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WEGMATTLLC dAISy AIS Receiver

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WEGMATTLLC dAISy AIS Receiver 1 Contents 2 Disclaimer ........................................ ........................................ ........................................ ..........2 3 Connecting dAISy to a computer ........................................ ........................................ .................2 Windows 7, Vista and XP ........................................ ........................................ .............................. 2 Windows 8 ........................................ ........................................ ........................................ ............ 3 Windows 10 ........................................ ........................................ ........................................ .......... 3 Mac OS X ........................................ ........................................ ........................................ ............... 3 Linux ........................................ ........................................ ........................................ ...................... 3 Configuration of OpenCPN ........................................ ........................................ ............................ 4 Connecting dAISy with other software ........................................ ........................................ ......... 5 4 Using dAISy ........................................ ........................................ ........................................ ........6 Interpreting the status LED ........................................ ........................................ ........................... 6 Configuration and debug menu ........................................ ........................................ .................... 6 5 Using the breakout 6 Using the NMEA 0183 adapter ........................................ ........................................ .................. 10 7 Tips for good AIS reception ........................................ ........................................ ....................... 11 Antenna ........................................ ........................................ ........................................ ............... 11 Location, location, location ........................................ ........................................ ......................... 11 Radio noise ........................................ ........................................ ........................................ .......... 12 8 Troubleshooting ........................................ ........................................ ....................................... 13 9 Source code and 14 10 Contact ........................................ ........................................ ........................................ ......... 14 Wegmatt LLC 6356 138th Ave NE #212 Redmond, WA United States of America Designed and assembled in USA 2 Disclaimer dAISy is a reliable, single-channel AIS Receiver. However, under no circumstances it should be solely relied on for collision avoidance or navigation. It s the user s responsibility to use the product prudently. Neither Wegmatt LLC nor its dealers accept responsibility or liability to the product user or their estate for any accident, loss, injury or damage whatsoever arising out of the use of this product. 3 Connecting dAISy to a computer Windows 7, Vista and XP Your user has to have administrative rights on the Windows machine to install the USB driver. To install the required driver on Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP follow these steps: 1. Download the USB driver from 2. Extract the USB descriptor file (.inf) contained in the archive into a folder on your computer. 3. Plug dAISy into a free USB port. 4. Windows will detect a new USB device and start looking for a driver. 5. When prompted for a driver, select Browse my computer for driver software and select the folder containing the .inf file. a. When not prompted for a driver, open Device Manager and look for Other Devices > dAISy AIS Receiver and select Update Driver . 6. Windows will warn you that the driver has no signature, is from a software vendor unknown to Microsoft. Acknowledge the warning about the unsigned driver. a. Note that the .inf file is a text file that tells Windows that a device with the name dAISy and a certain ID should be handled by the standard USB driver that comes with Windows. It does not contain any code. 7. After successful installation, dAISy AIS Receiver should show up in the Device Manager under Ports (COM & LPT) , note the assigned COM port number. 8. In OpenCPN create a new serial connection on DataPort COM** (where ** is the number Windows assigned) and with 38400 as baud rate. See the chapter about configuring OpenCPN below for more information. Windows 8 Windows 8 requires to temporarily disable driver signature verification while installing dAISy s USB descriptor file. As preparation to the actual installation, follow the steps in this article: Once driver signature verification is disabled, follow the instructions for Windows 7, Vista and XP. For your safety, reboot your PC after completion of the installation. This will re-enable driver signature verification. Windows 10 Good news! With Windows 10 no driver is required and a new COM port will automatically show up in the DataPort drop-down of OpenCPN. See the chapter about configuring OpenCPN below for more information. Mac OS X No driver is required for Mac OS X. dAISy will show be recognized a USB modem. You can determine the ID of dAISy with the following steps: 1. Plug dAISy into a USB port 2. Launch 3. Type ls /dev/*usb* 4. The system will return a list of USB devices, with names like / where XYZ is a number. 5. Copy / to the clipboard, where XYZ is substituted with specifics from your setup. 6. In create a new serial connection on DataPort using the copied string. See the chapter about configuring OpenCPN below for more information. Linux No driver is required for Linux. When plugged into the computer, dAISy will show up as a USB CDC device on /dev/ttyACM0. Detailed instructions for Linux can be found here: Also See the chapter about configuring OpenCPN below for more information. Configuration of OpenCPN OpenCPN is a free chart plotter and navigation software. Among many other things, OpenCPN supports input from AIS receivers to display the position of ships on its charts. You can learn more about OpenCPN and download it on the OpenCPN web page: To use dAISy with OpenCPN, go to the Options dialog, select the Connections icon and add a new connection. Set Properties to Serial. Enter or select the Dataport under which dAISy presents itself (see OS-specific chapters above to determine the correct port). Set Baudrate to 38400. Leave everything else as preset by OpenCPN. Configuration of a serial connection for dAISy in OpenCPN Connecting dAISy with other software dAISy presents itself to computers as a virtual serial port. See the OS-specific chapters above about installation to learn how to determine the serial port. The serial communication parameters of dAISy are: Baud rate 38400 Data bits 8 Parity None Stop bits 1 Flow control None Depending on the software dAISy is used with, some or all of these parameters have to be configured. For details, please refer to the instruction manual of the respective application. 4 Using dAISy Using dAISy is as simple as connecting it with an antenna and a PC and powering up your AIS capable application of choice. When plugged in, dAISy automatically starts to listen for AIS transmissions. Interpreting the status LED dAISy has a single, two-color status LED, giving us some indication about how it s feeling. Short GREEN flash every 5 seconds dAISy is well and alive and in receive mode. While in receive mode, the mode dAISy starts in when powered up, it will very briefly blink green every 5 seconds to indicate that everything is ok. Long GREEN flash Yay! dAISy received a valid AIS packet. For every packet received and passing all error checks, the LED will turn green for second. At the same time dAISy will send the received message over USB to the connected PC. Long RED flash dAISy received an invalid packet. dAISy caught the start of a package, but the received data did not pass other sanity checks like encoding standard or checksum. It might be a ship just out of range, interference from another radio source, or just random noise. Don t panic, you will see a lot of red even under optimal conditions. Fast regular blinking RED dAISy encountered an unexpected system error. The most common cause is that it lost USB connection, which happens on some PCs (particularly Macs) when they go into sleep mode. Unplug dAISy and plug it in again to fix this condition. If the condition persists, there might a hardware issue with your device. Please contact us. No LED activity dAISy failed to boot or crashed. Unplug dAISy and plug it in again to fix this condition. If the condition persists, there might a hardware issue with your device. Please contact me. Or dAISy is not in receive mode because you are using the debug menu. Configuration and debug menu When connecting to dAISy with a serial terminal ( Putty or Termite on Windows, screen on Linux and OS X), pressing ESC will bring up a menu with a few configuration and debug options. The most commonly used options are: D: Toggles debug messages, when in receive mode signal strength as well as information about invalid packets will be displayed. It s normal to receive a lot of broken packages, as there always will be radio noise and ships just barely out of reach. With some experience you can use the debug messages to analyze and improve reception issues. N: Keep pressed to get an idea of the current noise level. -120 to -100 dBm is normal. dAISy will only be able to receive valid packets roughly 15 dBm above that level, consistent reception 25+ dBm above noise. S: If valid packages were received, this gives a summary of the signal strength at which they arrived (min, max, average). ESC: Resume receiving AIS messages. Other options: 0-3: Enables auxiliary serial output of AIS messages on the TX pad on the PCB. Advanced users can connect dAISy with other devices, like for example Bluetooth modems, by soldering a few wires. 1 provides 9600 baud output, 2 is for 38400, and 3 is for 4800 baud. 0 turns serial output off. The serial output is also used by the optional dAISy NMEA 0183 / RS-422 adapter. T: Enter test mode. In this mode, dAISy outputs a test message every 5 seconds. You can enter your own message or have it output a preprogrammed AIS message. This mode is useful when you want to test dAISy but don t have AIS reception at your current location. You can exit test mode by pressing ESC or power-cycling dAISy. C: Configure receiving channel. dAISy has only one radio. To receive on both AIS channels, it continuously switches between the two radio frequencies until a signal is detected. This option controls whether dAISy hops between the channels, only listens to channel A, or only listens to channel B. In some situations, only listening to one channel can increase the number of messages received. The recommended setting is hopping between A and B. R: Turn RSSI Detect on or off. When RSSI detect is on, dAISy will ignore signals that are too weak for reliable communication. This may increase the number of local messages received, but it will also reduce the maximum range. The recommended setting is OFF. L: Turn Low Power Mode on or off: In low power mode, the CPU of dAISy will be powered down when idle. This will reduce power consumption by about 10-15%. As this is insignificant in typical applications, the recommended setting is OFF. #: Save current settings (serial, C, L, R and D) as startup defaults. This is particularly useful when you want to persist the settings for the auxiliary serial output. B: Enter boot loader mode for firmware updates. dAISy only exits this mode through power-cycling or after completing firmware upgrade. Firmware updates and instructions are available at 5 Using the breakout header The circuit board of the dAISy AIS Receiver exposes several signals on an unpopulated header. Advanced users can use these pads to connect the auxiliary serial port of dAISy with other devices like for example WiFi and Bluetooth modules. The speed of the serial port is configured in the debug menu. The 5V pad is connected to the 5V USB power rail. When dAISy is not connected to USB, the 5V pad can be used to power the AIS Receiver. When running standalone, the AIS Receiver will draw a maximum current of 20mA in receive mode. The pad is connected to the power rail of dAISy. It can be used to power peripherals connected to dAISy. If you want to power dAISy through this pad, the LDO must be removed or modified. Pad Function Comment 5V 5V USB power rail Can be used to power a peripheral. Can be used to power dAISy when not connected to USB. 3V3 power rail Can be used to power peripherals. 150mA max current, 50mA continuous. This pad CANNOT be used to power the receiver, unless the LDO is removed! GND GND Connected to GND plane of receiver TX Serial data out signal level, configurable speed RX Serial data in signal level, configurable speed TST SBW Debug and programming of MCU RST SBW, reset Debug and programming of MCU 6 Using the NMEA 0183 adapter If you purchased dAISy with the optional NMEA 0183 adapter, the receiver can be connected to chartplotters and other marine equipment. dAISy NMEA adapter Chartplotter / boat Comment NMEA+ NMEA + or A RX NMEA- NMEA - or B RX If your device only has one RX wire per port, leave NMEA- unconnected GND Ground If your device has only one RX wire or you connect external power, ground must be connected. 9-24V Boat 12-24V power system External power for dAISy if you are not using USB. Below is an illustration on how to connect the dAISy NMEA adapter with a compatible device using single-wire or two-wire NMEA 0183 connection. Note that the colors may be different. Check the installation instructions of your chartplotter to identify the proper connections. single-wire NMEA connection two-wire NMEA connection By default, dAISy is configured to output at 38400 Baud (NMEA high speed). This can be changed to other baud rates in the configuration and debug menu. You also need to check the configuration of your chartplotter. In many models, the NMEA port needs to be enabled in the settings menu and set to the correct protocol, like for example NMEA high speed). NMEA 0183 is compatible with RS-422, which means that the NMEA adapter can also be used to connect dAISy with RS-422 to serial, RS-422 to Ethernet and other RS-422 compatible equipment. You may need to swap the NMEA+ and NMEA- leads. 7 Tips for good AIS reception dAISy is not the most sensitive AIS receiver out there. But you we can help it to excel with some basic measures. Antenna If everything else is optimal, almost any antenna tuned to the VHF band will do. I used a simple wire cut to length for my first prototypes. However, a good antenna will greatly improve results. AIS messages are broadcast on two channels around 162 MHz, which is in the maritime VHF band. This means that any antenna sold as marine VHF antenna will be a good start. The short VHF rubber duck antennas are cheap and will work at short distance. As long as you check whether 162 MHz is inside the supported frequency range, you can even ignore the marine and save a few bucks. However, the more broadband the antenna, the worse the reception quality. A step up are VHF whip antennas. These are steel rods about 1 meter ( ) long. While bulky, these don t cost much more than the rubber duck but provide superior results. Personally, I use the TRAM 1600-HC which cost around US $40. There are many more options, which I did not explore myself yet. This article gives a great overview of the topic: Note: dAISy uses a BNC connector for its antenna input. Depending on the antenna you buy (or build), you might need an adapter. In the I can recommend for a good selection, reasonable prices and fast shipping. The AIS antenna should be separated as far as possible from the voice VHF antenna to avoid unnecessary interference. The best separation is achieved by vertically separating the antennas or at least mounting them on opposite sides of a vessel. To avoid damaging dAISy s receiver, the antenna should be mounted at least 3 meters away from, or at least out of the transmitting beam, of high-power transmitters such as radars or other VHF antenna installations. Location, location, location Good AIS reception requires line of sight. A few building and trees between you and your targets aren t ideal, but you will still be able to catch a few messages. Hills and mountains however are almost certain showstoppers. A clear view of the water and your targets is ideal. In my experience the most important factor is the height of the antenna above sea-level (or lake-, river-, wherever-level the ships are). Sitting at the beach or on the deck of a boat will work. Mounting the antenna on the mast of your boat, or standing on the observation deck of a cruise ship is better. A hill overlooking the harbor is great. Climbing that 2000m mountain that towers over the coast is AIS heaven. In a nutshell: The farther you can see, the better. Radio noise The main weakness of dAISy, and probably most low-cost and SDR-based AIS receivers, is susceptibility to radio noise. The effect of noise is reduced range and few successfully received packets. Unfortunately, there s not much we can do except finding a spot that s less impacted by noise. Outdoors is better than indoors (computers, power-supplies, wireless networks, ...). Country-side is better than down-town (taxi radios). dAISy has an integrated 12 MHz wide bandpass filter to reduce the impact of radio noise outside the 162 MHz target frequency. However, to keep cost and size down, the integrated filter is rather simple. A very narrow-band antenna or an external bandpass filter can improve reception. Please report back any results if you go down this route. 8 Troubleshooting Problem Solution No activity of the status LED Verify the USB connection, also try a different USB cable. Device in reception mode, but not valid AIS messages received (no sec green flashes) Verify the antenna connection and location. Good AIS reception requires line-of-sight, verify your setup from a location that is certain to have traffic, near a harbor. Device indicates valid AIS messages (1/4 sec green flashes), but no messages received on PC Verify that the serial port shows up on the PC. Try a different USB cable if this is not the case. Verify the serial configuration of your software. Verify the serial communication with a serial terminal program like Putty or screen. Software receives positions, but fewer than expected and/or with worse range than expected. Verify the antenna connection and location. Good AIS reception requires line-of-sight, so the higher up the antenna is positioned the better the range. Move the antenna away from sources of electrical noise. After some time, dAISy indicates a device error (fast blinking red LED) Sometimes the device is not properly initialized when the connected computer wakes up from sleep mode. Unplug dAISy and plug in again to resolve the error. If a problem persists, don t hesitate to contact us. 9 Source code and schematics Currently dAISy is only partially open source. The core of dAISy, how the Si4362 radio IC is programmed to receive AIS, is available on Github. While the project does not include all the functionality of dAISy as sold, I do backport any bug fixes that are relevant to the task of receiving AIS. There s also a long thread on 43oh that documents the journey of dAISy from its humble beginnings. If you want to mess with the real code, brick your device with custom firmware or even build your own dAISy from scratch, please contact me. 10 Contact The best way to reach us is by email: You can also contact the designer of dAISy via Github, 43oh or Tindie. Wegmatt LLC 6356 138th Ave NE, #212 Redmond, WA 98052 United States of America

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