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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New Westminster, BC
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We have owned a Garmin MAP76 for a couple of years now, and it's working great. You do have to buy software (Garmin's MapSource) which is around $150 CDN and includes one regional unlock key for download. Additional downloads are available at a cost. The software allows you to create waypoints, select charts within the region to download, and build routes. These are then dumped into the GPS unit over a serial link from your PC. The "Americas" CD contains all the charts for all the Americas, but you need to buy unlock codes for each region.
The "Base maps" are very basic, and do not include marine details at all.
Today, I would suggest (recommend) going the extra for a colour display - much easier to read in bright sunlight. Also the current model has much greater memory capacity than the 8M ours has, so check the current line-up carefully so you get the most bang for your buck.
Run the GPS on ships power, I only get about 8 hours on set of normal AA batteries. Using the backlight severely shortens this time. It can also be interfaced with an autopilot, radar or lap-top based programs like Mapsource.
It can also talk to NMEA programs like Nobeltec if you have that, then you don't need to buy the Garmin software but the charts won't show up on your GPS screen either.
But look into the higher memory and a colour screen.
Last edited by Faster; 09-27-2006 at 11:04 PM.