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Old 27-03-2011, 11:24   #1
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What's a Necessity and What's a Luxury?

We're working in selecting a GPS for the boat. Is there one that combines wind speed and sonar in addition to chartplotting? We've been researching but in all honesty, I'm confused about what options we need. (We're novices afraid of getting lost and running aground.)

We'd love some input. We're staying mostly in the Keys and the Carribean.
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Old 27-03-2011, 12:17   #2
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Re: What's a necessity and what's a luxury?

I like having all three/four, but they are each different devices.
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Old 27-03-2011, 12:28   #3
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Re: What's a necessity and what's a luxury?

I don't want to keep all my eggs in one basket. I have separate screens.
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Old 27-03-2011, 12:30   #4
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Re: What's a necessity and what's a luxury?

I got a killer deal on a Radar unit because the owner want an "all-in-one" unit. The used unit I got (Raymarine) came in the GARMIN color radar, gps, etc box.....the owner needed the box back a month later to send his "all-in-one" back to the factory. The unit I have along with my VHF and laptop can all be hooked together and with the GPS (as well as AIS, depth, wind etc if I so desire in future). I prefer seperate units, if one goes bad I can just hook up my back up unit.
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Old 27-03-2011, 12:44   #5
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Re: What's a necessity and what's a luxury?

Agreed! Separate units for separate functions makes a lot of sense. If you lose one to corrosion you'll still have information from the others. I follow the same rules when getting appliances for the house.
kind regards,
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Old 27-03-2011, 13:01   #6
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Re: What's a necessity and what's a luxury?

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Originally Posted by WhatDreamersDo View Post
Is there one that combines wind speed and sonar in addition to chartplotting?
Yes. Several of the Standard Horizon plotters, inculding the CP180 & CP300, will do this (plotter, FF250 fish finder & Clipper Marine CL-W wind instrument). I'm sure Raymarine can do this too.

Just a word of warning, look carefully at the chart format of the plotters you're considering, & stay away from proprietary memory formats. Anything using C-Map should be safe.
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Old 27-03-2011, 13:57   #7
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Re: What's a necessity and what's a luxury?

The feedback is a good jumping off point. After stopping by West Marine, we are thinking a unit plugged into the laptop, one hand-held for back up and excursions on land, and one for at the helm should have us covered?

We've heard good things about Garmin...
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Old 27-03-2011, 14:18   #8
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Re: What's a necessity and what's a luxury?

everything plugs into my laptop, Radar, VHF, GPS...with the ability for wind and depth.
But for wind I took a string of Tibetan prayer flags (25) removed the middle one and flew 12 from each spreader. 8$, 0 battery draw, easy to see a variety of wind flow patterns from the sails, plus the spiritual benefits.
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Old 27-03-2011, 14:35   #9
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Re: What's a necessity and what's a luxury?

You can get the GPS with the Sonar. Buy the wind & speed separate but compatible to the GPS so that they can be linked together.
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Old 27-03-2011, 15:57   #10
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Originally Posted by SkiprJohn
Agreed! Separate units for separate functions makes a lot of sense. If you lose one to corrosion you'll still have information from the others. I follow the same rules when getting appliances for the house.
kind regards,
I don't neccessarily agree buy two MFDs rather then multiple single function screens. Hence when the radar MFd fails you have a backup. Ie you have a backup display screen for every networked device

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Old 27-03-2011, 16:53   #11
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Re: What's a necessity and what's a luxury?

I personally don't like networked instruments--keep them all separate so a failure in one part of the system doesn't take the whole thing down. Plus, people spend a lot of time and effort getting everything to work together, and then when one of the units needs to be replaced, you suddently have a compatibility problem if it is a few years later. Personally, I've never found much of a need for wind instruments--yarn on the shrouds and a masthead telltale is all I need. I judge the wind speed by the conditions. A simple fishfinder can be useful to see what the bottom looks like and what the trend line is, plus I find they are more reliable than sail-specific units and cost a lot less. Laptop charting systems are great, and I would probably always have one, but the laptops are not reliable. They will die, so you need backup laptops and/or other means of charting, like a dedicated chartplotter and/or paper charts and guides.
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Old 28-03-2011, 15:24   #12
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Re: What's a necessity and what's a luxury?

I have multiple gizmos, that all interface with my one laptop screen...or my other laptop screen if that laptop dies.
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Old 28-03-2011, 16:59   #13
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personally don't like networked instruments--keep them all separate so a failure in one part of the system doesn't take the whole thing down.
Why would say a sensor failure or a display failure " take the whoe thing done"

Networks are interconnected but seperate. Networks were designed to originally make computing systems more fault tolerant.

In my case with dual c90ws and ST 70s I can loose multiple displays and still display data
In the case of standalone non networked units loose a display and you loose that whole function

Standalone is more failure prone not less


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Old 28-03-2011, 17:16   #14
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Re: What's a necessity and what's a luxury?

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Standalone is more failure prone not less
Not what I see on the water with boats that have elaborate networked systems. Getting them to work right in the first place is often problematic, but then they seem to fail for mysterious reasons that are not easily solveable out in the field. Actually, even the pros seem to have difficulty solving the problems. I observed a state of the art modern catamaran launched in Maine by a top builder that had an entire suite of integrated instruments that a pro was hooking up. The wiring and everything behind the panels was a work of art. Two weeks later we observed this same boat at the dock not having moved and I asked the techs what was going on and they said they just couldn't get everything to talk to each other, even though it was all from the same manufacturer and designed to network together.
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Old 28-03-2011, 17:24   #15
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Not what I see on the water with boats that have elaborate networked systems. Getting them to work right in the first place is often problematic, but then they seem to fail for mysterious reasons that are not easily solveable out in the field. Actually, even the pros seem to have difficulty solving the problems. I observed a state of the art modern catamaran launched in Maine by a top builder that had an entire suite of integrated instruments that a pro was hooking up. The wiring and everything behind the panels was a work of art. Two weeks later we observed this same boat at the dock not having moved and I asked the techs what was going on and they said they just couldn't get everything to talk to each other, even though it was all from the same manufacturer and designed to network together.
That's just poor quality installation. I've delivered many boats with out of the wrapper networked systems virtually none gave trouble.

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