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Choosing the Right NGW-1

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“Why do I need an NGW-1?”

Due to the incompatibilities between NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000, an Actisense NGW-1 is needed to bi-directionally convert data between the two standards.

“What data do I need my NGW-1 to convert?”

It is recommended that all customers familiarise themselves with the NGW-1 full conversion list for v2.660 firmware.

This is the first step in determining if the NGW-1 is suitable for the requirements.

Alongside this, the new v2.660 firmware allows for easy configuration between AIS (38400 baud) and Standard (4800 baud). With previous versions of NGW-1 firmware, two versions of Actipatch were available depending on if the customer required AIS 38400 baud or not. However, with the new firmware it is one version that is installed to the device, which is then configured using Actisense Toolkit to define baud rates, enabled Rx / Tx for NMEA 0183 and NMEA2000, and the Tx rates. There are pre-defined configurations available for Standard and AIS if you do not wish to manually configure the device extensively.

Due to the continuing expansion of NMEA 2000 as manufacturers add new features to their products, it is not always possible to create a conversion as an NMEA 0183 equivalent doesn’t always exist.

In the latest version of NMEA 0183 released in June 2012, there are 148 sentences with between 550 & 570 data fields.  In total contrast, in the latest version of NMEA 2000 released in February 2015, there are 163 PGN messages and 1569 data fields.

“How do I connect the NGW-1 to my NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 devices?”

NMEA 2000 side

The NMEA 2000 side only has an effect on our choice of product code if connecting to a Raymarine SeaTalkNG network.  Connecting any NGW-1 to an NMEA 2000/STNG network is simple with ‘plug & play’ connectors.

NMEA 2000 and SeaTalkNG use exactly the same data but different physical network connectors.  Therefore, you will need an adaptor cable in order to connect the NMEA 2000 side of the NGW-1 to a SeaTalkNG backbone.  The product code for this adaptor cable is STNG-A06045.  The NGW-1-STNG ships with this adaptor cable included in the box.  However, this adaptor cable can be purchased as an accessory with Any Actisense NMEA 2000 Gateway (like the NGW-1).  Please ensure you ask for this cable at the same time as purchasing your NGW-1 as we cannot sell the adaptor cable separately.

NMEA 0183 side

‘I need to connect to NMEA 0183 devices/instruments’:

In this situation you will need an NGW-1-ISO. The ‘ISO’ variant has 4 bare wires + shield on the NMEA0183 connection end.  The bare wires are for connecting to your NMEA 0183 devices.  Full wiring instructions can be found in the User Manual.

The ISO variant can be connected to a PC/laptop using a serial (RS232) cable if needed.  If the PC/laptop doesn’t have a serial port, a USB to serial converter is needed. Alternatively, an Actisense USG-2 can be used for connecting an NGW-1-ISO to a PC with full peace of mind device protection due to the USG-2 being completely isolated.

‘I want to use the NGW-1 only with NMEA 0183 software on my PC/laptop’: 

The simplest solution in this situation is to use the USB variant, known as the NGW-1-USB.

Unfortunately, the USB variant only ships with the standard firmware.  If the AIS firmware is needed in an NGW-1-USB, this can easily be downloaded and installed from the Actisense website upon receipt of the device.

As mentioned previously, the STNG adaptor cable can be purchased with all Actisense NMEA 2000 gateways as an accessory.

For more information on NMEA 0183 and how it works, please download our free guide to NMEA 0183 networking here: https://actisense.com/everything-to-know-about-nmea-0183-guide/
For more information on NMEA 2000 and how it works, please download our free guide to NMEA 2000 networking here: https://actisense.com/complete-guide-to-building-an-nmea-2000-network/