Budget-Priced 5" Chartplotter Advice Needed - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 26 Old 12-16-2013
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Re: Budget-Priced 5" Chartplotter Advice Needed

I'd take a plotter over a tablet any day, especially in this price range.

Tablets generally aren't waterproof and the displays generally don't work so well in bright sunlight. You can spend money to fix the waterproofing issue, but typically can't power them and keep them waterproof at the same time.

I like having a tablet as a secondary or backup GPS, but not as a primary.

If you have other electronics onboard (autopilot, speed or depth transducers, wind instrument, VHF with AIS, etc) you might want to get a GPS that includes NMEA 0183 or NMEA 2000 integration. There are a few of these in the $500 price range.
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post #12 of 26 Old 12-16-2013
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Re: Budget-Priced 5" Chartplotter Advice Needed

I prefer to get something designed for the purpose from the outset. I have wasted too much time over the years trying to adapt things to suit a purpose. A tablet will always be a compromise, not waterproof (unless you spend more money on a case, and of course a cheap tablet never has anything designed for it, another compromise requiring the use of a universal cover which won't have ports etc in the right place), not daylight viewable, battery life, and simply not durable enough for use in a marine environment. The only tablet which would be feasible would be an iPad, and by the time you bought that, the accessories etc I am going to be in the hole for way more than a dedicated plotter, even one not at the bottom end of the market. Plus I don't like touchscreens, they simply do not work well in anything other than a nice smooth indoor environment, try pressing a certain spot on a screen when it's pouring with rain, you're getting bashed around and you are wearing full foulies and gloves. That's where I sail.
And after all that, the tablet still doesn't give you depth.

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post #13 of 26 Old 12-17-2013
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Re: Budget-Priced 5" Chartplotter Advice Needed

There is one tablet that could be very interesting when it finally ships.

The Earl is waterproof, has a 4-system "GPS" (GPS/GLONASS/Galileo/Beiduo) support, built in radio (not sure if it will do marine VHF) and runs Android so it should work with Navionics.

It is eink based which will make it easy to read in any lighting conditions, but that also has the downside of being monochrome. It'll be interesting to see how easy it is to read charts on it.

Still doesn't get you depth or cheap integration with NMEA electronics.

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post #14 of 26 Old 05-30-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Budget-Priced 5" Chartplotter Advice Needed

I am renewing this thread because I did try an 8-inch GPS-enabled Android tablet with NOAA's free MyNOAA chartplotting app that works with their free raster chart downloads.

It works beautifully in the wintertime living room, just OK down below, but is useless in the cockpit, even when overcast. One just cannot read the screen at the helm.

So... my original question remains. I need advice on a 5-inch chartplotter; around $400. I do not need depth / fishfinder function. NMEA 0183 output to VHF is the only interoperability requirement.

If you provide a recommendation, please indicate what you especially like about your choice; (and maybe any aspect you're less happy about too).

Thank you.
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post #15 of 26 Old 05-30-2014
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Re: Budget-Priced 5" Chartplotter Advice Needed

Garmin 546 on Ebay can be had for about 400. That's what I paid for one. BTW I'll be putting that one back on Ebay shortly ... Decided instead on a Zeus 7 Touch.
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Re: Budget-Priced 5" Chartplotter Advice Needed

There are great prices on the B&G Zeus and Raymarine A65/A67 these days side both units have been replaced by upgraded models. They are a little more than your target price, but for the difference you get a lot of nice features (including free charts on the Raymarine unit, which can make it cheaper than many budget plotters).

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post #17 of 26 Old 05-30-2014
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Re: Budget-Priced 5" Chartplotter Advice Needed

Look at the Standard Horizon!
Standard Horizon CP190INC Chartplotter

SIMPLE 12 volt connection and use! NO OTHER CONNECTION REQUIRED, but has the ability if needed later on. And it's just over your $400 at 450.00.

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Re: Budget-Priced 5" Chartplotter Advice Needed

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Originally Posted by WoobaGooba View Post
Garmin 546 on Ebay can be had for about 400. That's what I paid for one. BTW I'll be putting that one back on Ebay shortly ... Decided instead on a Zeus 7 Touch.
FYI the ZT7 was about 750 after sale and rebates. Replaced all my Garmin kit (546, GMI 10, GPS 17x) with all B&G (Z7T, T41s, ZG 100, etc). Too many frustrations with Garmin. B&G is the only electronics firm catering to sailors.

First major race event was last weekend. Lovin the B&G kit so far.
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post #19 of 26 Old 05-30-2014
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Re: Budget-Priced 5" Chartplotter Advice Needed

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Why not "just" get a touchscreen tablet and a GPS puck? Sorry, I don't mean to derail the conversation, but if the interest is in a chartplotter only (not depth/wind speed/etc.), a $100-$200 tablet and $50 GPS puck seems like a much less expensive option. Throw in a good charting app, even at $30, and you're good. Plus the tablet can serve other purposes when in WiFi range.
Every time someone recommends navigating with a tablet, I'm going to mention the recent article in Latitude 38 on the beaching of Seaquel. I quote :

"They'd been navigating for weeks without a problem using iNavX software on Berg's iPad, which was interfaced with the vessel's GPS. That night they were headed for a waypoint offshore of Honokohau Harbor, north of Kialua Kona town. All of a sudden the screen was taken over by a system request to log in to FaceTime, an Apple resource, then another request to log in to the iCloud. No matter what Berg and Peters did, they couldn't clear the screen and log back in to iNavX. Berg also had that software on his iPhone, but he hadn't entered the waypoint there. The built-in chartplotter had a system that displayed NOAA charts, but Berg says that proved inadequate.

"I should have just said, 'Hang a hard left', until we sorted things out, but I didn't. It was totally my screw-up." Before they could find a software solution, they heard the sound of surf crashing and they knew they were in trouble. "

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Re: Budget-Priced 5" Chartplotter Advice Needed

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Every time someone recommends navigating with a tablet, I'm going to mention the recent article in Latitude 38 on the beaching of Seaquel. I quote :

"They'd been navigating for weeks without a problem using iNavX software on Berg's iPad, which was interfaced with the vessel's GPS. That night they were headed for a waypoint offshore of Honokohau Harbor, north of Kialua Kona town. All of a sudden the screen was taken over by a system request to log in to FaceTime, an Apple resource, then another request to log in to the iCloud. No matter what Berg and Peters did, they couldn't clear the screen and log back in to iNavX. Berg also had that software on his iPhone, but he hadn't entered the waypoint there. The built-in chartplotter had a system that displayed NOAA charts, but Berg says that proved inadequate.

"I should have just said, 'Hang a hard left', until we sorted things out, but I didn't. It was totally my screw-up." Before they could find a software solution, they heard the sound of surf crashing and they knew they were in trouble. "
I'll up your with one more !

So many reasons why a tablet will never be more than a backup for me. Water integrity, sunlight view-ability, temperature rating, reliability, and I've generally found the tablet apps I've tried to be seriously lacking in one department or another (BCM, iSailGPS, etc).

But I am interested to try B&G's GoFree WiFi repeater capability ... but below decks or at the dock.
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