Not too long ago I posted that I needed a new gps, but couldn't remember why I needed a new one. Sound familiar!
(update) I remember now, the curser quits moving while it redraws charts and sometimes it takes awhile to catch up, so its not really broken just too slow.
Anyway I've been shopping gps units and have been shocked and irritated at the manufacturers high prices and total arrogance.
This is the way I see it!
- They sell us a product that does the same thing a highway unit does (mostly) for ten times the price.
- They then make us buy maps separately because the pre-loaded chart shows the shoreline as a straight line, and small islands are skipped completely.
- Then to top it off they quit supporting (selling chips) for older units forcing us to buy all new stuff, and start all over again.
- And the stuff they make us buy are all in one units called mfd's (multifunctiondisplays) as if giving it a fancy name makes it a good idea. Well most of us have tripped and broken a few eggs and when they are all in one basket, you know what happens. If that was too to hard grasp, it means they all broke. It means when your mfd quits, you have lost your gps, your sounder, maybe your compass, certainly your chart. Why buy a paper chart when you have a $5,000 chart plotter. oh yeah your knot meter too, but who cares how fast your going when your lost. Did I mention radar, yeah for another 5k+ you can get it in the same basket.
- They're laughing all the way to the bank while we just gobble up their over priced products.
And this is what I did:
- I bought a gps antenna (usb) and chart plotter program for my laptop, total cost $99. Of course I already had a $350 lap top with a 15 inch screen BTW. (awesome detail)
- it came with a dvd with every NOAA chart published
- every chart is the most recent updated published
- it works great and has all the detail the others choose to spoon feed us $350 at a time because NOAA is where the charts come from in the first place.
- as a bonus I got chart number one (free online anyway) just a click away as well as tide prediction, coast pilot, all part of a full feature chart plotter navigation suite.
- and even better I have a copy loaded onto my home computer with a 27 inch screen so I can cruise around when I'm not on the boat.
- and if it quits, I can send it back to Dell (the lap top) or pick up a new one and load the program on as many computers as I want
Now here's the down side: (none) okay, it is not 3D.
- I still need a separate sounder. (have two, that's a good thing)
- and a stand alone compass. (got it) another good thing
- I'm afraid I will be keeping my charts handy in case my laptop screen goes blue or battery's go dead.
- redraw times are instantaneous, darn.
- I still plan to keep my handheld, ( you know, eggs in a basket and all).
- I'm worried someone will break into my boat thinking I have a fancy chart plotter hidden away.
- I wont have any discontinued phone numbers for shore side businesses in my expensive discontinued chart plotter.
- I'm sure there must be more negatives.
- OK, here's one, my lap top is not designed for salt water use. Hmmm? you know it cost $350, and that's not counting converting to boating units. (I think the boat unit conversion is multiply 7X, or is it 10X.)
Installation was a snap:
Just plug in the usb antenna and set on ledge by window, open laptop and power up.
In about five seconds the red menu box turns black meaning satellites are detected and locked on.
One last point:
It works while in the car, but there are no detailed highway maps, only main highways on charts. I guess NOAA figures boats will stay in the water.
I am really excited about this new toy (I mean tool)(nav aid)(gps)(chart plotter)
$99 chart plotter, that's less boat bucks than, than, than, well its less than anything I can think of except an led bulb I just bought for $ 8 plus shipping.
I think you can download the sea clear program for free if you're techie prone. (I bought what someone had put on a disk)
|This is the pixlated logo for the Sea Clear program|