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Marine Electronics Knowing where our dive spots are located and what is the depth for our dives make our marine electronics very important.

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Old 01-24-2015, 09:39 AM   #1
RaginCajun
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Need to upgrade bottom machine & plotter --- suggestions???

Figured I'd tap the collective experience here...

I'm looking for feedback/guidance on bottom machines / chart plotters. Do you have any opinions good or bad on general brands or specific units / features?

Needs: Aside from not knowing what I don't know or what I haven't considered I'll be diving (spearfishing) in generally recreational depths out of Panama City Beach. I don't have a book of numbers so I'd like electronics that will allow me to find more spots, mostly awesome grouper & lobster filled hard bottom spots .

The new (to me) boat has an old Furuno GP1650WF & Hummingbird 898c w/ side imaging along with an old random Garmin fish finder / plotter. I think I'll keep the side imaging unit (just because) but would like a larger plotter/sounder than the 6" Furuno, but don't really have brand loyalty. A large display w/ user friendly features and an interface where I can modify lists of numbers from my PC are key features. The boat has a 2nd station (tower) on top but the race with the second station controls is completely full so I may not be able to run any more cables to it .

My Lowrance HDS 8 Gen 2 is OK. If I were to do something differently I'd have gone bigger or used multiples or opted for touch screen. The side imaging hasn't done much for me on our local hard bottom sites, but I do appreciate a good speedy down image. I kinda like having side scanning features separate from the down imaging / plotter so you don't have to switch back & forth, which is primarily why I'll keep the Hummingbird side imaging machine.

I don't recall what kind of thru-hull transducer the Furuno has but I think it's a 600 watt that's smaller than the "full size" Airmar B164 1kW that I have on my current boat, so I could always pull it out and drill a larger hole for the "full sized" 1kW or even a Chirp unit.

I don't think I have a spot for a radar on the boat, and aside from wanting to zap someone on their super secret spot from miles away () I think I wouldn't have much of a need for radar.

In short the criteria is:
  • Good PC (Mac) interface to add/remove/modify waypoints back & forth with the plotter
  • Sounder that will help distinguish bottom features so I can find more spots
  • Plotter that updates quickly
  • Large screen
  • Easy to use
...and anything else I haven't thought of.

What do you think?

In terms of budget...I don't want to skimp but the pocket book isn't endless. My current setup probably ran north of $2500 in the end and honestly I'm afraid to pull out the individual receipts to check.

Appreciate the guidance, wisdom and witty banter. What better way to waste a cold day in January than to plan for next year's adventures.
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Old 01-24-2015, 12:55 PM   #2
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Re: Need to upgrade bottom machine & plotter --- suggestions???

I'm about to put in an order for Garmin's new 7610 xsv series. A pair of these would be the latest greatest and do all of what your current system does and more. One will run you about $3k with the combo chirp/sideview/downvision. They also offer it in a 12" and may soon offer 14" and !6" units for the wealthy.
https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/on-t...rod169208.html
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Old 02-06-2015, 01:12 PM   #3
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Re: Need to upgrade bottom machine & plotter --- suggestions???

What he said. The new Garmins look incredible, thats coming from a huge Simrad fan. Dual band chirp and sidescan built in, nothing compares right now.

They also have a chirp/down/sideview transom mount all in one transducer that was released with the new units.
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Old 02-06-2015, 03:06 PM   #4
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Re: Need to upgrade bottom machine & plotter --- suggestions???

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Originally Posted by Castronova View Post
What he said. The new Garmins look incredible, thats coming from a huge Simrad fan. Dual band chirp and sidescan built in, nothing compares right now.

They also have a chirp/down/sideview transom mount all in one transducer that was released with the new units.
Just ordered mine today with the transom mount triducer and the new XHD radome. Right now I won't be using it to replace my primary garmin plotter or my stand alone JRC scope but it may open up options down the road depending on function.
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Old 02-06-2015, 03:33 PM   #5
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Re: Need to upgrade bottom machine & plotter --- suggestions???

Quote:
Originally Posted by kmoose View Post
I'm about to put in an order for Garmin's new 7610 xsv series. A pair of these would be the latest greatest and do all of what your current system does and more. One will run you about $3k with the combo chirp/sideview/downvision. They also offer it in a 12" and may soon offer 14" and !6" units for the wealthy.
https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/on-t...rod169208.html
Forgive my ignorance, but why would you need a pair of them? Just for redundancy and backup? Or am I misunderstanding what you are saying?
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Old 02-06-2015, 04:29 PM   #6
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Re: Need to upgrade bottom machine & plotter --- suggestions???

Make sure whatever unit you get supports scrolling back on the sonar readout and marking GPS waypoints off the sonar features you find. The Lowrance HDS units do this - I'm sure all the newer units do, as well. The #1 indispensable feature, IMO, for a sonar/plotter. Soooo much easier.
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Old 02-06-2015, 07:32 PM   #7
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Re: Need to upgrade bottom machine & plotter --- suggestions???

Simrad EVO2 series offer:
Built in 10htz GPS ant.
Structure scan.
Touch screen and rotary push button control.
Chirp sounder with out having to by any other components but the transducers of choice.
The price point very competitive and the units are also fully network capable, built in Autopilot control, sonic hub, dual zone radar from one dome (4G) and has video input as well.
http://www.westmarine.com/buy/simrad...ombo--15113335
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Old 02-07-2015, 06:52 AM   #8
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Re: Need to upgrade bottom machine & plotter --- suggestions???

Quote:
Originally Posted by North Star View Post
Forgive my ignorance, but why would you need a pair of them? Just for redundancy and backup? Or am I misunderstanding what you are saying?
The new MFD units do so much that it is hard to run all you want to see with a single screen. The unit I just ordered does sidescan, downvue, and chirp images and can do it all at once. Combine that the plotter, radar and nav functions it really is just to much to see on one screen (especiallly with older eyes). It is not uncommon at all for offshore boats to utilize twin units as they not only provides needed screen real estate they provide redundancy offshore when you need it.

When I get this unit in I will be running a 10" plotter for nav only, standlone traditional 200k bottom machine, and the new 10" unit for mostly sidescan and radar. If any of my other units fail when I'm 50+ nautical offshore this new unit can cover as well or better. I am kind of a gagget guy thouugh.
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Old 02-07-2015, 04:08 PM   #9
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Re: Need to upgrade bottom machine & plotter --- suggestions???

Quote:
Originally Posted by kmoose View Post
The new MFD units do so much that it is hard to run all you want to see with a single screen. The unit I just ordered does sidescan, downvue, and chirp images and can do it all at once. Combine that the plotter, radar and nav functions it really is just to much to see on one screen (especiallly with older eyes). It is not uncommon at all for offshore boats to utilize twin units as they not only provides needed screen real estate they provide redundancy offshore when you need it.

When I get this unit in I will be running a 10" plotter for nav only, standlone traditional 200k bottom machine, and the new 10" unit for mostly sidescan and radar. If any of my other units fail when I'm 50+ nautical offshore this new unit can cover as well or better. I am kind of a gagget guy thouugh.
That makes perfect sense. Thanks for the explanation.
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Old 04-28-2015, 06:28 PM   #10
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Re: Need to upgrade bottom machine & plotter --- suggestions???

the garmin 76 series are fantastic, but the 7608 is the only one available right now, you can pre order the other ones. the garmin echo xsv series is a much cheaper button style unit that still has the down view sideview chirp. i would also recommend going garmin they have the highest customer satisfaction and has the least amount of failures of any units i've seen. I work for A.R. Marine electronics servicing ft. lauderdale through the keys if you have any other question feel free to P.M. me
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Old 04-28-2015, 06:36 PM   #11
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Re: Need to upgrade bottom machine & plotter --- suggestions???

Here's some screen shots from my new garmin.
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Old 04-28-2015, 06:37 PM   #12
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Re: Need to upgrade bottom machine & plotter --- suggestions???

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Old 04-28-2015, 06:39 PM   #13
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Re: Need to upgrade bottom machine & plotter --- suggestions???

Small ledge
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Old 04-28-2015, 06:40 PM   #14
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Re: Need to upgrade bottom machine & plotter --- suggestions???

What was down there...
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Old 04-28-2015, 06:41 PM   #15
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Re: Need to upgrade bottom machine & plotter --- suggestions???

Fuel management
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