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MarkSF 06-10-2011 03:47 PM

$500 to $600 chartplotter?
I'm looking for a chartplotter up to $600. In the past I've bought a lot of Garmin stuff but this 78SC handheld I bought last year has kind of changed that! It's very powerful but I find the menu structure, navigation, and general ease of use to be very poor. It's as if no-one ever thought about how a GPS is used on a boat. To top it all, the manual is minimal and only covers the most basic features. Anything else, figure it out for yourself.

So is anyone else better? How about Lowrance? They seem to have competing ones at about the same price point.

SEMIJim 06-10-2011 04:19 PM

Right now I'm kinda lusting after the new Garmin Montana :D But I'm also in the market for a hand-held that's equally well-suited to road and trail as it is to sea. For straight marine hand-helds, the ones I see most-often recommended are the 78sc (which you have and do not like), the 76csx and the 60csx.


BarryL 06-10-2011 05:44 PM


I am on my second Lowrance plotter / sounder. I am happy with their stuff and would definitely consider them in the future. What I like about Lowrance is that their screens are high resolution (480 X 480 compared to 320 X 200 for many others), and for only a little more $ you can get a nice depth sounder. They allow you to customize the screens which is a nice feature. Lastly, Lowrance provides a emulator (for some models) that allows you to 'use' the plotter on your PC and see if you like it. For under $600 you can get the Elite 5, or maybe the HDS 5. The Elite series uses NMEA 0183 while the HDS has NMEA2000.

Another model that is affordable is Standard Horizon. They also provide an emulator that allows you to test the plotter.


tommays 06-10-2011 06:25 PM

I have been really happy with my lowrance 3500C which is more or less the old version of the current HDS with NMEA2000.

And the NauthicPath chip is a very good deal

Its just been moved to its second boat and taken a LOT of saltwater without complaint

MarkSF 06-10-2011 07:26 PM

What do I need to talk to the DSC on my VHF? Is it NMEA2000?

SEMIJim 06-10-2011 07:49 PM


Originally Posted by MarkSF (Post 739371)
What do I need to talk to the DSC on my VHF? Is it NMEA2000?

Depends on the radio. Are we to guess? :)


bljones 06-10-2011 09:04 PM

Lowrance. Period. They use navionics chips which are cheaper than c-map or garmin, and you likely won't need them since most lowrance plotters now come pre-loaded for the entire US, inland and saltwater. Best value on the market. A 5" colour plotter can be had for well under $600

MarkSF 06-10-2011 09:25 PM


Originally Posted by SEMIJim (Post 739374)
Depends on the radio. Are we to guess? :)


Oh for some reason I thought they'd all be the same. Its a Standard Horizon GX1150, with NMEA 0183 in and out.

Can a GPS with NMEA2000 be set to be compatible with 0183?

WDS123 06-10-2011 09:38 PM


Faster 06-10-2011 10:04 PM

Quite satisfied with my Standard Horizon 180i, good colour screen, reasonable size. I think the latest versions include charts (I need a Cmax card)it was less than $500 but the chip card was $200. The new one is a better deal, I believe.

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