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Old 18-07-2016, 12:28   #1
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Need chartplotter advice....

I have recently downsized to a 26' sailboat with small diesel auxiliary, and I'm missing the Lowrance chartplotter on my old Yankee 30. Planning a trip through the San Juans and up into the Gulf Islands of B.C...up maybe as far as Desolation Sound or so. While I have charts, and can navigate the old school way, the chartplotter was SO handy I got spoiled.

Not much room on the new-to-me boat, so would appreciate any recommendations for a rather compact chartplotter, possibly even handheld, so long as the screen is still 'seeable', but I prefer not to operate solely by dry cell battery power, if 12v is an option. I'd love to find a plotter with US and Canadian charts, rather than have to buy a separate chip. The boat budget is not unlimited, by any means, and I'll do without before spending anywhere near a grand. Like to stay under $500, if possible. Appreciate any advice, but can do without the snarky insults I see here on occasion.....I'm a US citizen and resident, btw....

Extra credit for plotter that can be moved from the cockpit/companionway to down below when not needed! Thanks....
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Old 18-07-2016, 12:47   #2
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Re: Need chartplotter advice....

Buy a used small chartplotter- I have been using Standard Horizen CP300- uses
C-map chips. I see someone is selling one on CF- classifieds- asking $400- may want to offer $300. The chips he has won't do much good- but could use as "trade-ins" to C-map directly. I disconnect mine each time from small bracket
and put down below. Some of their chips include northwest\coast & Canada.
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Old 18-07-2016, 13:17   #3
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Re: Need chartplotter advice....

I am afraid part of the benefit is the screen TO BE big. Otherwise they are pretty useless.

Look at Garmin GPSMap 620 and the likes. They were probably the biggest small plotters I used ever.

BTW I'd rather have a waterproof 6 inch smartphone for that today.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 18-07-2016, 13:46   #4
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Re: Need chartplotter advice....

We use only Ipads with Lifeproof cases and the INavx and Nobeltec Time zero apps. Been doing fine for over six years and well over 10,000 miles on two different continents.
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Old 18-07-2016, 13:50   #5
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Re: Need chartplotter advice....

I mounted a small GPS plotter (B&G T7) with it's bracket to a alum bar and stick it in a coach roof winch!... It can be used below decks or anywhere there is a handy 12v cig outlet!
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Old 18-07-2016, 14:43   #6
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Re: Need chartplotter advice....

I'm typically a proponent of dedicated chartplotters (with integrated radar and AIS) for long distance cruising, but for your described usage, a tablet option with a weatherproof enclosure would likey be all you'll need. (I'm assuming since you're prepared to go with paper alone, you're also not planning to play in the fog much!). I use the same programs as Kenomac and find them fine for backup and planning for our cruising needs.

The problem might be your $500 budget. You might get there with a used iPad (make sure it's the cell enabled model so it has an internal GPS) or you'll have to buy an external Bluetooth GPS also. Weatherproof case ($20-60) depending on what you can find. Then you've got iNavX (~$50 from memory). Then the charts. Unfortunately Canadian charts aren't free like the US one from NOAA. Canada has licensed their electronic charts. The West Coast is divided up into 3 regions I believe (my internet isn't the greatest right now so apologies for not confirming!), Outside Vancouver Island, Inside Vancouver Island & North of Vancouver Island (again from memory the last time I purchased charts online for the area). Last time I looked the Navionics and Garmin charts were broken up the same way and were around $130 US per area. So all up, you're pushing the $500 budget even with a used iPad as long as you only need one area in Canada.

The other option that might be worth investigating would be the newer Windows based tablets. I've got a cheap Asus tablet (paid about $300 Cdn for it and it already comes with a removable keyboard). I loaded OpenCPN on it (free open source software) and there are global charts readily available as free downloads. The couple downsides are that the tablet doesn't have an internal GPS, custom weatherproof cases usually aren't available and it's Windows based, so viruses are a bigger problem. I've addressed these as follows: a Bluetooth 'Dual GPS Receiver' (~$100 online), a generic weathproof case and cheap Bluetooth mouse (~$50-75 total without shopping too hard! probably can find cheaper), and I leave the tablet offline and simply transfer files to it via USB stick from another computer I trust. The charts available are a few years old and wouldn't be considered legal in Canada, but you say you've got paper anyway.

It's also close to the $500 budget, but it's another option for you to look at and you'd be off the 'App Leash' that comes with the iPad and Android devices. I love my iPad, but I'm getting tired of that part of it.
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Old 18-07-2016, 14:58   #7
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Re: Need chartplotter advice....

Yes, I've got paper charts of everywhere I intend to go, and then some, but it's been awhile since I've used them. Also have a cruising atlas, though it's technically not supposed to be for 'navigation', but I think that's mostly 'lawyer-eez'. Nope, don't intend to be out in the fog. Hate it. The radar went with the Yankee, and I don't intend to replace it on this little boat. Have current charts and all that, and quite a bit of experience up there from years past, but I don't intend to get careless and over-confident. I have a VERY old Garmin 12, (I think) handheld GPS that will give lat/long, but has no charts. It's battery powered and eats batteries if used much, but it can be a help....

For what it's worth, I DO have an android smartphone, and wife has an android tablet, but I've not used it at all, and I'm a bit wary of relying on them at this time. I've tried downloading some Navionics, but have had no success on the phone. I'm just a techno-dinosaur, I think....

Rather have a dedicated plotter, for some reason, but maybe I just need to continue to listen to you guys with different options. I appreciate like crazy the advice so far. I CAN spend a bit more than the $500, but risk the wrath of Mama! Thanks to all who've chimed in.....
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Old 18-07-2016, 14:59   #8
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Re: Need chartplotter advice....

You may not need it, but OpenCPN also has the ability to have GoogleEarth overlays (easily downloaded using another readily available program) that are great in poorly charted areas.

Yes there are iPad programs that do this also, but again, it's 'Pay-To-Play' every step of the way at the App Store.
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Old 18-07-2016, 18:06   #9
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Re: Need chartplotter advice....

True. Plotters have plenty of strong points BUT ... walk into any big chandlery try the small models ... you may be disappointed with their 'daylight read'ability' as well as with their resolution. And the price !!!

I love the big toys on the big boats BUT they can't be had in a small boat. ;-(

Having sailed ages without anything then years with a plain handheld G72, I never see any need for a plotter in our own boat. I do all the planning on one of our netbooks then transfer the wpts to a handheld ... I do switch on the tablet at times to see where that rock is, still ... I think to many if not most of us leisure users plotters and tablets are just toys.

Maybe you do not need one either? Do you?

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Old 18-07-2016, 20:20   #10
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Re: Need chartplotter advice....

As mentioned earlier...OpenCPN and free Noaa and "others", would be a very inexpensive way to go.
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Old 29-07-2016, 18:15   #11
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Re: Need chartplotter advice....

used raymarine c80, rl70c ..a bunch
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Old 30-07-2016, 10:17   #12
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Re: Need chartplotter advice....

Quote:
Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Look at Garmin GPSMap 620
+1. I love mine and it connects to my autopilot and AIS. Used to be twice the price but now $600...

https://www.amazon.com/Garmin-GPSMAP.../dp/B004TTZ4QS
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