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bchaps 16-03-2010 18:47

Moving Routes to Chartplotter?
A new Garmin 420S was just added to my helm replacing a defunct 10 year old unit. Besides the GPS and sounder capability of this little beauty, many other questions surface:

1. Can SeaClear routes from my laptop be moved into the Garmin chart plotter?

2. Which Chart program is more user friendly for moving data between laptop and plotter?

3. How can the laptop be added to my NMEA 0183 network?

4. Will two depth sounders on the network cause errors?

If you have any experience within these areas, I will appreciate your comments..or even a link to possible solutions.

Thank you,

Pblais 16-03-2010 19:38

1. Garmin supports NMEA interfaces and should be able to allow other software to manually upload a route say from a computer. Check for software support based on the model of your unit and the software.

2. Since you mention free software you get what you get for ease of use. Look for output and input NMEA support in the specifications of the software. Check out OpenCPN in the forum here. It's a newer program that already is a better product than Seaclear. In looking at many products you couldn't pay me to use Seaclear. OpenCPN is free too and plenty of support in it's own little forums subsection here at CF. It's an open source program with a lot going on right now. Seaclear is dead.

3. Yes but you would connect up the GPS to the laptop typically with a USB serial port adapter.

4. Two depth sounders will be a PITA. Since both will be located differently you don't want to mix the depth displays of both on the same bus as you'll never know which one is reporting. I would set them up and each have their own display not connected to anything. Depth is only useful at the wheel unless you might have a repeater at the chart table below, but it's just extra..The only reason to have two is if one fails. I used to have two and I disconnected the display of one and left it in the locker when it might be needed later. I tested it every few months to make sure it still worked. eventually it died and the other one never did. Could have been the other way.

You need to verify which types of NMEA your devices support and what "sentences " they speak and can listen to. To connect multiple transmitters (called talkers) requires a multiplexer to serialize the multiple outputs into one steady flow of data. They are not cheap. You can't have multiple devices all talking at the same time. But you could connect a PC to a GPS and the GPS to an autopilot for a simple setup that is easy to work with. Since you are just getting something going start with a GPS connected to computer. It opens lots of good things alone. From there you'll see how it works and make decisions. You are best to grow into using electronic navigation. It's not magic and you need to learn how best to apply the features.

richardhula 17-03-2010 06:21

There is an option in SeaClear to send previously saved Routes via NMEA. The sentences involved are:
WPL: waypoint info; one sentence for each waypoint
RTE: the route name; name of each waypoint used in route order

Assuming your Garmin device can interpret this NMEA then Route transfer is possible.

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