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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics
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  #1  
Old 10-19-2009
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Opinions on total-package electronics brands?

I am looking to completely re-outfit my boat with electronics. I'm looking for opinions on the best single brand to build my system with. I would like full integration of autopilot, fishfinder, anemometer, knot meter, GPS, radar, weather, etc. I don't intend to purchase all the components at one time and therefore require a continually expandable system. I know all major marine electronics companies (Furuno, Raymarine, etc) utilize some network like this... so which brand is better? I've heard opinions that Raymarine is overpriced, unreliable, and the support is spotty? Is the same true of Furuno? Is there any other viable option better than them both? Garmin?

Any and all opinions are much appreciated.

Thanks,
Matt
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Old 10-20-2009
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Difficult question, just like: what is the best sailboat .... In my particular oppinion Raymarine has the best support, best price and is filled with all stuffs new technology brings. They are the only dealer seriously installed here ....
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Old 10-20-2009
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I would disagree that Raymarine offers the best price. I've found Garmin to offer the best value overall. For the money (factoring in chart costs) I found their plotters are the best as well as their radar solutions. Garmin crams in a ton of features for the price, and some of their features are freebies while others charge. Plus, there's a large user community for Garmin products that can tinker/hack and "community enhance" their offerings by virtue of the fact that their GPS units are fairly ubiquitous.

However, Raymarine seems to offer the most complete offerings END TO END. This includes some very niche type products (in the grand scheme of things) such as the Man Overboard wrist bracelets and even an AIS offering. Plus they are the one with the largest service and installation resource footprint...nearly everyone works on Raymarine.

I guess what I'm trying to say is use Garmin to save money/bang for the buck, but use Raymarine if you like EVERYTHING to be one brand/network.
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Last edited by night0wl; 10-20-2009 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 10-20-2009
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sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice
Any real reason you need/want everything from one vendor? IMHO, some vendors do somethings better than others...
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Old 10-20-2009
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What are you looking to do with the boat? Coastal cruising? Bluewater? Different systems are good for different things.
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Old 10-25-2009
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electronics

I have installed both Raymarine as well as Garmin. I believe they both offer very good equipment. Raymarine has a better Fishfinder solution with there HD black box as well as a better Radar system. Garmin has a much better GPS Plotter.
If I was to redo all my electronics I would go for the new C90wide with the built in GPS antenna and Navionics Charts, DSM30 or DSm300 fishfinder black box, with a tilted element transducer, 18" or 24" digital dome, Raymarine Autopilot with St7002Plus control head.
THere service is verygood and they do have walkin drop off sericve in Merrimac, NH.
What type a boat do you have? Do you need multihead?

George
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Old 10-26-2009
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Have you seen the new E-Series wide? It supports both touchscreen AND hard button control, and more importantly it supports both cMap and Navionics charts in the same unit. That feature alone makes me want to upgrade my C-Series.
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Old 10-26-2009
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I want to go all with one brand of equipment to ensure best compatibility and resource sharing between all the sensors, components, and systems. The boat is a 1981 C&C 32'. I intend to use it for live-aboard, coastal cruising, and for longer trips down the eastern continental shelf (to FL, Bahamas, etc). I intend to mount a second controlling head down at the navigation station. When living-aboard and sleeping at night this will give me access to GPS position (for anchor drift) as well as information from the Sirius weather receiver and radar for upcoming weather conditions. I know this is not a middle-of-the-North-Atlantic type of boat but I still intend to set it up for long cruises down the coast off of SC, GA, FL, and on to PR, Bahamas, etc and would prefer in-cabin operation.
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Old 10-26-2009
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Then I would recommend either the Raymarine or Garmin setups. You'll get networkable plotters (enabling you to share routes and waypoints), depth, speed, wind, AIS, VHF/DSC, fishfinder, radar, weather, etc. I would recommend the newer Raymarine stuff if you go with Raymarine - the ST70 displays and either the C series wide screens or the soon to be released E series widescreens. I would also recommend that you go to your local West Marine that has the Garmin stuff in stock, and compare the use of a touchscreen display vs. a hard button display. I like the touchscreen, but in heavy seas I think I would prefer my hard button display I have now. The new Raymarine E Series allows you to use both capabilities in a single unit. I think you'd probably be happy with either manufacturer. I would like to point out that the Raymarine C series uses only Navionics chips, so if you want to go to the Bahamas use either the Garmin stuff or the Raymarine E-Series with cMap chips (both include the Explorer charts, which are the gold standard for the Bahamas). I would also like to suggest that you look at a handheld Garmin Oregon GPS as a spare. You can carry it to the bow to set an anchor alarm, and then place it next to your head in your berth for when you sleep.
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Old 10-29-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Any real reason you need/want everything from one vendor? IMHO, some vendors do somethings better than others...
Some areas limit you to one vendor, such as networking. If you have several Raymarine seatalk instruments and want to connect them to a chart plotter, for example, I believe it will have to be a Raymarine chart plotter. We enjoyed a lightning strike recently and are getting to change out some electronics. We considered getting some Garmin stuff, but it would have meant changing out most of our Raymarine stuff (autopilot, etc.) to make it all compatible.
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