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  #21  
Old 01-30-2008
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GPS/Laptop

I use a laptop hooked up via serial cable to a garmin III from 1997. It works like a champ. I use the Capn with free raster charts from NOAA. The Capn has a 30 day trial so you can test it. I realized I could just set the Windows clock back and use the program forever. I felt guilty and bought it a while back.

I have every NOAA chart for the east coast loaded. If I zoom in, it automatically selects a higher resolution chart. If a rough inlet with shoal and 6 foot waves, Amy monitored the laptop giving me headings while I white-knuckled the tiller. We got through it thanks for the Capn and no one losing their heads. A usb GPS would be a good choice, nice it uses the laptop battery (less cabling). Anything that is NMEA compatible should work with most programs. Is NMEA the correct acronymn???

Anyway, good luck.
Here is our trip using the laptop > www sundancecsc com/mac25mods htm
Replace the spaces with dots.
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  #22  
Old 01-30-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valiente View Post
Can anyone recommend a good, non-proprietary GPS "puck" antenna that plugs via USB into a laptop? I saw a Garmin unit...but it apparently only works with Garmin everything else.
Garmin has a program called spanner you can download from their site that takes the garmin usb input and converts it to nmea on a virtual serial port. It may work with the puck. I am using it with my gpsmap 76 and it interfaces with Maptech perfectly. Also with Microsoft streets and maps.
DD
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  #23  
Old 01-30-2008
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I had a puck type GPS but decided that it was too finicky. When the computer wasn't interfacing with it, it couldn't be used because the GPS didn't have its own display or power source. Often the interface between the two became unstable and the computer couldn't find the puck. With my handheld GPS and a USB cable everything seems to work fine. When the GPS quits talking to the computer (for whatever reason), the GPS is still useful.

Gaz
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  #24  
Old 01-30-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j34035 View Post
Garmin has a program called spanner you can download from their site that takes the garmin usb input and converts it to nmea on a virtual serial port. It may work with the puck. I am using it with my gpsmap 76 and it interfaces with Maptech perfectly. Also with Microsoft streets and maps.
DD
Good to know! I don't think I need the Garmin puck, however, as I can use more generic pucks (I don't have a Garmin plotter or anything else Garmin...no particular reason why...)
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  #25  
Old 01-30-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plumper View Post
I had a puck type GPS but decided that it was too finicky. When the computer wasn't interfacing with it, it couldn't be used because the GPS didn't have its own display or power source. Often the interface between the two became unstable and the computer couldn't find the puck. With my handheld GPS and a USB cable everything seems to work fine. When the GPS quits talking to the computer (for whatever reason), the GPS is still useful.

Gaz
I have a plotter and two handhelds already. I want the laptop/puck combo to practise with using SeaClear and other programs with NOAA raster maps.

Basically, it's fifty bucks to evaluate and give me something to play with. My current plotter is a Raymarine 420 and while good at acquiring, I don't plan on investing in cartridges for it.
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  #26  
Old 01-30-2008
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http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=UT-41&cat=GPS

This is a generic puck for $30 that I saw on another thread. I'll be ordering it later for the same reason as Valiente. I could only find them for ~$80. So I was glad to find the link. The antenna will work fine with Seaclear or streets and trips. I broke my last one using it in the car. Unsafe mode of transportation.
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Last edited by lharmon; 01-30-2008 at 05:29 PM. Reason: Additional comment and fix spelling.
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  #27  
Old 01-31-2008
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I recently picked up some Delorme street map software at Staples that included a "hockey puck" GPS/USB receiver. Cost was $50 after rebate. I have had some Maptech software (Offshore Navigator Lite) that came for free with a Long Island Sound chartbook but never bothered buying a cable to interface my handheld Lowrance GPS. A little research found that I needed to download a driver to interface the Delorme hockey puck to the Maptech package. Seems to work fine. So total cost for hardware and software to turn my laptop into an automotive GPS AND ALSO a marine chartplotter (with maps of my cruising area) was under $100! Wow!
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  #28  
Old 05-13-2009
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BUMPIN this thread to keep it alive and hopefully updated.If someone was interested in a cheap semi dedicated chart plotter, check this DIY article out. Duckworks - Building a home made Chart Plotter You could use it for wifi internet,software updates on the go,playing music,up to the minute weather updates,and downloading pics from a digital camera.Some food for thought.

Times are tough and to me gps is a safety device.Never a substitute for common sense and paper maps tho.So this is a cheap alternative to more expensive units.Keeps us shoe string sailors on the water.
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  #29  
Old 05-13-2009
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you might try google earth as well. You can use it as a map.
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  #30  
Old 05-13-2009
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Google earth requires an internet connection, so isn't very useful for most boats.
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