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Step 4: How to install the DataHub on your boat
Step 4: How to install the DataHub on your boat

DataHub device connectivity and physical installation guide for your vessel

Jon Bilger avatar
Written by Jon Bilger
Updated over a week ago

Before you start

The DataHub includes five physical ports and has two separately configurable Wi-Fi networks (2.4ghz & 5ghz) for connecting all the Internet communications, instruments and other devices on your vessel. A table and complete description of each port available on the DataHub is in the DataHub Overview - Ports on the DataHub.

Important Note: Plan which devices you will connect and the method before deciding where to physically install the DataHub or any other new devices on your boat, e.g. Iridium GO exec and its external antenna. Temporarily test fit your devices before drilling holes, running permanent cables or affixing them.

DataHub connected hardware device configurations

Typically, the DataHub can connect with up to three external Internet communications devices simultaneously while also providing one Ethernet LAN port and a local Wi-Fi network for all your devices to connect with to access the Internet and PredictWind services, e.g. PredictMail, Offshore App, GPS tracking.

One external Internet communication device can connect via each of the:

  • Ethernet WAN port - to a GO exec, Starlink or Cellular Modem Router

  • Wi-Fi Network (2.4ghz) - to a GO exec, Starlink or Cellular Wi-Fi Hotspot

  • USB port to an iPhone or Android device for a USB-tethered Internet Hotspot

DataHub Device Connectivity Diagram

Please review the diagram below, which shows the potential devices and connectivity methods the DataHub supports.

DataHub hardware device connectivity recommendations

  • Buy and set up a cheap Android device to act as a USB-tethered 4G/5G Internet hotspot for when you are nearshore. This should cost less than US$ 100 plus an active, topped-up local pre-paid sim card with data. This is a handy backup device to have pre-installed and tested the Offshore App and PredictMail in case your other devices fail or have issues. Even if you have Starlink, this is a handy nearshore Internet backup in case you reach your Starlink data limit or have any problems with Starlink. It will likely be faster and more convenient than Marina Wi-Fi and is cheaper than a dedicated 4G LTE modem router.

  • Connect your GO exec via Ethernet to the WAN port on the DataHub. The GO exec external antenna kit is a recommended must-have accessory for your GO exec to receive the best and most consistent Iridium satellite signal. The GO exec antenna cable is only 5m, so the options for physically installing the GO exec will be more restricted than the DataHub, which can be connected to the GO exec by up to a 100m Ethernet cable.

  • Connect the External stub GPS antenna to the DataHub, even if you have a connected NMEA2000 (N2K) network. It is a handy backup in case of a lightning strike or any issues with your N2K network or devices.

Recommended Vessel Network and Product Electrical Wiring Diagram

Please review PredictWind's Recommended Vessel Network and Product Electrical Wiring Diagram below on a computer with a large monitor so you can refer to it easily. Click on the image to open it in a new browser tab or click here to download a PDF version, as this may be easier to zoom and resize next to your browser as you read through the rest of this article and consider your device physical installation plan.

DataHub physical installation

  • For best Wi-Fi coverage, mount the DataHub in a flat, horizontal position, not vertically.

  • Within the vessel, install the DataHub in a dry location within a 2m cable run of your NMEA2000 instrumentation system. If no instrumentation system is available, please install it so that the external stub GPS antenna points towards the sky to receive GPS reception.

  • Install the DataHub in a central location with power, offering a suitable Wi-Fi coverage range for your devices, e.g. laptops, phones and tablets. This is likely the Nav area or cockpit. By default, the DataHub 5GHz Wi-Fi is enabled for your personal devices to connect to. This network offers a 10m line of sight or less through a bulkhead or behind a panel. By default, the longer-range DataHub 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi network is available to connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot that might be further away, such as at a marina.

Important Note: Your device will need at least 2 bars of Wi-Fi signal strength when connected via Wi-Fi to DataHub for your connection to work reliably and avoid automatically failing over to another known Wi-Fi network, e.g. GO exec where other services such as PredictMail will present an error as they are not available.

Connecting power to the DataHub

  • The DataHub should be powered directly by a DC power supply from the vessel's house battery bank.

  • The unit supports from 9-60 VDC and is reverse polarity protected.

  • The centre pin of the power connector is positive.

  • To wire the DataHub directly to the boat’s house battery, start by cutting the power lead off of the supplied AC/DC adapter.

  • Extend the cable as necessary, connect a 3 amp fuse to the positive power lead, and then wire it to the vessel’s switch panel. Note the black wire is positive, and the wire with a white stripe is negative.

  • Before you power on the DataHub, please use a voltmeter to check that the centre pin in the connector has a positive voltage. Reversing the polarity on the connector will not damage the DataHub but will prevent it from powering on.

  • A blue status LED on the top of the unit illuminates when the unit is correctly powered on. Please allow 3-5 minutes for it to boot up before you connect.

NMEA 2000 (N2K)

Physically connect N2K with the DataHub (highly recommended)

  • The DataHub has an optional N2K cable and T-connector you can buy to connect the DataHub to the boat's instruments to receive all N2K data, including GPS position, True Wind Speed/Direction, Depth and AIS data if available.

  • Receiving this GPS data from a marine GPS installed on decks will guarantee the accuracy and reliability of the DataHub's GPS for your GPS tracking page.

  • The True Wind Speed/Direction data displayed on your GPS tracking page is a great safety feature so friends and family can see you in real-time weather conditions.

  • Connect the N2K cable to the Datahub and insert the T-connector into the N2K network backbone. You have now completed the physical installation.

  • You must use the supplied black stub GPS antenna if you do not have an N2K instrumentation system and optional N2K cable. It is recommended to connect it to the DataHub as a backup anyway in case of an N2K instrument failure, such as may be caused by a lightning strike. Using the Internal GPS as a fallback can be enabled in the settings below.

DataHub N2K setup and configuration

Once connected, you must change the settings in the DataHub to take advantage of this N2K data. To enable NMEA on the DataHub to use your N2K network for GPS, Wind Speed/Direction, Depth & AIS data:

  • Connect your laptop or desktop device (recommended) to the DataHub Wi-Fi network. It will look like PW-Hub-XXXX in the list of available Wi-Fi networks.

  • Open a Chrome or Safari browser, and type in the URL bar.

  • Log in with the default username admin and password admin.

  • On the left menu under Services, click NMEA.

  • Beside Source, click on the dropdown box to select NMEA2000 on CAN0.

  • Click Advanced, then tick Internal GPS.

  • Click select Save & Apply.

Move on to Step 5

Quick Tips

Advanced external device connectivity options

The DataHub is designed to install as a set-and-forget hub on your vessel for connecting your communications, instruments and personal devices. That said, the DataHub can support more than three devices for external Internet communications in advanced configurations.

You can connect to more than three external Internet communication devices by switching between what is connected to the Ethernet WAN port and the DataHub 2.4ghz Wi-Fi. e.g. an Iridium GO!, GO exec, Starlink, 4G LTE cellular modem and marina Wi-Fi.

To switch between Wi-Fi-connected devices:

  • Log in to the DataHub.

  • On the left menu under Services, click Settings.

  • On the top menu, click Wi-Fi.

  • On the Connect to Internet (2.4Ghz) tab, which appears as the landing page, click the dropdown box next to Network (SSID) and select the new Wi-Fi network.

  • Type in the Wi-Fi Password, then click the * star button to reveal and check it.

  • Click the Connect button.

  • Please allow 1-2 minutes for the DataHub to display that it is connected.

Additional advanced device configuration support

Please get in touch with us if your needs are complex, or you can buy the PredictWind Onboarding and book a time with one of our experienced, PredictWind support team experts to guide you through the setup of all your new devices and Apps. We make it a simpler, quicker, and more pleasant experience for you, and we'll ensure everything is set up 100% correctly.

We're confident in the quality and value of the PredictWind Onboarding and offer a 100% money-back guarantee. Customers often comment that it is money well spent. You can buy a PredictWind Onboarding through our Satellite Portal.

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