S2N gyro converter with isolated, floating NMEA output.

When we designed the S2N converter som 20 years ago, this was timed for the large AIS installation boom and then went on with VDR and electronic chart systems.

Since then, much have changed, and it is now becoming rare that gyro compasses do not have NMEA output already, but instead the S2N is now in increasing numbers are found in Navy, Police, Coast guard and SAR vessels. Such installations sometimes rely on military standards, which in many cases make use of RS422/485 or even RS232 ports.

The most common failure of a S2N is a failed NMEA output driver. The S2N output meets the NMEA 0183/0183HS (= IEC 61162-1/-2) standards, requiring any input it is feeding to be isolated. History tells us that this does not always happen and it could also be the case that also an isolated, floating input could have enough capacitive decoupling to local ground to kill destroy the output driver.

This is a good reason why we have sold several thousand of our isolated 1N4B NMEA buffer.

The case for the S2N is large enough to fit a 1N4B unit inside the case, using a custom, 3D-printed mount. This would then add four NMEA isolated and “GND-free” balanced outputs (although all four share the same isolated power supply). This means that if it is necessary to feed a non-isolated or even side grounded input (like RS232), the output could still be parallelled to other inputs only if they are isolated and floating.

This unit can be delivered under the designation S2N- Iso, U/N 9618. This version will add som 150 EUR to the price and is highly recommended.

The “S2N” page of the website as well as manuals, labels etc will updated shortly. It would also be possible to retrofit existing units without loosing calibration.

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Semiconductors again…

The combined effect of everlasting periodic changes of the price/production/market oscillations in the semiconductor and component market, perhaps remaining effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and of course the war in Ukraine and the increased tensions on Taiwan has made production very difficult.

We were forced to make a production batches using “spot market” semiconductors last autumn and we are prioritizing our system customers.

EDIT 2023-08-18: It seems that most of the major semiconductor suppliers are back in normal operation, meaning also that prices in most cases are back to normal “pre semiconductor crise” levels.

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Renewed BSH National Approval 1N4B

Manual and labeling has been modified accordingly.

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CN8E finally in stock again!

We finally got the expected and promised delivery of the ARM CPU and we have a production batch of the Octal NMEA/CAN/Ethernet interface unit CN8E available and we will start shipping orders from our backlog.

We will approach all customers using E.mail.

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Silicon shortage

It seems like the electronics industry will always suffer from enormous fluctuations in demand. The automotive industry is suffering really bad, with large semiconductor manufacturers stating delivery time of more than one year.

We are small players in this market and it is usually possible to procure 100 CPU’s in the “spot market” (at higher prices, though), but this time it is extremey difficult.

We are working on the problem, currently we can deliver all active products from stock, with one exception, the CN8E.

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Covid 19

Our operations are little affected by the current situation. We are relying on subcontractors for PCB manufacturing, testing and logistics, but we have no activity in central Stockholm and as far as we know all shipping operators like UPS, DHL etc offers normal or at least next to normal service, sometimes with a bit slower transportation

Please take care out there!

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New firmware version CN8E

As many ship installations gets new GPS/Glonass/Galileo receivers, many with enhanced position inaccuracy (= added decimal places), it has been a problem that NMEA messages sometimes gets longer than strictly allowed.

Our firmware was deisgned to check for NMEA syntax errors and discard messages not fulfilling all requirements, but this problem tended to create so much problems so we agreed, in collaboration with our customers, to modify the firmware of the CN8E to allow for NMEA messages having a payload of 140 characters.

However, please note that this is a violation to NMEA 0183 and IEC 61162-1 syntax and may possibly cause message interpretation problems in other connected equipment.

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Wheel mark, type approval and test reports.

We recenbtly got a question on the Q&A page asking us to clarify the if our products were wheelmarked and type approved.

We have been discussing this, but clarifying this once again makes no harm.

“Short answer is no and yes. But a good explanation takes a few more lines. Units we market, like “something to NMEA converter” (A8N, L1N etc) or NMEA/Ethernet interface (CN8E) cannot be wheelmarked on their own. The reason is simply because these devices are not listed in the MED and as a consequence cannot be wheelmarked on their own.

We have a long experience from type testing and various type approvals since long before the MED came inte force and we are convinced that is necessary for our customers to take care of this.

To solve this, we have done third party environmental testing to IEC 60945, like EMC (expensive!), temperature/climate, vibration, CSD etc and we will make test reports available as required. In addition to this, we will issue necessary certificates of compliance for things like Mould growth or Corrosion resistance. In some cases we also have old-fasioned national type approvals (“Baumusterprüfbescheinigungs“). Our intention is to make it a simple routine task to make our interfaces appear in various system supplier’s certification.

So although we have to answer no to the first question, we have gone as far as possible to give the best possible support to our customers.

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Christmas/New Year!

Since we are based in Sweden, possible home country of Santa (although our eastern neighbours are convinced he is based in Rovaniemi!) it would be nice to post a snowy picture.

However, the sad  truth is that in the Stockholm area, Christmas time is in most cases more wet green/brown than icy white. Also this time, althogh we had some snow a couple of weeks ago:

dscf1281Please have a Nerry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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During the time 14 – 24 July, we will have limited capacity and our logistics partner for delivery etc will also mean low activity, “Nordic style”!

Mails will be read on daily basis.

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