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  #21  
Old 02-25-2014
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

For you guys burning juice to run your plotters anchor alarm at night, consider an iPad or iPhone app for that.

Much less juice and some will allow you to check on the boat from shore, if you go to dinner, and see the same breadcrumb trail. That's peace of mind.
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  #22  
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Group9 View Post
Unless I am tied up in a slip, my chartplotters are on 24/7. At anchor, just being able to look at the bread crumb trail to see how the boat is swing at anchor is nice. At night, I use it as my anchor alarm (along with a hand held GPS in my bunk).

Mine (I have two mounted side by side), don't use enough juice, especially with my solar panels, to make it work cutting them off.
Me too, first thing I turn on when I get onboard, last thing I turn off when I leave for home.

The icon and course is my 'minder' in case I get distracted underway as well as my primary navigation tool. It's an important anchoring tool, helping place the actual drop and then it paints a picture of the boats swing alerting me to dragging, tide change, wind change. It's an amazing anchoring tool.

It gives me instant updates during the night to confer with visual bearings, turned to low screen light, it's a good night light in the cabin.

Now we have two onboard(tablet), it's even better to always have a CP screen nearby, like in your berth.

And it's the only ship clock we have, logs miles during the day or over a season. I don't consider the power usage, it's a small draw CP and the tablet, even less.
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  #23  
Old 02-25-2014
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

Similar to most others; ours comes on when we get underway, and stays on until we're safely on the hook. We have four now: one backup that rarely gets used, one GPS-only located at the chart table, one iPad, and one Garmin handheld. Our routine is to lay out the relevant charts, then turn on the ship's electronics which activates the GPS at the chart table. It is used for fixes which get translated to the chart, unless we're feeling frisky and take fixes via LOPs.

Our main plotter is the handheld which sits in the cockpit most of the time while underway when we're coastal cruising (which is most of the time). It operates off two rechargeable AA batteries, which run for ~8 hrs per set. Easy to keep up to this usage.

I've been experimenting with the iPad. The big screen is nice, but the battery draw is significant when running bright screen (to accommodate for sunlight viewing) and active GPS. Currently we activate it periodically. I'm still not sure if it's useful enough ... perhaps if I tie it to the ship's batteries.
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

Best way to manage the iPad battery is to install a DC plug in the cockpit, or better yet, a USB power port. Both are very inexpensive.

Compared to any reasonable house bank, the iPad burns nothing and it will barely know its attached.

Otherwise, I cycle the screen on and off to conserve.
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  #25  
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Best way to manage the iPad battery is to install a DC plug in the cockpit, or better yet, a USB power port. Both are very inexpensive.
Thanks Minn. Do you mean something like this?


That's my plan if it looks like the iPad is worth it. I've only used it for one season so far. To be honest, near the end of our summer sailing last year I had reverted to using the iPad very little, in favour of our little handheld.
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Old 02-25-2014
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

I must be a Luddite.

I do use a handheld GPS, but mostly for speed.

As for position, well, I've been sailing off and on for 35 years and, like many sailors, most of my cruising is done within 150 miles of home. That means I know where I'm going, and there's little need to watch a little dot on a screen to tell me where I am.

If I get confused, there are plenty of channel markers and landmarks to help me out. It's all part of the traditional sport called sailing. You need to be able to navigate with your eyes, if for no other reason than for the time when your chartplotter quits.

I have used the map part of the GPS to bail me out for safety reasons in a white-out squall while I was in a narrow channel in the Keys, but that's an exception rather than everyday use.

Many years ago, my daughter did a school science project on GPS and nautical charts. We picked a bunch of spots in Biscayne Bay and the Upper Keys. A significant number of locations and channel markers were off, some by many hundreds of feet.

I wouldn't feel safe watching the dot instead of watching the water.
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It's on while ever we are on the move, and off when anchored after confirming we're not dragging. It will go on if the weather picks up just to keep an eye on things, night time is not so good if you drag.
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

Like the majority here, I have my Garmin on all the time while underway. Do most of my sailing in the PNW and like Faster; I use my eyes most of the time but the plotter is nice to have to keep me informed of the sometimes strong currents and tides that we incur up here.
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shananchie View Post
I must be a Luddite.

I do use a handheld GPS, but mostly for speed.

As for position, well, I've been sailing off and on for 35 years and, like many sailors, most of my cruising is done within 150 miles of home. That means I know where I'm going, and there's little need to watch a little dot on a screen to tell me where I am.

If I get confused, there are plenty of channel markers and landmarks to help me out. It's all part of the traditional sport called sailing. You need to be able to navigate with your eyes, if for no other reason than for the time when your chartplotter quits.

I have used the map part of the GPS to bail me out for safety reasons in a white-out squall while I was in a narrow channel in the Keys, but that's an exception rather than everyday use.

Many years ago, my daughter did a school science project on GPS and nautical charts. We picked a bunch of spots in Biscayne Bay and the Upper Keys. A significant number of locations and channel markers were off, some by many hundreds of feet.

I wouldn't feel safe watching the dot instead of watching the water.
GPS didn't even exist when I started sailing. You had SatNav, but it was thousands of dollars. You also had Loran, which while cheaper than SatNav, was a lot more expensive than GPS is today and not nearly as accurate the less of a right angle the TD lines crossed at.

When cheap GPS's came out, back in the 90's, I did what you are doing now, with a Magellen 310. GPS had signal degradation, built in by the military back then, that made them a lot less accurate than they are today. I can't recall exactly when they stopped doing that.

But, I got my first GPS chartplotter about eight years ago and I think they are one of the greatest advances in marine navigation I have ever seen.

No tool is perfect, but I love my Garmin GPS chartplotters (I have three now, two on my sailboat and one on my center console).
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Last edited by Group9; 02-25-2014 at 11:28 AM.
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Re: How much do you use your Chartplotter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeOReilly View Post
Thanks Minn. Do you mean something like this?
Yes, that's the idea. I have a 12v cig socket under my cockpit table. It will keep an ipad charged indefinitely and the house bank shows no sign of it at all (not literally, but for all practical purposes)
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