Originally Posted by chowdan
I'd like to add a chartplotter/gps to the boat, and potentially add to it a radar
system down the road.
We are on a budget, so used system is perfectly fine. We'd like to spend at most $500 or so.
I went through a similar decision recently, ended up spending a lot more money
. My advice is to go through stages and think carefully about the style of sailing you do.
Stage I. Hand bearing compass and depth
Stage II. VHF radio
with DSC/AIS, the Lowrance Link-8 for $240 is a good value for money
or consider one with a built in GPS.
Stage III. Charts. Here you decide if you want to go the phone/tablet route
or the chartplotter route
. The key factor is how badly you want radar/autopilot integration. I have done a lot of sailing with an Android phone/Navionics at the helm
, also mirroring the display to the 24" LCD TV below. You see a lot more chart of the 24" LCD at full HD resolution than on any chartplotter
. The key benefits to the phone/tablet include low cost, easy overlay of wind
data from GRIBs, ability to project
the chart to a really big screen
. However, it is not ideal in big waves and strong winds. I do not recommend it for serious sailing.
If you are convinced to move to a chartplotter, one good option is the Garmin
44dv (recently on sale
for $199). It has pretty maps, it will show your AIS
data from the radio
and it even has a sonar if you like fishing/diving. It is also a depth sounder
backup. You can mount the sounder in hull
, it would work well (alternatively save the depth sounder
cost in Stage I).
At this point I suggest you stop and go sailing, you are right around $500.
Stage IV. Radar. You can put a really simple analog radar setup from ebay parts
. A radome will run you around $200, an older Pathfinder display can be had for $50 to $250. Then you have the radar mount ($350 new if you want it to look good or $50 used), the cable ($100 even if used), the actual work to pull the cable through the mast
. Next, you would want a better heading sensor for MARPA ($600 but this can also become your main compass), then you want chart/radar/AIS integration (more money). Anyway you look at it, radar is incredibly useful but it requires an investment in parts
and training to use effectively.
For me, I went with a used Raymarine
c80 below with radar/charts/AIS and a Garmin
44dv at the helm
. I can control the autopilot
both from the helm and from the c80 below which is essential for my type of sailing.