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Old 06-07-2014, 08:52   #1
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Garmin vs Raymarine

I'll be getting a new set of nav instruments for our Island Packet 32 in a few weeks. I've pretty much made up my mind what I want, but think it is prudent to get feedback from all of you.

I'm looking at an integrated radar, GPS chartplotter, and AIS. I prefer to buy all one manufacturer, get everything I need, and install it all in one fell swoop.

I'd like to hear the pros and cons of Garmin vs. Raymarine. I have limited experience w/ either company.

All Thoughts Appreciated! TIA

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Old 06-07-2014, 10:02   #2
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Re: Garmin vs Raymarine

Both of companies make great units. Be careful of forum opinions based on five year old units - they've both come a long way - especially in networking.

Both companies have jammed so many gee whiz features in that I think they have become less easy to use for basic navigation. Go to West Marine and play with the unit. If you need a manual, that's a bad sign. Take your wife too. My wife does most of the chartplotter work on our boat so her opinion is important.

Don't be influenced by the techie feature race. My Garmin has 3D - I never use it. And I don't have a desire to play music over my chartplotter.

The two companies also offer different charts. Garmin has their own brand. Raymarine uses Navionics (and now offers their own free charts too). The way the charts display can be quite different as you move around and zoom. This is especially true if you like to use "Course Up" instead of "North Up" orientation. I personally find the Garmin charts more legible in "Course Up" mode.

But I haven't seen either Garmin or Raymarine's newest offering. Maybe it's all changed.
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Old 06-07-2014, 10:18   #3
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Re: Garmin vs Raymarine

Garmin is by far the easiest one to use. Never need to pull out a manual as the user interface is great.
My wife uses or Garmin 5208 all the time and has no issues with it.

I have had Raymarine also and it's was just to complicated to find things.
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Old 06-07-2014, 10:22   #4
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Garmin vs Raymarine

My C90W has built in charts and an internal antenna. Those were the strong factors to me. What I don't like is how you move waypoints from a PC is via a card. Found that out after the purchase.


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Old 06-07-2014, 10:32   #5
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Re: Garmin vs Raymarine

Pick a supplier that has a major presence in the Commercial Marine and aeronautical markets as well as the Leisure markets, better future proofing.

RAYMARINE UK nearly went under a few years ago
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Old 06-07-2014, 14:58   #6
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Re: Garmin vs Raymarine

We have a split boat from the previous owner's design.....Garmin and Raymarine talking or trying to talk on NMEA 0183, 2000 Ethernet...... Your decision to stick with one is very good. We recently added an AIS, fortunately Garmin bought the company and supported the legacy equipment fairly well. Which brings me to my point, Garmin turns into the 900 lbs gorilla in every market they enter, terrestrial, avionics and now marine. For future mods, additions and updates, I don't foresee Raymarine keeping up. Garmin's service and tech support have been great; we even snagged an old Interphase sonar transducer from them. Too bad, because some of our Raymarine stuff is approaching 35 yo, functioning fine. I hope someone remains standing to keep the boys from Lenexa honest.

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Old 06-07-2014, 15:09   #7
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Re: Garmin vs Raymarine

Garmin has been in the marine market for many years - they aren't a new gorilla of any size in this market. Raymarine has the jump on them overall in the marine market, and I doubt Garmin will be wiping them out any time soon. Raymarine's death knell sounded several years ago and they arose from those ashes bigger and better financed than before.

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Old 06-07-2014, 15:55   #8
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Re: Garmin vs Raymarine

All it takes is one breakthrough and one company leafrogs ahead of many others in tech...not for long but it's there.

When Raytheon (I forget whether they were Raymarine yet) came out with the 2kW Pathfinder Radar...it blew the socks off of everyone for a couple years. Even the 4 kW was better than all but a few...

So 5 years ago I would say Garmin seemed to be dominating..but recently Raymarine seems to be climbing the ladder back and those two seemingly dominate the small boat world.

Sure...look for any particular product or performance parameter and you'll find a stand out....

Furuno has been a household word in the commercial business for decades and I respect the **** out of their products...but they have always seem to lag behind in the newest tech...which can be a good thing....depending on your needs.
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Old 06-07-2014, 16:52   #9
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Re: Garmin vs Raymarine

I've owned two Garmins and one Raymarine. The latest Garmin is this years. I find the Garmins interface to be pretty intuitive if you have a clue about what you are doing. What I also found is that Garmin documentation is not woth the paper it's written on. In the latest iteration the unit came with a USB interface. How to use it to download files is documented, but there is no mention of how to output position data to the USB. Can it be done? Sure it can. If you just scroll through enough menus you'll find everything you need to set it up. Is it mentioned in the owner's manual? Not one word about it. It helps to have owned a previous Garmin with a USN interface so you understand the options. I personally find the poor documentation to be a major issue. My Raymarine is much older but well documented. I can't speak to the modern Ray marine stuff.
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Old 06-07-2014, 16:58   #10
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Re: Garmin vs Raymarine

Don't know your cruising area. Maybe putting some information in the system might help. But if you're ever going to cruise in the Bahamas NO NOT GET RAYMARINE. Their Navionics charts of the Bahamas is crap. Go with Garmin.
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Old 06-07-2014, 17:06   #11
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Re: Garmin vs Raymarine

Garmin has the Bahamas Explorer charts built in to most of there chart plotters. Explorer Charts are the most accurate for that area.
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Old 06-07-2014, 17:09   #12
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Re: Garmin vs Raymarine

I have never used a Garmin chart plotter but I have a Garmin GPS. I find the software for Windows 7 is extremely poorly written and is frustrating to use. It is not compatible with Win 7. I haven't tried it on Win 8.1 yet. I guess I will do that this week. The documentation, as mentioned above, is very poor. Not the info you are looking for but just confirming what Captain Bill said about the company's documentation.
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Old 06-07-2014, 17:34   #13
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Re: Garmin vs Raymarine

Another thing to think about is that Garmin is keeping a good interface with NMEA 0183. I know their 700 series has 2 ports dedicated to this. Raymarine requires an external interface to talk to more than one of your pre-NMEA200 stuff.

I have installed quite a bit of Raymarine equipment and think it is for the most part some real quality stuff. The only thing that drives me crazy is how they nickle dime you to death with the add on boxes.
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Old 06-07-2014, 18:29   #14
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Re: Garmin vs Raymarine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
Don't know your cruising area. Maybe putting some information in the system might help. But if you're ever going to cruise in the Bahamas NO NOT GET RAYMARINE. Their Navionics charts of the Bahamas is crap. Go with Garmin.
Haven't played with it but hasn't Raymarine released the ability to downloadraster charts now?

I always loved Garmin except for their proprietary charting.
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Old 06-07-2014, 18:48   #15
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Re: Garmin vs Raymarine

Really, really great information here.

The boat came with old 1st generation digital radar and plotter - one color (black & orange) - of different manufacturers - both mounted on swing arms in the companion way - neither of which was supported anymore. She'll be shipped in the fall, so I'll do all this installation while the mast is down.

Really appreciate all this info! Please keep the thoughts coming
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