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Product Catalogue

Issue 3
About Actisense

Actisense intelligent sensors and

interfaces. Smarter connections that
make more sense
Actisense is synonymous with excellence in smart sensors,
underwater acoustics and NMEA interconnections.
With over 20 years of specialist experience in the design of
digital signal processing software and hardware, Actisense
have developed a wide range of products – NMEA
interfaces, depth sounders and cables which are unique in
the marine marketplace for their quality and sophistication.
Our enviable world-wide reputation for supplying smarter
marine electronic solutions has been achieved through:
• Intelligent design
• Exacting manufacturing standards
• The highest levels of service
Our innovative design approach, embracing real world
echo capture and simulation, has enabled us to perfect
our unique depth-sounding algorithm. This now forms the
calculating heart of depth sounding devices from many
major international marine electronics brands
across the world.

Actisense. Smarter, safer solutions.

The more sensible choice.

Actisense® is a registered trademark

of Active Research Limited.

NMEA 0183 Interfaces

The NMEA (National Marine Electronics Association)

What is ISO-Drive?
publishes standard communication protocols to
enable a marine electronic device with an NMEA ISO-Drive provides a
port to share its data with other NMEA devices. galvanically isolated
output, making
NMEA 0183 defines the electrical signalling, data protocol installation simple and
and sentence formats for a 4800 baud serial data bus. free from fear of ground
Established more than 20 years ago, the levels of expertise loops. This substantially
required to install NMEA 0183 devices has increased with reduces the risk of
the introduction of the AIS compatible NMEA 0183 HS. damage and hazards in
Actisense has the know-how to provide products that meet, connected equipment.
and indeed surpass NMEA 0183 specifications, and solve
The ISO-Drive output is
many of the issues that arise when connecting electronic
tolerant of all connection
equipment together.
types (RS422, RS485 &
Our NMEA Interfaces provide the intelligent interconnection RS232), making for easy
technology that enables users to get the most out of their installation of an NMEA
NMEA instruments and related on board PCs or laptops. 0183 data bus system.

All Actisense NMEA products utilise advanced opto-isolation

ISO-Drive outputs are
circuitry that protects both the NMEA ‘talker’ device and the
separately isolated from
Actisense product itself.
each other and the input
All Actisense NMEA products feature high quality screw (listener) circuit, and can
connectors, angled to allow easy access to make wiring up ‘float’ safely up to 1500
simple and quick. volts D.C. from system
Critically, our range of NMEA 0183 multiplexers elegantly
overcome the major limitation of the NMEA 0183 system By striving to create the
- that there can be only one ‘talker’ or information source on best possible products,
any NMEA 0183 data line. the inclusion of unique
Just connect and relax, knowing that Actisense has it ISO-Drive technology
secured. takes the Actisense
range to the next level.

More details on this technology and other innovations can be

found on the Actisense website.

NMEA 0183 Interfaces (cont).
NDC-4 / NDC-4-USB NMEA Data Multiplexer

NDC-4 Features
Flexible, low cost multiplexing with 5 Opto Inputs (4 HS+)
up to five NMEA inputs and ISO- 2 HS+ ISO-Drive Outputs
Intelligent multiplexing
Drive outputs software rules
Flexible NMEA filtering
The Actisense NDC-4 and NDC-4-USB bring the same
Configurable baud rates
combination of performance and ease-of-use to your
and port priorities
installation that you expect from all our interfaces. Now
up to five OPTO isolated NMEA 0183 sources can be Full galvanic 1500V isolation
multiplexed into a single stream*. PC configuration software

Two flexible ISO-Drive outputs allow two different USB PC interfacing option
downstream talker baud rates to be created, ensuring AIS compatible
maximum system flexibility.
The NDC-4 is flexible and powerful enough to be the
heart of a simple system, or one of many Actisense
products in a more complex system. It provides
complete access to all NMEA 0183 data sources,
configurable filters to remove unwanted data, as well USB 1.1 & 2
as enabling an on board PC to read and
add to the combined data stream.
*Four inputs on the USB version, as the
USB interface acts as the fifth channel,
overriding the fifth OPTO input.






Part number: NDC-4

NDC-4 Preconfigured Options

Preconfigured Features
Preconfigure the NDC-4 as an NDC-4-ASW
Autoswitch or for AIS operation 4 Opto Inputs (3 HS+)
2 HS+ ISO-Drive Outputs
To make things easy for Actisense customers, there is
Intelligent automatic
now the option to have the NDC-4 factory preconfigured switching software rules
for AIS operation or as an Autoswitch, making it the
Flexible NMEA filtering
most flexible Actisense product yet. This can allow
the NDC-4 to be used straight out of the box, without Configurable baud rates and
port priorities
needing configuration in the field.
PC configuration software
Naturally, any factory preconfigured option can be
changed by the user if required. USB PC interfacing option
AIS compatible
When preconfigured for AIS operation (NDC-4-AIS), one
input is set to 38400 baud and the NMEA filter prevents
any AIS data from going out of the low speed output.
Preconfigured Features
Alternatively, the Autoswitch preconfigured option NDC-4-AIS
(NDC-4-ASW) automatically switches data from one of All NDC-4 features as
four NMEA 0183 input devices to the two NMEA 0183 detailed on page 4
outputs (by default, one at 38400, one at 4800), by
determining the highest priority device with
good data.






DEVICE  Part numbers: NDC-4-AIS & NDC-4-ASW

NMEA 0183 Interfaces (cont).
NBF-2 NMEA Buffer

NBF-2 Features
Distribute isolated data to multiple 1 HS+ Opto Input
NMEA devices 6 HS+ ISO-Drive Outputs
115200 baud capable
The Actisense NMEA Buffer 2 (NBF-2) galvanically opto-
AIS compatible
isolates and buffers NMEA 0183 data to drive multiple
NMEA devices, such as chart plotters and radars. It Full galvanic 1500V isolation
is also ideal for safely interfacing an on board PC to Full NMEA 0183 compliance
NMEA 0183 equipment on a vessel. ISO-Drive outputs
Designed for use with all NMEA 0183 input and output compatible with NMEA 0183
and PC Comm port types
types (RS422, RS485 and RS232), the NBF-2 produces
an amplified copy on each of its isolated outputs.
Full galvanic isolation on the OPTO input and the ISO-
Drive outputs (see special feature on page 3) ensure
protection for both the source talker device and all
listening devices, meeting and indeed exceeding the
latest NMEA 0183 specifications.
The Actisense NBF-2 is invaluable in creating a
safe and flexible NMEA data network.







Part number: NBF-2

USG-1 USB to Serial Gateway

USG-1 Features
Connect your boat’s data network 1 HS+ Opto Input
to your PC with the safety of full 1 HS+ ISO-Drive Output
Up to 115200 baud data
electrical isolation transfer rate
Full galvanic 1500V isolation
The Actisense USG-1 is the safest way to connect your
Full NMEA 0183 compliance
boat’s data network to an on board PC. It converts a
ISO-Drive output compatible
USB port into a bi-directional serial port suitable for
with both NMEA 0183 and
connecting to a marine standard NMEA 0183 data bus. PC Comm port types
The USG-1 ISO-Drive output (special feature on page Creates a Virtual Comm Port
3) and OPTO input provide full isolation, making (“VCP”) on the PC
installation simple and free from ground loops. There Can be used to isolate
are no risks of burning wires or circuits causing damage between two PC systems
to PC equipment. Part numbers:
USG-1 (NMEA 0183)
The input uses the Actisense isolation circuitry to USG-1-485 (RS485)
protect any connected equipment from most common
system faults. This isolator can receive very low level
differential signals that are often too small to be
received by a PC serial port.
The Actisense USG-1 overcomes all the problems of
using a low cost ‘USB to RS232’ cable from a computer
store: the risk of expensive damage to the PC as there
is no isolation and also such a device may not provide
either the drive current or the correct voltage levels for
NMEA 0183 interfacing.





USB 1.1 & 2


Part number: USG-1-422 & USG-1-485

NMEA 0183 Interfaces (cont).
PC-OPTO-3 NMEA to RS232 Opto-Isolator

PC-OPTO-3 Features
2000 volts protection for vital on 1 HS+ Opto input
board NMEA devices, 1 HS+ NMEA Output
(directly connected to PC,
and much more but adds tranzorb spike

Actisense has been manufacturing the successful Up to 115200 baud

OPTO-1 cable since the year 2000. Self-powered – takes power
from PC port
The new OPTO-3 features as standard, a fully shielded
Simple installation
case and cable, making it even more desirable.
Shielded cable and case
Particularly suited to ‘noisy’ and/or commercial
environments as it provides a complete solution for
system builders who require all components to
be shielded.
The easy, safe and low-cost way to connect an NMEA
0183 system to a laptop PC (or any other device with
a standard RS232 9-pin port).
Self powered (from the PC) to make installation
trouble-free and quick.

Part number: PC-OPTO-3

Active DST Module
DST-2 Active DST Module

DST-2 Features
Breathe new, smart digital life Depth frequencies of
into old or new transducers, 150kHz, 170kHz, 200kHz or
with digital signal processing Depth range 0.3 to 200m,
0.01m resolution
technology Speed/Log sensor 0.5kn to
50kn, 0.01kn resolution
The Actisense Active Depth/Speed/Temperature Module
Temperature sensor 0°C to
is the market-leading way to take analogue transducers +40°C, 0.01°C resolution
into the digital age.
NMEA 0183 data output
Used with new or existing transducers fitted to a vessel, once/second
the Active DST Module digitises depth, speed and Flash upgradeable, ‘future-
temperature transducer signals into NMEA data to proof’ design
deliver best-in-class seabed tracking. Configurable depth, speed
When used with an existing installed transducer, & temperature options
the frequency of the DST-2 must match that of the Part numbers:
transducer. Typical frequencies used by manufacturers DST-2-150, DST-2-170,
are 150kHz (common in the UK/EU) and 170kHz & DST-2-200, DST-2-235
200kHz (more common in USA).
The module is ideal for operation with any
NMEA 0183 compatible device, such as
chart plotters, radars or an on board PC.
In addition, it can operate with a
bi-directional RS232 interface for
customised applications where
parameters need to be changed.
The DST-2 now offers user configuration of
depth offset, speed calibration curve and
temperature offset - creating a very flexible

Part number: DST-2

NMEA 2000 Interfaces

Actisense understands the transition from NMEA

0183 to NMEA 2000 can be complex and costly so
strives to provide simple, straightforward solutions to
interconnection problems. With the advantage of 10
years designing NMEA 0183 interfaces, Actisense has
the knowledge and skill to develop a range of NMEA
2000 interfaces.

NMEA 2000 will lower the overall costs of installing and

configuring networks. One single network backbone cable
replaces the multiple cables needed with an NMEA 0183
network. Power and data are all shared on the same cable.
NMEA 2000 is an ‘open’ network system based on CAN
(Controller Area Network), which has been used in the
automotive industry for many years. The network has
bandwidth protection ensuring mission critical data always
gets through.
Capable of self diagnosis, the NMEA 2000 network is
intelligent and can identify a node sending constant error
messages and automatically shuts it down, while the rest of
the network continues sharing data.
NMEA 2000 certified products can communicate with each
other on the NMEA 2000 network. However, Actisense
have developed interfaces to enable NMEA 0183 devices
to continue to be used with the new NMEA 2000 network.
Additionally, Actisense can enable bi-directional transfer of
NMEA 2000 data between a networked device and a PC.
All Actisense NMEA products have opto-isolated inputs and
ISO-Drive technology outputs (special feature on page 3)
making Actisense the safest choice available.
The Actisense NMEA 2000 range exceeds all NMEA 2000
requirements and provides simple solutions to ensure users
get the most from their NMEA instruments.

QNB-1 Quick Network Block

QNB-1 Features
Fault-free backbone networking Eight 5-way connection
connections made easy on NMEA points, allowing up to
six NMEA 2000 network
2000 buses and networks drops & two backbone

The Actisense Quick Network Block (QNB-1) provides a Compatible with all
baud rates from 4800
flexible alternative to multiple connectors, reducing the
to 250 kBaud
cost of an NMEA 2000 cable installation.
Fused power connection
As a multi-drop NMEA 2000 network backbone option
connection block, the QNB-1 adheres to the barrier 4 power & 1 data LEDS
strip connection type detailed in the NMEA 2000
Compatible with NMEA
specification. 0183 & NMEA 2000
To protect the power hook-up, a double fused networks
connection is provided to the network backbone, Simple installation
limiting the current to the safe level for the network. LED
indicators show power status, detect power reversal
and show whether the fuses are still intact.
An additional LED indicates NMEA data on the bus.
The Actisense QNB-1 has an alternative
use as an NMEA 0183 junction box to
connect multiple NMEA 0183 ’listener’
devices together and distribute power to
all devices.




2000 POWER 2000
Part number: QNB-1

NMEA 2000 Interfaces (cont)
NGW-1-ISO / NGW-1-USB NMEA 2000 Gateway

NGW-1 Features
Hook up to NMEA 2000 now 1 HS+ Opto Input
using your current NMEA 0183 1 HS+ ISO-Drive Output
Up to 115200 baud data
equipment transfer rate
Full NMEA 2000 compliance
The Actisense NGW-1 provides an uncomplicated way
to link between a boat's data networks. The NGW-1 Full NMEA 0183 compliance
makes it possible to convert NMEA 0183 data into Full galvanic 1500V isolation
NMEA 2000 data and vice-versa. on both inputs and outputs
Upgrade your NMEA 0183
Using the advanced configuration software provided, it equipment to NMEA 2000
is straightforward to set up which data conversions are
Allow NMEA 0183 devices
required for both directions. to receive vital data from the
Multiple NGW units can be used to multiplex numerous NMEA 2000 bus
NMEA 0183 devices onto the NMEA 2000 network, Use the NMEA 2000 bus
using the network as a means of combining and to multiplex several NMEA
0183 signals together
transferring all data items from one place to another.
Part numbers NGW-1-ISO &
The high reliability of NMEA 2000 data transfer ensures NGW-1-USB
effective communication even in the presence of
interference. The data can then be picked up from the
data bus wherever required, reducing wiring complexity.
The NGW-1 features an ISO-Drive output (see special
feature on page 3) and an OPTO isolated input. These
features ensure the NGW-1 is free from ground loop
installation issues, and meets all isolation requirements
for NMEA 2000 networks.





USB 1.1 & 2 option available


Part numbers: NGW-1-ISO & NGW-1-USB

NGT-1-USB / NGT-1-ISO NMEA 2000 PC Gateway

NGT-1 Features
Interface your PC to the NMEA Provides a rule-enforcing
2000 bus with a fully functional firewall between the PC &
NMEA 2000 bus
firewall gateway Up to 115200 baud data
transfer rate
The Actisense NGT-1 is the only intelligent NMEA 2000 Full NMEA 2000 compliance
gateway available to precisely transfer messages to and Full galvanic 1500V isolation
from the NMEA 2000 bus. on both input and output
The NGT-1 diagnostic software allows viewing of NMEA Allows configuration &
2000 messages with full configuration options, enabling flash updating of Actisense
products on the 2000 bus
setup of all Actisense products on the NMEA 2000 bus.
USB version - HS+ isolated
With ‘Third Party Gateway’ status, leading chartplotter USB input/output
software is also being certified to work with the NGT-1.
ISO version - HS+ OPTO
The firewall feature of the NGT-1 enforces the NMEA input & ISO- Drive output
2000 bus rules so software manufacturers can create
Part numbers NGT-1-USB &
NMEA 2000 compliant software at a fraction of the NGT-1-ISO
direct certification costs. The supplied Actisense
Software Development Kit (SDK) also helps to greatly
reduce the required development time.
Actisense welcomes enquiries from software
manufacturers who would like to incorporate NMEA
2000 and the Actisense NGT-1 into their software.






USB 1.1 & 2


Part numbers: NGT-1-USB & NGT-1-ISO

Technical Information

Product Specifications
NBF-2 NDC-4 USG-1 USG-1-485 NGW-1 NGW-1-USB
PSU Type Switched Switched/USB USB Switched Switched USB
Power (typical) 0.5 0.4 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2
Guarantee 3 3 3 3 3 3
Temperature -20/+70 -20/+70 -20/+70 -20/+70 -20/+70 -20/+70
IP Rating IP66 IP66 IP54 IP54 IP54 IP54
ISO-Drive4 • • • RS485 (ISO)6 •
OPTO inputs4 • • • RS485 (ISO)6 •
USB port Optional1 Standard Standard Standard
NMEA 20002 • •
RS232 Out

Output Types
ISO-Drive4 DST-2 OPTO-3 NMEA 20002 Units

Output Current 20 20 Port dependant - mA

Output Voltage5 2.1-5.1 2.1-5.0 Port dependant - V
Ground Isolation 1500 0 0 2500 V
Baud Rates 4800-115200 4800 4800-57600 250000 bps

Product dimension diagrams

NDC-4 26 mm
37.5 mm

132 mm 80 mm
139.0 mm
179.0 mm
64.0 mm

26 mm

82 mm

55 mm

46.0 mm 28.5 mm

PC-OPTO-3 DST-2 Units
1 - The USB Connection on the NDC-4 is not isolated from the
battery ground.
Special Linear
2 - All NMEA 2000 connections are fully isolated from ground
0.02 0.5 W
3 - The DST-2 has full output protection and is both RS232 and
3 2 Years NMEA 0183 compliant
-20/+70 -20/+70 C
4 - All ISO-Drive Outputs and OPTO inputs are fully compatible
IP44 IP66 with RS422, RS232 and RS485 voltage levels
5 - Minimum output voltage given at 100 ohm load
• 6 - Isolated RS485 in/out specification in ‘Input Types’ table
CE Status : All products are designed to meet or exceed
End 2008 IEC 60945 CE mark tests, and provide full protection against
interference and static discharge risk
• •3

Input Types
OPTO in4 RS485 (ISO)6 RS232 Units

Voltage Tolerance -15 to +15 -8 to +15 -25 to +25 V

Sensitivity 1.8 -0.2 to +0.2 2.0 V
Ground Isolation 2500 1500 0 V
Baud Rates 4800-115200 4800 4800-57600 bps

Power Supply Types

Switched USB Linear Special
Input Voltage Range 10-35 4.75-5.25 10-28 7-25

QNB-1 26 mm

106 mm 80 mm 80 mm
106 mm

26 mm 26 mm

160 mm
82 mm

55 mm 55 mm


Head Office
Actisense, Unit 5, Wessex Trade Centre, Ringwood Road, Poole, Dorset UK BH12 3PF
t:+44 (0)1202 746682  f:+44 (0)1202 746683  e:

NMEA 0183 Interfaces  3
NDC-4 / NDC-4-USB NMEA Data Multiplexer  4
NDC-4 Preconfigured Options  5
NBF-2 NMEA Buffer   6
USG-1 USB to Serial Gateway  7
PC-OPTO-3 NMEA to RS232 Opto-Isolator  8
DST-2 Active DST Module  9
NMEA 2000 Interfaces  10
QNB-1 Quick Network Block  11
NGW-1-ISO / NGW-1-USB NMEA 2000 Gateway  12
NGT-1-USB / NGT-1-ISO NMEA 2000 PC Gateway  13
Technical Information  14