A GPS tracking system for marinas, boat rentals, and other watercraft

Raveon’s asset tracking solutions gives customers the ability to focus on keeping up with their assets, instead of keeping up with monthly fees.  Using radio transmissions to broadcast received GPS messages, Raveon’s GPS transponders allow a marina operator to track all of their rental boats or other watercraft in real-time using a graphical display.  Competing GSM (cellular based) systems charge monthly data usage fees to transmit your GPS tracking information through their cellular telephone signal towers, and only function where you have cell phone service.

If you can’t make a cell phone call, likely, you can’t be tracked. Instead of getting the oars out when you lose cell service, the RavTrack real-time tracking system provides a complete standalone system.  No usage fees or third party infrastructure is necessary; instead RavTrack GPS transponders operate via VHF or UHF digital radio transmissions, providing you with instant status updates on every rental boat or other watercraft in your fleet.

Raveon’s easily configured and customizable GPS tracking system is designed to operate where and how you want it to operate, including a specialty line of weatherproof IP65 rated GPS transponders perfect for small watercraft such as jet-skis, kayaks, or the like.RTPC screen

On the boat, the Raveon GPS transponder simply requires access to the 12 volt (DC) power source, that’s likely already a part of your rental boat, an antenna for the radio, and an antenna for the GPS.  With available power saving modes, Raveon’s data radios will only draw a small fraction of power, meaning that it’s even suitable for a sailboat!

Raveon also offers compact design options suitable for jet skis (UHF systems suggested for Jet Skis for more compact sized antennas.)  Once your transponder is installed in your boat just turn it on and go.  The transponder will immediately begin searching for GPS lock and will begin broadcasting its location automatically at your chosen intervals.

The powerful GPS transponders broadcast position signals that can easily be received several miles over open water.  At your marina, truck, or your general base of operations, another transponder and antenna receives the incoming GPS reports from the boat or rental fleet. View the Port Asset Tracking infographic to learn more about how the RavTrack system is designed. For more information, learn how the Port of Long Beach partnered with Ravtrack for their tracking needs.

GPS Tracking Software

Raveon’s Windows based RavTrackPC program is available to provide you with a platform to view your assets (As seen in the image on the right.)  Customization integrated into RavTrackPC will provide your tracking system with the map you want to use.   You will be able to see the locations and IDs of each of your tracked boats out on the water on your map.  You can also configure RavTrackPC with rules and alerts so that if your boat starts moving at 2 AM or simply hasn’t reported in several minutes an alarm will be triggered.  Alarms can do anything from making a loud noise, to sending an email, tweet or SMS message, to triggering a third party program on your system through a command line interface.

RavTrackPC does far more than just tracking movement too, it can be used to track speed, duration and proximity to other tracked objects as well!  RavTrackPC provides Geo-Fence alerts, where you can create invisible borders to alert you when a boat is not where it’s supposed to be, or when it is heading back in to the marina or launch ramp.  This greatly facilitates dock service not to mention how much easier it is catch your daredevil kids/clients in the act of doing 40mph in a no-wake zone in your boat!  It also keeps the harbor master happy.  Furthermore, if the people in any of your rental craft have an issue, the optionally installed boat assistance switch can be triggered and help can be dispatched directly to the distressed boat’s location.

Displaying GPS Position

The RavTrack GPS transponder can also be set up to be displayed on many on-board GPS systems for boats or vehicles.  (Such as the Lowrance HDS-5 and Garmin 400 seen in the images on the left.)   This means that not only can you track your boat from the marina, it means that your boat or tow vehicle can also track yourboats!  No more awkwardly waiting around at the loading/unloading ramps!  You can watch your boat approach from anywhere, long before it’s in eyesight range.  This is also very useful for the private yacht operator in keeping track of tender boats or tracking recreational watercraft.  Not only is RavTrack great for keeping marina staff updated, the mobile tracking capabilities of RavTrack are ideal for use in your service or rescue craft.  Furthermore, if your rental boat has a compatible display, your marina dock location can appear on the display to guide the lost helmsman back home. display

Raveon’s GPS tracking solutions provide a service that’s simple to use as well as appropriate for an enjoyable boating experience while eliminating the stress of uncertainty.  Whether that means the peace of mind of knowing your customers whereabouts, or simply knowing your boat/fleet will be where you parked it last, Raveon’s stand alone, recurring-fee free, real time tracking will help improve your overall customer service, safety, and fleet maintenance.

Give us a call to discuss your particular operation and allow us to customize a GPS tracking solution tailored to what you need from your GPS tracking system, including system planning, custom radio configurations, or other special needs. If you have questions about the RavTrack GPS tracking system, we also offer an informative webinar.

Connecting M7 to Garmin Oregon

Overview

The M7 GX series of GPS transponders may be directly connected to a Garmin Oregon 450. When connected, the Garmin display map will show the location of the vehicle it is in PLUS the location of all other M7 transponders within radio range.  This unique feature allows one to quickly, easily, and inexpensively, make a mobile AVL system for tracking cars, trucks, race cars, construction equipment, or any thing Raveon’s M7 GX transponder may be installed on.

The Garmin Oregon 450 has a built-in interfaces for a “NMEA 0183? devices, which is another way of saying that they can connect to other devices using a serial cable.   The NMEA 0183 is an RS232 serial connection that typically operates at 4800 baud.  It is used to exchange way point and other information between displays, GPS devices, and transponders.

When Raveon’s M7 GX transponder is connected to the Oregon using the NMEA 0183 connection, the M7 transponder can put icons on the screen of the Garmin display.  As the transponder received updated positions from other vehicles, it updates the position of the icons on the Garmin display.

How NMEA 0183 works

Here is how their NMEA 0183 interface works:

NMEA 0183 Cable Connections

NMEA 0183 is a standard communications format for marine electronic equipment. For example, an autopilot can connect to the NMEA interface of a GPS and receive positioning information.  The GPS can exchange information with any device that transmits or receives NMEA 0183 data. See the following diagram for general wiring connections. Read your product’s owner’s manual for specific wiring information.

NMEA 0183 Wiring  (Data cable)

The Garmin Oregon 450 uses the yellow wire to transmit, the white wire to receive and the Black and green wire for ground.

The M7 DB9 Serial Connector

The 9-pin serial I/O connector on the M7 is a female 9-p D-sub miniature connector having the following pins configuration.

Front-view of DB-9 connector on modem (female)

Pin # Name Dir Function Level / Specification
1 CD out Carrier detect
2 RxD out Receive data Data out of the modem.
3 TxD in Transmit data Data into the modem.
4 DTR in Data terminal ready Normally ignored by the FireLine modem.
5 GND Ground connection Signal and power ground
6 DSR out Data Set Ready
7 RTS in Request to send
8 CTS out Clear to send
9 Power In/out DC power (not Ring signal) User may supply the DC power to the modem on this pin.

Wiring the DB9

The Oregon’s “Data Cable” must be connected to the M7 transponder.  This connection will allow the M7 to put icons on the screen of the Oregon display, showing the location of other tracked vehicles.  The Raveon M7 GPS transponder uses a 9-pin “DB9? connector to connect to the Oregon.  Solder the Oregon data cable wires onto a DB9 connector and plug the DB9 into the M7 transponder as shown below:

The white wire goes to pin two of the DB9, the yellow wire to pin 3, the black and green wires get twisted together and both go to pin 5, and the red wire goes to pin 9 of the DB9. It is recommended that you keep the fuse on the red wire when setting up the DB9 connector.

Configuring the M7 GX Transponder

Raveon has a designed the M7 GX transponder to work with Garmin Oregon Display or any other NMEA 0183 display that can accept the “$GPWPL” NMEA message.   The $GPWPL is an industry standard message that the Garmin displays and many other GPS displays interpret as a way point command.  The M7 GX outputs this $GPWPL message to put icons on the screen of the Garmin, and to move the icons around on its screen.

To configure the M7 transponder to output the $GPWPL message, set the M7 GX to GPS mode 2.  To do this, put it into the configuration mode by send the +++ into the serial port.  The M7 will respond with an OK.  Type GPS 4 and press enter to put it into GPS 4 mode.  GPS 4 is the mode that causes the M7 GX to output $GPWPL messages whenever it receives a status/position message over the air.

Raveon Technologies Corporation

990 Park Center Drive, C

Vista, CA 92081

sales@raveontech.com

760-727-8004

GPS Tracking with the Garmin 60C Series

The M7 GX series of GPS transponders may be directly connected to a Garmin 60C series of hand-held GPSs.  All members of the Garmin 60C family have an RS232 option that is compatible with NMEA 0183 messages.  This allows them to be used with Raveon’s RavTrack series of GPS radio transponders to make a complete GPS tracking system.

When connected to the M7 GPS radio transponder or the Atlas PLPersonal Locator, the Garmin’s map will show the location of all of the the user PLUS the location of all other transponders within radio range.  This unique feature allows one to quickly, easily, and inexpensively, make a portable AVL system for tracking cars, trucks, racecars, construction equipment, or any thing Raveon’s M7 GX or Atlas PL transponder may be installed on.

The Garmin 60C series of hand-held GPSs have built-in interfaces for a “NMEA 0183” devices, which is another way of saying that they can connect to other devices using a serial cable.   The NMEA 0183 is an RS232 serial connection that typically operates at 4800 baud.  It is used to exchange way-point and other information between displays, GPS devices, and transponders.

When Raveon’s M7 GX transponder is connected to the Garmin display using the NMEA 0183 connection, the GPS radio transponder can put icons on the screen of the Garmin display.  As the transponder receives updated positions from other vehicles, it updates the position of the tracked vehicle icons on the Garmin’s display.

Garmin 60C, 60CS, 60Cx Wiring

From the Garmin technical manual, here is how their NMEA 0183 interface works:

NMEA 0183 Cable Connections

NMEA 0183 is a standard communications format for marine electronic equipment. For example, an autopilot can connect to the NMEA interface on the Garmin 60C and receive positioning information.  The Garmin 60C series can exchange information with any device that transmits or receives NMEA 0183 data.  See the following diagram for general wiring connections. Read yourother product’s owner’s manual for more wiring information.

NMEA 0183 Wiring  (Data cable)

Wiring the Serial Cable

The Garmin’s “Data Cable” must be connected to the M7 GPS transponder (or Atlas OL).  This connection will allow the M7 to put icons on the screen of the Garmin display, showing the location of other tracked vehicles.  The Raveon M7 GPS transponder uses a 9-pin “DB9” connector to connect to the Garmin.  Solder the Garmin data cable wires onto a DB9 connector and plug the DB9 into the M7 transponder as shown below:

Connect the white wire(serial data from M7 into Garmin) from the Garmin’s Serial Cable goes to pin 2 of the M7’s RS232 DB9 connector.  You do not need to connect the brown wire(serial data from Garmin), so you can trim it off.  Connect the shield braid of the Garmin Serial Cable to pin 5 of the DB9.  The red wire optionally can connect to pin 9 of the Raveon GPS transponder’s DB9 to power the Garmin from the DC source that powers the M7.

If you do not wire your own cable, but instead use Garmin’s RS232 serial cable, you will need to connect the Garmin’s RS232 cable to the M7 GPS transponder using a “NULL Modem” adaptor.

Configuring the Garmin

Set the NMEA communication of the Garmin to 4800 baud.

Configuring the M7 GX Transponder

Raveon has a designed the M7 GX transponder to work with Lowrance Display or any other NMEA 0183 display that can accept the “$GPWPL” NMEA message.   The $GPWPL is an industry standard message that the Lowrance displays and many other GPS displays interpret as a waypoint command.  The M7 GX outputs this $GPWPL message to put icons on the screen of the Lowarance, and to move the icons around on its screen.

To configure the M7 transponder to output the $GPWPL message, set the M7 GX to GPS mode 2.  To do this, put it into the configuration mode by send the +++ into the serial port.  The M7 will respond with an OK.  Type GPS 4 and press enter to put it into GPS 4 mode.  GPS 4 is the mode that causes the M7 GX to output $GPWPL messages whenever it receives a status/position message over the air.

Connecting the M7 to a Lowrance display

The M7 GX series of GPS transponders may be directly connected to a Lowrance Globalmap 540C or a Globalmap 840C navigation display. When connected, the Lowrance display map will show the location of the vehicle it is in PLUS the location of all other M7 transponders within radio range.  This unique feature allows one to quickly, easily, and inexpensively, make a mobile AVL system for tracking cars, trucks, racecars, construction equipment, or any thing Raveon’s M7 GX transponder may be installed on.

Both the 540C and 840C have built-in interfaces for a “NMEA 0183” devices, which is another way of saying that they can connect to other devices using a serial cable.   The NMEA 0183 is an RS232 serial connection that typically operates at 4800 baud.  It is used to exchange waypoint and other information between displays, GPS devices, and transponders.

When Raveon’s M7 GX transponder is connected to the Lowarnce diplay using the NMEA 0183 connection, the M7 transponder can put icons on the screen of the Lowrance display.  As the transponder received updated positions from other vehicles, it updates the position of the icons on the Lowrance display.

Lowrance 540C and 840C Wiring

From the Lowranace technical manual, here is how their NMEA 0183 interface works:

NMEA 0183 Cable Connections

NMEA 0183 is a standard communications format for marine electronic equipment. For example, an autopilot can connect to the NMEA interface on the GlobalMap 540c and receive positioning information.  The GlobalMap 540c can exchange information with any device that transmits or receives NMEA 0183 data. See the following diagram for general wiring connections. Read yourother product’s owner’s manual for more wiring information.

NMEA 0183 Wiring  (Data cable)

To exchange NMEA 0183 data, the GlobalMap 540c has one NMEA 0183 version 2.0 communication port. Com port one (Com-1) can be used to receive NMEA format GPS data. The com port can also transmit NMEA format GPS data to another device.  The four wires for the com port are combined with the Power Supply cable and NMEA 2000 Power cable to form the power/data cable (shown earlier). Com-1 uses the yellow wire to transmit, the orange wire to receive and the shield wire for signal ground. Your unit does not use the blue wire.540cwiring-to-m7

Wiring the DB9

The Lowrance’s “Data Cable” must be connected to the M7 transponder.  This connection will allow the M7 to put icons on the screen of the Lowrance display, showing the location of other tracked vehicles.  The Raveon M7 GPS transponder uses a 9-pin “DB9” connector to connect to the Lowrance.  Solder the Lowrance data cable wires onto a DB9 connector and plug the DB9 into the M7 transponder as shown below:db9-lowrance-31

The orange wire goes to pin two of the DB9, the yellow wire to pin 3, and the shield braid of he cable connects to pin 5 of the DB9.  The blue wire is trimmed off.

The extra wires on the Lowrance display called NMEA 2000 power are typically not used in a vehicle installation, and may be wrapped up with electrical tape and tucked away.

Configuring the Lowrance

Set the NMEA communication of the Lowrance to 4800 baud.

Configuring the M7 GX Transponder

Raveon has a designed the M7 GX transponder to work with Lowrance Display or any other NMEA 0183 display that can accept the “$GPWPL” NMEA message.   The $GPWPL is an industry standard message that the Lowrance displays and many other GPS displays interpret as a waypoint command.  The M7 GX outputs this $GPWPL message to put icons on the screen of the Lowarance, and to move the icons around on its screen.

To configure the M7 transponder to output the $GPWPL message, set the M7 GX to GPS mode 2.  To do this, put it into the configuration mode by send the +++ into the serial port.  The M7 will respond with an OK.  Type GPS 4 and press enter to put it into GPS 4 mode.  GPS 4 is the mode that causes the M7 GX to output $GPWPL messages whenever it receives a status/position message over the air.