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Discussion Starter #1
With Memorial Day Sales fast approaching (already started) I am looking to upgrade my 10 year old 5" screen Garmin 545. I have downloaded multiple manuals and installation guides, but I am still a bit confused as to which model can do what. Maybe someone here, with the appropriate model, can help me out. I am interested in a 7" display (no room for bigger),(models under consideration are Garmin EchoMap Chirp, PLus and 741sx). I prefer having button assisted operation as that is what I am used to, but the touchscreen model (741sx) seems very popular. I want the display to have sail assist features; like laylines, start line, race timer, and wind gauge. I need to be able to connect nmea0183 instruments, plus AIS radio (which models have multiple NMEA0183 connections and which have N2K in the 7" screen?). Which models have possible future Radar capability? Garmin cleverly does not show you the back image with what model has what connectors. They all seem to connect thru the mount. The local West Marine is not much more help as they only have demo displays on hand.

I am open to comments and suggestions.
thanks,
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks,
Yes, the 742xs is the newer model of the 741xs; those I could find. And I will have to assume that having the connections means that they work on that model. Part of my confusion comes from talking to sales people (I know my own fault) when they indicate that the 7" model does not have the same as the 9" model. The connections images of the older models; the EchoMap Chirp and Plus have not been as easy to find. The older models are, naturally at this time, much less expensive. But they might fit my needs, so I am still interested. The EchoMap Chirp with blue water charts can be had at Hodges for $400 something depending on transducer model. While the 741xs is $699.

Anyway I was just looking for others input and experience with any of these models.

thanks
 

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I was just gifted a GPSmap 188C Sounder with no cables, transducer or antenna which is my first exposure to this so I am new to all this myself. I am not sure the used 188C will be worth the cost of the dual frequency transducer, antenna and cabling even though I see them still selling for over $400.

Been a shallow draft (less than a foot) row and power boater on a shoestring for 50 years so working on sailboats in the boat yard the past few months has been an eye opener. Even a picnic boat draws 3' 7" with the center board down which leaves me highly constrained compared to the freedom of the shallow draft I was used to allowing passage in 4 to 6 inches of water so I really see the need for sounders and such on sailboats.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes, well that is the case for most sailboats in places where the bottom has 'hard' things. I am fortunate in that regard for at least 2 reasons; here in coastal NC the bottom is mostly silt and running aground, while a nuisance, does no damage; and I happen to have a swing keel sailboat (a Clearwater 35') where both the keel and the rudder swing up, in that case I draw 1' 10"! Forward looking Sonar certainly would be handing for finding anchorages, but my main interest in the newer CP's is the improved instrument displays for sailing as I previously mentioned. I realize most of these models are aimed at fisherman, but I 'think' the software is all very similar and all have these display pages as well. At least that is what I am trying to find out. I am not one to buy something new just to have the latest and greatest, but about 5 years ago both Garmin and B&G came out with models with sailing instrument displays and I am hoping to finally upgrade to one of them. I prefer the Garmin Charts and B&G Cps have some connectivity issues (only N2K).
 

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Hello,

I am not a garmin expert but it look like both GPSMAP and ECHOMAP support sailing assist.

From the Echomap Plus 73 page
https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/593003

SailAssist Features
SailAssist features include laylines, enhanced wind rose and heading and course-over-ground lines. See true and apparent wind angle and speed as well as set and drift and a glance. To help you gain a wind-maximizing competitive edge, a pre-race guidance page that shows your virtual starting line along with data fields showing laylines, time to burn before the start and a race timer.

For networking:
Connections
NMEA 2000® compatible
Transducer pin numbers 8
NMEA 0183 input ports
1

NMEA 0183 output ports
1


And from the GPSMAP 722 page
https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/561650
Built-in SailAssist Features
To help you gain a wind-maximizing competitive edge, your chartplotter features a pre-race guidance page that shows your virtual starting line along with data fields showing laylines, time to burn before the start and a race timer that can be synchronized across all your networked Garmin GPS products. In addition, other supported sailing features include an enhanced wind rose, heading and course-over-ground lines, set and drift, true and apparent wind data and more.

Connections
NMEA 2000® compatible
NMEA 0183 input ports
1 (Differential)

NMEA 0183 output ports
1 (Differential)

The GPSMAP units support RADAR.

That's about all I was able to find in 10 minutes or less.

Barry
 

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thanks, is anybody using any of these?
Did you ever make a choice? I recently purchased a Garmin 942 and I am extremely happy with it. The 742 has the same firmware and features, it's just 7in vs 9in.

This plotter does NMEA2000 and 0186, and has two 0186 channels. It interfaces to my instrument system, so I get wind, heading and such data on the plotter, and position and nav data on my instruments. I have an Lowrance VHF with AIS RX and the targets are plotted perfectly.

It also works nicely with my iPad. I can lay out routes on the iPad and then upload them to the plotter. I can also use the iPad as a remote screen via wifi.

Any other questions? I know it's pricy but I'm very happy with this choice.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I purchased the 741 and I have some issues. It does not show depth from my NMEA depth sensor. Garmin claims it is because my instruments are old, I am not convinced as my old Garmin read depth fine. Other than that I am happy with my decision also. The price was right and it has all the connectivity I could possibly need (much like the 742) the display is great and it is a good upgrade from my 8 year old 5" model.

thanks,
Ron
 

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I purchased the 741 and I have some issues. It does not show depth from my NMEA depth sensor. Garmin claims it is because my instruments are old, I am not convinced as my old Garmin read depth fine. Other than that I am happy with my decision also. The price was right and it has all the connectivity I could possibly need (much like the 742) the display is great and it is a good upgrade from my 8 year old 5" model.

thanks,
Ron
Ron, what model NMEA depth transducer do you have? If it's an older Airmar its talking NMEA0183 at 4800 baud. It should work just fine. Make sure the Garmin communications settings are correct (which port and what baud rate). Make sure it has a common ground and is otherwise hooked up correctly.

I have a NMEA0183 depth transducer but I hooked it to my Nexus server. The data makes its way to the plotter via N2K. But I am certain this will work, unless the transducer itself is broken.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Apparently there is something amiss with the sentence that my B&G depth sensor transmits (DPT). Even though all my other NMEA 0183 sentences are read fine and the previous Garmin unit read it ok, the new Garmin 741 does not. I solved the problem by using some custom electronics to parse the DPT sentence and create a DBT sentence that the Garmin does accept. So all is well on my boat. Except that the GPSMAP 741 does not have all the sail assist features, mostly what is missing has to do with race starts and I have other ways to handle that. The Garmin 741 does have rose gauges and other displays that are useful.

While I was initially disappointed in the 741 I have come around to accept that what it is a big step up from what I previously had. And I got it a decent price.

thanks,
Ron
 

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Having a whole networked electronics suite of 2 gpsmap chart plotters, radar, depth and XM weather, and the certainty that soon the 10" mf display at the helm will die, my suggestion is to buy the very newest unit you can. When my gpsmap chart plotter at the helm dies, I will need a whole new electronics suite, not just a new chart plotter, to the tune of around 15k, as most of my present gear is no longer supported by Garmin. I've certainly had a good run on this gear, but instead of an affordable $3500 for a replacement plotter, 15k is a whole different kettle of fishies.
Why put yourself through that a few years earlier than you have to, just to save a few bucks now?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Not quite sure I understand what you are saying. The Garmin 741 is not the newest model, a generation old; but supposedly well tested. The chartplotter is the least of my concerns as my B&G instruments are approaching 30 years old. So I expect to have to replace them and their network at some point. The new network will likely be NMEA2000 and the 741 supports that so I envision an alternating replacement cycle of replace some electronics, replace some senors, repeat. As long as things are working I am ok with not replacing them to have the latest and greatest whatever. My boat is only a 35' sailboat; the current 741 plotter was had for less than $500. I can replace the B&G wind/depth instruments for $1500 (instrument price only). I don't know what it might cost to re-wire for NMEA2000 perhaps I can use the existing wiring in place (not sure), but pulling thru new wiring means mostly up the mast. I don't think I am looking at a $15K refit in the worst scenario. I will get there in time (or not) and since I am in my 70's maybe it is somebody else's problem!
 

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Not quite sure I understand what you are saying. The Garmin 741 is not the newest model, a generation old; but supposedly well tested. The chartplotter is the least of my concerns as my B&G instruments are approaching 30 years old. So I expect to have to replace them and their network at some point. The new network will likely be NMEA2000 and the 741 supports that so I envision an alternating replacement cycle of replace some electronics, replace some senors, repeat. As long as things are working I am ok with not replacing them to have the latest and greatest whatever. My boat is only a 35' sailboat; the current 741 plotter was had for less than $500. I can replace the B&G wind/depth instruments for $1500 (instrument price only). I don't know what it might cost to re-wire for NMEA2000 perhaps I can use the existing wiring in place (not sure), but pulling thru new wiring means mostly up the mast. I don't think I am looking at a $15K refit in the worst scenario. I will get there in time (or not) and since I am in my 70's maybe it is somebody else's problem!
The costs are for my gear not yours (where would you even put a ten-inch display?). What I am saying is if you cheap out and buy old tech now, you will have to keep buying old tech until you can no longer do so and then the bill will be much bigger.
I realize you aren't a charter boat, don't sail the West Indies nor do you probably rely on your electronics package almost daily as we do, so perhaps you really don't need to think ahead. Just mentioned it in case you wanted to.
 

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Apparently there is something amiss with the sentence that my B&G depth sensor transmits (DPT). Even though all my other NMEA 0183 sentences are read fine and the previous Garmin unit read it ok, the new Garmin 741 does not. I solved the problem by using some custom electronics to parse the DPT sentence and create a DBT sentence that the Garmin does accept. So all is well on my boat. Except that the GPSMAP 741 does not have all the sail assist features, mostly what is missing has to do with race starts and I have other ways to handle that. The Garmin 741 does have rose gauges and other displays that are useful.

While I was initially disappointed in the 741 I have come around to accept that what it is a big step up from what I previously had. And I got it a decent price.

thanks,
Ron
Ron, could you please post a few sample sentences of what the depth transducer is sending? I have some contacts at Garmin and can ask them to look at it and issue a bug fix if needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Capta,
Ok, I understand where you are coming from, clearly that is the smart thing to do in your case. For me, one generation old means it has been tested and the bugs worked out of it. The newest Garmin is the 742, it is nearly twice the price of the older 741. The 741 has the same connectivity (which is what I was concerned with for future upgrades in network, Radar and Sonar), but fewer bells and whistles like the some of the sail assist (race start timer, etc) software.

jarcher,
This comes from my Garmin 741 Diagnostic log for NMEA communications:
57279,V,SRL,IIDPT,1.25,,
57305,V,SRL,IIDBT,4.10,f,1.25,M,0.68,F,

The DPT sentence is straight from my B&G instruments, it has always sent this format (depth in meters). The previous Garmin unit (545) was able to read this and displayed the depth correctly. The 741 reads it and shows it in the log, but does not display any depth value (--.-). Garmin claims this is an 'old' revision of NMEA and no longer valid (they are probably correct). My solution was to read the DPT sentence with some electronics (specifically KBOX https://hackaday.io/project/11055-kbox ) and convert that to the DBT sentence you see above. The Garmin 741 likes that sentence and displays the depth now. The Kbox is a home grown NMEA multiplexer, it reads in a couple of channels of NMEA 0183 (different speeds 4800, 38400), it can operate on that data and then send it out in numerous formats NMEA 0183, NMEA 2000, Log to an SD card, out over USB cable or out over Wifi. It also generates a new open source format called SignalK - Signal K » Welcome I run a signalK server using a RaspberryPi computer on the boat and all my instrument data is sent out over wifi in that format. It can be read by a free sharware chartplotter program called OpenCPN or by several apps on tablets or phones that display the data in numerical or gauge formats. With the exception of the depth sensor data all the 'hobby' electronics and such are independent of my boat instruments, displays and the Garmin chartplotter. They read the data and send it out, but for the most part my boat navigation does not depend on them. I do have a separate B&G depth hsitory display, but that display is slowly dying.

So I have my solution for now, but it Garmin thinks they can fix the DPT issue I would be happy with that too.

thanks,
Ron
 

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I too am leery of master mariner advice. Often doesn't apply to us.
I bought a recently discontinued Garmin Chartplotter that has every bell and whistle they made 8 months ago - how bad can that be? I think not too bad. And yes you could also buy the latest and it too will be out of date in 6 months, what's the point?
 

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I purchased the 741 and I have some issues. It does not show depth from my NMEA depth sensor. Garmin claims it is because my instruments are old, I am not convinced as my old Garmin read depth fine. Other than that I am happy with my decision also. The price was right and it has all the connectivity I could possibly need (much like the 742) the display is great and it is a good upgrade from my 8 year old 5" model.

thanks,
Ron
Garmin makes a Transducer Module ( fairly inexpensive ) that allows you to use any Legacy
Depth Transducer.

You cut off the old transducer plug and wire it directly into module.

Then the module plugs into Garmin Depth Port on 741 or 742, 942 etc
 

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... Except that the GPSMAP 741 does not have all the sail assist features, mostly what is missing has to do with race starts and I have other ways to handle that. The Garmin 741 does have rose gauges and other displays that are useful.

While I was initially disappointed in the 741 I have come around to accept that what it is a big step up from what I previously had. And I got it a decent price.

thanks,
Ron
I am also looking for a 7" Garmin chartplotter and want the sail assist features. Did you ever figure out how to tell which units have it?
 
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