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Old 05-15-2012, 03:48 PM   #1
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Time for a new chartplotter

Well, right on queue, my 90's era Raytheon monochrome chartplotter crapped out a) when I most needed it last weekend in the fog b) as soon as I had wrapped up my charging system upgrade project with the hopes of spending a few months WITHOUT a major expenditure. It has a syntax error on boot-up that can't be fixed without sending it back to Raymarine.Been planning on a new one for a while, but had hoped to get it late summer instead of now... Oh well.

I have a few needs and/or preferences and I'd like you guys to help me narrow the choices down.
  1. Skinny Dippin' is (and will be) primarily a coastal cruiser. ICW, rivers like the Neuse, but MAYBE a Florida or Bahamas trip in the next 3-ish years. I don't particularly feel like I need the bestest and mostest awesome plotter on the market. I hardly used the old one. Follow the red and greens with binoculars has worked well so far, but I recognize the future need.
  2. 10" screen - I was originally looking at 7's (Raymarine e7), but I dunno. It seems too small for a primary plotter.
  3. Touch Screen - Complaints say it's hard to work in rough seas or not reliable if they get wet, but honestly, neither scenario is extremely likely. We are kinda fair-weather boaters. Cool factor is high, but not a deal breaker either way.
  4. Charts built in - Not a deal breaker either, but to upgrade when I need over wi-fi to would be nice. How accurate are built-in charts? Will I just need to buy a card in a year or two anyway? Are the higher level features of "gold" cards worth the money? (satt images, etc.)
  5. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth - TBH, I don't know what these can bring to the table. Again, not a deal breaker. It's unlikely I will want to check the radar or fish finder on my phone from 10' away or play Zeppelin thru tiny built-in speakers. You guys will have to clue me in on this.
  6. Ease of use - Everyone parades Garmin as the easiest to use. This may or may not be true, but does it matter? I don't remember the last time I needed to make any major adjustments to the settings. If Raymarine or Lowrance are better plotter that are more or less "set-it-and-forget-it" units, I'd be more interested in that over less effective, but easy.
  7. Build in depth sounder - Do you really need this? While I am also in great need of a new depth sounder, do I need a total fishfinder box built into the plotter? Can you integrate it without adding $200 to the price or adding a $200 black box to it?
  8. Radar - Will add next year, I hope.
  9. Networking - I fully plan to add an X-10 auto pilot too. Are there any advantages to propitiatory networks or will NMEA 2000 be sufficient?
  10. Price - Looks like the $2000-$2500 is the target, BUT the Standard Horizon price point is pretty attractive.
So here are the ones I am considering. You can comment on these, OR make the case for another:
  1. Lowrance HDS-10 Gen2 - ($2300) My concern is that it might be too fishing oriented
  2. Garmin 4010 or 4210- ($2200) I don't know what it is about Garmin that never sits right with me. I just don't "trust" them and I don't know why.
  3. Standard Horizon CPN 1010i - ($2000) New model with lots of cool new features. Good price. Great customer service. Loaded with charts.
  4. Raymarine C125 - ($2100) 12" display (may not have room for one this big). New product with cool new stuff. Not sure what difference is from the new e-series.
  5. Raymarine e7 or e9 - ($1500-$1800) Smaller and cheaper
  6. Standard Horizon CP 590 - ($1600) One generation back in technology. 12" display. Cheap!


Thanks for your time guys!!!
Tom-
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Old 05-15-2012, 04:04 PM   #2
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I have no electronics to speak of but radios. Brought the boat up from Ft Lauderdale to Charleston, SC with paper and a handheld...then 2 months later to Cape May, NJ with just paper and a laptop with chartplotting/GPS and bad at that.

So what do you really need?

I say depthfinder and GPS with paper is all you need.

Where I'm going if finances work out...shoot the moon...

But the conservatve alternative is the 5 inch gamin fish/plotter and use paper to orient/look ahead...and a stand alone radar...should be able to get both for under 2K...and I would be hapy with that except for the 2 station concept. Though I might go internal antenna, usr my old depth sounder below, move the GPS below and mount the radar down as I'll probably use radar below if the weather is such.

Please send money as I prefer the $10,000 option..
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Old 05-15-2012, 04:40 PM   #3
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I have a now 6 year old small screen Garmin (192C) that came with charts built in.
I really like the Garmin as I feel it is intuitive, read that easy to learn and use. I don't know why you don't trust them, mine has been right on the money. My autopilot is wired into it and the system works great.
I DO regret not getting the depth transducer for it. But there is always next time.
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Old 05-15-2012, 05:21 PM   #4
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I'm a Garmin guy I have a 4208 with all the features.
It is just plug and play.
Check out there site for the 3d features awsom technology.

It is set up to run the whole system including the dash board gages.

The radar overlaps on the plotter. Really cool.

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Old 05-15-2012, 05:23 PM   #5
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Why not CPN? Free software, free charts, GPS puck for < $50?
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Old 05-15-2012, 05:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meridian View Post
Why not CPN? Free software, free charts, GPS puck for < $50?
I'm with meridian on this one.

I just put together a complete boat PC, with 12v power, wireless keyboard, 17" USB monitor (no power cable, only USB), GPS puck, bluetooth audio output. With my wimax card I have full 3&4G internet capabilities, and with Plex media server running, I have full media streaming to my android tablet so it becomes a media center as well. All for less than $500.

Still working on some of the pieces and connections, but at 1/2 the cost of a chartplotter at worst, it makes sense to go with a PC (in the generic sense).
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Old 05-15-2012, 05:36 PM   #7
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CPN ?? what is it?

Do you hav to have Wifi to use it?

Is it self contained?

5 miles from the harbor and no cell service for me.

Sounds good unless you plan on a trip to Alaska. I don't think it would work north of Vancover.

I personally don't think one should rely to much on technology.

I would rather have everything on board including a back up like paper charts and a compass.


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Old 05-15-2012, 05:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skipperdude View Post
CPN ?? what is it?

Do you hav to have Wifi to use it?

Is it self contained?
This is what I used (CPN specific):

Hardware:
Amazon.com: GlobalSat BU-353 USB GPS Receiver: GPS & Navigation

Software:
OpenCPN | Official OpenCPN Homepage
Paper and Raster Nautical Chart Catalog

Fully self contained, requires no wifi.


I won't dispute the reliance on technology. Been there, done that.... a** is still sore.
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Old 05-15-2012, 06:06 PM   #9
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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.
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Old 05-15-2012, 06:41 PM   #10
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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.
That definitely does change things.

If you were to still consider the PC solution, for the sunlight-viewable monitor on the flybridge you would need a transflective display -- those start at around $400 (15"). For a waterproof display (IP65), you are easily going to double that. And for touch-based, waterproof, transflective monitors, you are easily in the $1500 range, just for the display.

At this point, your standard marine chartplotter solution above is now the better buy, IMO.

Please understand I'm not trying to change your mind -- just putting the information out there.
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:14 PM   #11
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Tom, if you're going to spring for radar in the future, you might want to wait and go for a fully-integrated GPS/plotter/radar system when you are ready for that dreemcruz to the Bahamas. Meantime, something like this will probably get you thru the fog:

GARMIN GPSMAP 421 GPS CHART PLOTTER 010-00764-00 753759095857 | eBay

Units like this are almost always available on ebay, usually not the latest models, but totally acceptable for the ditch.
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:15 PM   #12
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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.
my thoughts were to put the cheap 5 inch garmin on the flybridge and use PC down below as I'm already set up with the pc based nav.

my problem is that I'm leaning towards broadband radar and that's gonna need a compatible plotter/sounder.
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:31 PM   #13
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Here are my general recommendations for what they're worth, which is exactly what you pay for them.

1. Get the largest screen you can fit and afford. I would say a ten-inch screen would be the minimum size. We have a 7" NavNet but it's on a drop-down mount that positions the screen about a foot in front of and just above our faces so it's very easy to read. We'd still have preferred a 10" screen but it wouldn't fit on the mount.

2. Get the brightest sceen available. Even at the lower helm sunlight can come in the windows and wipe out your displays. In our experience the displays on Standard Horizon plotters are the brightest around.

3. Get a dedicated plotter that uses a reputable cartography system. We prefer C-Map but there are others. We've had the dedicated plotter vs. laptop based plotter discussions before so I'm not going to get into it again except to say that we don't believe in layering a navigation system that has to be 100 percent reliable on top of a computer operating system that isn't. Others disagree so you'll have to make up your own mind on this one.

We do use an iPad with the Navimatics chart app and Active Captain layered on top of it. It is an outstanding planning and enroute reference tool but we do not use it for any active navigation functions at all.

4. If you want an ingtegrated plotter/radar you can't beat Furuno for the radar. Their NavNet plotters don't have as friendly a user-interface as some of the others but their radar more than makes up for the plotter's "it could be a little better" aspects.

Last year we bought a 5" Standard Horizon plotter for our 17' Arima fishing boat. It can also be mounted on the GB as a third plotter. It's an excellent unit--- too small for navigating something like the GB but great for the Arima with its "in your face" mounting on the instrument panel and built-in GPS antenna. But the display is the brightest I've ever seen. Carey of this forum recently installed a 10" SH plotter on his boat. If its display is anything like the one on our 5" model, it will be ideal for him. If the green screen CRT fades any more on our big 1998 Echotech plotter, we'll replace it with a 10" Standard Horizon. And SH used C-Map cartography which is the system we prefer.
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:41 PM   #14
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Skinny Dippin's first mate votes for the Garmin 4210. It's 1800.00 online right now, and I've got a garmin for my bike and for running. So, I'm thinking I would probably know how to use it. And, I always get good support from their tech support.

1 vote for Garmin.
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:42 PM   #15
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Gonzo
As Marin stated, we just installed a new Standard Horizon. However it is the 12" CP590, not 10". And Marin is right as to usage. We haven't tried it other than to confirm we are in the correct slip. We are!!! Yay!!
We did consider the Standard Horizon 1010 touch screen, but decided against based on my fears that a touch screen would be riddled with finger prints and hard to view with a little sunlight on it. Then comes the fact that I believe it's a full time split screen, which results in two small screens. The CP 590 gives you the option to split the screen which is more to my liking.
We did get the optional C-Max for all the extra features, although I don't know how necessary they are. The total price from a local dealer was $2,250 including C-Max and state sales tax.
I will try to report back after an outing we have planned for the week of the 23rd.
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:43 PM   #16
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My only comment on the largest screen theory is that if you are NOT gonna get a big (10 inch or better) screen...then you will never be happy with it...especially if it's ever a split screen...so at that point...go cheap and plan on paper nav with the chartplotter as a quick reference.

I will say that laptop nav certainly spoiled me to screen size...just not great for the fly bridge.
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:58 PM   #17
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My iPad blew away part of my earlier post as I was editing it so Carey put his post up while I was rewriting mine. The 12" Standard Horizon will be even better than the 10" unit I thought he had. In my line of work, there is no such thing as a screen that's too big.

We split the screen on our 7" Furuno NavNet all the time, putting the radar on top and the steering information on the bottom. (We use the Echotec to display the actual chart). BUT..... as I said, the display is very close to us on it's drop-down mount so reading the split display is very easy. It would not be acceptable at all if the unit were mounted down on the console.

PS--- I agree with Carey about the finger smudges on a touch screen. These days I live on my iPad. Everything I do at work from writing to planning and scheduling shoots to drawing up storyboards to sketching out on the spot the framing I want on a shot for my videographer to reading the PowerPoint presentations that contain all the testing procedures for our aircraft and much more I do on the iPad. Inside it's great. Outside, finger smudges become a problem even obscuring information on the screen at times. I spend a lot of time cleaning the glass when I'm outside with it.
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Old 05-15-2012, 09:29 PM   #18
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I have the Lowrance HDS10 Gen2 with Navionics Charts and with structure scan. I can't give you any pros or cons yet however the screen functions are very user friendly however since my background is in the field of computers / instrumentation I found it very easy to use / set-up etc. My only concern is that I gave my old Lowrance to my BIL and if he catches more fish than I, I will be POed.

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Old 05-15-2012, 10:01 PM   #19
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The advantage to marine Chart plotter over PC

If you haven't experienced the advantage of being able to overlay your radar image on your chart plotter you don't know how powerful an aid this is. Any image not overlaying a feature on your chart is a radar reflection of significance. If you boat in fog or at night this should be your system of choice. Laptop software will run a radar overlay with certain radars but not all. The refresh time of your boats heading and position is slower on your lap top than on a dedicated chart plotter. Both systems utilize a heading line that gives you a visual image of your direction at any given time. This is a very useful tool when maneuvering in thick fog or the black of night. The refresh time is of importance because it gives you your heading in real time not 3-4 sec later which doesn't sound like much until your trying to guide your boat in heavy fog in a narrow channel. Having a radar overlay is conformation that things are as the chart shows and anything else needs your attention. I think the lap top with charting software is a great planning tool and a good backup for a dedicated chart plotter. If you have the room having both as I do gives you two powerful tools, but if I had to go with just one I would go with a chart plotter with the largest screen and the most powerful hd digital radar I could afford.
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Old 05-15-2012, 11:38 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Besslb View Post
Skinny Dippin's first mate votes for the Garmin 4210. It's 1800.00 online right now, and I've got a garmin for my bike and for running. So, I'm thinking I would probably know how to use it. And, I always get good support from their tech support.

1 vote for Garmin.
Sounds like the only thing left to decide here is who's calling Defender
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