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Old 25-08-2009, 05:43   #1
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Which Plotter / AIS Combo?

The massive number of different chart plotter combos out there makes trying to pick one maddening!

I am to the point where I need to order whatever I am going to order so it will be here to install in a couple of weeks. I have to make a decision....

I am looking for an 8" display. It needs to offer full chart plotter capabilities, be network capable so I can input camera and other stuff. It needs to offer a sounder / fish finder though tons of bells and whistles on that feature are not required. It needs to support AIS input.

It also needs to support GOOD charts and NOT require dozens of expensive downloads to get the charts we need for cruising the US east coast, Bahamas and down island to Grenada.

I am looking for the chart plotter, AIS "B" transceiver and a satellite radio and weather receiver. All 3 must talk easily to each other, be easy to use and reliable and NOT be terribly expensive.

I do not need all the super high tech bells and whistles. The truth is.... I will never learn to use all the stuff it will do. I will use it for the basics pretty much.

If it could talk to my Raymarine ST6000 autopilot that would be ok, but not crucial.



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Old 25-08-2009, 06:24   #2
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If you're going to the Bahamas do not get a Raymarine or any other plotter that uses Navionics chips. They are the worst chips of the Bahamas out there. Get something that uses C-Maps or a Garmin.

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Old 25-08-2009, 10:10   #3
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Avoid Raymarine - they say it is all nice and compatible then you cannot connect with - non-Raymarine instruments and they will blame the others never admitting they did it so that you buy their instruments / ais etc..

Have a look at what Garmin sells if you like their cartography. Their touch screen plotters work OK and connect well.

Standard Horizon is perhaps not quite that robust (not to be placed in the cockpit, but OK in the nav station), they connect OK with other brands (NMEA). Their warranty period is also 2 years - but we have their stuff onboard ant it never let us down.

Beware that some newer plotters may be using the newer NMEA - OK but not yet tested a lot in respect in supporting the slower standard.

There is at least one AIS plotter without chart capability but with some fine points in respect of alarm functions and pre-visualising the crossing traffic scenarios that you might consider if you can live with a separate AIS / chart devices.

Last year I installed a Simrad AIS "B" unit with its own little screen - very easy install, works like a dream and can be linked to a chart plotter (but not to the older Raymarine !!!) It consumes very little energy and doubles as a spare GPS.

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Old 25-08-2009, 10:45   #4
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I bought a Garmin 5208 and so far I think it is pretty nice. Everything connected right now is Garmin (wind, depth, water speed).
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Old 28-08-2009, 00:33   #5
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Agreed Raymarine is rubbish, but it's still the best rubbish when you consider the price & connectivity. Suggest the new C90W wide screen MFD. It adds extra connectivity over previous C80. For AIS transceiver I can recommend CSB200 AIS class B Transponder one of the cheapest devices on the market when purchased from Euronav.

BTW have sailed the Bahamas end to end several times using C80 with Navionics charts & only gone aground once Agreed they are inaccurate in certain areas at high zoom levels but you are eyeballing then anyway.

If in doubt RTFM
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Old 28-08-2009, 03:44   #6
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Barnakiel: Why no Standard Horizon plotter in the cockpit?
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Old 28-08-2009, 06:02   #7
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Put a garmin 4208 with hd radar and milltech ais last year. went together easily and everything is still working as it should Im happy with it.
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Old 28-08-2009, 06:18   #8
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Got Standard Horizon plotter in the cockpit, AIS and all....

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Old 28-08-2009, 07:12   #9
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Say what you want, I have a Raymarine C120 with all the goodies. No problems yet.

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