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Thread: GPS Update

  1. #1
    Contributing Partner Bolo's Avatar
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    Annapolis, MD
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    GPS Update

    OK, maybe I'm a bit naive about this so here goes. I sail on the Chesapeake Bay out of Annapolis. On board and at the helm I'm usually running my trusty Garmin GPSmap 540 that I bought like 7 years ago? Not really sure when but the unit is discontinued. It's been working fine and I've had it, like I said, for at least 7 years so it dawned on me the other day, after I passed one of the newer "interpretive" yellow buoys near Annapolis that wasn't marked on my GPSmap 540 that maybe it was time to update the unit. I sent an email about doing this to Garmin and they directed me to purchase a BlueChart G2 update card from them but when I looked and looked around some more else where on line I was surprised to see that the price for one that covered the bay was around $250! That's more then half of what I paid for the unit itself.

    Am I getting the wrong info here and coming to the wrong conclusion? Do I really need to update? Is there a cheaper way? (I'm over 60 so I have no problem saying "cheaper" rather then "economical") Advise on this matter would be appreciated.
    Bob & Beverly Skalkowski
    1987 E32 III (Hull #722) "Vesper"
    Annapolis, MD

  2. #2
    Principal Partner Christian Williams's Avatar
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    I just put in a Garmin 50s Echomap, which is state-of-the-art "cheap" at somewhere about $500 and I think the successor to your 540.

    It has NMEA and can use an in-hull transponder. I find the display clear and intuitive and quite large (5" like yours). The fishfinder/fathometer works well even with the engine at 2500 rpm.

    I can clearly see the bottom contours 700 feet down, two miles offshore.

    I think it would be inadvisable to mess around Annapolis without such deep-sounding ability
    Last edited by Christian Williams; 09-18-2013 at 06:20 PM.
    cw@christianwilliams.com
    "Thelonious" E32-3 Hull 604 (1985)
    Marina del Rey

  3. #3
    Principal Partner Rick R.'s Avatar
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    Mar 2011
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    Florida
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    Garmin GPS

    I have a Garmin 541s on board. It came with depth and the G card/ Blue Chart. I think you can find one used for $400. Also , if you have an ipad you can run the app GPS NAVIGATION CHARTS which are phenomenal for the price. Only $50 and it works as well if not better than my Garmin!
    1989 32-200
    S/V "Easy"
    (hull #844)
    Pensacola, Florida

    " I was just thinking that it's been a week since I last heard bombs, aircraft, helicopters, sirens, loud neighbors, their cars and motorcycles. All I've heard are the sounds of the sea. I've heard waves, wind, bubbles gurgling under the hull as we slice through the Gulf towards Key West" My Journal 3/13/14

  4. #4
    Sustaining Partner EGregerson's Avatar
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    Mar 2003
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    Newport News, VA
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    207

    garmin

    I got the blue chart G2 for my gps map76cx (micro sd and sd) at west marine on sale for 99; reg 149. Does your 541 take either the sd or micro sd? mine has all north america i think. used it this summer up thru the bay; jersey coast; hudson to lake champlain; erie canal to buffalo; check with WM.
    Valinor 1987 E34 Hull#243

  5. #5
    Principal Partner Christian Williams's Avatar
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    What a great cruise!
    cw@christianwilliams.com
    "Thelonious" E32-3 Hull 604 (1985)
    Marina del Rey

  6. #6
    Sustaining Partner EGregerson's Avatar
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    Mar 2003
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    Newport News, VA
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    207

    garmin

    I got the blue chart G2 for my gps map76cx (micro sd and sd) at west marine on sale for 99; reg 149. Does your 541 take either the sd or micro sd? mine has all north america i think. used it this summer up thru the bay; jersey coast; hudson to lake champlain; erie canal to buffalo; check with WM.
    Valinor 1987 E34 Hull#243

  7. #7
    Contributing Partner
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    Garmin seems to beleive in planned obsolenence, selling new products requireing new chart chips. Good for their profits.

  8. #8
    C34IA Secretary Stu Jackson's Avatar
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    We have a Garmin GPS Map 76Cx. We, fortunately, sail in an area where the buoys simply do not change very much, unlike many other areas.

    If you want to keep your current unit, do this:

    1. Review the LNMs and find new or relocated buoys

    2. Make the new buoys waypoints in your GPS. If a buoy has been moved or eliminated, do the same with waypoints. There was a BIG buoy for holding barges that was placed close outside our channel on a course that I used quite often. I named it "Don't Hit This" and it was there for five years. It got eliminated last year and I removed that waypoint.

    Unless there is an unreasonable amount of buoy changes in your area, you can deal with this pretty easily.

    PS - The Garmin has at least a half dozen different symbols that can be used for waypoints. The default is a blue flag. Use one of the other ones for buoys.
    Last edited by Stu Jackson; 10-19-2013 at 01:19 AM.
    Stu Jackson
    C34 International Association
    Secretary

    1986, M25 engine

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