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Old 09-10-2012, 11:59   #1
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Garmin won't support Unlocking old device charts

Saw this on Yahoogroups Yahoo! Groups

Dear Garmin,

Read the story attached below which has just been disseminated among one of the most active groups of serious boaters in the U.S. It does not reflect well on you.

I hope you consider the dire implications of this story, and of your position vis a vis supporting earlier products. I am a licensed captain and I spend 365 days a year on my boat. I have thousands of dollars invested in navigation electronics, and I devoted my budget to Garmin. I purchased Garmin nav chips for the entire U.S., the Gulf, the Bahamas, the eastern Caribbean, the western Caribbean, and South American coast. I now learn that I can expect future problems, future indifference, and a lack of support from the manufacturer; namely, you.

Do you not think word of your refusal to support your products will spread? ...appear in blogs? ...appear in boater surveys? ...appear in magazine ?...and letters to the editor? Do you think a sale consummated last year does not affect your sales prospects for next year? Every maritime customer you have is linked to others ...and linked to your future. You offer an esoteric group of products, which means an esoteric group of customers. You are tarnishing your good name and squandering your market share.

The next time I spend $5,000 to $10,000 on navigation electronics, do you want me, and people like me, to return to Garmin? If so, I suggest you gain a longer view of the market and fulfill your duty to support your products unconditionally.

Yours truly,

Jack Wilkinson, Captain
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:01   #2
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Re: Garmin won't support Unlocking old device charts

+1,000,000
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:47   #3
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Re: Garmin won't support Unlocking old device charts

Pardon my ignorance but I don't know what unlocking means in the context of chartplotters, probably because I have refused to pay Garmin or anyone else to look at US charts on their MFD when I (and I presume also Garmin) can get the charts free from NOAA.

Does does this mean that your old Garmin nav chips if not unlocked, will not work on new Garmin MFDs?
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Old 09-10-2012, 13:19   #4
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Re: Garmin won't support Unlocking old device charts

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Pardon my ignorance but I don't know what unlocking means in the context of chartplotters, probably because I have refused to pay Garmin or anyone else to look at US charts on their MFD when I (and I presume also Garmin) can get the charts free from NOAA.

Does does this mean that your old Garmin nav chips if not unlocked, will not work on new Garmin MFDs?


When you buy the chip it often contains charts for many areas, you pay the fee and get a code to unlock the new charts, thus you donít need to get a new chip.
Garmin has changed their format to the point where old chart chips donít work in newer systems. The boat market for them is tiny compared to the Auto market which is very large and the Aviation market which is very profitable. They (and all the chartplotter producers) are also hit by the fact for US waters the NOAA charts are free, this is great for the US but not much good for the rest of the world. I use a Garmin radar/chartplotter system and like it allot, would I pay for new charts??? Well yes I have to because Iím in Canada.
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Old 09-10-2012, 14:14   #5
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Re: Garmin won't support Unlocking old device charts

The boat I'm purchasing comes with a Garmin GPSMap 525. Unfortunately, there are no cards in this unit, so no charts. The price to get the charts for the entire trip I want to do (Caribbean through Panama to Oz) will cost me more than half of the price to buy a new Raymarine C90W (I found a good price).

Fully agree it's ridiculous for them to charge such a high fee for charts - even if they had packaged the charts into bigger groups it would work (a la Navionics "Rest of World", "Europe" & "USA").

Which brings me to: http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ml#post1055335

(Yes, I know, trashing then offering to sell ... but for anyone who defends Garmin on this thread or wants one ... )
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Old 09-10-2012, 14:20   #6
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Re: Garmin won't support Unlocking old device charts

We just bought a new Raymarine for this exact reason! Thousands of dollars in old charts are now useless.

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Old 09-10-2012, 14:27   #7
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Re: Garmin won't support Unlocking old device charts

Yes, I probably should also have mentioned that the Raymarine comes with the "Rest of World" chart - which will cover the entire journey I'm going to make.

From a business model perspective, how these guys plan to compete against free charts and an informed client base who knows you can get most of the data free (and which will only become more prevalent) is mind boggling. Look at reality and change your business model to compete on the plotters, not the charts!
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Old 10-10-2012, 07:40   #8
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Re: Garmin won't support Unlocking old device charts

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Originally Posted by POH View Post
Look at reality and change your business model to compete on the plotters, not the charts!
I agree. These guys are going to drive themselves right out of business if they don't realize that, as time goes on, fewer and fewer customers are going to be willing to suck it up and pay big bucks for charts that they can download for free.

I also keep hoping that more countries will get with the program and start offering their taxpayer-funded charts on the internet for free.
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Old 10-10-2012, 07:58   #9
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Re: Garmin won't support Unlocking old device charts

Keep hoping...I'm sure our friends in the UK would like for that to happen, since they, like us here in the USA have paid their taxes for their hydro to make the charts!

The other issue with Garmin is that the even older units relied on CD-ROMs for the charts: the CD had all the charts, but you only got one unlock code for one specific area of charts and for only one or two handheld or fixed GPS units (to avoid multiple copies). I don't know if Garmin still provides unlock codes (for $$) for those CDs and my less than five year old handheld.

Their business model? It's automobile GPSs - we boaters are such a small amount of units sold comparatively, that they will just ignore us...wait, they have been for decades.

They're like the computer printer guys: sell the units cheap, make it up on the ink. But!: WE (citizens, taxes, all that) paid for the charts, "they" made them proprietary and now we're having to pay for them twice!

There are enough nav programs out there to use the free NOAA charts, but I haven't heard of a handheld that would do so. Anybody???
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Old 10-10-2012, 11:20   #10
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Re: Garmin won't support Unlocking old device charts

This is the exact reason I use paper charts. To lay out thousands to these bandits so they can squeeze my nuts anytime they want.
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Old 10-10-2012, 16:08   #11
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Re: Garmin won't support Unlocking old device charts

Are your paper charts free?
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Old 10-10-2012, 16:28   #12
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Re: Garmin won't support Unlocking old device charts

Of course not. But they were used or copied. Many donated. I have enough for a 3 year planned trip . Probably less than $300 out of pocket. One thing is for sure. I will never have to come down to the boat and find they are in a box with a lock on it.
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Old 10-10-2012, 17:10   #13
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Re: Garmin won't support Unlocking old device charts

You need the computers onboard anyway--why not use them for charting? I mainly use paper charts anyway, but digital charts are useful too. I don't understand why anyone buys a chart plotter that uses proprietary chart chips. All NOAA charts are free, free programs like OpenCPN are great, and there are tons of charts available for all over the world that work with these PC chart programs. Just the high price and puny crappy screens turn me off of any chart plotter.
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Old 10-10-2012, 17:53   #14
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Re: Garmin won't support Unlocking old device charts

When you people figure out how to cruise for free, let me know, till then I'll keep using my Garmin chartplotter and other Garmin products!
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Old 10-10-2012, 19:04   #15
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Re: Garmin won't support Unlocking old device charts

Never under-estimate the power of denial.
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