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ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
Garmin GPS Choices
|Author||Topic: Garmin GPS Choices|
posted 11-19-2007 11:02 PM ET (US)
Right now I have a Garmin GPSMAP 210, which has worked fine and I would not be replacing but it is very difficult to find the charts for it since Garmin discontinued them. I am going to buy a new GPS this winter and I think I am going to go with a Garmin 525, 535, 545, or 555. I know the 525 does not have integrated lake charts, but I can't tell what the other differences are between these models. Does anybody know the differences? Any comments on these models are helpful, and if anybody has any other suggestions for a chartplotter let me know. Thanks guys.
posted 11-20-2007 12:31 AM ET (US)
then select the units you are interested in and click Compare.
posted 11-20-2007 12:42 AM ET (US)
Thanks Chuck, it looks like the only differences that I care about are in the preloaded maps. So my choice is between the 525 with no preloaded maps and getting a Bluechart g2 chip for the areas that I would use, or the 545 with the preloaded map. Does anyone have experience with the 545's preloaded map? Is it any good, or will I still want to upgrade to the Bluechart g2? FWIW, I will use this in the Pacific NW (Puget Sound, San Juans, Gulf Islands, Desolation Sound). Thanks for the help.
posted 11-20-2007 12:46 PM ET (US)
As I recall, the g2 maps installed on the 545 and 540 are the same - that is, the US costal waters including the US side of the bordering Great Lakes are preinstalled. The difference between the 540 and 545 is found the screen resolution. On the 545 it is higher. I have found that the 540 is very clear under multiple conditions. You save a good deal of money if you go with the 540. I am VERY happy with mine.
posted 11-20-2007 02:14 PM ET (US)
The reason I want to get the higher resolution model is for its ability to display more data on the screen at once. The real question I have now is the difference between the integrated charts of the 545 or the 525 plus the BlueChart g2 chart card for the areas I use. So does anybody have experience with the basemap vs. the add on cards? What capability do I gain by buying the BlueChart g2 card?
posted 11-21-2007 06:50 PM ET (US)
Better yet, you can watch videos of the different displays and functionality of the 545. Just click on the lonks below and after they open click on each video to view. Turn your speakers on I've added commentary to them
G2 Chart displays and functionality
G2 Vision Chart displays and functionality
posted 11-21-2007 09:32 PM ET (US)
So the primary difference between the integrated charts and the separate chart card is the satellite imagery? Is it worth the money for the g2 vision?
posted 11-21-2007 11:28 PM ET (US)
Call Garmin's Customer Service and ask your questions. Garmin has FANTASTIC customer service. My experience is for the Mobile products however.
posted 11-22-2007 03:48 PM ET (US)
You'll add nothing by purchasing a G2 Chart Chip ... the base map has everything you'll need to navigate and cruise. The G2 Vision while nice doesn't add anything to the chart detail. It adds things like overhead photo topography, auto routing feature (while sexy not a must), marinia/areas of interest and offshore bathy info.
posted 11-23-2007 01:35 PM ET (US)
Garmin 540s are on sale for three days at Boaters World. $599.99 is a great price on a 540s/with tranducer. Good enough to get me to order one.
posted 11-24-2007 04:17 PM ET (US)
Sounds like a great deal. However, is the 545s worth almost doubling the price to double the pixels. Everything else seems equally comparable. Getting ready to pull the trigger myself. Have to admit I've benefited a great deal from BlueWaterPirates contributions. Just want to get the biggest bang for the buck when I do it. May even be able to get by with a 498C, just hate to shoot myself in the foot. zot.
posted 11-24-2007 11:44 PM ET (US)
Yes, my delimma was the same: should I go for the 540 or the 498? The 498 is a good deal cheaper with a nice large color screen and the same g2 charts preinstalled? What helped me decide on the 540s was the newer technology (better sonar and g2 vision topography and satilite imagery) and the option to add NEXRAD via an XM antenna and a XM radio suscription. This now effectively adds radar to the GPS. I feel my 540s will take me a long way into the future before I have to do this again. As Tom has pointed out so correctly, Garmin continually updates their units via software upgrades. These upgrades are free to owners and are significant improvements.
posted 11-25-2007 08:23 AM ET (US)
NEXRAD adds the ability to receive WEATHER radar information.
I would not describe it as "This now effectively adds radar to
the GPS." -- that is, you don't see other ships in the fog.
Whether NEXRAD is important depends on the dynamics of your
posted 11-25-2007 08:08 PM ET (US)
Well I went to the store and played with the 540 and discovered its basemap does not cover Southwest Canada, so it looks like I will get a 525 and buy the chart card as well.
I also played with the touch screen Garmin (5xxx) and it was really cool. By far the easiest and most intuitive to use of any chartplotter I have seen , and it can combine radar, fishfinder, AIS, and weather...talk about a great system. Too bad it costs over $3,000 just for the plotter and (thankfully) doesn't fit on my Whalers dash.
posted 11-30-2007 11:53 PM ET (US)
I went to BoatersWorld today and tried out the Garmin 540 and the 545 side-by-side in the store. In addition to the higher screen resolution on the 545 (4x the pixels), the processor is much faster on the 545. It can pan and zoom almost instantaneously. The 540 is much slower to pan and zoom. It was frustratingly slow for me. The maps on the 545 are just beautiful with incredible detail. The 540 supposedly has the same maps, but you would never know it. They look so simplified and grainy compared to the 545 display.
I actually bought the 540S last weekend when BoatersWorld had them for $599. I am going to return it and buy the 545S. PCNation.com has them for $909.
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