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post #1 of 9 Old 04-04-2019 Thread Starter
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Garmin Echomap Plus series chartplotter & sailing

Hello All,
With my eyesight going, I am looking to bring the plotter up to the helm, so I was looking to see if anyone had any exerience with Garmin Echomap Plus series.
My current Raymarine A57D still going strong (planning to keep it as a backup), but it is installed at the entry to the companionway and with my sight getting weaker, I am looking to get a new plotter that is also kind on the pocket.
I think at the lowest price point, the only plotter that has sailing features is the Garmin Echomap Plus series (6" and up).
I also allows the control of autopilot, displays AIS and integrates the wind data in the head unit, exactly what I am looking for. Has anyone bought one of these units and if so, how happy are you with it so far?
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post #2 of 9 Old 04-04-2019
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Re: Garmin Echomap Plus series chartplotter & sailing

Hello,

I have not used that exact model but I used to have an olderGPSMAP unit. I was happy with it.

The Garmin ECHOMAP Plus seems like a nice, inexpensive unit. I would spend a little more money for the 7" unit. That includes a touch screen (and the larger screen).

Note: I believe the Garmin unit will only control a Garmin autopilot. If you have Raymarine or any other pilot you will still need to use the pilot control head. The Garmin unit can send waypoint and other info to the pilot, but you can't engage it, or make a course change with the Garmin echomap.

The Raymarine es78 is another a nice product.

I have the B and G vulcan 7 and I'm very happy with it.

Barry

Barry Lenoble
Deep Blue C, 2002 C&C 110
Mt. Sinai, NY

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Re: Garmin Echomap Plus series chartplotter & sailing

Thanks Barry. On the Garmin website reading through the OM it states that it will work with an autpiliot (or wind sensor, gauges etc.) as long as that uses NMEA 2000 communication protocols. Does not state it has to be a Garmin brand unit. Hence my question.
As for the touch screen, not to keen on the idea at the helm, when I can get sprayed. I know for a fact that my fingers won't work on any touch screen under those conditions. Hence I like the idea of the good o'l cursor plotting and buttons.
Chris
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post #4 of 9 Old 04-04-2019
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Re: Garmin Echomap Plus series chartplotter & sailing

Hello,

The Garmin Touchscreen devices are hybrid interface - meaning they have touchscreen AND real buttons.

Every marine touchscreen that I have used (from Garmin, Raymarine, B&G) does work when wet. The marine touchscreens are not the same as smart phones. Either way, the hybrid interface is the best because you can use the touchscreen or you can use buttons - whichever you prefer. The larger Garmin units have the hybrid interface. You stated you wanted a bigger screen to make it easier to see - sounds like a 7" screen would be better than a 6"

I have connected non-garmin NMEA 2000 devices to my garmin plotter and it worked well and was easy to do. Same thing with my B&G plotter and non garmin instruments (Raymarine). The plotter will send information to a raymarine plotter. However, only a Raymarine plotter can CONTROL a Raymarine autopilot. By control I mean you can activate the autopilot to steer to a heading, steer to a wind angle (if you have wind information), steer to a waypoint, or navigate a route. The garmin plotter will not do that. Instead you can find a waypoint and navigate to it. To have the autopilot navigate to the waypoint will require you to activate that function on the raymarine autopilot control head. In reality this is NOT a big deal, but is something you should be aware of.

Another reason you may want the same chartplotter manufacturer as autopilot manufacturer is that if there is a software upgrade for the pilot the chartplotter can be used to download the new firmware to the pilot. Without the same make plotter you would need to send the AP control unit back to a service center.

Barry

Barry Lenoble
Deep Blue C, 2002 C&C 110
Mt. Sinai, NY

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post #5 of 9 Old 04-06-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Garmin Echomap Plus series chartplotter & sailing

yes, the companionway is about 5 foot away from the helm and from the helm a 5" screen looks rather small, while a 6" screen at the helm will look huge to that, so that 1" inch of a difference between 6 or 7" inches just to gain the touchscreen functionality at a 60% higher price for me is not really worth it. Besides, currently the 6" unit is on sale in a local store at half price of the 7" unit, so...

I was reading on some post that the Garmin unit should be able to send the route information to the Autopilot, but it cannot be engaged or disengaged via the Garmin MFD. Which is OK, pressing the button on the autopilot control head or the plotter makes not much of a difference.

I would not mind going with the Axiom 7 unit for my application, however hard to beat the Garmin price right now at less than half price of the Axiom, B&G or Lowrance Ti2

Last edited by Seabreasy73; 04-06-2019 at 06:49 PM.
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post #6 of 9 Old 04-06-2019
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I have the GPSMAP 720, and am very happy with it. I have it tied into AIS and an old raymarine wheel pilot via nmea 0183.

It works as you describe. I can program a route on the Garmin plotter, then have it navigate to that route. It transfers the heading to the next waypoint to the autopilot. I then have to acknowledge that heading on the autopilot. At the next waypoint, the autopilot will beep and not change course until the new heading is acknowledged.

The touchscreen works very well, even when it's pouring rain on it. That being said, if it's twice the price as the non-touch which has all the features you need, then the non-touch variant would make most sense.
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post #7 of 9 Old 04-06-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Garmin Echomap Plus series chartplotter & sailing

thanks aeaston, sounds promising!
Yes, the Echomap Plus 6" is on sale at A$670, the 7" version is A$1100 and the GpsMap 7" is at A$1400 (all of these come with the basic G3 maps). I do not have radar (nor I see the need) so for my needs (wind speed, autopilot, AIS) the Echomap should be sufficient I hope.

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post #8 of 9 Old 04-06-2019
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Re: Garmin Echomap Plus series chartplotter & sailing

Guess I got a deal on an Echo Map Chirp 94 SV at under $600 that I just bought. Not the Plus but works fine and is 2000 compatible. Only complaint is the 9" screen measurement is diagonal with horizontal rather than vertical the longest measurement. Obviously set up for split screen viewing with the depth sounder/fishing rather than a single long vertical screen which works best for navigation.

Bought the 9" plotter because the 5" plotter it replaced had such a short range view when zoomed in to show details so lost the longer range view that I wanted for the next change of course. Had to cut the plotter range down to a few miles to have such things as oil platforms show on the chart. This emphasis on the horizontal rather than vertical display seems to be rampant among the suppliers.

Got the old fashioned button pushing plotter because I don't get along with touch screens. Constantly activating some new screen when I don't want it. Have found that tendency grossly amplified when dealing with an unstable platform as in a car or boat. Every bump and lurch turns into a torrent of swearing as I accidentally touch the screen where and when I don't want to.

Don't have an autopilot, AIS and the instruments are old Raymarine so don't have any experience integrating the plotter into the other electronics. Would like to see if I can get the AIS display radio to show on the plotter but that's the old standard and haven't even looked to see if it can be done

Last edited by roverhi; 04-06-2019 at 07:44 PM.
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post #9 of 9 Old 04-07-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Garmin Echomap Plus series chartplotter & sailing

Thank you all for your feedback, I ended up buying the Echomap Plus. Confirmed with Garmin that as long as the autopilot accepts NMEA 2000 commands, I should be able to send track data to it.
Also, the unit comes with "sail assist" (probably not as suffisticated as the B&G) but certainly a bit plus.
Let's hope that I have made the right decision and saving some money will not bite me at the end.....
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