Why I HATE Garmin SO MUCH!!!!

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by Psykldoc, Jun 4, 2014.

  1. Psykldoc

    Psykldoc New Member

    Feb 9, 2010
    Space Coast, Florida
    '95 370 DA Sundancer
    Twin 8.1 L EFI Horizon Mercs,
    w/ V-Drives
    This is mostly a review about Garmin, the company, with mention of the 5212 Chartplotter.
    Regardless, I think it conveys important information for any boater making a decision about a new chartplotter who is unfamiliar with the company.

    I first learned to hate Garmin about 10 years ago when I, as an early adopter of tech stuff, bought a GPS for my car. The maps they had at that point were crappy and inaccurate. I was using it for both business and pleasure, and it was constantly screwing up, either from inaccurate data, or quirky processing. I lost many hours on the phone to the company while lost out in the boonies, or sometimes on multiple calls I had to make over several days after I got home, trying to fix the glitches during the first two years. But hey, I wanted to do my part to advance the science and all, so I would even call them to provide accurate data to the company when the danged thing would screw up, and I had correct information to submit through the use of paper maps and/or trial and error. The final insult came after all that frustration when they came out with an update for the maps, and they actually had the nerve to try to charge me almost as much for them as it would have cost to purchase a whole new unit (assuming that I bought it anywhere other than directly from them). Yes, there was a TINY discount for the update vs. first time purchase of the data, but it was still an outrageous cost, particularly for someone who'd never actually achieved satisfactory performance from the equipment. At that time, I swore that the company would never see another penny of my money.

    Fast forward to now: I just purchased a beautiful, used '95 370 DA, which came with a Garmin 5212 Chartplotter already installed. The Garmin 5212 runs EXTREMELY hot, and overheats to the point of shutting itself down within 30 - 60 min, whenever I turn it on. An internet search reveals that I'm not the only one having this issue with this series of Garmin equipment. Of course, when I called Garmin, the technician initially denied any familiarity with any such difficulty, insisting that there must be a low voltage condition. Once I'd confirmed by testing and retesting the voltage repeatedly, I was instructed to add an external fan to blow on the Garmin's cooling fins. I have now installed that fan. It doesn't shut down so quick at this point, but still runs extremely hot, suggesting that something is clearly wrong in there. Garmin's solution: I am "welcome" to send it in to them with a "flat fee" payment of just $620, for which they will happily send me someone elses re-manufactured unit, rather than replacing what is likely a $20 part, and charging me accordingly for the repair. I just don't understand how a company with such horrendously predatory practices of consumer exploitation is allowed to flourish in a competitive market?!?! That being said, my money going to go for a Raymarine A128, which looks to me like a fine next gen of the E125 that initially caught my attention, which I'd planned to pair with a CP100 to utilize the downvision technology. Caveat emptor my friends!
  2. gerryb

    gerryb Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    Oct 12, 2006
    Somers Point, NJ
    "On Vacation"
    2006 40 Sundancer
    Raymarine E125 & HD Radar + Garmin 5208
    QSB5.9 380 Cummins
    I have a 5208 which has been on two boats now and I have never had anything but a rock-solid experience with it... I'm assuming the warranty period is expired on yours. Can you perhaps escalate to someone with a bit more authority at Garmin to take a look at the unit with out the payment?
  3. hottoddie

    hottoddie Well-Known Member

    Jan 11, 2012
    Boston/Cape Cod
    1986 Sea Ray 390 EC
    Garmin 4212 Chartplotter
    Garmin 24 HD Radar
    Garmin 546s Plotter
    454 Crusaders
    I had a similar problem with my 4212 that is mounted in a NavPod 2 years ago. Installing a small 12v computer fan in the bottom of the NavPod along with a small clamshell vent on the top solved the problem. I agree they tend to run hot especially if you run sounder, radar, flow meters and a vision card like I do.
  4. RollerCoastr

    RollerCoastr Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Cedar Point, OH / Miami, FL / MacRay Harbor, MI
    1997 400DA
    340HP 7.4 Mercruiser Bluewaters
    Garmin 741, 742, 8212, 24HD, Intellian I2
    1999 280BR
    Twin 250HP Merc 350 Alpha Ones
    I remember being on hold with Garmin customer service for over an hour while on a 10-day boat trip, only to be disconnected with no way regain my place in line. I was so frustrated that I wanted to reach out to the Uni-bomber for advice. They're much better now, but that trade-in policy is crazy.

    I liked my device enough at the time though, so continue to buy Garmin equipment. I've had a 5212 for 5+ years now, and while it's slow by current standards, it's been an awesome unit. It doesn't run hot.

    Many of my friends have MFD's from the "leading brand", and there's just no comparison in updates, support, usability, flexibility, functionality. I can't believe how crude those other units are, and I feel sorry for the people who own them!
  5. 2000SR380

    2000SR380 Member

    Feb 17, 2014
    Emeryville, CA
    2005 Sea Ray 280 Sundancer, Express Cruiser
    Two 5.0L Gas Mercruiser V8, B3 Outdrives
    My first electronic upgrade was replacing a Loran C unit (in our C36) with a updated Furuno Chart plotter and Radar. About the third year we owned her we had a collision in our C36, where we were basically rammed by another boat. I had the Furuno Chart Plotter running and capturing our path. I sent the data to Furuno and they wrote me a beautiful letter, for my insurance company, explaining exactly what they could tell from the captured data. It was very helpful in supporting our story of how events unfolded. Which (oddly) was not the same as the story given by the other skipper. I worked on a fishing boat for a couple of years that had all Furuno NAV equipment. Since Furuno is what I knew (and was familiar with), I set up our Slocum 43 with all Furuno equipment. Once, while coming up the coast, we just got pasted off Point Sur. After three tries to motor-sail around the Point, we gave up and headed for Pfeiffer Cove. The cruising guide showed an anchorage there and I had marked it on the chart as a possible refuge. The California Coast is rough and rocky with bands of kelp, and as we made our night time approach to the anchorage it became apparent that the Lattitude and Longitude in the cruising guide was different than the little anchor showing on the Furuno display! The best I could make out on the Paper Chart, the Cruising Guide was suggesting I anchor on Pfeiffer ROCK!! So we watched the depth finder and worked our way in through the fog and dark. Dropped the hook in sheltered water, about 60 feet deep with decent holding. Right on top of the little anchor icon. I loved loved loved my Furuno equipment! Our Sea Ray 380DA came with Ray Marine Electronics. So far they are all working fine, and the radar is really good. I have never experienced an overheating problem. Even with my hand held Magellan GPS! I was crew for a delivery on a very nice well equipped 47 Foot Cutter, coming up from Puerto Vallarta. The Navigation was all tied into a Lap Top which failed day one. We came all the way to San Diego on Paper charts and my little handheld Magellan back-up (that I had brought along just for GP). The Cutter had a Garmin back-up, but after the face plate fell off and the screen would not stay on, we gave up and used mine. Plugged it in to the cigarette lighter/power port and left it on for days at a time. Ran the back lighting at night. Never a glitch, and in pretty warm weather! Raymarine is slowing gaining my respect, and I am a full on advocate of Furuno. Judging from this post I would say I got lucky and started in the right camp!
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2014
  6. kaz911

    kaz911 Active Member

    Jan 24, 2011
    In Transit -> London
    Garmin has ALWAYS had problems with hot electronics (No pun intended)

    Check out Simrad NSS12 Evo2 or NSS9 Evo2 - 1/2 the weight of Garmin similar units - faster and cheaper. And if you have Merc SmartCraft they interface together to get full glass cockpit.

    I have 2 x NSS12 Evo 2 on order - they fit into my helm with a few 1/2" to spare... But they integrate with my Mercury VesselView 7 perfectly and should come with full Auto-Routing before the end of the summer. They use own maps + CMAP + Navionics + a few more so you can find the absolute best maps for your area.

    Right now I run 1 x NSS8 + 1 Lowrance HDS Gen 2 Touch - and they are as good or better than Garmin as well. Simrad have the best touch / button combo interface of them all. Much better than Raymarine's. (Touch + Button's is the best combo if you go in high seas)

    Raymarine's are okay - if you take the touch models (new e series or new a series) But their User interface is "funny" if you need to use the "button" interface. Joystick is very sensitive (unusable in high seas) - and when you "scroll" from page to page with the scroll wheel - your pointer ends up in funny places.

    So before you invest in new chartplotters - go somewhere to try them out first. Personal preference has a lot of impact.

    I went from Raymarine C80 -> new c97 - and kicked it out. Then I put in Simrad NSS8 and Garmin 8008 - and kicked the Garmin out and replaced it with Lowrance HDS G2 Touch. Simrad has the best radar (3G and 4G) for short range collision avoidance - and have great VHF radios (RS35, RS90) both with built in AIS receivers at a very affordable price point. Their platform is also quite open so there are a lot of iPad app's that can talk with your MFD through WiFi - so the MFD's act like NMEA2000 gateways for your boat data. So apps like iNavX can get all the data from Simrad's MFDs and use them. You can also use your own router or Simrad's WiFi-1 router for "boat network" access.

    Navico is the owner of Lowrance, Simrad and B&G - and all the hardware is "more or less" the same - but user interface and features are slightly different dependent on target market. Lowrance is fishing/bass boats, Simrad is "high end" fishing and cruisers like SR, B&G is for sail-boats. Navico/Simrad is also the company that makes all the NMEA 2000 gear for Mercury (VesselView 4/7, N2k Gateway, MercMonitor)

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