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Portable chartplotter options.

Old 09-12-2014, 08:20 AM
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Default Portable chartplotter options.

Looking for a portable 'chartplotter' that I (or friends) can take on multiple boats (not simultaneously) while fishing in the Texas bays and flats. Preferrably one that will record our travels and where we can also add waypints to mark the holes. With the info, I hope to build some communal maps for our fishing group as none of us right now have a chartplotter on any of our boats. Now we're just trading info by marking it on a large paper chart over beers... would like to step into the 21st century!

What do you guys recommend? I'm already a Garmin fan but not sure of the portable versions available??? Maybe even an iPad with the right app but not sure how well an iPad works without cell signal...
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Old 09-12-2014, 08:45 AM
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I've been using a Garmin GPSMAP376C for so many years I don't remember when I bought it. After use I download my tracks/waypoints to Mapsource on my home PC. That would work great for sharing with your beer buds.
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Old 09-12-2014, 08:57 AM
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Just how portable, do all your boats have batteries? Humminbird made one that came with a battery, was pretty nice, I forget the model number...
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Old 09-12-2014, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by VanW View Post
Just how portable, do all your boats have batteries? Humminbird made one that came with a battery, was pretty nice, I forget the model number...
The 376c unit has flexibility. It has an internal battery as well as a 12v power cord that plugs into a cig lighter. It also has a XM weather puck ant. I activate the weather service during the summer due to intense thunder boomers here in SW FL.

These units are discontinued but can be had off ebay.
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Old 09-12-2014, 09:29 AM
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IPad with navionics...lots of threads here about it.
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Old 09-12-2014, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by finmanfish View Post
IPad with navionics...lots of threads here about it.
Yes sir, that's just the ticket. You must purchase the more expensive iPad (not for its storage capacity, but the version which has wi-fi + cellular). This is because the wi-fi + cellular version also has an internal GPS receiver to provide location services out of cell range.
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Old 09-12-2014, 01:43 PM
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Exactly the usage of that kit:
http://www.thehulltruth.com/marine-e...er-option.html
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Old 09-12-2014, 02:02 PM
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I'd go the iPad route too if you already have an iPad. FWIW the Navionics app works great on my Samsung S4 and Tablet so you have platform options.
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Old 09-14-2014, 01:43 PM
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Arrgh!! I wrote a response a couple days right before I headed out to work ago but apparently my browser never 'submitted' it...oh well.

Okay- so first thanks for the help so far. My main concern with a true chartplotter is the lack of a battery option to last 6-8 hours on the water- that's why I was asking about truly portable plotters. On the other hand, using an iPad or iPhone means lack of a solid GPS. But then again, all of us have smart phones so maybe the navionics app between all of us is the way to go....

So then, my next question is- how accurate do you think a iphone 4S would be on the bays with cell phone signal? Within 20-30 feet? I'm kinda worried about not being able to follow the channel and/or avoid sandbars and reefs with an iphone or similiar. But I have my old 4S sitting in a drawer so it's real easy to take out and not worry about my current iphone getting wet. And second question, can we share datapoints and other similar info between our cell phones without a lot of hassle? Again, without everyone having a chartplotter, the smart phone/tablet is sounding pretty good....
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Old 09-14-2014, 03:22 PM
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IPhone 4s has a GPS receiver bro.
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Old 09-14-2014, 04:45 PM
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IPhone 4s has a GPS receiver bro
Yes, that's why I suggested it. My question was how accurate it is to navigate the flats when away from the marked channels. Not looking to be smoking at 50+mph but more at a reasonable speed, like just over planing speed when trying to find the cuts/shallows. Was curious how fast the iphone 4s updates its position and how accurate the position really is.

I have dual Garmins in my offshore boat and they are accurate and fast but I not sure I would expect a smart phone to be as good. So don't get me wrong- I'm not trying to cheap out and use an iphone or ipad to navigate dangerous waters. I'm trying to find a simple solution myself and a few friends can safely and easily use to swap info on fishing holes in the bays and flats (where few folks actually use nav systems anyway).
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Old 09-15-2014, 05:43 AM
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I can only speak to the Samsung but I presume iPhone would be the same.

In my Center Console it is very accurate. I have place it side by side with my Garmin and they both matched in positions.

Now if you are below deck without a clear view of the sky (although my CC has a hard top and it works fine) your mileage may vary.

I will say that the "base' app is free so download it and try it out for yourself. The downfall with the free version is that it uses the Government maps that lack the data available in the paid versions. I believe it the free version also lacks the ability to download maps. FYI you can download a map to your phone so that you do not have to be within cellphone range for this product to work.

IMHO the accuracy of the GPS is always good, what varies is the map/chart data. I have a Garmin with the updated Map for my region. Judging from the plotter you'd of thought I was trailing my boat beside the water way, which trust me I was not....

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Old 09-18-2014, 03:52 PM
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I carry a Garmin GPSmap 78 handheld with me as a backup... will do everything you're looking for but its a very small screen.
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Old 09-23-2014, 05:12 PM
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I work on the water for a living I run tugs up an down the east coast in all ports in between. We have coastal explorer on a desk top it is a decent program with some bugs but accurate for navigation, we also have a fur uno navnet IMHO it is junk shuts off when ever it wants loses GPS signal a lot. I have MX mariner on my tablet an marine navigator on it also they both cost around 10 bucks the charts are free from NOAA an up to date. With any of these chart plotters you are at the mercy of navonics, c map, jeppesen to come out with a new card which is months in between. So my opinion the app on a tablet is the most accurate an easily updateable way to go. I have a 8 inch tablet I slide it in a bracket in my personal boat plug in the 12v charger an fish all day. Heck I just was using it out in the Washington canyon a week ago flawlessly.
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Old 09-23-2014, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by lca078 View Post
Maybe even an iPad with the right app but not sure how well an iPad works without cell signal...
I have an app on my iPhone (4s) called Gaia GPS that I got for backpacking. It lets you select an area on the map (by drawing a rectangle around it) and it will download the detail of that area to the phone. It does work without a cell connection. I have used it with bike riding, some road trips, and my boating excursions. My purpose for using it on the boat is for distance, speed, and track tracking. For that purpose it works. With the map set to topographical it actually has pretty good detail of the area I boat in. It does not, however, have any depth information for the lake, just land.

When I have the phone set up on the boat it rides in a RAM X-Grip.

If you already have a compatible mobile device this may be an inexpensive route to go. I think I paid $10-20 for the app.
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Old 09-24-2014, 01:53 AM
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Hello. We use Apple products with navionics software a lot here, pretty good it has to be said, IMHO. If you wanted a good portable chartplotter, the new models I have tested all came from Garmin, they seem very good and came in the box with everything, including cigar lighter cables and the like, can be used in a car too. If you are looking second hand, from ebay or here on THT, Raymarine made one, really really good, there is also a company called Geonav, which works suspiciously like the Raymarine unit. Hope this helps.
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Old 09-24-2014, 07:24 PM
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Check out the SonarPhone from Vexilar/Navionics this really works I use it on my pontoon
http://www.navionics.com/en/sonarphone
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Old 09-24-2014, 09:48 PM
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I have an "old" battery powered Garmin 620/640 - uses Garmin Bluechart - is kind of slow compared to a 741 - but bright screen. So I use that as my "backup"
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Old 09-24-2014, 10:14 PM
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Any smartphone with a GPS chip will do - it doesn't have to be the "i" variety. Here's my solution:
http://72land-n-sea.blogspot.com/201...ig-screen.html
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Old 09-26-2014, 01:49 AM
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The hard part of making a unit portable is the transducer mounting. I have mine on a strip of Alumunium that gets clamped to the transom. The batteries can be a stack of AA's or a proper 12v battery (if you don't mind the weight) in a sealed plastic food tub. This works well on my Zodiac inflatable and small hire boats whilst on holiday. The weight isn't bad at all so I can travel with it in my luggage and buy batteries when I'm there.
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