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Old 20-09-2006, 09:53 AM   #1
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GPS Plotters

A general question about the marine GPS options available, I am favoring a fixed external antenna but who uses what? How do you find them? Pros & cons?, recommended dealers?
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Old 20-09-2006, 09:56 AM   #2
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I've always found Garmin to be by far the easiest software to use, and their customer service is excellent.
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Old 20-09-2006, 12:11 PM   #3
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Gunpowder Plotters

Quote:
Originally posted by BluFin
A general question about the marine GPS options available, I am favoring a fixed external antenna but who uses what? How do you find them? Pros & cons?, recommended dealers?
I use the Navman 5505i, got it mail order from San Francisco - saved about £200. Internal antenna so no extra drilling/fitting required.

If you can get through - their telephone advice/service is really good.

But screen is a bit small and as I used the bracket supplied which allows a small amount of movement you cant see a bloody thing at high speed.
And I didn't get the correct cables/plugs when buying extras. I had to phone them or look it up myself and then order the correct adapter/cable.
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Old 20-09-2006, 01:21 PM   #4
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I prefer external antenna, more reliable and accurate.
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Old 20-09-2006, 01:39 PM   #5
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I've two Garmin fixed units, a 2010c plotter and 178c sounder/plotter, and a Raymarine radar/plotter. The Raymarine screen is very nice, clean and pin sharp. It makes the Garmin screen look course. However, the Garmins are very easy to use and most of the models now have similar software schemes so it's easy to move from one to another. The antennas are all inside the cabin, just under the roof and there is no problem with any of them. The 178c has an internal entenna but it can also be got with an external one. The colour screens are wonderful and both makes have anti-reflective coatings. Going back to using mono screens, you wonder how you managed to read them.

The 2010c's 10" screen is a good size and the 178c's small screen is surprisingly usable, even when it is in split sounder/plotter mode. Various combinations of data boxes (speed, course etc.) can be displayed along the top for the 178c and on the righthand side for the 2010c or they can be switched off. The 2010c has been supeceded by the 3 series ie, 3010c etc. and I'd guess the software updated also.

Garmin have recently launched their Bluechart 'G2' which has lots of nice features, pictures of harbours etc., but not all of the plotters can read the G2 maps.

Some folk like to have charts of limited areas and if you boat only locally that is a money saver but it becomes expensive if you need to buy a few of them. One of the new G2 charts is the whole of UK and Ireland and is a major money saver if you go cruising. The C-Map NT max cartridges used by some plotters also have a whole UK map and port images too but I've never used the C-Map stuff so can't comment.

I hope this gives you a little food for thought.
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Old 20-09-2006, 02:45 PM   #6
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I have a Raymarine C80 with an external aerial. Also have a fishfinder module installed. The system is really easy to use and is as simple or complex as you want it to be.

I have used Garmin systems as well - they are both very good but the Raymarine feels a bit higher quality. The 2 map systems are both excellent but sometimes I find the Raymarine's Navionics maps have the edge in some harbours.

Just remember no matter how good the main unit is it's only as good as the transducers etc fitted to it. A basic head unit with a 4' radar will outperform an expensive head unit with a 2' radar dome for example.

As to dealers don't buy from Cactus electronics - they sell grey imports for a start and they treat their customers like shit if something goes wrong. Their attitude stinks!!! I bought a load of stuff from them - never again. The Raymarine 54E VHF set wasn't even setup with the UK channels so now it has to go back to Raymarine to be reset!!!
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Old 20-09-2006, 03:43 PM   #7
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I do tend to favor the garmin as I have used them flying (GNS530 & the 165 TSO) I got a spare 165 sitting around but it will last about 1 day before the thing will get trashed with sea water.
From whats mentioned think I go garmin. I was going to install a plotter for mrs BluFin to play with, and a dinky one up front for a x check (put that very diplomatic)
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Old 20-09-2006, 08:19 PM   #8
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I think a majority of the 2 litre boys run garmin, me included! Ive got a handheld and a fixed colour plotter with an external plotter and never (touch wood) have any probs with ours! I have changed the mount from plastic to aluminium though!
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Old 21-09-2006, 12:13 PM   #9
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i think garmin have very good aftersales and are local but do get knocked for dated looking charts in comparison to the all singing c-map max and new navionics. Raymarine make very good electronics but at a price too!
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Old 22-09-2006, 09:50 AM   #10
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Boat name: T/T D2S
Boat make: Midas 27' Cat, Argo 16 Cat. Avon Rib Thingy
Engines: Merc 280-ROS -JSRE,65Xs, 75 Stinger, Yam 60
Cruising area: Any Seedy Bar

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With ref to the dinky up front one, I'm in two minds
The Silva Nexus unit which I could add stuff to or a run a NASA clipper GPS repeater from the main unit. Former would be a stand alone system basically giving two units in case of a failure, thoughts?
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Old 22-09-2006, 12:48 PM   #11
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If you are going Garmin, buy another Garmin then you can transfer waypoints, routes, tracks etc. without a hiccough. If one unit is to be portable, you can do planning at home and download the lot to the main unit at the boat.

However, being able to monitor exactly what her at the back is planning for you, might be useful.
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Old 22-09-2006, 01:08 PM   #12
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Boat name: T/T D2S
Boat make: Midas 27' Cat, Argo 16 Cat. Avon Rib Thingy
Engines: Merc 280-ROS -JSRE,65Xs, 75 Stinger, Yam 60
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Mate you never know what they are planning !!!!
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Old 23-09-2006, 03:57 PM   #13
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I had garmin in the race boat internal battery died, but garmin replaced it free of charge and cleaned up the set (again free) even tho it must be 5 yrs plus out of date
well done to garmin i say....,
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Old 23-09-2006, 04:38 PM   #14
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I have a garmin with an external antenna inside the console which seems to work very well.

I've had a few Garmins and the display is normally very good even in sunlight.

Cheers

Mark
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