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Old 16-06-2013, 19:23   #1
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Cheap and Cheerful Fixed Mount GPS/Plotter

Hello all,

I'm thinking of picking up an electronical navigation device, and I'd welcome any suggestions you might have.

I'm looking for something that's a dedicated, fixed mount, GPS or chart plotter. Simplicity and user friendliness are top concerns. I don't need a fancy color 57" touch screen. I don't want anything that's PC Based or that requires any kind of networking, as Momma always said 'networking is the devil.' I don't plan on straying too far from the NY state canals or the great lakes, so I don't need the entire Earth's surface in charts.

I'll probably end up buying something on the used market, but being that there are so many hundreds of millions of choices, I thought I might pick your brains and see if there are any clear winners out there. Ideally, I'd like to spend less than 200 bucks, but that's flexible.

So CF, any thoughts?
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Old 16-06-2013, 19:24   #2
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Originally Posted by Dave0549jv View Post
Hello all,

I'm thinking of picking up an electronical navigation device, and I'd welcome any suggestions you might have.

I'm looking for something that's a dedicated, fixed mount, GPS or chart plotter. Simplicity and user friendliness are top concerns. I don't need a fancy color 57" touch screen. I don't want anything that's PC Based or that requires any kind of networking, as Momma always said 'networking is the devil.' I don't plan on straying too far from the NY state canals or the great lakes, so I don't need the entire Earth's surface in charts.

I'll probably end up buying something on the used market, but being that there are so many hundreds of millions of choices, I thought I might pick your brains and see if there are any clear winners out there. Ideally, I'd like to spend less than 200 bucks, but that's flexible.

So CF, any thoughts?
Garmin 451

Dave
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Old 16-06-2013, 19:35   #3
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Re: Cheap and Cheerful Fixed Mount GPS/Plotter

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Garmin 451
The U.S. equivalent is Garmin 441. For only a few bucks more, I'd get a Garmin 441s, which includes a depthsounder function. Even if you don't need it now, you might want to use it at some point in the future. The best prices seem to be at West Marine, at least when it periodically goes on sale.

For a few hundred bucks more, consider Garmin 547xs
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Old 16-06-2013, 19:55   #4
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Re: Cheap and Cheerful Fixed Mount GPS/Plotter

That Garmin 441s looks like a pretty good contender. If anything, maybe something even simpler and cheaper, but we're on the right track! Thanks guys!
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Old 17-06-2013, 06:28   #5
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Re: Cheap and Cheerful Fixed Mount GPS/Plotter

Where will it be mounted?

If you have protection from the weather like we do, a tablet with built in GPS is a nice option with several free or cheap chart plotting options plus you can use it as a tablet when not chartplotting. They make some relatively inexpensive mounting arms that will hold it in place.
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Old 17-06-2013, 06:47   #6
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Re: Cheap and Cheerful Fixed Mount GPS/Plotter

Unless you want to specially fit a new depth sounder, I wouldnt bother with a 441s, the ordinary 441 is what you want. No point in duplicating what you already may have.

You can get some very cheap ( circa $200) lowrance and Si-Tex plotters, have a persual of Defender and others. But Garmin represents very good value for a big brand box

dave
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Old 17-06-2013, 06:48   #7
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Re: Cheap and Cheerful Fixed Mount GPS/Plotter

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Where will it be mounted?

If you have protection from the weather like we do, a tablet with built in GPS is a nice option with several free or cheap chart plotting options plus you can use it as a tablet when not chartplotting. They make some relatively inexpensive mounting arms that will hold it in place.
A 441 is cheaper, then a protected tablet, better sunlight readable screen , NMEA inputs and backed by a reliable brand name.

Tablets are comsumer grade stuff, fine as a secondary, but personally Id never rely on them only.

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Old 17-06-2013, 07:25   #8
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Re: Cheap and Cheerful Fixed Mount GPS/Plotter

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A 441 is cheaper, then a protected tablet, better sunlight readable screen , NMEA inputs and backed by a reliable brand name.

Tablets are comsumer grade stuff, fine as a secondary, but personally Id never rely on them only.

dave
We picked up a samsung galaxy tab for $170 compared to just shy of $400 for the 441. Another $30, we can get a mounting arm and are all set for 1/2 the price.

The OP wanted simple without integration and my suggestion was for a situation where you already have a protected location to mount it.

Now if you want bincle mounted in the open with integration to the autopilot, engines, bilge pumps, etc..., I agree it's not the best choice but that wasn't the original question or suggested solution.

Between the tablet, laptop with gps puck, and an automotive GPS to back up the paper charts, we are pretty reliable. I know several people who've had MARINE GRADE units go out, so I don't buy the arguement that they are that much better.
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Old 17-06-2013, 07:36   #9
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Re: Cheap and Cheerful Fixed Mount GPS/Plotter

Try reading a Tab or iPad in any significant direct sunlight, compare with Garmin,

Dave
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Old 17-06-2013, 07:49   #10
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Re: Cheap and Cheerful Fixed Mount GPS/Plotter

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Try reading a Tab or iPad in any significant direct sunlight, compare with Garmin,

Dave
Again, if you mount it on an open binicale, I agree it's not the best choice.

We on the other hand mount just inside the cabin to the side of a window that drops down completely out of the way. It's always shaded and short of a howling storm, water won't get to it. Even if the rain is from an odd direction, I can pull the window up and still see it reasonably well thru the window.
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Old 17-06-2013, 07:58   #11
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Re: Cheap and Cheerful Fixed Mount GPS/Plotter

Why would you mount your only chartplotter inside, Thats so a throwback to paper charts usage. Typically you con from outside, hence put the gear there ?

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Old 17-06-2013, 08:13   #12
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pirate Re: Cheap and Cheerful Fixed Mount GPS/Plotter

Typically I don't like screens in my face 24/7 when I'm sailing... inside is just fine for occasional referral...
otherwise Mk 1 eyeballs for navigation.
My vote is for the Tablet/Notebook solution
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Old 17-06-2013, 08:26   #13
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Re: Cheap and Cheerful Fixed Mount GPS/Plotter

If you have a chart plotter, it makes sense to have it where you mostly are. If you add things like radar it makes even more sense to have it outside.

Once out in the deep briny, I often cover them with the sun cover to avoid looking at them , but Id still prefer them outside then in. Of course for cash , have two.

As an IT person and electronics engineer, you'll never get me relying on tablets or PCs ( well only ones Ive built myself LOL) , wrong equipment in the wrong environment.

On deliveries I carry my trusty Garmin 276C, the best portable plotter Garmin ever made. sadly discontinued, Ipx7 , fantastic in direct sunlight, floats, good battery life, mines over 10 years old and been around the globe, try that with your PC, tablet or notepad. ( I have a drawer of failed laptops at work!). Great for conning in in poor vis, or where you need to glance at it as you navigate tricky passages, ( stick it in the pocket of me Gill) and yes always use the eyeball.!! ( and the noggin too )

Dedicated electronics, designed for the task in hand, is always more reliable then a mass market consumer item

Thats my opinion and i aint changing it for nothing

Dave
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Old 17-06-2013, 08:27   #14
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Its going to be mounted at the helm, and will be exposed to a lot of sunlight, with the occasional spit of rain

How is the position accuracy with a tab/puck setup? I know the built in Gps on my phone is fine when I have full service, but it certainly isn't anything i'd put much faith in.

I guess I prefer the idea of something that's a purpose built for the task. My experience with smart phones and computers various is that they'll always pick the worst time to freeze up or need an update. The trusty old furuno GPS where I work, on the other hand, has never once missed a beat.
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Old 17-06-2013, 09:30   #15
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Re: Cheap and Cheerful Fixed Mount GPS/Plotter

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Why would you mount your only chartplotter inside, Thats so a throwback to paper charts usage. Typically you con from outside, hence put the gear there ?

Dave
Why would I want to mess around with an expensive, exposed, marine grade unit when the tablet or laptop is within arms reach, clear of the weather and shaded?
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