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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Yet another GPS question. I'm going on a cruse and would like to bring a gps. I can borrow a gpsmap 76 the black and white model but I've been lusting after one of my own for some time now.
I like the looks of the gps map76csx but the screen is supposed to be smaller than the older b&w unit plus the icons are supposed to be harder to read than the old menus.
Also the base map is supposed to be useless and I can't figure out what I have to buy to get good charts for new england and the Chesapeake? Also there is the question of the chip vs the cd and what you can and can't do with both. What a freaking mess.
Does anyone have it all figured out.

Then there is the gpsmap 378 and 478, can't tell the difference. This is big enough to be a real chart plotter but I don't think I can just throw in a spare double A but have to charge it which is another complication when cruising for a week.
Then there is the Oregon but the touch screen is supposed to be a problem.

I don't think I'm asking for too much.
Fits in a pocket, with battery and antenna internal
Big enough screen to do an instant (where am i check)
Regular batteries
Good coastal charts for US
About $300
Gamin are you listening?

Anyone want to suggest the closed to what I'm looking for?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
OK it looks like the only difference is that the 378 is inland the 478 is costal.
 

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David,

I like the 76csx. We've got the 76C, and while the screen is small, the zoom function pretty well compensates for it. I was skeptical when we got it, but it has worked out well.

Ours has to upload charts while plugged into a computer via a cable. The newer versions like the 76CSx have a removable internal memory card, which is a better arrangement. My understanding is that the process of uploading new charts is much simpler with this setup.

I'm not familiar with the other models, but if they're newer versions with larger screens, I'd expect them to be a bit pricier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I went to WM and checked out the gpsmap 478, the big one and its replacement the gpsmap 640 touch screen. The Colorado 400c with the wheel on top and its replacement the Oregon touch screen.

It looks like the industry is moving to the touch screen but they seem to have a problem.
You put it in your pocket and you can't get it out without messing up the screen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I was all excited about the Oregon 400c until I saw some complaints that the speed readout is very flaky and does not average out the way it should and the the buoy number are hidden unless you hove over them

The is a real pain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I suppose I would be a party pooper if I suggested you get a simple lat/lon XTE/compass heading handheld model and followed your position on a paper chart?
I'm all for that solution for general cruising. The exception is navigating channels that are long and winding.
A gps map lets you pick you way from mark to mark with a little less worry.
Not no worry as they can move the marks but less worry usually.
 

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I'm happy with my Colorado 400C. It doesn't have the Oregon's touch screen. Got it from WM over the winter at a nice price. Googled and saw it available for your pricepoint
Mike

[Edit - the item I saw at the low price was factory refurbished, not new. I paid $50 more @ WM, after rebate, for new]
 

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i got a gps map 76csx for taking on charters. It was really worth it but I also wanted to have paper charts because of the small screen. That is, the paper chart gave me the big picture but I could keep the gps zoomed at a level that really helped to navigate tight places. I never had a problem reading the icons. On that model you can either buy the chips which can go in the unit or you can download the maps to a computer from garmin and upload them to the handheld unit. This is actually quite useful because then you have all the maps on your computer with a big screen, and can lay out routes, waypoints, etc. and then put those on the handheld. It is MUCH easier to do this kind of planning on the laptop.

garmin charts are good but expensive. you get the base chart with the unit but have to "unlock" each region for about a $100 a pop. Chesapeake bay is one region. New England as I recall was more than one region. You can check it all out on Garmins website.

Another benefit of that unit is that it floats.
 

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The GPS76 series has a page which displays a compass rose that points at the next waypoint. If your waypoints are correctly inserted, the pointer will automatically switch to the next waypoint when you either reach the one before or when the GPS calculates that you have gone past it and are heading away.

This makes it very easy to move up a winding channel - just follow the arrow - you don't need charts on the screen. Yes I know it's fancier but the reality is you don't need it. The charts are in any case (in my opinion) too small to be of any value.
 

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We have the GPSmap 76Cx that is used as a backup to our Garmin 3210 plotter. I would much rather look at electronic charts on the plotter than the GPS, mainly because of screen size and chart quality. Periodically Garmin has chart updates available, but not as often as NOAA does…but NOAA charts don’t work on a Garmin The Garmin chart updates cost a little money, and the NOAA charts are free…but you need a computer with navigation software to use them. Garmin creates their charts in a different vector format than NOAA vector charts, so if there is a mistake or lack of information on a Garmin charts you’ll have to wait until the next update to get the corrected chart…might be as long as a year later. If you’re using a computer with navigation software, you can download and use the updated or corrected chart as soon as NOAA has it available…much faster than Garmin. The only real problem with a computer is using it where it will be useful…in the cockpit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
This makes it very easy to move up a winding channel - just follow the arrow - you don't need charts on the screen. Yes I know it's fancier but the reality is you don't need it. The charts are in any case (in my opinion) too small to be of any value.
Actually this page has gotten me in some trouble.
This page assumes you know which way you are going.
You are supposed to orient your GPS so the top of the GPS is pointing in the direction you are moving.
One time we could see the marker we were heading to and put the GPS on the page mentioned above. Pointed the GPS toward the front of the boat.
The arrow pointed exactly away from the marker.
The problem was that we were making 2 knots in a 3+ knot current. We were moving back wards.

The bottom line is that if there is any current the pointer page can easily give wrong information.
The highway view however will indicate if you are going the wrong way.

Of course if there is no or little current where you sail it doesn't matter.

I agee that the charts on the handhelds are very hard to follow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Does anyone have a touch screen hand-held model. I'm wondering how you make sure you don't change the screen by taking it in and out of your pocket.
It looks like the buttons are going away despite there advantages.
 

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Actually this page has gotten me in some trouble.
This page assumes you know which way you are going.
You are supposed to orient your GPS so the top of the GPS is pointing in the direction you are moving.
Are you comfortable navigating with a chart and/or a hand held GPS?
 

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Actually this page has gotten me in some trouble.
This page assumes you know which way you are going.
You are supposed to orient your GPS so the top of the GPS is pointing in the direction you are moving.
One time we could see the marker we were heading to and put the GPS on the page mentioned above. Pointed the GPS toward the front of the boat.
The arrow pointed exactly away from the marker.
The problem was that we were making 2 knots in a 3+ knot current. We were moving back wards.

The bottom line is that if there is any current the pointer page can easily give wrong information.
The highway view however will indicate if you are going the wrong way.

Of course if there is no or little current where you sail it doesn't matter.

I agee that the charts on the handhelds are very hard to follow.
Sorry to have to disagree but. . . . .:)

It makes no difference where the GPS (instrument) is facing/pointing to. You could be standing on your hands, facing aft in the head, the top of the rose will still show the direction the boat is physically moving.

Your GPS in the quote above was doing EXACTLY what it was supposed to be doing: "pointing away from the marker". Here's why:

When the compass rose is active i.e. you are on a route or using goto, the top of the rose is your heading (there is a solid stationary line pointing up). As you turn the boat the rose turns and reading at the top of the rose is where you are going. Note this is not necessarily where the boat is pointing, it is where you are going, including tides, currents, wind and leeway.

The arrow is pointing to the selected Goto or the next waypoint in the route. So if you are drifting back because the current stream is faster than your boatspeed but you are still pointing in the direction you would like to be going, the compass rose on the GPS will be opposite to your steering compass because you're going backwards (over the ground).

But the pointer will still be pointing at the next waypoint, i.e. if you are heading away from the waypoint, the pointer should be pointing towards the lower end of the rose.

So . . . if you are sailing 320 degrees and the pointer is pointing to 15 degrees than you are 55 degrees off course. Turn the vessel 55 degrees to starboard (assuming there is nothing in your way :p ) until the pointer is pointing directly up and you are heading directly at the waypoint.

If you think you are physically pointing directly at the waypoint and the pointer is still pointing downwards then you are drifting backwards.

If there is no arrow on the rose then there is no selected route or Goto.

At least that is how my GPS76 works (and I've successfully navigated with it for 8 years). Yours may be different.

If this makes no sense to you, PM me and I'll try and be clearer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

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comfortable with a chart and handheld? Yes. I did it a lot. But I like my charplotter much better. Still have the paper charts though. I cant imagine depending only on a machine that could go belly up any moment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Sorry to have to disagree but. . . . .:)

It makes no difference where the GPS (instrument) is facing/pointing to. You could be standing on your hands, facing aft in the head, the top of the rose will still show the direction the boat is physically moving.
When you are right you are right. Doesn't mean I have to like it though.:)
I researched back and found my prejudice. I'm a highway man not a pointer guy.

When I first started I got
GPS for Mariners By Robert J. Sweet
GPS for Mariners - Google Book Search

and he said on page 25 that hikers were more likely to like the pointer page so I concentrated on the highway view.

Since the pointer page always shows the direction you are heading and if you turn your boat to line up the pointer with the top of the screen which will be your your track then of course you are good. bearing and track are the same.

What I was remembering is that for the pointer to actually point in the right direction physically you have to align the pointer rose to your boat compass. Then the top of the unit will show the track, which is usually the front of the boat but not always depending on current etc. and the pointer will show the bearing.

The lesson is that these handy devices even when working perfectly can sometimes mislead us unless we are aware of the subtle issues.

In this case the subtle issue is that pointing the unit to the front of the boat may not show the arrow pointing the right physical direction even though it will always point to the right direction on the rose.
Turning the boat until the track bar and bearing arrow line up however is useful. As long as they line up it doesn't matter which way the GPS is pointing.

Thank you for clarifying this.
 

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Garmin eTrex Vista HCx

I went through the same process last year. I bought the eTrex Vista HCx and the Blue Chart and like it. That might fit most of your criteria. It works well, and I wanted something I could use on land as well (biking/hiking) too so wanted pocket size. On the boat, its mounted on my binnacle guard and is easy to see in daylight and at night. AA Battery life is decent, close to their claimed numbers--the HCx chip is supposed to be responsible for this. I keep a pack on board

The screen is small, but the zoom feature does help compensate for this and it works well for the Chesapeake. Its not the same as using a large screen chart plotter, but its not really supposed to be. I have the charts loaded on the chip, which also seems to work well. Its a simple process to add or delete chart sections. I dont recall how many "sections" you get as part of a set. I got the entire Bay, and then some.

I like the Oregon too but it wasn't available at the time, they include Blue Charts, and the bigger screen would be easier on the boat, but bigger size wasn't so good for my small pocket criteria. Total cost is close to the same, i think. Im not sure of the battery situation on those, or the screen sensitivity if you put it in your pocket. I prefer it mounted on board having done the pocket thing for a while. The mount was cheap at REI.
Handhelds are a bit of a compromise, but this set up works well for me and was reasonable cheap for what it does.
 
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