F.W. Murphy has added chartplotting ability to its 6.4-inch VGA HelmView display—just add a NMEA 2000 GPS sensor to its network, and slip a Navionics SD chart card into the slot—but its prime function is monitoring engine and other system data. Besides N2K, it has two other CANbus ports able to interface with the J1979 protocol that are even more common than N2K among electronic engines (and transmissions), and its powerful processor is programmed to understand them all. HelmView offers multiple pages of configurable gauge displays, diagnostics, and even instructions on how to correct engine faults. It can also integrate information on different networks—like N2K GPS with engine fuel flow for miles per gallon—and bridge information up to bigger displays. Thus the new navigation abilities enable HelmView to be the prime display on a small boat or a backup navigator on a big one. Murphy, a large industrial manufacturer you may never have heard of, is offering HelmView directly to engine and boatbuilders, so you will likely see it under different brand names. But it is also available for retrofits and custom construction at $2,800 per display.
This article originally appeared in the April 2007 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.