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post #21 of 44 Old 01-31-2020
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Re: What kinda mounted GPS unit should I buy?

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Originally Posted by Gladrags1 View Post
Iím going to be a person who rains on this parade. sorry! The major problem with iPads, tablets, smart phones is itís really hard to see the screen in the bright sunlight and they tend to overheat when used this way. It will need constant charging too. I have Navionics loade iPhone which I use as backup and it is wonderful! As others say it will need to be in a case which may decrease its functionality.

Itís better to know before you buy...

Tod
I don't know about iPads, but my cheap Samsung Galaxy TabA is easy to read un bright sunlight. I did have it overheat once after it was left out in the hot sun while at the dock, and it came back once it cooled off in the shade. I also had the same thing happen to my Garmin mounted gps on my last boat. I have never heard of rugged cases affecting the functionality of a tablet or phone in any way.


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post #22 of 44 Old 01-31-2020
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Re: What kinda mounted GPS unit should I buy?

I would vote for the more rugged and waterproof small plotter. These are designed for outdoor use in rain and spray, in direct sunlight.
Looking around the web a bit it looks like one can find a Lowrance 5" or 7" for $500. or less sometimes. Good company with solid products.
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post #23 of 44 Old 01-31-2020
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Re: What kinda mounted GPS unit should I buy?

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I would vote for the more rugged and waterproof small plotter. These are designed for outdoor use in rain and spray, in direct sunlight.
Looking around the web a bit it looks like one can find a Lowrance 5" or 7" for $500. or less sometimes. Good company with solid products.
Don't forget, on top of the purchase price of a lot of chart plotters you also have to purchase the charts for your region.

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post #24 of 44 Old 01-31-2020
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Re: What kinda mounted GPS unit should I buy?

I like my Garmin Echomap 94SV mounted on a swing out mount. It's got charts for the entire US included. Originally was going to get a 7" screen Garmin but got a deal I couldn't refuse on the 9" for less than $600. Previously had the 5" version but wanted more space for split screening. It worked fine for a 500 mile delivery, though. My other boat has a Garmin 3206 on a swing out mount. This is a really old unit but still works fine and got me to Hawaii. These units are old style with button controls for navigation around the screen and functions. Tried the touch screen models bet they left me swearing at them. With the motion of the boat and/or water on the screen couldn't reliably input commands.

The swing out mount lets me read the display from inside the boat as well as outside. In bright sunlight can slide the companionway hatch closed and get a really clear view of the screen. Something I really appreciated on a long passage where the sun was directly on the screen for hours every day.
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post #25 of 44 Old 01-31-2020
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Re: What kinda mounted GPS unit should I buy?

Hello,

Personally I prefer a fix mounted, large screen plotter. I have an IPhone that I use, as well as a small Garmin hand held. I have an IPad but I almost never use that for navigation. I do use the IPad and phone for planning, but rarely for navigation.

IMHO, the cost of a good plotter is way less than the cost a modern phone. You never have to worry about the plotter running out of battery power, you can read it in sunlight, or darkness (without being too bright), or water damage, etc.

Some things for you to consider:
1. Do you want to have an integrated fish finder / depth sounder? Many units come with the ability to receive SONAR data from a transducer. At a minimum this provides water depth. Most units allow you to determine the bottom type which can help with anchoring.
2. Do you want to integrate other electronics, like wind data, speed through water, autopilot, AIS, DSC, etc.? This is easy with most modern plotters. It can be done with tablets and phones but it's not as easy.
3. Do you have any other electronics where keeping the same brand would be helpful?
4. Do you race or any other specific needs or wants?
5. Do you have a preference over touch screen, real keys, or both?

Personally I have owned or used plotter from Garmin, Lowrance, Raymarine, and B&G. In reality they are all good and mostly have the same functions. My personal favorite is B&G. B&G plotters have sailing specific functions that I find helpful. It's true that Garmin and Raymarine have similar functions but B&G had it first and IMHO works better.

For under your $1000 price you can have a B&G Vulcan 7 with Navionics charts. This is a fully featured plotter with built in WIFI, free SW that allows you to control the plotter from your phone or tablet. It includes integration with SONAR transducers (and you get one that works well for about $100).

There are 5" units that are less expensive, as well as 7" and 9" units that cost more.

Again, IMHO I would only buy a plotter that used the NMEA2000 interface.

Can you go to a west marine and play around with the display units? That's a nice way to check them out.
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post #26 of 44 Old 01-31-2020
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Re: What kinda mounted GPS unit should I buy?

Home water is the Chesapeake and it is well marked. Still have paper charts for our cruising area and others there but had to download a navigation app onto my phone when we purchased Interlude and were getting ready to slip lines departing for her new home port a couple days away. We realized all the charts aboard were for the Northern Bay and we were heading south. It worked like a charm. Got an iPad eventually to allow for two sources and a larger screen. It also can serve as my internet connection when available unlike a dedicated plotter. The minuses are heavy rain WILL change your touch screen for ya if not careful and bright sunlight while wearing polarized sunglasses make for a less than spectacular view! It also is necessary to have charging available in use as the apps and daytime needing a bright screen will take the charge down fast. Still like them though. Guess both a fixed and tablet combination would give you the best of both worlds but if only one I'd go with the phone and tablet with paper chart backup. Less stuff left on board, and both phone and tablet are clearly useful other places than a boat.
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Re: What kinda mounted GPS unit should I buy?

The two don’t really compare for us, though we have a MFD , I pad and I phone

Our MFD runs off of the boats electricity so no down time to charge or worry. Sun doesn’t ever affect its visibility nor do we worry about moisture. It’s certainly more robust. Lastly though you may not use it, it also displays depth from depth finder, wind data and most importantly you can lay the boats radar over the plotter.

You may not use radar, but we do on occasion, and we also are in the Chessie. It’s great for night use and fog as well as areas there are lots of ships with no channels ( not marked ) which means below the Bay Bridge to Norfolk.

I like the portability of the iPad, that’s why we have both and also like that it’s blue tooth connectable to the plotter.

Have the internet isn’t necessary with the plotter.

For someone just getting used to electronics a pad is sufficient. The prices are somewhat similar now.


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post #28 of 44 Old 02-01-2020
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Re: What kinda mounted GPS unit should I buy?

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Originally Posted by Vagab0nd View Post
Yeah, I do sorta like the sounds of this better. The Garmin ECHOMAP, which Tempest mentioned, looks pretty good.

Good to know I could also get this Navionics app on my MacBook for easy use at the chart table.
You could also get the open source free openCPN and charts if youíre using it at the chart table on a MacBook.

For the cockpit, personally I have used an iPad with iSailor, also on an iPhone, for several years. I use a cover for it t hat mounts to the pedestal. The only issue Iíve had is with it being in the sun and getting overheated. I Use a battery to keep it powered on long days. That not only gives me position and charted information, it also provides tides, speed, weather and AIS.

Thinking of putting together the openplotter/Raspberry PI/Daisy set up in the boat this year with a multiplexer to send the info to other devices I have the Pi, working on bettering openpolotter up and running and then will get the Daisy (AIS/GPS). The most expensive part of this process would be a display but I already have that in the boat and I can use the iPad as a display in the cockpit.

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post #29 of 44 Old 02-01-2020
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Re: What kinda mounted GPS unit should I buy?

My answer is driven by how and where I sit when sailing.

My first in cockpit chartplotter was a small garmin iQue3600. It lived on the coachroof, under the dodger to port of the companionway. My fixed mount was below decks.. so I couldn't see the screen nor the radar. It is a MFD. It sends data to 4x4 cockpit dash displays.

The only time I am at the helm is when I and going very slow... to and off a dock or a mooring or anchoring.

My AP control is to port in the front of the cockpit.... and that's my "driving" location.
When it gets nasty I sit in the companionway completely under the dodger.

I picked up a B&G Zeus T7 fixed mount and used the bulkhead bracket bolted to z 5x8x5/8 alum bar which fits into a almost never used coach roof winch port of the companionway. Zeus has an on board antenna.

I rarely use a way point and when I do it's only to know the course to it at any given time... and things like arrival time or TTG. What I do use is the HEADING line which is telling me where the boat is pointing and the COURSE line where the boat is actually heading. I adjust the AP accordingly. This and the wind data informed me when and where to tack or gybe. No radar in the cockpit or AIS.

I will upgrade to an N2K and then radar and AIS will be on the "portable" winch mounted plotter.

I find this plotter location works for how I sail and the design of the boat. A helm/pod mounted instrument will never be looked at. ( I know some rotate). But I like to face the direction the boat is going while viewing the plotter.
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post #30 of 44 Old 02-02-2020
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Re: What kinda mounted GPS unit should I buy?

If you have an ipad add the software and give it a try. If you are looking to buy a GPS get a handheld Garmin 76 or a Garmin 541 or something newer. An Ipad is a multi use tool but a marine specific GPS will be more reliable and work better in terms of durability waterproofness and visibility.

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