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  #1  
Old 05-22-2008
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help me buy the best chartplotter gps for my budget

ive had it with my old colourless garmin and my tiny screened handheld/waterproof magellan gps.im going to buy a new chartplotter/gps this weekend(probably tomorrow) and i want to keep it under $500 before tax(obviously not including the charts i need).so far i have seen a standard horizon cp180 and garmin gpsmap 420s and im leaning towards the standard horizon model as it seems to have a better screen than the garmin(i found the garmin's colours are not bright enoug so it makes it hard to dfine land/sea diference).
can anyone reccomend anything better and back it up with an explination? or if the models ive looked at are the way to go,why?
also i have all the charts of the area i use on an sd card for my magellan handhled which i also use on my laptop for viewing maps when on the water and im wondering if there is a possibility to load these into my new unit to save on the buying new cards.is this an option on any unit?
any help would be great.thanks.
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Old 05-22-2008
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CNC33-

It would help if you said where you sail. The Garmins have either the Coastal US charts or the Inland US water charts built into many of their units, which makes them far more of a reasonable buy, since you don't have to buy charts to go with them.

I seriously doubt that your SD card of charts will work in either the Standard Horizon or Garmin units, as most chartplotter manufacturers are pretty good at limiting access to their charts, and don't generally like cross platform compatibility.

It might be wiser to go with what your total budget, for the chartplotter and charts is, rather than looking at the two purchases separately, since whatever chartplotter you buy is going to affect your ability to buy charts for it.
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Old 05-22-2008
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Lowrance

Hello,

You can buy a Lowrance unit for under $500 that is very nice. Here are some features (copied from a web site)
  • 5" diag. 256-color SolarMAX TFT display for maximum visibility and widest viewing angles even in bright sunlight
  • 480 x 480 pixel resolution for superb sonar target detail/separation and exceptional chart definition
  • Advanced fluorescent cold-cathode screen and keypad backlighting
  • 5-pin Ethernet expansion port compatible for radar, video and satellite radio
If you order now, you get a free chart for the US on a chip.

I like Garmin units, but I think they are overpriced. For more money, the Garmin 440 has a smaller screen with less resolution:

Ultra-bright 4" diagonal QVGA display, 320 x 240 pixels - over 800 nits of brightness

Barry
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sd-i would like to spend no more than $500 plus taxes ($575 can)plus no more than $200 tax in for the charts(which is what i paid for the charts i have already).this is a max number as i have seen quite a few for alot less and dont see a point in spending extra $ for options ill never use.
when i bought my last chartplotter/gps (when i was sailing on lake ontario)i spent over $1000 plus tax and now i cant even find cards for it(not that it would be worth it anyways)today i can get one a million times better for under $400.same goes for my magellan waterproof handheld-3 years ago i paid almost $700 for it and at the time it was the best model they made-today there are better ones out there for $200.its not that i dont have more to spend i just dont think its worth it as i figure in another 5 years there will be models a million times better for less money and ill be buying one of them.
i need the charts for georgean bay and surrounding areas Georgian Bay
my current garmin gps (a little outdated-6 years)has built in maps and they are utterly useless and inacurate.

barryl-the lowrance is a nice unit indeed,but the price is higher up here-$649-and the us map is useless to me-but thanks for helping out.
with most units out there the maps that they come with dont help me any so i just asume ill have to spend another $200 on way or the other.

the one thing i like about the standard horizon unit is all the accessories you can add on to it and the whole kit is ony $250 more.
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CNC-

That's kind of why I asked where you're sailing?...

Do you care about routes and waypoints. The SH CP180 can have up to 20 routes with only 30 waypoints each and a total of 600 waypoints, where the Garmin 400 series can have 1500 waypoints with 20 routes with 250 waypoints per route. The SH has only 3000 track points and five tracks, versus the Garmin's 10,000 and 20 tracks.

The Garmin is IPX7 water resistant, the SH is only splash proof, which might make a big difference in the unit's longevity. Both units will do AIS and DSC. The SH has 2.5 (two in/out, one out only) NMEA 0183 ports, the Garmin has two (in/out).

If you like the screen on the SH... get it...
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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i actually was leaning towards the garmin unit due to the fact that i know from experience they last a long time however when i turned it on i noticed poor colouring on the screen.then i checked online reviews and found that was a common complaint,and that it was hard to determine land from shallow waters.also a few reviews mentioned the sreen is constantly pausing to load the next information.my old garmin unit does that and its pretty anoying.
the only standard horizon item ive ever used was a marine radio that came on a 27 footer my freind has and it took a crap in the bed.
kind of makes me question their quality.
is there a superior unit to both in this pricerange?
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Old 05-22-2008
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Sail magazine did a review of 5 small chartplotters in the April 2008 issue. They liked the Garmin 478, but the Lowrance 5300c was a close second and was rated as having the best screen. And the Lowrance is about half the price of the Garmin, even after you buy a chart cartridge.

Last edited by JimsCAL; 05-23-2008 at 10:00 AM.
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The screen on the 478 is a bit small for use as a full time chartplotter. It's main benefit is that it does both terrestrial and marine navigation.
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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
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Lowrance

Does anyone have any reference on the lowrance brand. I read the article in the magazine also and am curious about the past quality.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cnc33voodoo View Post
i actually was leaning towards the garmin unit due to the fact that i know from experience they last a long time however when i turned it on i noticed poor colouring on the screen.then i checked online reviews and found that was a common complaint,
We haven't had that problem with our Garmin 498C. In fact I was quite pleased to find it easily readable regardless of lighting. Yeah, it's a bit more difficult when the sun is low over the stern, but not too bad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cnc33voodoo View Post
and that it was hard to determine land from shallow waters.
Haven't had that problem at all. (Damn good thing, too, because the lake we sail (so far) is a shallow one.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by cnc33voodoo View Post
also a few reviews mentioned the sreen is constantly pausing to load the next information.my old garmin unit does that and its pretty anoying.
Haven't had that problem, either. Have noticed that occasionally when "scrolling" quickly to a location other than our current location, but nothing particularly annoying, even then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cnc33voodoo View Post
the only standard horizon item ive ever used was a marine radio that came on a 27 footer my freind has and it took a crap in the bed.
Odd thing for a radio to do. Did you swat it with a rolled-up newspaper and show it where it's supposed to go?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cnc33voodoo View Post
kind of makes me question their quality.
Don't really know anything about Standard Horizon's quality. Saw some of their current radios recommended in a recent thread. Kind of considering a Standard Horizon Quest-X GX1500S from that.

The Garmin 498C is from something like season-before-last's product line. If you can find one somewhere you ought to be able to get it for a song. We're quite pleased with ours. We paid $626 for ours, from Hodge's Marine, shipping and all, but that was nearly a year ago and included the through-hull sonar transducer.

Jim

Last edited by SEMIJim; 05-23-2008 at 12:03 AM.
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