Avia Sail allows you to share instrument sensor data with other programs or with other devices. This can be a very useful feature. Consider the scenario where you want to run charting software on the same computer as Avia Sail. The problem is that the two programs both need access to the same data feed (Com port), but Windows will not allow two programs to access the same port. The solution is to set up Avia Sail so that it passes this information on to the other program through a virtual Com port.
To do this you must first set up a virtual Com port, we recommend the product Virtual Serial Ports Emulator or VSPE (it is a free product available here http://www.eterlogic.com/Products.VSPE.html), there are also similar products that will work. Download and install VSPE, then in the menu select Device/Create and create a connector. Choose an available Com port and do not check the Emulate Baud Rate option. Save the settings as a .vspe file in a known location (C:/Avia Polars/ will work) and create a shortcut to the file on the desktop. We recommend adding it to you startup menu so it runs each time the computer starts. There are instructions for this on the eterlogic web site.
Now in this tab on Avia Sail, select the Com port you just set up in VSPE. Avia Sail will then pass the sensor data to the selected Com port as NMEA 0183. This also means that your navigational software does not have to work with NMEA 2000 if you have NMEA 2000 sensors, for this purpose Avia Sail becomes a NMEA 2000 to 0183 data converter.
This feature does not necessarily have to be used with a virtual Com port, consider anther example where you might want to output data to a physical device or instrument. Perhaps you have a NMEA 2000 network with NMEA 2000 sensors and you want to send position data to your DSC VHF that does not communicate with NMEA 2000. In this case you can use Avia Sail to export out of a physical Com port and wire that Com port to your VHF.
Note: The data output function sends data out in NMEA 0183 format, however only GPS values are translated from 2000 to 0183. This means that if have all your instruments on a NMEA 0183 set up then all those sensors will be output, if however all your sensors are NMEA 2000 then only GPS 0183 sentences will be output.
An iPhone app which can display data obtained from the ships instruments via a WI-FI network is iNavX which we recommend. It is available on the Apple App Store for about $50. It is a full featured chart plotter which can also display data such as boat speed, depth, wind speed and direction and much more, but it needs a source of data. Avia Sail is the best source of such data, and if you have NMEA 2000 instruments it may be the only source. That is because only Avia Sail translates both NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 data into a format iNavX can use.
Your onboard PC must have a WI-FI adapter for this to work. If you have a router, and a password setup, first get the iPhone connected to the boat network.
If you have no router, set up an Ad Hoc network using instructions found here or in the iNavX.com web site.
To connect iNavx to the Master or Standalone PC running Avia Sail record the IP and Port number from the TCP/IP section of the Shared Data tab. Once this is done, start Avia Sail and start iNavX, go to Setup, TCP/IP on the iPhone and set the IP and port to match those recorded from Avia Sail.
In addition to sharing sensor data feeds with other programs and devices, AvaiSail supports logging your trip in XML file format. If this option is selected, a file will be created in the C:\Avia Logs directory, the file will be named beginning with your boat name, then the date and time that the file was created.
Note 1: If you have either of these logging options selected XML files will be created each time Avia Sail is run, these files contain a lot of data (especially the XML file) and can consume a significant amount of disk space if you donít manage them.
Note 2: Only the Master and Standalone Modes can create XML log files, the Slave Mode can not.
XML or Extensible Markup Language is a common way for programs to share data sets with other programs. The Avia Sail XML file contains data from all the sensors and the units of measure. The data files look like this:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<DateTime>28/03/2010 9:01:32 PM</DateTime>
<Latitude>49 N 19.725'</Latitude>
<Longitude>123 W 6.812'</Longitude>