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  #1  
Old 04-28-2009
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Garmin RANT

Well I waited and at Boaters World the Garmin GPSMAP 545 I have been wanting finally fell to an acceptable price, so I bought it! That was 3 days ago I think.

Last night I hooked it up to a power supply and fired it up, navigated myself over to my marina and... Hm... There is a nun missing, and these have the wrong numbers... Turns out the charts are about 4 or so years old.

Downloaded the software update from Garmin. Lots of new capabilities but the charts are still old.

Called Garmin. In July they expect to have new charts available. For the tiny little price of $75 (after I pay $200 and get credited back $125 when I return the $12 SD card) I can get updated charts. Will the updates be current? The guy was not sure.

Or I can buy the G2 ot the G2 Vision card, one for $170 and the other for $300ish, but he is not sure if those cards have the updated charts.

So the bottom line is that I have to pay $75 or more to use a GPS Chartplotter I bought two days ago that has 4+ year old charts...

Having bought it at Boaters world, I can't even return it!

I'm sure many will disagree, and I know there is a cost to producing charts, but I feel that in a unit I just bought, I should get current charts at no extra cost

Okay, done ranting.
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Old 04-28-2009
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Nuts! Does it allow you to update the chart display yourself?
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Old 04-28-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erps View Post
Nuts! Does it allow you to update the chart display yourself?
I can set way points, but I don't want to compare the new chart to the old chart and make changes. There are depths, rocks, zombies... Although I doubt the torpedo testing area has moved.
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Old 04-28-2009
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Proprietary electronic charts tend to be a bit further out of date than the government ones. You'd probably have this same issue with almost any chartplotter with pre-loaded charts on it.
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i just got the 3205 from boaters world ... hope i dont have the same issue! i know it has the g2 capabiities. we'll see this weekend
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Old 04-28-2009
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My Garmin 3210 came preloaded with charts. This was 2 years ago and there was no update ever since. Comparing Garmin charts with NOAA ENC's (in the area which I know by heart now) shows that things are out of date and, in general, their charts are anywhere from 2 to 5 years old.

Garmin makes money selling charts, so they have zero incentive giving you an updated set of charts for free. It would appear therefore that whatever charts come preloaded - that's what will be available, and anything newer than that has to be purchased.

Vote with your wallet - chose products that use official free NOAA charts It will save you a ton of money in the long run (I know I will do that going forward, but I have a vested interest in chart products )
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Old 04-28-2009
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Vote with your wallet - chose products that use official free NOAA charts It will save you a ton of money in the long run (I know I will do that going forward, but I have a vested interest in chart products )
What chart plotters use the free NOAA charts?

BTW I have never seen a big need to run out and update my charts every time they make a change. The BOTTOM, ROCKS, LEDGES and things that matter when you hit them don't change often unless you are talking sand bars at inlets and even then there is NO chart that can be trusted...

Yes cans & nuns change constantly and no matter how up to date you think you are the big ship will come and move or replace one the next week and you're back to sq 1 all over again. No matter how out of date my charts are Basket Island Ledge is still there and has not moved for, oh, about a thousand years or more...
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Old 04-28-2009
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What chart plotters use the free NOAA charts?
Computers with charting software for one.
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Old 04-28-2009
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Computers with charting software for one.
Those are computers not dedicated chart plotters that were designed for the ocean environment.

It's also 5-10 amps vs. .6 amps, poor daylight vis unless you spend HUGE money on a daylight readable waterproof secondary display that can be used at the helm etc. etc........ I'll take the 13 year proven reliability of my plotters any day over the laptop and I do keep one on board but would never personally rely on one as my "plotter".

In 13 years of using GPS plotters I have had two failures and that was a poor antenna design by Raymarine not the plotter that same antenna too out the internal Sea Talk buss those were my two failures all at one time.

In 13 years with laptops I have had thousands of dollars worth of repairs & failures across every imaginable brand including Mac. Hard drive failures, crashes, blue screens of death, etc. etc...
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 04-28-2009 at 09:19 PM.
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Old 04-28-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
What chart plotters use the free NOAA charts?

BTW I have never seen a big need to run out and update my charts every time they make a change. The BOTTOM, ROCKS, LEDGES and things that matter when you hit them don't change often unless you are talking sand bars at inlets and even then there is NO chart that can be trusted...

Yes cans & nuns change constantly and no matter how up to date you think you are the big ship will come and move or replace one the next week and you're back to sq 1 all over again. No matter how out of date my charts are Basket Island Ledge is still there and has not moved for, oh, about a thousand years or more...
True, this is why I sail here with the same old Garmin chart. But, as a case in point, the same chart was wrong immediately after purchase about shoals at the entrance to Alligator River in NC (and boy did we run aground - that was one grounding I'll never forget). Stuff happens.

The laptop with chart software is a proper answer but, as you mentioned, it has in general a number of issues:
1) Getting right hardware is difficult even for a specialist (and even more difficult for a regular user). Chartplotter makers take the complexity out of hardware selection and provide a convenient package (and because they are hardware "makers", they enjoy prices that a consumer does not in general, though they don't always pass those prices on).

2) Software stability is an issue because I am yet to see anyone that ever actually dedicated a laptop just to navigation. There is always a temptation to use the laptop for many other things, install a bunch of software and in general bring it to the same condition in which an average computer finds itself (i.e. unstable and loaded with crap). Again, because users simply cannot do that to a chartplotter - plotters are "safe".

3) To compare apples to apples, it is worth remembering that a smallest laptop screen is about 12" diagonal. My chartplotter is presumably 10" diagonal and it is the largest unit Garmin sells (and about as large as plotters get). That affects both usability and power usage (after all primary power users in a computer are a display, a CPU and a hard drive when spinning). However, the numbers are not SO different. My plotter takes about 0.5-0.8 amp. My laptops (a number of different ones connected via inverter) - 1.5 - 2 amp (though it may peak a bit more on occasion). Energy use of a laptop can be easily lowered with proper hardware selection and proper power adapter.

That said, although all these problems "can be solved" clearly someone needs to do the solving because consumers are not generally willing or able to do so (and chart plotter makers are not willing to use free charts precisely because consumers will keep buying their products and then their charts)
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