BoLin

Need Recommendations for a New Chartplotter

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I have an old Garmin GPSMap 498 that gave us a few problems last year and I believe its time to move on. I'm hoping that some of you might be able to suggest a chart plotter that meets some (or all?) of the following:

- Space is tight. No bigger than a 7" diag screen.

- For sonar I primarily rely on a Lowrance sonar (also old) so I'm looking mostly for a good GPS unit. I'm not looking for Side Scan or anything too high tech. 

- I'd like to keep the price below $750 complete with ducer.

- I've had 2 Garmin units so I'm familiar with their operation but I'm not locked in to them.

Any and all suggestions for brands, models, features, things I haven't mentioned here, best place(s) to research/shop/purchase, etc, etc are appreciated.
 

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Garmin. If you’re already familiar with the brand you’ll be happy to know the operating system and basic functionality of the unit hasn’t changed much over the years. They’re easily the most user friendly, intuitive units on the market. If you’re looking for just GPS and have no intention of using radar now or in the future, the 74sv Echomap plus is worth a look. If radar is a need or you’re looking to get it in the future, check out the 742xs. 

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8 mins ago, Kml said:

Tackle direct had a really good sale back in December I got a 94sv for 500 bucks.

Not sure if they still have that going on.

Go to a brick and mortar store. People are there to answer questions, demonstrate the unit’s features, and more importantly, if you have a problem it can be dealt with in person. Say what you will, but west marine has a great price match policy and a one-year replacement/exchange policy. If you’ve got a local reputable electronics dealer, even better. 

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SeaDogg - I was just looking at the 74cv and 74cv plus.  Probably fit my needs pretty well.  

 

Gonna visit a couple of retailers this weekend for some Q and A as well as hands on looking.

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3 hours ago, Seadogg said:

Go to a brick and mortar store. People are there to answer questions, demonstrate the unit’s features, and more importantly, if you have a problem it can be dealt with in person. Say what you will, but west marine has a great price match policy and a one-year replacement/exchange policy. If you’ve got a local reputable electronics dealer, even better. 

Tackle direct is a brick and mortar store in Nj.

The staff at the 2 local west marine stores are useless.

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3 hours ago, BoLin said:

SeaDogg - I was just looking at the 74cv and 74cv plus.  Probably fit my needs pretty well.  

 

Gonna visit a couple of retailers this weekend for some Q and A as well as hands on looking.

No idea where you are but the Atlantic city boat show is this weekend. Everything will be there I'm sure.

 

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4 mins ago, Kml said:

Tackle direct is a brick and mortar store in Nj.

The staff at the 2 local west marine stores are useless.

Well let’s hope he doesn’t live where you live, I guess. 

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The last time I was in the market for electronics (sonar) my first stop was West Marine.  They were pretty busy and I waited my turn.  When the staffer got to me I asked if I purchased a Lowrance unit the same size as my old one, could I use the existing mounting bracket and cables.  He looked at me like I was asking about advanced micro-surgery, laughed a bit, said 'Probably not' and turned away to help another customer who he greeted by name.  That customer was not next in line. The couple who should have been next and I walked out.

 

I bought the sonar from Defender who is a brick and mortar, on-line and catalog retailer. (At least they used to have a catalog.)

 

I still shop at West Marine occasionally but only for items I don't need much help with.

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Yea, I only mentioned west marine because they’re a pretty big retailer. If you’ve got another place that you like better, go for it. Point is, online-only retailers aren’t the best choice. Most brick and mortar stores are willing to make a deal, and again, can help out with product questions, concerns, repairs, etc. 

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Given a good deal on a garmin, stick with familiar is good advice.

Garmin has an excellent reputation for its intuitive user interface.

That was especially true decades ago, and still a favorite of many.

However, most of the other major manufacturers have closed the gap big time.

I had that 498 years ago, great unit.

Then changed to combo hummingbirds as I got lured by side scan.

turns out the side scan wasn’t great in the depths I fish, but the 2d sonar was excellent and the gps side was very good for the 5% of its functionality that I actually used. Now have simrad, similar experience - outstanding fish finder and very good chartplotter for the 5% of its functionality that I use.

The optional charts now a days have amazing contour details. I have navionics. 

Best to do some homework and research unit info and reviews.

might get lucky with knowledgeable store, but the west marine by me has mostly young employees that have little knowledge nor experience.

Fellow members post above was a slam dunk to get to the ac boat show and spend as much time as possible playing with the units and discussions with the factory reps.

Good luck and enjoy 

 

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Thx all.  I bit the bullet and picked up a Garmin 94sv from Tackle Direct.  (Thx Kml - I got the very last one they had at the same price you did.)

 

Now another Q:  The 9" is really big for the space I've got for it when its mounted on the supplied bracket.  (Windshield is severely angled.)  However, I could build an enclosure and do a surface mount installation.  (Maybe make it less likely to be stolen???)  But I'm wondering if the unit can be left in the boat year round.  (I'm in Maryland and it gets pretty cold in Jan/Feb and right now in Mar too.)

 

In the past I've always removed the electronics for the winter.  But if I build a flush mount there won't actually be rear access so taking it out would be a PITA. Does anyone know, for sure, whether a Garmin chart plotter can handle temps down around 0 degrees?

 

Thx again.

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