Afterdoing a cost analysis, study of function, campatibility, and practical application. I went with the Lowrance LMS 527c iGPS/DF plotter and depthfinder. I also purchased their new HD 1800 2KW Radar. So far... I am very happy with both.
Here's my illogical logic:
Garmin and other systems are just too darn expensive for my pocketbook.
Outside of the initial cost for equipment
, to buy enough electronic charts to even get me out of Puget Sound
would run anywhere from $400 to $2000 depending on needs and detail. Checking out the Garmin etc. electronc chart prices to go down the US West Coast
, Central America
and the South Seas. I estimated my cost for electronic charts to be between $4000 and $6000 (and that was bare bones and would not get us beyond Fiji
Right now I have 3 Navionics charts that cover all the regions mentioned above for about $500 (the US chart was included with the purchase
of the LMS 527). Other Charts are all on MMC reader cards and upgradable. As far as detail...they cover what we need.
We also have a full set of paper back-up charts, plus two computers
loaded with with the free copy of SEACLEAR II and a Pro Gin USB adapted GPS units that fits right over the SEACLEAR II. As an additional back up we have 2 hand held Megellan GPS units that are kept sealed in a homade ferrite cage below to protect against weather
, and lightning
My other thought was that although Lowrance isn't that big of a name in the recreational world, it's an industry standard in the fishing
world. It looks like Lowrance has just recently broken into the recreational field and have come up with what I think is a pretty competative product in this LMS 527c unit I bought. It costs about $700 and offers a shoot-thru-the hull-transducer or you can get a thru-hull mount. I went with the thru-hull dual frequency transducer. It is totally awesome...in that it gives all the fancy split-screen stuff, plus temp and speed etc., GPS, Bottom, with Radar we have overlays without having to purchase
a seperate viewing unit. For 5 1/2 inches this really gives more information that I'll probably ever need or use.
The real kicker
for me was the fact that the plotter/depthfinder is sun and waterproof and mounts right on my pedestal
...hooked straight up to the new Lowrance Radar, I think he combination is great for the price
. I don't work for Lowrance or know anyone who does...but so far this product is what I wanted at a price
I was willing to pay.
Ray and Sandy
aboard S/V Pure Joy
an Islander Freeport