Maretron—Better NMEA 2000 Cabling

Maretron on the right, brand X on the left

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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Meet the Author

John

John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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