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post #1 of 45 Old 03-17-2009 Thread Starter
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Garmin GPSMAP 640

Anyone have any experience with this new unit? I looking for reviews.
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post #2 of 45 Old 03-19-2009 Thread Starter
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More specifically,

1) Can one use international charts on the Garmin GPSMAP 640 or can you use only US coastal charts?

2) Are all the preloaded charts unlocked?
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post #3 of 45 Old 03-19-2009
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YamSailor—

You can use any of the BlueChart or BlueChart G2 charts on the unit. The preloaded charts aren't locked per se, but they're built into the ROM on the unit, so not transferable either. The 640 is basically a brand new unit, and I doubt anyone has gotten their hands on it for a review yet.

One thing I'm not crazy about with the 640 is that it relies on a touch screen. If you're sailing in colder weather and wearing gloves, I doubt it will respond to you properly. I generally don't recommend getting equipment that relies on a touch screeen for a boat.

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post #4 of 45 Old 03-19-2009
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Dog, garmin says the blue charts are pre-loaded in the 640! Screen size would be a issue with me. Basically 4.5"W x 2.7"H , note card size. For $1200 these old eyes want a bigger screen. I would think you could buy a 545 Garmin (3 x 5 screen) and have plenty left over to get a nice street pilot.

https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=14898


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post #5 of 45 Old 03-19-2009
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Yes, but if you want to use charts for any areas that aren't PRE-LOADED, like say, Europe or the South Pacific, it will allow you to use them. It is only pre-loaded with certain charts, usually either the Inland US or Coastal US waters. He, the OP, was asking about international charts.

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Dog, garmin says the blue charts are pre-loaded in the 640! Screen size would be a issue with me. Basically 4.5"W x 2.7"H , note card size. For $1200 these old eyes want a bigger screen. I would think you could buy a 545 Garmin (3 x 5 screen) and have plenty left over to get a nice street pilot.

https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=14898

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They have card slots. You buy the chip you want.

Garmin: Cartography - BlueChart g2 Vision - Atlantic


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post #7 of 45 Old 03-20-2009 Thread Starter
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OK--based on what you have all said I believe you are more informed than I about the technology so I am going to explain to you what I need and maybe you can suggest appropriate unit:

I need a portable chart plotter for three reasons:

1) I do not own a cruising sailboat;
2) I charter sailboats both in the US, Caribbean, Mediterranean and soon-to-be other places so I would like to bring this unit with me (in addition to my paper charts);
3) I am a sailing instructor and sometime use the device to teach the basic pros and cons for GPS Chart Plotters versus traditional piloting.

Which unit do you guys recommend?
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post #8 of 45 Old 03-20-2009
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I'd recommend something more like the Garmin 478 unit. The problem with the 640 is that it is really designed to be permanently mounted. The Garmin 478, which looks like this:


is designed to be portable, and can actually operate without being plugged in for about 12 hours due to having an integrated rechargable battery. You can buy a bean bag mount for it as well. I have the older 276 Plus unit. The 478 comes with the US Coastal charts preloaded and can use the Bluechart charts for areas outside of the US coastal waters.

The screen is a bit smaller, but for what you're doing, this is the only unit that really makes sense. It also can be used in a car for automotive navigation as well...so it really is a decent dual purpose unit.

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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #9 of 45 Old 03-20-2009 Thread Starter
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Cool--I'll check it out.

One question: What type of charts is this unit capable of handling? Bluecharts? G2?

Thanks SailingDog!
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post #10 of 45 Old 03-20-2009
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Bluechart, don't believe it can handle the G2 variants...but check the manual... downloadable at Garmin's website to be sure.
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Cool--I'll check it out.

One question: What type of charts is this unit capable of handling? Bluecharts? G2?

Thanks SailingDog!

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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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