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Author Topic:   New GPS Receiver, SONAR, Digital Cartography, and Daylight Viewable Color Display Technologies
biggums1 posted 05-29-2006 10:12 PM ET (US)   Profile for biggums1   Send Email to biggums1  
I'm getting ready to buy a combination SONAR or fishfinder and Global Positioning System receiver with integrated Chart Plotter and Digital Cartography. I want it for my 17 Whaler for Montana lakes and Northern Pacific Salmon fishing.

Is there more recent or better technology out there than that used in the GARMIN 178c? Should I by a GARMIN 178c unit for a little over $500?

Thanks as always!


Roarque posted 05-30-2006 08:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for Roarque  Send Email to Roarque     
I recently switched from a black and white sonar to a color sonar/gps combo - both units are Lowrance which I consider to be the chevy to Garmins ford. The one issue that I was surprised I found unnecessary was the colour screen - I dont really use the color in any meaningful way.

An internal antenna for the gps system is a good idea.

glassguy posted 05-30-2006 11:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for glassguy  Send Email to glassguy     
I have a garmin 178c that came with my recent whaler purchase. Seems to work good, a little hard to see in direct sun light. Still reading the instruction book. I think the 178c has been out for awhile and should be avialable in the after market area, like ebay for $ 400.00 or even less.

Greg Carman

glassguy posted 05-30-2006 11:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for glassguy  Send Email to glassguy     
If the 178c comes with the tranducer, its not a bad price. The Airmac transducer with speed wheel sells from dealers for about $ 125.00

Greg Carman

pglein posted 05-30-2006 02:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for pglein  Send Email to pglein     
It's a nice unit, but Garmin has proprietary charts, and they aren't cheap. I'm not sure what type of charts each of the other brands use, but you can get most charts for free these days on the internet, if your unit will recognize them.
tydog posted 05-31-2006 04:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for tydog  Send Email to tydog     

I was going to go with the 178c but the sales person showed me the 498. Good sales person. I found it for about $750 on-line and West Marine matched the price. Yes it is more but you do not have to buy any charts or chips etc. etc. I fish from New Jersey to North Carolina. It would have cost me more in charts and chips than the difference in price between the 178c and the 498. The entire U.S. coast comes programed in the 498. Also, the screen is taller which works great for split screen viewing, I like GPS on top and depth finder/viewer on bottom. So far I love it.

jmorgan40 posted 05-31-2006 04:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for jmorgan40  Send Email to jmorgan40     
I had the 178c on my Montauk I sold last summer. I had upgraded from the 168 which was B/W. I loved everything about the 178C except the screen was very hard to read in direct sunlight. I now have a Lowarance on my Outrage. My personal opinion for what it is worth...I find the Garmin GPS units much more user friendly and functional. Lowrance has by far a much better Sonar functionality. Lowrance screens are also very bright and work well in direct sunlight. I do agree with the other person with the 498. I went with the Lowrance 26 HD so I never need to ever buy another Map chip. It is well worth the litle extra for all the maps since one additional region is another $99.00.

If I still had a Montauk, I would now go with the new Lowrance LMS-339C DF IGPS. has it for $643. It is a new unit. Internal Antenna and as with most Lowrance units extremely powerful at 4000 watts Peak to Peak on the Sonar. Very bright screen for direct Sunlight viewing. Much better than the 178C for an additional $145. Good Luck

jimh posted 05-31-2006 06:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
jimh posted 05-31-2006 09:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
This is a very broad basis for discussion. Let's look at the many technologies used in these devices:

GPS receivers: I am not aware of much recent development in these devices. They have become quite a commodity item. Most receivers now are able to acquire and use multiple satellites and have augmentation in their precision via use of WAAS or Differential GPS.

What type of receiver does the GARMIN 178c have? How many satellites can it receive and use to deduce a position simultaneously? Does it use WAAS or DGPS?

SONAR: There are many new digital sonar processors available now which claim to have improved capabilities.

What type of SONAR does the GARMINS 178c have? Is it an analogue type demodulator system? What frequency is the transducer? What power? This information will help us make a comparison.

Chart Plotter and cartography: There has been a very significant sea change in this area. The U.S. Government has made available FREE DIGITAL CHARTS of coastal regions. This makes use of this type of cartography very compelling. It should also have a significant impact on the market price for competing cartography.

What type of cartography does the GARMIN 178c use?

Daylight Viewable Color Displays: there has been some significant improvement in these lately, but the prices are still high.

How big is the display of the GARMIN 178c? How many pixels?

Another area you have not mentioned is the ability of the device to network with other vessel electronics. The new standard is NMEA-2000.

What type of network connection does the GARMIN 178c have?

If you could supply this information, it would facilitate making a comparison of the GARMIN 178c with other choices.

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