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  GPS, Chart Plotter, SONAR for 17-footer: Garmin 540S v. Lowrance

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Author Topic:   GPS, Chart Plotter, SONAR for 17-footer: Garmin 540S v. Lowrance
Andrewdavis34 posted 12-07-2007 05:19 PM ET (US)   Profile for Andrewdavis34   Send Email to Andrewdavis34  
I am in the market for a GPS, chart plotter, and SONAR for my new Montauk 170. I am considering either the Garmin 540s or a Lowrance. I was wondering if somebody could share there experience with these units both pro and con. Thanks--Andrew
lakeman posted 12-09-2007 06:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for lakeman  Send Email to lakeman     
Maybe no one want to start a Garmin v. Lowrance war so I will try to answer.

I have a Garmin 498 and have used it sparingly. It is easy to use but not sure if the map is the best out there, The map/chart was preloaded in the machine. Mine was an emergency buy, when my old one went dead while on vacation in the Keys. I had already looked at the Lowrance and found it OK but was talked out of it by two different employees at two different stores, because of problems with Lowrance products. Now than was two years ago so things might have changed. Also nice, was the fact that all Garvin products use the same transducers, so I did not have to replace the transducer. If I were you I would go to The Hull Truth or the Florida Sportsman forums and do some searches there, the subject is talked about a lot.

Whaler_Jack posted 12-09-2007 07:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whaler_Jack  Send Email to Whaler_Jack     
I've owned both! I had a Garmin 178 on my 2004 170 Montauk and now I have a Lowrance 520C on my 190 Montauk. Hands down the Garmin was a better unit.The Lowrance has a VERY cluttered screen on the lower scales, it's very sensitive to moisture, doesn't have near the detail in the data base, I could go on but I would not hesitate buying a Garmin first. I've been very disappointed in the Lowrance. I'm really considering changing mine out.


Jefecinco posted 12-09-2007 10:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     

Comparing units made by different manufacturers is very difficult due to the various features, etc. If you are value minded it is probably worthwhile to compare units at around the same street value price point.

I bought a new unit last spring. I compared a lot of units from Garmin, Lowrance and Standard. With combination units some do a better job of fish finding and some do a better job of GPS/mapping. I passed on the Standard because I didn't care for the fish finding feature. Ultimately I passed on the Garmin because the prices were so much higher than for a comparably featured and screen size Lowrance.

I have been very pleased with the performance of the Lowrance LCX-111C HD. The screen definition is outstanding and the fish finder is very nice. Installation was straight forward and easy. The unit is feature loaded and the price was right. It has a nominal 10 inch screen. Lowrance has replaced it with a new unit with slightly more features. It fit the helm of my 16 Dauntless with a quarter inch to spare. Radar can be added.

I suggest you visit the Lowrance site where you can get all the information you'd care to have plus download a user manual. There is also a simulator available for download which many folks like to use as it is a good learning aid. The Garmin site probably has similar useful features.

My GPS antenna failed at about eight months but was repaired and turned around in a week. I've had no other issues.


Andrewdavis34 posted 12-09-2007 10:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for Andrewdavis34  Send Email to Andrewdavis34     

Thanks for the replys. I have decided to go with the Garmin 540S. Now I just have to find a packaged standard horizon PS2000 with a white mic. I have been doing extensive searches for the past two weeks and have not been able to locate any. At this point I may just mount a SH quest in the console and use a CMP-25 RAM mic.


boatdryver posted 12-09-2007 11:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for boatdryver  Send Email to boatdryver     
I have the Garmin 498 (the one with pre-loaded charts for the entire coastal USA) from 2 years ago which I think may by now be superceded by an updated version with a different number.

I am very disappointed with the chart content: In the bay where we use the boat, in order to see depth numbers and other detail I must zoom in so far that only a small part of the bay is shown on the screen.

So if I want to zoom out to see the entire bay (e. g. to plot a course) it only shows me the outline of the bay with no labeling of places onshore. The water shows as a white blank.

I think this may be a result of the "canned" charting showing the entire US coast and there not being enough memory for details of out of the way places.


GreatBayNH posted 12-09-2007 12:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for GreatBayNH  Send Email to GreatBayNH     
I did an Internet search for Standard Horizon PS2000's and found a plethora available. How are you searching for said unit?


Andrewdavis34 posted 12-09-2007 06:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Andrewdavis34  Send Email to Andrewdavis34     

I have personnally contacted everybody on the web that sells the PS2000 packaged with the mics and nobody has any in stock at the current time, nor do they know when there shipments are supposed to arrive. I have only found one store that sell the PS2000 with the Blk mic. At this point if I want the PS2000 I am going to have to order the unit and mic set separately and this is double the price of a packaged unit!


GreatBayNH posted 12-09-2007 07:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for GreatBayNH  Send Email to GreatBayNH     
Why would you personally contact anyone? I just placed an order online, no human interaction needed. It should be here is a few days. Keep in mind many online ordering system tie into the sellers inventory. If it says "in stock" it usually is. At least I've yet to have it work any other way for me. Maybe I'm just lucky.


GreatBayNH posted 12-09-2007 07:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for GreatBayNH  Send Email to GreatBayNH     
There are some on eBay if you feel comfortable shopping that way. I see 8 available with Mic (black or white) for 159.99 from Consumer Marine Supply.

GreatBayNH posted 12-09-2007 07:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for GreatBayNH  Send Email to GreatBayNH     
Andrew, I sent you an e-mail but it was rejected by your spam filtering system. Instead of me filling out that web form, to have you grant me access, I'll just post my e-mail here.
Hi Andrew,
I found a few Standard Horizon PS2000's out there on the net. Most come with RAM+ mic. They are so cheap I may upgrade my PS1000 on my Montauk 170.

Search engine findings....

Nice inexpensive unit:

Hope this helps,


Andrewdavis34 posted 12-09-2007 07:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for Andrewdavis34  Send Email to Andrewdavis34     

I have been burned twice already.I placed an order an waited over three weeks and no merchanidise so I cancelled the order and got my money back. I have already contacted the companies you listed and they are out of stock at this time with no idea when shipments are going to be received.


jimh posted 12-09-2007 08:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Moved from another discussion area.]
BellBoyBob posted 12-09-2007 10:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for BellBoyBob  Send Email to BellBoyBob     

I have the Garmin 540s and the SH GX3000S VHF DSC radio. The combo works very well with instant polling position on the Garmin map from the SH radio pos. request. The gear is mounted on my BellBoy 19' express type cruiser. The radio is mounted on the inside of the bulkhead and the RAM mic is utilized out at the helm to save space. There have some comments lately regarding the screen resolution of the 540s vs the 545 and also the processor speed of the two units being quite different in terms of performance. All I can say is that I am thrilled with the performance of my 540s. The screen re-draw is very fast and the screen seems very clear and vivid - very easy to read when you have only an instant to look down at it in choppy or otherwise challenging conditions. The GPS I had prior to the 540s was the Garmin 178 chartplotter / sonar combo. This was a proven design and is in use on many many boats out there today. I think for GPS, you can not beat Garmin.


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