many of the boat builders as samples so I assume you will hear about it rather quickly now.

glen e posted 10-27-2009 07:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
Update: This should release to consumers sometime before the end of the year. Magazines editors have the product now to test, so it should be in Dec-Feb magazines. No pricing released yet. NMEA certification in process.
Feejer posted 12-28-2009 08:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for Feejer  Send Email to Feejer     
A great article [has just been published on the Mercury Smartcraft to NMEA-2000 gateway product on PANBO].
jimh posted 12-29-2009 10:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Glen posted a great deal of information about the installation of the Mercury Smartcraft to NMEA-2000 gateway product on his own website some time ago and mentioned it in the discussion above in October. See:

http://www.veradoclub.com/smf/index.php?topic=2403.0

for a nice article with many pictures of the installation and the gauges. Glen appears to be the only living person on the planet to whom Mercury has given any information about the Smartcraft to NMEA-2000 gateway product, but he has been generous in sharing that information with the rest of us.

glen e posted 12-29-2009 01:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
Jim -

At the Merc smartcraft booth, they gave out free at IBEX about 250 of them to magazine writers, boat builders and industry people. If you were there, - or approved - you would have joined about 200 people "on the planet" that have this gauge.

SJUAE posted 12-29-2009 02:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     
Glen,

250-200 = 50.

Therefore these must of been off planet then :)

May be Jim was one of these LOL

Sorry could not resist

Regards
Steve

jimh posted 12-29-2009 07:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Glen--The NUMBER ONE search result from GOOGLE on the terms "Mercury Smartcraft Gateway NMEA-2000" point to CONTINUOUSWAVE. That ought to tell you where to find information on the topic.
glen e posted 12-29-2009 08:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
good for you Jim..you win the Google contest.....
Yiddil posted 12-29-2009 09:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Yiddil  Send Email to Yiddil     
Glen,

Thats got to be the most beautiful and well thought out console I have ever seen...al I can say is WOW!And the pics on your site Glen are wondewrful:))Some layout you got there:))to die for!!! Very interesting stuff this
"SmartCraft talk to NMEA-2000 devices" thanks:)Henry

jimh posted 12-30-2009 09:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Glen--I think "the google contest" is really indicative of a sea change in the way information is distributed. You mention that if I had traveled 1,500 miles at my own expense to attend an industry-only trade show I would have been able--if I were even allowed to attend by whomever it is that makes those decisions--to gather information about the new Mercury Smartcraft gateway to NMEA-2000. In the current information age, the notion that data is only available to privileged persons who get invited to trade shows is quite an anachronism. If Mercury thinks that handing out information to a select group of people at a trade show is the best way to make the public aware of their product, they are living in the past. That was a good way to distribute information in 1950, but in 2010 it is no longer a good model.

I mentioned the ranking of CONTINUOUSWAVE in GOOGLE.COM because in the current era I think that GOOGLE is a more likely means for people to obtain data about products and topics they are interested in than flying off to a trade show in a remote location.

As it turns out, readers of CONTINUOUSWAVE knew about the Mercury Smartcraft to NMEA-2000 gateway product (thanks to the postings from Glen) several months sooner than the attendees of the trade show. People that rely on their information to be delivered in the monthly boating magazines that the trade show attendees work for will now be waiting until April to learn about this information (when a small article will appear in one of the magazines).

In 2010 if there is a contest about information content that I want to win, it is the GOOGLE search contest. It's great that a few industry elites can hob-nob at a trade show while their magazine pays the bill, but judging from the thin size of most boating magazines lately, I wonder how long that technique of information exchange is going to last.

glen e posted 12-30-2009 11:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
JIm - I'm not responding to the "information contest" - you sarcastically referred to me as the "only one having one of these on the planet" - implying - at least to me - that it must be suspect and a "not ready for prime time" product. My point is that Merc is handing these out to many website owners and marine trade organizations and if you went, you might have received one too for your own evaluation.

And based on the way you edit the posts and titles here for maximum Google targeting, you will always win the contest. I'm not interested in manipulating posts on my site - except when vulgar or bashing - Just a personal choice.

glen e posted 01-01-2010 05:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
Here is the latest development that Merc did not even know about. You can display analog tab settings. In place of the Bennett trim indicators, it will show on the Merc gauge when you use a new Garmin N2k adapter:

http://www.veradoclub.com/smf/index.php?topic=2571.0

SJUAE posted 01-01-2010 08:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     
Glen

You could of course simply install the Bennett NMEA 2000 Indicator Kit which is cheaper.

But i can see some slight advantage to installations on Mercury engines as (correct me if I'm wrong) you do not have a NMEA 2000 backbone running from the engine as it starts from the gateway/gauge, so you can hook it up easier, behind the dash.

I also note that most NMEA 2000 sensors for converting analogue data (eg fluid/tank) etc by Lowrance are usually 1/3rd cheaper than Garmin (ie $60-70 instead of $200)

This is the advantage of NMEA 2000 you should be able to mix and match.

Regards
Steve

glen e posted 01-01-2010 08:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
I discussed their kit with Bennett and so far it does not tie in with other NMEA 2000- systems other than Lowrance. Somethinga bout the blue and red connectors vs the maretron standard. Also, as you can see on their site, the tabs need modification for the sensor whereas garmin just intercepts the TPS wires already there. In many cases with bigger boats, Bennet requires a haul out.
glen e posted 01-01-2010 09:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
But yes - $200 is highway robbery - this adapter should be 1/2 that. like so many other items by mfrs, they are pricing it on what it replaces (trimdicators at $260).
SJUAE posted 01-02-2010 12:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     
Glen

Good point on bigger boats may need to be hauled out so another advantage.

The Bennett systems comprises of:

1) White plastic clip - used to snap on actuator piston shaft when installing new upper hinges with sensors
2) Red butt connectors – used to connect sensors with the NMEA1 Module
3) NMEA1 Module – connects Bennett trim tab sensors to NMEA-compatible electronics
4) Upper Hinges with coil (1 with red sensor wire and 1 with green sensor wire) – measure trim tab position
5) Two sensor rods – measure trim tab position

I think the Red NMEA 2000 connectors are the standard/norm, only the blue are not. But there is an adaptor available from Lowrance.

Lowrance newer cables are all standard black connectors now

Regards
Steve

glen e posted 01-02-2010 01:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
Really this is all about integration, not which is better. To have engine trim and tabs on the same screen gives you better situational awareness. Only the monitor has that.
SJUAE posted 01-02-2010 10:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     
Agreed--thanks for confirming this is also available on the new gateway regardless of whose sensor is used.

Regards
Steve

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