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Old 05-12-2010, 11:32   #1
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GPS Advice

Hey folks, so with my boat came a furuno gp-30 gps unit and what ever the little thing you put up top. But after investigating I realize you cant load charts on to it.

I have an Magallen Explorist 500 le with the expandable memory option using an sd card. And i found some software that is compatible with it for marine navigation called Magellen Mapsend BlueNav xl3.

Has anyone used this software before?

What is the difference from using this to a chartplotter?

I'm on a tight budget and plotters are low on my list of priority's but i would be nice to have some sort of electronic navigation because i'm very new to crusin' in the salt.




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Old 05-12-2010, 11:34   #2
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This is the Magellan Explorist 500, its about the size of a juice box.

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Old 05-12-2010, 12:37   #3
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Magellan GPS

Magellan seems to be saying that software will upgrade their GPS into a chartplotter. Although it looks like that will still be a gray screen with limited resolution and you'll be at their mercy for updates on the charts.
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Old 05-12-2010, 12:48   #4
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ok.. and what makes one chartplotter better then another, besides resolution and extra bells and whistles?
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Old 05-12-2010, 13:49   #5
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That's way too big a question to answer here, but here are a few thoughts:
Screen size is significant. When yoiu're looking at a chart on one of those little handhelp units it is very difficult to see the important features, and if you zoom in close enough to see them you are looking at such a small area that it is nearly useless.
The speed with which the screen refreshes is also important - ie., as you move along and the screen rolls to keep up with you, how long does it take for the next screen to load.
Color vs. gray tones - also very important so you can see various topographical features and navigation aid colors.
Clarity - obvious.
Ease of obtaining/loading updates and charts of different areas as well as cost.
Ease of use - are the controls large enough to use while under way, and are they fairly intuitive or do you need to keep the owner's manual at the ready.
I could go on and on - but best bet is to visit your local, friendly boat-stuff store and have someone there who is knowledgable go over it all with you.
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Old 05-12-2010, 18:49   #6
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lowride, you forgot PRICE. <G>

Ah, have you ever used a microwave oven, the kind that is fully programmable with defrost and delay and keep warm cycles? Or, do you remembe the first time you tried to program (set) a digital watch, and had to toggle through modes? Maybe setup a VCR or timed recorder for repeat cycles?

Every chartplotter will use its own logic for every function, so the user interface may matter to you. The features, the price, the warranty, how easily you can read it in daylight, or from two or six feet away with reaeding glasses. Or whether there's an audible alarm that's loud enough to be heard over your engine.
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Old 05-12-2010, 20:06   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lowride14 View Post
This is the Magellan Explorist 500, its about the size of a juice box.
The Magellan Explorist 500 will never be able to function as a chart-plotter and the maps you can load will be of very limited use.

The reason is screen-size. If you try to zoom out beyond about 1/2 mile range on-screen you will not see sufficient detail to be useful fro navigation. It's not just a question of your eyes -- the device won't even display it (It will remove detail to keep the screen from being too cluttered.)

Don't bother with buying the maps -- spend the money on a $300 netbook and a $30 mouse-type USB GPS, and download and the run (free) Open CPN navigation software. Keep the Magellan Explorist 500 in the cockpit as your weatherproof reference.
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Old 06-12-2010, 01:05   #8
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Originally Posted by SailFastTri View Post
$30 mouse-type USB GPS
tell me more, this seems more up my ally
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Old 06-12-2010, 07:19   #9
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Search EBay for "usb gps" and you will find dozens of different models. I bought a cheapo Chinese model for $14.50 with free shipping. Works great with my laptop and all of the software I have tried it with so far.
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Old 06-12-2010, 18:00   #10
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Search EBay for "usb gps" and you will find dozens of different models. I bought a cheapo Chinese model for $14.50 with free shipping. Works great with my laptop and all of the software I have tried it with so far.
This is very cool.
I am gonna look into it asap.
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Old 06-12-2010, 18:29   #11
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I was going to suggest the same thing. My present boat has the Furuno GPS you have as a backup to my Raymarine E80 chartplotter. Although the 'all bells and whistles' E80 is FAR better in very way than the simple Furuno unit, I still have BOTH on when I take her out. I find the big clear LCD display on the Furuno easier to see the simple things like course and speed.

Now, if youve got a laptop, then don't bother with expensive chartplotters if youre on a budget. I too have bought a 'mouse type' GPS reciever, this time for 20 inc delivery from Ebay. Combine that with any laptop, the FREE OpenCPN plotter software (full details available on this forum) and bingo, you have a pretty damn good colour chartplotter with a nice big screen!

The only disadvantage I can see is that you'll need to keep it below as most lappys don't like salt spray much, but most sailing yachts i've seen have their specialist marine chartplotters mounted below anyway.
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Old 06-12-2010, 18:38   #12
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Research the USB GPS !!!

I bought one of those $14.50 usb gps and it lasted a little more than a week (about 8 hours of run time). Do a little research first and make sure that what you buy is a quality unit. I have no personal recommendation, but do know there is a lot of junk out there.

I am pretty sure the GP30 has a NMEA out. Why not use that to feed navigational information into a laptop? You can leave that out in weather and put the laptop down below.

Just my 2c.
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Old 06-12-2010, 19:01   #13
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I agree with simonmd - a laptop is only good below deck at the nav station. Chart plotters are made to be out in the elements and are some thing that you can network everything into.

Our boat was upgraded in stages, first we added the chart plotter (Raymarine A50) to integrate our auto pilot into it, but then had to sell it on ebay because it wouldn't handle radar and we upgraded to an E90W. If I had thought ahead, I would have gotten the right chart plotter from the beginning. Since everything has to integrate through it, make sure you get something that can handle your future needs. Also keep checking ebay, there are some great deals out there. Our Raymarine A50 was only used one season and I wound up selling it for 1/2 of what I paid for it.
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