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IO Sensor Pos Gps Nmeafaq.txt

                                 The NMEA FAQ
                        Version 6.3  April 25, 2000
Additions, corrections, and comments should be emailed to the author,
Peter Bennett

1.      What is NMEA?
  1.1     What is an NMEA Standard
  1.2     NMEA Address

2.      Electrical Interface

3.      NMEA-0180 and NMEA-0182
  3.1     Simple Format
  3.2     Complex Format

4.      NMEA-0183
  4.1     General Sentence Format
  4.2     Sentences sent by specific equipment
  4.3     Sample Sentences Dissected
    4.3.1   Standard Sentences
    4.3.2   Garmin Proprietary Sentences

5.      RS-232 connections

6.      Troubleshooting

7.      About the author
  7.1    Acknowledgements

1.      What is NMEA?

        The National Marine Electronics Association is dedicated to the
        education and advancement of the marine electronics industry and
        the market which it serves.

        It is a non-profit association composed of manufacturers,
        distributors, dealers, educational institutions, and others
        interested in peripheral marine electronics occupations
                        (quoted from a promo in "NMEA News")

  1.1   What is an NMEA standard?

        For the purposes of this article, an NMEA standard defines an
        electrical interface and data protocol for communications
        between marine instrumentation. (They may also have standards
        for other things.)

  1.2   NMEA Address

        P.O. Box 3435
        New Bern NC, 28564-3435
        Phone: 919-638-2626
        Fax:  919-638-4885
        web page:

2.      Electrical Interface

        These standards allow a single "talker", and several "listeners"
        on one circuit.  The recommended interconnect wiring is a
        shielded twisted pair, with the shield grounded only at the
        talker.  The standards do not specify the use of any particular

        The NMEA-0180 and 0182 standards say that the talker output may
        be RS-232, or from a TTL buffer, capable of delivering 10 mA at
        4 V.  A sample circuit shows an open collector TTL buffer with a
        680 ohm resistor to +12 V, and a diode to prevent the output
        voltage from rising above +5.7 V.

        NMEA-0183 accepts this, but recommends that the talker output
        comply with EIA-422.  This is a differential system, having two
        signal lines, A and B. The voltages on the "A" line correspond
        to those on the older TTL single wire, while the "B" voltages
        are reversed (while "A" is at +5, "B" is at ground, and vice

        In either case, the recommended receive circuit uses an
        opto-isolator with suitable protection circuitry.  The input
        should be isolated from the receiver's ground.

        In practice, the single wire, or the EIA-422 "A" wire may be
        directly connected to a computer's RS-232 input.

3.      NMEA-0180 and NMEA 0182

        NMEA-0180 and 0182 are very limited, and just deal with
        communcations from a Loran-C (or other navigation receiver,
        although the standards specifically mention Loran), and an

        From the information I have, it appears that 0180 and 0182 are
        identical.  I suspect that equipment claiming to use NMEA-0180
        will use the "simple" format described below, while those using
        NMEA-0182 will use the "complex" format. (but this is really
        just a guess... corrections??)

  3.1   "Simple" data format

        The simple format consists of a single data byte transmitted at
        intervals of 0.8 to 5 seconds, at 1200 baud with odd parity.
        Bits 5 - 0 give the cross-track error in units of 0.1 uS or 0.01
        nautical mile.  The error is given in offset binary, with a
        count of 1 representing full scale right error, 32 (hex 20) for
        on course, and 63 (hex 3f) full scale left error.  Bit 6 is a 1
        if the data is valid, and bit 7 is 0 to indicate the simple
        data format.

  3.2   "Complex" data format

        The complex format consists of a data block of 37 bytes of
        (mostly) readable ASCII text giving cross-track error, bearing
        to waypoint, present Lat/Long, and a binary status byte.  The
        data block shall be sent at intervals of 2 to 8 sec. All bytes
        in the complex format have bit 7 = 1 to distinguish them from
        the simple format.  It is permissible for a sending device to
        send both simple and complex data, and even to send a "simple"
        data byte in the middle of a "complex" data block.

        Byte        Data
          1          $
          2          M                  | device
          3          P                  | address

          4          K = kilometres     | cross track
                     N = nautical miles | error
                     U = microseconds   | units

          5 - 8      0 - 9 or .          cross track error value
          9          L or R              cross track error position

         10          T or M              True or Magnetic bearing
         11 - 13     0 - 9               bearing to next waypoint

         14 - 23     12D34'56"N or       present latitude
         24 - 34     123D45'56"W or      present longitude

         35          non-ASCII status byte
                     bit 0 = 1 for manual cycle lock
                         1 = 1     low SNR
                         2 = 1     cycle jump
                         3 = 1     blink
                         4 = 1     arrival alarm
                         5 = 1     discontinuity of TDs
                         6 = 1 always
          36         "NUL" character (hex 80)(reserved status byte)
          37         "ETX" character (hex 83)
          Any unavailable data is filled with "NUL" bytes.

4.      NMEA-0183
  4.1     General Sentence Format

        Under the NMEA-0183 standard, all characters used are printable
        ASCII text (plus carriage return and line feed).  NMEA-0183 data
        is sent at 4800 baud.

        The data is transmitted in the form of "sentences".  Each
        sentence starts with a "$", a two letter "talker ID", a three
        letter "sentence ID", followed by a number of data fields
        separated by commas, and terminated by an optional checksum, and
        a carriage return/line feed.  A sentence may contain up to 82
        characters including the "$" and CR/LF.

        If data for a field is not available, the field is simply
        omitted, but the commas that would delimit it are still sent,
        with no space between them.

        Since some fields are variable width, or may be omitted as
        above, the receiver should locate desired data fields by
        counting commas, rather than by character position within the

        The optional checksum field consists of a "*" and two hex digits
        representing the exclusive OR of all characters between, but not
        including, the "$" and "*".  A checksum is required on some

        The standard allows individual manufacturers to define
        proprietary sentence formats.  These sentences start with "$P",
        then a 3 letter manufacturer ID, followed by whatever data the
        manufacturer wishes, following the general format of the
        standard sentences.

        Some common talker IDs are:
                GP      Global Positioning System receiver
                LC      Loran-C receiver
                OM      Omega Navigation receiver
                II      Integrated Instrumentation
                                (eg. AutoHelm Seatalk system)

  4.2   Sentences sent by specific equipment

        This section lists the sentence types used by various equipment.
        The format and data included in each sentence type is given in
        section 4.3.

         Eagle AccuNav
             Standard: RMB, RMC, GLL, APB
             Proprietary: PSLIB
             It also pretends it's a Loran, sending LCGLL, as well as GPGLL

		  Garmin 12XL, NMEA-0183 V 1.5
		  		Standard: RMB, RMC, WPL
				Proprietary: PGRMM (map datum), PGRMZ (altitude), PSLIB (DGPS ctrl)

		  Garmin 12XL, NMEA-0183 V 2.0
		  		Standard: GGA, GSA, GSV, RMB, RMC, RTE, WPL
				Proprietary: PGRME (estimated error) PGRMM, PSLIB 

        Garmin GPS-38, NMEA-0183 V. 1.5 mode
            Standard: GLL, RMB, RMC, WPL, BOD, XTE, VTG, BWC
            Proprietary: PGRMM (map datum), PGRMZ (altitude), PSLIB (dgps ctrl)

        Garmin GPS-38, NMEA-0183 V. 2.0 mode
            Standard: GLL, RMB, RMC, WPL, BOD, GSA, GSV, RTE, GGA
            Proprietary: PGRME (estimated error), PGRMM, PGRMZ, PSLIB

        Garmin GPS-45 (and probably GPS-40 and GPS-90)
            Standard: BOD, GLL, RTE, RMB, RMC, GGA, GSA, GSV
            Proprietary: PGRME, PGRMM, PGRMZ

        Garmin GPS-65 (and probably GPS-75)
            Standard: BWC, GLL, RMB, RMC, R00, WPL, XTE, VTG
            Proprietary: PGRMM, PGRMZ, PSLIB

		  Lowrance Global Map 100
		  		Standard: GLL, RMC, RMB, APB, GGA, GSV
				Proprietary: PSLIB

        Magellan Trailblazer
            Standard: APB, BWC, GGA, GLL, RMB, RMC, VTG
        Trimble Ensign XL
            Standard: APA, BWC, BWR, GGA, GLL, RMB

        Trimble Flightmate Pro and Scoutmaster
            Standard: APA, APB, BWC, GGA, GLL, GSA, GSV, RMB, RMC,
                VTG, WCV, XTE, ZTC

        Autohelm Seatalk
            Autohelm Seatalk is a proprietary bus for communications
            between various intruments.  Some of the instruments can act
            as NMEA-0183 talkers or listeners.  Data received from an
            external NMEA-0183 device will, if Seatalk understands the
            sentence, be re-transmitted, but not necessarily in the same
            sentence type.

            The specific sentences sent will depend on the data
            available on the Seatalk bus (i.e. sentences containing wind
            speed and direction will only be sent if the system includes
            a wind instrument)  Note that NMEA data can only be sent to, 
            or received from, a SeaTalk system using AutoHelm's 
            NMEA<->SeaTalk interface box, or those instruments that provide
            an NMEA-0183 interface.  SeaTalk itself is not compatible
            with NMEA, and cannot be read with a normal PC serial port.

            Seatalk output:
            Standard: APB, BPI, BWC, VWR, VHW, DBT, GLL, HDM, HDT, HCS,
                MTW, VTG

            Seatalk input:
            Standard: APA, APB, RMB, XTE, XTR, BPI, BWR, BWC, BER,
                BEC,WDR, WDC, BOD, WCV, VHW, VWR, DBT

  4.3   Sample Sentences Dissected
  4.3.1  Standard Sentences

        A talker typically sends a group of sentences at intervals
        determined by the unit's update rate, but generally not more
        often than once per second.

        Characters following the "*" are a checksum.  Checksums are
        optional for most sentences, according to the standard.

        APB - Autopilot format B
           A            Loran-C blink/SNR warning
           A            Loran-C cycle warning
           0.10         cross-track error distance
           R            steer Right to correct (or L for Left)
           N            cross-track error units - nautical miles
           V            arrival alarm - circle
           V            arrival alarm - perpendicular
           011,M        magnetic bearing, origin to destination
           DEST         destination waypoint ID
           011,M        magnetic bearing, present position to destination
           011,M        magnetic heading to steer
                        (bearings could be given in True as 033,T)
           (note: some pilots, Roberston in particular, misinterpret "bearing
           from origin to destination" as "bearing from present position to
           destination".  This apparently results in poor performance if the
           boat is sufficiently off-course that the two bearings are

        BOD - Bearing - origin to destination waypoint
           045.,T       bearing 045 True from "START" to "DEST"
           023.,M       breaing 023 Magnetic from "START" to "DEST"
           DEST         destination waypoint ID
           START        origin waypoint ID

        BWC - Bearing and distance to waypoint - great circle
           225444       UTC time of fix 22:54:44
           4917.24,N    Latitude of waypoint
           12309.57,W   Longitude of waypoint
           051.9,T      Bearing to waypoint, degrees true
           031.6,M      Bearing to waypoint, degrees magnetic
           001.3,N      Distance to waypoint, Nautical miles
           004          Waypoint ID

        BWR - Bearing and distance to waypoint - rhumb line
                (format same as BWC)

        DBT - Depth below transducer
           0017.6,f     17.6 feet
           0005.4,M     5.4 Metres

        GGA - Global Positioning System Fix Data
        GGA,123519,4807.038,N,01131.324,E,1,08,0.9,545.4,M,46.9,M, , *42
           123519       Fix taken at 12:35:19 UTC
           4807.038,N   Latitude 48 deg 07.038' N
           01131.324,E  Longitude 11 deg 31.324' E
           1            Fix quality: 0 = invalid
                                     1 = GPS fix
                                     2 = DGPS fix
           08           Number of satellites being tracked
           0.9          Horizontal dilution of position
           545.4,M      Altitude, Metres, above mean sea level
           46.9,M       Height of geoid (mean sea level) above WGS84
           (empty field) time in seconds since last DGPS update
           (empty field) DGPS station ID number

        GLL - Geographic position, Latitude and Longitude
           4916.46,N    Latitude 49 deg. 16.45 min. North
           12311.12,W   Longitude 123 deg. 11.12 min. West
           225444       Fix taken at 22:54:44 UTC
           A            Data valid
             (Garmin 65 does not include time and status)

        GSA - GPS DOP and active satellites
           A            Auto selection of 2D or 3D fix (M = manual)
           3            3D fix
           04,05...     PRNs of satellites used for fix (space for 12)
           2.5          PDOP (dilution of precision)
           1.3          Horizontal dilution of precision (HDOP)
           2.1          Vertical dilution of precision (VDOP)
             DOP is an indication of the effect of satellite geometry on
             the accuracy of the fix.

        GSV - Satellites in view
           2            Number of sentences for full data
           1            sentence 1 of 2
           08           Number of satellites in view
           01           Satellite PRN number
           40           Elevation, degrees
           083          Azimuth, degrees
           46           Signal strength - higher is better
           <repeat for up to 4 satellites per sentence>
                There my be up to three GSV sentences in a data packet

        HDM - Heading, Magnetic
           HDM          Heading, Magnetic
           235.,M       Heading 235 deg. Magnetic
            (HDG, which includes deviation and variation, is recommended

        HSC - Command heading to steer
           258.,T       258 deg. True
           236.,M       136 deg. Magnetic

        MTW - Water temperature, Celcius
           11.,C        11 deg. C

        R00 - List of waypoint IDs in currently active route
           (This sentence is produced by a Garmin 65, but is not listed
           in Version 2.0 of the standard.  The standard lists RTE for
           this purpose.)

        RMB - Recommended minimum navigation information (sent by nav.
                receiver when a destination waypoint is active)
           A            Data status A = OK, V = warning
           0.66,L       Cross-track error (nautical miles, 9.9 max.),
                                steer Left to correct (or R = right)
           003          Origin waypoint ID
           004          Destination waypoint ID
           4917.24,N    Destination waypoint latitude 49 deg. 17.24 min. N
           12309.57,W   Destination waypoint longitude 123 deg. 09.57 min. W
           001.3        Range to destination, nautical miles
           052.5        True bearing to destination
           000.5        Velocity towards destination, knots
           V            Arrival alarm  A = arrived, V = not arrived
           *0B          mandatory checksum

        RMC - Recommended minimum specific GPS/Transit data
           225446       Time of fix 22:54:46 UTC
           A            Navigation receiver warning A = OK, V = warning
           4916.45,N    Latitude 49 deg. 16.45 min North
           12311.12,W   Longitude 123 deg. 11.12 min West
           000.5        Speed over ground, Knots
           054.7        Course Made Good, True
           191194       Date of fix  19 November 1994
           020.3,E      Magnetic variation 20.3 deg East
           *68          mandatory checksum

        RTE - Waypoints in active route
           2            two sentences for full data
           1            this is sentence 1 of 2
           c            c = complete list of waypoints in this route
                        w = first listed waypoint is start of current leg
           0            Route identifier
           W3IWI...     Waypoint identifiers

        VHW - Water speed and heading
           259.,T       Heading 259 deg. True
           237.,M       Heading 237 deg. Magnetic
           05.00,N      Speed 5 knots through the water
           09.26,K      Speed 9.26 KPH

        VWR - Relative wind direction and speed
           148.,L       Wind from 148 deg Left of bow
           02.4,N       Speed 2.4 Knots
           01.2,M       1.2 Metres/Sec
           04.4,K       Speed 4.4 Kilometers/Hr

        VTG - Track made good and ground speed
           054.7,T      True track made good
           034.4,M      Magnetic track made good
           005.5,N      Ground speed, knots
           010.2,K      Ground speed, Kilometers per hour

        WCV - Waypoint Closure Velocity
        WDC - Distance to Waypoint
        WDR - Waypoint Distance, Rhumb Line

        WPL - waypoint location
           4917.16,N    Latitude of waypoint
           12310.64,W   Longitude of waypoint
           003          Waypoint ID
             When a route is active, this sentence is sent once for each
             waypoint in the route, in sequence. When all waypoints have
             been reported, GPR00 is sent in the next data set. In any
             group of sentences, only one WPL sentence, or an R00
             sentence, will be sent.

        XTE - Cross track error, measured
           A            General warning flag V = warning
                                (Loran-C Blink or SNR warning)
           A            Not used for GPS (Loran-C cycle lock flag)
           0.67         cross track error distance
           L            Steer left to correct error (or R for right)
           N            Distance units - Nautical miles

        XTR - Cross-Track Error - Dead Reckoning
           0.67         cross track error distance
           L            Steer left to correct error (or R for right)
           N            Distance units - Nautical miles

4.3.2  Proprietary Sentences

        The following are Garmin proprietary sentences.  "P" denotes
        proprietary, "GRM" is Garmin's manufacturer code, and "M" or "Z"
        indicates the specific sentence type.

           15.0,M       Estimated horizontal position error in metres (HPE)
           45.0,M       Estimated vertical error (VPE) in metres
           25.0,M       Overall spherical equivalent position error

           93,f         Altitude in feet
           3            Position fix dimensions 2 = user altitude
                                                3 = GPS altitude
        This sentence shows in feet, regardless of units shown on the display.

        $PGRMM,NAD27 Canada*2F
           Currently active horizontal datum

        Proprietary sentences to control a Starlink differential beacon
        receiver. (I assume Garmin's DBR is made by Starlink)
           These two sentences are normally sent together in each group
           of sentences from the GPS.
           The three fields are: Frequency, bit Rate, Request Type.  The
           value in the third field may be:
                J = status request
                K = configuration request
                blank = tuning message

           When the GPS receiver is set to change the DBR frequency or
           baud rate, the "J" sentence is replaced (just once) by (for
           example): $PSLIB,320.0,200*59 to set the DBR to 320 KHz, 200
5.      RS-232 connections

        Although this is not really related to NMEA, many people want to
        connect a GPS to a computer, so need to know about the RS-232
        serial ports on a computer.

        The RS-232 standard defines two classes of devices that may
        communicate using RS-232 serial data - Data Terminal Equipment
        (DTE), and Data Communication Equipment (DCE).  Computers and
        terminals are considered DTE, while modems are DCE.  The
        standard defines pinouts for DTE and DCE such that a "straight
        through" cable (pin 2 to pin 2, 3 to 3, etc) can be used between
        a DTE and DCE.  To connect two DTEs together, you need a "null
        modem" cable, that swaps pins between the two ends (eg. pin 2 to
        3, 3 to 2).  Unfortunately, there is sometimes disagreement
        whether a certain device is DTE or DCE, hence my standard RS-232
                if it doesn't work, swap pins 2 and 3!

        The standard RS-232 connector is a 25 conductor DB-25, although
        many PCs (and some other equipment) now use a 9 pin DE-9 (often
        incorrectly called DB-9)

        Serial Port Connections
        Computer (DTE)                              Modem
        DB-25   DE-9   Signal          Direction    DB-25
          2      3    Tx Data             ->          2
          3      2    Rx Data             <-          3
          4      7    Request to send     ->          4
          5      8    Clear to send       <-          5
          6      6    Data Set Ready      <-          6
          7      5    signal ground                   7
          8      1    Data CarrierDetect  <-          8
         20      4    Data Terminal Ready ->          20
         22      9    Ring Indicator      <-          22

        For NMEA-0183 interfacing, we are only concerned with Rx Data,
        signal ground (and possibly Tx Data, if we want the computer to
        talk to the GPS)

        NMEA-0183 data is sent at 4800 baud.

6.  Troubleshooting

        First check that the talker (usually GPS or Loran) can send
        NMEA-0183, and determine what sentences it sends.  Also, verify
        that the listener understands NMEA-0183, and that it understands
        the sentences the talker is sending.  In some cases the same
        information may be sent in two or more different sentences.  If
        the talker and listener don't both use the same sentences, there
        will be no communication.  It may be possible to change the
        sentences sent by the talker, to match those understood by the

        Next, check that the talker is indeed set to send NMEA-0183
        data.  Some talkers may have provision to send NMEA-0180 or
        0182, or some proprietary format.

        A computer, using any convenient terminal program (Telix,
        Procomm, Windows Terminal, etc.) set to 4800 baud, can be used
        to monitor the NMEA data, and confirm what sentences are sent,
        and that the data is in the correct format.
        Verify that the wiring is correct - that the talker data output
        is connected to the listener data input, and that a signal
        ground line is connected between the two pieces of equipment.

        If you have multiple listeners connected to a single talker, you
        may be overloading the talker port.  Try connecting only one
        listener at a time.

        On any NMEA-0183 circuit, there can _only_ be one talker.  If
        you must have more than one talker, and one of the talker
        devices can also act as a listener, you may be able to connect
        things "in series", so a talker-only output is connected to a
        listener/talker input, and the listener/talker output is
        connected to other listeners.  However, some listener/talker
        devices may reformat the data, or only pass data they
        understand. (The Autohelm Seatalk system does this, and claims
        the data as it's own, starting all output sentences with "$II".)

        Particularly with older equipment, the equipment may claim to
        comply with NMEA-0183, but in fact have an error in the data
        format.  (My Kings 8001 Loran-C claims to send an APB sentence,
        but gets some of the fields in the wrong order, so my autopilot
        can't understand it.)  This sort of problem can be verified by
        capturing the NMEA-0183 data on a computer, and comparing the
        data formats with those given above.

7.  About the author

        This FAQ was written by:
                Peter Bennett

        I have an Web site containing this file, a GPS FAQ, and other
        NMEA information files and PC programs for capturing and
        displaying NMEA data, and related things:

        This site is mirrored in Germany at:

7.1  Acknowlegments

        I would like to thank the following for their contributions
         or corrections to this document:
             Tom Clark,
             Bob Shearer,
             David Steckler,
             Karl Olmstead,
             Dave Wells, KD6TO,
             Mike Morrow,

file: /Techref/io/sensor/pos/gps/nmeafaq.txt, 27KB, , updated: 2001/1/5 13:27, local time: 2024/7/14 21:46,

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