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System interconnect diagramming software tools
05-05-16, 10:42 AM
Post: #1
System interconnect diagramming software tools
Hi Raymarine Team,
Are there any Raymarine software tools you could make available to users to develop and document their individual systems diagrams? Most helpful would probably be a component library of all major Raymarine instruments & devices with their identified connectors, maybe even fitting cables - plug and play type. Would be great when planning upgrades to your systems, reduce returns, etc, and i am pretty sure there is a beta version in the shop somewhere :) As a semi techie, I truly would enjoy this feature.

If it can't be done, any recommendations what shrink-wrap product to best use for this purpose?

Thanks in advance!
Heiri
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05-05-16, 11:06 AM (This post was last modified: 05-13-16 02:12 PM by Chuck - Raymarine - Moderator.)
Post: #2
RE: System interconnect diagramming software tools
Welcome to the Raymarine Forum Heiri,

Unfortunately, the library which you have requested does not presently exist. A feature request will be logged to consider creation of such a library and then post it on Raymarine's website.

Product images would typically be obtained from the product's installation manual, the manufacturer's website, or from the Internet and trimmed using a computer graphics application (ex. Microsoft Paint, Irfanview, etc.). These images would then be pasted into diagramming and vector graphics application (ex. Microsoft Visio, etc.) where they would be re-sized to suit one's needs. The diagramming and vector graphics application would then be used to diagram the communication cabling between the various products and may also include circuits detailing how the equipment will be powered.

Please click here more information concerning product and feature suggestions.
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05-05-16, 04:58 PM (This post was last modified: 05-06-16 08:07 AM by Chuck - Raymarine - Moderator.)
Post: #3
RE: System interconnect diagramming software tools
I have done exactly that, using Visio as my application of choice. I have captured (from the Raymarine web site, as well as others) images of a great many products (Raymarine, as well as others) that I use on my boat, and then use Visio to draw my systems in a fairly robust manner. Visio has the capability to store data about each drawing object (such as an MFD or an sensor), which I use to capture part number, software version, location, etc.
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05-13-16, 08:37 AM
Post: #4
RE: System interconnect diagramming software tools
SheltieJim and Chuck,
it looks like SheltieJim already has invested quite some thought and significant effort into this.
- SheltieJim, would you be willing to share the components you developed?
- If yes, Chuck, is there a way to make it accessible for users to download, but also add new ones?

I know this is not a live or die topic, but would help many of us plan and document our changing and upgraded installations.
Thanks for your consideration!
Heiri
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05-13-16, 09:58 AM (This post was last modified: 05-13-16 10:44 AM by Chuck - Raymarine - Moderator.)
Post: #5
RE: System interconnect diagramming software tools
Mountain Boy, I would be happy to share it as widely as it can be. However, because I built up this set of components for my own use on a single project, I paid very little attention to such things as quality of images, consistent sizes, consistent data, etc.

In practical terms, that means that I would want to take a bit of time (possibly a couple of weeks or so) to really clean it up, document it, etc.

Once I've done that, I will publish it as a download on my own boat's website, and I would be happy to make it available through Raymarine's forum as well, if Raymarine is willing. Of course, I would use a user-friendly license that allows derivative works (meaning you can modify it for your own use as much as you wish) with attribution required only for commercial usage.

So, if you can wait for up to a month, I'll be happy to make you the first "customer" (no, there will be no charge -- I like open software, too).

Hope this helps,
Jim
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05-13-16, 12:23 PM
Post: #6
RE: System interconnect diagramming software tools
It would be pretty cool to have this available. Does anyone know of a Visio alternate that is open source and free? I'd hate to pay so much for something I would only use a couple of times.
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05-13-16, 01:19 PM (This post was last modified: 05-13-16 01:21 PM by Chuck - Raymarine - Moderator.)
Post: #7
RE: System interconnect diagramming software tools
Graphical applications such a MS PowerPoint and the OpenOffice equivalent are often used, particularly for diagramming smaller systems.
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05-13-16, 01:41 PM (This post was last modified: 05-13-16 02:11 PM by Chuck - Raymarine - Moderator.)
Post: #8
RE: System interconnect diagramming software tools
Chuck's right, of course. But there are tradeoffs (everything in the universe is a tradeoff).

Advantages of Powerpoint and the OpenOffice equivalent: Price, ease of use, interchange with other people.

Advantages of Visio: Drawing objects are, indeed, objects; they can have data associated with them, connections (e.g., wires, hoses) between objects "stretch" and remain attached to the objects when you move or rearrange them, you can control exactly what locations on each object can have a connection, etc.

Chuck, I'm sure that you are aware of Maretron's N2KBuilder. Has Raymarine considered providing either (a)a similar tool focused on Raymarine hardware or (b)a set of "objects" that might "plug into" N2KBuilder so that existing software could be used for SeatalkNG work at least. (A really comprehensive tool would, of course, properly handle Seatalk(1), SeatalkHS/RayNet, SeatalkNG, NMEA 0183, and NMEA 2000, and perhaps other networks that have been used by Raymarine in the past.

I do not know of free or very-low-cost software that does the equivalent sort of stuff that Visio does. Pity, really. (Note to self: Would this be worth pursuing?)
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05-13-16, 02:14 PM (This post was last modified: 05-13-16 02:15 PM by Chuck - Raymarine - Moderator.)
Post: #9
RE: System interconnect diagramming software tools
As indicated the feature request has been logged but has not yet been acted upon. Thanks for your input.
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05-14-16, 12:24 PM
Post: #10
RE: System interconnect diagramming software tools
Great Stuff, Jim. Thanks for the willingness to share, and I start practicing with Visio.
And no, I am not under time pressure. While I am already sitting on the new hardware, I am not able to get to the boat in the near term (300 miles away) - that's why I try to plan well, and then would love to have the installation well documented for the case of downstream problem solving and future upgrades. With this, I am going back to standby.
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