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Gregory Yount

How to power N2K backbone?

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I am currently taking the leap and installing a modest integrated electronics system - existing Simrad NSS8 and G3 radar, along with new B&G speed/depth/wind transducers with two Triton displays. Future plans may include an AIS, and at some point soon I will have to replace my ancient Benmar autopilot.

My main question is how to power the new backbone?

Currently, the chartplotter and radar share a 12V circuit, and the new sailing instruments will be powered off the backbone.

Rather than a running a dedicated circuit from the 12V panel just for the backbone, can I instead provide a direct connection to the batteries (actually the 12V main busbar), along with a normally closed fused disconnect for service requirements?

Is there a parasitic draw that might be a problem if the backbone is continuously powered? I am a sailor and am certainly concerned with minimising electrical consumption, particularly at anchor.

A few other minor questions:

Should I install taps for future additions now, or is it better to wait?

Are N2K cables and fittings truly interchangeable? Any quality variances among manufacturers?

Is the backbone assembly sufficient waterproof to install at the top of the bilge, or should I route above the sole? Should I wrap all the fittings similar to wrapping exterior VHF coax connectors?Bilges are quite deep, and I have plenty of cabling/equipment there now that has never gotten wet, but you never know.

Any other suggestions for a good install is appreciated :)

Thanks all.

2 Replies

  • The Triton does not have a power On/Off switch. If you power the backbone directly from the battery, you will eventually drain it. You need a switch.

    N2K tee are easy to install, so do it when you need it. I have Garmin, Lowrance and B&G N2K cables, tees and other backbone component on my system. As long as they are micro-c, they are compatible. Only one thing; if you put some tee in a lineup, use the same manufacturer as they do not have the same connector angle.

  • Thanks. While I have the Triton in hand, the documentation I have read so far made no mention that they don't have an "off" switch. Go figure!
    Well, I guess I will dedicate a panel circuit for backbone power.