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  #1  
Old 12-20-2010
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Portable GPS for marine use

Thinking to buy a Garmin GPS to supplement of my current sailing need. I am trying to crew as much as possible in next year or so. Sometime the owner/skipper may NOT have the best and latest navigation instrument. Sometimes, it may not work at all. Sometime it may need to reboot the system constantly. I though it may be a good idea to carry one on my own in case something happens. Redundancy is good with some common sense.

Currently WestMarine (not necessary to there) is selling an older model of

GPSMap 76Cx for less than $180
GARMIN GPSMAP® 76Cx Color Mapping GPS, Americas at West Marine

The new model is
GPSmap 78SC for less than $500
GARMIN GPSMAP® 78sc Marine Handheld GPS Receiver at West Marine

I am not sure the 78 model is worth three times as the one old.

Two specific questions:
1. I believe both are loaded with the US Coastal Map but not sure if Bahamas is included of not???
2. Can either of these be tethered with a laptop (MacBook or iPad prefered), but if not, I can buy a PC laptop.

If you have some experiences in these portable devices, please share your wisdom.

TIA
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  #2  
Old 12-20-2010
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I have a 76Cx - with Canadian charts

I am happy with it.

Do you need a compass in your GPS? Barometer? I use a handbearing compass and most of the baots I sail have a barometer - I have one in my watch.

The 76Cx has a USB data cable.
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Old 12-20-2010
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We sail mostly offshore and often on long trips. I've used a Map 76CSx for a number of years and keep my old Map 76 as a back up unit. The 76CSx has a data cable and lots more features, but both are excellent.
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Old 12-20-2010
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I've done 25000nm with a old 76 - I have bought a 72 as a back-up - still in the box, I've never had to use it - these units are so affordable and they have always done what I need and more. I'll probably by another before I go off cruising.

But then I don't have a need for charting so maybe the MAP versions will suit you better.
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Old 12-21-2010
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Be careful with that 76Cx...I dont believe it comes with ANY charts other than the US Basemap. You'll need to buy Bluecharts and unlock codes for the device...which can rapidly add up to big bucks.
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Old 12-21-2010
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I have an old GPS 72 tethered to a laptop as well as a dedicated GPS chart plotter at the helm. You can plug a USB GPS for $50 to your laptop and skip the Garmin altogether. I've seen folks pull out their fancy phones that have chart plotting abilities too. Lots of possibilities now a days.
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Old 12-21-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockDAWG View Post
Thinking to buy a Garmin GPS to supplement of my current sailing need. I am trying to crew as much as possible in next year or so. Sometime the owner/skipper may NOT have the best and latest navigation instrument. Sometimes, it may not work at all. Sometime it may need to reboot the system constantly. I though it may be a good idea to carry one on my own in case something happens. Redundancy is good with some common sense.

Currently WestMarine (not necessary to there) is selling an older model of

GPSMap 76Cx for less than $180
GARMIN GPSMAP® 76Cx Color Mapping GPS, Americas at West Marine

The new model is
GPSmap 78SC for less than $500
GARMIN GPSMAP® 78sc Marine Handheld GPS Receiver at West Marine

I am not sure the 78 model is worth three times as the one old.

Two specific questions:
1. I believe both are loaded with the US Coastal Map but not sure if Bahamas is included of not???
No, the 76Cx series has no charts preloaded.

Quote:
2. Can either of these be tethered with a laptop (MacBook or iPad prefered), but if not, I can buy a PC laptop.

If you have some experiences in these portable devices, please share your wisdom.

TIA
Yes, they can be used with a MacBook, but not with an iPad. What software you're using will determine what cable you will need. The serial NMEA 0183 cable with a serial-to-USB converter is more versatile and supported in more software than the direct USB connection which will only show up in programs that can recognize a Garmin USB GPS, which IIRC uses a slightly different protocol than the NMEA 0183 does.
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  #8  
Old 12-21-2010
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Thanks gentlemen.

This is a bit more complicated. The products offered by Garmin are NOT quite straight forward. Sorting through the different models is pain, as they are not really clearly stated in the specs.

night0wl and SD, you are right, some have no loaded chart. The new 78sc turns out not that more expensive the the 76cx after buying the blue cahrts. There are at least three models of the 78 series that I know of.

If I can tether to Macbook via a proper cable. I can get a live view on the computer screen. Just wonder if I can control the GPS using keyboard and pad. It will be great, but I don't think so.

Buying a USB GPS, related software and using the computer to serve as a chart plotter is a logical solution. But I need a standard alone waterproof GPS for emergency use. I am leaning toward the 78SC. I will stop by WestMarine this afternoon to see I what I can learn.

Thank you all to your input.
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Old 12-21-2010
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Try the 78sc... download the drivers onto your lap top then go to OpenCPN.org and download the latest version. Go to NOAA's nautical charts and down load those. Once you have Opencpn loaded and the charts in the right place plug your GPS into the laptop. The result is spectacular and way more accurate than the Garmin Blue Charts.
btw.... I love Opencpn. it sets up super easily and is easy to learn. The addition of the GPS to it will allow all kinds of good information while underway. It has very good (and easy to figure out) route planning capabilities and I could just go on and on.... good stuff and it won't cost you a dime.... the NOAA charts are free for download also....
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  #10  
Old 12-21-2010
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I just hope that they release a true OpenCPN client for the ipad or android...

My current solution is to run OpenCPN on my laptop with a hockey puck gps down below and then use VNC to view the screen via wi-fi. But as you know, VNC is laggy and that can be downright dangerous if you're navigating and need precise viewing and immediate refreshing.

I guess my C80 plotter may have some legs left in it still..hehe.
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