Originally Posted by ncapener
In the fall of 2011 I purchased a Garmin 4212 chart plotter expecting to get a good number of years of service from it.
Last summer the network plug failed leaving me without radar or sounder until a new cable was found. Then the unit stopped working all together because of a corroded power plug. When I took the plotter of the mount I noticed corrosion on the aluminum housing and the plastic cracking where the screws attach.
Is that the normal life expectancy of modern electronics?
Sad in Nanaimo
Sorry about your loss.
"Modern Electronics" is usually designed with a clear life expectancy expressed in MTBF (which is not the the same). Some electronics, as mobile phones are made to be used for about 2-3 years, then they are usually obsolete anyhow. Some other electronics, as semi-prof marine is made for last about 10 years - then it is obsolete.
Garmin has a good reputation, one of the largest brands on the market. Many Garmin users report using their equipment far longer then 10 years.
Now I do not know the model you have, if it is has NMEA 2000, then those are known to have problems with contacts and corrosion. Most manufacturers recommend to disconnect all
power when not in use.
Radar connected to plotters also induce a lot of undesired currents, with similar results. As will echo sounders.
Installation of such complex units must be performed with utmost care, in particular regarding earthing - some of the connected equipment is earthed in themselves, if so the connection should be without connecting earth to the plotter in order not to create the so called earth loops.
Maintenance is important as well. Cover, or removing the plotter to put it inside the boat when not in use will increase life span.
And so on. There are many aspects to consider. Cannot blame "modern electronics" for everything.