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Vendor Websites Stink. Need Advice

Old 08-27-2014, 01:44 PM
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Default Vendor Websites Stink. Need Advice

I am frustrated and maybe some of you can help. My need is for a 5-inch chartplotter for a sailboat. I have a separate depth meter and I do not fish (sorry, I know there are lots of fishermen here) so mapping is all I really need... New England coastal detail equivalent to NOAA charts but no need for photos. 3-D views or the like. 480x480 resolution or better should suffice.

I've spent a great deal of time at Garmin, Lowrance and Humminbird sites but those websites are not very helpful distinguishing between various models, Lowrance alone must have a half-dozen different 5-inch Chartplotter/Fishfinder models. And the websites offer NO useful descriptions of the differences between the several mapping options available with these devices.

Note: I understand many of these devices would come with depth/fishing capability, which is OK in case my separate depth meter dies. But fancy sonar-fishing capability is not needed.

Any advice?
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Old 08-27-2014, 02:17 PM
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iPad with an app will be easier to use. I have navionics east app on mine. If a website is hard to use, then their device is probably harder to use and requires a giant user manual. I cannot figure out my NSS8 at all, it is supposedly easy to use, but man, they take interaction design circa Windows 3.1 even though it is a touch screen.
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Old 08-27-2014, 02:17 PM
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Just call us. We'll have Q's for you, you'll have some for us. Easy to do via phone real quick. 866-735-5926
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Old 08-27-2014, 03:15 PM
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We are also available as a resource and willing to assist even if you don't purchase anything from us. Our website is listed in my signature as well as my email and phone number.
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Old 08-27-2014, 05:06 PM
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For ease of use I'd have to say Garmin would be your best bet. I have a 4212 and I couldn't imagine it being any easier to use. I would look at the EchoMap 70s. Very easy to use and you can buy it bundled with a transducer for under $900. or buy it without a transducer and just use it for charts for under $850. Here is a video of the echomap in action, if you click on the picture it'll take you to the page with the video on it. I can't figure out how to just put the video on here. Hope it helps.

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Old 08-27-2014, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by hriehl1 View Post
I am frustrated and maybe some of you can help. My need is for a 5-inch chartplotter for a sailboat. I have a separate depth meter and I do not fish (sorry, I know there are lots of fishermen here) so mapping is all I really need... New England coastal detail equivalent to NOAA charts but no need for photos. 3-D views or the like. 480x480 resolution or better should suffice.

I've spent a great deal of time at Garmin, Lowrance and Humminbird sites but those websites are not very helpful distinguishing between various models, Lowrance alone must have a half-dozen different 5-inch Chartplotter/Fishfinder models. And the websites offer NO useful descriptions of the differences between the several mapping options available with these devices.

Note: I understand many of these devices would come with depth/fishing capability, which is OK in case my separate depth meter dies. But fancy sonar-fishing capability is not needed.

Any advice?
Mapping/Chartplotter only (NO SOUNDER) Models made easy:

GARMIN = GPSMAP 547 (as long as it doesn't have the "xs" designation it's Mapping only)

LOWRANCE = HDS 5m, Elite 5m HD Gold (as long as the model has the "m" at the end it's mapping only)

SIMRAD = Sorry no 5" screen

B&G = Everything they make is Navigation for Sailing, but sorry no 5" screen

Raymarine = a65

Furuno = Sorry no 5" screen for just navigation

Humminbird = all 5" models are combo units

Just a note, when you're on these websites and you see "combo" those models all have both sonar and charts. When you see "MultiFunction Display" or "Chartplotter" those usually mean no sonar included. Hope this helps.
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:20 PM
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Thank you, but you are making my point. Which Lowrance and why? Elite, or HDI, or Hds, or who knows what else? They do not do a good job distinguishing the models.

And then, which chart chip?
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Old 08-27-2014, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by hriehl1 View Post
Thank you, but you are making my point. Which Lowrance and why? Elite, or HDI, or Hds, or who knows what else? They do not do a good job distinguishing the models.

And then, which chart chip?
As for making your point, I think with the complexity and constantly changing environment that marine electronics have been at for the last 5 years, the manufactures are relying upon the expertise of their vendors to be able to help buyers, their websites are being set up to give general information and I think they do a decent job with them, but then again I have spent a lot of time on them so I'm used to them and their layouts. Well, since Lowrance offers 2 different ones in the 5" and the others only one, I assume you're only talking about the Lowrance. In the simplest of forms the Elite HD (not HDI, HDI has to do with the sonar) is designed to be a solitary unit and the HDS can be networked via N2K and is really a true MFD so it can be used as a second display say on a tower or flybridge, you can hook radar to it, the GoFree wireless connectivity, etc. So in other words the HDS is a much more expandable unit and the Elite is a solitary unit but it will communicate via NMEA0183 for example with your VHF if it's DSC capable. As for which one for you? It sounds like the Elite 5 HD (vs the HDS) is what you're looking for. As for the charts? All of the brands, other than Garmin, will give you the option of any of Navionics or C-Map's products. They have very capable charts built in them already. Just note that Garmin is proprietary with their charts but they have a great offering with the Vision cards and their stock charts are all most people need and use. When it comes to 3rd party charts I think that's going to be personal preference, you'll get opinions on all of them good and bad, so you'll have to do a little research on that comparing the features you want. It would be worth your time to call or contact one of the vendors on here and talk with them and see if they can't clear up any questions you might have. I know that the vendors on here will take good care of you even after the sale, in fact, they have even helped members on here that didn't buy anything from them
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Old 08-27-2014, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by hriehl1 View Post
I am frustrated and maybe some of you can help. My need is for a 5-inch chartplotter for a sailboat.

Note: I understand many of these devices would come with depth/fishing capability, which is OK in case my separate depth meter dies. But fancy sonar-fishing capability is not needed.

Any advice?


Simple options.

1) Garmin GPSMAP 546S.
It comes already preloaded with US Coastal Charts that will be more than adequate for you sailing requirements.
This will cover your area.

If you so desire you can at any time upgrade to a higher level of charts by getting the G2Vision...but you stated you do not need pots or 3-d view..this may not be of value to you.

It's added features are:
MarinerEye view and FishEye view provide you a 3-D perspective of map information, both above and below the waterline. (You don't need that..you don't fish)
High-resolution satellite images and aerial photographs help you orient yourself in unfamiliar areas...(good for going to strange harbors etc.)

Auto Guidance technology searches through all relevant charts to create a route you can actually follow — one that avoids obstacles, shallow water, buoys and other obstructions.
Auto guidance is for use with a autopilot .

2) Lowrance HDS-5.
Preloaded with Nautic Insight US Coastal maps....also more than enough for sailing.
this also will cover your area.

If you wanted at a later date you can also upgrade to Navionics Platinum cards for satellite imagery and other enhanced views.
Very similar to the Gamin G2Vision upgraded charts.

I personally suggest you just start with the preloaded charts regardless of model selected.....you may find them most usable.

Both of these unit can also ship with a transom mounted transducer included...if you desire a back up for depth.

Last edited by semperfifishing; 08-28-2014 at 11:07 PM.
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Old 08-28-2014, 01:58 AM
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This is what you should buy. B&G Zeus Touch 7, 6.4" inches instead of 5", but the price is now in the typical 5" range, only $750.

www.boemarine.com/b-g-zeus-touch-7-mfd/

This is the only chart plotter targeting sailing only, it has several special functions for sailing like SailSteer tacking and laylines. B&G is a Navico brand, the other brands from the same company are Lowrance and Simrad so the technology of Zeus Touch is shared with Lowrance HDS, HDS Touch and Simrad NSS. I've used the almost identical Simrad model NSS7 for three years and I'm very happy with it, very user friendly.

bandg.com/en-US/Product-Groups/Zeus-Touch/
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Old 08-28-2014, 03:54 AM
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I agree with Abbor. The Zeus 7 is the only sailing specific unit on the market. You'll certainly get more out of it than the others. Otherwise a garmin echomap 50s would be great if 5" is your max.
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