My new boat has dual Northstar 951XD chartplotters: one in the cockpit
and another in the cabin
(above the refrigerator
top that passes for a nav station). The antenna
is external. The two units are connected.
These older units have small black and white screens. However, they are accurate (according to the surveyor) and have decent features.
Is there any reason to upgrade? (Let's assume for the moment that money
is no object). I could replace one or both of them with newer chartplotters with a bigger color screen
. But how much more juice would the big screens require? And aside from being eye candy, is there any real advantage to a color screen
Alternatively I could use a laptop
with navigation software
. These XD951 units will exchange data with a PC using a serial
connection. But how much power would a laptop
consume (if running off the inverter) as opposed to a fancier GPS
And what would folks recommend for charts
? I assume I would want paper charts
of my usual cruising area, since electronics
sometimes fail. But is it worth having a set of navionics
chips plus a laptop? The boat did not come with Navionics
chips for the areas where I will be sailing. I can buy a decent used laptop for the price
of a couple of those navionics chips, and the charts for the PC are free.
What would folks here recommend? I will be using the boat for weekend cruising in the northeastern US until my wife retires. After that, who knows?