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News | 06 February, 2018
3 Actisense NMEA 2000 Starter Kits and why they're different

NMEA 2000 is based on the “CAN Bus” system built with DeviceNet standard cables and connectors.  Can bus was developed in the 1980s for use in high reliability automotive systems.  It has found use in the agricultural, automotive and many other industries prior to it’s inception in to the marine industry so it was already proven to be very robust.  Unlike NMEA 0183, devices cannot be connected directly together.  Instead, each network must be built around a ‘backbone’ which is the main trunking of cable that devices then plug in to.  The diagram below illustrates the minimum requirements needed to create an NMEA 2000 network.

The minimum requirements needed to start an NMEA 2000 network

If you don’t have an NMEA 2000 network already, starter kits are a great way to get…erm…started!

NMEA 2000 Starter Kits from Actisense

There are three main versions of starter kit available from Actisense designed to meet different requirements for different types of boat owner.  These are:

Traditional NMEA 2000 Starter Kit

Technically there are four variants of NMEA 2000 Starter Kit available as our ‘traditional’ variant comes in two flavours.  Both are available with the following A2K components:

In addition to the above components, KIT-1 comes with a 2 metre drop cable for connecting a device to the NMEA 2000 network via a T-piece.  KIT-2 has a 6 metre drop cable.

This starter kit is for those who intend on having large NMEA 2000 networks installed (up to 100 metres).  The power T in this starter kit has a twin pair of wires allowing for 2x 3 amp (on a network built with ‘Lite’ cable) connections to the battery.  This means that power can be inserted at a central point on the backbone allowing for even power distribution to each side, creating a more efficient network.

A2K Starter Kit 3

This starter kit is ideal for boats that only require a small NMEA 2000 network but would like the flexibility of being able to extend that network at a later date.  As the termination resistors are removable, this network can be extended if needed.

The power insertion cable has a single pair of wires.  This allows for a single 3 amp insertion point which is plenty for the typical NMEA 2000 network a boat would require but will not stretch as far as if you used the power T from the traditional starter kit.

This kit includes:

Self-contained Boat Network

This kit is for designed for smaller boats.  To be more precise, it’s for users who require an NMEA 2000 network that consists of up to four devices (SBN-1) or up to 8 devices (SBN-2).  Termination resistors are neatly packaged inside a T-piece (4-way for SBN-1 and 8-way for SBN-2) and the power cable is attached via an over moulded cable to maintain an ingress protection (IP) rating of 67, which means it can be immersed in water up to 1 metre without being damaged.

“Actisense support was amazingly prompt and all issues during development were dealt with in careful detail. We are delighted to be associated with such a professional and effective supplier. Without Actisense our product would not be possible.”
Graham Shannon, President, Avia Design Group
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