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Old 26-12-2016, 18:33   #1
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Which ipad for Garmin Bluechart

I have Garmin Bluecharts on my iphone. Which cost effective ipad should I get and what features do I need. My Garmin 740 chartplotter doesn't show Canadian charts but Bluecharts does. Refurb, used, or back level isn't an issue just so the app will run.
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Old 27-12-2016, 06:00   #2
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Re: Which ipad for Garmin Bluechart

We're running BlueChart on an iPad2 quite successfully. If you can get a more recent version, an iPad Air or one of the fourth generation versions, the power management will be better. There are lots of places online, especially eBay, where you can pick up a used or even refurbished iPad for a very reasonable price.


As a side note: We started out with BlueChart but switched to the Navionics app. It integrates automatically with our wifi-enabled depth finder/sonar and will do automatic routing, which the Garmin will not. Navionics will even let you create the route on a laptop or desktop computer, on your iphone, or wherever and the routes all synced so when you pull up the iPad, the route will be there. We also like the segment-by-segment tracking display better. It's worth looking into.
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Old 27-12-2016, 06:26   #3
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Re: Which ipad for Garmin Bluechart

I am not sure about the newer model ipads but when I got one you had to get one enabled for the cell phone network to get the gps that works independently of the web. The wifi only models didnt have the standalone gps. Make sure the model you get has this.
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Old 27-12-2016, 06:38   #4
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Re: Which ipad for Garmin Bluechart

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Originally Posted by meridian28 View Post
I have Garmin Bluecharts on my iphone. Which cost effective ipad should I get and what features do I need. My Garmin 740 chartplotter doesn't show Canadian charts but Bluecharts does. Refurb, used, or back level isn't an issue just so the app will run.
You might find the following web page of interest: Cruising Down the ICW 2017: Apple iPad on a boat
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Old 27-12-2016, 06:54   #5
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Re: Which ipad for Garmin Bluechart

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I am not sure about the newer model ipads but when I got one you had to get one enabled for the cell phone network to get the gps that works independently of the web. The wifi only models didnt have the standalone gps. Make sure the model you get has this.
Actually, we're running it on a wifi-only iPad2 with the GPS enabled and it runs perfectly.
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Old 27-12-2016, 07:14   #6
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Re: Which ipad for Garmin Bluechart

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Originally Posted by meridian28 View Post
I have Garmin Bluecharts on my iphone. Which cost effective ipad should I get and what features do I need. My Garmin 740 chartplotter doesn't show Canadian charts but Bluecharts does. Refurb, used, or back level isn't an issue just so the app will run.
Just get the chip for the canadian waters. you can get them on amazon for much less than an iPad is going to cost you. I used an ipad for navigation last summer and they are good with a few serious drawbacks. with the screen on all the time you will only get 4 or 5 hours usage. The biggest problem I ran into is using it in the cockpit, I had several instances where the ipad overheated from being in the sun! each time takes at least 30 minutes to cool down so don't have it overheat at a critical time!

If you use an ipad as your nav app, make sure its in the shade. I was using the navionics app which is a $75 a year subscription. no issues downloading the needed charts canada or us!

the ipad I was using is an ipad 4 (the one right before the AIR versions started) with cell antenna. You need the Cell enabled version to have the builtin GPS capability. otherwise you will need an external bluetooth GPS puck.


see here:

https://www.amazon.com/Garmin-BlueCh.../dp/B00283RCKS
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Old 27-12-2016, 09:04   #7
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Re: Which ipad for Garmin Bluechart

I currently have an IPad Pro which I use with both Blue Charts and Navionics. Both programs work wonderfully, but I have a problem with seeing the screen in daylight. I did not have this problem with the IPad4 which was always easily viewable. I upgraded to get the larger screen and it may have been a mistake. I run the IPad as a backup to the Garmin 7212 and it is always on when we are cruising. I put a small inverter under the helm station to power it with the standard IPad plug in wall transformer. System works great.
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Old 27-12-2016, 09:20   #8
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Re: Which ipad for Garmin Bluechart

Get the chartplotter as opposed to the kit that claims to do everything but nothing well.
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Old 27-12-2016, 11:41   #9
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Re: Which ipad for Garmin Bluechart

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We're running BlueChart on an iPad2 quite successfully. If you can get a more recent version, an iPad Air or one of the fourth generation versions, the power management will be better. There are lots of places online, especially eBay, where you can pick up a used or even refurbished iPad for a very reasonable price.


As a side note: We started out with BlueChart but switched to the Navionics app. It integrates automatically with our wifi-enabled depth finder/sonar and will do automatic routing, which the Garmin will not. Navionics will even let you create the route on a laptop or desktop computer, on your iphone, or wherever and the routes all synced so when you pull up the iPad, the route will be there. We also like the segment-by-segment tracking display better. It's worth looking into.
I use an iPad forth generation (less than $200 on eBay) and have full capacity with the BlueChart. Yes I also have the Navionics app too but using the depth finder/sonar is again only back up so not necessary in most cases (having it like most insurance is only great when it is needed). Also, if you are worried about wifi and requiring wifi enabling, try using your phone data and Bluetooth interlinking as it does not require an extra line to be added to the tablet or laptop - definitely a money saver as wifi is more difficult to access than phone connections and having a phone based mobile hotspot allows better accessibility.
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Old 27-12-2016, 12:23   #10
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Re: Which ipad for Garmin Bluechart

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Originally Posted by JohnEasley View Post


As a side note: We started out with BlueChart but switched to the Navionics app. It integrates automatically with our wifi-enabled depth finder/sonar and will do automatic routing, which the Garmin will not. Navionics will even let you create the route on a laptop or desktop computer, on your iphone, or wherever and the routes all synced so when you pull up the iPad, the route will be there. We also like the segment-by-segment tracking display better. It's worth looking into.
Navionics is fine as long as you have no intention of going to the Bahamas.
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Old 27-12-2016, 13:34   #11
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Re: Which ipad for Garmin Bluechart

Vasco is right about Navionics and the Bahamas. Navionics didnt have good charts but Garmin did. I believe it is because Garmin licenses the Explorer chart data but Navionics doesnt.

Having said that, the most important nav equipment in the Bahamas is a good pair of polarized sunglasses
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Old 27-12-2016, 14:48   #12
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Re: Which ipad for Garmin Bluechart

I bought a $200 used mini-Ipad and loaded Garmin Blue Charts and Active Captain on it. It has no GPS receiver and I keep thinking about adding a Bad Elf puck to it, but it was fine on the last cruise without it. I actually bread crumbed our course on it by entering the lat-lons from the GPS by hand with the time and date as we went along, and we now have a great record of where we were when, including the exact locations we anchored at.
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Old 27-12-2016, 16:11   #13
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Re: Which ipad for Garmin Bluechart

I use Blue Charts on my ipad. First on an Ipad 2, then on a newer iPad Air 2. In both cases I had the wifi only models, which don't have built in GPS (an earlier commenter said their wifi only model worked by that wasn't my experience). I paired my iPads to a bluetooth GPS receiver - the one I used is called Bad Elf. Google "bad elf gps". I had the $125 Bad Elf 2200 model, provides GPS signal over bluetooth to up to 5 devices.

I've used blue charts for BVI, Bahamas, St Martin, Antigua, and SVG and it worked nicely for all of them.

Remember to download the ActiveCaptain database onto your iPad while you still have internet connectivity! I forgot to do this in the Bahamas and never had enough connectivity there to grab the AC database.

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Old 27-12-2016, 19:12   #14
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Re: Which ipad for Garmin Bluechart

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Navionics is fine as long as you have no intention of going to the Bahamas.
What about the Sonar Charts for the Bahamas?
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Old 27-12-2016, 19:25   #15
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Re: Which ipad for Garmin Bluechart

I use an Ipad Air and used it extensively on a Pacific crossing to Hawaii, through Micronesia, and now sailing the Philippines.
The Ipad Air proved its worth and durability as it got drowned in salt water several times when waves went over the boat, got tossed around in the cabin, stepped on and even bent like a banana when I accidentally sat on it.

I used BlueCharts from Seattle down the coast to Sta Barbra, and then to Hawaii. Bluecharts worked great up to Hawaii. After that I used Navionics through Micronesia and the Philippines as I found out that Bluecharts were not accurate or detailed enough.

Also the Ipad Air had great daylight visibility as long as I did not have a screen protector on it.

I have a Raymarine 140w touch screen on the helm, but used my ipad 90% of the time anyway. It never failed on me and is still working great although now some of the screen lighting is starting to darken on the edges. As much as it got abused sailing through storms across the pacific, I am shocked it is still working!
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