Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: San Francisco Bay area
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Re: chart ploter advice
Your "profile" here does not reveal if or what kind of boat you own.
If it's a sailboat with a planned installation on a ss guard at the wheel, read carefully the install instuctions and warning about proximity to your steering compass. This is one of a large group of Garmin devices with a chip door held closed by a powerful permanent magnet.
Their install instruction requires that it be mounted a minimum of 17 to 37 inches away from that compass, depending on specific Garmin model. They bury this rather deep in the paper doc or the online PFD.
I have found that West Marine employees will fein ignorance or become sullen when asked specifically about this limitation/danger. A full service marine electronics dealer will be straightforward about it, in my experience.
All this proves little except that sailboats are no longer anything but an unimportant niche market to Garmin.... and that their liability lawyers forced them to include a warning in smallish print.
I installed my Lowrance HDS5, which also has a magnet on the chip door, about 12 inches from the compass with NO discernable effect on it. I checked carefully, no more than 1 degree of effect on any bearing. The key seems to be to have the plotter at a different height from the compass.
So 37 inches might be necessary to guarantee that there's no effect, but that does not mean that good installations cannot be done much closer, with care.
That care should be taken would apply to installing any electronic device close to the compass.
Bristol 31.1, San Francisco Bay