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Old 08-02-2017, 12:17 PM   #1
Xsbank
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City: Pender Harbour, BC
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Gwaii Haanas
Vessel Model: Custom Aluminum 52
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 3,259
My New Plotter - a Cautionary Tale

I recently replaced my Standard Horizon plotter, the antenna filled up with water and failed. SH uses powered remote GPS antennae so if you have one, take it apart and make sure its not leaking, they cost about 325 dollars.

This, however, is not the problem now. I purchased a Si-tex 760 plotter to replace the dead SH as I had had very good service (25 years) from a Si-tex sounder. I installed it, the satellite array is good with an average of 9 satellites and the HDOP measurement is .82.

While coming out of Malaspina Inlet the other day and while dodging a 50-footer high and dry on the rocks, (no photos, I was busy! Coast guard etc.) I noticed that the plotter was a little "off." My ipad backup was bang on visually but the Si-tex was 2-300 meters behind. When I changed course, the ipad responded instantly but the plotter did not and it stopped at an intermediate course, not the new one. If I had followed the plotter without looking out (not an option) I would have followed a bogus course. The ipad has never let me down even with an internal gps and no way of monitoring the signals.

Si-tex is now digesting this and has suggested a software upgrade, which begs the question, if this had happened 6 months ago and this issue existed then, how could it be sold with such poor software? Why didn't they upgrade this before selling it to me? Now I am in their hands and I will see how they and their dealer, Mackay Electronics, deals with this issue. I have lost faith in this plotter and will need it replaced, I might even spend more if it they make another device with better processor and software...

The lesson here is not that a particular manufacturer makes shoddy devices but to NOT just trust that fancy new box with the lives of your boat and crew. Test it out carefully and have a good backup.

For now, I will put a second I pad on the dash and carry on.
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