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Old 29-05-2012, 07:53   #1
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Garmin vs. Simrad Overall System

I am building a new 54 foot sail. The manufacturer comes with Simrad overall system. But from my reading I am sold by the Gamin navigation system and it's wireless capability. What's you guys think? Any advice?
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Old 29-05-2012, 08:16   #2
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Re: Garmin vs. Simrad overall system

We have all Garmin aboard, easy to use, display is great, accuracy has been very reliable from US to Central America. Admiral loves the wind indicator
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Old 29-05-2012, 08:26   #3
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Re: Garmin vs. Simrad overall system

I believe each vendor's line has its pros/cons, but probably average out evenly. Simrad's broadband radar would be a plus, as would Garmin's ease of operation.

As for wireless, both vendors offer wireless remote units to operate the system from most everywhere on the boat.

I'm making a guess that you are referring to the wireless capability of integrating bluetooth devices such as I-pads and such. While Garmin has announced such integration, I believe that Simrad only offers such integration via its ethernet wired network. I'd give some very careful consideration to the primary features of the equipment you are installing before taking the decision based on bluetooth capability.

That said, you might consider carefully with the builder, if installing a less-familiar system in the construction process might present some problems for the crews who have worked out the bugs with the system with which they are most familiar. I know first-hand someone who is dealing with this very scenario and it has been a mess.

You might also visit <www.thehulltruth.com>. The forum is focused on the powerboat/sport fishing crowd, but they wrangle equipment discussions very well in the electronics section. A look-see at the archived pages will likely be helpful.

Roger
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Old 29-05-2012, 08:48   #4
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Originally Posted by svtrio
I believe each vendor's line has its pros/cons, but probably average out evenly. Simrad's broadband radar would be a plus, as would Garmin's ease of operation.

As for wireless, both vendors offer wireless remote units to operate the system from most everywhere on the boat.

I'm making a guess that you are referring to the wireless capability of integrating bluetooth devices such as I-pads and such. While Garmin has announced such integration, I believe that Simrad only offers such integration via its ethernet wired network. I'd give some very careful consideration to the primary features of the equipment you are installing before taking the decision based on bluetooth capability.

That said, you might consider carefully with the builder, if installing a less-familiar system in the construction process might present some problems for the crews who have worked out the bugs with the system with which they are most familiar. I know first-hand someone who is dealing with this very scenario and it has been a mess.

You might also visit <www.thehulltruth.com>. The forum is focused on the powerboat/sport fishing crowd, but they wrangle equipment discussions very well in the electronics section. A look-see at the archived pages will likely be helpful.

Roger
Thanks for infor. Is it advisable to combine the strength of both systems?
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Old 29-05-2012, 09:53   #5
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Re: Garmin vs. Simrad overall system

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Originally Posted by Monsterleemon View Post
But from my reading I am sold by the Gamin navigation system and it's wireless capability. What's you guys think? Any advice?
Just a few thoughts based on 20+ years of network administration in the computer world:

First, wireless is indespensible in primarily two cases:

1) Because of its very nature (i.e., "wireless"), it cannot be beat when you need to roam (e.g., cell phones, remote controls) .

2) When you need to locate a device where running wire is not practical. This can be a big plus on a boat, but since you are building new this may not be a deciding point.

Now the cons:

1) Wireless consumes batteries: This is a moot point for most land-based applications where you are plugged into AC power, but on a boat it can become more of an issue. It takes a comparatively large amount of power to transmit a signal wirelessly vs. the little electricity required to send a signal over copper wires, and please note I said "compararatively". While still a relatively small power draw compared to other power uses on a boat, for long-term cruisers this may be a consideration.

2) Wireless networks can suffer from (and cause) interference: Everyone has heard of home cordless phones interfering with WiFi. Microwaves also cause problems. Again, perhaps not a big deal on a boat where you are mostly isolated, but in a marina this could become an issue. Or perhaps some unexpected interaction with other equipment on your boat... and diagnosing these kinds of wireless network problems are notoriously difficult. Because of wire technology and standards and shielding, interference of this sort in a wired network is much less frequent.

3) Wireless peripherals can be difficult to get to play well together: There are well-defined standards for bluetooth or WiFi and there are still many cases where you simply cannot get that wireless headset to work with your cell phone or a laptop to connect to the wireless access point. While a manufacturer tends to work out all the issues for their own equipment, when it comes to trying to get a non-Garmin sensor or peripheral to work with your Garmin equipment, this may be a very real issue and getting support from the vendors will be difficult.

4) Reliability: I can't really think of any case in the last 10 years where a wired network I am responsible for has "failed" unless the power has gone down in the building containing the network. However, it seems like rebooting wireless routers due to inability to connect or packets being dropped is a weekly event.

I will end with one last thought that I live by when specifying networks: When it comes to networking there is no substitute for a wire, when a wire is available. I can certainly see benefits to wireless in a boat but if at all possible for a mission critical system, I would go the wired route. Since you are building a new boat, getting wires where you need them (and even some extra capacity) will add a little cost but likely provide great benefits down the road.

As a point of reference, on our boat I have a primarily Simrad system with several Airmar and Maretron sensors plugged into a Maretron N2K backbone and network. I have found the Simrad equipment to play well with the Airmar and Maretron equipment and everything was essentially plug-and-play. I also have the Simrad wireless remote and it allows me to use the remote both for seeing instrument output, controlling the autopilot, and as a cell phone when tethered to my cell phone via bluetooth. I also have a USB/N2K gateway that allows me to plug my laptop into the N2K network and run my laptop chartplotting software (Coastal Explorer). All in all, the setup has been perfectly reliable over the last two years and I am very happy with the system.

Hope this helps,

Steve
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Old 29-05-2012, 16:08   #6
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Thanks for the infor...
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Old 29-05-2012, 18:52   #7
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Re: Garmin vs. Simrad Overall System

I believe that sticking with one manufacturer makes problem solving and installation a bit easier ... tech support can't blame problems (fairly or not) on another vendor's product because a "foreign" device is in the network. Nevertheless, some vendors' products don't play nice with others' products, and a loss of features can result in mixed integration.

Some users have a good understanding of networking and can often work around many issues - dealing with mixed cable connectors and non-standard NMEA sentences, for example - that can created by mixing vendor's products. But for others who lack that skill, sticking with a single vendor might be less problematic for day-to-day operations and not require reliance on outside labor to deal with such problems.



Roger
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Old 29-05-2012, 20:30   #8
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Originally Posted by svtrio
I believe that sticking with one manufacturer makes problem solving and installation a bit easier ... tech support can't blame problems (fairly or not) on another vendor's product because a "foreign" device is in the network. Nevertheless, some vendors' products don't play nice with others' products, and a loss of features can result in mixed integration.

Some users have a good understanding of networking and can often work around many issues - dealing with mixed cable connectors and non-standard NMEA sentences, for example - that can created by mixing vendor's products. But for others who lack that skill, sticking with a single vendor might be less problematic for day-to-day operations and not require reliance on outside labor to deal with such problems.

Roger
Thanks. Are u familiar with both system given which system would u pick and why?
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Old 29-05-2012, 21:01   #9
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Re: Garmin vs. Simrad Overall System

If you buy a Garmin chartplotter you will be locked in to the Bluechart chip system. That may or may not suit your needs.

I last used Garmin in 2007 and found it useless in the boonies. They tend to cater to the mass market cruising locations and ignore the remote. Many Pacific islands were recorded on my screen as a shapeless green blob. I switched to a C Map system.

Simrad also have a proprietary chip system called Nautic Insight for all of North America but you can switch to Navionics chips for other places.

It depends on how far from home you want to travel.
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Old 29-05-2012, 21:07   #10
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Originally Posted by savoir
If you buy a Garmin chartplotter you will be locked in to the Bluechart chip system. That may or may not suit your needs.

I last used Garmin in 2007 and found it useless in the boonies. They tend to cater to the mass market cruising locations and ignore the remote. Many Pacific islands were recorded on my screen as a shapeless green blob. I switched to a C Map system.

Simrad also have a proprietary chip system called Nautic Insight for all of North America but you can switch to Navionics chips for other places.

It depends on how far from home you want to travel.
For a start I will be traveling mostly in Europe. Then to Australasia .
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Old 29-05-2012, 21:24   #11
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Re: Garmin vs. Simrad Overall System

They all offer good coverage of Europe.

Down in the SW Pacific you will want paper chart backup. My best charts of that area were drawn for the French navy in 1895.
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Old 30-05-2012, 04:49   #12
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Re: Garmin vs. Simrad Overall System

In fact today the manufacturer with the best iPad integration via wireless is Raymarine with its new E-line series. Garmin are way behind the curve and while Simrad have announced lots of intentions, there is little to be seen yet.

Dave
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Old 30-05-2012, 05:06   #13
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Re: Garmin vs. Simrad Overall System

About two years ago we installed all new electronics - chartplotter, radar, sonar, AIS, instruments and autopilot. We went with Garmin for everything except the autopilot and that was Simrad (Garmin had not yet released their autopilot for sailboats). The Garmin products have been flawless and we like the Simrad autopilot as well.

As far as accuracy of the charts, we have found both the Garmin and C-Map (we also have a Standard Horizon chartplotter) charts to be inaccurate in places, especially in Fiji. The Navionics on our iPad has been much better but even it has missed on some important details. We think that navigating to a popular spot like the Blue Lagoon in the Yasawas would be almost impossible using paper charts, which we have.

Fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 30-05-2012, 05:51   #14
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Re: Garmin vs. Simrad Overall System

Yes, I am familiar with both systems. As for choosing one rather than the other (or some other system) ... I'm refitting my boat and hope I'll have to take that decision later this year. I'll be finalizing a realistic list of desired features and ranking them based on my cruising plans, making calls to technical support for info (and getting an idea of which company provides good support, that is, answering the phone and being able to answer queries), using the units at the local boat stores, lurking in then-current forum discussions, reviewing vendors' on-line support, especially frequently asked questions, and taking advantage of opportunities to use working systems on boats and talking to users.

Savior, for example, raised the issue of chart coverage. Based on your cruising plans, his comments should be cause for due diligence on the current status of Garmin's chart coverage, as well as other vendors' charts.

No system is likely to be perfect. Prioritizing features that are most important to your personal cruising needs is a good starting point for comparing products (make lists) to determine what will be the best product for you.

In my own experience, choosing among an array of products can get out of hand, especially in trying to keep up with the ever changing offering of electronics/features. I've also experienced being wrapped up in unnecessary minutiae that made me feel crazy. I'll stick with a current crop of gear, pick what will be adequate for me and remind myself to be happy with my choices, and just get on with leaving the damn boatyard.

I last went cruising in 79-80. I had lots of paper charts, a good compass (and a good backup), a couple of sextants, ham hf/vhf transceivers, a depth sounder, a mechanical speedo, a masthead wind indicator, a tiller-master auto-pilot (that hunted large ships), and a marine VHF. That was my primary nav/com gear and I was a happy cruiser. Back then, some folks circumnavigated with less gear.

Good luck. Roger
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Old 30-05-2012, 16:45   #15
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Yes, I am familiar with both systems. As for choosing one rather than the other (or some other system) ... I'm refitting my boat and hope I'll have to take that decision later this year. I'll be finalizing a realistic list of desired features and ranking them based on my cruising plans, making calls to technical support for info (and getting an idea of which company provides good support, that is, answering the phone and being able to answer queries), using the units at the local boat stores, lurking in then-current forum discussions, reviewing vendors' on-line support, especially frequently asked questions, and taking advantage of opportunities to use working systems on boats and talking to users.

Savior, for example, raised the issue of chart coverage. Based on your cruising plans, his comments should be cause for due diligence on the current status of Garmin's chart coverage, as well as other vendors' charts.

No system is likely to be perfect. Prioritizing features that are most important to your personal cruising needs is a good starting point for comparing products (make lists) to determine what will be the best product for you.

In my own experience, choosing among an array of products can get out of hand, especially in trying to keep up with the ever changing offering of electronics/features. I've also experienced being wrapped up in unnecessary minutiae that made me feel crazy. I'll stick with a current crop of gear, pick what will be adequate for me and remind myself to be happy with my choices, and just get on with leaving the damn boatyard.

I last went cruising in 79-80. I had lots of paper charts, a good compass (and a good backup), a couple of sextants, ham hf/vhf transceivers, a depth sounder, a mechanical speedo, a masthead wind indicator, a tiller-master auto-pilot (that hunted large ships), and a marine VHF. That was my primary nav/com gear and I was a happy cruiser. Back then, some folks circumnavigated with less gear.

Good luck. Roger
Thank you Roger. Will list a table for myself. Cheers
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