Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 02-08-2011, 09:57   #1
Registered User
 
S/V Alchemy's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: Toronto
Boat: Custom 41' Steel Pilothouse Cutter
Posts: 4,575
Best Handheld GPS in Terms of Battery Life, Waterproofing and Simplicity

I'm seeking herd wisdom on behalf of the guy sharing my sailboat.

He's a commercial passenger jet pilot (A320s, I believe) and DOES NOT need any charting capability whatsoever, as he is a skilled navigator and works from paper charts of Lake Ontario. In other words, he works from bearings, headings, and cross tracks with ease. As one does.

So he needs no female British voice telling him to turn left, dearie, nor any charting or NMEA output at all.

He also wants to use the GPS for hiking, again, with local maps of the topographical kind.

So, I judge he needs a few attributes:

1) Good battery life, with an option to hook into a 12 VDC socket and cradle external power for use on board.

2) Weatherproof or resistant: the thing would be carried in the rain and would sit in the cockpit. Floating would be a bonus.

3) Quick acquisition of satellites. My old Magellan 300 and 315 (both circa 2000) are NOT GOOD at this, maybe three to five minutes on the open water. I wouldn't bother in the woods, frankly.

4) Easily worked waypoint, ETA, XTE and SOG functions, plus a decent compass, bearing, heading, and altitude set of functions. Basically, the best GPS without charting that doesn't eat a pair of AAs in a couple of hours.

My old GPSes all do this (albeit slowly) and with coastal piloting and/or charts, I never get lost. What circa 2010 models and makes are preferred for the sailor/hiker who knows in depth traditional and electronic navigation?

Thanks in advance, CF forum.
__________________

__________________
S/V Alchemy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2011, 09:59   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 3,016
Images: 4
Re: Best handheld GPS in terms of battery life, waterproofing and simplicity

Two small cheap Garmin units. One for backup...because none are not actually weatherproof, rock proof, sink proof.
__________________

__________________
daddle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2011, 15:49   #3
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,033
Re: Best Handheld GPS in Terms of Battery Life, Waterproofing and Simplicity

You want to look for one that can do the topo maps AND charts, and that will mean very few units from any of the main makers. And if you say US AND Canadian topos and charts...fewer still. Then it is just budget versus display size, and a large display always means a shorter battery life.

All the newer units with a SirfStarIII or similar "3rd generation" or later GPS will acquire quickly. Garmin and the usual crowd will have selectors on their sites.
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2011, 17:21   #4
Registered User
 
S/V Alchemy's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: Toronto
Boat: Custom 41' Steel Pilothouse Cutter
Posts: 4,575
Re: Best Handheld GPS in Terms of Battery Life, Waterproofing and Simplicity

He does not require topo charts or any chart, as he uses paper charts. He needs lat/lon and the rest of the parameters I listed. In essence, I'm asking if there is a decent stripped down GPS that isn't talking, full of street maps and is able to locate the nearest mall.

Hell, it doesn't even have to be colour.
__________________
S/V Alchemy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2011, 17:31   #5
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,033
Re: Best Handheld GPS in Terms of Battery Life, Waterproofing and Simplicity

Holux M-241 GPS Datalogger with USB & Bluetooth CONNECTIVITY $62
One of the fancier tiny ones, basic displays, keeps a log, cheaper models and other vendors without the BT and frills. Many work all day on one AA or AAA battery.

Semsons.com has a lot of the inexpensive stuff. A "logger" with a display may be the cheapest solution, or something a bit smarter that will do bearings and whatnot. And they're pretty much all WAAS enabled with comparable accuracy these days. No big brand name or price needed then.

Of course these days, there's something to be said for just getting a phone with a GPS in it. No need for a data plan, most of the smartphones will work in standalone mode these days. And some of them ARE actually cheaper than $50.
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2011, 17:34   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 145
Re: Best Handheld GPS in Terms of Battery Life, Waterproofing and Simplicity

For the features you're looking for, you may need to go with a mapping GPS. Garmin makes several floating units that are waterproof, have an altimeter, a compass and overall easy to use. They are in the GPSMap series. I have the GPSMap 76CSX. It is a tad bulky for a handheld, but does it all. Ram makes a cradle for them so they can be mounted in the cockpit near the wheel, or anywhere else you desire. Battery life is rated at about 16 hours for these units as I recall on AA's. It aquires quickly and the new model, the 78cs that replaced the 78CSX, is WAAS enabled as was the 76CSX.
I can't tell you how these units stack up against others because this is the first GPS I've purchased that had all these features, the others I have are very basic models. I can tell you I'm happy with it. If you don't want the mapping feature, maybe just ignore it?
__________________
easterly38 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2011, 17:43   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,243
Re: Best Handheld GPS in Terms of Battery Life, Waterproofing and Simplicity

76CSX at Amazon :

Amazon.com: Garmin GPSMAP 76 Waterproof Handheld GPS: Electronics

I have the 78SC which gets rather expensive. But it is nice to be able to see exactly where you are, at the wheel.
__________________
MarkSF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2011, 17:54   #8
Registered User
 
drew23's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: cruising Mexico
Boat: Searunner 37 trimaran, Islander 34
Posts: 286
Re: Best Handheld GPS in Terms of Battery Life, Waterproofing and Simplicity

second the gpsmap 76csx. love love love my 76cx (same device minus the barometer). bulletproof functionality, waterproof case. good on batteries, small enough to keep in bed on windy nights with the anchor drag alarm feature switched on. claims to be floating, but I haven't risked tossing mine in the drink to test it. the garmin cradle isn't powered, but leaves a space for you to plug a power connector into the unit.

just because you don't *need* the digital charts doesn't mean it isn't nice to have them. there's merit in taking pride in being able to do it the "right way", but it's another thing entirely to shun a source of information because you consider yourself above it.
__________________
"Analogies are dangerous, Amanda, because life is like a sandcastle."
blog: https://disengage.ca hf: VA7DSX / VE0TF instagram: mux23
drew23 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2011, 21:27   #9
Registered User
 
S/V Alchemy's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: Toronto
Boat: Custom 41' Steel Pilothouse Cutter
Posts: 4,575
Re: Best Handheld GPS in Terms of Battery Life, Waterproofing and Simplicity

Good suggestions, skippers. Keep 'em coming. I have a Holux GPS "puck" that I use on my netbook with OpenCPN, but I didn't know they made display units.

Are there any alternatives to Garmin anyone wants to mention? Nothing against them, mind you, but I'd like to know of the alternatives.
__________________
S/V Alchemy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2011, 22:14   #10
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Cruising NC, FL, Bahamas, TCI & VIs
Boat: 1964 Pearson Ariel 'Faith' / Pearson 424, sv Emerald Tide
Posts: 1,531
Re: Best Handheld GPS in Terms of Battery Life, Waterproofing and Simplicity

Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
He does not require topo charts or any chart, as he uses paper charts. He needs lat/lon and the rest of the parameters I listed. In essence, I'm asking if there is a decent stripped down GPS that isn't talking, full of street maps and is able to locate the nearest mall.

Hell, it doesn't even have to be colour.
Based on this post, the best GPS would be the Garman 72 H.

Black and white, fast acquisition, since it does not waste energy lighting up color pixels the batteries last 18 hours....

And it is cheap!


-------

The OP said not charts, but then said topo... so that would lean twords a 76 or similar....
__________________
s/v 'Faith' is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2011, 00:09   #11
Registered User
 
LakeSuperior's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Boat: Teak Yawl, 37'
Posts: 1,581
Images: 7
Re: Best Handheld GPS in Terms of Battery Life, Waterproofing and Simplicity

I use rechargable Duracell NiMH batteries in my Garmin 76Cx mounted on the helm.
__________________
LakeSuperior is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2011, 00:44   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,243
Re: Best Handheld GPS in Terms of Battery Life, Waterproofing and Simplicity

Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
Good suggestions, skippers. Keep 'em coming. I have a Holux GPS "puck" that I use on my netbook with OpenCPN, but I didn't know they made display units.

Are there any alternatives to Garmin anyone wants to mention? Nothing against them, mind you, but I'd like to know of the alternatives.
No realistic alternative in the handheld area, I'm afraid. It's a pity because it should be possible to do handhelds much better than Garmin make them.
__________________
MarkSF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2011, 00:51   #13
Senior Cruiser
 
reiner's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Brisbane
Boat: 39ft Challenger and a 16ft Scruffie " Oma Martha"
Posts: 266
Images: 6
Re: Best Handheld GPS in Terms of Battery Life, Waterproofing and Simplicity

I use a Garmin etrex ( no charts) in the bush and a Garmin 60CS as backup on the boat. They are both great tools and work well.
The Etrex Legend is nice and small, pretty much like a mobile phone.
Both run on AA's and now for many years without problems.( not on the same batteries :-) I noticed they stopped making the 60 series, shame...it works well on my dirt bike too.
__________________
reiner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2011, 01:07   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 10
Re: Best Handheld GPS in Terms of Battery Life, Waterproofing and Simplicity

I got the impression the OP meant paper topo maps too - making the 72 H the correct choice. I have the 78sc (same idea but color and charts) and love it. Take it hiking, boating, even driving (doesn't talk but does turn by turn and I usually have a passenger when going somewhere interesting)...

I have found that Sanyo eneloops last quite a while, and Lithium disposables, though expensive, last the longest - so I will occasionally use them even though it seems wasteful!

It seems that even though the poster thinks the user does not need the charting capability as they use paper charts, they may like it - with the screen dimmed or power saver feature of the garmin on and the screen on the dashboard display anyway, I bet the battery life wouldn't be too inferior, and once you know how long the batteries last you can estimate the number of sets of rechargeables to bring... The user may actually like having electronic charting - for example, when hiking he might use the topo map to plan his route, but then check the gps in an interim fashion without having to get out the paper map each time. I tend to use paper maps/charts and the handheld chartplotter in a complimentary fashion...
__________________
cmzs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2011, 06:09   #15
Registered User
 
S/V Alchemy's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: Toronto
Boat: Custom 41' Steel Pilothouse Cutter
Posts: 4,575
Re: Best Handheld GPS in Terms of Battery Life, Waterproofing and Simplicity

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmzs View Post

It seems that even though the poster thinks the user does not need the charting capability as they use paper charts, they may like it - with the screen dimmed or power saver feature of the garmin on and the screen on the dashboard display anyway, I bet the battery life wouldn't be too inferior, and once you know how long the batteries last you can estimate the number of sets of rechargeables to bring... The user may actually like having electronic charting - for example, when hiking he might use the topo map to plan his route, but then check the gps in an interim fashion without having to get out the paper map each time. I tend to use paper maps/charts and the handheld chartplotter in a complimentary fashion...
If the right unit had charting capacity, I am sure that it wouldn't be a disqualification, but my friend said specifically "I only need lat/lon, waypoints and a decent bearing compass, not charts". He's no Luddite...he's a commercial pilot...and I think he values durability, duration and quick acquisition far more than a graphical representation of wherever he is. I know he brings current paper charts on and off the boat when he takes it out.

That Garmin 72H unit looks pretty good, actually. Thanks, and I will investigate further.
__________________

__________________
S/V Alchemy is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
battery, gps

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:06.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.