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  #1  
Old 02-22-2010
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New Electronics - Raymarine vs. Garmin vs ???

I'm considering new electronics for my Freedom 28. Previous experience leads me towards Raymarine/Garmin. Is there another brand to look at? What is the latest scuttlebut on Raymarine vs. garmin?

Must haves:
Chartplotter 7-10" size
some mechanism of downloading/uploading waypoints from a laptop (facilitates route planning at home)
Radar compatible (may be a later addition) -what is the deal with HD radar? 18" 2-4kW radome

Speed, Depth, Wind
Autopilot (Garmin doesn't seem to make one for sailboats)
new DSC VHF

Thanks
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Old 02-22-2010
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Personally, I'd recommend going with Garmin.

First, their customer service is far better than Raymarine's in my experience.

Second, their equipment is pretty reliable and the software is more intuitive and has a better user interface IMHO.

Third, they're in better shape financially than Raymarine is—in fact Garmin tried to buy Raymarine not too long ago, and Raymarine filed for bankruptcy late last year IIRC.

While Garmin doesn't make an autopilot for sailboats, their equipment does interface with most of the autopilots out there. Is your boat tiller or wheel steered?
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Old 02-22-2010
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Hello,

You should also consider Lowrance / Simrad / Northstar / Eagle / Navman (all owned by Navico). I also like Standard Horizon.

If you plan on connecting a number of different units together (DSC VHF, Autopilot, instruments, etc.) you should consider using nmea 2000 networking. This is much easier to connect than the older NMEA 0183 or SeaTalk.

Good luck,
Barry
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thanks for the replies. Boat is wheel steered 6,000# displacement. It came with an "ancient" autohelm autopilot that attaches with a belt. Judging by the sordid loud noises that eminate from it when in use, it does not have much life left in it...

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Old 02-22-2010
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Nexus

Don't forget the Nexus systems. I've had a Nexus system on my boat for 12 years and it has always ran flawlessly. A few years ago I interfaced it with a Raymarine autopilot and just last year I added a newer Lowrance chart plotter. All interfacing went great and everything is working well.
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You might be able to use the Garmin autopilot on a wheel steered boat. No chance of using it on a tiller steered boat.
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Old 02-22-2010
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I faced this choice couple of months ago myself. I went with Garmin and have no complaints. They were availble as intstalling is never easy with things that have lots of wires Further, I'll second what Sailingdog said. Good Luck.
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Old 02-26-2010
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Also look at Furuno....
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Great thread.

I am setting up a new boat and also been looking at this. I like the Garmin instrument screens more (better graphics, N2K and a little cheaper). I'm not sure what to do about chart plotter and radar at the moment so any suggestions are welcome.

As for the Autopilot I was under the impression that Garmin could only be used on a hydraulic steering system???

The Raymarine autopilot has a better screen display and the ability to be wireless which is great, but it is not NMEA 2000. I am not sure what I/O I would use N2K for but it sounds like a good thing to have for the future.

I am a little worried about mixing brands but the above shows some pros and cons of each.

Any thoughts?
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Old 06-02-2010
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The only relatively inexpensive autopilot for smaller wheel steered boats seems to be the Raymarine X-5. May affect your choice for other electronics.
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