Does the Garmin Steadycast supply fastheading data?

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Does the Garmin Steadycast supply fastheading data?

Postby ImRich » Mon Apr 09, 2018 1:43 pm

I'm wondering what data that the Garmin Steadycast heading sensor outputs on the NEMA 2000 network?

The Steadycast is a heading sensor:
https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/572462

The reason for asking is that the Raymarine Axiom and their new Quantum2 radar requires 'fastheading' data on the NEMA2K bus otherwise you can't use MARPA or Doppler features. The Raymarine NV-1 is their less expensive heading sensor. Normally the NV-1 is part of an autopilot, it is sold separately, but it sells for about $600 (more or less). The full price to add it could be closer to $800 with cables, etc.

The above Garmin Steadycast heading sensor sells for $150 or less. If it will output the correct 'fastheading' data, than I could use it instead of the more expensive Raymarine unit.

I'll never need an autopilot on my boat, so I don't need a lot of accuracy. It's nice that Garmin has a less expensive product, but their online documentation doesn't list the type of data that it places on the NEMA 2000 bus. Does anyone here know?

I'm thinking of updating my MFD. I currenly have a Raymarine Classic C80 and Radar which I think is the RD424. I like the fact that the Raymarine can use the Navionics charts. Garmin seems to require their own charts. I know they purchased Navionics, but at this point, current products don't always allow the use of Navionics data.

Luckily, I found out that Raymarine will soon have an optional adapter plate to allow the Axiom 9 to install in the place where the C80 currently lives, this plus the fact that they will allow me to use the Navionics charts is making me lean towards the Raymarine package (Axiom 9 MFD and new Quantum2 Radar). But if this will end up costing me a lot more money to be functional, I may consider the Garmin if I can find a way to install it without it looking ugly or having to spend a lot of money on custom parts.

Thanks for any thoughts or ideas on this.
Last edited by ImRich on Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Does the Garmin Steadycast supply fastheading data?

Postby Chris_in_Texas » Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:31 pm

That is what it should be used for. In theory it should work just fine. I would send a quick not to the tech guys at Garmin and ask what PGN's it outputs, and then ask Raymarine what PGN's they need for MARPA. But being a heading sensor that is what it should do. Worst case you can sell it to a person with a Garmin setup. (I would find someone around to take it to plug it into the N2K bus and update it before you install it in your boat.
Thanks, Chris

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Re: Does the Garmin Steadycast supply fastheading data?

Postby ImRich » Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:27 am

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the info, yes this is a good option and I'm in the process of doing this. I already asked Raymarine, hopefully they will answer the questions and not just say 'we don't guarantee or sanction use of non-Raymarine equipment'.

I was hoping someone here would possibly own one of these and could look at the output data. I know on my C80 I can see the raw sentences that are output or input.

Of course, I do understand that this is the purpose of this device. I'll keep doing some research.
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Re: Does the Garmin Steadycast supply fastheading data?

Postby ImRich » Wed Apr 11, 2018 8:46 am

It looks like Raymarine is looking for the Vesssel heading PGN:

Specifically, the MFD must receive PGN 127250 Vessel heading

and wants this output at 10 Hz.

Of course Raymarine gave me the usual warnings that their MFDs can't calibrate or align third party devices.

It's too bad they don't offer a less expensive device, their EV-1 significantly adds to the cost of their system if someone doesn't want autopilot, but wants to make use of most of the advanced features they like to market as an advantage over other systems.

Perhaps I'll have to take a closer look at the total Garmin system and choose one or the other. I was trying to stay with Raymarine for the reasons I previously mentioned, but cost is a large factor, after all, I could simply stay with what I have as it is still fully functional, and I can still get charts updates via Navionics. Updates are not super important as the rocks and hazards rarely move position on this lake.
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Re: Does the Garmin Steadycast supply fastheading data?

Postby ImRich » Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:58 pm

Garmin reports that:

The PGN that the steadycast uses is 127250 at 10 Hz. As long as Raymarine is capable of receiving the same PGN, then it should work. You will just have to go through the basic calibration method and the instructions will be in the manual.

So it looks like this sub $150 Garmin SteadyCast heading device will work with the Raymarine MFD.
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Re: Does the Garmin Steadycast supply fastheading data?

Postby Chris_in_Texas » Wed Apr 11, 2018 6:33 pm

That's good. I figured it would. The basic calibration would work for sure for MARPA stuff. I had the KVH unit and the exact same calibration. It was an older unit that output only NEMA0183 so it was connected to a dedicated port on the chartplotter, along with the VHF radio for broadcasting DSC cooredents for distress calls.
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Re: Does the Garmin Steadycast supply fastheading data?

Postby ImRich » Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:54 pm

I know to never count all the chickens before they are hatched, but . . .

I sent an email to Navionics and asked if they would be supporting any Garmin MFDs, considering that they were purchased by Garmin.

They came back with an answer that said "It's too early for us to announce anything at this time, but we do plan to offer Navionics marine content in Garmin plotters and MFDs. Please keep checking back on our site for news and updates."

To me this is good news, and I may have to rethink staying with Raymarine for an update of my chartplotter.

Of course, we still don't have any idea of a timeline nor which devices they may support.
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