Showing posts from February 15, 2015

Who Governs the Governor?

Ripple is powered by a quirky one cylinder diesel engine (a Yanmar 1GM10) whose operating costs round to zero.  At a liter an hour and an oil change once or twice a season, it just runs.  For the first three years I had Ripple, I had no difficulties with it, and developed a fondness for its pockety-pockety rhythms.  The last two years, however, I have had trouble starting, with symptoms that had all the earmarks of air in the fuel.  Once started and warmed up, the engine ran like a top, but getting to that point was often challenging.

The problem was ameliorated somewhat by rebuilding the injector, which was 30% or more out of spec.  The air-head diagnosis was reinforced by various minor faults discovered in the fuel system: a dodgy Racor filter head, loose banjos, looser-than-ideal fuel hoses.  Most everything pointed in the same direction, and the mechanic I engaged helped get all of this stuff sorted, including rebuilding the injector, installing a more reliable Racor filter head …

Connecting a Chart Plotter, VHF, AIS Receiver and Tiller Pilot using the NMEA 0183 protocol

Ripple's complement of communication and navigational electronics now includes:
Standard Horizon CP390i chart plotter Digital Yacht AIS receiver  Raymarine ST2000  tiller pilot Standard Horizon VHF/DSC radio These devices can all be networked, so installing them includes making decisions about whether and how to connect them.  As with most everything on a boat, there are tradeoffs.  The benefits of additional functionality are always at war with the unanticipated dangers of creeping elegance and the instability that arises from proliferating connections (natural failure points).

My four devices, like most modern electronics, can talk to one another using the well-established NMEA 0183 protocol.  NMEA 0183 falls short of a full-blown network, but it meets the need for point-to-point connections such as are appropriate to my configuration..  The NMEA 2000 protocol provides a full network solution that may be more reliable, and certainly more suitable when many devices are connected,…