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Author Topic:   Garmin vs Magellan
compounder posted 12-11-2000 12:13 PM ET (US)   Profile for compounder   Send Email to compounder  
After reading everything I could find on the net and in magazines about GPS, I've decided to go against a lot of the advice and just start with a low-cost basic unit. The finalists are the Garmin eTrex and the Magellan 310. Anyone have anything to offer on these two units as far as comparison goes?
Need to tell Santa which one soon! Thanks.
Peter posted 12-11-2000 12:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
How are you going to use it?
compounder posted 12-11-2000 03:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for compounder  Send Email to compounder     
Peter I don't know that I have a real NEED for it at all. At this point it just sounds like a neat toy. My initial ideas would be as an aid in navigation for cruising the ICW and a few near-shore adventures, as well as to determine actual MPH on my Montauk and my Sea-Doo.
Just got back from Wally World and they have the Magellan 310 for 99.97 now. Sounds tempting!
mattr posted 12-11-2000 04:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for mattr  Send Email to mattr     
compounder -

I have had a Garmin 45 for a few years now. It is a great unit. Easy to use and durable. I assume the eTrex is similar in quality.

I don't know the differences between the two units you are looking at, but in general, a handheld unit will always come in handy - especially if you take the time to really learn how to use it properly.

Let us know what you end up getting in your stocking!


dgp posted 12-11-2000 05:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
Compounder, since you plan on using the GPS for navigation of the ICW you should consider one of the units with built-in navigational aides.
Regardless of which one you buy, an excellent guidebook is "GPS Land Navigation" by Michael Ferguson. Don
Peter posted 12-11-2000 07:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
I have two handheld Garmins, a 45xl and a 175, and I've been very pleased with both, although the 175 gobbles batteries (6AAs) if used as a pure handheld. The eTrex looks like a pretty good unit but I don't believe that it has a built in nav aid database. I also notice that the control buttons are on the side so see how well you can work it with one hand. The 12xl, 48 and some other handhelds can be worked with one hand because the control buttons are above the display. According to the Garmin site, the eTrex appears to be more water resistant than the 48, which would be my choice for a plane jane marine handheld with a nav database. The design had been around for years and is proven.
Dan posted 12-11-2000 08:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dan  Send Email to Dan     
Xmas, bah humbug! I too, am getting a GPS in my stocking - and at my request I might ad - lol. Anyway, my wife's getting me the Magellan 315 for about $149 which I plan on exchanging for a better model, perhaps the 330 - or a Garmin unit. My wife circled items in the Tiffany catalog - lowest cost $325. Damn gender inequity! Oh yeah, I accidently found out that my wife's also getting me the Admiral Hornblower (a distress horn that you blow on - $10 at -- I wonder if there's a hidden meaning to her gifting, and I think I'm somewhat insulted! : )
TRIDENT posted 12-12-2000 09:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for TRIDENT  Send Email to TRIDENT     
I have the Magellan GPS 315 and really like it. It is very user-friendly and accurate. It is durable, waterproof and it floats (saved me once already). The unit has a 12 parallel channel receiver, stores 500 waypoints and has a list of cities and towns across the country pre-loaded. I think it is a steal at $149.
JimU posted 12-12-2000 05:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for JimU  Send Email to JimU     
Take a look at the Garmin 48 if you are looking for a hand held unit. I just finished researching hand helds and all roads lead to the Garmin 48 which I purchased. It lists for about $220 but Academy Sports has it on special for $167 which our local West Marine matched after confirming the price with Academy.
dgp posted 12-12-2000 10:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
I noticed in Wal Mart they have the Garmin 45EL, predecessor to the Garmin 48, on sale for $115. I don't know the difference between the two. Don
Peter posted 12-13-2000 09:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
If it is a 45xl versus a 45el (not sure what an el is), the primary difference is an 8 channel receiver in the 45xl and a 12 channel receiver in the 48. The 48 also has a built in navigational aid database, the 45xl does not.
david in boston posted 12-13-2000 10:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for david in boston  Send Email to david in boston     
I agree that the Garmin 48 is the one. I have been using it for over a year and it works great. you can download the latest version of garmin's software from their website for free. Ive done that twice since I got mine. You can conect the unit to your PC and save and load waypoints and other data. Make sure you always bring a spare set of fresh batteries on board though. the garmin 48 does not float. I strap my garmin to an old mouse pad with plastic wire ties and set it on my center console. works very well, easy to read when it is laying flat, doesnt slide around. - David
dgp posted 12-13-2000 11:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
Peter, you're right it was a 45XL not EL; I think my brain's frozen from this winter storm we're having. Don
Peter posted 12-13-2000 01:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     

Spring for the accessory mount and the power/data cable that connects to it. It's worth it because you won't be going through a set of batteries every 24 hours of operation.


JimU posted 12-13-2000 05:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for JimU  Send Email to JimU     
I agree about the mount and the plug in 12-V accessory. The jolly sweet elf-ette says if I am a very good boy I may get them in my stocking. Cheers. JimU
Ponchee posted 12-21-2000 08:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ponchee  Send Email to Ponchee     
I bought an E-trex from Wal-Mart about three months ago and I really liked it alot.

Then I loaned it to my Father in Law to go hunting.
When he brought it back the display had really lightened up to where I could barely read it.
The contrast control would darken it a bit but only in certain parts of the display.
God only knows what he did to it!

Good thing for Wal-Marts return policy, si I returned it.
It also cleared all my waypoints and all my new fishing spots since around Aug. :0-(.

Good news though, Me and the Mrs. went to Academy today and picked up a Garmin 12 for me for X-mas.
Maybe I'll take it back before I dig into it and get the 48.
Is it worth the difference?

BTW- My boat came with a GPS mount for a small handheld Magellan. (They sell them at Academy)
The E-trex fit right in like it was made for it.
The 12 has to have some help from a small Bungee.

Peter posted 12-21-2000 08:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
For marine navigation, I think the 48 might be better than the 12 because it has the built in marine navigation aid database. Not sure the 12 has that.
Dick posted 12-21-2000 08:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
I sure have had good luck with my Garmin III.
It's a little spendy for a hand held but I got a deal. It was included in a promo package from Whaler, a couple years ago, and my customer wanted a fixed mount so came the deal. Have sold quite a few GPS on Whalers and have used only Garmin and have never had a problem.
compounder posted 04-30-2001 10:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for compounder  Send Email to compounder     
Just an update on my purchase.

After using the Garmin e-Trex (basic) for several months now, I'm a happy camper. It does everything I (as a gps newbie) require.
I have measured the speed of just about everything that moves around here....even found it handy on my morning jogs.

I purchased an electronics-gizmo mount from West Marine that holds the e-Trex firmly on top of the Montauk console, and use a Velcro attachment on my Sea-Doo.

The only complaint so far is battery life. Not a biggie since even alkaline AA's are cheap, but I have not even achieved the 22 hour advertised battery life.

The next purchase will be a 12v adapter so I can plug into my newly installed Marinco unit! For those who don't want to pay Garmin's outrageous price for their adapter, check out []


triblet posted 04-30-2001 11:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Garmin has a slick "handlebar mount" for the
eTrex family that should mount on a console
rail very nicely. I have one for my eTrex
Vista which serves (amongst other things)
as my bicycle computer.

To get the full life, you need to put the
eTrex into "power save" mode where it doesn't
update it's position as often. A good option
is 1600 mAH NiMH recharageables. A good
source is . The Maha
204F charger has a superb reputation. It's
about $35 with four batteries.

The eTrex family does not have an onboard
voltage regulator so you need a 12V adapter
that regulates the voltage down to what the
eTrex needs (3.3V, I think).


rwest posted 04-30-2001 11:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for rwest  Send Email to rwest     
I too kicked around what unit to get for my Nauset. Picked the Garmin 12 and it works great.Picked it up new from a dealer on ebay for $118 + s&h. Works great. Gives lat /long, speed,time, Up to 500 waypoints,etc.Bracket was $25 and 12 vold plug about 20.
Macman posted 04-30-2001 11:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for Macman  Send Email to Macman     
Garmin 48 based on earlier input from the board (and the price was right). Now, what is the best way for a spatially challenged person like me to learn the operation. I had it out on land this weekend and was mighty confused....Any quick tips for a new owner?
Eric posted 05-01-2001 06:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Eric  Send Email to Eric     
Compounder: thanks for the update on the GPS. I'll be replacing my VHF, then adding a baitwell first, but I sure like seeing what other's experiences are.
triblet posted 05-01-2001 11:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
The easiest way for the spatially challenged
to learn to use a GPS is to get a chart
plotter. I'm NOT spatially challanged and
I have one.

Macman, what you should do is to get a topo
map of your area (any large camping store
will have them). Make sure the GPS is set
to the same datum as the map. Read your
position off the GPS, then find that lat/long
on the map. This way you can play with it
on land. This GPS to chart skill is the
critical one. With it, you can navigate
to anywhere. Everything else just makes it

Step 2 is to start collecting waypoints for
your area. Dive sites, fishing spots,
submerged obstructions, marinas, bars,
important stuff like that. Your 48 will
already have the Navaids.

Step 3 is to start collecting routes, which
are sequences of waypoints. I only have
one route -- the way home from Big Sur to
Montery in the fog. You may need others
for channels, etc.

Basically, you gotta USE it. The time learn
IFR nav is under VFR conditions, NOT when
the fog clamps down. I use mine every
time I go out.



blackdog posted 05-02-2001 12:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
I just purchased a video on how to use the Garmin 162/168. It is not made by Garmin but I thought I would give it a try to help augment my knowledge. I got it at BoatUS. Iíll let you know how I like it.

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