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Old 02-01-2013, 10:21 PM   #81
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I used Nobeltec for a long time, but finally gave up on them. As a bunch of ex-Microsoft folks, they update it constantly, and you are forced to keep paying to upgrade. If you skip an upgrade or two, they most recent one becomes more and more expensive. You really never buy it, you just rent it. Went to Rosepoint's Coastal Explorer.
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Old 02-02-2013, 03:11 PM   #82
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I don't use paper charts! Why would I?
There is no way anyone could plot your position on a paper chart using a hand bearing compass or dead reckoning or with a depth sounder as accurately as a chart plotter can.

In the areas I cruise of the GICW, exact positioning is necessary if you plan on cruising and anchoring in the very shallow areas and narrow channels we do. Before electronic navigation you stuck to the marked channels or carefully plotted and estimated your distances between markers if you left the marked channels or you had local knowledge. Now with a chart plotter you can decide to anchor at a beautiful spot as you pass it without having to take the time to determine on a paper chart if it's even possible to get to.

When we were in the Bahamas last year we anchored off the south end of Great Sale Cay with a stronger than predicated southerly breeze. We soon decided we could not get a good night sleep here bouncing around. So I looked at my trusty Garmin chart plotter and found a spot 5 miles away on the west side of the Cay with a slight indentation that looked protected from the southerly breeze. Only problem was a shoal area that extended out from the Cay about a mile that had to be avoided. No problem we just cranked up the ole trusty Cummins headed for the new anchorage and avoided the shoal by about 100 yards. 30 minutes later we were sipping rum and cokes at out new very smooth anchorage. Had we had to paper chart our way to this new anchorage we would have had to estimate our distance from the shoal by taking cross bearings and reading the depth. That's a real pain in a bouncing boat. Ever try an bring out a chart when you're doing 18 kts!

Yes I do carry paper charts but have never had to refer to them. I also carry 2 hand held GPS's in addition to the 2 chart plotters on the helm and the navionics on my cell phone.

As to the original posters question: Any of today's plotters will more than do the job. The bigger question is what are your preferences. Personally I love my Garmin touch screen. I'm not advocating Garmin but I really do like the touch screen and if you're going to use the chart plotter over several years personally I think that option is worth the extra cost. Just my opinion.
Wow, love my old Sextant and Paper Charts as a Backup. I still plot every hour our GPS position on a Good Old Paper Chart.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:55 PM   #83
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I received Nobletic chart with GPS for 200 bucks. So I been looking and pricing AIS. I been told that SI-TEX build most of the AIS for other brand, and if you look the box and the instruction/manual are basically the same. There are two types of AIS, A receives only about 300 to 500 bucks, and B, transceiver, sends and receives, for 500 to 1,000 bucks depending on the brand. I being cheap am looking at the SI-TEX, sold by a number of installer and EM-TRAK sold by West Marine both about 550 bucks which include programming then SD card with you vessels information, Both have an internal GPS and comes with an external GPS, a power/data cable and a USB for a PC. Both require own external VHF antenna which is a small wipe for 50 bucks.

I have talked to several installers and not many Pleasure boats have AIS as it more of a commercial requirements. The few pleasure boats I have see that have AIS are 60+ ft, so most of the boat show representative were not very helpful and referred to installers. I will proable install in July when the weather is a little nicer and we MIGHT, I said might leave the dock.

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Old 02-10-2013, 11:35 AM   #84
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For what it's worth

I too need to upgrade/refit my electronics and found this thread interesting. I recently (November) had to move my boat from Baltimore to FL. The old Northstar plotter has a great display but worked intermittently as did the Furuno radar. I have already put about $2k into that old radar and think it's time for a new one. I also have Coastal Explorer on a Panasonic toughbook with a built in GPS as my backup. About half way between Moorhead City, NC and Fort Pierce, FL on a "dark and stormy night", the radar decided to quit and my toughbook shutdown because the battery was not charging (another problem to deal with). We also noticed the house voltage was dropping below 12v. I shut down all but essential circuits to preserve power. Since I still like my paper charts we had a constant plot of our position using a GPS (I have two Furuno GPS-30 on board and two handhelds). After 65 hours underway we passed R2 at Fort Pierce. I had estimated our arrival to be 0430 and only missed it by 30 minutes. The bottom line is when "stuff" hits the fan, your chart, parallel rules, and dividers won't let you down.
I have decided to go with the best Furuno radar I can afford and use Coastal Explorer on my laptop. I have used CE for several years and can't recommend it enough. I have in on a Macbook Pro running a windows emulation program and also on the toughbook. But, I use the PC plotter to verify my plot on the paper chart.
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:56 PM   #85
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The CE website hasn't been updated for some time. Is this still a going concern?
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Old 02-10-2013, 03:01 PM   #86
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Not sure what you mean by going concern but the CE forum looks to be active.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:01 PM   #87
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ptlones--Excellent point! When it hits the fan, lesson number 1 in all of this is you'd better know how to navigate using the old standby methods. He who fails to learn them, or maintain navigational skills--easy to do in this butt dumb age of chartplotters--deserves thr consequences.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:57 PM   #88
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Not sure what you mean by going concern but the CE forum looks to be active.
Yes, now I see the support forum has some activity. Earlier I looked at their cruising forum and noticed it wasn't very active.
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:05 PM   #89
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Regarding under 5000 buck upgrade, I just broke my bank with the GPS store booth at the Miami Boats Show. Garmin lowered the prices of their 5200 and 7200 series MFD's the day before the show. We narrowed the choices down to Simrad's PSS 12" and the 5212 Garmin, but during the final comparison, the extra $500 for the twin processors of the 7212 didn't seem so out-of-line when we asked both machines to do some heavy-duty calculating or video. Both the 5200 and 7200 series screens could be split into four different views of most anything, but when asked to display a video input alone, the 5200 series could only manage a 5 X 7 screen size while the 7200 could do full screen. When looking at camera video of engine rooms etc. and enlarging for detail, the twin processors really help. So we did it. A 7212 with 18" Garmin radar dome and a sound box for bottom detail, plus a detailed chart card (you know, in addition to the charts it has bottom very detailed bottom contours, 3D mockups, satellite views of water, land, marinas, inlets, and on and on) for southern Florida and Bahamas, all stuff that my Admiral plays with, and of course the backbone and everything to hook-up the system minus the transducer (not sure if my current unit will work with it), $4650.
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:30 PM   #90
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I've been a Coastal Explorer fan for about 6 years now but it doesn't do everything. On a new to us trawler, I labored over an electronics upgrade from a 5 inch Standard Horizon along with 2 Humminbird fish finders to add to Coastal Explorer. Coastal Explorer is my primary at the lower helm, and an IPAD with remote screen display of Coastal Explorer is the upper helm. After a month of comparing systems I went the Lowrance route with an 8 inch screen at the lower helm and a 7 inch at the upper helm. These will mainly be used for depth and backup navigation. The boat already has a separate Raymarine radar with SLC-70 display. When that dies, I will opt for a 4G radar. I didn't really understand the previous comment from way back that Lowrance is really made for the bass boat crowd. The array of transducers is quite large. I encountered a garage sale price on a Structure scan module and transducer that I plan to transom mount. Yes, it is an experiment, but I want to see what kind of information I can get from the sidescan sonar when anchoring. Plus the downscan resolution should help determine hazards to the anchor on the bottom (logs and the like).

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Old 02-18-2013, 11:27 PM   #91
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So we did it. A 7212 with 18" Garmin radar dome and a sound box for bottom detail,
I played with a 7212 about a month ago at WM and loved it!
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:59 AM   #92
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I just ordered a Raymarine E 90W touch screen from Raymarine for $1100. It was a close out from Raymarine as they no longer make this model. It is being replaced by their E95. The difference between the 90 and 95 is the 95 has WiFi, Bluetooth, and a software program called lighthouse that allows the user some customization of the display. I didn't think the $1500 more for the latest and greatest was worth it.

WiFi seems to be the up and coming thing as Garmin will soon have it and Simrad already has it too. This features allows you to create a network between the plotter (MFD) and another WiFi enabled device like a cell phone or tablet thus allowing you to control many functions of the MFD from the tablet or cellphone. For those with a dual helm boat this could be a nice feature, however I don't think this feature alone is worth the steep price. Current WiFi enabled devices do not allow you to connect to the internet with the exception of one model from Standard Horizon.

I also picked up a Raymarine 18" HD radar for $1400 from the Defender folks at the show. They were giving some great deals for boat show visitors.

I really liked Simrad's touchscreen models because they seem to have the best customizable software. Defender was giving a great deal on a Simrad 8" touchscreen with their 3G radar for about $2850. However Simrad's units only have 1 NMEA 0183 input/output which would require me to replace my depth gauge and buy a heading sensor and multiplexer to get DSC/AIS. And even then I would have to modify the radar mount to accept the Simrad 3G. The Raymarine radar will fit the existing bolt pattern on my radar mount since my current radar is from Raytheon.

For you folks that can wait a couple of years I think big changes are coming to the industry in the form of internet connectivity. Like TV, the marine electronics industry is slow incorporating this. Soon you will be able to display notice to mariner features, gas prices, current wrecks, anchorage comments and stuff I can't even imagine. This will turn the MFD from a navigation device to an information device.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:22 AM   #93
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I just ordered a Raymarine E 90W touch screen from Raymarine for $1100. It was a close out from Raymarine as they no longer make this model.
Tim: Congrats on that decision, ....I was really tempted to do this myself. My Admiral convinced me to go for our "primary" suite instead of the planned "back-up" suite now. After learning from several vendors and even speculation from some Garmin people that the 5200 series is probably going to stop production in the next year, our hope was that if they do the same kind of close-out sale on the 5200's, we'd probably go for one of those as our back-up instead of the planned 740S. Who know what's going to take hold next. I just hope that these plotters don't become defunct in two years, and that the plug-and-play features allow us to stay current for a while.
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