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Old 03-08-2010
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PC-based Chartplotting Question - Best Package?

I have a Garmin 182C, which I just found out is discontinued. Probably a good thing, since it would cost me over $1,000 in echarts of the East Coast - I'm cruising from Maine to Florida over the next year.

Although their products have served me well, I'm not a fan of Garmin. Although they may be better now, I've found their products to be highly proprietary and abilty to react to customer needs quite poor.

That said, my 182C has two RS 232 com ports with Nema 0183 and RTCM 104 DGPS plus a Garmin proprieraty protocol.

I'm thinking of installing an industrial PC near my 182 and running PC software on it for detail chart plotting, internet, video, etc.

My question is: which PC-based software system is the best deal? Between Cap'n, C-Maps, etc.

Has anyone reading accomplished what I'm trying to do...bring legacy instruments together on a PC rather than be forced into another chartplotter...

Thanks,
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Old 03-08-2010
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You can use either OpenCPN or SeaClear II for free on any Windows-based PC. OpenCPN will also run on Linux and Macs IIRC. Polar software also has PolarCOM, which is in alpha, but available for download for Macs and Windows-based PCs as well.

All of the above use NOAA charts which are publicly available for download for free. SeaClear will only read the older Raster formatted BSB charts. The other programs will read the newer vector-based ENC charts.

Be aware that you will need to connect the 12 VDC ground from the Garmin to the PC's RS-232 signal ground in order for the connection to work. You will also need to set the data port on the Garmin to the NMEA protocol. IIRC, Garmin uses the 12 VDC ground as the signal ground for their serial ports for the NMEA connection.
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Old 03-09-2010
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IMHO, "Max Sea" seems to be the most stable platform for PC based navigation it reads C-Map NT+ and Max-C. And I do believe that C-Map do produce the best elect charts and yes I have used different types and now take my own on board when doing deliveries. It’s nice to use and plan with a 15" lap top but a dedicated 5" chartploter with built in antenna is waterproof and makes a good back up from my raymarine radar/chartploter with external gps antenna, as did happen when in a storm some items moved about in the lazeret and broke the wires to the antenna.
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Old 03-09-2010
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I use Fugawi ENC on my laptop, with a USB hockey puck GPS. It uses either form of NOAA charts (which you can download free to supplement the ones it comes with). It has worked very well for me and seems pretty user friendly, as well as being cheaper than most.
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Old 03-09-2010
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What PBzeer says....Fugawi ENC is a very nice package. I especially like the way AIS data are presented.
Howard Keiper
Berkeley
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Old 03-09-2010
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If you buy Maptech chartkits for the areas needed, they come with a CD with the same charts in electronic form plus a lite version of Offshore Navigator.
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Old 03-10-2010
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I'm currently running Nobeltec and I love it. Very user friendly, I highly recommend it.
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Old 03-10-2010
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It all depends on what your budget is.... The three packages I mentioned are free...everything else, except the stripped down version JImscal mentions, costs money...
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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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Old 03-10-2010
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While I have SeaClear as a backup, and it will do the job, it's also true that you get what you pay for.
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Free, is the heart, that lives not, in fear.
Full, is the spirit, that thinks not, of falling.
True, is the soul, that hesitates not, to give.
Alive, is the one, that believes, in love.
JCP


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Old 03-10-2010
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Where do all of you that use (or need) all these whistles and buzzers sail? I've been all over the Gulf and all the way down to Isla Mujeres and Vera Cruz, up and down ICW's, into untold bays and estuaries and find that my old Garmin Map 76Csx (or the even older Map 76 backup) is all I've ever needed.
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