Monday, April 11, 2011

Proprietary isn't propriety

It must be by design that technology in life is never simple, and in some cases it can be infuriatingly excruciating. This little adventure follows Jerry's efforts to interface an outboard motor via NMEA 2000 to his chart plotter, and my efforts to assist him. I also want to mention at the onset that Jerry is not slow witted, and did his homework well. It was just the insidious nuances that have bit him. 

Having studied the problem in advance, he ordered the correct interface cables from the outboard manufacturer, only to discover the engine's interface cable would not actually plug into the motor's port. The other end of the cable has some sort of happy colored connector that won't plug into his chart plotter. So off Jerry goes to the forums for help, and he gets it. There are both adapters, and cut and splice options out there, and he buys them. Jerry installs the new parts, turns on the motor, and waits with hopeful expectations, but sadly no data appears. I get a call.