Raymarine to laptop data transfer

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rodtennyson's picture
Joined: 1/25/11
Posts: 21
Raymarine to laptop data transfer

For those Catalina sailors who have the Raymarine classic C series multifunction display navigation systems it can be frustrating to enter waypoints and routes from the helm especially if the weather is bad and you are under way. The really only practical way to transfer data from a laptop computer below to the C display at the helm is the use of compact flash cards. Many of us would rather plan our waypoints and routes while at anchor, at home or at the dock using a graphical interface with nautical charts rather than typing in detail coordinates or twisting that crazy dial on the C display. You can download for free the Raymarine RayTech Planner ([url]http://www.raymarine.com[/url] ) for use on your laptop but that software does not come with any detailed navigation charts or a good graphical interface to plan your cruises. Basically you still have to use the RayTech Planner by typing in detailed coordinates where it is easy to make mistakes especially after a glass of wine.

After much experimentation I discovered another way to solve this problem of data transfer with a limited budget. For your laptop you will need a compact card reader which uses a USB plugin or a PCIA slot. They are readily available online for under $20. As for the navigation software I use the OpenCPN program available free (you can donate if you want) at [url]http://www.opencpn.org[/url] . The Coast Guard US charts are available free at [url]http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/staff/charts.htm[/url] . For non US charts, like the Bahamas, I purchased charts from [url]http://www.nv-charts.com[/url] which works well with OpenCPN. I simply prefer open architecture software systems like OpenCPN.

Load and install OpenCPN on your laptop and then you can easily create a route with its corresponding waypoints using detailed nautical charts and the graphical interface, no more typing coordinates. For reason explained below be sure that the names assigned to your waypoints and route do not exceed 16 characters. Once the route is created you can export the route and waypoints on your laptop OpenCPN as a a universal .gpx file. The problem is your Raymarine classic C series cannot read a .gpx file so you need a converter.

A good converter is the GPS Utility from [url]http://www.gpsu.co.uk[/url] . which includes a free trial version but the full version is only $60. The support for GPSU is great and they are always improving the software. GPSU has numerous formats to convert route and waypoints from one format to the other including the Raymarine .fsh file format. GPSU can also read .gpx file formats created in OpenCPN. So from GPSU open the .gpx file of your waypoints and corresponding route created in the OpenCPN program. You can now see a chart of your waypoints and route. Check to make sure the waypoint names and route name do not exceed 16 characters because if they do the program cannot create a Raymarine .fsh file. Now save this .gpx file as a Raymarine .fsh file which you can choose from the GPSU drop down menu. Save this .fsh file named as "ARCHIVE.FSH" onto your compact flash card. Raymarine can only read the file name ARCHIVE.FSH and format.

Now take your compact flash card out of the laptop card reader and take it up to the C Display at the helm. Then follow the Display directions from the Menu button on removing any existing memory cards from the Display. Then press the Data button on the Display and follow the directions on the Display to retrieve a route from a comapct card. Once completed check the Display listings for routes and waypoints to make sure the retrieve worked.

Rod Tennyson
Lila Jean C375 #16

LCBrandt's picture
Joined: 6/26/07
Posts: 1282

Thanks, Rod. Can attest that OpenCPN is a nice software package. I have it on the boat laptop, but I use Coastal Explorer here at home.

Larry Brandt
S/V High Flight #2109
Pacific Northwest, PDX-based
2002 C-36 mkII SR/FK M35B

Joined: 12/15/22
Posts: 7

Rod, thanks for the detailed instructions. I use Open CPN a lot for years and it is great. I am just new to my boat that has a C 90 from 2006. I will be trying this method for sure. Also, how do you update the existing charts in the C series It looks like updates for firmware stopped in 2012. Is there some Navionics connection? Otherwise the plotter works great and it is rugged, I see no reason to swap out for a brand new 7K$ system just because it's touch screen. Especially with your workaround for adding routes. 

ken passeri
Sea sparrow
cat 36 mkii 2077
Alameda Ca

Joined: 12/15/22
Posts: 7



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