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Old 10-07-2013, 11:53   #1
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Electronics Suggestions Wanted

We are picking out electronics for a new build that will be commissioned next spring. Trying to pass the time by doing lots of research because waiting is just killing me.... But that is a different topic.

Seriously though, I would like some advice on a couple of questions that are top of mind for me as we consider choices.

1. I am leaning toward Garmin vs. Raymarine. I like Garmin's innovations but Raymarine seems to have the best service network and support?

2. I am thinking that I am better served to use devices from one company versus selecting the best of breed for the items where interoperability is needed. I know that is the goal of the manufacturers and I certainly don't disagree with the business principle. NMEA 2000 is meant to make this less of an issue but it is clear that some capabilities can only be used with the same company's devices.

3. What about Simrad? I just don't hear much about it nor see them on sailboats very often?

4. Anyone have any thoughts as to what will be the future of Nexus since they are owned by Garmin? I like their instruments but it seems they are not on the Garmin network yet?

Thanks for any thoughts you might have.

Doug
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Old 10-07-2013, 12:29   #2
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Re: Electronics Suggestions Wanted

Garmin is the way to go.

1) They really do have the best service network and support.
2) They are simple to use without a manual.
3) DIY installation.
4) NMEA 2000 cable and connectors are cheap.
5) USA, Bahamas and Caribbean are pre loaded
6) Garmin GMR18HD radar is excellent
7) Can have your iPad with Bluecharts mobile using the same charts as a backup and linked to your chartplotter
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Old 10-07-2013, 12:41   #3
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Originally Posted by Cotemar View Post
Garmin is the way to go.

1) They really do have the best service network and support.
2) They are simple to use without a manual.
3) DIY installation.
4) NMEA 2000 cable and connectors are cheap.
5) USA, Bahamas and Caribbean are pre loaded
6) Garmin GMR18HD radar is excellent
7) Can have you iPad with Bluecharts mobile using the same charts as a backup and linked to your chartplotter
Thanks Cotemar your points are exactly why I was leaning toward Garmin except the service network. I have heard a lot of people talk about Raymarine's service of shipping it out and getting a loaner if it takes time to fix?
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Old 10-07-2013, 12:58   #4
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Re: Electronics Suggestions Wanted

From my experience Raymarine's service is sorely lacking. (my cruising boat came all Raymarine when I bought it) I have not dealt with Garmin for many years but when I did in the early days of recreational GPS their service was excellent. If I had my choice I would go all Garmin.

One important consideration is the charts used by the plotters. Especially if you intend to cruise the Bahamas (my cruising grounds). Rayamarine uses mostly Navionics and the Navionics charts of the Bahamas are highly inaccurate whereas Garmin uses Explorer Charts data for their charts. These are the best Bahamas charts you can get.
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Old 10-07-2013, 13:06   #5
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Thanks Vasco! Good to know about the differences in charts. We do plan to visit the Bahamas over the next few years. I didn't realize there were such differences in the chart systems.
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Old 10-07-2013, 13:14   #6
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Re: Electronics Suggestions Wanted

Quote:
Originally Posted by NC Sailors View Post
Thanks Cotemar your points are exactly why I was leaning toward Garmin except the service network. I have heard a lot of people talk about Raymarine's service of shipping it out and getting a loaner if it takes time to fix?
My experience with Garmin service has been excellent. They repaired a Chart plotter I purchased 2nd hand on eBay in just a few days turn around at no cost.

Communication was great also.
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Old 10-07-2013, 13:18   #7
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After 30+ years in the marine business it's still a joy to deal with Furuno and Garmin comes a close second. Raymarine not so much...
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Old 10-07-2013, 14:41   #8
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We have a Simrad NSE 8 and have found it to be very reliable. Yes it uses non explorer charts, but we carry paper charts anyway and the differences are minimal. Our Simrad auto pilot works well with a reasonable amount of energy. We have not had to use the service side of the company yet.
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Old 10-07-2013, 14:56   #9
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I have raymarine on my current boat. It sucks.

Garmin, hands down.
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Old 10-07-2013, 14:59   #10
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Re: Electronics Suggestions Wanted

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
From my experience Raymarine's service is sorely lacking. (my cruising boat came all Raymarine when I bought it) I have not dealt with Garmin for many years but when I did in the early days of recreational GPS their service was excellent. If I had my choice I would go all Garmin.

One important consideration is the charts used by the plotters. Especially if you intend to cruise the Bahamas (my cruising grounds). Rayamarine uses mostly Navionics and the Navionics charts of the Bahamas are highly inaccurate whereas Garmin uses Explorer Charts data for their charts. These are the best Bahamas charts you can get.

What Vasco said!!! Navionics are not to be relied upon in the Bahamas
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Old 10-07-2013, 15:17   #11
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Re: Electronics Suggestions Wanted

I love my Garmin 541S Chart Plotter with the G2 Vision Card. My friends are all blown away by the "guide me" feature that plots the entire course.
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Old 10-07-2013, 15:18   #12
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Re: Electronics Suggestions Wanted

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Originally Posted by svpattyd View Post
We have a Simrad NSE 8 and have found it to be very reliable. Yes it uses non explorer charts, but we carry paper charts anyway and the differences are minimal. Our Simrad auto pilot works well with a reasonable amount of energy. We have not had to use the service side of the company yet.
The differences are minimal until you try entering a pass using something other than Explorer Charts. Every year there's a boat lost on a reef in the Bahamas not shown on other charts but obvious on Explorer. Last year it was a large catamaran trying to enter Elizabeth Harbor by what looked like a fine pass on Navionics and clearly a reef on Explorer.

Use Explorer, Live Explorer, Believe Explorer ... none better. Use only Explorer waypoints and you'll stay safe. No ax to grind just an experienced user.

By the way I had a Simrad Wheel Autopilot ... would never own another POS like that. No user serviceable components; even the belt required mailing it in to Simrad for repair. Installed the unit in Baltimore and the belt quit about Charleston. Had to hand steer to Florida except that a hand-stitched and force fed belt survived from Charleston to Savannah.

No comment on Garmin except that I like their GPS products. The older Nexus instrument were not that great but maybe now that Garmin has them maybe they're better.

B&G is generally regarded as the best if you can afford them. I had a Furuno Radar that was excellent. Icom radios that were excellent excepting the remote microphone/controller that had a really crappy expando-cord. Generally happy with most of the old Xantrex stuff(don't know who owns them now)
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Old 10-07-2013, 15:31   #13
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I have drank the garmin cool aide. Have 4208 with hd radar and ghc12 auto pilot. Easy to use seems robust. Integrated Milltech ais without much trouble. So plays well with others. The radar is excellent. Near in harbor it is phenomenal . I have used to to track weather out to 29 miles with excellent results. Auto pilot is okay. I'm getting a glitch in bearing lines. Working on this with some updates. If I can't resolve I will call garmin. Guessing the compass is picking up some interference. Not sure yet. I mounted my GPS reciever below deck. It is very accurate. Not exposed not visible. A plus in my thinking.
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Old 10-07-2013, 15:43   #14
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Re: Electronics Suggestions Wanted

Earlier Raymarine products I had on a previous boat worked fine. Never needed service.

My current Furuno suite is excellent, and service has been very good too. OTOH, the only "service" I've needed was some minor advise about a known MaxSea feature where Tides and Tidal Currents will cause a system slow down if left active for too long (the recent software rev addresses that).

I have not owned Garmin, but a few dock neighbors (who don't read manuals) insist Garmin is the most user-friendly. (They also haven't used anybody else's products, so the comparison is a little shakey.) Just the other day they were waxing eloquent about how they could get a "chip" from Garmin to update their charts... seemed surprised that I could download chart and software updates and do all that similar updating on my system without a "chip"... but they also admitted that they don't know enough computer/systems jargon to even understand the directions on how to do stuff like that themselves. (And they didn't know any technical names for their "chips.") Near as I can tell, from helping one of those bubbas figure out how to save tracks and how to create waypoints/routes (since he doesn't read manuals) on his non-touch-screen but relatively new (I think) Garmin system... it was easy enough, with manual in hand. I didn't see much difference in the mechanics compared with my system.

I'm not a fan of touch-screen-only. When underway in choppy seas, I can't be trusted to press the right point on a bouncy screen.

I tend to agree with your point #2 (one company) because most system and network issues I've encountered in the past 40 years -- not just with marine electronics but with computers and connected devices in general -- seem to be more easily resolvable when vendor or manufacturer A can't blame it on vendor or manufacturer B or C or D or etc.

Seems like makers are now offering more options on charts, especially vector. Although I tend to use raster charts more often, we can use NOAA, Jeppeson (C-Map) or Navionics vector charts too. I think Garmin and Raymarine currently offer similar options.

When we did our last upgrade, I didn't directly care about brand... but wanted to salvage the existing radar and a DGPS unit. They were by Furuno, so the rest of the upgrade is Furuno (with the exception of ICOM radios). It happens that their NAVnet 3D was the latest thing since sliced bread at the time, AND the computer-based MaxSea counterpart was available for backup and planning... so that's what I chose... and I've been very happy with it.

I do more and more appreciate the ability to show different stuff (sensor output) on different screen real estate depending on circumstances at hand. The idea of multi-function displays (to use Furuno's term) works for me, and I'll be tempted next time (if my radar craps out) to replace the radar display and a fishfinder with two MFDs. I still usually prefer to usually dedicate a screen to radar, but the versatility to do otherwise when useful (and to overlay radar on the chart) is attractive.

Time has passed; don't know what's the latest and greatest these days.

-Chris
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Old 10-07-2013, 15:43   #15
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Re: Electronics Suggestions Wanted

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt RonB View Post
The differences are minimal until you try entering a pass using something other than Explorer Charts. Every year there's a boat lost on a reef in the Bahamas not shown on other charts but obvious on Explorer. Last year it was a large catamaran trying to enter Elizabeth Harbor by what looked like a fine pass on Navionics and clearly a reef on Explorer.

Use Explorer, Live Explorer, Believe Explorer ... none better. Use only Explorer waypoints and you'll stay safe. No ax to grind just an experienced user.

)


Agree. Anyone who has sailed the Bahamas extensively with Navionics (I've used my plotter for nine seasons there) will tell you that the Navionics charts cannot be relied upon. It is that simple! The more cays you anchor off, the more cuts you go through the more you will come to this conclusion. I still use my plotter but I know not to believe what it shows. Unfortunately many newbies and the odd experienced sailor (the cat that was lost entering Elizabeth Harbour last season) believe what they see on the plotter.
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