NMEA

MiniPlex-Lite

The MiniPlex-Lite is our trouble-free entry level NMEA multiplexer. Based on the proven technology of our existing range of multiplexers, we have taken the fundamental elements of a multiplexer and created a basic zero-configuration, easy to install unit.

No configuration is needed, no baud rates to select. Just plug in the MiniPlex-Lite into a free USB port of your computer, a PC or a Mac, enter the driver CD and after a few clicks the unit is up and running. It needs no further configuration. Just connect the cables of your instruments to the clamp-connectors with the factory-supplied tool and your computer-based navigation system is complete.

The MiniPlex-Lite is not a stand-alone unit however, it is dedicated to be used with a computer.

The MiniPlex-Lite will operate with any navigation software package through the virtual COM port created by the driver. It provides three galvanically isolated NMEA inputs to connect your GPS and other devices like a speed log, wind meter or an AIS receiver.

A unique feature of the MiniPlex-Lite is the auto-sensing NMEA input on channel 3. This input will automatically detect the high speed data from a connected AIS receiver, which runs at 38400 bps as opposed to standard NMEA equipment which runs at 4800 bps (Bits Per Second).

The combination of the MiniPlex-Lite and it’s virtual COM port driver is a dedicated NMEA solution, as opposed to a generic Serial <-> USB converter. It offers galvanic isolation to be fully compliant with the NMEA specification and it does not exhibit the well known problems of generic converters like the infamous ‘crazy mouse’ problem or sudden drop-outs in the NMEA data stream.
Any attempt of Windows to detect Plug & Play devices on our virtual COM port is blocked, resulting in a real trouble-free Plug & Play solution. Just plug in the USB cable, load the driver disk, a few clicks and you’re up and running!

The MiniPlex-Lite is completely transparent to NMEA data. Incoming data is simply stored and forwarded as complete NMEA sentences to the computer.
Any data sent by the computer, like steering information for an autopilot, is output on the dedicated NMEA output.
The multiplexer does not send any NMEA data from it’s own inputs to it’s output! The navigation software is responsible for forwarding selected NMEA data from the inputs to the outputs.

The communication speed to the computer is much higher than the standard NMEA speed, thus there is no possibility of overflow and missing NMEA sentences from the instruments to the computer.
To prevent any overflow to occur when steering data or waypoints are sent from the high speed computer interface to the NMEA output, a flow control is implemented to momentarily stop the computer from sending data when the internal buffer is full. To enable this feature, Hardware Flow Control must be enabled in the communication parameters section of your navigation software.

Technical specifications:

Supply voltage: Powered from the USB bus.
Current consumption: 30mA (80mA max. with fully loaded talker port).
Inputs: 3 x NMEA-183/RS-422, galvanically isolated NMEA inputs. Input 3 is auto-sensing between 4800 bps and 38400 bps, in order to adapt to the high speed data of AIS receivers
Output: 1 x NMEA-183/RS-422 for a repeater display and/or an autopilot.
Computer interface: Bidirectional USB port, driver creates a virtual COM port with optional flow control.
Buffers: Input 1,2 and USB port: 128 characters,
Input 3: 256 characters.
Speed NMEA in: 4800 bps (4800/9600/19200/38400 on input 3)
Speed NMEA out: 4800 bps
Speed on USB channel: 57600 bps
Dimensions: 97 x 79 x 28 mm

 

MiniPlex-2S

The MiniPlex-2S is an advanced NMEA multiplexer, combining data from up to four navigation instruments into two NMEA outputs and an RS–232 port. It also supports AIS and other high speed NMEA devices up to 57600 Baud.Using the MiniPlex–2S multiplexer has some major advantages:

  • Data from multiple instruments is available as one single stream on one single cable. This reduces wiring cost.
  • Seamless integration into an existing Raymarine Seatalk® network.
  • All inputs are galvanically isolated, eliminating ground loops between instruments.
  • Full galvanic isolation on the RS-232 port, eliminating ground loops between multiplexer and computer which are often on separate power grids.
  • The MiniPlex allows you to fully control the source, the destination and the rate of each individual NMEA sentence by its powerful sentence filtering and routing facility.
  • Automatic switching between computer navigation and GPS based navigation.
  • Automatic switching between primary and secondary instruments in case of failure or invalid data.

 

Two NMEA outputs (talker ports) allow distribution of the NMEA data to up to eight instruments.

The MiniPlex-2S can be connected to a computer through the galvanically isolated RS-232 interface for computerized navigation. Stand-alone operation is also possible, in which case the RS-232 interface is only used to configure the multiplexer.

A MiniPlex with firmware version 3.00 and higher can be updated. From time to time we will develop new features for the MiniPlex and make updated firmware files available on the Download page.

Technical specifications:

Supply voltage: 8-35VDC, secured against reversed polarity
Current consumption: 50mA (100mA max. with fully loaded talker ports)
Computer interface: RS-232, galvanically isolated
Inputs: 4 x NMEA 0183/RS-422, galvanically isolated
Input resistance: > 800 Ohm
Outputs: 2 x NMEA 0183/RS-422
Buffers: 5 buffers of 1024 characters (4 x NMEA, 1 x RS-232)
Filter list size: 50 sentence types
Priority list size: 50 sentence types
Speed NMEA In 1-3: 4800 – 57600 baud
Speed NMEA In 4/Out 1: 4800 – 57600 baud
Speed NMEA Out 2: 4800 – 115200 baud
Speed RS-232 serial port: 4800 – 115200 baud
Dimensions: 138 x 62 x 30mm

Using the MiniPlex–2S multiplexer has some major advantages:

  • Data from multiple instruments is available as one single stream on one single cable. This reduces wiring cost.
  • Seamless integration into an existing Raymarine Seatalk® network.
  • All inputs are galvanically isolated, eliminating ground loops between instruments.
  • Full galvanic isolation on the RS-232 port, eliminating ground loops between multiplexer and computer which are often on separate power grids.
  • The MiniPlex allows you to fully control the source, the destination and the rate of each individual NMEA sentence by its powerful sentence filtering and routing facility.
  • Automatic switching between computer navigation and GPS based navigation.
  • Automatic switching between primary and secondary instruments in case of failure or invalid data.

Two NMEA outputs (talker ports) allow distribution of the NMEA data to up to eight instruments.

The MiniPlex-2S can be connected to a computer through the galvanically isolated RS-232 interface for computerized navigation. Stand-alone operation is also possible, in which case the RS-232 interface is only used to configure the multiplexer.

A MiniPlex with firmware version 3.00 and higher can be updated. From time to time we will develop new features for the MiniPlex and make updated firmware files available on the Download page.

Features

The MiniPlex-2S has a rich set of features and configuration options, enabling the user to tackle almost any NMEA bottleneck or interface problem. The supplied Windows utility MPX-Config allows full configuration of the multiplexer and monitoring of NMEA data passing through the multiplexer.

NMEA routing NMEA data can be routed from any input to any output. A default route can be set as well as specific routing rules for individual NMEA sentences.
Computer data can be routed to any NMEA output, to be merged with other NMEA data or to override this data. This enables automatic switching between computer based navigation and GPS/instrument based navigation.
NMEA filtering A flexible NMEA filter can be configured to pass or block specific sentences from each input channel. This greatly reduces the chance of an overflow and the resulting loss of data. Many GPS receivers for instance, transmit an abundance of sentences every second, accounting for 85% of the available bandwidth of the NMEA channel. By blocking unwanted or unnecessary sentences, bandwidth is preserved for other instruments. The filter can also be configured to reduce the rate of specific NMEA sentences.
Flexible communication speed The communication speed of all inputs and outputs can be set from 4800 to 57600 Baud to allow connection of devices that operate at non-standard (4800 Baud) communication speeds like integrated weather sensors, gyrocompasses or AIS equipment.
SeaTalk® conversion When the SeaTalk -> NMEA option is enabled, one of the NMEA inputs becomes a SeaTalk® compatible input, offering conversion of the most common SeaTalk datagrams on a Raymarine® network into NMEA sentences. This data is combined with NMEA data received on the other inputs. When Priority is enabled, SeaTalk data can be assigned highest or lowest priority.
Real-Time forwarding Gyro- and fluxgate compasses produce NMEA sentences at a high rate (10 sentences/second or more). This can lead to a buffer overflow in the multiplexer. Although this overflow is handled properly without data corruption, it will lead to a delay of NMEA sentences of up to 20 seconds in extreme situations. This produces a severe problem for autopilots, which cannot make proper course corrections when their heading feedback is delayed for 20 seconds. The Real-Time option prevents this delay by bypassing the buffer of that specific channel and forwarding the data immediately to the multiplexer’s NMEA output. As a result, the heading is never delayed more than 0.2 to 0.5 seconds, depending on the amount of other NMEA sentences passing through the multiplexer.
Heading conversion This option converts a Magnetic Heading sentence (HDG) into a True Heading sentence (HDT). If the originating magnetic heading sentence contains a magnetic variation, it is used to calculate the true heading before conversion. This feature is useful for certain equipment like VDR’s which need a true heading input, while the only available heading source is a fluxgate, delivering a magnetic heading.
Priority With Priority enabled, similar NMEA sentences on different inputs are only passed from the input with the highest priority. The RS-232 port has the highest priority, followed by inputs 1 to 4, in descending order. When for instance two GPS receivers are connected to inputs 1 and 2, and both transmit the same type of NMEA sentences, only those received on input 1 are passed. An adjustable time-out ensures that similar sentences from the GPS at input 2 are passed when the GPS at input 1 stops sending these sentences. Optionally, GPS sentences are checked for a valid status field, causing automatic switchover when the primary GPS looses satellite signal.
Channel information When this feature is switched on, the multiplexer will transmit a proprietary NMEA sentence indicating on which input channel the following NMEA sentence is received. Optionally, the multiplexer can append NMEA V4.0 TAG block to each NMEA sentence to indicate its originating input.
Talker ID substitution Talker ID substitution changes the talker ID of incoming sentences. The talker ID can be specified for each input channel. This option is useful for software or instruments that expect a specific talker ID or to distinguish between sentences from two similar instruments.

 

MiniPlex-3 Series

The MiniPlex-3 Series NMEA multiplexers comprises a range of advanced NMEA multiplexers which combines data from multiple navigation instruments.

Through an advanced filtering and routing system, this data can be sent to other navigation instruments and to computers, tablets and smartphones.

A bi-directional SeaTalk1 interface enables conversion between SeaTalk1 data and NMEA 0183 sentences. This conversion works both ways, allowing the MiniPlex-3 to replace Raymarine’s SeaTalk-NMEA bridge (E85001).

MiniPlex-3 models with an NMEA 2000 interface (-N2K suffix) connect directly to an NMEA 2000 backbone and convert between NMEA 2000 PGN’s, NMEA 0183 sentences and SeaTalk1 datagrams in all directions.

All data is available on one or more computer interfaces in NMEA 0183 format. NMEA 2000 PGN’s and SeaTalk datagrams for which no NMEA 0183 equivalent exists, can be converted to special NMEA 0183 sentences, allowing software developers to support processing of raw NMEA 2000 and SeaTalk data.

Each and every port on a MiniPlex-3 multiplexer is galvanically isolated from the internal electronics and from every other port. This guarantees that no ground loops will be created when adding a MiniPlex-3 to a navigation network. It also ensures a trouble free connection to any type of NMEA 0183 port of any device.

The MiniPlex-3 multiplexers are all functionally identical but differ in type and number of computer interfaces.

Art.no. Model Computer interface NMEA 2000
1131 MiniPlex-3USB USB
1132 MiniPlex-3E Ethernet
1133 MiniPlex-3Wi WiFi and USB
1135 MiniPlex-3USB-N2K USB Yes
1136 MiniPlex-3E-N2K Ethernet Yes
1137 MiniPlex-3Wi-N2K WiFi and USB Yes

 

Features

The MiniPlex-3 Series has a rich set of features and configuration options, enabling the user to tackle almost any NMEA bottleneck or interface problem. The configuration tool MPX-Config3 allows full configuration of the multiplexer and monitoring of NMEA data passing through the multiplexer.

NMEA routing NMEA data can be routed from any input to any output. A default route can be set as well as specific routing rules for individual NMEA sentences.
Computer data can be routed to any NMEA output, to be merged with other NMEA data or to override this data. This enables automatic switching between computer based navigation and GPS/instrument based navigation.
NMEA filtering A flexible NMEA filter can be configured to pass or block specific sentences from each input channel. This greatly reduces the chance of an overflow and the resulting loss of data. Many GPS receivers for instance, transmit an abundance of sentences every second, accounting for 85% of the available bandwidth of an NMEA 0183 port at 4800 Baud. By blocking unwanted or unnecessary sentences, bandwidth is preserved for other instruments. The filter can also be configured to reduce the rate of specific NMEA sentences.
NMEA 2000
(-N2K models only)
The MiniPlex-3-N2K models are equipped with an NMEA 2000 interface to connect to an NMEA 2000 backbone with other navigation instruments. The MiniPlex-3 will translate NMEA 2000 PGN’s (messages) into NMEA 0183 sentences and vice versa. This feature enables a seamless integration between NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 navigation devices. It also allows navigation software, which usually only supports NMEA 0183, to receive data from NMEA 2000 devices and to control NMEA 2000 autopilots.
Flexible communication speed The communication speed of all inputs and outputs can be set from 4800 to 57600 Baud to allow connection of devices that operate at non-standard (4800 Baud) communication speeds like integrated weather sensors, gyrocompasses or AIS receivers and transponders.
SeaTalk® conversion When Input 1 is set to SeaTalk mode, this NMEA input becomes a bi-directional SeaTalk port, offering conversion between the most common SeaTalk datagrams on a Raymarine SeaTalk1® network and their NMEA 0183 counterparts.

These sentences are combined with NMEA sentences received on the other inputs. When Priority is enabled, SeaTalk data can be assigned highest or lowest priority.

Priority With Priority enabled, similar NMEA sentences on different inputs are only passed from the input with the highest priority. When for instance two GPS receivers are connected to inputs 1 and 2, and both transmit the same type of NMEA sentences, only those received on input 1 are passed. An adjustable time-out ensures that similar sentences from the GPS at input 2 are passed when the GPS at input 1 stops sending these sentences. Optionally, GPS sentences are checked for a valid status field, causing automatic switchover when the primary GPS looses satellite signal.

An additional option to check the GPS status flags can be enabled to ensure that data received from a GPS which lost satellite reception is also blocked.

Channel information This features adds an extra $MXSTN sentence or a TAG block to NMEA sentences to indicate on which NMEA input a sentence is received.
Talker ID substitution Talker ID substitution changes the talker ID of incoming sentences. The talker ID can be specified for each input channel. This option is useful for software or instruments that expect a specific talker ID or to distinguish between sentences from two similar instruments.
NMEA conversions The MiniPlex-3 offers several conversion options for NMEA sentences:

  • Magnetic to True heading conversion and vice versa
  • GPS speed to Log speed and vice versa
  • Reverse True heading
  • Old (VWR) to new (MWV) wind sentences and vice versa
  • Relative/Apparent to Theoretical/True wind
  • RMC to GGA

MiniPlex-3USB(-N2K)

Technical specifications:

Supply voltage: 8-35VDC, secured against reversed polarity
Current consumption: 30mA (80mA max. with fully loaded talker ports)
Computer interface: USB, galvanically isolated
Inputs: 4 x NMEA 0183/RS-422, galvanically isolated
Input 1 can be set to SeaTalk mode
Input resistance: > 1.4 kOhm
Input current: 0.5mA @ 2V
3.0mA @ 5V
7.1mA @ 10V
Outputs: 2 x NMEA 0183/RS-422, galvanically isolated
Max ouput current: 20mA @ > 2V
Filter list size: 50 sentence types
Priority list size: 50 sentence types
Speed NMEA In 1-3: 4800 – 57600 baud
Speed NMEA In 4/Out 1: 4800 – 57600 baud
Speed NMEA Out 2: 4800 – 115200 baud
Dimensions: 138 x 62 x 30mm
NMEA 2000: LEN: 1
Speed: 250kbps
Connector: M12 male Micro-C

MiniPlex-3E(-N2K) Technical specifications:

Supply voltage: 8-35VDC, secured against reversed polarity
Current consumption: 100mA (150mA max. with fully loaded talker ports)
Computer interface: 10BASE-T/100BASE-TX Ethernet
Supported protocols: TCP/IP and UDP, port 10110 for NMEA 0183 data
TCP/IP, port 10110 for firmware updates
TCP/IP and UDP, port 30718 for network configuration
ARP, ICMP and DHCP for network management
Inputs: 4 x NMEA 0183/RS-422, galvanically isolated
Input 1 can be set to SeaTalk mode
Input resistance: > 1.4 kOhm
Input current: 0.5mA @ 2V
3.0mA @ 5V
7.1mA @ 10V
Outputs: 2 x NMEA 0183/RS-422, galvanically isolated
Max ouput current: 20mA @ > 2V
Filter list size: 50 sentence types
Priority list size: 50 sentence types
Speed NMEA In 1-3: 4800 – 57600 baud
Speed NMEA In 4/Out 1: 4800 – 57600 baud
Speed NMEA Out 2: 4800 – 115200 baud
Dimensions: 138 x 62 x 30mm
NMEA 2000: LEN: 1
Speed: 250kbps
Connector: M12 male Micro-C

MiniPlex-3Wi(-N2K) Technical specifications:

Supply voltage: 8-35VDC, secured against reversed polarity
Current consumption: 70mA (120mA max. with fully loaded talker ports)
Computer interface: WiFi (802.11b/g, +10dBm), supporting TCP, port 10110
USB, galvanically isolated
Supported protocols: TCP/IP, port 10110 for NMEA 0183 data
ARP, ICMP and DHCP for network management
Inputs: 4 x NMEA 0183/RS-422, galvanically isolated
Input 1 can be set to SeaTalk mode
Input resistance: > 1.4 kOhm
Input current: 0.5mA @ 2V
3.0mA @ 5V
7.1mA @ 10V
Outputs: 2 x NMEA 0183/RS-422, galvanically isolated
Max ouput current: 20mA @ > 2V
Filter list size: 50 sentence types
Priority list size: 50 sentence types
Speed NMEA In 1-3: 4800 – 57600 baud
Speed NMEA In 4/Out 1: 4800 – 57600 baud
Speed NMEA Out 2: 4800 – 115200 baud
Dimensions: 138 x 62 x 30mm
NMEA 2000: LEN: 1
Speed: 250kbps
Connector: M12 male Micro-C

 

MiniPlex-BUF

The MiniPlex-BUF is an advanced NMEA buffer/splitter featuring one input and seven outputs. It is designed to solve the problem of sharing NMEA data from one NMEA device with multiple other NMEA devices in a trouble free manner.

The received NMEA signal is amplified to the proper NMEA levels, ensuring delivery of an NMEA signal to connected devices which meets or exceeds the specifications of the NMEA standard.

Fully isolated inputs and outputs eliminate all ground loops. The outputs are short circuit proof, ensuring delivery of NMEA data to all connected devices in a reliable manner, independent of short circuits on one or more outputs.

Technical features

Commonly available buffers usually offer multiple outputs from a common – isolated – power supply. The outputs are isolated from the ships power supply, but they are still connected to each other. The MiniPlex-BUF offers full isolation on all outputs because each output has its own isolated power supply. This makes the outputs compatible with all sorts of inputs, whether they are isolated or not, differential (RS-422) or grounded (RS-232).

NMEA Input

The NMEA input is a galvanically isolated input, using a high speed opto-coupler capable of transporting data up to 38400 Baud. The input is fully compatible with the NMEA specification. This allows the input to work in a noisy environment and with long cable runs.
The isolated input removes any ground loops that might exist between the connected device and the buffer. It also withstands any ground or common mode potential up to 1500V.

NMEA Outputs

The MiniPlex-BUF is equipped with 7 fully isolated outputs, each with its own opto-coupler and isolated power supply. This technology creates completely floating outputs which makes connection to any device an easy task. Each output automatically adjusts to the type of input it is connected to, whether this is an isolated, differential or single ended input. Connection to a grounded RS-232 input on a computer is no problem and does not influence other outputs.

Isolation

The MiniPlex-BUF offers three barriers against ground loops. The first barrier is on the isolated input, the second barrier is on each of the isolated outputs and the third barrier is on each of the isolated DC/DC converters used to power each output.

Defect proof

A major benefit of completely isolated outputs is that a short circuit on one output has no influence on the signal of the other outputs. Signal delivery to connected devices is therefore guaranteed to the highest possible level.

All these features makes the MiniPlex-BUF one of the safest and easiest buffers to install.

Supply voltage: 8-35VDC, secured against reversed polarity.
Current consumption
12V:
24V:
60mA (165mA max. with fully loaded talker ports)
35mA (90mA max. with fully loaded talker ports)
Input: Galvanically isolated and compatible with NMEA-183, NMEA-183HS, IEC61162-1&2, RS-422 and RS-232
Input voltage range: +/-2 to +/-30V
Input resistance: > 800 Ohm
Outputs: 7 galvanically isolated outputs, fully compatible with NMEA-183, NMEA-183HS, IEC61162-1&2, RS-422 and RS-232
Output voltage: min. +/-4V unloaded, min. +/-2.3V in 200 Ohm load (4 listeners)
Communication speed: 110 – 38400 Baud
Dimensions: 138 x 62 x 30mm
Housing: Flame retardant ABS

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