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Old 22-04-2012, 20:02   #1
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Smile Handheld GPS options

Although this had been addressed in the past, it hasn't been recently. My "bad situation" fantasy is: Dead battery's and motor, night time and fog. I'd need handheld VHF ( I have two ) and handheld GPS. Which hand held is the best at this time ? I'm going to a lot of trouble to be sure this "no power" situation will never happen. I have a honda EU2000i for back up, but I can see that it might be a problem running it in 8 foot seas at night, in the rain. I have LED " Tap " lights with internal batteries for lighting, will be getting LED/battery nav. emergency lights, but I still need to know where I am....
So, what's the hot item? Thanks..
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Old 22-04-2012, 20:19   #2
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Re: Handheld GPS options

Tough to go wrong with Garmin. I had favored the 72/76 series up till I used one of the new 78s. I like the 78 series now, but as a back up the old (non-color) 72/76 is going to be hard to beat... (IIRC, 21 hours on a set of AA's).

I used to prefer Magellan, back before they sold the company. The coustomer service took a nose dive after that, and the last time I looked their support/map updates were lacking.

Right now, I would probably buy a Garmin 72h (can find them on sale pretty cheap) for a ditch bag back up... or a 78 if you plan to use it much.

Might want to look at some of the combination VHF/GPS units though, might kill both birds with one rock.
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Old 22-04-2012, 20:48   #3
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Re: Handheld GPS options

And a proper paper chart with the last hourly posting of Lat and Long, should do if ya run out of batteries ! always works for me !! I carry a hand held 72/76 with a back up of the same thing and lots of batts, but the paper saved my ass way more then once !! Just my 2 cents
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Old 22-04-2012, 21:14   #4
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Re: Handheld GPS options

+1 for Bob, agreed my back up is either a chartbook that is on the cabin top under the dodger or my chartbag with the magic pencil, I do have a explorer but it eats batteries in a few hours so I am reluctant to rely on it.
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Old 22-04-2012, 21:20   #5
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Garmin all the way

Upgraded(from 76 - now 2nd onboard) to 78s last year - added Blue Chart(s)......shop around for best price
Used a lot for planning and underway(move around in protective see thru clip on bag) because it is so user friendly.

Agree with paper Chart & AA battery supply onboard + ditch bag.

Lots of models at various price point - so you will find ones to meet your
needs
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Old 23-04-2012, 07:42   #6
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Re: Handheld GPS options

Absolutely agree about the paper charts, except at night in heavy fog. Then nothing beats a GPS. I work hard not to get backed into a corner. Its probably overkill, but a back up GPS in foggy Maine is not a bad idea. Thanks for the pointers guys !
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Old 23-04-2012, 07:59   #7
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Re: Handheld GPS options

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomandAnitas34 View Post
Absolutely agree about the paper charts, except at night in heavy fog. Then nothing beats a GPS. I work hard not to get backed into a corner. Its probably overkill, but a back up GPS in foggy Maine is not a bad idea. Thanks for the pointers guys !
Agreed; however I like to have (use) two completely separate methods of navigation when you have your back against the wall. So in addition to the back up GPS, try the compass and log (i.e. heading and distance run through water).

Gives you a warm fuzzy feeling when both systems are giving you the same positional information .
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Old 23-04-2012, 08:19   #8
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Re: Handheld GPS options

I always follow the moto "hope for the best but plan for the worst" so your thinking is spot on re. the power failure options. True it's VERY unlikely but it's still worth considering. The Garmin units (of which I have one) take standard AA batteries so i'd recommend having a good pack of new batteries stored away to ensure you keep it going for longer periods.

I also have two backups, my laptop also has Opencpn installed with a little GPS reciever (the laptop battery is good for about 2 hours I guess) but in that sutuation, i'd fire it up for 5 min bursts every 45 mins or so, to check my possition and course, which would extend it's usefullness to several hours at least. In addition to that, I even still have my car's GPS unit tucked away. Sure it's land based maps won't work at sea but it will still give a GPS Lat-Long fix that you can use in conjunction with paper charts in the worst case scenario.
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Old 23-04-2012, 08:36   #9
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Re: Handheld GPS options

I had a magellan that I used for years, but the last one I bought was a Garmen 72, it works pretty well. I have the nmea cable that send gps data to my AIS, or laptop.

The combo VHF and GPS units are still pretty pricy compaired to just buying one of each.
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Old 23-04-2012, 09:42   #10
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Re: Handheld GPS options

We carry two Garmin GPSMAP76's. One is for the ditchbag/back-up, the other for use on the dinghy or shore. They're great, reliable units but are not without faults either. The screen is small and optional charts are expensive. But the units themselves are affordable, compact and easy to use. I haven't tried the newer 78-series units, but I'm guessing they are more of the same in an updated package.
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Old 23-04-2012, 13:18   #11
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Re: Handheld GPS options

72H if chartless

If you can afford, 78 with charts or the MAP 620 model also with charts

For true emergency I would go for a model with chart.

If it IS emergency, maybe you will not have the time to consult the (paper) chart or maybe you will not HAVE the (paper) chart.

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Old 23-04-2012, 14:00   #12
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Re: Handheld GPS options

I would suggest a "layered defence" approach: adding a voltmeter (relatively inexpensive) to check the battery condition. This will not prevent you from killing the battery but will reduce the probability.

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