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Old 01-09-2006, 09:41   #1
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which GPS chart plotter??

Which GPS chart plotter do you like? I've just started looking and don't a clue as to what's good, bad, or indifferent. A little helpful advise would be much appreciated.

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randy
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Old 01-09-2006, 10:07   #2
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I have a Raymarine "C" series and like it very much. It's the first and only chartplotter I've had . I have used other Raymarine plotters and prefer the C to earlier models. The one thing I do not like about the "C" is the Navionics chip it takes. I go to the Bahamas every winter and Navionics' Bahamas chip is poor. I don't know where you're going to cruise but if you're going to the Bahamas buy a plotter that takes C-Maps, they have the Explorer charts on their latest chip.
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Old 01-09-2006, 13:44   #3
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The Standard Horizon CP1000C just came out on top in the Practical Sailor big screen chart plotter under $2,000 test. They liked the Navionics Platinum digital charts the best, which don't operate in the Standard Horizon plotter. The Raymarine C120 with Navionics Gold was their overall choice when charts are included in the decision. The Raymarine E120 with Navionics Platinum seems to be the bar if you want the chart plotter to wash your dog.
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Old 01-09-2006, 13:44   #4
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I like my Navaman becuase it tends to be very easy to navigate, BUT!!! I think all Chart plotters are similar in many ways. The difficulty in navigating the use of the plotter can be overcome with experiance or getting to know your "toy".
What I think is the MOST important question is, What type of chart system they use. What is best between Raster and Vector??? What is best between say C-map and what ever else. I think that is what sets the Chartplotters apart. Garmin make a great we plotter, but I truely believe it is let down by the chart system they use. It is theirs and can't be upgraded. It means a whole new plotter in the end.(that's what I have been told) Maybe this is or is not an issue. Comments??
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Old 01-09-2006, 13:47   #5
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My first chartplotter was a Horizon CP170C which I thought was terrific... and then upgraded to the MFD Raymarine C series... which offers plotting, radar and AIS etc... all of which I have.

I like the C series, but the menus can be a bit hard to "navigate" hahaha.. you have to drill down into them and often getting to a command is not as direct as you (me) would like it to be. I find it displays better than the C map charts... and I WOULD recommend a C series.

The firmware is upgradable and new versions are issured ... available for free every now and then. I think they are on 3.18 now.

The E series adds some things like video monitoring and some other "interfaces"... weather.

The Garmin MFDs looks super too.
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Old 02-09-2006, 07:45   #6
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Like already mentioned, chart makes a difference. Don't let the generic chart that comes with some units confuse you. Most of them only show shorelines but not nav info, depths, etc. Do homework on which brand charts you want first, then go for the gps mfg that supports those.

Screen size matters...too small and it gets too cluttered for reading without zooming in so close that you lose perspective. Night vision can suffer with big screens lighting up the cockpit. Consider that stuff if it matters.

For my money the Garmin 478 is one of the best entry level units out there. It comes with a nav chart and is priced around $975.
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Old 02-09-2006, 12:08   #7
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I agree with BBILL first choose the charts you like then a plotter to work with it. Also I like Garmin the best. Best clarity and detail . You can sail from the Dominican Republic to Trinidad thru the Eastern Caribbean with some South American waters thrown in for $158. Navman support is questionable. I really don't care for C-map. Check out prices at gpsonsale.com We sailed from Detroit to Trinidad using Garmin and really liked it. Simple to use and good clarity.
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Old 05-09-2006, 14:34   #8
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Charts charts charts

I couldn't agree more on the importance of the available charts for each unit. And that's exactly what I need to know and am learning fast. A wonderful unit with not so wonderful charts is useless, IMHO. I have no problem learning any of the interfaces. I work as an EE so I'm very use to learning new systems and such. The problem I'm faced with is the issue of getting to know the various charts available for each unit w/o buying the unit and finding out the hard way. I plan to cruise the gulf coast. east coast, bahamas, and western Carribbean, Belize in particular. I realize that the less popular areas, like the western carribbean may be a problem for charts, but then that's why I like Belize and I will very happily go back to the old ways in a heart beat. I just can't see not using GPS plotters seeing how cheap they are. Point of reference, 25 years ago I was doing service work on ships navigation systems for TRACOR. Our state of the art systems were a SAT NAV and a LORAN. They were $27,000.00 APIECE. Installation not included.

So anyone have any experience with the LOWRANCE 3600CI? Or any LOWRANCE GPS plotter. I looked at one of their units at the store and the chart data seems to be very detailed, required a $150 chip for entire gulf coast and another for entire east coast, etc. BUT, and this is the big but, I don't have much of a basis of comparison. Next time I will take my NOAA large scale (most detail) chart with me and compare.

Thanks for all responses

randy cape dory 25D
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Old 05-09-2006, 15:19   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtbates

I looked at one of their units at the store and the chart data seems to be very detailed, required a $150 chip for entire gulf coast and another for entire east coast, etc.
rtbates,

Unfortunately with chart chips it's very difficult to ascertain whether they're good or not. It's not just the data, it's whether the geo-referencing is correct. Granted, some earlier chips were very sparse as far as data went and you can see this on a demo at boat shows. What you can't see without being there (as in trying to find a cut through a couple of islands) is whether the chip's geo-referencing is correct. My two year old Navionics Gold chip (Charleston to Turks & Caicos) has tons of data but in certain spots , if you were dumb enough to follow it, it would take you over large islands. The same chip is great for east coast US but sucks in the Bahamas when compared to chips using Explorer Charts data. If you are going to spend much time south of Staniel Cay I would not recommend Navionics.
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Old 05-09-2006, 19:54   #10
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Software First

As noted above & preached by Practical Sailor, pick your navigation software first then match hardware 2nd.
The latest edition (sept) of PS has a feauture on nav software.
1) Best Choice = MapTech Chart Navigator Pro (Rose Point's Coastal Explorer)
2) Recommended = A) MaxSea 12 & B) GPSNavX
3) Budget Buy = Fugawi ENC
There are plenty of caveats & comments related to the shifting marketplace & future changes. Raytech was not included.
Chartplotters were tested in April (6" or less) and June (6-7" diagonal)
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Old 06-09-2006, 12:40   #11
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Have you considered a Yeoman Plotter? This uses a normal paper chart which is fixed by clips to a magnitised (?) board and connected to your GPS, hand held or fixed. You input three reference points of your chosing from the chart and it orientates itself regardless of the scale of the chart. There is a mouse which has four lights and when you are exactly over the position the lights go out and you put a pencil point through a hole in the centre - that's your position. Its as accurate as your GPS and I have found that using a not very expensive Garmin unit its excellent. The beauty of it is that if you have a catastrophic failure of electrics you still have your last position to work a DR from. I've used one on my last two boats and was annoyed with myself for letting it go with the boat I've just sold. However, when I go to the Southampton Boat Show later this month its the top of my list of "toys" to buy.

Of course you still need to buy paper charts for it but you would carry these anyway even if you have an all electronic plotter.

Hope this gives you a different perspective to look at. I presume that you can buy this unit in the States but if you can't then I can give you the email address of several chandlers who will ship it to you

Cheers
David
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Old 06-09-2006, 13:13   #12
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I have a Yeoman and have used it before the electronic charts came online. I will use it for ocean passages. It is the perfect transition between paper and electrons.

Laptops I find hard to use in a seaway and they consume alot of power. Imagine having it on for a week or two? I prefer fixed mount plotters with a paper back up.
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Old 06-09-2006, 13:40   #13
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I have a Standard Horizon CP150, approx 4 years old. While it does everything I need, it slower than molasis when zooming and panning. So painful infact I rarely put routes in because it take so long to pan around on the map. Nexp plotter I get, I will be looking at refresh speeds although I suspect the newer plotters of today this is not a problem

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Old 06-09-2006, 19:16   #14
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One feature that I think would be super for plotters would be the ability to have two windows open on different scales. This IS possible on the raymarine, but the windows are of equal size. What I would like is a small window.. which I could drag wherever I wanted it and that small window could be a large scale or smale scale... so you could observe the local area zoomed in and the picture zoomed out.

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Old 08-09-2006, 05:12   #15
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I bought a Standard Horizon CP180i recently and love it.

Bright screen, AIS ready and cheap price...Less than $400.00.
It takes C-Map Max chart. Never bought a chart-chip for it, just use the thing as a colorful GPS. Will buy a chip in the future if needed.
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