Six Tips for Ensuring Proper NMEA 2000 Connections
NMEA 2000 connection
The NMEA 2000 protocol facilitates dialogue between GPS and sonar, between engine and display, between autopilot and electronic compass, and between chartplotter and AIS. These conversations take place over a network using plug-and-play components such as T-connectors and branch cables. Proper connections ensure that network communications function as expected.
1. The power of the Internet
NMEA 2000 networks require power. A connector with integrated positive and ground wires (the positive wire has an in-line fuse) provides onboard power to the backbone, the system's primary communication channel. For the system to work properly, connect the power supply in the middle of the backbone.
2. Verify voltage
NMEA 2000 networks use only 12V DC power. Avoid connecting the power cord to any other power source, such as 24V DC.
3. T-junction function
People tend to string multiple T-connectors together when connecting to a system, but such strings are prone to damage and disconnections. Instead, use a T-connector fitting. They are stronger and more compact.
4. Keep it short and sweet
NMEA 2000 signals can be blocked by resistance, which increases with cable length, so keep a single drop cable to 20 feet or less. If you need a longer cable run, use a T-connector in the middle of the line to connect a 12-volt DC source. Increasing power helps prevent excessive voltage drops.
5. Side action
Assemble the NMEA 2000 backbone using only the sides of the T-connector. Also, use only the top of the T-connector to connect the device to the sensor.
For the network to function properly, terminators are required at each end of the NMEA 2000 backbone. Use a female terminator and a male terminator at each end of the NMEA 2000 backbone.
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