Keep your NMEA 2000 network running smoothly with a universal terminator that has an LED showing bus voltage, and can be used easily at either end of the bus.

NMEA 2000 networks can be frustrating as evidenced by the amount of times I help troubleshoot them. Actisense has come out with a small piece of hardware that is a new take on something old, and adds the utility of being universal.

The two most common issues I see with NMEA 2000 networks are inadequate power, or poor/bad/no termination of the bus. Both of these things will cause instability for the devices on the network, and many other ancillary “weird” issues.

Low voltage is usually an issue at one end of the bus, where the length of the wiring has caused a voltage drop. This results in devices in that section behaving erratically, or not “seeing” devices elsewhere on the bus reliably. In extreme cases, it can result in devices powering off or rebooting, especially when other large loads kick on, such as a windlass.

Poor termination can happen from a missing terminator, a bad terminator, or termination in the wrong place in the bus. This results in a myriad of issues, but all coming back to things not “seeing” each other, or really erratic data and behavior.

One way to solve these issues is a NMEA 2000 tester – either an expensive one like the Maretron N2K Tester, or a simple one made of a NMEA 2000 cable and a voltage tester. You can read more about how to test a NMEA 2000 network and the tools for it below.