A couple of years ago I installed a rudimentary NMEA backbone on Morgan's Cloud to support the new B&G Zeus³ plotter we bought to replace our venerable, but sadly departed to the electronics graveyard, Northstar GPS, and to back up our primary navigation system.
This year I have added to that network to support a replacement autopilot brain.
When I'm doing this kind of thing, my scepticism about the quality of most marine electronics tends to kick in, and never more than when I looked at the chintzy NMEA 2000 cabling included with the plotter, autopilot and related gear.
And I was particularly concerned given the potential for NMEA 2000 networks to completely shut down and take every piece of connected electronics with them. This is the great weakness of daisy-chain networks of any type, and doubly scary on a boat where one drop of water in the wrong place, a chafed cable, or a corroded contact can bring the whole thing down. See Further Reading for more on this.
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