This started out as a set of comments in the pilot house tour post, but I think it warrants it's own post since it's a good example of the problems one encounters with NMEA 2000 products, and how it can bankrupt a marine electronics installer and/or boat owner.
Ahh, thanks. Do you want to be my memory?
This actually is a good illustration of the problems an N2K user like myself encounter, and why people start tearing their hair out (yes, I am bald). I still have the exact same underlying problem, namely the traffic storm. But the symptoms are now different. The pilot hasn't lost its heading source in months, but instead, an old symptom has returned. Some time ago I mentioned that Coastal Explorer would occasionally show "No Fix" in place of the GPS status display. This happens just for a second or two then the status display resumes normally. There are no alarms and CE keeps working fine.
A while back someone, perhaps even you, asked if that problem had been resolved. Or maybe you asked about the Fast Packer Errors since I suspected they might be the cause of the transient "no Fix" problem. See there's that memory thing again! Anyway I though the problem was gone but it came back. Now I'm pretty sure it's a symptom of the address claim storms that I am still chasing.
Getting back to my point, anyone just operating my boat would have seen the No Fix problem, but then it went away. Then they would have seen the NavPilot losing its heading source, but that problem went away too. And now the No Fix problem has returned. It's an exercise in chasing shadows, but there appears to be a single underlying cause.
Problems like this are killers for electronics installers and customers alike. Chasing them down is hugely time consuming. If the installer isn't charging for their time, they would lose their shirt. And if the customer is paying to chase down these problems, they would be in the poor house. I have been chasing this underlying address claim storm for going on 6 months now.
I have to admit that I am considering converting more of my system from N2K to NMEA 0183, and have started to sketch out what such a system would look like. I've also considered segregating the Maretron monitoring systems from the navigation systems, but didn't go far with that idea. Some of the navigation components also need to be monitored, so I would have to bring both N2K buses into the Maretron N2KView monitoring system, and I have no experience with how well that works, or if it's even possible. Experience says it will be a new can of worms. And besides, the interaction problem I have right now is between two navigation devices, so separate buses wouldn't solve the present problem.
The good news is that running the boat works fine, at least for now. But having these odd problems is just real trouble waiting to happen, and that's not what I want on a boat.