Quick review Cheapest and best GPS alternative

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by HallOfDreams, Sep 30, 2019.

  1. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    2000 Cruisers 3870
    8.2 Mercs
    85 Sea Ray Monaco 197
    260hp Alpha 1
    Like I said, to each their own. I certainly wouldn’t trust a $30 no name case with 60% negative reviews.

    MM
     
    Steve S likes this.
  2. HallOfDreams

    HallOfDreams Member

    88
    Sep 11, 2019
    2003 (2004 face lift) Searay 340 8.1L Mag. Outdrive.
    Mercruiser 8.1L 496 mag
  3. Creekwood

    Creekwood Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 26, 2009
    Oakville and Georgian Bay, Ontario
    '97 330 Sundancer, Raymarine C80 suite with radar, Mercury 310 Hypalon w/8hp Yammie 2stk
    2X 454 carbs w/ vDrives
    Hi from another Canadian. I also use both Navionics on an iPAD (have it also on my iPhone) and a raymarine chart plotter with radar. My iPAD does occasionally overheat in use when it is mounted on the helm and the sun is beating on it while underway. If it is in the shade, no problem. I like it for pre-planning routes and then will have both units running with different scale/zoom.

    I use the iPhone version on the dinghy when I am touring around unfamiliar places and want to be able to watch depths an find my way around.

    its a great option, but I would not rely on it alone. At least have charts with you for the area you are boating.
     
    MonacoMike and HallOfDreams like this.
  4. HallOfDreams

    HallOfDreams Member

    88
    Sep 11, 2019
    2003 (2004 face lift) Searay 340 8.1L Mag. Outdrive.
    Mercruiser 8.1L 496 mag
    I have mounted mine on the 340's dash where the plotter is supposed to go, My Raymarine pooped out so got a new panel made from the original suppliers and then have the 8" screen which is bigger than the Raymarine mounted vertical in same place. the area is parallel with the helm and out of sun completely, I guess that's why Searay made the space for plotters there?

    as the area is under the Bimini and out of weather, I have zero concerns about overheating or water even though it has a protective cover. the unit is mounted via velcro and power is hidden behind the helm so basically looks like a slim chartplotter. I dont run anything else on the device other than Navionics and the Anchor alarm.

    My boating is 99% Rideau lakes system and plotter used for shallows and shoal avoidance. For me $200CAD Vs $1,300 is a no brainer. If you are a salty I can understand extra features on a MFG chartplotter maybe essential, however Standard Horizon pulled out of the plotters due to low sales and Garmin purchased Navionics to support their own device sales. As tablets get more powerful and so do APP's in 5 years I can imagine it wont be much left in the way of purpose built chartplotters other than big units designed for Ocean travel.
     
  5. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    2000 Cruisers 3870
    8.2 Mercs
    85 Sea Ray Monaco 197
    260hp Alpha 1
    For inland lake use the tablets are a good option for some. Out on the ocean or Great Lakes in pounding waves trying to run a tablet is challenging. Trying to run a touch screen plotter can also be difficult. That is why they are back to offering some models with buttons again. The tablet touch screens seem to be way more sensitive to touch than plotters, likely to meet the needs of land based consumers.

    MM
     
  6. GnrlPatton

    GnrlPatton Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    624
    Jul 12, 2010
    Maple Valley, WA
    Current: 1998 370 Express Cruiser
    Sold:1988 230 Weekender
    Twin Cat 3116T
    I use a 10" Android tablet running the Navionics app. It's my backup GPS, but I typically have my built-in Garmin zoomed way out for navigation, and the tablet zoomed way in for depth (or vice versa). The last 3 summers I've boated well north into Canada, and once I'm past a certain point, my Garmin no longer has the detailed info, so I have to rely on my tablet more. I have no way to update the Garmin maps (it's an older unit), so unless I get a newer unit, I'll have to use the tablet more.

    I saw an email from Navionics that they now integrate with several AIS transceivers over WiFi, to overlay AIS traffic on the maps. I've been seriously considering getting AIS previously, I think this will push me over the edge to make it happen.

    Here's a pic of my setup:

    Seafari Helm.jpg
     
    HallOfDreams likes this.
  7. PMC

    PMC Well-Known Member

    Apr 10, 2009
    Long Island, NY
    2001 40 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins 6CTA
    Although not a a perfect solution, the tablet with Navionics is nice to have onboard. Personally, i would not use it for my only device, but i do use it as my primary.

    Damage to the device - I use the same tablet at home, so the back and forth, packing it.....lets just say, shit happens, and I have cracked the screen.
    Battery life - Make sure it is charged, fully. Charging when underway creates more heat, and the device is more susceptible to overheat. I have had partial overheating, where charging was disabled.
    Screen Brightness - I have been pretty good with the visibility on the bridge, but if you are using this outside with bright light, it will not be as bright as a marine onboard
    Overheating- I have had it overheat and fully shut down before. Keeping it in an air slip stream has improved tremendously. But keep in mind, you are cranking up the screen brightness, having a charge going on, under the hot sun....there is plenty stacking up to overheat it.

    Being able to take the tablet home, plot a course, have all my trip history is incredible. I love using my tablet for navigation, and data collection. My onboard electronics are all in good working order and become the backup when the tablet is on. However, I do not bother to setup the tablet for very familiar or short run. There still is a convenience factor with using the onboad equipment.
     
    MonacoMike likes this.
  8. joeyleggz

    joeyleggz Well-Known Member

    867
    Jan 15, 2013
    long island
    current boat: 1997 sea ray 330 express cruiser
    twin 454's efi
    Just did a little research and found out that, yes, if your unit has a GPS receiver which apparently most do ,you do not need any service to use the navi app I learned something new now thanks for chiming in this will be a good backup
     
    HallOfDreams likes this.
  9. GnrlPatton

    GnrlPatton Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    624
    Jul 12, 2010
    Maple Valley, WA
    Current: 1998 370 Express Cruiser
    Sold:1988 230 Weekender
    Twin Cat 3116T
    Yep, that is true. My tablet only has WiFi, which I don't have when underway. I just download the map of the area I need while at home before every trip, so I always have the latest to use offline.
     
  10. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    2000 Cruisers 3870
    8.2 Mercs
    85 Sea Ray Monaco 197
    260hp Alpha 1
    Yes, I forgot that issue. I have yet to find a 12v charger that can keep up with the charge for a 5-6 hour run. Since it is usually daylight while running the brightness is turned up, the GPS is constantly updating, and it is searching for signal to update the aps I am using with wifi if available, using so much power.

    MM
     
  11. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    2000 Cruisers 3870
    8.2 Mercs
    85 Sea Ray Monaco 197
    260hp Alpha 1
    Good suggestion, It is best to be certain you have the maps you need even if you have wifi.

    MM
     
  12. Henry Boyd

    Henry Boyd Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2007
    Newburyport, on the peaceful and serene Merrimack
    ‘09 Sabre 38 Hardtop Express “Serenity”
    Volvo D6 w/IPS450 Pods
    I’m with MM. iPads are great as backup, or for less critical tasks. I use one for simple route planning and it’s worked out well. After using marine grade electronics for getting on fifteen years I would never go back to charts and compass unless forced to do so. Likewise while I’ll use the iPad for additional information, it would never be a primary device, but it is better alternative to paper.

    Our new ride was set up for long distance cruising. As a result, it has two large 12” Raymarine displays with digital radar, two VHF, AIS transceiver and autopilot. In addition I have an 8” Garmin mfd display for engine telemetry that has built in GPS.

    H
     
  13. Creekwood

    Creekwood Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 26, 2009
    Oakville and Georgian Bay, Ontario
    '97 330 Sundancer, Raymarine C80 suite with radar, Mercury 310 Hypalon w/8hp Yammie 2stk
    2X 454 carbs w/ vDrives
    Well, I dont’ run in the ocean, but we do get fog at times and I do run in early AM and at night periodically and I have radar. So until they can overlay radar on my iPAD, i will use the raymarine.

    The new raymarine’s have the ability to link your navionics and other data on mobile devices using WIFI I think. It is really cool and truly integrates the two devices. But would mean a complete replacement of my current fully functional, if somewhat dated mfd, sonar unit, fluxgate compass and radome. So will have to wait.
     
  14. 370Dancer

    370Dancer Well-Known Member

    Oct 2, 2006
    Florida - Alabama
    1998 370 Sundancer
    380hp MAG MPI Gen VI with V drives
    Not all devices. Look at the amazingly beautiful Amazon fire tablet from last year. No GPS.
     
  15. 370Dancer

    370Dancer Well-Known Member

    Oct 2, 2006
    Florida - Alabama
    1998 370 Sundancer
    380hp MAG MPI Gen VI with V drives
    My Android tablet running Navionics is HDMI hard tethered to my 32" plotter screen in the salon (ok, TV). If I ever have to look at something other than the A95-series Raymarine at the helm, I open the salon door for a minute.
    Nobody on board ever asks where we are, or when will we get there. ;-)
     
  16. pyro

    pyro Active Member

    285
    Dec 4, 2018
    CT, Long Island Sound
    2008 Sundancer 290
    Twin 5.0L MPI Bravo III
    Kohler 5ecd
    I'm all for Navionics. The ease of use is so much better than my MFD. And for long trips you can prepare ahead of time by making routes, and studying your route - probably the most important part. So far I've just been using it on my phone, but planning to add a full tablet next year. I tend to use the MFD for every day areas that I'm used to, but rely more on Navionics for new areas. There are pros and cons of each one.

    Some company needs to make a heavy duty tablet with higher brightness. That would change the market quite drastically. I realize a lot of people are against tablets, but I see it as the best competition we have to bring the outrageous prices of large MFDs down. But with Garmin buying Navionics I feel they have conflicted interests.
     
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  17. MonacoMike

    MonacoMike Well-Known Member

    Sep 15, 2009
    Indiana lakes and Lake Michigan
    2000 Cruisers 3870
    8.2 Mercs
    85 Sea Ray Monaco 197
    260hp Alpha 1
    I do not think anyone is "against" tablets for navigation. It is just best that the unknowing, know their limitations. I would be in the market for the "marine" grade tablet. The limitation is by the time they make it heat resistant, like a MFD, have resolution and brightness, like MFD, it will cost like a MFD...

    MM

    MM
     
    Henry Boyd likes this.
  18. spezia91

    spezia91 New Member

    6
    Sep 12, 2019
    Boatless
    Boatless
    With this solution you can get gps on "wifi only ipad"
    https://theboatgalley.com/gps-to-wifi-ipad-for-aquamap-under-10/
     
  19. Henry Boyd

    Henry Boyd Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2007
    Newburyport, on the peaceful and serene Merrimack
    ‘09 Sabre 38 Hardtop Express “Serenity”
    Volvo D6 w/IPS450 Pods
    It looks like that works with using a cellular derived gps share. I’d be concerned that loss of cell reception (like in most of the ocean) would cause blackouts. Better to spend the $100 on something like the Bad Elf external Gps that always works.
    H
     
    Jaybeaux likes this.
  20. spezia91

    spezia91 New Member

    6
    Sep 12, 2019
    Boatless
    Boatless
    Not at all... a device with a GPS capability push NMEA sentences over a WiFi and if Aqua Map in your tablet (joined the same network) gets gps through the network. Trust me I personally tested this solution. It can works in the middle of Pacific Ocean, doesn't require a cellular coverage. WiFi can exist without internet
     

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