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Old 24-12-2015, 15:57   #1
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Budget navigation - Chartplotter/GPS/Radar

Hey everyone,

Want to thank everyone for all the help so far!

I'm trying to budget out what is remaining work that needs to be done aboard, and one of the things is navigation. We currently have nothing for navigation.

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.

Anyone have any recommendations? I was looking at OpenCPN and possibly building out a DC based computer system to run, however a chartplotter such as a garmin would be easier and more "reliable" i'd think.

Any one have any recommendations?
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Old 24-12-2015, 20:16   #2
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Re: Budget navigation - Chartplotter/GPS/Radar

iPad works great. Its not a perfect solution (hard to see in bright light) but it works very well for lots of cruisers.
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Old 24-12-2015, 21:35   #3
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Re: Budget navigation - Chartplotter/GPS/Radar

Oh man Chartplotter/GPS/Radar at $500 and under.. That will be super difficult to get something reliable at that price.. Drop the Radar component and you have a few options.. Even new or modern can be had for $500 or under.
SI-TEX SVS-460CE Chartplotter - Internal and External GPS Antenna
Raymarine Dragonfly 5M Chartplotter with GPS - Navionics Gold Charts

Over by $100
B&G Vulcan Multifunction Display - 7"

The other option is a used setup on Ebay... but even used C80 are still going for $800+..

Other option is a GOOD brand of tablet with OpenCPN.. Then use your Android phone as a backup device.

I highly doubt you will find something with Radar for that price... and if you do, it will be so old you have to worry about getting chart cards for it.
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Old 24-12-2015, 21:51   #4
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Re: Budget navigation - Chartplotter/GPS/Radar

Thanks guys!

I've been debating about whether radar is really something i eventually will want. Its been up in the air, so it isn't completely a deal breaker not being able to add it in to the electronic selection.

It would be nice to eventually add that feature, but I definitely wouldn't mind not having it. I wouldn't mind also paying a tad more than $500, but i wouldn't want to surpass $800. I'd preferably stay closer to $500 but I also want something that is reliable.

It seems Raymarine and Garmin are the two big wigs, is Si-Tex a reliable brand? Is there brands i should steer clear of?
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Old 24-12-2015, 22:00   #5
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Re: Budget navigation - Chartplotter/GPS/Radar

Pocket sized GPS. Good, used Sextant. Reliable Watch. Hand Bearing Compass. RDF. Paper Charts. Save your change & small bills towards RADAR.
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Old 24-12-2015, 23:22   #6
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Re: Budget navigation - Chartplotter/GPS/Radar

I had a radar but then sold it because I didn't really need it much. I don't know a good place to mount it, because on the mast it prevents me from pulling my halyards from the mast, and sometimes they wrapped around it. Useful mainly in fog. If you get a radar, get the one that interfaces with opencpn over the network because it's far superior technology and is using little power.

Don't waste your money on a chart plotter that is already obsolete technology. OpenCPN already has many more features. Instead why not just use a laptop? Also some android device might be ok for you, but OpenCPN is incompatible with apple ipads for license reasons.
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Old 25-12-2015, 03:07   #7
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Re: Budget navigation - Chartplotter/GPS/Radar

Where are you planning on sailing? Do you sail at night? Or in the fog?

A paper chart, a hand bearing compass, and the knowledge how to use them will be your cheapest most reliable options. Come to think of it you probably should have these tools and skills anyway along with a DSC hand held VHF with GPS for safety sake.

I know, I know. Paper charts are anachronisms in the modern age. Time to move forward into the future, blah, blah. But hey, sounds like you are on a budget and if you are sailing Puget Sound then you only need like one chart. Maybe a chart book if you want to splurge.

I have cruised from the San Juans to the south sound once on a boat with like zero electronics and I never missed them. Come to think of it I don't even think it had a depth sounder.

Paper charts don't require batteries and are easy to read in daylight. Should have the DSC hand held onboard regardless. After that chart plotters are gravy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chowdan View Post
I was looking at OpenCPN and possibly building out a DC based computer system to run
Do you have a laptop? Home Depot sells a 500w Black and Decker inverter for $30 which should be more than adequate.
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Old 25-12-2015, 07:00   #8
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Re: Budget navigation - Chartplotter/GPS/Radar

You don't mention if you have a VHF yet. If not, you NEED to add this first.

Personally I would add the Standard Horizon radio with AIS. If you have a VHF already, then look into the DAISY AIS reciever. Very well priced and works with OpenCPN.
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Old 25-12-2015, 09:19   #9
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Re: Budget navigation - Chartplotter/GPS/Radar

You might also try Skipper for iPad. It's free or inexpensive, depending on which version you choose. I prefer it to OpenCPN.
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Old 25-12-2015, 10:03   #10
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Re: Budget navigation - Chartplotter/GPS/Radar

I just cruised from San Diego to SF using iNavx on the iPad. Worked like a charm. $49 in app store.
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Old 25-12-2015, 10:43   #11
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Re: Budget navigation - Chartplotter/GPS/Radar

You will need a IPad capable of a data plan to get internal gps. I use Navatronics charts just fantastic. If you have a data plan you can also get some great weather radar and AIS that that is great for low congestion areas.


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Old 25-12-2015, 11:28   #12
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Re: Budget navigation - Chartplotter/GPS/Radar

Use Opencpn and avoid the expensive chart plotters. When you are buying a computer for Opencpn, take a good look at power consumption. I use a netbook which draws about 1 amp at 12v through a cheapo inverter, but some of my laptops draw up to 4 amps.
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Old 25-12-2015, 11:30   #13
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Re: Budget navigation - Chartplotter/GPS/Radar

As others have said there is no way to get radar for anything close to $500 unless you get lucky on EBAY. Your best bet for a chart plotter is OpenCPN on an inexpensive laptop using a USB GPS unit and a small inverter for power. If you buy a Standard-Horizon GX2150 VHF radio, that will get you an AIS decoder which can feed into OpenCPN resulting in a very capable navigation center. For backup I'd recommend the Navionics USA app on an Android phone or a GPS enabled tablet. Navionics is inexpensive and comes with a good collection of downloadable charts.
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Old 25-12-2015, 11:56   #14
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Re: Budget navigation - Chartplotter/GPS/Radar

I use a laptop, free software, and a GPS plugged-it. You do need a screen that is daylight viewable. I have a spare laptop, if you need it, I'd let it go for $150. The laptop is a Dell ATG D630, dual boot...Win XP and 7Pro. Loaded with Google Earth, NavMonPc, SeaClear,OpenCPN, Terrain Navigator, Great Circle Calculator. Just Download the free NOAA charts for your area, plug-in a cheap GPS (I use a BU-353S4), and you have an excellent Nav system. I can be contacted at bobgilliam@msn.com
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Old 25-12-2015, 12:00   #15
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Re: Budget navigation - Chartplotter/GPS/Radar

I use a laptop, free software, and cheap GPS. You will need a laptop with daylight viewable screen.

I have a spare Dell ATG D630, loaded and ready to go. If someone needs one, I'd let it go for $150.

Bob
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