NMEA0183 Wi-Fi Gateway Installation
First, you need to decide where to locate the device. You need to put it in a dry location to which you can run the power and data cables, and also consider Wi-Fi coverage. Whilst fibreglass is pretty well transparent to radio signals, thick wood will absorb some of the signal, whereas if it is enclosed in metal or carbon fibre you are unlikely to get a good signal. You can then secure it in place, either with 4 countersunk M4 (US #8) screws, or with Sta-Lok or Velcro.
The device consumes minimal power, so in general you can take power from the same supply as that used by your boat’s instruments. It also has an internal self-resetting fuse, so no inline fuse is needed. The voltage can be 7 – 30V, so can be run on any 12V or 24V supply. The connectors take wires of 0.32 – 3.3mm2 (22 – 12AWG), stripped back by 6mm (1/4″). Stranded, not solid, wire should always be used on a boat as solid wires become brittle with time and may snap; in the USA tinned wires are generally used to avoid corrosion of the copper, though this is seldom done in Europe. The cables should be secured close to the device, so that any strain on the cable does not risk pulling a wire out of the connector. Once connected, switch the power on and check that the green power LED lights up, and then switch off the power whilst the data connections are made.
The device has one NMEA input and one output, both of which must run at the same data rate. If you have multiple sources of NMEA data, you will probably find that your chart plotter (or sometimes your autopilot) will take these and combine them into a single output that can be connected to the device. Otherwise, you may need to install a multiplexer – what you cannot do is simply connect multiple data sources into the NMEA input, as the messages will collide and be corrupted. Going the other way, if you are only using the app to monitor your instruments you may not need the output to be wired up. If you do, you can split the output to multiple devices if necessary, e.g. your chart plotter and autopilot. Cabling for NMEA0183 data should be shielded twisted pair, with one wire used to send data and another to receive. This is important for long cable runs, or for installations where there are a lot of sources of interference and electrical noise, but for short runs on a typical leisure boat it isn’t strictly necessary. Our NMEA interfaces are opto-isolated, which helps eliminate any interference that the wiring may have picked up. For details of connections to your instruments, you will need to refer to your instruments’ manuals. If in doubt, feel free to ask us, and we will do our best to help. Once connected, power on and you will see the green power LED come on, and then the NMEA In LED will flash whenever a message arrives.You may also see the Wi-Fi LED light up as incoming data is transmitted over Wi-Fi. You have now successfully installed the device, and are ready to go ahead and configure it.