Marine

Veratron ViewLine Flex, NMEA 2000 gauge with simple configuration


Ever since I put in NMEA 2000 linked tank degree monitoring, I’ve been in search of a small, cheap NMEA 2000 gauge to indicate tank knowledge. I’ve been in search of over two years and thus far I haven’t discovered a gauge that fills the invoice. I believe Veratron’s ViewLine Flex gauge would possibly simply change that.

About two years in the past I put in a Maretron FPM100 to observe Have One other Day’s freshwater and wastewater tanks by way of NMEA 2000. The ultimate paragraph of my overview was a plea for a easy and cheap gauge to observe tank ranges. I’ve myriad choices to show knowledge on the boat together with MFDs, 4-inch coloration gauge shows, NMEA 2000 to WiFi gateways, SignalK, and extra. However, while you’re filling the water tanks, you actually don’t care about all the knowledge on the NMEA 2000 community, you simply desire a easy show to indicate the freshwater degree.

The VL Flex exhibiting contemporary water and waste water tank ranges

Veratron’s ViewLine Flex gauge seems to be to be the reply to my needs. The straightforward, roughly two-inch gauge with a 1.44-inch show, can present all kinds of knowledge from NMEA 2000 networks or from instantly linked frequency or resistive inputs. Frequency inputs are mostly used for engine RPM inputs. The resistive enter can connect with tank degree senders, temperature and stress senders, rudder place sensors and extra. Plus, with a retail value of $120, they’re inexpensive sufficient to put in a number of all through my boat.

Set up

Putting in the Flex gauge is fairly easy. Bodily set up requires a 52 millimeter hole-saw. I didn’t have one and decided {that a} two-inch hole-saw is barely too small, however a 2 1/8-inch noticed labored properly. The gauge comes with a bezel and white nylon spinlock nut for entrance mounting the gauge. Nonetheless, for those who’d favor to flush mount it with simply the face protruding by means of the sprint, there’s a flush mount package out there. Additionally, Veratron affords white and chrome bezels to match your decor.

You would possibly count on that the one factor left to do is join the NMEA 2000 cable and get on with configuration. Sadly, you’d be improper. At a minimal the Flex additionally wants a separate supply of 8-32 volt energy linked to the wires popping out of the harness. I believe separate energy is required as a result of the unit can function as a standalone gauge utilizing the frequency or resistive inputs. However, I’d certain favor if it might be powered from the NMEA 2000 community.

Configuration

The Flex gauge makes use of the identical NFC-based configuration as Veratron’s LinkUp sensors I’ve beforehand reviewed. Configuring the gauge by way of NFC appears like magic. After downloading the VL Flex Marine app from the app retailer you merely open the app and hit the learn button within the app. Studying the configuration permits the app to load the gauge’s present settings. Once you hit learn, you’re prompted to carry your cellphone to the lens of the gauge. In lower than a second it has learn the settings and the app shows them. When you’ve made any modifications you need, you hit the apply button and repeat the phon in entrance of the lens routine. As soon as the app reveals the completion check-mark, the settings are written and the modifications utilized.

Most impressively, your complete configuration course of may also be accomplished with the gauge powered down. Meaning the gauge could be configured whereas it’s nonetheless within the field with no wiring in anyway.

Utilizing the gauge

I put in the Flex on the decrease helm and on the best way all the way down to the staterooms

My main use for the Flex can be to observe my contemporary and blackwater tank ranges. So, I mounted the gauge on the decrease helm the place it’s seen on the best way all the way down to the staterooms and heads. That approach, we will verify tank ranges at a look earlier than a bathe, doing laundry, or flushing the heads. Based mostly on my testing outcomes, I additionally suppose it’s possible I’ll add one in every head compartment.

Though I’m utilizing it for tank monitoring, the gauge is able to displaying much more knowledge than tank ranges. Above you’ll be able to see all the info varieties it may present. I’d say that coupled with Veratron’s clever battery displays, you could possibly construct a pleasant battery monitoring system. It seems I’m not the one one who thought that. Veratron is now providing a package with the IBS and Flex bundled collectively.

I put an influence monitor on the gauge and located that it drew properly below Veratron’s 50 milliamps full brightness spec. I discovered it was sometimes drawing round 30 milliamps with a 12-volt energy provide. That’s excellent news since I believe it means you’ll be able to fairly safely depart a couple of operating with out a lot concern for the influence in your batteries.

Enhancements

A Raymarine i70 displaying tank degree, depth, and temperature knowledge

Throughout my testing I did encounter a problem I’m hoping Veratron will resolve. As proven within the photos above, the Flex is ready to show gasoline, contemporary water, and waste water ranges. However, many different shows count on to see holding tank degree knowledge despatched as black water. That’s the case for fairly a couple of of the shows (together with the i70 pictured above) I’ve on Have One other Day. Therefore, my FPM 100 sends holding tank knowledge as black water. Meaning the Flex can’t show it until I alter the info sort. I’m hopeful Veratron can add one other tank degree sort to the show choices and resolve this problem. I’ve a sense I’m not the one one who will encounter it.

So long as I’m asking for enhancements, there are a couple of others I’d like to see. It might be nice if the gauge might cycle between a few screens. Since there aren’t any buttons on the gauge I believe the best approach to do that is simply to cycle by means of a couple of knowledge components each few seconds. Lastly, I’d like to see the Flex present some extra knowledge. Particularly environmental knowledge. I’d actually prefer to show info like wind pace, exterior temperature, humidity, and so forth.

Last ideas

The ViewLine Flex gauge does nearly precisely what I would like. It’s a reasonable, energy pleasant, simply configured gauge sufficiently small to mount anyplace you want info at a look. I’m hopeful Veratron can add a couple of knowledge varieties after which I believe it may be nearly excellent.

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