Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
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One problem you will run into is that you're looking for a very specific set of features, some of which are only included in higher end units. Higher resolution screens are generally bundled with some of the features you DON'T want—since they're generally needed to display the aerial photographs and fish-eye views, which are features some people are wanting.
Almost all GPS chartplotter units wil show your position on a chart, display the bearing and speed as well VMG, SOG, and other such data.
Only certain models will show the weather data—be aware that the weather data service is a SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE, and requires you pay a monthly subscription fee.
The Wind Data is a tougher one, as I pointed out above. Most of the GPS plotters I've seen out there won't display your wind instrument data on them. It just isn't offered as an option generally, except on the higher end system units. For instance, you can get wind info displayed on the Raymarine C-series multifunction displays. So, if you got a GPS chartplotter from the manufacturer of your wind instruments, like using a Raymarine chartplotter with ST60 wind instruments, it is far more likely to allow you to display wind instrument data, but I don't know of any of the third-party GPS units that will display wind data from instruments.
Most of the units that show depth data are combination chartplotter/fishfinder units—that's the market they're catering to, and you will pay extra for the fishfinder capabilities, even if you don't want/need them.
That said, some of the plotters will display depth information via an NMEA 0183 or NMEA 2000 data feed, but most use their own transducer to display it. Again, if you're using a chartplotter from the instrument manufacturer, the chance of being able to use the existing depth sounder info goes up.
BTW, most of the stand-alone third-party chartplotters only support the input of limited NMEA sentences, usually DPT (depth), MTW (water temperature), and VHW (water speed & heading). They don't support NMEA input of MWV sentences generally, which is wind speed and direction.
It would help to know what instruments you have aboard. BTW, the XX5 units from Garmin have better screens than the XX0 units IIRC, and the 545s would be a higher resolution screen than the 540s—VGA vs. QVGA—so you're actually looking at a model that is two higher than the 440s.
I'd also recommend you read the post in my signature if you haven't already to help you get the most out of sailnet.
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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
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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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
Last edited by sailingdog; 09-13-2008 at 07:45 AM.