# Help on GPS unit and Ruminations

C

#### CGB

Jan 1, 1970
0
I'm about to buy my first GPS for my boat because my LORAN finally died. I
boat in coastal New England. I am inclined to get a GPS that also includes
a depth sounder/fish finder. I know next to nothing and would appreciate
any help.

1. Best brand? Garmin, I know is common. I saw a Lowrance (model
LCX-28C-HD) that looked very nice at the boat show.

2. Do I understand that when you buy a GPS it doesn't come with the charts
built in? That's an extra cost? I see some advertised as
"GPS/chartplotters." Is there a difference between a GPS unit and a GPS
unit with "chartplotter?" Without the charts, what does it do for you, just
give lat/long? How much extra to get the charts, typically.

3. If I have to buy charts, what brand do you recommend? How do I get
updates to them, via web, CD, flash memory, etc. Is this necessary (charts
do change). And, is this yet an additional charge?

4. Depth/fish sounder needs a transducer. This is an additional charge??!!!
I would prefer a thru-hull but if I'm reading things right, these are
expensive, like a couple hundred $. Are transom mounts OK? I'd like fishfinding, water temp., and depth. 5. Internal vs. external antennae. I think some of the models I looked at even charge extra for the antenna and bracket!! Mine will go on a flybridge covered only by a cloth canvas top with minimal stainless steel support work. Would an internal antennae be OK? (lady at West Marine told me it was "line-of-sight" and the canvas top would prohibit reception through it because you can't see through the top!!! That's gotta be incredibly stupid, doesn't it?) As long as I'm spending the money for this, is there a model as described that would also serve in my auto, using a plug to the cigarette lighter? Or, am I engaging in wishful thinking? But, I do spend far more time in the car than I do on the boat here in New England. 6. In other words, I'm rather lost and would appreciate any help. I've seen a lot of GPS units advertised for$500-$700 and thought I'd likely have to spend in that neighborhood. Now thinking that I may have to buy the bracket, the antenna, the transducer, etc. etc., all extra, it's getting to look like maybe I ought to just get my LORAN fixed or get a new compass and parallel rules and use them with my$12 digital watch. (for you youngsters,

Thanks, in advance, for any help.

Chet

P

#### Peter Bennett

Jan 1, 1970
0
I'm about to buy my first GPS for my boat because my LORAN finally died. I
boat in coastal New England. I am inclined to get a GPS that also includes
a depth sounder/fish finder. I know next to nothing and would appreciate
any help.

The manufacturers have the full descriptions of their products on
their websites, usually including down-loadable manuals and "what's in
the box" lists. These websites, or your local dealer, should give
more reliable information than you'll get from the random
recollections of newsgroup inhabitants.
1. Best brand? Garmin, I know is common. I saw a Lowrance (model
LCX-28C-HD) that looked very nice at the boat show.

"What's Best" questions can start religious wars! (However, I prefer
Garmin, because that's what I started with.)
2. Do I understand that when you buy a GPS it doesn't come with the charts
built in? That's an extra cost? I see some advertised as
"GPS/chartplotters." Is there a difference between a GPS unit and a GPS
unit with "chartplotter?" Without the charts, what does it do for you, just
give lat/long? How much extra to get the charts, typically.

A basic GPS receiver will give you position, speed and direction of
travel, and will be able to store waypoints, and give you bearing and
distance to them, and cross-track error while navigating to a waypoint
- in short, a basic (non-charting) receiver will do everything a
chartplotter will do, except actually plot your position on a real
chart. Most of the basic receivers do have a simple plot screen which

When I bought my Garmin 168 GPSMap/Sounder, charts were optional at
extra cost, but I think some models now include at least some charts
with the unit. Even if a plotter doesn't include detail charts of the
area you are interested in, it will probably have a "base map" that
will at least allow you to identify your position relative to the
3. If I have to buy charts, what brand do you recommend? How do I get
updates to them, via web, CD, flash memory, etc. Is this necessary (charts
do change). And, is this yet an additional charge?

In general, you have to but charts from the maker of your chartplotter
- Lowrance charts can't be installed in a Garmin chartplotter, for
example.
4. Depth/fish sounder needs a transducer. This is an additional charge??!!!
I would prefer a thru-hull but if I'm reading things right, these are
expensive, like a couple hundred $. Are transom mounts OK? I'd like fishfinding, water temp., and depth. 5. Internal vs. external antennae. I think some of the models I looked at even charge extra for the antenna and bracket!! Mine will go on a flybridge covered only by a cloth canvas top with minimal stainless steel support work. Would an internal antennae be OK? (lady at West Marine told me it was "line-of-sight" and the canvas top would prohibit reception through it because you can't see through the top!!! That's gotta be incredibly stupid, doesn't it?) I would expect that a unit that requires an external antenna would include an antenna in the base price. Likewise a unit that includes depth sounder capability should include some sort of depth/speed transducer - probably transom-mount, with through-hull transducers available at extra cost - again, see the maker's website, or a dealer, for accurate information. An internal antenna should be fine on the flybridge, even with a canvas top, but I would recommend an external antenna if the receiver is mounted in the cabin. As long as I'm spending the money for this, is there a model as described that would also serve in my auto, using a plug to the cigarette lighter? Or, am I engaging in wishful thinking? But, I do spend far more time in the car than I do on the boat here in New England. You'd want to check on the availability of road maps, as opposed to nautical charts, for that application. There are many GPS receivers that are designed specifically for road navigation - they may omit some features (particularly cross-track error displays) that are useful in marine application, but include things like "lock-to-road", and audible or visual warning of impending turns, intersections or highway exits, which may be great on land, but are no use on the water (and won't be available in the marine units). 6. In other words, I'm rather lost and would appreciate any help. I've seen a lot of GPS units advertised for$500-$700 and thought I'd likely have to spend in that neighborhood. Now thinking that I may have to buy the bracket, the antenna, the transducer, etc. etc., all extra, it's getting to look like maybe I ought to just get my LORAN fixed or get a new compass and parallel rules and use them with my$12 digital watch. (for you youngsters,

Thanks, in advance, for any help.

Chet

--
Peter Bennett, VE7CEI
peterbb4 (at) interchange.ubc.ca
new newsgroup users info : http://vancouver-webpages.com/nnq
GPS and NMEA info: http://vancouver-webpages.com/peter

G

#### Gordon Wedman

Jan 1, 1970
0
CGB said:
I'm about to buy my first GPS for my boat because my LORAN finally died.
I boat in coastal New England. I am inclined to get a GPS that also
includes a depth sounder/fish finder. I know next to nothing and would
appreciate any help.

1. Best brand? Garmin, I know is common. I saw a Lowrance (model
LCX-28C-HD) that looked very nice at the boat show.

2. Do I understand that when you buy a GPS it doesn't come with the
charts built in? That's an extra cost? I see some advertised as
"GPS/chartplotters." Is there a difference between a GPS unit and a GPS
unit with "chartplotter?" Without the charts, what does it do for you,
just give lat/long? How much extra to get the charts, typically

3. If I have to buy charts, what brand do you recommend? How do I get
updates to them, via web, CD, flash memory, etc. Is this necessary
(charts do change). And, is this yet an additional charge?

4. Depth/fish sounder needs a transducer. This is an additional
charge??!!! I would prefer a thru-hull but if I'm reading things right,
these are expensive, like a couple hundred $. Are transom mounts OK? I'd like fishfinding, water temp., and depth. 5. Internal vs. external antennae. I think some of the models I looked at even charge extra for the antenna and bracket!! Mine will go on a flybridge covered only by a cloth canvas top with minimal stainless steel support work. Would an internal antennae be OK? (lady at West Marine told me it was "line-of-sight" and the canvas top would prohibit reception through it because you can't see through the top!!! That's gotta be incredibly stupid, doesn't it?) As long as I'm spending the money for this, is there a model as described that would also serve in my auto, using a plug to the cigarette lighter? Or, am I engaging in wishful thinking? But, I do spend far more time in the car than I do on the boat here in New England. 6. In other words, I'm rather lost and would appreciate any help. I've seen a lot of GPS units advertised for$500-$700 and thought I'd likely have to spend in that neighborhood. Now thinking that I may have to buy the bracket, the antenna, the transducer, etc. etc., all extra, it's getting to look like maybe I ought to just get my LORAN fixed or get a new compass and parallel rules and use them with my$12 digital watch. (for
you youngsters, that's called dead reckoning).

Thanks, in advance, for any help.

Chet

I think your best buy for a chartplotter with built-in sounder is the Garmin
GPSMap 498. Comes with transducer and antenna for about $850US. You can add a depthsounder and transducer to some Standard Horizon plotters, CP175c for example, but the total cost will be more. A simple handheld GPS will have some basic map built-in. This is likely to show lighthouses, bouys, etc. A plotter shows you an actual chart much like the paper version. I think most plotters now come with a complete set of US charts as NOAA has made these free to everyone. C #### CGB Jan 1, 1970 0 Peter and Gordon, Thank you for the replies. I have gone with a Lowrance LMS 337C-DF. It is a leftover model from 2006. It comes with built-in GPS/sonar and also a separate transom mount transducer (double frequency), external antenna and various mounting brackets, separate speedometer pickup for the transom. On sale here in US, being a discontinued model I got it for$545 which seemed
pretty reasonable. (There is little to no difference from this model and
the one that replaced it for 2007 other than an Ethernet port in the newer
model.)

Now as I've begun to learn there are a few things to add, like some SD
onto an SD so it can be put into the gps unit so the gps can update its
software). I don't have any 2 gig SD disks lying around so it looks like
that could run a good $60 just to get a blank disk so I can do software updates on the machine! Then the actual maps/charts for higher res. (of course for the maps (not charts) you have to buy a proprietary SD disk card reader designed specifically and only for this software and gps unit just to transfer the higher res maps/charts from the CD/DVD into the gps unit). And, finally a power adapter so I can use it in my car. It doesn't seem to want to end. At any rate, I've taken the leap. And the icing on the cake is that there's no one at any of the marine shops around here who can demo any of the units, speak knowledgeably about them, have the high res maps/charts available to show them etc. Of course once you buy the detailed maps/charts, if you are unhappy, it's too bad because they ain't takin' them back! I looked at several brands, including Garmin, but concluded that they all pretty much have us over a barrel. There are a lot of after-market accessories to buy to get it looking like you think it should when you take it out of the box regardless of which brand I choose. CB L #### Larry Jan 1, 1970 0 I don't have any 2 gig SD disks lying around so it looks like that could run a good$60 just to get a blank disk so I can do software

www.newegg.com

My Guaranteed-for-Life Ridata 4GB SD card was $53. 2GB cards are cheaper. Many items do not support the larger cards. (No laptops at CC will read a 4GB SD card unless you steal a new driver for it from sagernotebook, for instance.) Call the GPS manufacturer and make SURE it will read a big 2GB SD card before you find out the hard way it won't. (Laptop owners: Follow the instructions from this Australian forum: http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=517257 The message at the top of the webpage gives detailed instructions on how to make laptop computers read an SD card bigger than 512KB because Micro$not
uses a 2000/2002 driver for the TI multicard readers in laptops. Works
great!

Larry

L

#### Larry

Jan 1, 1970
0
I looked at several brands, including Garmin, but concluded that they
all pretty much have us over a barrel.

I see you've noticed NMEA's marketing strategy, too....

Larry

C

#### CGB

Jan 1, 1970
0
Larry,

Lowrance tells me I must use a SD disk of at least 2 gig to download the
update. As luck(?) would have it, COMPUSA had a $99.99 2 gig SanDisk SD disk on sale today for$34.99. I picked it up.

When I downloaded the update from Lowrance and saved it on to the 2 gig SD
so that I could then place it into the GPS, I noted the downloaded files
were all of about 2 megs!! I'll try the update tomorrow and see if the gps
unit recognizes it. And as per your comment about some machines can't
recognize more than 1 gig (my HP digital camera can only recognize 256 MB),
tech support at Lowrance told me the machine I bought would accept 2 gig
SD's for mapping programs, etc. but can only recognize them as 1 gig.

Chet

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