Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Smithfield, RI
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As I investigate further, it's not clear to me that the Garmin chart plotters in this price range support wind speed and direction (I have not yet looked at the MFDs). I thought the one I played with at Boater's World did, but as I think back I may have been mistaken. I think I was confusing VTG with wind speed/heading, which it is not. I also read the entire Garmin 545 manual online and it never mentioned wind speed/direction. Then again, it never mentioned VTG either. But it did list the NMEA sentences supported and again, no mention of wind related data.
But, SD also raised a good point about other instruments. This boat came equipped with a Nexus multi control, which I thought was basically a depth sounder. It may be nearly 10 years old, but it is quite sophisticated for it's age. Actually, Nexus uses RS 485 databus and can integrate data from a variety of sensors. This device will accept data from log (speed thru water / water temp), wind, depth and electronic compass devices, as well as NMEA 0183 from a GPS. Then it cooks it all up into some very interesting stuff. It also offers MOB and trim functions.
Currently, I have both a log and depth transducers installed and connected. I do not have wind or compass devices, or NMEA GPS, installed. The log device does not seem to be working, although perhaps the impeller is just jammed with barnacles or something. I found some temporary plugs on board so it should be easy to pull it out and inspect / repair / replace it.
Also, I found out that I can in fact get NMEA multiplexers, so that the NMEA stream from my GPS can be directed both to the VHF/DSC and this Nexus device and a PC.
So this opens up many more options. If I have a reliable depth, speed through water and wind indicator system in the cockpit then maybe I'll relax my requirements for chart plotter features. I was not looking forward to installing a through hull transducer for the Garmin anyhow.
Maybe I'll even rethink my need for a chart plotter in the cockpit. If I decide I can just live with it at the nav station, I can just use a laptop with an inexpensive GPS receiver that generates NMEA output only.
I'll also look at replacing the Nexus system with something newer, either a newer Nexus or something else. I'll have a look at the TackTick that SD recommended.
So many decisions, but at least there is no hurry to make them...
Last edited by jarcher; 09-14-2008 at 10:33 PM.
Reason: Correct spelling errors