New Support for NMEA2000

New Support for NMEA2000 Image

Buffalo Computer Graphics (BCG) Inc. now has the capability to output NMEA2000 (IEC 61162-1) Parameter Group Numbers (PGNs) as part of our simulator product line. This add-on software module is called N2KTranslator and operates with BCG’s Maritime Simulation Tool (MaST) to generate a wide range of ship sensor data utilizing the NMEA2000 data format and interface standard.   

NMEA2000 (N2K) is a plug-and-play communications standard used for connecting marine sensors and display units within ships and boats. While utilizing a CAN bus backbone connection, N2KTranslator will deliver N2K PGNs over an Actisense NGT-1 gateway converter that correlate with a vessel’s sensor activity in a simulation scenario being run by MaST. MaST also generates standard NMEA-0183 messages which are still active when N2KTranslator is being used. BCG has implemented 59 of the most commonly used PGNs related to ship navigation, including AIS and DSC, as well as environmental and other system status messages. BCG will continue to grow this PGN capability over time.

To support testing and message monitoring, N2KTranslator has a logging capability.  The log window displays all PGNs that are transmitted and received over the N2K CAN bus during an active scenario in real-time. In addition, this log window can be filtered for any of the supported PGNs as well as by the directional state in which they are transmitted or received. The log window shows each PGN in a compressed format that consists of the message header along with the raw binary data portion. Any of these PGNs can be manually selected from the log window to display an expanded breakdown of each of the parameter fields within it. There is an option to save all the N2K CAN bus traffic that occurred during the exercise to a binary log file. Log files can be loaded and viewed at any time by N2KTranslator in a comprehensible format. These unique logging capabilities makes N2KTranslator a useful tool for real NMEA2000 configurations not running simulation. 

N2Ktranslator, when used with BCG’s MaST application, can be configured to simulate a specific N2K sensor device on the CAN bus backbone by choosing what PGN(s) are enabled for transmission. This feature allows the user to simulate a single NMEA2000 device on the CAN bus such as a GPS, an AIS Transponder, a weather station, or any device that N2KTranslator has supporting PGNs for. By operating as a N2K source and as a receiver, the application can act as a test platform for sensor, radar and ECDIS/ECS manufacturers. 

For additional information on this product or any of BCG’s Maritime Simulation Products, please contact BCG at 716-822-8668 or through our website –