Why you should use an NMEA Certified Installer
- No corners cut
- Diagrams + layouts etc
- All necessary info is given to you
- Operation of devices will be tested before completing job
- Training on newly installed devices
- Beneficial if you need another installer in future
- Follow all NMEA standards
- Up to date knowledge
- Confidence in the work
Last time, we covered why using NMEA Certified Devices is important to the health of your NMEA 2000 network. Next up is why using NMEA certified installers is just as important to create and maintain a quality network.
An NMEA Certified Installer will use the combined knowledge stored in the 300+ page NMEA 0400 installation standard along with their NMEA 2000 installer training to ensure that the installation meets all rules and regulations. This can avoid many pitfalls that can occur in less professional installations.
The NMEA 0400 installation standard details exhaustive information on installing devices, cabling and power supplies correctly and safely, following all regulations. A Certified NMEA Installer is expected to:
- Install marine electronics according to NMEA 0400
- Perform installations according to industry best practices
- Comply with all applicable regulations
- Use common safety procedures
- Act in an ethical and professional manner
Before undertaking an installation, your installer will first confirm that the available power source meets NMEA 0400 and determine the route for wiring, EMI and ventilation. The thorough pre-installation procedures and checks ensures for a smooth installation with no surprises or issues along the way. This saves the installer time and can save money, so it’s a win-win!
There are two key factors to a quality install. These are ease of serviceability, and future expansion. Both points hold considerable weight when planning an install. The network needs to be easily accessible for servicing, whether it’s routine checks or changing of parts.
A certified installer may implement a service loop point on your network, which can easily be tapped by any future NMEA Installer. There is also a high chance that in the future you will add devices onto your network, meaning that the network could need to be expanded.
Again, if the network isn’t easy to access then extending it can be a real headache for an installer, which is why an NMEA Certified Installer will prioritise this.
Not planning for the future will make maintenance times longer and as most installers are paid hourly, future costs could spiral as a direct result.
Once the installation has been completed, the installer will provide instructions and training on how to use the newly installed equipment and any preventative maintenance which may be required. This is a crucial step, as knowing how to operate all on-board equipment, especially that which is related to safety increases safety and may be lifesaving.
Listening to our customers, it is a common scenario to hear about new equipment being installed but no training is offered on how to safely use it. This can become dangerous and mean that the equipment is not being used to its full potential. With a certified NMEA Installer, you’ll be instructed on device use and maintenance.
Along with the instructions you receive, you will also be provided with documentation of the installation. These will typically include any manuals, guides, and notes of the equipment installed, and drawings of the network. The drawings will include the serial numbers, locations, makes, and models of each device.
Whilst useful for you as it gives you a better understanding of your network, it is also very useful for future reference. In a scenario where an installer comes out 3 years post-installation date, who has not visited the vessel before, they have no idea where the cabling is run or where the devices are installed…
Sure, they could go around the vessel and spend hours creating their own diagram, tracing cables, etc. or they could use the pre-existing documentation created by a Certified Installer, making their job much easier, quicker, and less error prone.
After completing an install, a certified installer will perform the following initial checks:
- Software compatibility with installed systems
- External interfaces (Data, I/O)
- Equipment interoperability
The purpose of these fundamental tests is to quickly highlight any potential issues that the installed equipment may have from the get-go as typically these teething problems will show themselves very quickly.
From here once the initial correct operation has been confirmed, the installer will then plan one or two sea trials designed to test the equipment in a real-life scenario with varying conditions to ensure that there are no further issues that could not be identified in the initial testing. These sea trials should consist of an initial commissioning sea trial and then a customer orientation focused sea trial, where the user becomes familiar with using the equipment out at sea.
The NMEA runs training courses throughout the year, with a mix of Virtual and In-Person options. If you are looking to become an installer, then you can register for the NMEA Certified installer courses on the NMEA Website.