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Old 02-20-2013, 03:30 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Glocester, RI
Posts: 40
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First of all, welcome to the forum. Despite a rough beginning this thread has turned into a very informative discussion after all, so thanks to all those "posters" contributing.
Just my two cents worth, keep in mind the NMEA 2000 marine electronics standard. Most companies manufacture products which utilize that communications standard, as well as other standards, and you will probably find lower costs on products using the non NMEA 2000 standard as the industry moves away from it. I would make sure to buy the NMEA 2000 product because down the road it will provide a whole bunch of benefits.
I would consider building a basic NMEA 2000 network, (under $300 for a kit) and adding my electronic components to it, such as two multi-function displays as has been suggested previously (vs. a one for all.). Buy one display now but leave room somewhere (mounted in your dash or in your electronics box or on top of your dash), but plan for it now.
I myself use Garmin products because of the cost/value, and because I was already familiar with how Garmin gps's work as I had used a handheld extensively so the learning curve for me was not too steep. The latter reason was probably more important than the former.
Some of my buddies use other brands and I still like mine better, although I think the Lowrance side scanning sonar is pretty spectacular!
Just my opinions.
Oh yeah, you might want to look into whether or not your outboard can communicate using NMEA 2000 as at some point you can then add that to your network and, with the right display, show engine parameters on your multi-function display!

Last edited by linesider; 02-20-2013 at 03:32 PM. Reason: formatting changes.