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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi I am looking for some help and suggestions on what instruments would fit with what I have.

At present the boat (38 CC GRP) has a Raymarine 435i Chartplotter + wind + auto-pilot-control-head, all on a Navpod at the wheel. Below decks the only navigation is a handheld Garmin GPS 76Cs and paper maps.

I am looking to upgrade things. I intend installing radar (broadband), AIS(Tx/Rx) and want a setup that could display/control all these things, both at the helm and below decks.

AFIK there appears to be no way to leverage the map cartridges used in the 435i without replacing the 435i. I would rather not buy and run two different map types, actually 3 map systems if you include the Garmin charts as well.

Some initial thoughts:

Option 1 – Replace the 435i at the wheel with a multifunction display/repeater that fits in the 435i cutout in the pod (does such a thing exist?). Install a multifunction display below deck that can be used for radar, plotting, AIS, display weather overlays etc. Tie it all together.

Option 2 – Leave the 435i where it is and purchase maps for a dedicated navstation laptop. Perhaps using the same charts as the Garmin 76Cs, if there is any advantage there. The only problem with this solution is that the helmsman will not be able to see or control the radar or the AIS information.

Option 3 - Any suggestions

The Navpod is expensive so what ever replaces the 435i would preferably fit into the cutout or at most be just a little bit bigger.

I have a few spare laptops that I could use e.g. two for personal use and as backups to a dedicated ship computer, but I don’t feel I must use these if there are other better solutions.

Perhaps the laptop should be in a addition to multifunction displays. Can anyone recommend any particular multifunction display?

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
 

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This is a very personal choice, since both option works. I personally don't like laptops, as they would be generic tool for specific use, taking too much energy and a HD prone to failure, and a bit bulky for a permanent mount. Regarding charts, I'd look for a good coverage and details, and then decide for the plotter. I like the radar and plotter at cockpit, not necessarily at helm, as I always stay (almost) there on watch during passage, and not a good place for laptops. Nowadays there are several good plotters on market, but I'm an old Raymarine user. I'd go for the E series (although actual C differs little, and have smaller screens). They are compatible to AIS Trasponders too. Keep you Garmin down below, I like to have different charts for the same region.
Your question is just "too general" and imply on personal preference, as there is not a "better arrangement", that's why people don't feel compeled to respond ...
 

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I do not know the size of the 435, but will give you general feelings toward what I have and whta I would do.

The repeater down below is nice, but not the end of the world if you do not have it. The main times we use uit and have used it is for radar and for plotting out our courses while at the dock. Offshore, I make 30 min manual entries. THis info could be gathered from a simple tridata, so a repeater is not neccesary.

We have two E80's. THey have worked without incident(s). The more I have used them, the more I like them and realize how much they have improved over the oldre versions. However, if I were to do it all over again, I might opt for a swivel at the companionway so I could see everything while under the dodger. That would save money too since I would only need one unit. If money is not an object, the two units are better. My father has a single unit on the swivel and that works nicely for him - though it can be hard to see sometimes in broad daylight. As such, he has a backup CP on his helm.

I am not sure if I am answering your questions, but I am trying. I would try the cheapest of your solutions first, which may be the laptop. If that did not work, I would upgrade. I chose the E80 but the Garmin is probably just as good. THere is little cost difference so it all comes down to which functionality you like better.

Just make sure you keep a backup. If you really want the overlay and multifunction screens, but could do without the secondary unit, go with the C series.

- CD
 

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CD, actual C series have mostly E functionalities (including repeater), and differs a bit just on attached appliances (HD radar for instance).
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ok, thanks guys.

Yes you are right the question is a bit general, thanks for having a go at it though. I agree with your points.

i.e.
Although a PC is flexible it is a bit fragile and prone to failure.

Perhaps two chart types are better than one. That is what I have now, and they each have their merits (Garmin, Raymarine).

The main issue is that Raymarine did not provide an upgrade path from the 435i. Though I do like the Raymarine stuff I am now open to new instrumentation.

The best would be two multifunction displays, that's probably what I'll get.
 

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Just to throw more fuel on the fire,<O:p</O:p
Raymarine "A" Series Chart Plotters are now available with Preloaded Costal US and Great Lakes Charts and have the ability for AIS and Sirius Weather. (I am not sure if you can add Radar.) You can also upgrade the charts with Navionics Gold and Platinum. They are available with a 5 " or a 6.4" screens that some may not like, but I believe it would save some money over a C or E series display. Than again, the original poster does not seem too concerned about his budget. <O:p</O:p<O:p</O:p
 
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