Garmin 741xs installed: first impressions - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics
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  #1  
Old 07-20-2013
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Garmin 741xs installed: first impressions

When I bought my boat last year, it came with a Raymarine C70 "Classic" chartplotter and radar dome, as well as a Garmin 540 chartplotter. No AIS, no sounders. Both units are installed on separate Ram mounts just inside the companionway, and are swung around for visibility underway (boat is tiller steered).

I haven't been happy with the Raymarine unit, primarily because the fonts and graphics appear to be designed for up close viewing (e.g., a power boat helm). In my application, the screen is about four feet in front of me, and I couldn't make out any details without walking forward and leaning down. The system was also complex to operate, at least compared to the Garmin. I didn't use the Radar too much, but it did work.

The Garmin unit, on the other hand, had much bolder fonts and graphics, and was easy to read from the tiller. But the screen real estate was much less than the Raymarine.

So I decided that it was time to upgrade. I experimented with and was impressed by Garmin Bluechart Mobile on my iPad, so I decided to go with a Garmin unit. I found an excellent deal on a second hand (but still in the box) 741xs, and decided to pull the trigger.

I pulled out the old stuff this weekend and installed the new Garmin. Installation was no problem, except that the mounting bracket doesn't mesh well with the Ram mounting plate, so I had to make an adapter plate (plywood for now, black Starboard once I get some). Initial setup was easy, and everything seems to be working just fine.

Like the 540, the fonts and graphics are very easy to see. One thing that did surprise me is that the height of the 741xs screen is actually less than the 540 and Raymarine (3.6 inches vs. 4.0 inches). Although the 741xs has a 7 inch screen (diagonal), it appears that the designers were focused on screen width (perhaps to accommodate a split screen display) more than screen height. I think I would have preferred more height, since I'm more interested in what's out front than what's to the side. But the screen dimensions seem similar to other manufacturer's 7 inch models, so I don't think I could have avoided this, short of choosing a larger screen ($$$).

Consolidating to a single plotter also freed up one of the Ram mounts, so I transferred by VHF to it. Now I can swing the radio out to the cockpit, along with the plotter. Nice!

Next step is to put all the old stuff on eBay
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Old 07-20-2013
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Garmin 741xs installed: first impressions

Curious - why not stick with the iPad? At least for close coastal cruising its pretty nice, has the needed screen size and clear waterproof sleeves are available. Am I missing something - I've never had a chart plotter other than my iPad, but I spend most of my sail time within 25 miles of home.
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Re: Garmin 741xs installed: first impressions

It's true that many do this. But there are various downsides to the iPad as the primary navigation tool (many threads on that topic, including one entitled "Hooking up" in this forum). For me, I am more comfortable with a dedicated plotter.
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Old 08-26-2013
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Re: Garmin 741xs installed: first impressions

Thought I would post a couple of photos, in case they're of use to someone.



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Old 08-27-2013
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Re: Garmin 741xs installed: first impressions

I like the idea of the VHF on the rotating mount, never thought of that.
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Old 08-30-2013
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Re: Garmin 741xs installed: first impressions

While I love my Simrad setup I think Garmin is going to own the market in the long term. Their year to year product improvement is pretty spectacular. Their momentum is undeniable.
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Old 08-30-2013
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Re: Garmin 741xs installed: first impressions

I've installed a few 741-XS plotters and my customers rave about them. Last season it was the Raymarine e7D's that were hot, this year the 741-XS.

The difference in feedback between how much customers so-so like the e7D and love the 741XS is amazing. Lots of "I wish it did this." or "It is a pain to do that." or "It froze up on me again." from the e7 customers and lots of "I love this thing!" from the Garmin 741 customers...

Kind of want one on my own boat now but I am waiting until they hopefully give it Garmin Marine Network capability... I have two stations so Garmin Marine Network is important to me..

From what I have played with on them they are fast, easy and a dream to operate.

This one was on a Bristol 40 & the customer absolutely loves it......
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Old 09-09-2013
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Garmin 741xs installed: first impressions

Went for a long day trip today. One thing I learned: it's much easier to interface with the chartplotter via an iPad (running Bluechart Mobile) for many functions, including adding new waypoints, routes, or telling the plotter to navigate to them.
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Old 04-09-2014
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Garmin 741xs installed: first impressions

Upgraded the 741xs software a few days ago, now compatible with the Garmin Helm software on the iPad. Mirrors the MFD display and functionality on the iPad. Not exactly new tech (Raymarine and others have offered this for a while), but very nice, nonetheless. Will be nice to relax on the pushpin seat and still have access to the MFD.
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