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Old 20-09-2011, 15:07   #46
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Re: Budget Setup - Navigation GPS / Chartplotter / Notebook

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Originally Posted by dacust View Post
. . . A standard monitor or TV is not going to be viewable in daylight. . . .
Funny, I have been using Samsung LCD monitors up in the cockpit for 10 years and can see them fine in the daylight in the Caribbean. I do buy the highest contrast/brightness units but they are still in the $100-200 price range.
- - They are way to bright during the night and I have to turn down the brightness of the monitor to minimum and then select "night display" on the navigation programs to put the display in "red" light.
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Old 20-09-2011, 15:46   #47
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Re: Budget Setup - Navigation GPS / Chartplotter / Notebook

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Funny, I have been using Samsung LCD monitors up in the cockpit for 10 years and can see them fine in the daylight in the Caribbean. I do buy the highest contrast/brightness units but they are still in the $100-200 price range.
- - They are way to bright during the night and I have to turn down the brightness of the monitor to minimum and then select "night display" on the navigation programs to put the display in "red" light.
Can you post a link, or the exact model number of one? I may have to give one a try. For that price, worst case is I use it to replace one of my old crts at home.
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Old 20-09-2011, 16:02   #48
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Re: Budget Setup - Navigation GPS / Chartplotter / Notebook

You have to do some leg work. Go to: Samsung Monitors at Pricewatch - Lowest prices, Sales | Page 1
and work your way through the monitors noting the contrast and brightness versus the size you want.
- - The I go to the big discount stores and look at all the monitors they have on display and "see" what looks brightest and clearest. Getting to actually see the monitor in action makes a big difference.
- - Then you search on line for the your top choices and see who has the best deal.
- - I stay with Samsung only because my drivers and computers are set up for Samsung and I just happen to like their style. Other brands may better fit your desires and you would do the search for units from that brand.
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Old 20-09-2011, 16:19   #49
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Re: Budget Setup - Navigation GPS / Chartplotter / Notebook

Samsung rocks. LED as opposed to lcd will make a difference as well.
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Old 20-09-2011, 16:32   #50
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Re: Budget Setup - Navigation GPS / Chartplotter / Notebook

My vote is for the used paper charts, used Explorer Charts of the Bahamas, and a cheap GPS unit. Actually, you can also get free all of the NOAA charts of the USA and a free program like SeaClear or OpenCPN to use on almost any old laptop computer, but I'd still want at least the 1:80,000 paper charts onboard or some used ChartKits. My chartbook for the entire ICW from Norfolk to Miami, including all the major inlets, has a list price of $69.95 and you can find it cheaper many places (conflict of interest, please note). Paper charts allow you to see large areas in better detail than any reasonably priced monitor or chartplotter, and can be used safely in the cockpit in a plastic sleeve or a ziploc baggy.
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Old 20-09-2011, 16:38   #51
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Re: Budget Setup - Navigation GPS / Chartplotter / Notebook

It should go without saying that paper charts should be onboard. All the gadgets in the world aren't a bit if good if theres a power problem. Can't stop navigating if the lights go out!
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Old 20-09-2011, 16:48   #52
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Re: Budget Setup - Navigation GPS / Chartplotter / Notebook

I had to laugh when I heard somebody calling for help on the ICW because his chartplotter had died and he didn't know where he was. I called back, asked what marker number he was near, and told him. Then I told him to continue following the red and green markers just like you would if your chartplotter was working. You can't take your brain out of gear when you turn on the GPS chartplotter.
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Old 20-09-2011, 16:55   #53
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Re: Budget Setup - Navigation GPS / Chartplotter / Notebook

Using paper charts is about a s fun as it gets.

I have a etrex unit that I got for free+paper.

People get way too dependent on bells and whistles.
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Old 20-09-2011, 17:32   #54
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Re: Budget Setup - Navigation GPS / Chartplotter / Notebook

Just finished a 4 month inside passage cruise from Olympia, WA to Ketchikan, AK, and over to Haida Gwaii (and as a bonus, made it home too). A fairly complicated trip, navigationally speaking.

My primary navigation device was Navionics on my iPhone, and I would recommend this to anyone.

A used iPhone and the Navionics app can be picked up for $250. I happened to have a spare iPhone as well (my old one), and my shipmate had one also. That's three redundant systems. Even if I needed to BUY the three redundant systems, I'd be out $750 compared to the over $3,000 I would have needed to have complete paper charts.

A 1900mAH battery extender pack ($40) lets the phone run all day with no problem. A waterproof case (basically a $15 stiffened baggie) takes away the worries about rain and mist and waves and spilled beer. The topped up house batteries and my portable 2HP Honda serve as independent power sources.

Costs aside, the practicality of a chart-plotter on my person at all times is indispensable. I can plot courses from the bar. I can plot courses while in bed. I can send a screenshot to my grandma who's worried about me. I can discuss routing options with locals, anywhere anytime. And most importantly, I can get into places I probably wouldn't have attempted with paper only.

"Day-view" screens would be nice but the reality is, you can save thousands of dollars and hours of installation and maintenace by buying an iPhone, turn up the brightness, and if there's glare on the screen... move. It's free.

My recommendation is for inexpensive redundant electronic systems with independent redundant power supplies, backups stored charged and waterproofed in the ditch bag. Maybe a few large scale paper charts, mostly because they look pretty. I love staring at a nice chart for hours at a time, but actually using them, searching through 150 different charts, searching for the right page in a book, re-folding it 20 times till it eventually tears, trying to use it outside in a blow, worrying about rain, or worse, leaving the cockpit to go below and look ... Paper charts are a pain in my ass.

The only showstopping drawback is that an iPhone requires good vision and a steady hand. Not a problem yet at 32 but I'm sure will be a problem when I'm... "cruising age". My dad's side of the family has bad tremors and I'm showing signs already. But by then we'll have flexible solar-powered e-ink chartplotters built onto clothing and cockpit surfaces, so I'm not worried about it.
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Old 20-09-2011, 17:42   #55
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Re: Budget Setup - Navigation GPS / Chartplotter / Notebook

I've said it before and I'll say it again, but the problem with every electronic charting device is that you can either look at a tiny area in decent detail or a large area with no detail. With a paper chart you can look at a large area with great detail (far superior resolution to any chart plotter available). With a paper chart at the helm I can not only see what is immediately around me, but easily look well ahead or off to the side to see what I am looking at and where I am going, all without scrolling. Also, you can pick up used charts pretty cheap. But, to each his own.
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Old 20-09-2011, 17:49   #56
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Cheap laptop.
Win XP.
Navigation software.
Charts
USB GPS.
Used 800n+ LCD screen.
Long ass KVM cable.
Cheap trackball.
Cheap keyboard.
Paper backups.
I've used and sold the above. The upside down Ziploc bag works. You will either have to put the LCD under the dodger, or build a hood over it. Use a high contrast theme in XP with the font/icon/etc settings on large.
One thing I tell my customers is never forget that the best navigational equipment is you. Don't become a 'death by GPS' victim. Look up once in a while.
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Old 20-09-2011, 18:01   #57
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Re: Budget Setup - Navigation GPS / Chartplotter / Notebook

I've never found it cumbersome zooming and panning on the screen.

How to zoom out on an iPhone Navionics chart:

1) Pinch fingers together on screen.

How to zoom out on a paper chart:

1) Scan surroundings for hazards
2) Set the autopilot
3) Go below
4) Remove sunglasses
5) Fold up chart
6) Put away chart
7) Find bigger chart
8) Locate sunglasses
9) Goddammit where did I put my sunglasses
10) Go above
11) Scan surroundings for hazards
12) Unfold chart
13) Locate current position
14) disengage autopilot.

So in other words,
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But, to each his own.
I think this is what it really boils down to.

Some of my sailing friends, who have EVERY paper chart, with years of penciled-in notes, lovingly (I think) call me "Phone Boy".
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Old 20-09-2011, 19:10   #58
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Re: Budget Setup - Navigation GPS / Chartplotter / Notebook

Arch is dead on, with the exception of the iPhone, Android baby!!
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Old 20-09-2011, 19:12   #59
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Re: Budget Setup - Navigation GPS / Chartplotter / Notebook

You're coasting along with the island on your port side and some low exposed strip reefs to starboard the wind is blowing 18-20, it's a beautiful day and you are doing hull speed.. every third wave is giving you a light splash at the helm. You are a little concerned about finding the exit spot out of the channel into open water. You really need a folded paper chart at the helm. just me I guess, but I trust my senses more than GPS when it comes down to 10-20 yards making the difference.
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Old 20-09-2011, 21:01   #60
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Re: Budget Setup - Navigation GPS / Chartplotter / Notebook

Is it mandatory in the US to carry a paper chart for the area the vessel is operating in?

In Australia (NSW at least), it is mandatory for vessels over 6 metres in length, operating in open or offsore waters, to carry a paper chart for the area of operation.

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