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Author Topic:   Registering Chart Plotter With a Personal Computer
mkelly posted 03-29-2014 09:28 PM ET (US)   Profile for mkelly   Send Email to mkelly  
I recently purchased a Garmin 741xs [and I am] getting it ready to go. It's with my dad. He called me today with questions about having to link the Garmin 741xs to his computer for registration. I'll be up there tomorrow to get a look, but thought I would tap the mighty CW Electronics folks for any insight on what direction I should take to get it registered and operational. We have not installed the transducer yet as the boat is not local but I'd like to have all the other startup stuff taken care of.
jimh posted 03-29-2014 11:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I have never heard of any need to register a marine electronic device to a personal computer in order to get the marine electronic device to work. Most marine electronic devices are dedicated devices. As soon as you apply power to them, they begin to perform their function. They do not have to check to see if they are registered or paired with a personal computer.

If I were to make a wild guess, perhaps there is some sort of electronic chart cartography that you purchased with the device, and there is an offer to license it for use on a personal computer in addition to the chart plotter. There typically is some limitation in the license that permits only one computer to be registered to use the cartography. If that is not what needs to be registered, then I have no idea what is being proposed. Perhaps the manufacturer is simply asking that you fill out some form on-line to establish your ownership of the device and apply the warranty.

jimh posted 03-30-2014 09:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I am not clear on what you mean by "link the Garmin to [a] computer." I think you may just mean some sort of association between the two devices for the purpose of sharing intellectual property you have licensed, not an electrical linkage.

If you need to make an electrical connection between the chart plotter and the computer, you will most likely need to use a NMEA port. Typically a marine device NMEA-0183 port can be interfaced to a computer RS-323 port for exchanging serial data. If you need help with that, I can offer some assistance.

Jefecinco posted 03-30-2014 09:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
Garmin has a software package that allows direct connection between the computer and the Garmin product. Whenever I go to my device on the Garmin site it invites me to connect my MFD. The MFD is flush mounted so I've not yet been tempted to try. I recently acquired a laptop computer so I may try it one nice day. It's likely that Garmin sets a cookie when a device is registered and that they are a little fussy about dealing with an unknown computer for some services.


jimh posted 03-30-2014 11:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Butch--Do you mean "a direct connection" as in an electrical connection?
DeeVee posted 03-30-2014 11:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for DeeVee  Send Email to DeeVee     
I am about to register my new Garmin devices (740s and 547xs). The manual states "Help us better support you by completing our online registration today. Go to Keep the original sales receipt, or a photocopy, in a safe place."

I do not have the operators manual in the house to quote, but there is a reference to map updates for one year from date of purchase at no additional charge. I haven't tried to do this yet, but there may be some relationship of software to computer for registration of the maps and possibly planning software (Garmin Home Port) as well, as Jim stated earlier in the thread.

I will give it a try and report back.

Doug Vazquez
Shelton, WA

saumon posted 03-30-2014 05:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for saumon  Send Email to saumon     
Sorry for my crappy English but, having owned a few Garmin chartplotters, I'll try to explain it the best I can.

You don't need to "link" your device to your computer for the registration process. First it's optional and it can simply be done with the unit serial number. That process serve two purpose: for future warranty claim and to receive notifications about software updates.

Now about the unit software updates, they can be done either via a USB cable between your unit and your computer, or simply with a blank SD card on which you copy the update bundle and then plug into your unit.

As for their cartography, some units came with preloaded maps but for thoses who don't, when you purchase maps on removeable format (SD card), Garmin work the opposite of Navionics for their security system, i.e. the Navionics maps card can be read on any number of compatible devices but the data won't work if you copy them elsewhere, as they're "tied" to the internal ID of the SD card. For the Garmin cards, you can copy them as you wish but you'll need to "activate" and unlock them online to work, entering the unit srial number, meaning they'll only work with a single device (chartplotter).

Hope this help.

DeeVee posted 03-30-2014 09:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for DeeVee  Send Email to DeeVee     
My registration and software update went pretty much as saumon describes it.

I first signed on to, because I already own a handheld device. The website recognized me right away. it seemed that the website was expecting me to connect my device directly to the computer to receive the update, as if it was a portable handheld device. Neither of my chart plotters have a USB connection point, but both have card slots. I then went to the website that the instruction manual directed me to where I was able to navigate to the hardwired marine devices section. Here you are given two choices. Either download the update, or buy an SD card with the update on it.

I was thrown for a little bit of a loop a couple of times during the procedure. The first one was that the 740s uses SD format. The 547xs uses micro SD. This required that I make a trip to the store to pick up a micro SD card. Then I had to reload the update on the micro SD card, then load that on to the 547xs.

The second loop occurred when I wanted to download the latest maps for the 547xs. I started the download, then received a message that the card did not have enough capacity. My card was a 4 gig card, and it required something like 4.12 gig of space. I guess I will get to that later, as I have until September for the single free map update.

Generally, it was a pretty good experience. It could have been better if I had paid a little more attention while doing the download. In other words, read the procedure instructions by clicking the "Update Instructions" link.

I think I am really going to like the new units.

Doug Vazquez

jimh posted 03-30-2014 10:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
From what has been described, there is no electrical link necessary between the personal computer and the chart plotter. Any data is transferred by using removable memory cards. That seems very normal.

There also seems to be no registration of a computer. You could use the computer at the public library if you wanted.

And none of this is needed to get the chart plotter operational. It is operation right out of the box.

Jefecinco posted 03-31-2014 07:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     

Yes, I was referring to a physical electrical connection. I don't know how it is done or even if I understood correctly. I agree it is unnecessary to update a device. I use the SD card method and have no problems with it.


jimh posted 03-31-2014 08:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Most chart plotters that I have seen or read about have NMEA-0183 connections, which could be linked to a computer serial port. Some marine devices now have USB ports, and having a USB makes connection to a computer much easier. My AIS receiver, for example, has a USB port. But I do not recall any chart plotters with USB ports.

It looks like the Garmin 741xs has some "wireless connectivity." The Garmin page of specifications does not say what "wireless connectivity" really means. I suppose it is WiFi. But it is not clear if the device is a WiFi host or client, nor is it clear what can be done over a communicaition link carried on WiFi. It is unusual for these devices to expose their file system on any sort of general purpose connection. Usually you can only access the file system of a marine device through its own operating system utiities.

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