Problems with Raymarine DSM300

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Luis Sa
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Problems with Raymarine DSM300

Post by Luis Sa » Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:03 am


I installed a DSM300 sounder module (and a P319 transducer) in the beginning of 2011. I connected the DSM to the C90W chartplotter using a NetGear 4-hub switch. These 2 items are installed in the space accessible from the back of the port side aft cabin.


The P319 transducer was mounted near the DST8000V triducer.


I could get a power cable near the place where the DSM and the NetGear switch are mounted. This power cable comes from the VDO main electrical panel and is controlled by the panel switch labelled as "Auxiliary". As far as I could understand this "Auxiliary" switch was unused and so it only connects/disconnects the DSM and the NetGear switch. So when I need the Radar or the Fish Finder I need to go to the main VDO panel and switch ON the "Auxiliary" switch. I found some erratic behavior on the DSM. It is capable of showing depths almost up to 1000 meters but sometimes it shows the error "DSM connection lost" which triggers an irritant alarm sound. In order to stop the alarm sound we need to press OK on the chartplotter. As I do not fish anymore, I get used to have the "Auxiliary" switched OFF. Even when I need the radar I go to the back of the aft port cabin, remove the door and disconnect the RJ45 plug (coming from the DSM) from the hub-switch. Doing so, I can use the radar without the irritating alarms when the DSM loses connection.

However, I started to have problems with the DST800 triducer. Water Temperature and Speed are always fine but Depth fails from time to time. I noticed this for the first time in 2016, in the Golf of Thessaloniki, when depth is from 20 to 30 meters. It worked OK when depth was greater than 30 and also when it was less than 20 meters. I though that it could be something related to the characteristics of the sea bottom. But in 2017 it start to fail even at very low depths of 3 or 4 meters when I was in the Zea Marina in Athens. You can see here a post that I made in a forum to get help.

So, I returned to the DSM which was quiet for some years. And got the same behavior as before. And reading on the net I discovered that Raymarine replaced free of charge (in 2013 :cry: ) all DSMs made in Mexico by new ones made in Hungary. Another thing that I learned by reading the web was that the problem was related to the power supply. And I could confirm this. When I was running the engine (alternator working) the "lost connections" were very rare. And if I disconnected the freezer, no more "lost connections". And if the freezer was OFF and I switch OFF the engine or put it in slow rotation (alternator not charging the batteries) the "lost connections" reappear. When the alternator is charging the batteries the voltage measured at the batteries is about 14 V. The indicator on the VDO panel on the port side (the batteries are on the startboard) shows about 13V. And if the freezer starts (increasing the current by some 6A or 7A) the voltage at the batteries lowers a bit but at the VDO panel, the decrease is about 0,7V! This is too much as the cables from the batteries to the panel are very thick. So I need to check any loss of voltage in the contacts from the batteries, switches, up to the panel.

Nevertheless I ordered from AliExpress a step up/down 13,8V 10A switching regulator. The current peaks by the DSM can only reach 8A and so this regulator is fine. I will install it, next December, near the hub-switch and the DSM. I will post here the result. Meanwhile here is a picture of the referred to regulator. And I need to resolve what I will do with the 319 transducer!


Regards, Luis

Luis Sa
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Posts: 445
Joined: Thu May 04, 2017 4:12 am

Re: Problems with Raymarine DSM300

Post by Luis Sa » Mon Dec 25, 2017 4:21 pm


I returned from Aegina last week with my friend Toze (an electrical engineer as me) where we spent 5 days doing some maintenance on the boat including this DSM300 problem. The result was not good! Here are what we found when we tested the sonar (the boat was on land):

1 - The 13,8V step down/up regulator had no effect! As the current requirement of the DSM300 is very "peaky", the regulator was not able to maintain a stable voltage at the very fast variation of the demanded current!. The DSM300 specification recommends to use a fast 8A fuse in line with the +12V power line. However I think that the power supply requirement is not simply to guaranty a given voltage at a certain maximum current. Actually the sonar transmits 600W pulses to the transducer. The gain that we can set in the chart plotter does not affect the transmitted power. It only affects the gain of the pre amplifier that process the received sonar echo. The length of the transmitted pulses is said to be in the interval from 100us to 4ms. The pulses are repeated at a maximum rate of 1580 pulses per minute. I have no idea how the duration of the pulses is controlled. 600W equals to 12V x 50A! However I admit that, from the side of the power supply the current never exceeds 8A (the fuse statement!). So I take 8A as being the maximum current demanded by the DSM300. If the pulse has a duration of 100us, 800uC (micro coulombs) of electric charge will be taken from the power supply. If we had a capacitor of 10,000 uF in parallel with the power supply and supposing that all the electric charge would come from the capacitor, a pulse of 8A during 100us would bring down the voltage of the capacitor by 0.08V that is to say from 12V to 11,92V and that could suggest to place a capacitor in parallel with the 13,8V output of the step up/down regulator. However if the pulse duration is 4ms that corresponds to a charge of 32 mC (mili coulombs) and the same capacitor would drop its voltage by 3,2V, that is it would go from 12V down to 8.8V! This would be no good! So I gave up the idea of placing a big 10.000 uF capacitor in parallel with the regulator output!

2 - We had no oscilloscope to look to the power supply voltage but we noticed that the Netgear Switch would die briefly (all lights off) when the DSM300 started to work for a few seconds (with the batteries at maximum voltage, that is to say battery charger from mains ON and no load: freezer OFF). By using the the Netgear AC to DC converter to supply 12V to the switch, it works fine without interruption when the DSM starts. So there is for sure a power supply problem.

3 - I need to check the connection cables that go from the batteries (sitting on the starboard aft cabin) to the VDO switching panel on the portside of the saloon and from this panel (the AUX switch) to the DSM300. In fact when the batteries were at 12,35V (charger OFF9 and supplying 0,48A the voltage at the VDO panel was 12,30V. When we switch On the fridge and some lights the batteries went down to 12,17V supplying 7,1A. This is a signal that I need to replace urgently the 4 years old batteries! But worst is that the voltage at the VDO panel (which is about 3 meters away from the batteries) is 11,75V! I write this in large case to remember - I NEED TO CHECK THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE BATTERIES AND THE PANEL!

4 - So we were able to get some depth readings in the C90W chart plotter when the mains battery charger was ON and starting a charging cycle (voltage at the batteries greater than 14V) and almost no load (freezer OFF). The reading was about 6m depth (boat on the land) and last for some 10 seconds. Then went OFF and started again about 2 minutes later.

5 - Finally we removed the DST800 cable from the end of the SeaTalkNG backbone (the DST800 triducer is on one extreme of the backbone) and we measured the DC voltage on the bus. We got a voltage of 11,64V when the batteries were at 12,32V and supplying 2,95A. Switching On the freezer, the batteries voltage dropped to 12,14V supplying a current of 8,5A and - worst -the voltage at the extreme of the SeaTalkNG was 11,32V! So the problem of the DST800 triducer can be a power supply problem! Again - I NEED TO GET NEW BATTERIES AND I NEED TO CHECK THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE BATTERIES AND THE PANEL!

In the following post I reproduce a note from Raymarine regarding the DSM800 troubleshooting!

Regards, Luis

Luis Sa
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Posts: 445
Joined: Thu May 04, 2017 4:12 am

Re: Problems with Raymarine DSM300

Post by Luis Sa » Mon Dec 25, 2017 4:29 pm


In this link Raymarine moderator says that DSM300 modules made in Mexico (as mine) also work without problems!

In this other link a DSM user refers that he found a problem related to "switch came lose and was touching (brushing against) the positive side of the switch every now and then"

Finally in this url: you get a FAQ describing all possible DSM300 problems. I past its contents here:

C/E-Series Widescreen MFD w/DSM30/300 reporting No Data Source, DSM Connection Lost
01-07-16, 05:33 PM (This post was last modified: 01-12-17 02:14 PM by Chuck - Raymarine - Moderator.) Post: #1
Chuck - Raymarine - Moderator Offline
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C/E-Series Widescreen MFD w/DSM30/300 reporting No Data Source, DSM Connection Lost
C/E-Series Widescreen MFD w/DSM30/300 reporting No Data Source, DSM Connection Lost

Most DSM related issues, where No Data Source, DSM Connection Lost, plot freezing, or Ping Disabled is reported, are due to one or more of the following:
- the DSM has not been updated with DSM30/300 v4.20 software (MENU->SYSTEM DIAGNOSTICS->EXTERNAL INTERFACES->SEATALKHS->DEVICES), then it is recommended that its software be updated. Please note that it will not be possible to update a DSM300 via the MFD if the two are not communicating with one another. In such cases, the DSM may be updated by a Certified Raymarine Installer or Raymarine's Product Repair Center.
- loose power, SeaTalkhs, and transducer socket retaining nuts
- insufficient power being supplied to the DSM (measure the voltage at the DSM's power plug when the DSM fails to perform)
- installation issues
- fatigued DSM power cable plug pins
- product failure (DSM, cables, MFD SeaTalk port, Network Switch, etc.)

Raymarine's products are designed to be easily updated using one's computer, a CF memory card reader, and a SanDisk brand CF memory card. Raymarine posts MFD software updates on its Customer Support web site.

Should you have upgraded the DSM's software and find that the problem persists, then please note that socket retaining nuts may cause intermittent contact between the sockets and the internal components of the DSM. It is recommended that the DSM's power, SeaTalkhs, hsb2, and transducer socket retaining nuts be tightened. As these nuts and the sockets are manufactured using plastic, be certain to not over-tighten these nuts.

Should the problem persist after tightening the DSM's socket nuts, then ensure that the MFD's fishfinder settings have been configured with the correct transducer. Should this not address the problem and the DSM is being supplied with power which is within its operating range, then the DSM should be serviced by Raymarine's Product Repair Center.

The female pins of some DSM30/300 power cables may fatigue over time. When this occurs, the opening of the plug’s female pins may spread resulting in intermittent contact with the male pins of the DSM30/300’s power socket. One may test for fatigued DSM power cable plug pins by rocking the power cable near the plug while observing the DSM30/300’s status LED. Should the DSM30/300’s LED fail to maintain a 1Hz green flash when the power cable is rocked, then the power cable should be replaced.

From an installation standpoint, the following issues must be addressed when troubleshooting a DSM:
- check the DSM's status LED and compare it to the LED codes listed within the DSM's Installation Guide. Particular attention should be paid to an amber or red flashing LED. Should you not have access to the Installation Guide or to the Internet, please respond to this incident with the LED's flash code. The eight amber flashes is indicative of a Watchdog Failure which indicates that the DSM encountered an unexpected problem during boot-up. Normally, it is advised that the Watchdog Failure be ignored if the system is otherwise supplying the MFD with fishfinder functionality. Should DSM not be supplying the MFD with fishfinder functionality and all of the software, installation, and power issues specified within this response have been checked, then the DSM should be serviced by Raymarine's Product Repair Center. Please note that it will not be possible to update a DSM300 via the MFD if the two are not communicating with one another. In such cases, the DSM may be updated by a Certified Raymarine Installer or Raymarine's Product Repair Center.
- the MFD must be interfaced to the DSM via a single SeaTalkhs cable of the appropriate length having a weatherproof locking ring on each end (1.5m (A62245), 15m (A62246)). Alternatively, a pair of SeaTalkhs cables having a weatherproof locking ring on one end only (1.5m (E55049). 5m (E55050). 10m (E55051), and 20m (E55052)) which have been joined with any of the following:
----- an E55060 SeaTalkhs Crossover Coupler or
----- an E55058 SeaTalkhs Network Switch or
----- an E32122 SR6 Sirius Satellite Weather/Radio Receiver / Network Switch
Raymarine does not supply SeaTalkhs cables with products as each boat's requirements for cable lengths and cable routing differ.
- SeaTalkhs cables, NOT generic Cat5e or custom constructed Cat5e, must be used to interface SeaTalkhs devices.
- Excess SeaTalkhs cable has been loosely coiled and secured to a bulkhead to prevent bend radius of less than 6"
- The marine electronics must be powered from an isolated power source
- The DSM has been installed on a vertical bulkhead with its interface oriented downward
- The power cable length for the DSM must be kept as short as possible. Should it become necessary to extend the DSM's power cable, cable of the appropriate gauge for the round trip run should be added.
- The power connections for the DSM are tight and free of corrosion.
- The power cable, transducer cable, and communications cable locking rings are installed and have been rotated into the locked position after each cable's plug has been mated to the DSM.
- The DSM should not be directly cabled to the vessel's electronics batteries or power bus bar. The DSM should be powered from a dedicated breaker or switch, permitting the DSM to be powered off when not in use. This will also permit the DSM to be restarted without affecting the state of the other marine electronics.
- The vessel's batteries have been fully charged. Following charging, one should attempt to duplicate the problem while the vessel is simultaneously connected to shore power and has more than 3' of water below its transducer. It is not possible to obtain a depth reading while the vessel is out of the water.
- The DSM has been installed in a location where its temperature will remain within its operating range.

Where power related failures occur, it is not usually low voltage, but rather low current availability that causes the problem. One may think of voltage as water in a hose and current as the amount of pressure behind that water that makes it move when the nozzle is opened. Simply measuring 12 volts on a voltmeter at the DSM power cable's plug does not lead to much insight regarding how much current was available. For example, the available voltage from 8 D-cell batteries is 12VDC. However, these 8 D-cells cannot provide sufficient current to run one's electronics. In a typical day of fishing, one starts the boat's engines, runs the engines for a short time to while traveling to a fishing location, drifts or anchors for a while with the engines in neutral or off, starts the engines again to relocate to another fishing location (repeating this process perhaps several times throughout the day), and finally runs the engines for a short time while traveling home. During this process, the engine alternator, which may be rated for 50 amps (but only when running at a higher RPM) can not replenish the amount of current that has been drawn from the batteries throughout the course of the day. The output of the alternators on most boats at trolling speeds is generally much lower than at peak output. As such, we have a situation where engines are started often, drawing a great deal of current by themselves, coupled with the marine electronics running at all times causing the available current to be reduced throughout the day. Should one do a couple of trips over a weekend and then leave the boat without a full charge till next week, the problem compounds itself until finally, the battery amperage drops below the current threshold level required to sustain the electronics. The first signs of insufficient current are often blinking of the MFD back light and intermittent or total malfunction of the DSM (which when searching draws 5-8 amps) causing the No Data Source or DSM Connection Lost message to be displayed.

From a trouble shooting perspective, inspect the installation to ensure that all of the above listed installation items have been addressed. Ensure that the batteries have been fully charged. Check the size of the wires supplying power to the marine electronics to ensure that they are no less than 12 gauge. Check the age of your electronics batteries and if the batteries are not sealed, check the water levels in them. Clean all the contacts and cable points and be sure that the connections are as tight as possible, then spray the terminals with a sealer designed to keep corrosion down. Have the batteries load tested as load testing will tell one how the batteries will perform when all equipment is powered on and functioning.

Power related problems occur most frequently on boats that are not plugged into shore power with an on-board battery charger between trips. Within 3 days of fishing, it is possible for the amperage of deep cycle 4-d batteries to drop low enough to cause the products to begin exhibiting the symptoms described earlier. One test that should be performed is to operate the equipment for the time specified while connected to shore power to determine whether the problem can be reproduced while connected to shore power. Should the problem not be reproduced while connected to shore power, then the fault would be determined to be caused by insufficient power being provided to the DSM.

Should you have addressed all of the items listed above, then it is recommended that the DSM be sent to Raymarine’s Product Repair Center to be bench checked / serviced. Alternatively, the DSM be replaced with a CP370 Digital Fishfinder Sounder Module. When replacing a DSM with a CP370,
- the transducer cable may simply be unplugged from the DSM's Transducer socket and then plugged into the CP370's Transducer Socket.
- the SeaTalkhs cable will be unplugged from the DSM's SeaTalkHS socket. An A80160 SeaTalkHS (F) to RayNet (F) Adapter will be installed onto the end of the SeaTalkHS Cable to permit it to then be mated to the CP370's Network socket.
- the power cable which had been installed for the DSM must be replaced with the power cable supplied with the CP370.


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