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Garmin NMEA 2000 is confusing me


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I just had a Garmin GPSMAP 547 installed in-dash on my 244 Sunesta.

I love the look of the unit, but am confused about functionality and operation. Dealer gave me no information or help on the unit.

I've done a bit of research on the web and find that it is a NMEA 2000 unit and that I will need a NMEA 2000 starter kit and and engine gateway along with a special NMEA 2000 transducer to get it to do what I really want it to do which is give me the engine readouts, water temp and depth. It is already a nice chart plotter.

Does this sound correct to anyone who knows about NMEA 2000 units? Is the engine gateway difficult to install or should I hire a pro?

Thanks in advance for your help and advice!

gps%20small.jpg

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Yep,

To set up the network is super easy. I installed on mine last year and currently have my fuel flow sensors, my Lowrance fuel flow/multifunction gauge and my Furuno GPS/ChartRecorder all happily sharing information. To get the engine data will depend on the engine. I'm told some of the newer ones can connect right into the bus. On my 2003 that is not the case and I'll need to get what amounts to an Analog to Digital multiplexer to take the tach signal, oil pressure, water temp and put it on the bus. I haven't done that yet.

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@scubajohnsonben - you are lucky since the VPs are N2K right off the engine. The Mercs have to have the SmartCraft Gateway to convert to N2K signals which can be a pain in the rump....

@TimBrown, I have done a ton of research on N2K for Mercs as well. Since you have the digital gauge pack (from the looks of your dash) you may have a N2K harness already under your helm. Look for a cable with a purple connector - there may be a terminator in it. If that is the case, your N2K Gateway can just connect there and tie into your N2K backbone with a standard T connector. You will need to power your N2K backbone off of the power and grounding terminal strip under the helm. When you cut the zip-ties under that dash, watch out - it is a real rat's nest of wiring. If you want the Garmin to readout all the time, you'll have to splice into a wire that is hot regardless of starter key setting.

Look in your owner's kit that came with the boat - in the owners manual there should be some electrical schematics in the back of the book and a power terminal block diagram. The one for the 246 in my kit was garbled but my dealer requested a fresh one for me that was very clear to read. Once you power your N2K backbone, you just connect the Garmin and the Gateway with T connectors. Make sure you have a terminator at the end of the N2K backbone as well.

This is an easy DIY job. Mine, well, not so much - I don't have the SmartCraft harness under the helm... mine is all the way back in the engine comparment so I have to figure out how to wire from back there to the helm where my existing N2K backbone resides. I am not looking forward to pulling wire through the gunnels again....

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Under my tachometer is a digital readout that I can scroll through. It has depth, gallons per hour fuel usage, oil pressure, temp. Is that what you are referring to when you talk about the digital gauges? If so, I'm excited. I'd love to have that connected to my Garmin.

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Sort of - the square gauges are part of the digital package and the round ones (like mine) are the default standard gauges. As I understand it, your gauges are reading the SmartCraft onboard computer, which is how you are getting the additional info as you scroll, especially your gal/hr consumption. That is coming right out of the computer because it is controlling the EFI and knows how much fuel it is metering and how long the engine is running while it's doing it. That is one of the readouts I want to get from a N2K Gateway myself.

So what you are looking for under your dash is a harness that has a purple plastic end connector on it and is connected to your dashboard instruments. It may actually tie into a T-connector with a terminator on the open end - if that is the case, then all you have to do is remove the terminator and plug the SmartCraft N2K Gateway into the open end of the T. The N2K connector on the other end will plug into your N2K backbone and if the Garmin has the firmware in it to display parameters like fuel burn rate, RPM, etc then it will pull those values off the N2K network and they will show up on the screen.

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OK - next try looking in your engine compartment. My SC connector is on the top side of the engine, to the right and slightly to the front of the air filter/spark arrestor. See if you can locate it. If there is a cable connected to it then you can trace it forward to the helm area. If not, then you may be in the same situation I am in....

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I just had a Garmin GPSMAP 547 installed in-dash on my 244 Sunesta.

I love the look of the unit, but am confused about functionality and operation. Dealer gave me no information or help on the unit.

I've done a bit of research on the web and find that it is a NMEA 2000 unit and that I will need a NMEA 2000 starter kit and and engine gateway along with a special NMEA 2000 transducer to get it to do what I really want it to do which is give me the engine readouts, water temp and depth. It is already a nice chart plotter.

Does this sound correct to anyone who knows about NMEA 2000 units? Is the engine gateway difficult to install or should I hire a pro?

Thanks in advance for your help and advice!

gps%20small.jpg

My understanding, and the manual at the Garmin site is not that good (I would call them), that a normal transducer can be installed. I NMEA2k transducer can only display depth, temp, speed............ BUT not the fish finding display showing the bottom. Its just too much info.

I too thought of using my two Garmins (740 & 740S) to show gauges. But there really is not enogh room between the 2 displays. I need the chartplotter and fishinder up 100% of the time and radar when needed. Now to split screen some of this now makes it harder to read.

A must have are fuel flow sensors. That will tell you your best MPG and GPH.

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ScubaJ, let me know if you ever crack that code. I'd love to show RPM (Fuel flow would be heavenly) on my Garmin through the N2K. Also have a 2003 VP.

You can add in fuel flow sensors if you like.

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You should NOT have to put any fuel flow sensors if your engine is fuel injected - fuel flow is measured by the engine computer based on injector capacity per cylinder x number of cylinders x RPM.

I am at work and Photobucket is filtered by my company's internet policy or I would post images - but the SmartCraft N2K Gateway product literature lists the following engine information: RPM, Voltage, Oil Pressure, Coolant Temp, Tank Fuel Level, Trim Position, Water Pressure, Check Engine Alarm, Fuel Flow, Engine Hours, Boost Pressure, Oil Temp, Multiple Tank Levels (for multi-engine version, I suppose), Tabs, GPS Speed/COG/Lat-Long, Depth, Sea Water Temp, Paddle Speed, Pitot Speed, Rudder Angle, Gear pressure, Gear Temp, Fuel Pressure.

Obviously, many of these data types are only available with the SmartCraft Digital package (which I think Tim has) - my depth, for instance, is read off a separate Faria depth gauge and my fuel tank level is probably coming from a separately wired tank sensor whereas the SmartCraft Digital package reads all of that on a proprietary data bus which the SmartCraft Gateway converts to an N2K signal. As long as the Garmin has the ability to read all these inputs (should be verified) and there is a spot on one of the screens for the data to be displayed (should be verified - but I am betting this is the sticky part) then there is no reason why this won't all display on a single Garmin unit.

Iggy - if you have a late model VP, then they replaced the CANBUS system with N2K and you should be able to readout gal/hr directly from the engine data harness.

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@scubajohnsonben - you are lucky since the VPs are N2K right off the engine. The Mercs have to have the SmartCraft Gateway to convert to N2K signals which can be a pain in the rump....

@TimBrown, I have done a ton of research on N2K for Mercs as well. Since you have the digital gauge pack (from the looks of your dash) you may have a N2K harness already under your helm. Look for a cable with a purple connector - there may be a terminator in it. If that is the case, your N2K Gateway can just connect there and tie into your N2K backbone with a standard T connector. You will need to power your N2K backbone off of the power and grounding terminal strip under the helm. When you cut the zip-ties under that dash, watch out - it is a real rat's nest of wiring. If you want the Garmin to readout all the time, you'll have to splice into a wire that is hot regardless of starter key setting.

Look in your owner's kit that came with the boat - in the owners manual there should be some electrical schematics in the back of the book and a power terminal block diagram. The one for the 246 in my kit was garbled but my dealer requested a fresh one for me that was very clear to read. Once you power your N2K backbone, you just connect the Garmin and the Gateway with T connectors. Make sure you have a terminator at the end of the N2K backbone as well.

This is an easy DIY job. Mine, well, not so much - I don't have the SmartCraft harness under the helm... mine is all the way back in the engine comparment so I have to figure out how to wire from back there to the helm where my existing N2K backbone resides. I am not looking forward to pulling wire through the gunnels again....

Question: What year did VP go N2K? I don't believe my 2003's are....can't find any documentation which indicates they are.

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You can add in fuel flow sensors if you like.

I did some research a while ago and found a product called a NoLand Engineering Model RS11 v4 CANBus Engine Data Converter. It connects to a variety of analog signals and puts them on the N2K bus. You can google it and do the research - I've been spending my extra cash on more basic needs like a new fuel tank :slap: so haven't been able to tinker with the bus this year...

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My gauges say Smartcraft on the digital portion when I start the boat, so I'm pretty sure I've already got all of the information in a format that should work with this Garmin. Now, I just have to get the info to the Garmin. When I get a bit more time, I'm going to look for a connector that might work - like the one Keith was talking about. Does anyone have a photo of what I need to look for? There are a lot of cables under the dash and on the engine, I'm just not too certain what I'm looking for.

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All you mercruiser folks stop showing off with your "it's as easy as SmartCraft" talk.. ahahah

Question: What year did VP go N2K? I don't believe my 2003's are....can't find any documentation which indicates they are.

~2006.

source: Chaparral Electrical Engineer .

I have a 2003, like you.

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