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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Garmin GPSMAP 640
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Thread: Garmin GPSMAP 640 Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
12-29-2010 01:52 PM
TakeFive In case anyone is interested in this GPS model, WestMarine has it on sale for $799. Their website also has a 10% off sale. Although their fine print says that the 10% off is not good on "select Garmin" items, the website did give me 10% off this item, for a net price of $719.

The 10% off sale ends today.
06-10-2010 07:25 AM
ereuter Joe-
Thanks for the mounting suggestion. Unfortunately, it requires 3.5" of depth for the enclosure. I'll make do with the surface mount for now. It's just in danger of getting wrecked during races.

Eric
06-08-2010 12:50 PM
LinekinBayCD Eric,

The tech person may have ment a heading sensor rather than a wind insturment. Can't imagine you would need a wind insturment. I notice that a heading reading was not available on my Garmin 3006 when I first got it. They do give you a compass display from which you can geat the heading degrees though so I have no idea why they elminated the heading degree reading. I don't really need / use the VMG function, not a racer.

Rather than cutting a big hole in the bulkhead why not mount on a piece of teak with a small hole for the wires?

Joe
06-08-2010 11:49 AM
ereuter Hi everyone-
This thread has been dormant for a while. Hope nobody minds me churning it up.

I just bought the 640 and have a couple of questions/comments. I called Garmin tech support, but the tech who helped me didn't know what VMG means.

It appears that the 640 will not display VMG to a waypoint unless you have a wind instrument connected. This doesn't make any sense, and I hope I'm wrong. I had a 478 (and many previous Garmin chartplotters) that did this, and I'm totally confused as to why they would omit this. It's a trivial calculation. The Garmin support person told me that VMG was actually removed from the 478, and I'd have lost it if I'd done a software update.

Second, the optional bar across the screen that shows data from a wind instrument is cool, but Garmin doesn't seem to sell a NMEA 0183 wind instrument. Could anyone recommend a headless instrument or a converter from NMEA 2000 to 0183?

Other than the VMG gripe, this thing is really cool. I'm considering the flush mount, but it's hard to cut a hole that big in the bulkhead!

Thanks-
Eric
10-13-2009 05:21 PM
Yamsailor
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yamsailor View Post
ok- I need some clarifications:

1) On the 640, are all the US Charts unlocked or is it by sub-region?

2) Can you load the charts onto a laptop and plan out routes and then download the routes back into the unit?

3) How does one update the charts? By sub-region or do you update the entire chart base?
OK--I received an e-mail from Garmin with the following responses:

1) All the US Charts are unlocked;

2) The new planning software uses the charts and can be used for planning both for G2 and G2 vision charts;

3) Charts are updated once per year at a current cost of $75 for all of the US G2 charts NOT the G2 Vision.

G2 Vision Charts are purchased by sub-region and updates are purchased by sub-region. If you do not use the G2 Vision charts, I think it is a pretty nice GPS and the Cost/Benefit seems somewhat reasonable.
10-11-2009 02:49 PM
eherlihy
478 Experience

In the hope of addressing some confusion, here is my experience from owning a GPSmap 478 (non-touchscreen predecessor of the GPSmap 640);

The unit includes ALL the US Costal Charts in ROM. It also includes US road maps (in great detail) in ROM. Also included in the box is a Bluechart basemap DVD. This DVD includes all the current detailed Garmin charts. However, you need an unlock code to enable each specific region. You really cannot do coastal route planning on your PC with the included software license. The basic chart that the license unlocks does not provide ATON for harbors or channels.

Garmin makes a lot of money (I suspect the majority) selling charts. Think of these chart plotters as razors, and the charts (and updates) as razor blades.

As SD pointed out, you can update the included charts for an area by buying a Garmin chart (on a Garmin memory card) for that area (~$160), loading the updated chart into the unit, and returning the card to Garmin. Garmin will refund $70 (I believe), so that your net cost of updating ONE area is ~$90. I have not done so - yet.

There are some models of Garmin chart plotters for which a lifetime (of the product - as defined by Garmin) update of the included charts is available for ~$130.00 Neither the GPSmap 478, not the 640 qualify for this update service.

That said, I LOVE my GPSmap 478! I bought it when it first came out (2006) for about $950. Because I sail on OPB, this is the one chart plotter that I know what ALL the buttons do. I find that it has more, and better features than most of the chart plotters that are installed on the boats that I am sailing. I have also benefitted that in the event of an on board electrical failure (this happened) the GPSmap continues to function. Should I ever have to ditch, I can carry this unit with me.

Regarding the comparison to automotive GPS units, I find that the display of the GPSmap gives far more useful data than the built-in unit of my wife's 2009 Hundai Azera. I configured the data fields to show me actual speed (I know that my speedometer consistently reads 3mph faster than actual), ETE Next Turn, Distance Next Turn, and ETA. All of these fields are user selectable from about 80 different telemetry calculations. When I used to travel extensively for work, this unit was always with me, and was worth the price in lack of frustration in finding (or getting close to) customer sites.

Occasionally, the unit would screw up in finding a specific address, or the BEST route to my destination. For example, every time that I travel to my sister's condo in South Ft Myers, FL, from the north, it directs me to get off RT 75 in FT Myers, and travel route 41 South through all the stoplights. I ignore the unit, and get off 75 two exits south of the original directions. This is what I would call "local knowledge."

To me, the difference between the 478 and 640 is that the 640 has a larger TOUCH screen, and that the unit will automatically switch between Auto and Marine mode (I do not like this, as I will sometimes look at a mooring field, or canal, from my car and wonder what the draft is. I simply switch to Marine mode, and have my answer. I'm not sure that youcan do this with the 640).

As for water resistance, I can vouch that my 478 was exposed to about 5 hours of road spray while mounted on my motorcycle, travelling through torrential rain, on my way from Key West to St George SC. This did not affect the unit, or it's connector at all.

HTH!!

- Ed
10-11-2009 12:40 PM
Yamsailor
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
On the 640, the US Coastal charts are all unlocked and pre-loaded.


No, you can't load the charts onto a laptop. However, if you have their software, you can plan out routes, waypoints, etc and load them into the unit.

You can use another software package to do the route-planning and often safe the results in a format the Garmin software can use to transfer the routes and waypoints to the 640.



The 640 is updated for about $75 with a $200 deposit by ordering an update chart set from Garmin which is shipped on a memory card. The $200 deposit is refunded when you return the card.
So Garmins new route planning software is what you would use on a laptop--correct?
10-11-2009 12:38 PM
sailingdog
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yamsailor View Post
ok- I need some clarifications:

1) On the 640, are all the US Charts unlocked or is it by sub-region?
On the 640, the US Coastal charts are all unlocked and pre-loaded.

Quote:
2) Can you load the charts onto a laptop and plan out routes and then download the routes back into the unit?
No, you can't load the charts onto a laptop. However, if you have their software, you can plan out routes, waypoints, etc and load them into the unit.

You can use another software package to do the route-planning and often safe the results in a format the Garmin software can use to transfer the routes and waypoints to the 640.

Quote:
3) How does one update the charts? By sub-region or do you update the entire chart base?
IIRC, the 640 is updated for about $75 with a $200 deposit by ordering an update chart set from Garmin which is shipped on a memory card. The $200 deposit is refunded when you return the card.
10-11-2009 12:29 PM
Yamsailor
Quote:
Originally Posted by floatsome View Post
All good questions that I am still trying to figure out. Re your #2: I just learned about what seems to be new Garmin software called HomePort: "Use your existing BlueChart® preprogrammed card, or transfer the preloaded maps² directly from your chartplotter to an SD™ card. Then simply plug the card into your computer's card reader to start planning your voyage." https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=64242 But, the devil is always in the details, and I can't sort out in my mind exactly how this works if one buys a preloaded receiver like the 640.

Anybody at Garmin we can contact so we can get something in writing? Any suggestions?
10-11-2009 07:42 AM
floatsome
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yamsailor View Post
ok- I need some clarifications:
1) On the 640, are all the US Charts unlocked or is it by sub-region?
2) Can you load the charts onto a laptop and plan out routes and then download the routes back into the unit?
3) How does one update the charts? By sub-region or do you update the entire chart base?
All good questions that I am still trying to figure out. Re your #2: I just learned about what seems to be new Garmin software called HomePort: "Use your existing BlueChart® preprogrammed card, or transfer the preloaded maps² directly from your chartplotter to an SD™ card. Then simply plug the card into your computer's card reader to start planning your voyage." https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=64242 But, the devil is always in the details, and I can't sort out in my mind exactly how this works if one buys a preloaded receiver like the 640.
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