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NMEA to update NMEA 2000

Nov 29, 2007 As technology advances and boat systems become more sophisticated, the underlying infrastructure of a boat — its data and power networks — need to change to keep up. A good example of this is the development of distributed power systems. The National Marine Electronics Association is reacting to new wrinkles like distributed power by beginning the process of updating its NMEA 2000 standard with a meeting this week in Maryland.

From the press release: The National Marine Electronics Association convened a kickoff meeting on November 14, 2007 to create NMEA 2000 messages for the emerging technology of networked distributed power.  The meeting was held in Amsterdam, Netherlands during the METS exhibition. 

With the emerging technology of distributed power systems on a network, NMEA had been receiving inquiries from the marketplace for additional NMEA 2000 messages directly related to distributed power.  NMEA 2000, the “Open Marine Industry Network Standard,” recognizes the need to develop more messages in order to accommodate the current and future requirements of the marketplace. 

The meeting’s objectives were to define and discuss the scope of work as well as to introduce the formal NMEA 2000 message development process to this working group.   This initial working group comprises of the following companies; BEP (New Zealand), Digital Switching Systems (U.S.) EMMI (Spain), Mastervolt (Holland), Medallion Instruments (U.S), Moritz Aerospace (U.S.), and Victron Energy (Holland).  Tim Sweet of Digital Switching Systems was chosen as the new NMEA 2000 Working Group Chair.  The meeting was conducted by Steve Spitzer, Technical Director of NMEA and Dave Morschhauser, Assistant Technical Director of NMEA. 

Steve Spitzer said: “The goal of this and all NMEA 2000 working groups is to listen very closely to the market requirements for the development of new messages.  NMEA 2000 messages are clearly defined and created by industry collaboration and by companies who have the commitment to a standardized open network communication protocol.”

NMEA openly invites other companies that are invested in distributed power systems and want to contribute to the development of standardized messages. “NMEA wants to be sure that we receive divergent viewpoints and inputs, but Spitzer cautioned this working group is highly technical in its nature and is not a venue to learn about NMEA 2000.  This includes detailed discussion and development of bits and bytes that comprise each message.  Participating companies should have a working knowledge of NMEA 2000.” 

Companies wishing to join this NMEA 2000 Distributed Power Working Group should contact Steve Spitzer at: sspitzer@nmea.org

The NMEA 2000 Network, the international standard for communication on vessels, provides benefits to boat builders and the trade including increased profitability and flexibility of installations as well as offers their customers a broad selection of marine electronics products.  The NMEA 2000 Network was developed by the National Marine Electronics Association, by a number of companies inside and outside the boating industry, and with the aid of the U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center.  For the boating consumer, the NMEA 2000 opens up a new world of marine electronics with a system that offers the possibility of “plug and play” when their on board product requirements change.  Many manufacturers are now providing NMEA 2000 certified products that are highly reliable.

Founded in 1957, the NMEA has led the way in establishing technical standards for data exchange in marine electronics, with the widely accepted NMEA 0183 data protocol, NMEA 2000® and certification standards for marine electronics technicians. NMEA standards and programs focus on insuring that the boating consumer is provided reliable products and professional service. For more information, visit the NMEA Web site at www.nmea.org or call (410) 975-9425.