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Old 06-07-2012, 08:04   #226
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Uh huh.
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Old 06-07-2012, 08:12   #227
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

I grew up with paper charts and was away from boating for 15 years, so I was absolutely stunned when I started using a chartplotter with integrated radar and autopilot. Point-and-click -- WOW! "I wanna go THERE" click. Unbelievable. No more staring at the horizon and turning the chart this way and that mumbling, "is that an island, or is that a point???" I love it -- though still have paper charts on board.
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Old 06-07-2012, 08:21   #228
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

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Originally Posted by conachair View Post
Why?

There's nothing there.

Where's the benefit over a passage chart?
instantaneous coordinates? a passage chart wont tell you where you are, unless you determine your lat/long first... the chartplotter will tell you where you are and not need a second tool/sextant or gps receiver..
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Old 06-07-2012, 09:10   #229
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

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Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
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One has to know the strengths and weaknesses of each navigation tool. Your example of the blinking light was designed to make chart plotters look bad. I urge newbies to take any strong bias with a grain of salt and to make the effort to learn the strengths and weaknesses of each.
Read back before you wade in. That was not my example it was originally posted by Simonmd as an example of why plotters were so good and I was responding with exactly your argument that using a plotter for just that was inappropriate and I agree like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

If you read my post you will see that I am user of electronic navigation. I use it almost every day of the year as a full time mariner.

Responses to the thread in general and not directed at one poster follow:

Plotters are great but they are not essential, they have a lot of negatives.

It is rubbish to just make a statement that either plotters or charts provide more information. A full set of paper charts, and sailing directions books, will always show more information - except perhaps in some parts of the US and Europe where the plotter or electronic chart is augmented by various add-on features.

My original reply in this thread was to comments about the suitability of plotters in 'offshore' navigation; where they are pretty useless, as a few others have also pointed out. Inshore, electronic charts are very useful, in some parts of the world (in some parts the published electronic charts are so inaccurate they are useless).

All you need offshore is a position which one would usually get from a GPS plotted a couple of times a day on a planning chart. If you are bored you can practice your celestial skills and make the plot that way, I do this for practice sometimes. As you near the land you will prepare for inshore/coastal navigation and eventually pilotage for which you should use a variety of tools one of which could be a plotter, so as you get close now is the time to turn the plotter back on.

I disagree with the negative comments on laptop computers or computers in general. They are more versatile than a plotter if we are talking about electronic charts (Radar, sonar etc. is another thing), they can be as equally robust. It's a simple matter to strap a laptop to your nav station or install a small PC somewhere with a waterproof keyboard and flat screen. You can make a very nice boat computer setup for much less than the price of a decent plotter. If the plotter works out cheaper it's likely to have a postage stamp sized screen or lack a host of useful features.

Plotters have the advantage if you want to put them outside at the wheel or somewhere exposed.

Of course you have to fiddle around, loose some time, and learn a bit more to install a pc but the rewards are greater in terms of functionality and cost. You'll probably have at least one laptop on board anyway, why not put it to work too.
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Old 06-07-2012, 09:22   #230
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

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In fact, I would say have a backup, a handheld chart plotter. As chart plotters they stink
Isn't it funny how the most innocent and innocuous comment can start a a disagreement!?

I think the above statement is no longer true, my Garmin Montana is a wonderful plotter. In many ways I rate it better than ALL of the other handhelds AND the low-end push button plotters. It's more user friendly and has way more routes and memory than the 640. I'd put it right under the garmin 740 for ease of use and capability.
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Old 06-07-2012, 09:46   #231
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When GPS goes down because of a problem or the US gov/mil just switches it off, everybody with a GPS is scr&wed. However, those of us with an iPad or iPhone can just continue because these also support the Russian GLONASS system, fully automatic. Apple scores again.

I do understand that new satellite navigators also get GLONASS support. Later, when/if the EU get their Gallileo system operational, it will also be supported by these multi-system generation navigators.

p.s. the iPad with internal GPS only 6 hours on battery... besides just plugging it in for unlimited run-time, show me another GPS-plotter with same size screen that can run on internal battery for 6 hours....

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Old 08-07-2012, 07:54   #232
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

Many manufacturers are rolling out Glonass and Galileo capable devices now. Some of the new Garmin etrex models come to mind and Magellan and Trimble for sure. Almost all of the major mobile phone manufacturers have Glonass capability.

Whilst the iPad and iphone and the various tablets from Samsung etc.. all work as plotters. I really don't think they are a viable backup. If you loose the battery system on your boat you have 6 - 24 hours of GPS with a phone device. Sure you can switch it on and off and extend the life but as they need the boat batteries to charge their internal batteries you are ultimately limited by that batteries capacity.

I believe the only viable backup GPS device is one that runs of AA or AAA batteries. You can store a heap of spare batteries along with the device, certainly enough to keep it running for months if necessary.
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:46   #233
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

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1982? In 1972 I had to special order a car without AC. I simply couldn't afford the extra cost, but St. Louis in the summer without AC in your car is absolutely brutal. It depends on where you live. I'm from St. Louis, and they have had multiple days of 108 degree highs.
For goodness sake, AGAIN, will you guys stop splitting hairs and see the SIMPLE point I was making. So you had AC in your car in '72, whoopie bloody do, i'm very happy for you but the whole point and example I was making was there are MANY things that once were 'luxurys' that in this modern world, simple are not anymore and are common place.

Did every house have a fridge in the 1930's? NO but common now and not a luxury. Did every house even have running water then? NO but unthinkable not to have it now. etc, etc, etc. THATS the point, in all walks of life, things have moved on, including the boating world. Where a plotter was an expensive toy not so long ago, they are now accessable to all and so therefore, NOT a luxury.

I'm not American, have never even been to the place so I can only draw on examples from my side of the pond, ie, the UK. Now, as I CLEARLY stated, it was most CERTAINLY a luxury to have air-con in an average car over here well up untill the early/mid '90s as no, we DON'T get 100deg summers so it's more about comfort than necessity. The fact that you guys were crusing arround in those huge land yachts that had AC, am/fm radio, electric windows, etc. back in the 70's while us poor backward Brits looked on power steering with suspicion is niether here nor there so PLEASE just read the thread, take a minute to THINK about what was said and why and STOP bleeding nitpicking!!!!

takes deep breath and goes out on deck for a Gin and Tonic......
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:50   #234
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

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Whilst the iPad and iphone and the various tablets from Samsung etc.. all work as plotters. I really don't think they are a viable backup. If you loose the battery system on your boat you have 6 - 24 hours of GPS with a phone device. Sure you can switch it on and off and extend the life but as they need the boat batteries to charge their internal batteries you are ultimately limited by that batteries capacity.

I believe the only viable backup GPS device is one that runs of AA or AAA batteries. You can store a heap of spare batteries along with the device, certainly enough to keep it running for months if necessary.
A good point, I myself have both a laptop and a Garmin 72 that has AA battery backup. It's worth noting that you CAN actually buy 'emergency chargers' for phones and laptops that do use standard batteries and i've also seen solar versions as well that would be idea for a boat.
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:31   #235
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

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Snip

But if your friend had used his technology intelligently, he would not have ended up on a reef.
One should not overlook the fact that many charts used in CP devices are based on surveys that might be 10, 20, or 100+ years old. Those older surveys are not up to the accuracy standards of today's GPS technology, so unchanged things could be charted in the wrong place, and things may also have changed.

I also found errors in certain CP base maps (the current version of my Lowrance HDS7) that show incorrect depths (erroneously indicate a shoal in the main ships channel at the entrance to Buzzards Bay.)
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Old 08-07-2012, 18:41   #236
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Quote:
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Many manufacturers are rolling out Glonass and Galileo capable devices now. Some of the new Garmin etrex models come to mind and Magellan and Trimble for sure. Almost all of the major mobile phone manufacturers have Glonass capability.

Whilst the iPad and iphone and the various tablets from Samsung etc.. all work as plotters. I really don't think they are a viable backup. If you loose the battery system on your boat you have 6 - 24 hours of GPS with a phone device. Sure you can switch it on and off and extend the life but as they need the boat batteries to charge their internal batteries you are ultimately limited by that batteries capacity.

I believe the only viable backup GPS device is one that runs of AA or AAA batteries. You can store a heap of spare batteries along with the device, certainly enough to keep it running for months if necessary.
Depends what you are backing up. The helm mounted plotter is useless immediately when power fails.

Also We've discussed on other threads the difficulty of cellestial navigation from a liferaft etc. but now there are several models of hand cranked chargers out there for portable devices. Here is one that would easily fit in a ditch bag.

A roll up solar panel is another option.
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Old 08-07-2012, 20:15   #237
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

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Depends what you are backing up. The helm mounted plotter is useless immediately when power fails.

Also We've discussed on other threads the difficulty of cellestial navigation from a liferaft etc. but now there are several models of hand cranked chargers out there for portable devices. Here is one that would easily fit in a ditch bag.

A roll up solar panel is another option.
I am thinking of a backup device when the main GPS system goes down which could be due to fire, lightening strike, battery explosion, etc. and also the ditch bag situation.

In a non abandonment situation it is pretty difficult to be left without power from some kind of battery given that on most boats there will be separate engine and house batteries and possibly diverse charging methods; Engine, generator, solar, wind, fuel cell, towed generator, shaft alternator etc.. But an event that takes out some or all of those systems is quite likely to destroy any attached electronics too.

I have considered hand crank chargers and solar panels but have discounted them because they add complexity, and expense, to the system. The phones are not rugged enough or water proof enough (yes you can get cases and ruggedised phones I know, but again adding complexity and expense). IMO a cheap GPS can be rugged and waterproof and it is easy to carry a supply of batteries.

The emergency chargers that take AA batteries or similar... well sure but why not just put the battery directly into the GPS.

I have both iPhone and iPad but do not consider them emergency navigation devices. The phone only gets used in port. The iPad is my library and of course I have a few chart plotting, astronomy, etc.. toys on it too.

As I mentioned before both my iPad (a 1st generation one admittedly) and my iPhone 4 have failed to reacquire GPS single at sea when they have not been used for a while and have only recovered when back in port with internet access. Not a random observation my i toys have done several trans Atlantics, a couple of runs to South Georgia and couple to Antarctica trips and numerous trips around southern South America. My old Garmin GPS60 never has a problem (has C-map charts, waterproof and takes 2xAA batteries).

That's my choice, based on my experiences. Not saying it's the only way to go but it's the best I have found.
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Old 08-07-2012, 21:51   #238
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Littlechay

I am thinking of a backup device when the main GPS system goes down which could be due to fire, lightening strike, battery explosion, etc. and also the ditch bag situation.

In a non abandonment situation it is pretty difficult to be left without power from some kind of battery given that on most boats there will be separate engine and house batteries and possibly diverse charging methods; Engine, generator, solar, wind, fuel cell, towed generator, shaft alternator etc.. But an event that takes out some or all of those systems is quite likely to destroy any attached electronics too.

I have considered hand crank chargers and solar panels but have discounted them because they add complexity, and expense, to the system. The phones are not rugged enough or water proof enough (yes you can get cases and ruggedised phones I know, but again adding complexity and expense). IMO a cheap GPS can be rugged and waterproof and it is easy to carry a supply of batteries.

The emergency chargers that take AA batteries or similar... well sure but why not just put the battery directly into the GPS.

I have both iPhone and iPad but do not consider them emergency navigation devices. The phone only gets used in port. The iPad is my library and of course I have a few chart plotting, astronomy, etc.. toys on it too.

As I mentioned before both my iPad (a 1st generation one admittedly) and my iPhone 4 have failed to reacquire GPS single at sea when they have not been used for a while and have only recovered when back in port with internet access. Not a random observation my i toys have done several trans Atlantics, a couple of runs to South Georgia and couple to Antarctica trips and numerous trips around southern South America. My old Garmin GPS60 never has a problem (has C-map charts, waterproof and takes 2xAA batteries).

That's my choice, based on my experiences. Not saying it's the only way to go but it's the best I have found.
Maybe there is a bright side on the horizon that Garmin and others will see the completition from "low end" solutions like iPhone and iPad and change their price points or create stand alone low end models of their own. Admittedly the iPhone and iPad are not cheap but when you consider the mulitfunctionality of them they are hard to beat at the moment froma value perspective.

A handheld radio is a god example. I haven't turned mine on in 7 months since aquiring it as a Christmas present, except to check that it still works. It resides in my go bag and is always with me however. The iPhone gets hundreds of uses per week including nav duties both boat and car...
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Old 09-07-2012, 16:10   #239
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Re: To Plot, or Not ? Is a Chart Plotter a Luxury or a Necessity ?

My laptop ("chart plotter") just died on me here at the dock....and the marine environment is tougher on electronics than on land. This doesn't include the issues I am having with my 12v system, this is a wake up call and/or demonstrates the importance of being equipped to navigate without computer aids that I have been stressing all along. I still have a back up GPS and solar AA battery charger. To get a top end "off the shelf" dedicated marine chart plotter system would cost 1/2 of the cost of the rest of my boat (puchase price, upgrades, etc.).....even then it would still rely on a fully functional DC power system, something that at sea does not happen 100% of the time.
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