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Thread: GPS/Depthfinder Combos

  1. #1
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    Default GPS/Depthfinder Combos

    What is a good GPS/Depthsounder combo?

    Getting a new boat, and looking to get some decent electronics on it for fishing and the likes.

  2. #2
    New member fishnhuntr's Avatar
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    Default Garmin

    I think I have the 172?? I have the black and white one, I've seen the color, it looks good but wasn't worth another 100 bucks for me personally. Good unit though, reasonably priced, and you can buy the bluechart data card for it that will cover Anchorage to Juneau. It will come with generic info i.e. islands and bays, but the data card actually has fathom's/obstructions etc.. I think Lorance are great fishfinders but their software is generic with so far no alaska specific coverage like the garmin. luck

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    Member trapman's Avatar
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    Default Garmin 540s

    The garmin 540s is a great one. It comes with all of the charts built in so you don't have to buy a special card.

  4. #4
    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishnhuntr View Post
    I think Lorance are great fishfinders but their software is generic with so far no alaska specific coverage like the garmin.
    Actually, Lowrance units takes a card that gives all the bathometric info that the Garmin compatible cards have. I had a Lowrance combo unit on the old boat. It worked great, but I like the Garmin units better. Go with the unit you feel the most competent using. Both companies make great units. Happy shopping.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    I have had two Lowrance (used to have a 522 and now have a 525). They are both fairly compact (5" screen) and lower priced. They have both been great units for me. I put the the Navionics gold chart card in my new one and it rocks. If you ever want to jack around with it, let me know and you can come down to the station where the boat is. What kinda boat are you going to get?

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    New member fishnhuntr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spoiled one View Post
    Actually, Lowrance units takes a card that gives all the bathometric info that the Garmin compatible cards have. I had a Lowrance combo unit on the old boat. It worked great, but I like the Garmin units better. Go with the unit you feel the most competent using. Both companies make great units. Happy shopping.
    Is that new? Just curious, last I looked they had the basic/generic info but not bathometric for AK? Figured they would before long though.

    I don't have any experience with the 540's but there are 5, maybe it's 6 guys I work with and we all have garmin's, mostly 172/172C's and all have been great.

  7. #7
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Default

    I use the Navman 5500 chart plotter and I have the matching sounder as well. I bought them both together. The deal came with a fuel monitor as well. This thing is awesome. I got the nav chip for PWS this combo is great. Gives you fuel usage, navigation and fish finder. I really depend on this unit while out in PWS, I have traveled more miles than I care to say by using the plotter and stopping to listen for other trafic. I DON'T RECOMMEND THIS, but I got caught out in the fog and had to make for a safe anchorage. IMO you need a plotter for PWS, everything starts to look alike form far away.

    Happy spending be safe

    Steve

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    Default

    Thanks for all the tips - I'm looking at the Garmin units and they definately apeal to me. I'm thinking since this is my first brand new boat I am going to go all out and get a color unit. I definately like the looks of the 540s.

  9. #9
    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishnhuntr View Post
    Is that new? Just curious, last I looked they had the basic/generic info but not bathometric for AK? Figured they would before long though.

    I don't have any experience with the 540's but there are 5, maybe it's 6 guys I work with and we all have garmin's, mostly 172/172C's and all have been great.
    I had the card in a 2001 model LCX series lowrance unit. The card for southcentral down through southeast was not available until late 2002 I think, but do not quote me on it. It was a navionics card. It sure made finding the flat fish in PWS a lot easier. Structure=fish. The new boat is getting the furuno navnet system.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

  10. #10
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Default

    I have a Garmin combo color unit, but plan to get a dedicated furuno fishfinder. I'm not overly impressed with the garmin sonar, and I want the ability to view the sonar and gps on seperarte screens. When the you run the combo split screen there just isn't enough resolution to be of much use.

  11. #11

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    You didn't ask, but I'm going to voice my opinion. If you have the room on your boat, I'd strongly suggest that you get a gps/chartplotter and a sonar as separate units. If your one-does-all instrument craps out on you, you'll have neither. Plus if you have two instruments, it's easier to see what's going on instead of having a split screen or having to switch back and forth between sonar and gps/chartplotter. And if you decide after a while that you want a newer sonar or gps/chartplotter, then you can buy only that instrument. I think of it kind of like having a TV/DVD/Stereo combo for my home. If one part quits, then either I have to get a whole other combo unit to replace it, or I have to do without whatever it was that quit. I'm sure that the combo instrument that you're looking at getting works fine for most people, but since you're getting a new boat and new instruments, you might as well get what (in my opinion) works best.

  12. #12
    Member AKBighorn's Avatar
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    I'd have to agree with Skydiver. I've had a couple boats and tried several different units. Currently I use a Garmin 176C I believe for GPS and an Eagle 480 DF sonar. The GPS is color and the sonar is not. Having used a color unit beside a BW unit I now beleive that it is worth the $100 for color. You would have never sold me on color before but I will never purchase another unit that isn't color. I have a few other things to add to the boat first and then maybe I can convince her that I need a new sonar. I can here it now, you said that we wouldn't need to purchase another one after this, maybe it'll break

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    Default Ditto

    I agree with skydiver and AKBighorn - if there is any way you can swing it, I'd certainly go for the separate units. A couple of my friends went the way of the combo and are not happy with the definition on the split screens.

    Also BW is a last resort - go with color! If it was only $100 separating the two models, I'd work a lot of over-time to get the color model. As you become more experienced with the various settings possible with color units you will notice more definition not possible with BW. Good luck shopping - that's half the fun!

  14. #14
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    I have the Garmin 198c. one complaint I have is the sonar could be better. The mapping chart rocks
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

  15. #15

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    As some others have said.. my Garmin sonar sucks! but the GPS/plotter is sweet. I'll be adding a sonar to mine. I have the 498.

  16. #16
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    Default 188c combo

    I have the 188c color combo. Gps / BlueChart maps are incredible. sonar leaves me wanting for more. Only problem is I have a fairly small dash and it has VHF, GPS and regular liquid compass (as all boats should) so there ain't much room for more stuff. I guess it is a good reason to go bigger....hmmmm.
    Last edited by onthefrinj; 12-14-2007 at 17:39. Reason: sp

  17. #17
    Member kjashen's Avatar
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    Thumbs up try eagle

    I have the eagle 500c dual frequency color w/ plotter, navionics chip, fits real nice on the dash of my 19ft arima, reads to 1500 ft even at 32kt. have used eagle for years even though they are really just lowrance, they seem to hold up better.

  18. #18
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    My boat came with an older Garmin GPS/Sounder and a seperate Furuno sonar. Since I came in well under my budget for the boat when I bought it, I knew the first upgrade I wanted was a new GPS/Sounder to be the primary and keep the existing one as a backup. I ended up buying a Garmin 545s with the G2 Vision 3D technology. Absolutely unbelievable!!!!! While this certainly costs more, I have been so jacked up with the results I haven't brought myself to install the transducer for it because I don't want to have to share the screen for depth readings so I have been using the other two sounders. Now that I installed a radar I had to remove the Furuno screen for the radar screen due to limited dash space. Obviously I can't vouch for the sounding capabilities of the Garmin 545s but the GPS part is the best $$ I have spent on my boat by far.

  19. #19

    Default GPS's are very very good BUT hope it don't fail!!!

    I have traveled the PWS since 1975, before GPS's, don't get this wrong they are super super deals. BUT I think to many people are 100% dependent on them. You should still keep up with Marine Chart and Compass Navigation skills. I have a 1997 Garmin 48, which shows Nav Aids so from that I can always go to that point, but you have to understand the markings & there numbers to know where you are.

    That said I plan on Buying a Garmin 598 sounder or so, depends on the amount of money I deside to spend up to. Up grade to the highest dollar amount you can afford.

  20. #20
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Good point about backup systems, I carry charts for all waters I run, have a compass on board, as well as the gps and a handheald gps. That said, running a good gps with charts is a great way to go, and I really wouldn't want to go out without one.

    I'm planning on upgrading to a either a Furuno FCV 620 or 585.

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