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Old 07 January 2013, 14:41   #1
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Garmin Etrex or GPS Map 78 advice!

I want a cheap GPS as a back up to the main GPS unit that is not powered by the boats 12V system in case that should go wrong.

Whats the diffence between the Etrex Vista HCX, Etrex 20 and the GPS Map 78.

Any older similar Garmin models that might come up second hand would be interesting also. Thanks
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Old 07 January 2013, 15:18   #2
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The Garmin 78 and 76 model is good. Go for colour maps if possible. I have them as a reserve and battery life very good, can be charged on cig lighter port, image and accuracy very good with marine charts.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Garmin-GPS...item20ce6235ab

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Garmin-GPS...item27ce9cc3d6

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Garmin-GPS...item19d7f6fcf3

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Garmin-GPS...item3ccdb8ab3f

76 colours IMH are best for use, BW options still good, The 78 is very pricey even second hand. Not sure that Etrex can get marine charts added?
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Old 07 January 2013, 15:49   #3
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Yep, the Etrex can use the same microSD mapping cards as the 60/76/78 series.

I bought a colour Etrex (Vista CX) a number of years ago now, and use a Bluechart microSD card with it on the water, and the Garmin Topo package for land based nav.

When I did my research (this was between an Etrex, 60 or 76), the only advantages of the 60/76 series models were better connectivity (they have proper NMEA out, which the Etrex didn't, although you can get a positional output from it over USB...), slightly larger screen, and better sensitivity GPS receiver (which on the water makes no difference). But the physical size of the 76/78 models is massive in comparison to the Etrex. And the HCX means it has an inbuilt compass/altimeter or something I think I recall, which as far as I could work out just drained the battery quicker, so given I have plenty of compasses around, I specifically chose not to have that!

So for the cost difference, I decided a colour Etrex did everything I needed - indeed I still happily use it as a backup 4/5+ years later!
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Old 08 January 2013, 03:27   #4
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Many thanks folks, the guys in the shops don't know much about them, better to hear from members who use actually them

Thanks for the links Ian
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Old 08 January 2013, 05:08   #5
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As backup either will do. I use a GPS12 (the granddad of the 76) no WAAS on it, but having had a play and overlaid the "snail trails" of it & the WAAS equipped Lowrance, I would suggest that if the accuracy is that important you might be safer getting your crew to hang over the bow! Only thing I would say about maps on small screens, having tried a GPS-V, I have found the less cluittered screen & a set of proven wayoints (see next paragraph) with the "big arrow" works better when moving.

OK, the 12 is "waypoint only" , but at 24 hr (real) battery life I can live with that. I have been building a set of waypoints to make a "join the dots get out of jail" map, theory being that betwee nthe waypoints & the snail trail (see below) I can get myself back in this random fog that descends as my battery dies.


Not so sure about the newer Etrexes, but one good thing about the 76 is that the big round connector on the back means that you can power it from the boat's battery, and when / if it dies, the Garmin will instantly switch to AA power. (Means it's recording your route all the time with no fear of battery life).

You can then use the Data link to feed your VHF - Granted that's not going to be much use with a flat battery which will take out the VHF as well, but it might help keep your Red button in a more useful state if your main plotter throws a wobbly.

I have a data patch in the console so it's a 2 min job to swap connectors - I can even if the GPS pod on the a- frame dies or the cable to it chaffes through feed the plotter from the garmin's data out, or any combo of VHF / Garmin / Plotter.
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Old 09 January 2013, 12:26   #6
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Thanks for that 9D
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