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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    236

    Default Chartplotter or Ipad?

    Hi,
    I'm usually based inland but I am planning to do some coastal cruising this year. My boat has no nav equipment except a compass. I also have a Garmin 72/76 handheld GPS and I have two good iPads with Navionics installed. These get their GPS signal from a Bluetooth GPS receiver. I have waterproof cases, charging capability, etc. I will also have paper charts, pilot books and an almanac.
    I'm wondering whether I should also buy a fixed chartplotter, whether it is a new or second-hand unit.
    I have seen a Garmin Echomap 50s for sale second-hand that looks like an option. Or should I be looking at something newer?
    Are there any fixed units that will connect with my iPad to provide a GPS signal?
    Any advice greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Conwy
    Posts
    4,069

    Default Re: Chartplotter or Ipad?

    I'm not sure I'm following your questions. You say you already have a functioning Bluetooth GPS receiver. If it is accurate why change? I have an Android tab with a built in GPS receiver that is as accurate as the chartplotter. but much prefer it to the chartplotter because of the Navionics app on it. I just like Navionics. However the chartplotter comes in handy because it feeds the DSC radio GPS information which the tab cannot do, (and I dont think your Garmin 72/76 can either). The two together work well as I run the chartplotter zoomed out in large scale for routing and passage planning but Navionics zoomed in for detail. If your DSC radio does not have built in GPS then I would strongly suggest getting or chartplotter or at least then I understand the rationale behind changing the GPS receiver. I believe there is a App on iTunes that can help you take GPS readings from a GPS receiver https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/nmea...590868529?mt=8

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Live London
    Posts
    3,753

    Default Re: Chartplotter or Ipad?

    I pads are great.

    You seem to have power, GPS sorted etc.

    There are two downsides ....

    1. full sunlight viewing is poor ( and if the unit gets too hot ( they can in the med) they will shut down with a "Cool me down" message)

    2. the big one ... they don't interface with the autohelm ( someone will figure it out one day) so you either have to manually steer or use heading hold.

    They are cheap and the Navionics charts excellent.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Guernsey
    Posts
    160

    Default Re: Chartplotter or Ipad?

    i've been using Navionics on a 5inch Samsung Galaxy android phone held in a rail mount (open sportsfisher boat) for the last 3 years around Guernsey, Herm and Sark. Works perfectly. Might upgrade the phone to something a bit bigger and with GLONASS soon. But if i do it's so handy that Navionics syncs across devices...and just £12 a year renewal.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    236

    Default Re: Chartplotter or Ipad?

    Thanks for the replies folks. I suppose I'm used to sailing boats with built-in chart plotters and most of my sailing was done before iPads became popular for navigation. I guess the iPads will be sufficient for what I need to do. Maybe I should get a second GPS receiver like a Garmin GLO. The sunlight viewing should be okay because I have a canopy on the aft deck and temperature won't be an issue on the West Coast of Ireland.
    I'm planning a two to three week cruise and I will be well crewed. I'll look into the VHF DSC also. I only have a very prehistoric VHF and a handheld so I am considering an upgrade.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Looking out of the window
    Posts
    13,932

    Default Re: Chartplotter or Ipad?

    Stand in the garden in bright sunlight and try and easily see what's on your screen.
    Now get someone to throw a bit of water over you and then answer your own question

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Greenwich
    Posts
    7,470

    Default Re: Chartplotter or Ipad?

    Quote Originally Posted by dherraghty View Post
    Thanks for the replies folks. I suppose I'm used to sailing boats with built-in chart plotters and most of my sailing was done before iPads became popular for navigation. I guess the iPads will be sufficient for what I need to do. Maybe I should get a second GPS receiver like a Garmin GLO. The sunlight viewing should be okay because I have a canopy on the aft deck and temperature won't be an issue on the West Coast of Ireland.
    I'm planning a two to three week cruise and I will be well crewed. I'll look into the VHF DSC also. I only have a very prehistoric VHF and a handheld so I am considering an upgrade.
    In theory you don't need a chartplotter and at my slow sailing speeds using my existing iPad with Navionics as an electronic paper chart on the table has worked fine. So I do it the old fashioned way that suits me which is keeping my eyes opening and dropping down below every now and again to check I'm right, or if there's a difficult bit coming up.

    But if you want to be steering along at a decent speed watching your boat moving across the screen then a full sunlight chartplotter is the right answer.

    Just to be clear any iPad with a slot for a SIM card will have full GPS coverage (even out of SIM card range and even with no SIM card in the slot), but you do need internet access to download the detailed charts for later use. So for example I downloaded the entire Adriatic coast in detail last year, and most of Greece the year before.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Bristol
    Posts
    269

    Default Re: Chartplotter or Ipad?

    I've only had one year of boating so far, and only in the Bristol Channel, but have been more than happy with my tablet (Sony Xperia Z3 compact) with Navionics installed.

    It's great for playing around with the night before... to create a route to follow for less hassle on the day. And to save the routes, and to look at them during work lunch hour ... like this one... I'm incredibly proud of the route... if you zoom in .

    Like Whitelighter above says though, test out the max brightness in direct sunlight. I keep mine on a tilt-able clamp, so can easily nudge it out of the sun if it gets on my nerves. Also, waterproof is likely a real concern (mine is).

    Bonus with my Android tablet is, I also have navionics installed on my phone as a backup. You might be able to do that if you have an iPhone to match your iPad. I like backups .

    And like RupertW says; Another potential bonus... does your tablet/phone have GPS (satellite) or A-GPS (mobile network)... one is true satellite-based, the other not. If your device(s) has GPS, bonus, it's all built in! Less parts to fail . But definitely check if it's GPS! Both my phone and tablet are definitely satellite based GPS. And yep, definitely download all the relevant area via your home wifi before heading out.
    YouTube: Gorjus Boating
    Boat: Sealine 195

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Monaco
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Chartplotter or Ipad?

    Quote Originally Posted by Whitelighter View Post
    Stand in the garden in bright sunlight and try and easily see what's on your screen.
    Now get someone to throw a bit of water over you and then answer your own question
    +1
    Add some polarized sunglasses to the party, and see how totally unreadable the iPad screen becomes.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Conwy
    Posts
    4,069

    Default Re: Chartplotter or Ipad?

    Is this peculiar to iPad because I have none of these issues with my Android tab? It is viewable clearly in sunlight, and where as I dont wear Polaroids, I do wear sunglasses and can see it quite adequately. As for water, it's yet to get wet and suffer any harm, but is by no means waterproof.

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