Garmin GPSMap 943xsv hands-on, X3 delivers

Ben Stein

Ben Stein

Publisher of, passionate marine electronics enthusiast, 100-ton USCG master.

18 Responses

  1. Christopher says:

    USB socket does not allow you to use Garmin USB Card Reader for maps ?

  2. Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

    It does work with these MFDs. But, it requires another hole and another $100 outlay. TO be clear, this is not a problem unique to Garmin, all MFDs installed on Panbo(at) have their card readers on the back of the MFD.

    -Ben S.

    • Michael Jabara says:

      I installed the remote SD Mini size w 2 slots unit on the back of my pedestal NavPod. Works like a charm. Recommended setup is
      • SLOT 1 micro on back of unit (Right one) – 32gb Micro SD that you buy install and configure for ActiveCaptain and everything else.
      • SLOT 2 micro on back of unit (Left one) – G3 or G3 Vision navigation map card ( I think it’s 8GB)
      • SLOT 3 mini on Remote Reader (Left one) – Use for major upgrades with a 2nd 32GB SD
      • Slot 4 mini on Remote Reader (Right one) – no idea what to do with this one

  3. Peter Geise says:

    If you combined new Garmin unit with the new Garmin GPS antenna and Garmin’s black box AIS… could the Vesper Cortex M-1 add much of anything more?

    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:


      I think you will still get quite a bit from Cortex compared to an MFD and AIS transceiver. First and foremost is the redesign of the basic way you interact with a VHF radio. Brain-dead simple calling of AIS targets by MMSI, powerful collision avoidance, integrated boat monitoring, and more are all major differences from the combination of existing hardware. Additionally, pairing one of these MFDs with a Cortex would give you the best of both worlds in that respect.

      -Ben S.

  4. Craig Warner says:

    I just found your website and am enjoying it. Our sailboat is used mainly for racing. New race rules will require participants to wear a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) that has an AIS and in some models an AIS/DSC capability. Could you write an article showing how to use the SOS funcition of the chart plotter to navigate back to a person in the water. Also could you illustrate what the chart plotter will look like when it recieves a PLB AIS signal and how to navigate back to the person. My personal PLB is an Ocean Signal Rescueme MOB1 AIS/DSC. Thanks Craig

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Hi Craig.

      To be clear, personal AIS MoB beacons are not PLBs. They are two different technologies and two different rescue strategies, so in some cases it makes sense to have both.

      At any rate, I tested the ACR sibling of the RescueMe MoB1 and think it’s great. The entry also shows how it and similar AIS MoB devices interact with various VHF radios and chartplotters, but note that the DSC part varies by region:

      By contrast, here are some entries about PLBs:

  5. Nick Nichols says:

    I currently use a Globalmap 5200 chartplotter on my boat with limited space for a wider chartplotter which is shared with a Furuno 585 and a Icom m506 radio. Can you make a recommendation for a replacement for my chartplotter?

    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

      Hi Nick,

      I’d be happy to take a look at what you have, but I’d suggest you post in the Panbo forum so others can chime in as well. Also, if you have a picture of your helm it would be great to upload that so we can understand the space available.

      -Ben S.

  6. robie says:

    but still no explorer charts, this makes the chartplotter worthless in the bahamas.

  7. MItch Anderson says:

    What are the important differences between the 943xsv and the more expensive 8610xsv?

    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

      Hi Mitch,

      The single largest difference is probably the screen resolution. The 8610 has a 1920 x 1080 display and the 943 has a 1280×720 display. Additionally, the 8610 has three transducer interfaces and deeper sonar capabilities. The 8610 also has HDMI input and output ports.

      There used to be more differences between the software, but the X3 series has gained most of those abilities. I also suspect the 8600 series have more capable processers than the X3 series but I don’t know that for sure.

      -Ben S.

  8. Jim says:

    I just purchased a GPSMAP 743 for a commercial boat. I was told by the store where I bought it that you should be able to add our logo to the start up screen. does anyone know anything about this.
    Also what is the USB on the back of the unit for? I plugged it in to my laptop and my laptop did not even recognize it.

  9. Luke says:

    I believe there is s setting on the Garmin devices for creating the route starting at the destination or from your current location but can’t remember where they hid it off the top of my head. It is true by default it’s set to start at the destination and then you add turns back wards. This support video shows them going the other way though so clearly it’s possible to change:

  10. Dennis Giraud says:

    Garmin builds good stuff. My navigation suite is all Garmin however I am needing an upgrade and WILL NOT BUY GARMIN. I also advise any one contemplating going southbound beyond the USA on the west coast to NOT BUY GARMIN until they allow uploading Garmin owned Navionics Charts to their chartplotters. The Garmin charts are beyond garbage. I have submitted some pretty horrendous errors and anchored on many a mountain top to no avail.
    I am switching to B&G. Downside is I have to buy new radar. With B&G I don’t need an extra box for the sounder but need an R2K transducer.

    • says:

      Thanks for posting. I recently found this site and I really appreciate all the good content. Just ordered a new Parker 2320 that I will be outfitting with electronics on my own to save some money and choose exactly the gear I want. I decided to go with a 1243 MFD with a Fantom 18x radar. Can’t wait to get on the water!

  11. Cary says:

    I have this unit on my sportsman 214 boat with a Yamaha 150. I love it. I was just curious if I buy a Garmin force trolling motor. Will this trolling motor hook to this unit? And if so what wiring will have to be added if any?

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