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  best c-map gps/depth sounder for a 170

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Author Topic:   best c-map gps/depth sounder for a 170
bigjohn1 posted 11-16-2004 08:15 AM ET (US)   Profile for bigjohn1   Send Email to bigjohn1  
Although we have discussed the merits of various units more than a few times, I am still undecided for the combo unit to install in my 170. I'm looking for some real-world feedback from owners of NAVMAN combo units and in particular, their top-of-line model Trackfish 6600. I must have a C-map unit as that format is all that supports Guam and the Marianas Islands. I had tentatively decided on a
Furuno 1850 but since my dealer now carries the NAVMAN line, I had him give me a bottom-line quote on the NAVMAN complete with transducer and external GPS antenna.

I was surprised to learn the complete NAVMAN package is basically no cheaper than the complete Furuno 1850 package. By "package", I mean the unit and ALL other associated items one would need to install and operate the unit. Our water is DEEP here so I am only considering units with depth capability in the 3,000-4,000 ft range.

Both the NAVMAN and Furuno "packages" come to right at $2,000 give or take. So herein lies my delema, pay 2 grand for a unit from a tried and true industry leader (Furuno) or go with a relativle new (to the U.S. market) NAVMAN package. I see pluses to buying a unit from my local dealer but not if the product is inferior (to Furuno) in the first place.

I have complete confidence in both Furuno and Raymarine as they are both widely used comercially in military and law enforcement. I just don't know of much real-world feedback on these NAVMAN units. Please help...I'm plopping down 2 grand on one of these two units in the coming week and want to make the most informed choice.
Big John

Marsh posted 11-19-2004 05:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marsh  Send Email to Marsh     
John:

I posted a very similar topic a month or so ago...got only 2 or 3 responses before Jim Hebert deleted it because it lacked merit.

Bygones.

Having said that, check out the new digital "C" series from Raymarine...GPS/WAAS, plotter sounder fishfinder all for around $2,600 plus tax and installation.

Pretty darn steep, if you ask me, but a very impressive sounding package nonehteless.

I have only seen pictures, you experience may be different. I am just not yet prepared to pay the price that is commanded by state of the art systems.

Be prepared to have this topic deleted.

Marsh

Moe posted 11-19-2004 05:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
John, did you ever determine if your area of the ocean was available in Furuno's proprietary C-map chips, or only in the standard C-map chips, which I believe Navman uses?

--
Moe

jimh posted 11-19-2004 08:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
With the way GPS manufacturers change models, a three-month-old recommendation is pretty much out of date, isn't it?

Let me ask you an important question:

What percentage of your boat's value to you want to spend on this instrumentation?

bigjohn1 posted 11-20-2004 08:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
Moe...yes, I checked and found out both the regular C-map as well as Furuno's proprietary C-Map chips both cover Guam and the surrounding Marianas Islands. So, looks like I'll be fine with either.

Jimh, I have pretty much decided that I am fine with springing for a $2,000 system but nothing more costly than that. My use of this boat I feel justifies the expenditure as we do alot of spearfishing in off-shore waters. Just yesterday, I had an experience that might have had a better outcome if I had one of these two sounders. We were diving on one of Guam's off-shore FAD's in about 2,800ft of water. Two of us were in the water next to the FAD hunting Wahoo and Mahi while the third stayed with the boat about 75ft away. All of the sudden, a huge Black Marlin as long as the 170 came up right next to the boat and my buddy driving the boat yelled at us - "MARLIN". Knowing the habits of Marlin in this part of the world, he headed straight for us in the boat and the Marlin followed him right to us. The Marlin turned and gave me a broadside shot from about 10' away. While I hit him with a descent shot right behind the gill plate, he sounded and took my floats straight down in a hurry. About 10 seconds later, the whole ordeal was over and my equipment surfaced (minus the Marlin) as he pulled off. Had I known something that big was in the area, I would have been using my giant tuna rig vice the lighter equipment designed for Dorado.

Yes, this was one of those experiences I will never forget but I want the depth and detail capability that reportedly, both of these units have.
Big John

Moe posted 11-20-2004 09:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
John, from that, and from the reports of many deep water fishermen on TheHullTruth, I'd go with the equipment that has the most widely recognized deep water performance here in the States. Furono. You'll never be ashamed of that name on your Whaler.

I do wish, however, that there was some experience with the NavMan equipment reported here. For that, you may have to find some Australian or New Zealand fishing forums.

--
Moe

Chuck Tribolet posted 11-20-2004 09:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
jimh, the life of a GPS model is 2-3 years. Sure seems like
less sometimes, but I watch that biz pretty closely.


Chuck

Moe posted 11-20-2004 11:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
Agree with Chuck (for a change, LOL!) 3 month life for a recommendation of a unit is absurd.

--
Moe

highanddry posted 11-21-2004 09:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
Doesn't Lowrance make a color GPS/sonar for under 800 dollars with a dual frequency transducer? Why spend several thousand on something that will be obsolete in several months and probably unrepairable in three or four years? J
bigjohn1 posted 11-21-2004 04:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
Hyanddry,

Perhaps you know of a Lowrance model that will fit my requirements and can make a specific recommendation - that would be great if I could have one for less than a grand but I don't think its possible. I checked their site and could not find one. Note my unit MUST be C-map as the other formats of cartography do not support my area of the world.
Big John

highanddry posted 11-21-2004 10:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
BigJohn, when I saw C-map I was thinking color display. The unit I was thinking of is the Lowrance LMS 330C (note the C) which is listed in Bass Pro for 699 dollars with dual freq transducer. Now that I realize your problem I suppose that unit will not do for you. Given your location I am afraid that you are going to have reduced options it seems. Good luck on the search. If I come across anything I will let you know. J
Georgetech posted 11-25-2004 06:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for Georgetech  Send Email to Georgetech     
Bigjohn1
I decided to go with two Navman units instead of one on my 2003 Montauk 170. These colors units are the (Fish 4500) and the (Tracker 5500i with internal antenna). I just finished my second season and they have performed flawless
the colors and resolution are crystal clear under any conditions. This unit acquires the satellites faster than my old SeaNav and my friend's Garmin 168. I have the C-Map wide chip for the New Jersey area and the accuracy and details are awesome. Very happy with the fishfinder too. I hope this help in your decision, one last comment their customer service is excellent.
bigjohn1 posted 11-25-2004 08:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
Georgetech....thank you very much and yes, it does most definitely help in my decision. My only issue I have to deal with now is asking my Whaler dealer to match the price I found for the 6600 at the online marine website. Looks like I can have the unit and all associated hardware (less my specific C-map chips) for right at $1,900. I somehow doubt he will be offering the unit at that price but who knows.
Big John
jimh posted 11-28-2004 11:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The point I was making with the reference to a three-month-old recommendation being out of date was that in the GPS business there are new models coming out all the time. Often the pricing changes rather rapidly, too. What was "the best" three months ago may not be the best today, given the introduction of something better or a price reduction in other models that were formerly more expensive.

In any case, "the best" is a nebulous appellation at best, to make a reflexive comparison. What's best to you might not work at all for me. I find the display visibility and resolution to be very important, followed by ease of operation. A unit stuffed with gewgaws does not trump those basics.

Most all of the comments about these units tend to resolve to the respondent likes the one they picked out. Seldom is any comparative data given or any systematic evaluation. At least with boats and motors you can say how fast it goes. With GPS units it is usually much more vague.

I would give more weight to reviews in publications like Powerboat Reports. They test things like GPS Chart Plotters and SONARs side-by-side, and they present meaningful results.

Also, requests for recommendations without a price limitation are really vague. The cost of modern electronicss knows no upper bound, and you can easily spend more than the price of a small boat on some units.

Lowrance seems to have new models on the market about every three weeks. As soon as you buy one of their SONAR units they have a different model out before you get yours out of the box and installed.

Good luck with the NAVMAN units. They seem to be coming on strong in the States, particularly with their Brunswick ownership. You will probably see them installed as factory options on a lot of SeaRay boats.

I seem to recall that you might have ordered a different motor on your boat, but if you have the Mercury outboard and it is SmartCraft ready, you might look into the integration of the Navman displays with the engine gauges.

See details in:

http://continuouswave.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/008552.html

bigjohn1 posted 11-29-2004 07:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
Jimh, thanks for the additional pointers on pricing and obsolecense. Some of this I will simply just have to suck up and deal with. It does kinda "burn" though knowing that if I were living back in the states, many of the units made by Garmin or any of the other manufacturers would work just fine for me. Come to think of it, they would work just fine here but their cartography just doesn't support Guam. It burns me even worse when I see they support MANY places throughout SE Asia - just not this particular spot in the "big pond". I need/want the detail provided by cartography (in my case-C-map) due to this boat's overall use. We dive, spearfish, troll, bottom fish, and just flat play around both on and off-shore. Guam has numerous dive sites that are sunken wrecks (German, Japanese, and American) left over from WWII and having all that info and being able to "see" them at my fingertips just makes the experience all that much better.

The engine I ended up with was the 115EFI so I'm not sure if that is smartcraft ready or not - In the Merc line, I thought I recall reading that only the Optimax was smartcraft-ready?
Big John

frontier posted 11-30-2004 06:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for frontier  Send Email to frontier     
After much study, we just bought a Lowrance LMS-335CDF for our Montauk (GPS/Fishfinder combo). First color unit we've had, other Lowrance products we've had have been great. Excellent service & price from Jolly Ann Marine & Outdoor in Iowa. Nice people, great prices, and free shipping.
bigjohn1 posted 11-30-2004 08:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
Frontier, although a nice-looking unit, the LMS-335CDF is not a C-map unit.
Big John
frontier posted 11-30-2004 10:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for frontier  Send Email to frontier     
bigjohn1,
I use a Navionics XL chip (Puget Sound) in my Lowrance unit. I believe they make an XL and XL3 chip for the Pacific Islands. I'm very pleased with the detail.

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