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Looking for 5" Combo GPS/FF with GOOD maps of all FL and Bimini

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Looking for 5" Combo GPS/FF with GOOD maps of all FL and Bimini

Old 08-19-2011, 02:30 PM
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Default Looking for 5" Combo GPS/FF with GOOD maps of all FL and Bimini

Getting really frustrated in my search for a combo chartplotter/ff with good map converage WITHOUT spending an additional small fortune on MULTIPLE maps.

Also getting frustrated with how lousy all the various brands are with showing just what kind of maps and coverage they have.

Satellite images are not the priority, just at least a good ACCURATE map for ALL the zone with depth contours, etc. But if there is one out there that I could do with satellite, then so much the better.

I'm in Central FL and we trailer our boat to both the west and east coast, down to the keys, even up into GA or over to the panhandle.

Seems like to get good coverage of that WHOLE area with navionics is almost $1,000 !!!!! since they don't include lakes with the coasts.

For the longest time, I was leaning towards HDS5 with nautic insight, but it seems after reading some posts here, that it has gaps in coverage, doesn't include lakes, and it's coverage of bimini is useless. Navionics doesn't offer a single map region that covers all of FL and the bahamas. There is that 906P map, but it's coverage ends just about 100 miles NW of me and it doesn't include the northern interior lakes.

I thought garmins were expensive but in the end maybe a garmin with included Bluechart is worth it? I just won't have satellite images?

For example, if GPS/FF A requires me to buy TWO maps but GPS/FF B doesn't, technically either I'm saving money or maybe I can then upgrade GPS/FF B to the next model up with the savings of not having to buy another map zone.

As a plus, at map update time, I'm not having to update multiple map zones.
Old 08-19-2011, 03:40 PM
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Thanks! I was just looking at the A50D yesterday but the $150 rebate I'd found had expired on 7/31.

Now the bigger question. Even given the "issues" with lowrance nautic insight, what quality are the raymarine included maps?
Old 08-19-2011, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by semperfifishing View Post
The Raymarine A series have had a very positive history with the Navionics maps.
One of the whole points was to avoid navionics maps since I would need multiple to truly cover everywhere I could boat.

I downloaded and read the A57D manual and it looks like an old unit, hence, probably the reason for the huge rebate. Only 256 colors? How do satellite photos look?

If I was to go with navionics maps, it looks like the HDS5 is a better, slightly cheaper unit with just a smaller, slightly lower resolution screen but that supports a lot more colors.

Decisions, decisions.......
Old 08-20-2011, 01:26 PM
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So I was at BassPro for a while playing with some HumminBird, Garmin, and Lowrance. I quickly stopped playing with the Humminbird, I'm not going to fish that much and I had trouble figuring out using the unit the way I wanted to.

Played with the Garmin 546 and a 740S. IMO, the Garmin units were the fastest. Zooming, panning, was very fast and smooth. I currently have a garmin so the maps looked good. The 740S touchscreen was very nice, obviously a lot easier to pan with that.

Also tried the HDS5, 7, and 8. Sure the bigger the screen the better, and I'd love to afford as big a screen as possible, but with the difference between the units only being screen size and some shortcut buttons starting on the 8, the extra price is just too much.

Lowrance base map. Useless. Showed markers and basic stuff but that was it.

Nautic Insight maps, well, I don't know. Seems like some of the 'bling' is just them shading the land and the depth contours. It was nice but I actually had trouble spotting some details. When zoomed out to a typical view, it wasn't showing me some details that the BlueChart was right next to, like a huge sandbar that we beach on!

Navionics Gold, what's with the watermarks??? Little birds? Salesperson says no way to turn off. Is this for real? Was so annoying I didn't bother with those maps anymore.

Navionics Platinum+. At first I didn't like it at all with the satellite images. Couldn't see any data. Then I finally figured out how to turn up the transparency and finally around 6 or 7 I think, yeah, that was pretty cool, seeing just enough photo behind the map details. I just wish navionics actually laid our their map regions a bit better with more regions or overlapping zones.

They didn't have any raymarine units. Oh well....
Old 08-22-2011, 07:17 AM
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I think you will find that a 5" unit with high detail maps is like putting chocolate chips in your pancakes. It sounds great but the stuff ends up all over the place. You can't use all the detail on that size screen. Bouncing around on the water makes it even harder. They look great in the store but.... different in use. I would suggest you get a basic map and learn it. 256 colors is not a bad thing on a chartplotter, especially in that size range. You're not watching T.V. on it . It's a map.
Old 08-22-2011, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by edyer View Post
I think you will find that a 5" unit with high detail maps is like putting chocolate chips in your pancakes. It sounds great but the stuff ends up all over the place. You can't use all the detail on that size screen. Bouncing around on the water makes it even harder. They look great in the store but.... different in use. I would suggest you get a basic map and learn it. 256 colors is not a bad thing on a chartplotter, especially in that size range. You're not watching T.V. on it . It's a map.
That depends on if I get navionics platinum plus with satellite pictures. How would the images look dithered to 256 colors?

I'm starting to open up to the idea of an HDS7.

I just don't like that these units have also been around since 2009. Seems common to sell the same marine electronics models for many many years?

I'm not in a rush to buy, I still have my tiny screen Garmin 176C.
Old 08-22-2011, 11:53 AM
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The CMap Max cartography should do the trick.
They have the best and most accurate detail of the Bahamas.
The Max chart also covers FL

The Si-Tex EC5iF should work.
Old 08-22-2011, 03:39 PM
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I have the platinum card on the A70 and it looks fine as far as color goes. The problem again is just screen clutter. It's cool to sit at the dock and look at all the pictures but underway is a different deal.

As far as the age of the units, The raymarine A series and the lowrance hds units they are all still solid performers that will do whatever you may need them to do and probably more. For example they all can run xm radio do weather etc etc. I can't say anything about garmin cause I don't use one.
Old 08-22-2011, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by edyer View Post

As far as the age of the units, The raymarine A series and the lowrance hds units they are all still solid performers that will do whatever you may need them to do and probably more. For example they all can run xm radio do weather etc etc. I can't say anything about garmin cause I don't use one.
I agree..the Raymarine A series is a full digital HD unit...nothing ancient about it..lol

It comes standard with the Airmar P58 but I like to upgrade them to a P66.
Old 08-23-2011, 08:41 AM
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If your budget will go $1000ish, then either the HDS-7 or the SH CPF 390i.

If you can't stretch that far the CPF190i is the winner, at $580 or so.
Old 08-23-2011, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Parthery View Post
If your budget will go $1000ish, then either the HDS-7 or the SH CPF 390i.

If you can't stretch that far the CPF190i is the winner, at $580 or so.
For the longest time, I've liked the SH CPF series, especially the upper end model, since it was also the cheapest way to get a unit with a video input.

However, after reading the manual and not seeing any support for fuel flow meters, SH finally replied and confirmed that those units can't make use of fuel flow data.

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