Moderated Discussion Areas
  ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
  Garmin GPS Choices

Post New Topic  Post Reply
search | FAQ | profile | register | author help

Author Topic:   Garmin GPS Choices
20dauntless posted 11-19-2007 11:02 PM ET (US)   Profile for 20dauntless   Send Email to 20dauntless  
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.
Chuck Tribolet posted 11-20-2007 12:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet
then select the units you are interested in and click Compare.


20dauntless posted 11-20-2007 12:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for 20dauntless  Send Email to 20dauntless     
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.
BellBoyBob posted 11-20-2007 12:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for BellBoyBob  Send Email to BellBoyBob     
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.
20dauntless posted 11-20-2007 02:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for 20dauntless  Send Email to 20dauntless     
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?
bluewaterpirate posted 11-21-2007 06:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
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

Enjoy .....


20dauntless posted 11-21-2007 09:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for 20dauntless  Send Email to 20dauntless     
Thanks Tom!

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?

cindalyn posted 11-21-2007 11:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for cindalyn  Send Email to cindalyn     
Call Garmin's Customer Service and ask your questions. Garmin has FANTASTIC customer service. My experience is for the Mobile products however.
bluewaterpirate posted 11-22-2007 03:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
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.


ConB posted 11-23-2007 01:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for ConB  Send Email to ConB     
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.


zotcha posted 11-24-2007 04:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for zotcha  Send Email to zotcha     
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.
BellBoyBob posted 11-24-2007 11:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for BellBoyBob  Send Email to BellBoyBob     
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.


Chuck Tribolet posted 11-25-2007 08:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
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
weather -- Here in Northern California, our weather is rather
boring and slow to change. We don't have thunderstorms. I
wouldn't find NEXRAD useful for boating.


20dauntless posted 11-25-2007 08:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for 20dauntless  Send Email to 20dauntless     
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 about a great system. Too bad it costs over $3,000 just for the plotter and (thankfully) doesn't fit on my Whalers dash.

sitotis posted 11-30-2007 11:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for sitotis  Send Email to sitotis     
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. has them for $909.

Post New Topic  Post Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | RETURN to ContinuousWave Top Page

Powered by: Ultimate Bulletin Board, Freeware Version 2000
Purchase our Licensed Version- which adds many more features!
© Infopop Corporation (formerly Madrona Park, Inc.), 1998 - 2000.