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Discussion Starter #1
I don't need "cutting edge" features - I'm just a noob, and besides, I'm not technically inclined anyway. Just something to show me where I am, what's around me, and how deep it is. I guess screen size would be my only wish beyond that, and I guess screen size costs money.

I'd appreciate any suggestions, thanks!
 

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I'd be tempted by the Lowrance Elite 7, or the smaller 5 and put the balance towards something else useful for the boat.
 

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The 7" Garmin 740s has dropped below $800. Even though it's an older model, it's not a bad price for a 7" as long as you don't mind that it's touch-only. The Simrad NSS7 can be had for under $900. Prices have really dropped in the last few years.
 

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Hey,

Some things to consider:
-Who is going to install it? Installation can get VERY expensive if you pay someone
-How big a screen do you want / need? Units that have 5" screens are cheap, 7" not too bad, bigger than that gets real expensive
-What, if any, interfacing will you do to any existing stuff? Will you connect the plotter to your VHF so the DSC features work (I hope so)? What about wind, depth, autopilot? Some units are easier to interface than others
-Do you want the ability to add XM weather, RADAR, SONAR, or other features?

Lowrance makes some decent cheaper units. Raymarine is probably the most expensive. Standard Horizon has a rep for great service.

Barry
 

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I use my iPad with Garmin Bluechart and a Dual XGPS. Garmin Bluechart on my iPhone and paper as backup.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The 7" Garmin 740s has dropped below $800. Even though it's an older model, it's not a bad price for a 7" as long as you don't mind that it's touch-only. The Simrad NSS7 can be had for under $900. Prices have really dropped in the last few years.
I kinda like the looks and simplicity of the Garmin 740s. Do I still have to purchase a separate transducer to get depth soundings?


Some things to consider:
-Who is going to install it? Installation can get VERY expensive if you pay someone

I'll install it.


-How big a screen do you want / need? Units that have 5" screens are cheap, 7" not too bad, bigger than that gets real expensive

7" is what I think I'd like to go with. I'd like to see what's around me, but bigger than that would look ridiculous on my little boat (and my little checkbook).

-What, if any, interfacing will you do to any existing stuff? Will you connect the plotter to your VHF so the DSC features work (I hope so)? What about wind, depth, autopilot? Some units are easier to interface than others
-Do you want the ability to add XM weather, RADAR, SONAR, or other features?


There isn't any "existing stuff" yet. ;) For now, a GPS/chartplotter/depthfinder and a handheld VHF are all I'm looking for as far as electronics are concerned.

Thanks!!
 

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Hey,

My new to me boat came with a Garmin 740S. It seems to work OK. You will need the transducer to get depth / sonar info. That would be a good unit to get.

Barry
 

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Go down a West Marine and try a few out. I found the Lowrance very simple to use, within a minute I had configured the screen to show the chart, with a nice big readout of speed and depth and one-press access to a split screen with the chart and the fishfinder display (that is useful for showing the actual bottom). Not the most flexible in terms of interfaces to other equipment (although I think they have a multi-function head unit as well for a couple of hundred more), but for the basic needs of a coastal cruiser that doesn't want to spend weeks reading a manual, seemed to do the job.
I hate touchscreens. Great if you are lounging around in the cockpit, or cruising on a nice sunny calm day. Crap if you are actually sailing, holding on with one hand trying to stay upright wearing foulies and gloves. In those times, you need buttons your fingers can find, and know you have pressed.
 

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The 7" Garmin 740s has dropped below $800. Even though it's an older model, it's not a bad price for a 7" as long as you don't mind that it's touch-only. The Simrad NSS7 can be had for under $900. Prices have really dropped in the last few years.
I think I remember reading a couple places about the Gamin 740s having a magnetic SD card door that requires you to place it something like three feet from your compass. To me that seems like an unreasonable distance for a lot applications.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Go down a West Marine and try a few out. I found the Lowrance very simple to use, within a minute I had configured the screen to show the chart, with a nice big readout of speed and depth and one-press access to a split screen with the chart and the fishfinder display (that is useful for showing the actual bottom). Not the most flexible in terms of interfaces to other equipment (although I think they have a multi-function head unit as well for a couple of hundred more), but for the basic needs of a coastal cruiser that doesn't want to spend weeks reading a manual, seemed to do the job.

I hate touchscreens. Great if you are lounging around in the cockpit, or cruising on a nice sunny calm day. Crap if you are actually sailing, holding on with one hand trying to stay upright wearing foulies and gloves. In those times, you need buttons your fingers can find, and know you have pressed.
Excellent info about the touchscreens, thank you. Without having been there/done that, I would never have thought about that. I live about an hour and a half from the nearest West Marine, but prior to making this purchase I will definitely make the trip, as I feel it will be worth it, especially if I can get my hands on a knowledgeable employee.

I think I remember reading a couple places about the Gamin 740s having a magnetic SD card door that requires you to place it something like three feet from your compass. To me that seems like an unreasonable distance for a lot applications.
Yes, that is the biggest complaint I keep reading about the 740s: it must be 32" from the compass. Not a problem for me, I don't think, since I don't have a compass yet and therefor can mount it wherever I want. I was thinking I'd get a flush mount compass, and mount it opposite the companionway from the plotter.
 
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