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Old 05-13-2009
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Someone needed my Garmin more than I did and I haven't replaced it yet. I now use a Holux GR-213 that I bought on E-bay for $28 with my PC. I have Sea Clear 2 and Chart Navigator Light. The Chart Navigator came with a Maptech chart set I bought for the Bahamas. The Sea Clear is a free download and uses the NOAA charts. I have been using them for about four years and have had no problems at all. It's a little tricky to get the NOAA charts into Sea Clear but once you overcome that hurdle it's a piece of cake.

If you have a computer with Bluetooth capability Holux makes units that can talk to it wireless.

The only problem I have is using a computer as a display. The marine environment isn't very friendly to electronics and we keep the computer under a plastic cover. Next season I'll get a marine unit, probably a MFD, and install it at the wheel where I can see it all the time. Otherwise, it's fine.

Dick Pluta
On the hard in Florida
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Old 05-13-2009
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You can run any of several Nav programs on your PC and coupled with a GPS you will have ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display). And you can do more with your PC while the ECDIS runs in the background... Such as Voyage planning, Email, Logs, Grocery list, dreaded taxes and so forth...
The dedicated ECDIS's well you can display your chart...That's it....
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Old 05-14-2009
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Off topic, but somewhat relevant if you're interested in PC's aboard. I replaced the power supply within my pc with a 12v PSU unit that's typically sold for cars, now I can run my pc continuously without an inverter (inefficient) or the genset.
I've built 9 so far at the request for friends, and during the evolution, I've gotten away from PC cases altogether, I now mount the motherboard, PSU and harddrive on a piece of plywood, then mount the dvdrive in the cabin, so it's easy to pop in a movie.
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