CAN I CONNECT MY OLDER ELECTRONICS TO NEW EQUIPMENT?
Many new electronics
(most of which use NMEA 2000 connections) can be networked with older models (that use NMEA 0183 protocol) using special data converters or “gateways.”
NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 are data languages that let your electronics share information. For example, the GPS can send steering commands to your autopilot. Data converters are language translators that allow older 0183 electronics and newer 2000 equipment talk to and understand each other. These standards also allow electronics of different manufacturers to work together and share information.
For instance, the Actisense NGW-1
(shown above, $189.95, thegpsstore.com) and the AMEC NK-80 ($179.95, milltechmarine.com) both can send and receive data from either type of NMEA network. Versions are also available to pass special AIS data messages or be able to connect to your computer’s USB port.
— Ken Englert