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Author Topic:   Mercury SmartCraft to NMEA-2000 Gateway
jimh posted 01-27-2013 10:45 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
The recently announced Mecury SmartCraft to NMEA-2000 gateway is said to be able to translate the following NMEA-2000 protocol group number (PGN) datagrams:

PGN: Data value
059392: ISO Acknowledge

060928: Manufacturer ID, Address Claim060928: Address Claim

126996: Product Info

127245: Rudder Angle

127488: RPM, Boost Pressure, Trim position
127489: Coolant Pressure, Coolant Temperature, Voltage, Fuel Pressure, Fuel Flow, Oil Pressure, Oil Temperature, Engine Hours, Alarm data

127493: Gear Temp, Gear Pressure
127498: RPM

127505: Fuel Level, Fuel Tank Size
127508: Battery

128259: Speed
128267: Depth, Depth Offset

129025: GPS Position
129026: Course over Ground, Speed over Ground

130310: Sea Water Temp

130576: Tabs


This list represents the capabilities of the gateway product. The Gateway can only transport datagrams that are provided with the Mercury engine. The NMEA-2000 capabilities of Mercury engines varies widely with the particular model. Therefore one should not assume that all of this data will be available from every Mercury engine to be transported to NMEA-2000. Only the data being generated by the engine will be transported. The capabilities of the individual Mercury engine or engine family will determine what data will be sent to the gateway and then to the NMEA-2000 network.

The gateway is available in two models: single engine and multiple engine.

Robert V posted 01-30-2013 11:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for Robert V  Send Email to Robert V     

Thanks for the information regarding the Mercury Smartcraft Gateway. The Gateway will plug directly into the Mercury Junction Box (4 plug) under the dash of my boat. I am planning on ordering the Gateway, along with a NMEA 2000 backbone kit and an adapter to take the NMEA 2000 to SeaTalk on the e7D. This is something I have been itching to do and waited until I bought and installed the e7.

On another note, I am curious about the information you provided, it almost looks like the values are for an I/O versus an outboard. Maybe that particular Gateway is for a Mercruiser? I thought the Gateway would provide Verado-specific values such as boost pressure, oil temp, oil pressure, etc.. I will report back when I complete the install, probably in the early spring.


jimh posted 01-30-2013 11:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The NMEA 2000 datagrams are all the ones that the gateway can handle, I believe. I got the information directly from literature from Mercury. The only datagrams you will get from any particular outboard are the ones it can send. If an outboard can't send a certain datagram, you won't get that one.

For more about engine parameters send in NMEA-2000 datagrams, see my article

jimh posted 01-30-2013 11:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I thought the Gateway would provide Verado-specific values such as boost pressure, oil temp, oil pressure, etc.

It does; read the list. For example, boost pressure is part of PGN 127488. Oil temperature is part of PNG 127489.

What do you think is missing for the VERADO? Considering Mercury designed this, I would think they'd cover all the VERADO parameters.

Robert V posted 01-31-2013 08:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for Robert V  Send Email to Robert V     

You are right, it does have the information for the Verado. Maybe next time I will read the provided link a little closer, my fault. Thanks for posting the link, I am anxious to install the Gateway and see the virtual gauges on my MFD. It seems the Gateway provides more information than the Smartcraft gauges. This may be because I have the SC 1000 gauges and not the Vessel View.

Have you considered linking your E-TEC motor to your Lowrance MFD? Is it a "plug-and-play" arrangement or would you need an adapter?


jimh posted 01-31-2013 09:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Robert--the information was not in the linked reference. The information was in the initial article I wrote in the thread.
jimh posted 01-31-2013 09:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Regarding having engine data displayed on a multi-function display and my own rigging of that: yes, I have my engine data linked to my display. In fact I have three pages of engine data set up on the display. The three different pages organize the data in various ways and present it using several different types of gauges.

One of the advantages of showing the engine data on a multi-function display is the ability to customize the presentation. Most multi-functions displays offer the user some ability to customize the display in two ways: by selecting which data will be shown, and by selecting the manner of presenting the data.

The drawback of showing the engine data on a multi-function display is that you are sharing that display among several functions. Unless the display screen is really large, it is hard to share the screen space to show more than one function at a time. I find I use the multi-function display a small percentage of the time while underway, as I am usually using the display for a chart plotter or SONAR presentation. Occasionally I switch to one of the engine data displays to see that data while underway.

The best option in my opinion is to have a dedicated smaller display, perhaps a 4-inch or 5-inch color display, just for showing engine data and perhaps other interesting data related to the engine such as fuel tank level or battery voltage. I have been resisting the urge to get such a display, as the cost of them seems to be stuck at around $425 to $500. In comparison, the cost of a second chart plotter, GPS receiver, and small multi-function display is only slight more.

Re the E-TEC outboard, it is a NMEA-2000 certified device. Just about all outboard engines these days except the Mercury engines are NMEA-2000 certified devices. To connect the E-TEC or any of the NMEA-2000 certified engines usually requires just a connecting cable. The cable for the E-TEC is about $85. Some of the other engines adaptor cables are more expensive because they seem to include some interface electronics, not so much for NMEA data translation but for other electrical compatibility, I presume. For the E-TEC the interface is just a cable with the appropriate connectors. No configuration is needed on the E-TEC side; it is already NMEA-2000.

Jefecinco posted 01-31-2013 09:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
Thanks for the article.

I find my SmartCraft gauges to be difficult to read in daylight. When they are in direct sunlight I cannot read them unless I provide some shade.

I would be happy to buy the gateway but I doubt that would help me display engine data on my Garmin 740S which is my MFD.

I'll have to look into this a little more deeply.


jimh posted 01-31-2013 09:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
In the initial article I have listed the NMEA-2000 datagrams by their parameter group number or PGN. The reason I have listed the information by PGN is to allow comparison with the capability of various display devices. NMEA-2000 display devices typically list the data they can display according to the PGN. To understand if a device can display a particular datagram, you can compare the listing of the display's PGN ability to the PGN the source of the data is sending.

For example, to learn if a display can show engine data for RPM, you would check for PGN 127488. That is where engine data for crankshaft revolution speed is sent. If your engine sends PGN 127488 and your display can show PGN 127488, then you can be assured that engine RPM is available for display.

For the engine there are two main PGN sets for data: 127488 and 127489. In a separate article I give great detail on these PGN sets. See

to learn more.

At one time there were only sketchy details about display devices and engine data. As the NMEA-2000 standard has become more mature in its application, vendors have begun to clearly list the datagrams by their parameter group number (PGN). When researching a display device, for example, you should see a listing of its capabilities by PGN. Since all information about data exchange in NMEA-2000 is by PGN designators, it seems only rational to list the capabilities of the Mercury gateway device by the PGN designators. That is what I have done in the initial listing.

jimh posted 01-31-2013 09:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Butch--The Mercury SmartCraft to NMEA-2000 gateway device should permit your engine data to be seen on a GARMIN 740S. Just check the Garmin manual to see what PGN's are listed as being able to be displayed. It is more or less standard now for multi-function devices to be able to show PGN 127488 and PGN 127489, the primary engine data groups.
Robert V posted 01-31-2013 10:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for Robert V  Send Email to Robert V     
Here are the items I will need to interface between the Verado 150 HP and a Raymarine e7D:

--Mercury Gateway

--NMEA 2000 starter kit or "backbone" which consists of 2 T's, one termination cap and a plug. This will connect to the Gateway and also power the NMEA 2000 network.

--Adapter to go from NMEA 2000 to the Raymarine SeaTalkNG input

[Butch] will most likely not need the [SeaTalk NG] adapter and can connect directly to the Garmin 740S. Hope this helps.

jimh posted 01-31-2013 12:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The Mercury SmartCraft to NMEA-2000 gateway device appears to be configured with a connector that is compatible with the NMEA-2000 Micro-C connectors. These are the most common connectors used in small NMEA-2000 networks.

The RayMarine device is apparently using their own NMEA-2000 connector, which they call the SeaTalkNG connector.

I believe what Robert is planning for his installation will be to use standard Micro-C NMEA-2000 backbone wiring appliances, and then use one specialized adaptor cable to connect the RayMarine MFD to the network backbone.

There are several choices for a NMEA-2000 starter kit with the standard Micro-C wiring appliances. The least expensive is the Lowrance starter kit at around $50. Garmin also has a starter kit priced around $85. And Maretron makes a NMEA-2000 starter kit for about $110 to $125. These starter kits are stocked by many resellers. They are not too hard to find.

Finding the particular Raymarine SeaTalkNG to NMEA-2000 Micro-C adaptor cable is much harder. I would recommend using a vendor who was very familiar with these products so that you get the correct cable. It is easy to get confused about connector genders and which end has which style when ordering the adaptor cables. Several years ago I discussed this precise topic in another thread. You may find that offers some guidance. See

Connecting SeaTalkNG to NMEA-2000 backbone

jimh posted 01-31-2013 12:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Although a bit of a corollary topic, let me add a few comments about the various NMEA-2000 starter kits.

The Lowrance NMEA-2000 starter kit is the least expensive option at $50. This is such a bargain that it may actually be cheaper to buy two starter kits than to buy one starter kit and a couple of individual items to expand the network. The price is a bargain. The actual wire cable used in the Lowrance network appliances is a peculiarly stiff plastic that tends to take a set, and in colder temperature becomes rather stiff. This is the only drawback I can see to the Lowrance products.

The Garmin NMEA-2000 starter kit is about $85. I have not worked with these devices myself. In photographs they look very similar to the Lowrance devices. I don't know if the cable is more flexible. I would welcome a comment about the Garmin compared to Lowrance from someone who has experience with both.

The Maretron NMEA-2000 starter kit is more than twice the cost of the Lowrance, at $110 at the best price, and sometimes more like $135. The Maretron parts are distinctly different in appearance from the Lowrance and Garmin parts. The connectors have metal collars. The cable is quite soft and flexible. The power connector provides for a method to split the network backbone power into two segments and fuse them independently, and also is an all female connector device. The Maretron also generally uses only one gender of terminator, male. I have been thinking of switching to Maretron for my network backbone wiring to take advantage of the split power arrangement. Also their soft blue cables look sexier.

jimh posted 04-29-2013 12:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The cost of the Lowrance starter kit has been increased, and it now seems common to find it listed at $70. An intrepid bargain-hunting friend of mine recently pointed out that you can still buy the Lowrance NMEA starter kit for $50 if you order it from the WALMART on-line store.

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