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Old 02-04-2009, 11:57   #16
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Black Hills, SD
Boat: Now Boatless
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As a suggestion, approach this with an eye towards your overall plan for redundancy. If you have a main chart plotter that uses a Navionics chip and a hand-held that uses different cartography then you increase the overall cost.

I chose the Garmin route and bought a GPSMAP 76c. Turns out that the new to us boat came with a Garmin 2010c unit. So under their license agreement I can legally load both devices with a single map area purchase. I'm sure other vendors have similar arrangements.

For less than $250 the little 76c unit provides enough chart detail to use as a primary chart plotter IMHO. Take it anywhere, hard-mount it at the helm with the external power cord, and then use your laptop for voyage planning on a bigger screen. And oh yes - the laptop is actually a 3rd chart plotter aboard. Costs only the BlueChart software license and a USB GPS receiver (dongle). I bought the USB data card programmer from Garmin and can load any memory cards for the 2010.
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