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GPS and Plotters

Discussion in 'Electronics' started by JimmyL, Apr 8, 2017.

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  1. JimmyL

    JimmyL Member

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    ok, I need a definitive rationale for investing in a dedicated plotter vs. an iPad using Navionics. Recently, my old Raymarine (analogue) plotter packed it in. It was a bit of a tank so I had been using my iPad primarily and have found Navionics to be really very good. I should qualify my question by saying both my fly bridge (most of my piloting) and the lower helm are both fully covered so no weather issues and lighting issues.
    Pricing new plotters is daunting not only the prices but the wiring and installation. But, I have my iPad with touch screen capability and portable, if needed, and have it powered at either helm.
    So, why invest in a plotter other than I have two main screens (radar and iPad) instead of one...?
  2. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    The only reason I see is if you need radar... otherwise I find my iPad to be just as accurate and reliable.

    Actually both the Furuno Navnet and Navnet 3D I ve had on the boats I ve been running for the last 10 years always seem to crash and restart on average every 24 to 36 hours. My iPad which I keep running as a backup with garmin bluechart has NEVER crashed.
  3. JimmyL

    JimmyL Member

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    So, if your experience is the same as what I've been thinking, sales on plotters have to be in jeopardy or at least slowing. A decent size plotter looks to be in $3,000 + range. A new iPad is ...$800. Given no weather / light glare issues and having an iPad at two helms (in case one fails), I don't see how to warrant the cost.

    Anyone have any argument with this thinking?
  4. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Yeah, no depth finder, no radar, no way to put your autopilot on track to follow a course. Also an external antannae is always going to be more reliable in inclement weather......will an ipad work for you, yes. Is it as reliable and offer as much safety as a chartplotter with radar and sounder, NO. On your size vessel you can mostly likely get away with ipads without ever having an issue.......
  5. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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    I'm with J on this, a proper unit designed to do it's job in damp, salty air while you're offshore is always going to be a better option than a domestic item.

    We've had local kids going out with just their cell phones as navigation/communication devices and they've got into trouble. The Lifeboat crew have to go out and save them. That's just foolish and unseamanlike.
  6. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I have a lifeproof case on mine,so damp and salty air isn't a concern. I never use WP with the AP, always set headings so I don't need it interfaced to anything and I prefer a stand alone sounder for redundancy.

    The biggest down side is readibility and the screen getting too hot in the sun so again it depends on the boat set up and use.
  7. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

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    For use in enclosed areas such as the original poster has described, I have had very good experiences with using an Ipad. Have used several different apps, such as Transas iSailor, Garmin BlueChart, iNavx, and SeaIQ.

    My favorite has been the SeaIQ, mostly for it's AIS functionality, which may not be a factor in the scenario JimmyL is looking to fulfill. I am also very happy with the SeaIQ with the ease in which I can do a weekly update of the charts for free directly from the NOAA chart servers.

    I also have a lifeproof case for the iPad for use in a center console open boat, and found it to be just fine.

    I am with Pascal on never using WP with the AP, in my personal opinion this is a poor practice. And, I also prefer a standalone sounder. Not a real big fan of all in one solutions.
  8. captainwjm

    captainwjm Senior member

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    I'm with Pascal and Capt. Kilbride on the use of the plotter. As for the Ipad; I agree that the biggest down side is readibility and the screen getting too hot in the sun. I have both the Garmin app and use the Polar Navy app [which gets me all the NOAA charts downloadable] on the Ipad.
  9. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

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    Wow, I wasn't aware that Polar Navy had an iPad App. I use Polar Navy on my MacBook and am pretty pleased with it ...
  10. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Me
    Me neither. I used a few years ago on a laptop before getting an iPad. Good program. May check the app although I really like the garmin blue charts especially the Bahamas coverage
  11. captainwjm

    captainwjm Senior member

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    The app for Polar Navy is cumbersome; I still prefer to run the PC version on the laptop when cruising. But the app version on the Ipad is perfect for scouting routes with the tender, etc.
  12. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Garmin has an APP as well, but you have to pay for it just like navionics. Navionics is $50 now.

    Who here prefers the Garmin app over the navionics app on here? How much are all of the various app's that are mentioned? Polar? etc?
  13. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I think I ve tried pretty much every app released in the last few years , except polar, and always come back to garmin right away The only thing missing from it is a heading line but I can live without it. The charts are very accurate and the easiest to read
  14. captainwjm

    captainwjm Senior member

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    Polar Navy is pretty cheap; around $40 when I bought mine.
  15. Glenn h w

    Glenn h w New Member

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    I have a $30,000 Furuno system with 2 Hatteland screens. It has been nothing but a hassle (A number of screens packed up and had to be sent to the manufacturer for repair--at my cost, much too complicated electronics with far too many silly options, continuos set-up difficulties for my very experienced technician, total lack of support). If I were to do it again, I'd instal two iPads with Navionics (one as backup)--a much better chart plotter, much more user friendly, at about 5% of the installed cost. Add a $50 Bad Elf GPS head for accurate location.
  16. JimmyL

    JimmyL Member

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    Ouch!! Sorry to hear what you've been going through... and one reason I've been diving into this..
    I hadn't heard of the Bad Elf GPS but that makes an even better solution to have a solid GPS head for those more remote areas (Broughton's etc..) and then allows for the less expensive non-cell iPad's! I Googled Bad Elf but they are showing as $130 US. did you see them elsewhere at $50 ?
  17. Glenn h w

    Glenn h w New Member

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    You are probably correct with the price of a Bad Elf--I was just guessing.
    I have an ipad mounted beside my two Furuno screens and it has served my 80' boat well in the Broughtons for two seasons when the Furunos packed up. I find the Navionics more clear, better colours, easier to plot and remove routes, and much simpler to use. I have two separate radars, which I prefer. And I don't navigate with my plotter in the channels on the west coast, as I think it is too dangerous and can lead to serious problems-- a la BC Ferries.
    I might add that I flew my technicians up to the Broughtons a few times on my nickel to work on my systems, as well as many sessions at my dock with no help from either Hatteland or Furuno nor the dealer.
    Good luck with your choice!
  18. JimmyL

    JimmyL Member

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    Thanks Glenn h w.
    I ordered a Bad Elf Pro just now. Along with my radar system, I have one iPad on board that has a cell antenna but was always a bit worried about cell tower connectivity for navigation. I also have a few iPads at home that are simply wifi models so, for a small investment, I now have a few nav sources and a better GPS antenna so I solved a bunch of worries.
    I agree with your views on navigating our busy coastal region by plotter. Better suited to more open areas.
    Keep an eye out for "After Four" and should we cross routes, hail me as I owe you a drink for your helpful advice!
  19. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    In all fairness that $30k system does a lot more than being just a plotter with radar, sounder, and much more. I suspect your technician may not be familiar with the system as it is true that some electronics have become way too complex

    I love saving a buck, but I don't see the logic behind wifi only iPads. The price difference is pretty much th price of an external GPS, so why bother with one. Charging it... pairing it... not worth it.

    And down th road you may find yourself needing cell connectivity. For instance when going to the Bahamas, the best way to have Internet access is to put in a prepaid local BTC sim... unlimited data for $1 a day. Yes, ONE dollars a day.