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Old 11-11-2016, 15:43   #16
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Re: Best basic plotter/radar combo for under $3k? (Simrad v. Garmin)

Why tie yourself to proprietary brands? They all have their issues, mainly ones you canít resolve particularly at sea.
Why not consider the following. Obtain a 12VDC computer screen of the size you want .e.g. Acer have a 12 VDC 19 inch screen for which I paid $78.
You can also purchase a stand-alone mini computer for under $500 powered by 12 VDC. A wireless mouse and keyboard if needed for under $20.
Put whatever software you want onto the computer but also install OPN CPN (free) along with the CM93 chart files (easily obtained free) and any other local charts you can obtain. (this generally excludes Navionics , etc.)
Buy a BU 353 s4 GP antenna e.g. G-star IV for under $40 or even less via Hong Kong. Buy two!
Variations such as using an existing laptop or suitable pad (I use a laptop and a Microsoft Surface Pro as back- ups) Power supply problems are readily resolved at your local electronics retailer. On my 19VDC laptops I power them at sea using a small DC to DC device (8 yr old power TechPlus MP-3467, but I am sure more recent versions are available)
The advantages are that a) the chart supply companies canít rip you off. The components may already largely exist already amongst your stuff. The parts are cheap and duplication is readily available at little cost. The screen size is your choice. When in harbour or a marina, I just move the stuff inside and Iím now using the laptop for this exercise.
If lightening is about, my system can be totally removed from the boats electrical system. Wired in systems invariably die with lightning strikes.
When not on your boat, you can take your computer home thus reducing the chance of having your navigation system stolen.
I consequently have a fully independent component, fully duplicated navigation system that cost me less than $80 - for the two BU 353ís - beyond the two existing computers. It uses components I was already familiar with.
Also, you can take screen shots off Google Earth, store them and when needed, overlay these onto your CM93 charts in Open CPN (or any other charts in Open CPN. I do not believe any of the other systems allow this. See GE2KAP.V2 software. A computer nerd may be needed to set this up but it is really handy. Any Open CPN improvements are free.
Downsides? May mean that autopilot integration may be tricky. I have not done this nor tried to. I like my systems to be independent. However Open CPN has forums on all this.
This approach will leave you with most of $ís to pursue a Radar. I have been wandering around for over 30 years in my part of the world without one but I am sure there are circumstances in crowded/foggy areas where they would be an attribute. Or extra $ís to invest in AIS.
I canít see any reason why a ship chandlery or marine electronics company would advise any of the above. Marine instrumentation is grossly overpriced and it is a market place you should consider staying out of.
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Old 11-11-2016, 15:50   #17
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Re: Best basic plotter/radar combo for under $3k? (Simrad v. Garmin)

Simrad, B&G, and Lowrance are built by the same company. Simrad for power boats, B&G for sailors, Lowrance for the fishermen.
I bought the B&G plotter with the 4G radar dome......I can not say anything bad about the unit.....customer support could not have been any better. I installed it myself. Someone always answered the phone.

I picked this unit for one reason: Garmin does not support their products very long. I had a GPS plotter on my boat that was 7 years old. It went south and Garmin basically said tuff s--t. They no longer worked on the model....to old.

When it gets old, Garmin wants you to buy again.....I will not buy anything made by Garmin again. Period.

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Old 11-11-2016, 17:15   #18
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Re: Best basic plotter/radar combo for under $3k? (Simrad v. Garmin)

I've had the Simrad (formerly Northstar) 3G since it came out. Have had others in the past and NOTHING, IMHO, comes close to it. Instant on, extremly low power consumption, no halo around the boat and OUTSTANDING target acquisition .. even picked up kayakers. I'd recommend getting the largest display you can and mount it in the cockpi as close to the helm as possible. Search the net for the best deals.
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Old 11-11-2016, 17:28   #19
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Re: Best basic plotter/radar combo for under $3k? (Simrad v. Garmin)

Quote:
Originally Posted by billgewater View Post
Why tie yourself to proprietary brands? They all have their issues, mainly ones you can’t resolve particularly at sea...[EDIT]... I can’t see any reason why a ship chandlery or marine electronics company would advise any of the above. Marine instrumentation is grossly overpriced and it is a market place you should consider staying out of.
Dedicated, weatherproof hardware, integration, reliability. Ease of installation and maintenance.

I've gone down the road that you outlined, mainly out of curiosity, being from a tech background. It's interesting, but it is a whole lot of work getting spooled up, not to mention that if you're REALLY at sea, most of that cheap hardware craps out pretty quickly due to corrosion.

If you just want a chart plotter, wind/speed/depth, and radar, and want stuff that is going to work, take a beating, and does not require hours and hours of research to piece together, commercial marine instrumentation is a good investment.
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Old 11-11-2016, 17:32   #20
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Re: Best basic plotter/radar combo for under $3k? (Simrad v. Garmin)

I had pathetic support from Simrad on a brand new unit and terrific support from Garmin on a used unit I bought on Ebay.
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Old 11-11-2016, 17:38   #21
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Re: Best basic plotter/radar combo for under $3k? (Simrad v. Garmin)

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I had pathetic support from Simrad on a brand new unit and terrific support from Garmin on a used unit I bought on Ebay.
I agree, Garmin has always given us GREAT support.
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Old 11-11-2016, 17:53   #22
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Re: Best basic plotter/radar combo for under $3k? (Simrad v. Garmin)

I had a Garmin 4210 and Garmin HD radar on my old boat (sold a year and a half ago) and thought it was absolutely great. boat was based in Chesapeake bay but I sailed to the Eastern Caribbean and back, to bermuda and back and also up and down the East coast. i was amazed at the detail the radar could pick up and the user interface on the plotter was way better than the Raymarine my current boat came with. I would get Garmin in an instant if I had the choice.

One thing to bear in mind if you go with Garmin. Their maps are expensive so definitely get the plotter with preloaded US charts. It is WAY cheaper that way.
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Old 11-11-2016, 17:54   #23
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Re: Best basic plotter/radar combo for under $3k? (Simrad v. Garmin)

One more thought. Definitely get the Garmin if the Bahamas are in your plans. Their charts are accurate there but the navionics werent good at all. I dont know about other types so they may be OK (or not) but I dont know.
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Old 11-11-2016, 18:28   #24
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Re: Best basic plotter/radar combo for under $3k? (Simrad v. Garmin)

I bought a B&G T7 (first generation) to use in the cockpit. I find the user interface stinks.. or maybe I am too dumb. I am thinking about upgrading my Raymarine c80 and radar and probably will go to a non touch screen Garmin. I would never interface a GPS with an autopilot.
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Old 11-11-2016, 19:50   #25
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Re: Best basic plotter/radar combo for under $3k? (Simrad v. Garmin)

i personally, think it is utterly ridiculous to put all the plotter electronics outboard and try to marinize them. Put the computer inboard. i would consider OpenCPN (free) on any of the cheap platforms supported (which you can buy 2 or 3 redundant units for the price of a 'marine plotter' and be able to brows the net, store pictures, write documents, etc.) then put a remote display at the helm. I have been using this setup for 4 years and would never go back to a Garmin POS plotter like I used to have... I don't run radar and am not sure what is needed to display that with openCPN, but I do know it is capable of it as well as GRIB overlays, AIS, etc... free, assuming you have a computer.
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Old 11-11-2016, 21:37   #26
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Re: Best basic plotter/radar combo for under $3k? (Simrad v. Garmin)

Quote:
Originally Posted by tikirawker View Post
B&G seems to be doing a great job making chartplotters and radars.
I just purchased (2-3 months ago) a 3g radar and 9" plotter combo and I think it was $2200.

If you need the link to the combo let me know.
Good luck

Is is it this remanufactured combo from Defender?

This seems like a really good option for me. This thread has been exceedingly helpful, thanks to all.

Not to open a new can of worms, but at these prices I may be able to add an AIS to my plans as well... is it possible to shop around or do I need the B&G transponder for plotter integration? And can anyone very briefly explain the advantage of the antenna splitter I see advertised with the B&G AIS?
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Old 12-11-2016, 08:42   #27
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Re: Best basic plotter/radar combo for under $3k? (Simrad v. Garmin)

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Originally Posted by OrangeCrush View Post
Is is it this remanufactured combo from Defender?

This seems like a really good option for me. This thread has been exceedingly helpful, thanks to all.

Not to open a new can of worms, but at these prices I may be able to add an AIS to my plans as well... is it possible to shop around or do I need the B&G transponder for plotter integration? And can anyone very briefly explain the advantage of the antenna splitter I see advertised with the B&G AIS?
I think that if the plotter can display AIS data, that any AIS data traveling over the NMEA 2000 backbone should work, but I'm not sure.

As far as the splitter is concerned, the higher the AIS antenna, the greater the range. The splitter simply allows you to use your masthead VHF antenna for AIS, meaning you don't have to mount another antenna or run another cable. There is a bit of signal loss on VHF with a splitter but it's fairly negligible. Given the cost of another antenna and RG-213 coax to run up your mast, the cost of a splitter almost pays for itself.

FYI, I noticed that there's a relatively affordable Simrad VHF (RS35...$350) that has built in AIS, with NMEA2000 out. Don't know the details, but if you're in the market for a new VHF as well it's something to consider. AND it does not need a splitter, so you'd save on that.
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Old 12-11-2016, 08:57   #28
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Re: Best basic plotter/radar combo for under $3k? (Simrad v. Garmin)

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Originally Posted by darrelweb View Post

I picked this unit for one reason: Garmin does not support their products very long. I had a GPS plotter on my boat that was 7 years old. It went south and Garmin basically said tuff s--t. They no longer worked on the model....to old.

When it gets old, Garmin wants you to buy again.....I will not buy anything made by Garmin again. Period.
Excellent point. I have two older (2008) chart plotters on my boat, both Garmin, both excellent and perfectly usable, and neither of them is supported by Garmin any longer. There is literally NO WAY for me to update the charts on them AT ALL.

Also, Garmin bought NEXUS, which made an instrument package, and promptly deep sixed support for their products. That's why I bought new B&G instruments when my masthead anemometer took a hike.

As much as I like Garmin quality and usability, the rate of planned obsolescence that they adhere to seriously undermines their value proposition.
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