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Old 05-16-2012, 12:07 AM   #21
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This is my step by step write up of what I use.
USB GPS BU-353 and Earth Bridge - Setup Instructions - Laptop GPS World
There's more info on the site about caching maps and plotting course/way points.

Another one is Sea Clear.Lots of help on the yahoo group.I haven't tried it but I may.
SeaClear GPS Navigation Software

Never heard of CPN but I will look into it.
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Old 05-16-2012, 12:19 AM   #22
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I'm a big fan of Furuno Navnet

You can buy the display with GPS sensor, then add a radar, and a sounder when you want to.

Want another display, add it later, it'll be compatible.

Their tech support and factory repair service is fantastic, and its based in the USA, with real people speaking english as their primary language.
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Old 05-16-2012, 02:33 AM   #23
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Have'nt read all the thread but I prefer all stand alone electronics.

We have a Garmin 2010 and generally like it very much. I think it has everything that's on the charts but the information is taken off large charts when that's all there is so many spots here in Alaska are w minimal detail. But that's not the plotter's fault.

My radar is JRC, cheap and excellent.

I have two sounders and would'nt be without. One is a Garmin fish finder type (cheap) and the other is a Raymarine digital only (expensive($700)) and I like it a lot. Has large LC numbers so I can see in a flash glance how deep it is.

It's all stand alone and that's all we have plus the VHF. We have two.

Do'nt feel we need any more but hav'nt tried a newer plotter.

Do'nt like the computer plotters as they are way too dim.
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Old 05-16-2012, 09:13 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GonzoF1 View Post
I'm going to say no to PC based. We are on the flybridge ALL the time. While we use a laptop down below, I just don't trust laptop software to be stable enough, nor will the average affordable screen be able to be seen in bright sunlight.
Thanks, but I'll pass on that option for the time being.
Gonzo, you think like I do, and for what it's worth, as a Lowrance user I can vouch for their user friendliness and bullet-proof reliability, and I only have a 5 inch screen yet have no issues running a GPS/sonar combo on it. However, for what you say you want, and if you can afford it, I would go for the new gen 2 Lowrance HD, 10-12 inch screen, mainly so you could overlay the Radar as several pointed out as a great feature, and if you are doing that, then bigger is better up to a point, although it tees me off how the price crescendos with larger screens when the guts in the box which does the work is the same. However, the other reason for voting Lowrance (or stablemate Simrad maybe), is they have this neat new 3G (and now 4G) broadband radar, which complements the GPS/Sonar beautifully and evidence is will totally supercede pulse radar, for smaller vessels at least, in the very near future. And their prices are very competitive. Like Scary said actually.
Just a thought...?
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:43 AM   #25
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Good points from everyone.

Bess and I discussed it last night. She is, of course, onboard with Garmin. And TBH, I STILL don't know why that brand doesn't appeal to me. Nevertheless, What I think we have decided is to deploy a "stop gap" unit for the summer. Perhaps a 5-7" screen that can perform the minimal tasks needed to navigate the Neuse and the neaby ICW. Next Spring, this unit will then be tasked to the lower helm and a new, larger unit will be bought for the flybridge.

It's really a win-win. We stay less that $1000 or $1500. We get thru the year easily. We will end up with a solid unit below next year. And the biggest thing is that for next winter's project, I want to reconfigure the upper dash to allow recessed mounted electronics and upper helm engine gauges.

So, that being said, what are your thoughts on 5-7" units?

Thanks,
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:52 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by GonzoF1 View Post
Good points from everyone.

Bess and I discussed it last night. She is, of course, onboard with Garmin. And TBH, I STILL don't know why that brand doesn't appeal to me. Nevertheless, What I think we have decided is to deploy a "stop gap" unit for the summer. Perhaps a 5-7" screen that can perform the minimal tasks needed to navigate the Neuse and the neaby ICW. Next Spring, this unit will then be tasked to the lower helm and a new, larger unit will be bought for the flybridge.

It's really a win-win. We stay less that $1000 or $1500. We get thru the year easily. We will end up with a solid unit below next year. And the biggest thing is that for next winter's project, I want to reconfigure the upper dash to allow recessed mounted electronics and upper helm engine gauges.

So, that being said, what are your thoughts on 5-7" units?

Thanks,
Tom-
as I posted...if you decide to save money and go with a smaller screen...nothing wrong with that...then go small and use it to orient yourself to a chartbook....easy to do...the chartbook is FAR easier to read navigate from than ANY chartplotter (assuming you are reasonably good at it)...that's my plan (except like I said before...the broadband radar requires a compatible chartplotter so I may have to go the money route).
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Old 05-16-2012, 01:08 PM   #27
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Have you looked at the Interphase units?

I have two of them on my boat...one at the upper station and one at the lower, and a Standard Horizon up top as well. I rely on the Interphase units when we are moving. Been very happy with them!

INTERPHASE CHART MASTER 169CS 7" COLOR PLOTTER W/ EXTERNAL-U1-CHRT-169- $642.26 UltimatePassage.com
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Old 05-16-2012, 02:12 PM   #28
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You probably don't get the fog we do

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as I posted...if you decide to save money and go with a smaller screen...nothing wrong with that...then go small and use it to orient yourself to a chartbook....easy to do...the chartbook is FAR easier to read navigate from than ANY chartplotter (assuming you are reasonably good at it)...that's my plan (except like I said before...the broadband radar requires a compatible chartplotter so I may have to go the money route).
This year I went big after a hair raising harbor night entrance into Crescent City last year. I bought a Ray Marine 12KW digital HD radar with a 4' array The 6' wouldn't clear my mast. Ray marine claims this performs as well or better than a 24kw analog pulse radar. I had a Furuno 6kw analog 4' array on my 47 Bayliner it that unit was very impressive and very reliable. I was talked into Ray Marine even though I've felt the Ray Marine electronics was meant for pleasure boats and the Furuno was what the professionals used. I did this because the new Furuno digital interface was not as intuitive as the new Ray Marine. All I can say is "wow" this system is powerful. The presets for conditions pretty much are all you need to use. Not a lot of tuning needed to get reliable results. Rotation speeds and power setting are automatic as presets determine. Ais overlay is an option and if you boat in high traffic areas it is a simple way to keep track of the larger commercial traffic. When your cruising a slow boat like mine staying out of the way of 22 knt ships and 40knt ferries is an important consideration. I think there are a lot of misconceptions about what radar can do and how easy it is to overlook potentially dangerous targets. Imagine my surprise at seeing a 100' barge and tug appear out of the fog 300 yards ahead when my ancient 4kw Furuno was tuned improperly and showed no reflection. A couple experiences like this and your confidence in your radar is shattered. These new powerful radars can be used for route planning around weather cells and sea conditions. Several months ago I was returning up the California Coast from Half Moon Bay to the SF gate. The sea state was 10-12' 20 knt wind on the port beam. 10 miles from the gate I could see large waves on my radar on the south side of the the gate extending out 3/4 of the way to the entrance bouys. It's temping to cut the corner in milder conditions as it saves a lot of time. In this case based on the large wave size we maintained a course further out going around these breaking 18 footers. Using wake settings you can track targets and get relative speed and course vectors of other vessels. On the faster boats I've owned in the past these features may not have had as much importance as when navigating a slow vessel that lacks the speed to escape conditions. When I was down in the Barrier Reef the skipper of the 70' dive boat I was on used the reflected wave pattern over the reef to guide us into the center of the reef where spent the night. The wave length of the waves was shorter over the shallow reef and longer over the deeper channels. Pretty cool, imagine planning your trip around local wave conditions and wind patterns using your radar image. With a hd radar and large screen display it's possible to see smaller targets on higher scales giving a better overall picture of your surrounding water, you can actually see waves and their movement and direction. Modern chart plotters and radar make travel in poor conditions much safer.
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Old 05-16-2012, 02:31 PM   #29
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Good points from everyone.

Bess and I discussed it last night. She is, of course, onboard with Garmin. And TBH, I STILL don't know why that brand doesn't appeal to me.
Tom-
Once you get the Garmin you will not look back. I have not one but two E80 Raymarine's and I don't like either one. One is used for a chartplotter and the other is the split screen chartplotter / radar. Every time you want to change something it takes a half hour to do it. Either by hunting all around until you find it or by going and getting the books and reading six articles to find the one you need to make the change. I'm sure if you used it every day at work or the like you may not have that much trouble but that isn't what you or I do. My Garmin was a whole lot simpler to do things on, more intuitive is the wording I'm looking for.

Garmin with Broad Band Radar.
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:09 PM   #30
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I am thinking I am going to go with either a Garmin 740, 4208, or a Raymarine e7. I guess I'll try to leverage West Marine's price match for the first time. I don't have a huge amount of experience, but now I am thinking that 5" is just TOO small. I will head over to WM this week and compare side-by-side.
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Old 05-16-2012, 05:08 PM   #31
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Fopr those that are following CPN they are now writing a plug-in for radar.
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Old 05-16-2012, 05:09 PM   #32
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I would get Radar before a chart plotter as a Rader can be also be used as a chart plotter if you can see the shore line as well as knowing what is out there. The best bang for the bucks is to bundle the radar and charts together. Might want to look at the new broad band radar that give better detail but with short range. I need another radar for back up which will probable be broad band with electronic charts.

If you go bundled let us know what you get.
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Old 05-16-2012, 05:10 PM   #33
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Another vote for Garmin. We have both the 4208 & the 4210. We find them easy & intuitive to use with great radar/chart overlay. The advice we got when we bought was to stay away from the touchscreen not only because of smudges but also because 1. setting a way point by touch was generally not as accurate as doing it with a pointer and 2. if you are rolling around our there it can be problematic to get your finger to go to the spot you wish to place the waypoint.
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Old 05-16-2012, 07:25 PM   #34
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I can't speak to the Garmin products

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Another vote for Garmin. We have both the 4208 & the 4210. We find them easy & intuitive to use with great radar/chart overlay. The advice we got when we bought was to stay away from the touchscreen not only because of smudges but also because 1. setting a way point by touch was generally not as accurate as doing it with a pointer and 2. if you are rolling around our there it can be problematic to get your finger to go to the spot you wish to place the waypoint.
But I agree that the smear screens are not practical in any boat that moves around. The track balls on the Furuno aren't that smooth either, at least mine wasn't. I think it would be nice to have a wireless mouse option for boats with a pilot house. Back to the pc/laptop with software and a gps puck. I have lost gps input on several occasions, the first time was just off Victoria BC at night. We were approaching Victoria and as slow as my boat moves I hadn't noticed that my position was not updating until I was wondering what the Brotchi ledge light was and why had they changed the LOCATION OF THE BREAK WATER. Fortunately Coastal Explorer has a warning in the upper right corner of the screen but I missed it the first time. I've lost signal several times since so I've learned to watch for it. I don't think it's Coastal Explorer , it may be my puck or just maybe the USB connection to the lap top but it's less than perfectly reliable.
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:17 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by GonzoF1;

So, that being said, what are your thoughts on 5-7" units?

Thanks,
Tom-
We bought a 5" Standard Horizon unit for our 17' Arima and are very happy with it for that application. But in my opinion a 5" screen is too small for a primary navigation display unless it's going to be very close to you, as it is on the Arima where its mounting puts it about 15 inches from my face. In my opinion a 7" display is the smallest I would recommend for "normal" mounting and even then I think it's marginal. For mounting on a console out in front of the helmsman by three or more feet I would not consider anything less than 10 inches.

I'm not a fan of Garmin other than for automotive GPS units. But that's a primarily subjective opinion. I am, however, very impressed with the Standard Horizon, particularly its display--- it's the brightest display I've seen. I haven't seen Carey's 12" SH plotter yet but if its display is anything like ours it must really be something. Even in direct sun with no top up on the Arima the SH display is very bright and readable. But at only 5," as bright as it is I would not want to use it for navigation if it was mounted farther away from me.
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:23 PM   #36
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But I agree that the smear screens are not practical in any boat that moves around. The track balls on the Furuno aren't that smooth either, at least mine wasn't.
That is one advantage of the 7" Furuno NavNet--- no track ball. I would still recommnd the 10" over the 7" but the absence of a trackball on the 7" is nice.
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Old 05-17-2012, 12:11 AM   #37
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We've been using small Standard Horizon units for ten years with no problems. I like the c-map charts. As to the small screen (5") it works fine if your not splitting it or radar overlaying. Bigger would be fun but not a necessity.
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Old 05-17-2012, 06:21 AM   #38
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I have a question about the Standard Horizon. The plotter is a few years old now. Will the preloaded charts be up-to-date?
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Old 05-17-2012, 06:28 AM   #39
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I have a question about the Standard Horizon. The plotter is a few years old now. Will the preloaded charts be up-to-date?
no...even a brand new chip isn't up to date...but neither are paper charts.

people that poo-poo laptop nav don't sometimes realize that flexiiliy of chart uploading/patching.

now...certainly the big chunks don't change much so a couple year old chart isn't that big of a deal either. Very few people keep up with all the LMNs...
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Old 05-17-2012, 07:09 AM   #40
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We've been using small Standard Horizon units for ten years with no problems. I like the c-map charts. As to the small screen (5") it works fine if your not splitting it or radar overlaying. Bigger would be fun but not a necessity.
Roger that. I too only have a 5" screen, and that's on a combo, and I often have the sonar and the GPS half & half, and yet I can still tell exactly where I am, and my eyesight is only average and I wear glasses. Sure, bigger would be nicer in some ways, especially if I wanted to overlay radar, which I would if I had it, but don't, but for everything else in my view my navigation with 5" is just as accurate as it would be with 7, 8 or 10", but the cost significantly less. 'course, if money is not object....go for it...but you are not underprivileged using 5", as the unit is just as accurate and reliable - just smaller.
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