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Thread: gps/sonar help/advice

  1. #1
    Member sbiinc's Avatar
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    Default gps/sonar help/advice

    as the title states I'm looking for some of the knowledgeable people that might give a little advice.

    the model I'm looking at for my boat is the LMS-520C Sonar/GPS Chartplotter Combo, or for a little bigger screen the LCX-28C HD Sonar/GPS Chartplotter Combo from Lowrance.

    anyone have experience using these in saltwater? Hoping for good maps for the GPS side and decent sonar capability. Or is 2400watts suffecient for 20-300' of salt water? I looked at some of the Garmin products but the cost difference for the units was just a little too much and the maps were about $300 a pop, or are they just that much better? (I do currenty use a HcX and love it for personal navigation..)

    One last question, I was hoping the Lowrance units would work in the truck too, but didn't see much written anywhere on street maps for Alaska, anyone know if they are able to work double duty?

    thanks in advance.
    b

  2. #2

    Default

    I have a 520c. I use it for rivers and interior lakes. It is a good unit for me. The lcx 28 would be worth the extra in my opininion. When your running a split screen with both sonar and gps the screen is a little small. Yes you can use them in your truck. They come with a background map and that's all i use. You can buy the map cards but i have no experience with them.i do however like the nema network feature. I added the 60r fuel flow meter. This gets me a ton of info, gph, mpg, fuel left in tanks, and a range left at present fuel usage rate. The 60r costs around $60. Simple to use and calibrate. The sonar is good to 900 ft. I have used it to 300' and it worked well there for me. I bought it as a starter unit for the price, $600. The $2000 units are nice i am sure but for the amount of use i see i couldn't pay the extra. The gps is reliable, i now do some night fishing in skinny water and backtrack after dark and it keeps me within 3' if you zoom in close.

  3. #3
    New member fishnhuntr's Avatar
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    Default combo's

    Typically I think you'll hear from most people Garmin has a better gps system while sonar is not as good and Lowrance is the opposite, better sonar gps not as good. I'm one of those people, ideally I'd have a garmin gps and lowrance sounder, as it stands I have a garmin combo. Depends on what is more important to you if you go with a combo unit.

  4. #4
    Member Larsenvega's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fishnhuntr View Post
    Typically I think you'll hear from most people Garmin has a better gps system while sonar is not as good and Lowrance is the opposite, better sonar gps not as good.
    Spot on. Lowrance has the superior sonar capabilities, but Garmin's latest GPS program, Bluechart G2, cannot be beat. It offers satellite imaging (real picture), marina/coastal road mapping, mariner perspective mapping (marine charts tilted with your boat in a foward-looking perspective), and much, much more. With an add-on package, Bluechart G2 will also show a forward-looking map that shows the actual contour of the bottom of the ocean as you travel over it, and even a "fish-eye" perspective that tracks on the ocean floor. I personally run a Garmin unit with a Humminbird sonar unit, and am happy with both and would not trade them for an "all-inclusive" unit.

  5. #5
    Member captaindd's Avatar
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    Default

    Garmin by far is the best GPS. I have an all in one unit 3210, that has sonar,radar, and GPS. I would not trade it for any off the stand alone units. It takes up less space and if my primary unit where to go out I can bring my second smaller unit from the rear steering station to the main helm. The Garmin Sonar works great. I track the bottom while going 30 Knots in 600 ft of sea water. I have owned and used Raymarine,Furuno,High Standard,JRC,Lowrance, Eagle, and Inter Phase.

  6. #6
    Member NewMoon's Avatar
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    Default

    I have a Garmin 2006C chartplotter (6 years old) at my main helm, and a Lowrance LCX-28C-HD (new last spring) at my secondary (upper) helm. The Lowrance has built-in charting for coastal US, and very detailed street and lake maps, and even some level of topo detail as well.

    The Lowrance has a good sounder, and would do the job as a combo, but I far prefer my old Garmin as a chartplotter for the PNW coast - I much prefer the look and clarity of the BlueChart charting, and I like the user interface (ease of use) much much better. It takes more button-pushing to get things done on the Lowrance, and it's not as intuitive.

    I'm not very familiar with the current Garmin combo's.

    I'd sure spend time playing with each of your alternatives before buying - I doubt you could make a decision you'd be really happy with without doing that.
    Richard Cook
    New Moon (Bounty 257)
    "Cruising in a Big Way"

  7. #7
    Member sbiinc's Avatar
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    Default thanks

    thanks all for the responses, I'm still torn, but the input here will help greatly..

    thanks again...

  8. #8
    Member NewMoon's Avatar
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    Default

    I forgot to mention in my earlier post that most of the current Garmins have built-in Bluechart G2 for coastal US (unless you get the wrong model). Should be no need to spend for additional saltwater charting unless you spend time in BC.
    Richard Cook
    New Moon (Bounty 257)
    "Cruising in a Big Way"

  9. #9
    Member AK LIVIN's Avatar
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    Default Gps ?

    Quote Originally Posted by pineridge View Post
    I have a 520c. I use it for rivers and interior lakes. It is a good unit for me. The lcx 28 would be worth the extra in my opininion. When your running a split screen with both sonar and gps the screen is a little small. Yes you can use them in your truck. They come with a background map and that's all i use. You can buy the map cards but i have no experience with them.i do however like the nema network feature. I added the 60r fuel flow meter. This gets me a ton of info, gph, mpg, fuel left in tanks, and a range left at present fuel usage rate. The 60r costs around $60. Simple to use and calibrate. The sonar is good to 900 ft. I have used it to 300' and it worked well there for me. I bought it as a starter unit for the price, $600. The $2000 units are nice i am sure but for the amount of use i see i couldn't pay the extra. The gps is reliable, i now do some night fishing in skinny water and backtrack after dark and it keeps me within 3' if you zoom in close.
    Hello,

    I just installed a Humminbird 997c2 combo. It does have the spot to insert a card for maps, but wonder if they are really needed. You stated you can get within 3' and that is impressive. My question is are you withen 3' of a stored line, or a stored line on a map. I'm new at the GPS system so hopfully my questions is understandable.

  10. #10
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Default

    I have one of the garmin combo units, the gps is great, the sonar is lacking. I'd planned to add a stand alone sonar so figured the dual unit wasn't much more than the gps ~$100. My unit came with the charts, so that is something else to consider when comparing prices. I plan to add a furuno color digital sonar this season.

    A couple things to consider on the combo units, if one part of the unit crokes, you have an over priced single service unit.

    The other item I hadn't considered that has bothered me is that unless you get a really big screen, when you try to do a split screen gps/sonar, there just isn't enough display to be useful. And when I'm trying to line up on a pinacle or shelf I want to have a good gps and sonar display. I think you'll find when you compare the prices of a large screen dual unit vs. stand alones with screens comparable in size to a split the stand alones make more sense.

  11. #11
    Member Tolman24's Avatar
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    Default I use the LCX 28CHD

    I have the LCX 28CHD and have used it for 2 seasons. I have had zero problems. It came preloaded with charts and can use the new platinum charts as well. I have seen no reason to switch. I am not sure why you would need an more accurate GPS. When using it it tells me where I am and where I am going. It is as accurate as the charts you will get. Anyone who uses a GPS/Chart combo to find all rocks is asking for trouble. If you want to use it to find your way to fishing grounds and back home it is going to do that.

    The out of the box sonar seems to be good. It tells me how deep the bottom is at speeds to 25+ MPH and 600' deep. There is also a new Broad Band black box option that is supposed to really improve the sonar returns.

    I have nothing but good to say about my LCX 28CHD. I would purchase another one. I also plan on adding the radar option to it this spring. YMMV

  12. #12

    Default Garmin

    Garmin 498MAP Sounder, I found Garmin easy to use, upgraded from a hand held 48 from 1997 a couple summers ago. Has great built in maps, debating to try the Bluechart, which shows more info of the bottom.
    Used the Lowance and it to seemed ok, but after all those years Garmin came easy, Great customer service. The new models now you can hook up fuel flow meters to.

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