Just before we headed down to Miami, I completed the goal of upgrading the Raymarine RayTech Navigation Software (RNS) to the latest version 6.1 – released in December. The new software had many enhancements and stability improvements. The upgrade also required upgrading the Raymarine E-120 chartplotter firmware. Not only that, but I wanted to correct the inadequate memory on the onboard PC which had only 128 MBytes of memory – so, I upgraded it to 2 Gbytes.
Here’s a screenshot of what RNS looks like on a PC:
As mentioned before, the upgrade appeared to go smoothly. However, I soon discovered that the communication between the boat network and the PC seemed very slow. Numerous tests and attempts to analyze the problem did not help. I ultimately decided I would need to call the tech support folks at Raymarine. But, before I did that, I thought I would try running the software on my laptop.
Last night, I spent an hour or two setting things up to get the software to run on my laptop – a MacBook Pro (the RNS software is supported on Windows only). I thought it would be most convenient if it would work under VMWare. So, I attempted to get that working. After numerous attempts to get the network settings to match the onboard PC, I was unable to get it to work with VMWware. So, I re-booted into Bootcamp running Windows “natively” on the laptop. After a few more network setting adjustments, I actually got it working. And, RNS ran quite well under Bootcamp on my network! This was good news because it meant I would have the ablity to run onboard nav software from my laptop (which is more energy efficient, and portable). And, it also meant that the problem on the PC was more unique.
So, today I called Raymarine’s tech support. Their main techie for RNS worked with me for over an hour to analyze the PC’s problem. We completely uninstalled and re-installed the RNS software and ran several tests. In the end, he concluded (pretty decisively IMO) that it must be the network card on the PC has gone bad. Later this week, I’ll go buy a card and see if he’s right.
One interesting development – the Raymarine guy said they had not heard that RNS would work on a MacBook Pro with Bootcamp. I told them how I configured the network to make it work. Not only that, but later in the day, I decided to try again with VMWare. I discovered a setting in VMWare that lets you bridge the VMWare directly to the physical layer for the ethernet port. After making that setting, I was able to run RNS in VMWare! There was some anomalous behavior at times, but it mostly ran just fine. Raymarine was really glad to hear this as well – even though they don’t officially support the Mac platform.