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Old 13-05-2012, 20:35   #1
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IPad or GPS chart plotter ?

This is my first post so I apologize if I make a forum error!

I am weighing my options between a basic GPS chartplotter or an ipad with Inavx etc. I am also considering an autpilot to assist me in enjoying my time on the water. My boat is a simple Cal 2-27 and she has been mostly restored and repowered with a Westerbeke diesel if that is a significant factor to consider. I would love to cruise but realistically I work to much and can't afford more than a few days at a time so it is mostly 2 day trips in New England at this time.

Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Old 13-05-2012, 21:49   #2
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Re: IPad or GPS chart plotter ?

iPads are not waterproof nor designed for salty air... Extended use and it will die..... Unless you want it just for planning I would not use an iPad while actively under way for navigation.... I manage a computer store that is adjacent to a marina and I can't tell you how many laptops and other non marine devices we service from boats that pull in..... Dropped... wet... you name it... salt encrusted...and they are often beyond repair and we simply do data recovery. A chart plotter is ruggedized and water proof. Ours often (garmin 3000C if I recall) gets wet with sea spray and its designed for that...

If its just 2 day trips and you cant afford a chart plotter, stick to paper charts and a handheld GPS. Use the iPad for route planning etc when you can be inside the cabin.

Autopilots are great for holding courses... mine is broken (well actually the mag compass is, which essentially makes the autopilot useless) and I cant tell you how much I miss being able to leave the helm for short periods or being able to sit elsewhere and have the boat hold the course while Im up front on deck or in a more comfortable seat (our captains chair is ungodly uncomfortable)
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Old 13-05-2012, 21:54   #3
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Re: IPad or GPS chart plotter ?

+1

Cost would be about the same for a small GPS and an iPad.

A marine GPS with NMEA output can also be interfaced with the autopilot to steer courses and routes.

You can buy waterproof cases for iPads.
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Old 13-05-2012, 21:55   #4
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Re: IPad or GPS chart plotter ?

Thanks for the information.
I am currently "old school" with the mapquest books and charts as well as a garmin 76csx handheld. Does garmin make an affordable chart plotter to be compatible with a basic auto pilot for tiller boats or will I need to fight with the notorious NEMA connections? And if so is it easier to buy from one company?
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Old 13-05-2012, 22:07   #5
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Re: IPad or GPS chart plotter ?

For short trips on a smallish boat, I would forget the complexity of a separate autopilot hooked into a GPS and merely get a tiller pilot with the lowest draw, set it up for the sea state and dial in your course (many tillerpilots have built-in fluxgate compasses) manually until you more or less match your desired heading as per your GPS, which can also be bought with gear to hook into a 12 VDC socket, preferably inside the cabin.

This is what I would do motoring or motor sailing. Straight sailing? Read one of the many books that explain how to balance your sails and use tiller tamers and/or bungee cords to self-steer. The cost is zero to a jug of rum, depending on how far you want to play around.

You're not going offshore and you are going to be on deck keeping watch and will be able to see the compass and, via pilotage, landmarks to tell you how you are doing with your dialling in of the course. It's a convenience, not a necessity, and you will do better not to build an elaborate system for a small, short-haul sailboat, in my view.

As to which one to buy, I advocate only that you acquire the next size bigger than your boat requires. A stronger drive will burn less amps than a taxed one making constant adjustments (although this is often user-selectable in terms of sensitivity).
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Old 13-05-2012, 22:07   #6
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Re: IPad or GPS chart plotter ?

A Garmin GPSMAP451 (4") plotter costs AU$549 with maps loaded. Probably cheaper on the www.

Any GPS to autopilot interface will require a propriety language (e.g. Raymarine - SeaTalk, Simrad - SimNet) or NMEA to work together.

It is easier to use equipment from the one manufacturer but with industry standard NMEA it should all work if the equipment is outputting and listening for the correct "sentences".
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Old 13-05-2012, 22:34   #7
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Re: IPad or GPS chart plotter ?

My GPS Plotter 76CSx has lasted 4 years and never missed a beat! the screen is small but the best thing is that its waterproof and mobile So far it has got me half way around Australia and I swear by it for navigation.
Im in the process of ordering a I Pad version 3 but as it has not arrived yet (5 weeks) I cant comment .



BRAND NEW! Garmin GPSMAP 76CSx Handheld GPS. Must See! | eBay
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Old 14-05-2012, 04:38   #8
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Our raymarine E80 plotter is a lot more accurate than the ipad,sometimes by 100 meters.
Ipad is awesome to use though inside the cabin,outside very hard to see in the day.
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Old 14-05-2012, 04:42   #9
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Re: IPad or GPS chart plotter ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dirkdig View Post
Our raymarine E80 plotter is a lot more accurate than the ipad,sometimes by 100 meters.
Ipad is awesome to use though inside the cabin,outside very hard to see in the day.
I try to keep more than 100 mtrs from any solid object!!!!
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Old 14-05-2012, 04:44   #10
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Sometimes in channels its just not possible
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Old 14-05-2012, 04:46   #11
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Re: IPad or GPS chart plotter ?

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Sometimes in channels its just not possible
I would be worried if using chart plotter in channel unless changing lanes....haha
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Old 14-05-2012, 05:28   #12
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Re: IPad or GPS chart plotter ?

I can't give you any direct experience yet, but we are planning to put the iPad to the test this sailing season, so I don't think your idea is unreasonable. I've purchased a waterproof case (Moxiware) and am looking into anti-glare shields right now (either NuShield or Power Support. I've been playing with Inavx, and so far it looks great on the iPad, but we'll see...

However, I would never rely on any of these gadgets as my primary navigation tool. Real charts, and (to a lesser extend) guide books, are the better first choice. But after that, having a simple plotter like the Garmin 76, or perhaps an iPad, makes sense to me.
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Old 14-05-2012, 05:48   #13
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Re: IPad or GPS chart plotter ?

I always carry two chart plotters. My main one is a Garmin 5208 and I back it up with an iPad3. Just this weekend I upgrade my Garmin 5208 software and all seemed well until I went sailing over to a nearby island for the afternoon. Started the Garmin and NO MAPS could be found ?. Restarted it 5 or 10 time with NO BASE MAPS FOUND.
Just pluged the iPad in at the helm and had a nice sail home. All was good. Now I have to call Garmin.
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Old 14-05-2012, 05:54   #14
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Re: IPad or GPS chart plotter ?

This topic has been fairly well covered in these two threads and likely others...have a read

iPad for Navigation at Sea + Navionixs app

New iPad GPS?
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Old 14-05-2012, 06:40   #15
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Re: IPad or GPS chart plotter ?

I would go for for a new Ray as they have remote wifi second station in specs. Then the i-Thing can be used as a remote repeater anywhere in the boat.

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