Yes, this is one more Wi-Fi Gateway on the market. Not the first, and not the last. Why it is a better choice for you? Read below! Let's look what others offer and why you don't need them.
Picture 1. SEAiq Open IPhone app connected to YDWG-02
Multiple hardware ports? You do not need it!
Some gateways are equipped with a built-in multiplexer and have multiple NMEA 0183 hardware ports in addition to a NMEA 2000 port. Shipmodul MiniPlex-3Wi-N2K ($429) seems very attractive if you are really in need of a multiplexer. But note, chart plotters usually have 2-3 NMEA 0183 ports and forward the data to NMEA 2000 in the opposite direction. On our 40-foot sailing yacht with a Raymarine C90 Widescreen, the input of one NMEA 0183 port is used for Navtex and the output of another port is used to send position to the stationary Ray49E VHF. And we have no idea what to connect to the two other NMEA 0183 inputs and outputs.
Powerful Wi-Fi and Powerful Gateway? You don't need it!
SeaSmart Wireless NMEA 2000 Interface Module ($495) also has a lot of ports and features. But this gateway has power consumption of 800 mA against 43 mA for our product. A 40-foot sailing yacht usually has two 100 A/h service batteries. To extend battery life, we should avoid 50% discharge. So, actually we use 100 A/h for all the devices on board - chart plotter, AIS, sensors, refrigerator, water pumps, lights in the saloon and navigation lights, etc. 800 mA is excessive for one device.
Do you really need so much power? When two devices communicate, quality depends on the weaker one. An IPhone has a 65-mW Wi-Fi signal and an internal antenna. Our gateway has up to 100 mW. How much electricity is required for this? 8 mA at 12 VDC is 100 mW. Of course, this is just power for the antenna, you also need to power the microcontroller that manages the Wi-Fi and TCP/IP, etc.
Our gateway supports up to three Wi-Fi clients and up to nine TCP data connections at the same time, along with having an internal web server. Do you want to get more applications connected? Most applications support UDP protocol, and our gateway does too; the number of UDP clients is unlimited. You can also connect our Gateway to an existing Wi-Fi network, if you need to avoid the Wi-Fi client number limitation on our device.
Proprietary software? Say NO!
We have no idea why hardware companies invest in development of software, when many nice products are already available. A marine software company with 20 years of history has more chances to offer a good software product than a hardware company.
Usually mobile apps cost below $20 and even the top rated iNavX costs below $20 this summer in the App Store. You can even find something free. We like EDO Instruments iPad app which can show all necessary navigation data and transform the iPad into an instrument display. It costs 5 EUR only. You don't need any proprietary software.
All protocols in our gateway are open and documented (as well as in our USB Gateway). Of course, NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 standards are not free, but anybody can purchase a copy and start making software or hardware.
Why is our Gateway priced at only $189 USD, two or three times less than competitors?
Because there is nothing extra. It is just a gateway from NMEA 2000 to Wi-Fi with optional NMEA 0183 bi-directional conversion. There are no built-in hardware multiplexers of NMEA 0183, USB or Ethernet ports and so on. It has an embedded web server for set-up and three TCP or UDP server ports with individual NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 filters to create an individualized configuration for different applications. It has a limited number of Wi-Fi connections (which can be avoided with any Wi-Fi router), but you don't pay extra money and use excess electricity for a powerful device which eats more power than your iPad Air but can't play a movie from YouTube.
There is nothing extra, but there is all that you need. This device is built with respect to the old sailors' adage: one rope - one job. So, one device - one task. But it is easy to set up and it saves power. You can keep it on all the time, regardless of the charge state of your batteries. You only need to insert it into your N2K backbone, connect to its Wi-Fi network, and set the address TCP 192.168.4.1:1456 into the application. It all will work in a minute.
- Engine Gateway update: EDC II, J1708/J1587, forwarding, important fixes / May 17, 2017
- USB Gateway in stock, update for Recorder PC Software / April 26, 2017
- Updates for Engine Gateway and Recorder PC Software / April 7, 2017
- Engine Gateway YDEG-04 is certified by NMEA / July 17, 2017
- Minor updates for Voyage Recorder PC software, USB and Wi-Fi Gateways, Text Display / July 27, 2017
- Jubilee device: NMEA 0183 Gateway YDNG-02 / August 4, 2017