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Old 23-05-2010, 17:39   #1
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Should I Go with Garmin for Electronics ?

As we're preparing [I]Rutea[I] for her next trip back to Mexico and beyond, one of the items at the top of the 'To Do' list is to replace all of her electronics. The sailing instruments (B&G Hercules - Hornet) were installed when she was new, 25 years ago. The wind sensor has been repaired too many times to be reliable and the depth meter often reads 200 meters of water when there's actually less than 6. The 15-year old Furuno radar often locks up - easy to notice when you're around land or other targets but could be dangerous on the open ocean when a blank screen could lull you into believing that no one's around when there might be. I had installed a Standard Horizon CPV350 Chartplotter when it first came our but I've been disappointed with it.

So, before we head off to the South Pacific, I want all new electronics. We'll need new radar, chartplotter, sailing instruments, sounder and AIS. I know that Raymarine is a popular choice but I'm apprehensive about their long term survivability, the purchase by FLIR notwithstanding. Also, I've seen quite a few posts here about interoperability problems with Raymarine products that I'm reluctant to choose them. B&G makes great sailing instruments but expensive and they don't make a chart plotter. Simrad is an option but I've had such lousy experience with any company that's been purchased by Lewmar that I made a decision a while back not to purchase any product made by a company they own. Furuno makes very reliable equipment and I'm seriously considering it as an option as they can do everything I want. So can Garmin.

If you were in my shoes, what would you do? In the Garmin, I'm looking at their GPSMAP 6208 (which I've heard is temporarily in quarantine - the colors of the water and land were flip-flopping randomly) and in the Furuno I'm looking at the NavNet 3D MFD8. Is there another contender that I should consider? Does anyone have experience with an all Furuno or all Garmin system?

By the way, I'm going to keep my old Cetrek autopilot even though it's 15 years old. I've got tons of spare parts and the motor that drives the system is actually part of the Whitlock Mamba steering system and I've got a spare motor for that, too.

I'll be grateful for any input.

Fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 23-05-2010, 18:14   #2
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nhschneider,

I have a NavNet 3D MFD12 below at the nav station and a small Garmin 546 at the helm. Much depends on the area you intend to cruise regarding chart coverage and cost. The Furuno's radar is outstanding and the US coverage of charts is good. I chose the Garmin for it's low power consumption and chart availability. It also acts as an AIS display, really quite a bargain. I strongly recommend a transmitting AIS instead of receive only. It is nice to know the big boys can see you. I was able to connect it all through the NMEA 2000 bus which made wiring a snap.

Take a close look at the MFD 12 vs the 8. If you have the room the 12 offers far better resolution.

Good luck.
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Old 23-05-2010, 18:37   #3
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I went with all Garmin throughout for 3 reasons, price, reputation and the fact that they answer the phone. With all one manufacturer there is no wiggle room for them to get out of accountability if something does not talk to the other.
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Old 23-05-2010, 19:03   #4
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I would stick to the old equip, if it works. Sure why not, have doubled with some new stuff, will not hurt.

My experience with Garmin has been very good. I like their interface much more than Raymarine´s or Simrad´s too.

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Old 31-05-2010, 15:09   #5
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Complete Navionics systems, What to do in 2010?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nhschneider View Post
If you were in my shoes, what would you do? In the Garmin, I'm looking at their GPSMAP 6208 (which I've heard is temporarily in quarantine - the colors of the water and land were flip-flopping randomly) and in the Furuno I'm looking at the NavNet 3D MFD8. Is there another contender that I should consider? Does anyone have experience with an all Furuno or all Garmin system?


By the way, I'm going to keep my old Cetrek autopilot even though it's 15 years old. I've got tons of spare parts and the motor that drives the system is actually part of the Whitlock Mamba steering system and I've got a spare motor for that, too..

I am working on this issue also. The question I have for you is what bus technology is your old autopilot using? It may be reliable, great, "you love it," it's free, etc, but can it be integrated with the new stuff??

Not surprisingly, electronics technology is driven by the PC market. All marine manufacturers (to my knowledge) stick to whatever protocol provides the best cost performance. This usually means that they can get support, it is easily integrated, and there is third party support for their interface to it. Currently, that means ethernet as the common backbone. Serial (USB dominates, with RS-232 disappearing). Ask anyone who has older Raymarine/Raytheon equipment and is looking for compatible flash memory. As the format changed and the memories grew larger, the older panels could not adapt.

Recently, the advent of the iPad and the Android pads have made me think that maybe it is time to switch to apps on netbooks or tablet machines. That would require a wireless net on board, but could ultimately be lower power with higher adaptability.

So, let's see if we can get a bunch of us to start looking into this. The Navionics brands I know are Garmin, Raymarine, Furano, with ancillary systems from Icom, and ???? If this has been done anywhere already, someone please point me to it. Given a little research we can probably figure out what is compatible and work out a good solution for any boat with expandability in mind.
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Old 31-05-2010, 19:02   #6
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I have a Garmin 4210 plotter and HD radar. The autopilot is raymarine. I couldnt be happier with the system. It is great.
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Old 03-06-2010, 13:56   #7
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Hmm, thanks. I'm going with Garmin on my chart plotter purchase.
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Old 03-06-2010, 15:50   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nhschneider View Post
, before we head off to the South Pacific, I want all new electronics. We'll need new radar, chartplotter, sailing instruments, sounder and AIS.

I'm going to keep my old Cetrek autopilot even though it's 15 years old. I've got tons of spare parts and the motor that drives the system is actually part of the Whitlock Mamba steering system and I've got a spare motor for that, too.
It looks like I am late to the thread, but I would offer three comments on electronics selection:

(1) For a cruising boat, I think the autopilot is the most important piece. It needs to handle your boat and be reliable. So, I would start the whole electronics selection process with the autopilot. Personally I think B&G and NKE make the best pilots. You are sticking with your well proven Cetrek, and that's (Sticking with something that has worked well for you at sea) always a fine decision.
(2) I think the plotter is the second most important piece. For the plotter I think the single most important factor is the chart availability/cost. I have used plotters which work with C-map, Navionics, and mapmedia. It used to be that Garmin did not have a very good world (outside USA) nautical chart catalog but I have not looked at them in several years and that may have changed. I would simply look at their catalog and for instance see what sort of chart is available for Gambier Island (a somewhat remote place that you might go in the S Pacific). The second plotter factor I would look for is low electricity draw. On a offshore cruising boat, we like smaller screens with smaller amps much better than bigger screens with bigger amps. Third, we do set the autopilot to steer to waypoint quite frequently, so the autopilot and plotter need to talk to each other. Usually this is easy (NEMA format) but is worth just double checking. Fourth, the plotter should have a port for 'AIS in', most now do but a few do not. Again, worth double checking.
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Old 03-06-2010, 23:52   #9
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If you're going to go all new be absolutely sure you run a NMEA 2000 standard compliant bus (AKA Maretron) through your boat, then you can splice in anything you want. I am mid installation of a complete maretron system that will also use the existing furuno depth sounder until I a new aitmar model comes out I want. My main point though is run the network and then you can add on or upgrade as you go.

Another thing to consider if you want to do PC Navigation and a chartplotter both with RADAR overlay then you will need to start your decision making process by deciding the radar\chartplotter\software combination because RADARs are all proprietary at this point and do not interop x-brands. You have to match the chartploter and the navigation software to the RADAR.

Best of luck, let us know ho wyou go!
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Old 04-06-2010, 10:48   #10
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My biggest concern about dedicated chart plotters is being locked into the vendor's chart database. There are a number of sources of chart data. The seems to be a consensus that some areas of the world are better served with company X rather than company Y. If I were to buy a chart plotter I'd want to make sure I could use whatever chart database I wanted, not what the company's selling.

I don't run the navcomp 24/7. I do run the GPS, AIS, and instruments 24/7 and am OK with the power requirements. I don't have radar but if I did, I don't think I'd want radar overlay (don't use it on the big boat either).

Finally, I'm not sure I want an "all-in-one" unit. If one part of the brain died, then I think I'd lose everything. And a single point catastrophic failure is not an option.

So I carry a laptop with several USB ports, several NMEA transceiver interfaces, and control the autopilot manually. The only nav spares I carry is an old backup PC and a second GPS.
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Old 07-06-2010, 16:25   #11
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Well, I did a lot of reading here, other forums and read many reviews. So, today I purchased the Garmin 441s chartplotter online for about $100 cheaper than most other places.. I'll hit the marine store when it comes and get a transducer. Need to talk with somebody about that part. And, I'm tempted to get the Sirrius/XM antenna and subscribe to the satellite weather service.
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Old 07-06-2010, 17:07   #12
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anyone can tell me best places for these specific kinds of electronics online these days besides worst marine or defender? I'm aware of a few others, but want to get your take
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Old 07-06-2010, 17:33   #13
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Try the GPSStore. It's all the same stuff-- the issue is price, plain and simple.
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Old 07-06-2010, 17:41   #14
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ahhh nice. GPSStore. Not on my list. thanks!
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Old 08-06-2010, 13:09   #15
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GPS Store, very nice. Could of saved another $15.
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