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  #1  
Old 09-27-2006
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Handheld Garmin GPSMAP 76

I am thinking of buying a GPSMap 76. In addition to the unit do I need to purchase any any additional map info? I have used this unit before on a charter, and it worked great, but after reading this description I am thinking maybe the one I used had some chart info loaded. Here is the text that has me confused:

<<<optional Garmin MapSource - detailed maps, including marine cartography. This memory is preloaded from the factory with worldwide cities (populations greater than 200,000) and nautical navigation aids such as lights, buoys, sound signals and day beacons. The Garmin GPSMAP 76 is also preloaded with tide data for the United States.>>>

So does this mean the basic unit will have what I need, or will I have to buy the Garmin MapSource to be able to use it for navigation. Any info will be appreciated!
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Old 09-27-2006
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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 10:04 PM.
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Old 09-27-2006
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Or you can get the MapTech PC Charts, Load the CD ( charts ) onto your laptop, plug your GPS via USB to your laptop and have a realtime Nav tool and ploter.

You'll see your progress in real time and plotting is as simple as a point and click of the mouse

http://www.maptech.com/

http://www.maptech.com/water/chartki...cfm?infopg=buy
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Old 09-30-2006
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BTW, the GPSMAP 76C has 115MB and the new 76CX takes memory cards. Both units will allow you to download BlueChart marine charts to them, as will the 76...but with only 8 MB, you won't get too many charts loaded.

The battery life on the 76C/CS/Cx is much better and on my 76CS I get over 16 hours with NiMH rechargeables.

The tide data rocks...

BTW, Mapsource comes with all the Garmin GPS units standard, but BlueChart does not. I think Faster has confused the two programs.

Also, the NMEA 0183 cable can supply power to the unit as well as tie it into your boat's autopilot.

Any questions, PM me...
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Old 10-01-2006
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SD is correct - the program you buy for the Garmin GPSs is "Blue charts". Sorry for the mixup.
Purchase of the Blue Charts CD gives you the unlock permission for one chart set, and for that chart set for up to two GPS units. (you can load up a backup without buying another unlock code but you must register both units)
Last summer I purchased a second chartset, for the West Coast of Vancouver Island, cost was just over $100 CDN, but fully justified the first foggy day on the outside. Needless to say we had paper charts as backup (unlike more than one other cruiser we met there!)
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Old 10-01-2006
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Pamlico...
I have 2 GPS76's without the maps and love them, but I also have a separate chartplotter. If I were looking for a complete solution in one unit AND planned on needing multiple chat regions I might look at the GPSMAP492 instead since all US cartography is already included. About 2x the price of the 76map but after 4 charts you are even and you have a MUCH better display, more waypoints/routes etc.
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Old 10-01-2006
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I'd second cam's suggestion, if you need multiple chart regions. Another good choice is the 498 unit, which can be used for both automobile and marine navigation, and has the same coastal US marine and terrestrial cartography builit in. The 498 can also show weather if you get the XM radio weather module for it.

BTW, I have the 76CS as a handheld, the 276 as the one in my truck, and a 192 on my boat.
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a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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