Marine Electronics Forum - What are the pros and cons of the different brands of electronics?

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Nasty Wendy
03-22-2012, 08:40 PM
I have to outfit my boat with new electronics and I was wondering whats the pros and cons of the different brands out there. My head is spinning trying to decide on things I have no clue about. I THINK I like the idea of having one display unit for everything so I'm guessing all my items have to be the same brand or compatible in somekind of way. Since I don't know what the difference between a GPS and Chartplotter is you can probably imagine that I don't know much BUT I know that I don't know, because when you don't know that you don't know then you are pretty much hopeless.;) So any help with the pros and cons with the different brands would be helpful. Thanks.


steve a59
03-23-2012, 02:22 AM
I quess everyone was in your situation at some point. With all the available electronics there is so much more to choose from. Y ou might want to contact BOE ,a THT advertiser and speak with them. IMO go with an Icom or Standard radio.Good luck with your boat.

Bayfly
03-23-2012, 08:01 AM
your needs will depend a lot on where and how you are fishing. The GPS/chart plotter is for charting to and from your destination, especially in dark or foggy conditions, and the sounder is for depth and fish finding purposes, and the two combine to help you mark your favorite fishing spots. The depth of the water you are fishing in will determine what transducer you may need. Just take your time and read everything at least twice, then go observe units where available, and read some more. Your head will stop hurting after a while and your vision will finally clear, so be patient with yourself and don't be afraid to ask more questions. Even if you understand the basics, the manufacturers can re-confuse you with each new generation of products. There is a lot of good information on THT, especially when you start to define your needs.:tht_rulez:
BTW, with regard to your original question, it's like Fords and Chevys, everyone has their own opinions.


Nasty Wendy
03-23-2012, 09:24 AM
My needs. Well I'll be fishing out of Venice La. So far I figure I need a GPS(Chartplotter), Sonar/Sounder/Fishfinder thing, and I would like the unit I choose to be able to intergrate Radar. I already have a VHF radio.

Seaquility
03-23-2012, 10:42 AM
I would suggest going to a store and put your eyes and hands on them. Many displays will run demos and you can see what each unit will do and how easy, or not, each is to use.

AlexCT
03-23-2012, 11:26 AM
garmin is the easiest to use. to be able to use a radar in the future, you have to look at the 700 series and up. Its a very popular unit with a 7 inch touch screen. go in to a local dealer and play around. They all have demo modes.

gerg
03-23-2012, 11:27 AM
Pro's and Con's? What, you haven't been following the marketing wars waged here? ;)

Garmin: Good entry level units, used to have a price advantage but not anymore. Very Good cust service. Sonar has been upgraded but not customer verified over a season yet. Not commercial grade. Not particularly cutting edge. Charting: A, Radar: B-, sonar: D+, AP: B+, Marketing: A+

Raymarine: Very good technology with a broad range of options from commercial to consumer. Charting: A, Radar,:A, AP: A, Sonar: B, Marketing: B-

Navico (Simrad/Lowrance): Cutting edge technology with a broad range of offerings from commercial to low end consumer. Broadband Radar, Chirp sonar, side scan, wifi clients. CP: A, Radar: A+, Sonar A+, Marketing: B

Disclaimer: I currently have only Garmin gear installed.

Others will surely throw fuel on this fire.

AlexCT
03-23-2012, 11:37 AM
you forgot furuno. I always recommend garmin for those new to electronics due to its great charting and ease of use. I recently bought a raymarine e7D for full disclosure. Raymarine revamped their user interface to be much more intuitive, though its still not as simple as garmin's.

gerg
03-23-2012, 11:41 AM
Yeah, I kew I'd forget a few. Feel free to rate them, I've never looked very closely at them but they are commercial grade all the way. Probably very hard to learn use as well by the sound of it.

Nasty Wendy
03-23-2012, 04:03 PM
I visited a store today and got introduced to Garmin and Lowrance. I like them both. I really like that Lowrance can interface with Sirius Weather/Audio for $99 +subscription. Lowrance seems to be the more budget minded choice all around. The Garmin 740S is really nice with the touch screen. The salesman did point out that the Lowrance unit did a better job of overlaying the radar and GPS. He said that the Lowrance is more accurate without adding additional equipment to sync the overlays. Has anyone found this to be an issue?

AlexCT
03-23-2012, 04:45 PM
Haha. He's being a salesman. The navionics brands have a higher margin so some retailers push them more. The lowrance is cheaper because it has no touch screen. The radar overlay on garmin works fine. The garmin can also do Sirius weather. They are both nice units, but the salesman sounds like he is steering you pretty hard. Play with them both, see which one you like to use more. They are more similar than they are different. The lowrance radar is brodband which is different kind than you might be thinking of. Checkout the difference before you buy. There are advantages to both kinds of radar.

Nasty Wendy
03-23-2012, 06:07 PM
Haha. He's being a salesman. The navionics brands have a higher margin so some retailers push them more. The lowrance is cheaper because it has no touch screen. The radar overlay on garmin works fine. The garmin can also do Sirius weather. They are both nice units, but the salesman sounds like he is steering you pretty hard. Play with them both, see which one you like to use more. They are more similar than they are different. The lowrance radar is brodband which is different kind than you might be thinking of. Checkout the difference before you buy. There are advantages to both kinds of radar.

He did say that they both can do Sirius Weather/Audio but the Sirius Unit for the Garmin is either 5 or $600 whereas the Lowrance unit is $99. Preach on I'm listening.

gerg
03-23-2012, 06:25 PM
The Garmin does XM weather. Not Sirius, but it does do weather.

Do a seach for bluewaterpirate. He has videos on line showing the Garmin 740 and a Simrad NSS8. He also shows radar and weather integration. Good resource.

Bayfly
03-23-2012, 08:18 PM
if you decide on a Lowrance compare the "builtin" Insight applicable to your area of choice with what Navionics makes for that area. In my case I have chosen to buy the Lowrance HDS-8 with a Base US builtin map, and in addition the Navionics Hotmap Premium Lakes South for Texas bays. It may be the same for your area in La. I only fish the bays, and no offshore. Good luck on your choice.:thumbsup:

Nasty Wendy
03-24-2012, 06:30 AM
The Garmin does XM weather. Not Sirius, but it does do weather.

Do a seach for bluewaterpirate. He has videos on line showing the Garmin 740 and a Simrad NSS8. He also shows radar and weather integration. Good resource.

I found lots of screen shots but no videos.

if you decide on a Lowrance compare the "builtin" Insight applicable to your area of choice with what Navionics makes for that area. In my case I have chosen to buy the Lowrance HDS-8 with a Base US builtin map, and in addition the Navionics Hotmap Premium Lakes South for Texas bays. It may be the same for your area in La. I only fish the bays, and no offshore. Good luck on your choice.:thumbsup:

Thanks for the tip. I was reading a thread where the OP was unhappy with the preloaded maps in the Lowrance.

keysdiver
03-24-2012, 01:22 PM
Why not mix and match to get the best of all? Aren't ALL current electronics NEMA 2000, which means they are capable of interfacing.
We have Garmin chartplotter and Furuno Bottom machine that interface. Our Standard Horizon radio is capable of it if we choose to.

Nasty Wendy
03-24-2012, 02:08 PM
Why not mix and match to get the best of all? Aren't ALL current electronics NEMA 2000, which means they are capable of interfacing.
We have Garmin chartplotter and Furuno Bottom machine that interface. Our Standard Horizon radio is capable of it if we choose to.

Mainly because I see to many threads here that are related to trouble getting stuff to intergrate. I'd rather stick to a proven system and not have something jump out of nowhere and leave me blind on the water. It would suck to not know which way is the way back BUT you do know that the water you are in is EXACTLY 489ft and 10.8884 inches deep because you mixed up components to have the absolute best sounder. I guess I'm skeerd.

coores14
03-24-2012, 04:05 PM
Garmin chartplotters and Furuno bottom machines. done.

I'm not as loyal to Garmin for chartplotters, but they are incredibly easy to use. However, you'd have to pry the Furuno sounder out of my dead hands.
I had a Lowrance chartplotter in the past and found it to be user friendly. Raymarine is so-so. I would never have a Furuno plotter, though. There's nothing intuitive about it. The Garmin touchscreen is extremely intuitive. You can figure it out without a manual, almost iphone-like.

Nasty Wendy
03-24-2012, 08:33 PM
The Garmin touchscreen is extremely intuitive. You can figure it out without a manual, almost iphone-like.

That is one hell of an endorsement. I admit I am leaning heavily towards Lowrance but Garmin is making it a tight race. I'm hoping to have something ready to install this coming week.

Miss Trial
03-24-2012, 08:59 PM
Garmin chartplotters and Furuno bottom machines. done.

I'm not as loyal to Garmin for chartplotters, but they are incredibly easy to use. However, you'd have to pry the Furuno sounder out of my dead hands.
I had a Lowrance chartplotter in the past and found it to be user friendly. Raymarine is so-so. I would never have a Furuno plotter, though. There's nothing intuitive about it. The Garmin touchscreen is extremely intuitive. You can figure it out without a manual, almost iphone-like.

This is my setup. Garmin cp with a Furuno bottom machine. They integrate quite well and I can read water temp etc on my garmin. What you don't want to mix and match is cp and ap. having a ap from the same manufacturer of your cp is worth it's weight in gold.

Finally, IMHO, if you are fishing out of Venice a radar is mandatory, not optional as fog there is a way o life in the winter and spring.

Nasty Wendy
03-24-2012, 09:31 PM
What is an ap?

Yes radar will happen. Last weekend I was out there with a friend and we had to find the rigs by listening for their horns. That was not fun. My boat will have RADAR.

kilowatt
03-24-2012, 09:36 PM
ap= Auto Pilot can mix them with other brands of cp but more user friendly when used with same brand of ap and cp.

Nasty Wendy
03-24-2012, 09:51 PM
Good info. Thanks. I think auto pilot will make its way into my boat at some point but I'm not in a rush.

abbor
03-24-2012, 10:43 PM
Simrad has the best autopilot integration. No AP control head is needed with NSS and NSE, not even for commissioning.

Rode Warrior
03-25-2012, 08:33 AM
Agree with the sentiment that Garmin chartplotters and Furuno Depthsounders are at the top of their individual food chain, but strongly prefer to have all linked devices be from the same manufacturer. Typical issues that crop up between instruments are far easier to solve this way and software upgrades rarely create new problems as they sometimes will do between linked dissimilar manufacturer's products.

Nasty Wendy
03-25-2012, 12:13 PM
Agree with the sentiment that Garmin chartplotters and Furuno Depthsounders are at the top of their individual food chain, but strongly prefer to have all linked devices be from the same manufacturer. Typical issues that crop up between instruments are far easier to solve this way and software upgrades rarely create new problems as they sometimes will do between linked dissimilar manufacturer's products.

Thanks for that. Its good to know that I'm not as stupid as I think I am......sometimes.

melleauxyella
03-31-2012, 02:23 PM
I am currently questioning the same things here. I had the HDS8 with Broadband Radar, and Sirius weather.

One thing that salesman won't tell you about the Sirius weather is that the yearly subscription is $300+ for just weather! an additional $100 for music.

The Radar was incredible but the HDS8 struggled to keep up on split screens or any quick changes in screen options...its slow!

The new Garmin touchscreens are nice but i wouldn't try a split screen especially with radar on the 740s. Im sure the 4000 series can handle it all.

Anyone using Raymarine with multiple units or Furuno Navnets? Best AP?

slapshot
03-31-2012, 03:56 PM
I am in the same boat. It's time to replace my trusty 'ol Garmin 182 and Lowrance X85. I have narrowed it down to a Garmin 4208 or a Lowrance HDS8. I agree with the others reviews of the different brands. I have used Garmin a lot at work. They are by far the easiest an most common sense to use. Garmin's biggest minus is the sonar, it always has been. I hear the newer digital systems are getting better. But as Garmin catches up to the competition, the competition has side scan and broadband sonar to raise the bar even further.

After doing some research I was leaning towards the HDS8, but found out I don't have room for it in my console. I am short about 1/2" in height. So if I want an HDS, I'd have to move down to the 7. So now I'm back leaning towards the 4208. All I want is gps and sonar, nothing else. Since I will use it split screen, I want the biggest screen I can get. I think i can live with the Garmin sonar since other than depth, I rarely use it inshore. I only fish offshore 10 times a year or less.

I wish one of them would make a simple 8" system without all of the network stuff that many of us don't use or need.

In my experience, Garmin has the best charts and Furuno has the best sonar. I find Raymarine very confusing and not user friendly at all.

If space is an issue, take measurements on your boat and look up the mounting specs of the units you choose.



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