Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Orchard Park, NY
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Re: Best handheld GPS/Chartplotter under $400?
While underway we consult our Galaxy phone which has Navionics charts for the Great Lakes and Canada. It was chosen because we like the display, it runs the course line to your destination and thereby shows how far you are off course. It also has NautiCharts lite loaded as that displays Active Captain info. We also have a copy of MXmariner which has a specific download for you in Lake Michigan, (Region_13). It also interfaces to Active Captain. MX also displays actual NOAA charts which may be more familiar looking to you.The phone also has a copy of BoatLogger which is useful to track fuel consumption (or Beer if reqd). MobilGrib which displays the weather parameters. The phone has a copy of mAIS which when in a WiFi area reports your position to Marine Traffic, this does not track you across the lake but when you dock in say Goderich it will report your position so Mom knows you got there. Then there is Marine Traffic itself which we study before we leave the dock so we kinda know the name of the freighter that is about to run us down once we are underway. We round out the set with Marine Weather by AcuWeather which for us is marginal since it doesn't have any Canadian stations displayed. The WeatherBug does however so it gets more use on Lake Ontario
Down below we run a Lenova Thinkpad (aka IBM) purchased war surplus on Ebay, actually we have two, one on a Landfall 38 out of Annapolis and one out of Niagara. Price of these babies on EBay is less than $400 and they are very powerful as opposed to a chart plotter. Used for route planning they have large displays and battery operation (although we run them off the ships house bank). They are loaded with Navigatrix (linux based) operating systems and have OpenCPN as the base chart system. They also duplicate all the software on the Galaxy and many more applications as well. Google Navigatrix and read it over.
Try duplicating the above features on a chartplotter. Actually of starting over I would replace the Galaxy phone with a Nexus 9 and that would probably cover all your requirements. Slightly more than $400 new but could be found cheaper used on Amazon......
Oh and first determine the applications you want to run, and THEN pick the hardware to match. Not the other way around as so often is the case with the user community.... (Computer bigot lecturing).
Niagara on the Lake Sailing Cub
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Last edited by FDR14127; 04-21-2015 at 01:34 PM.
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