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NMEA-0183 Logger

Actual Firmware for 2x NMEA: V0.1.12

Actual Firmware for Seatalk: V0.1.15

Developer pagee: (German)


Toshiba SD-M04G 20070817.jpg

The OpenSeaMap data logger is capable of logging data of two NMEA-0183 devices, for example depth-sounder and GPS. For this, there are two input channels. Both inputs will be written with a timestamp for a later chronological sorting. Data about acceleration and displacement will also be logged to determine heeling, heaving and pitching. All data will be written to an SD-card. Data is recorded raw for further processing, no filtering is done.

  • Data logger for NMEA-data
  • Built-in 6-axis MotionTracking (Gyroscope and Accelerometer)
  • Writing data on standard SD-card in NMEA-0183 format
  • Simplest handling
  • LED for operation, input data, and SD-card access
  • 2 NMEA-0183 inputs (4800 Baud)
  • 1 Seatalk-1 input alternatively (selectable by internal jumper)
  • 12 V supply


Logger and cable

You can order the NMEA-Logger here.

It comes to you in a small packet.

1 NMEA-Logger
1 Cable with RJ45 jack and open end
Manual in English and German


Mounting the Logger

Install the logger to a protected location where you have access to the SD-card and where you can see the LEDs.

Mount it as perpendicular as possible to the front panel of the navigation area (outside or inside) or perpendicular to a vertical wall behind. The top edge ideally will be horizontally to the ship's transverse axis. The two arrows on the upper surface indicate the direction in respect to the ship's axis. Please describe this in the metadata of your ship.

Connecting the Cable

The logger will turn on automatically with the operating voltage. After switching on, it takes about 30 seconds until the logger starts to write data. If the green power indicator LED is lighting, the logger is active and ready to receive. The connection is made via the RJ45-jack. This is where all signals and the supply are connected.

A suitable cable comes with the logger. In case that you need to buy a longer one, please use a simple normal patch cable (network cable) as it is available at any electronics store. Make sure that this is not a "crossover" cable" or "cross cable" for directly connecting two computers. Cut the patch cable, you need one side (connector and open end). The colors show you if the cable is European or American. If the outer wires in the tranparent plugs are green, you've got a cable according to the European standard (568A), if these are orange it is an American standard cable (568B).

There are the following connections:

American patch-cable.
The outer wires are orange.
Conductor pairs
Pin -568A pairno. -568B pairno. -568A color
(Europ. cable)
-568B (AT&T 258A) color
(American cable)
Logger meaning
1 3 2 Pair 3 Tip white/green line Pair 2 Tip white/orange line Seatalk -
2 3 2 Pair 3 Ring green/white or green Pair 2 Ring orange/white line or orange Seatalk +
3 2 3 Pair 2 Tip white/orange line Pair 3 Tip white/green line NMEA B -
4 1 1 Pair 1 Ring blue/white line or blue Pair 1 Ring blue/white line or blue NMEA A +
5 1 1 Pair 1 Tip white/blue line Pair 1 Tip white/blue line NMEA A -
6 2 3 Pair 2 Ring orange/white line or orange Pair 3 Ring green/white line or green NMEA B +
7 4 4 Pair 4 Tip white/brown line Pair 4 Tip white/brown line GND
8 4 4 Pair 4 Ring brown/white line or brown Pair 4 Ring brown/white line or brown +12V

CAUTION: In the printed manual channel A and B are interchanged.

Connecting the Sounder NMEA

Connect the NMEA output of the sounder/sonar to the NMEA input of the logger.
Use the NMEA-A for the sounder/sonar if possible.

Signal Sonar NMEA-A
- Pin 5
+ Pin 4

If the Sounder works with Satalk-1, see switch port A from NMEA-0183 to Seatalk-1.

Connecting Sounder Seatalk

Connect the Seatalk-1 output of the sonar to the Seatalk-1 input of the logger.

Jumper for NMEA (default)
Jumper for Seatalk
Signal Sonar Seatalk
- Pin 1
+ Pin 2

The input A has to be switched electrically from NMEA-0183 to Seatalk-1.

For this, there are two steps necessary:

  1. Open the logger. There is a red jumper in the middle of the board. On the board you will find the words "Seatalk/NMEA". For Seatalk, put the bridge on the left and the middle pin (where "Seatalk" is written). For NMEA, put the bridge on the right and the middle pin (where "NMEA" is written).
  2. Start the configuration program and create a configuration file with the appropriate entries. Save this configuration file on an SD-card and start the logger with this card.

Connecting GPS NMEA

Connect the NMEA output of the GPS device to the NMEA input of the logger.
Use the NMEA B for the GPS if possible.

- Pin 3
+ Pin 6

Connecting Supply (12 V)

The logger is operating with 12 V voltage (9-15V). To start the data recording automatically when the navigation devices are turned on, the logger must be connected to the same circuit as the navigation instruments.

Supply Cable Color
GND Pin 7 Pair 4 Ring white/brown line
+12 V Pin 8 Pair 4 Tip brown/white line or brown

Connecting Cable

Terminal strips are ideal. If you connect the cable to a terminal block, you can bend the stripped end, in order to fix it better in the terminal block.

Strain Relief

The loose end of the cable must be secured with a strain relief when connected to the onboard electronics (the wires are very thin).


After applying the operating voltage and a short initialization time (30 seconds), the data is written automatically to the SD-card.

Control Panel

The control panel is self-explaining:

Control and connecting panel
SD-card Insert SD-card We recommend a 4 GB SD-card. It can record up to 40 days. The SD-card must be formatted FAT-32.
Active/write       Green
      Red flashing
The logger is active and ready to receive
the logger writes to the SD-card.
RJ45-Connector Connect power supply
Connect sonar
Connect GPS

          Gelb/Green flashing

On the NMEA channel, a valid signal is received.

Insert the SD-card before turning on the logger.
Remove the SD-card from the logger only when the logger is turned off.

On every start and every hour, a new file will be created automatically on the SD-card.


If an error of writing the data occurs during start or operation of the logger, the red LED flash regularly every second:

Where What Meaning Action
LED next to plug       Red flashing SD-card is full. Replace SD-card with an empty one.

Other possible causes:

  • SD-card has an unsupported file format (for data cards there is only FAT-16 and FAT-32 supported)
  • SD-card is not writable or is not recognized. Please test the card on your PC.

Operating LEDs

Where What Meaning
LED next to plug
LED 1 in plug
LED 2 in plug
The logger is active and reciving.
LED next to plug
LED 1 in plug
LED 2 in plug
      Green flashing
Initialization of the logger (about 30 sec)

LED next to plug
LED 1 in plug
LED 2 in plug
The logger is currently turning off.
LED next to plug
LED 1 in plug
LED 2 in plug
      Red flickering
The logger is writing data on the SD-card.
LED next to plug
LED 1 in plug
LED 2 in plug
      Yellow flickering
      Green flickering
In this NMEA channel, a valid signal is received.
In this NMEA channel, a valid signal is received.

Preparing the SD-card

We recommend a 4 GB SD-card. It can record up to 40 days. (about 4 MB per hour, 100 MB per day). The SD-card must be formatted FAT-32.

Firmwareupdate with SD-card

A SD-card with FAT-16 file system must be used for the firmware update. The easiest way is to use a SD-card with 2 GB or smaller. This can be simply formatted with FAT-16 (on some operation systems are also just plain FAT) or creating a small partition. The latest firmware file can be downloaded, and put on the root of the SD-card.

A software tool that simplifies the update process is in progress.

Firmware-Version Date
xxx yyy

Programm "OpenSeaMap-Logger"

Mit dem Programm "MCS Depth-Logger" kann man Tiefen-Daten hochladen und den Logger konfigurieren:

  1. Verwaltung/Backup/Restore der SD Karten
  2. Verwaltung der Firmware inkl. Vorbereitung der SD Karte für ein evt. Firmware Update
  3. Überprüfung/Korrektur der geloggten Daten
  4. Export ins NMEA Format
  5. Upload auf einen Server
  6. Darstellung einzelner Daten auf Karten
  7. Verwaltung von Routen
    1. Hinzufügen/Löschen von einzelnen Dateien
    2. Darstellung auf Karte
  8. Kartendarstellung
    1. verschiedene Kartenprovider: OpenStreetMap, OpenSeaMap, Virtual Earth
    2. Möglichkeit verschiedener Overlays wie Sportstätten, Seezeichen
    3. Darstellung verschiedener Daten als Diagramm: Tiefe, Höhe, Beschleuningung und Lage, Geschwindigkeit
  9. Internationalisierung: Sprachen Deutsch und Englisch, Maßsysteme: metrisch, imprial, nautisch

Manual for "MCS Depth Logger"


For the skipper

If the logger is connected to the power supply of Navigation Devices,
it starts automatically when the navigation devices are turned on.
If the navigation devices be turned off (or if a power interruption),
the log file is automatically closed.
Once the power supply is switched on again, a new file is created automatically.
The logger has an built-in power-backup-circuit
ensuring there is no data write fault during interruption of the supply voltage.

On an SD-card with 2 GB can be recorded for about 18 days.
Approximately 100 MB of data recorded per day.
(This can of course vary according to the GPS and sonar used.)
Thus, the SD-card needs to be replaced in time.

For Charter Combapies

For simple handling, use 2 SD-cards to each device.

After each charter trip the SD-card needs to be replaced.
To do this, label for each vessel 2 SD-cards with the ship's name.
One card is plugged into the logger, the other comes into the office to vessel/charter-documents.
The logger automatically starts with the navigation device.
The charter customers don't need to worry about anything.

The following check lists can be adapted to your charter base:

When crew changes
  1. Remove the written SD-card
  2. Insert new empty card (from the vessel documents)
  3. Bring removed card with the ship's documentation to the office

During crew briefing
It would be nice if the charterers employee in charge briefly tells that the charter company participates in the project "Detection of shallow water depths". And that the skipper can support the project particularly well by selectively moves a bit in bays and harbor entrances back and forth to capture the depth of the key points well.
This could also be advertised on your website.

In the office
  1. put removed card into a PC and upload data to the server.
  2. assign the uploaded data to the correct ship (choose from the list of vessels)
  3. Erase data on the described card,
    put the empty card to the shipping documents.
  4. Note in the ship's documentation:
    Data uploaded <trip/customer> <date>
    Data deleted <trip/customer> <date>

Meta data

For a reliable evaluation, we need accurate information about the ship and the measuring device used.

These data need be entered only once per vessel and are then valid for all log files for this ship. Changes to marine electronics, the original data can be easily changed or expanded.

Uploading data

  1. You need a computer with Internet connection and SD-card reader
  2. Put the SD card into the SD-card slot
  3. Please log in using your username:
  4. Enter the metadata of your ship and to the measuring device.
    If you use the same ship as the last time, and if nothing was changed in the measuring device, you can simply select your ship from the list of your ships.
  5. Upload the data to the server


OpenSeaMap says thanks to:

Wilfried Klaas
for developing the hard- and software
KoBo Trading Company Limited, HongKong
for prefinancing
KoBo (Shenzhen) electronics company Limited, Shenzhen, China
for prototyping and production
AK Modulbus GmbH
for distribution, but AK Modulbus can not spend any technical support for the logger.
for Logger distribution: