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John, on Feb 09, 2011 asked:

I'm confused. What is the difference between NMEA 2000 certified and NMEA 2000 compatible products?

Hi John,

Devices certified for NMEA 2000 mean they meet the minimum requirements set forth by NMEA and have passed mandatory tests. These products can be relied upon to interact properly with all other certified NMEA 2000 devices on your network, and will not cause problems with improper data or messages.

“NMEA compatible” is a marketing scheme created by manufacturers. NMEA has no such designation.  These products have not been tested, or they failed the tests, yet they are still sold to the public. These products may work fine, but there is no guarantee they won’t cause problems, especially as networks grow and more and more products are trying to share data.

The NMEA 2000 certification program was designed to be very easy and inexpensive to help manufacturers get their products certified. If a product isn’t certified, it begs the obvious question: Why not?