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Old 12-12-2014, 22:55   #1
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Picking chartplotter and radar is so frustrating

Trying to find a chartplotter and radar combination is so frustrating. I know what I want, but can’t find a compatible combination at a reasonable price.

I thought I found some Standard Horizon & SI-TEX chartplotters, but the compatible radar domes are discontinued.

I want HD, not 3G or 4G radar, for better squall detection. I don’t want only proprietary charts. The close-up capabilities and low-power of 3G or 4G is nice, but I haven’t seen any hard claims that 3G or 4G can detect squalls as well as HD or digitally-enhanced HD. Touch screens are cool, but I don’t want only touchscreen – buttons are easier for gloved fingers.

Any recommended currently-available (not discontinued) combinations at around $3000 for:

Radar: 4KW HD, uHD or xHD

Chartplotter: Multifunction 8” or larger color, at least XVGA (800+ pixel) resolution, ability to overlay radar & AIS, C-MAP chart support, NMEA 0183 and/or 2000. And 3D-ish structurescan-like sonar would be a plus.
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Old 13-12-2014, 03:20   #2
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Re: Picking chartplotter and radar is so frustrating

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Originally Posted by rgesner View Post
Trying to find a chartplotter and radar combination is so frustrating. I know what I want, but can’t find a compatible combination at a reasonable price.

I thought I found some Standard Horizon & SI-TEX chartplotters, but the compatible radar domes are discontinued.

I want HD, not 3G or 4G radar, for better squall detection. I don’t want only proprietary charts. The close-up capabilities and low-power of 3G or 4G is nice, but I haven’t seen any hard claims that 3G or 4G can detect squalls as well as HD or digitally-enhanced HD. Touch screens are cool, but I don’t want only touchscreen – buttons are easier for gloved fingers.

Any recommended currently-available (not discontinued) combinations at around $3000 for:

Radar: 4KW HD, uHD or xHD

Chartplotter: Multifunction 8” or larger color, at least XVGA (800+ pixel) resolution, ability to overlay radar & AIS, C-MAP chart support, NMEA 0183 and/or 2000. And 3D-ish structurescan-like sonar would be a plus.
I thnk you be hard pressed to find that combination for 3 grand.

Furono's MFD8 (or 12) does not have touch screen - only buttons (I'm with you) and their radar is excellent. They use Maxsea (C-map based) and you can add all the gadgets you want. They are Nmea 0183 adn 2000 compatible (plugs for both types of data).

Not to be disparaging of other products, but Furuno does have a reputation for being really tough - This is the reason you find Furuno on a lot of fishing boats and the like.

But they are expensive.
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Old 13-12-2014, 04:36   #3
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Re: Picking chartplotter and radar is so frustrating

Second that. Furuno makes the best pulse radar. And they make a button plotter yet. But you will be restricted to Navionics or CMap I think, and I'm not sure whether the current Furuno plotters do both. That will come closest to meeting your requirements.

I think you're stuck with touchscreens for everything else.

I used to think that I would hate touchscreens, and spent a lot of money buying the last non-touchscreen Zeus plotter. But the second one had to be a touchscreen or I would not have been able to get Gofree working. As it turns out, the touchscreen works fine, and in some ways I even prefer it. The only downside is that you have to take a glove off, and up here above 50N I'm in gloves a lot. I think by the way you can buy special gloves with a touchscreen-activating pad on one finger.

If you decide to drop the non-touchscreen requirement, then you can look at Navico, Garmin, and Raymarine setups. The new Raymarine radars are really good, maybe not quite as good as Furuno, but for that much cheaper.

I have the B&G Zeus plotters and Navico 4G radar. I see squalls just fine. Maybe not at such a great range as a 4kW Furuno pulse radar, however -- I see them pretty well from maybe 15 or 20 miles but not more. So if seeing squalls is the main priority, then you should probably go with Furuno.
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Old 13-12-2014, 20:05   #4
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Re: Picking chartplotter and radar is so frustrating

I have a Raymarine e series and it can be mostly operated by button only. I occasionally see some models offered in a combo with a radome like this: http://www.imarineusa.com/raymarinee...FQmOaQodCkEAsA




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Old 14-12-2014, 06:41   #5
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Re: Picking chartplotter and radar is so frustrating

Garmin 840xs, an 8-inch button chartplotter with US coastal charts, advanced sonar, 800x600, and a fine reputation, lists for $1500. Their 18 xHD radar lists for $1,600.
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Old 14-12-2014, 08:01   #6
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Re: Picking chartplotter and radar is so frustrating

I like the Furuno radars, and I hate their chart plotters, they are not user friendly. It is a PITA to get the damn plotter to rollover to the next way point on the routes, inserting WPs is a pain, for me too many steps compared to Garmin plotters.
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Old 14-12-2014, 10:44   #7
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Re: Picking chartplotter and radar is so frustrating

My new Raymarine e series plotter/mfd and radar have been very good with the 'hybrid' touchscreen. The only complaint I have on the e7 was coming back from Hawaii, a couple of times, the spray hit the screen making the unit get overwhelmed an seizing up requiring a reboot. Raymarine is still looking into this. Otherwise, the radar 'saw' the squalls and the overlay options on the e7 are great. Raymarine is well backed by Flir Corp who bought them so worldwide service/replacement has been more reliable.
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Old 14-12-2014, 10:54   #8
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Re: Picking chartplotter and radar is so frustrating

Hi rgesner

Not sure what you consider proprietary charts but every chart plotter I know of requires you to buy chips or pay to download charts from their website. I may be wrong but the only way I know to use generic charts like those you download free from NOAA is to use a software based system like Open CPN.
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Old 14-12-2014, 14:52   #9
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Re: Picking chartplotter and radar is so frustrating

I've been told that a Raymarine tech once wrote and owners manual that most folks could understand...and because of that he was fired immediately.
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Old 14-12-2014, 15:17   #10
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Re: Picking chartplotter and radar is so frustrating

..take at look at the nobeltec/furuno combination...
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Old 14-12-2014, 23:39   #11
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Re: Picking chartplotter and radar is so frustrating

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Hi rgesner

Not sure what you consider proprietary charts ...
Garmin, for example, is totally proprietary as takes only Garmin charts.

Furano NavNet is more open as it comes with all available NOAA charts and also takes C-MAP MM3D format charts as well as some Navionics charts.
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Old 15-12-2014, 01:35   #12
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Re: Picking chartplotter and radar is so frustrating

Easy. Opencpn with a Garmin HD dome. Does everything. By the way, my 3G detects squalls just fine.
I used to use a nobeltec/sitex system. The OCPN/3G setup is better, and mine cost under $1200 US, installed.
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Old 15-12-2014, 06:35   #13
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Re: Picking chartplotter and radar is so frustrating

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Originally Posted by rgesner View Post
Garmin, for example, is totally proprietary as takes only Garmin charts.

Furano NavNet is more open as it comes with all available NOAA charts and also takes C-MAP MM3D format charts as well as some Navionics charts.
My Garmin 740s came with the complete US Charts that I'm sure were taken from NOAA.

Does the Furuno allow you to download NOAA charts or just comes with them preinstalled? If that's the case then the Furuno also uses proprietary formats, just allows you to use more than one proprietary format.
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Old 15-12-2014, 06:38   #14
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Re: Picking chartplotter and radar is so frustrating

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Easy. Opencpn with a Garmin HD dome. Does everything. By the way, my 3G detects squalls just fine.
I used to use a nobeltec/sitex system. The OCPN/3G setup is better, and mine cost under $1200 US, installed.
The only problem with Open CPN is getting a daylight viewable cockpit display. The only ones I have found were more expensive than buying a good chartplotter. If you have any suggestions for one that is affordable I would be thrilled to hear about it.
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Old 15-12-2014, 22:57   #15
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Re: Picking chartplotter and radar is so frustrating

yep, from $380 USD delivered. See here Sorry I have a server issue right now - its going but very slow. Please be patient! I'm trying to get it sorted. :-)
Of course with this solution you can have all the functions a pc in the cockpit can give as well - music, movies, etc etc. Add $100 if you want touch screen. These screens are great in direct sunlight, AND dim down well for nighttime use.
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