Originally Posted by wyliek
...based on what I see this a costly option, and not a simple "plug and play" item as one would expect in today[']s day and age.
The cost of implementing a NMEA-2000 network backbone with facilities for two devices is well under $200 (including the engine interface cable), which does not seem like it would qualify for the description of "costly" these days, at least not in the context of what I read in this forum with fellows having two, three, or four multi-function displays with SONAR, chart plotters, and other functions on one boat that each cost thousands of dollars. Perhaps the most "costly" component is the specialized drop cable usually needed to make connection to the engine NMEA-2000 interface. The most modern engines, such as the Evinrude E-TEC G2, now use the standard NMEA-2000 DeviceNET Micro connector, so the need for a specialized drop cable is eliminated, and a standard (and usually less expensive) network extension cable can be used.
Once properly wired, a NMEA-2000 network is completely self-configuring, or "plug-and-play" if you prefer. Almost all of the problems encountered with NMEA-2000 networking seem to be from boaters who have a preternatural instinct to ignore all advice and seem to be able to invent an endless series of very innovative ways to wire things incorrectly. But, if you follow the directions, NMEA-2000 is extremely simple, not very expensive, and requires no user-configuration.