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  #1  
Old 10-19-2010
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Raymarine GPS or Sea Clear on a laptop

I am in kind of a hurry to meet a friend in Miami and I need to get sailing becuase I have only made it to St. Augustine where my chart plotter maps ran out. It is old and requries charts to be ordered directly from Garmin. These charts cost about as much as the new ones availble from Garmin and I think that I need to update if I am going to keep using a chartplotter. I have nearly decided to go with RayMarine because for the cost of charts the Raymarine Gold or Platinum cover way more area.

The alternative however is my laptop- heck I have two laptops in case one crashes! A laptop now is so much cheaper than a chartplotter and they say sea clear maps are pretty good. I have a solar panel and if minature laptop starts pulling to hard on the battery I could aford a Honda EU Generator for the difference in cost of the Chartplotter.

Sorry if ya'll notice I am asking alot of questions at once I have been on the boat sailing for days and will be soon for days again.
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Old 10-19-2010
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I wouldn't recommend using a laptop for a chartplotter. They're not as robust and the screens on most aren't readable in daylight.

I would highly recommend you get something like a Garmin 440, which is an integrated unit that has the antenna built in. Mounting and installing it is really quite easy, and they can be had for less than $500.

If that's too much for your budget, I do have a Garmin 192C, which is an earlier version of the 440 basically and has the coastal charts pre-loaded that I am about to put up on eBay with a Garmin memory card in it. If you're interested in it, send me a PM.

IIRC, you can get the entire coastal chart set for the Garmins updated for a reasonable price from the factory. They send you a pre-loaded card that will update the maps internal to the unit and you send the card back.

You should have paper charts for the area as well... just as a CYA move.
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Old 10-20-2010
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I've been happy with my Raymarine A50D with the charts installed, I paid $500 for it new, you going inside or out?
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Old 10-20-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akin_alan View Post
... I could aford a Honda EU Generator for the difference in cost of the Chartplotter.
That's a great price on the generator or one potent chart-plotter isn't it?

Seriously - I agree with SailingDog on this, the Garmin BlueChart is hard to beat and comes preloaded. Garmin will sell you separate chips with "additional information" but so far the built in cartography has at least equaled what I get on my (older) Raymarine C-Map cartography.
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I use a lap top at my nav station and a hand held out in the cockpit. On the laptop I run both Sea Clear and Open CPN they use the same Maps NOAA. Both are free, but you will need a GPS antenna(usb) to connect to your Laptop approx $30. The Open CPN is a lot simpler to set up and is easy to use. I do agree with SD that you may have problems seeing the screen of a laptop when outside.
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Old 10-20-2010
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My MSI netbook is extraordinarily bright - never had a problem seeing it in the cockpit. Unfortunately OpenCPN "isn't ready for prime time" IMHO. It takes way too long to scan the charts upon launching, and hangs at inopportune moments. Maybe if I cut down the number of charts it would launch faster, but it isn't worth the trouble at this time. SeaClear is much more stable, but does not offer "heading up" view option. I use SeaClear for plotting routes on my computer and transfer the routes to my Garmin Oregon 400c handheld. I'd consider making more use of my netbook (in fair weather only) if OpenCPN is debugged or SeaClear adds heading up mode.
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Old 01-03-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RhythmDoctor View Post
My MSI netbook is extraordinarily bright - never had a problem seeing it in the cockpit. Unfortunately OpenCPN "isn't ready for prime time" IMHO. It takes way too long to scan the charts upon launching, and hangs at inopportune moments. Maybe if I cut down the number of charts it would launch faster, but it isn't worth the trouble at this time..I'd consider making more use of my netbook (in fair weather only) if OpenCPN is debugged or SeaClear adds heading up mode.
I need to update/correct this post. This past weekend I did reduce the number of charts accessible by OpenCPN, and with the recent updates to the program virtually all of the concerns that I had were addressed, so I need to back off my comments. With the improvements they are making, OpenCPN is becoming a very powerful tool.

Although I have purchased a GPSMap 640, I've been impressed enough by OpenCPN that I now plan to return the 640 (unopened). For next season I plan to put a RAM mount in the cockpit for my Netbook to run alongside my Garmin handheld. (I'm just a fair-weather freshwater daysailor, and did not get a drop of water in my cockpit all last year.) I've bought a SH GX2150 and plan to interface it with OpenCPN to view AIS traffic on the Netbook screen. (Lots of commercial traffic on the Delaware River, so this will be very useful.) If I get rain or splashes in the cockpit on a given day, I'll put away the Netbook and just use the handheld like I did last year.
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