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The trouble with Garmin
hey, ben, ben and the group
have been a follower of your blog for many years and now i need some help.
i’m one of those guys who sails my boat Celest to the bahamas every year. I first used garmin blue charts with explorer charts installed on an ipad as my chart plotter. thinking what a great app that was i moved over to a real garmin 741xs chartplotter a few years ago. after using the blue the real chart plotter was a real disappointment but it worked and had the explorer charts, so all was good.
three years ago my wife said she’d like to have AIS for the crossing and thats where the trouble began.
i bought the garmin non ais 210 vhf dsc gps radio, the garmin ghs11 remote mike and the garmin AIS 600 box.
i had a garmin certified tech help me with the install, long story.
it took 2 years to get it working cause the chart plotter needed to be updated and tech couldn’t get it to work from his laptop and i wanted to go sailing.
radio worked that first year as long as chartplotter was on to give it a gps position, otherwise you got a loud beep every hour telling you that the radio has no position. there is noway to turn off the gps function, making the radio worthless at anchor, cause i don’t have the battery power to waste on keeping a chartplotter running 24/7.
last summer i took the chartplotter home and tried to update chartplotter from my apple computer. garmin doesn’t work with an apple computer or their workaround. so i had to buy a $30 sd card from garmin to up grade the chartplotter.
this winter back to celest and the AIS worked. but!
with the chartplotter upgrade i lost my my explorer charts and got useless navionics charts of the bahamas. the charts are worthless and the reason for many first time boats going aground in the bahamas.
the radio still only worked when the chartplotter was left on and we finally installed the GHS 11 remote mike which wouldn’t work because the 741xs needed to be updated to recognize the mike.
i hired the florida tech again but he couldn’t get the upgrade to talk to my chartplotter again and when he called garmins help line they told him i needed a newer GPS. this as i’m paying him $100 an hour. we also tried to install a nmea 183 GPS antenna directly to the radio, so the radio could hold a position without the chartplotter, but the radio wouldn’t recognize it.
garmin does make a card reader nmea 2000 net work updater that they say i can buy for $80 and update my radio so the compatible ghs11 mike would work.
i can sell everything on ebay and probably get back 30% of my money and start new.
So, i am through with garmin and here is are my questions for the group, finally.
recommendation for a 7” chartplotter that will take Cmap navico charts? so i can get back to explorer charts.
will my garmin AIS 600 talk to a non garmin chartplotter?
if not, a recommendation for an AIS transponder that would ork with any chartplotter?
i have the single antenna through the ais 600 splitter.
i want a DSC radio with remote mike, that is independent of my chartplotter and AIS so that it can stay on day or night at anchor if i want it, without taxing my modest battery bank. i could keep my present radio if it would talk to the gps antenna i hooked up to it.
should i buy a new DSC radio remote mike compatible that has a built in GPS antenna?
any ideas of a make and model?
i think thats about it, would appreciate any advise and input.
Some of the newer Garmin you can update with an app on your cell phone. You could try that before dumping it. Really any of the really advanced integrated equipment needs to be supported by a person good at computers, with a PC, etc... The Garmin is relatively advanced and some people want the advances. Other people want simple.
Really, I'd recommend a radio with built in AIS receiver and internal GPS. If you need remote, instead add a 2nd radio and antenna and be redundant.
Si-Tex makes a 9" Navpro plotter that does the Cmap/Navico charts and even comes with one. It can update it self if you provide it wifi once in a while.
Add a third VHF antenna and use a Vesper such as the xb-8000. Even if it's a little antenna not too high will get you a few miles which serves the purpose of AIS.
hey jason, thanks for your respose and advise. my garmin chartplotter is a few years old and can only be updated with a sim card. i want the explorer charts so i need to change manufacturer anyway. i will look at the si-tex chartplotter as you suggest. i really hate the garmin radio so i think i will trade it in for one with an internal gps antenna, duch as the standard horizon gx1800g.
since writing this post i have been told that my garmin ais 600 will work with any nmea2000 chart plotter so if that turns out to work i wouldnt need a new AIS transponder. but if i do will look at the vesper yoou suggest. thank you so much, robie