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Old 30 September 2001, 17:27   #1
Country: UK - Scotland
Town: Scotland
Make: Tornado
Engine: Yamaha 80hp Outboard
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 2
Garmin GPS 126 or 128

Thanks to those who replied to my previous post regarding standby engines. This forum is certainly useful.

I am considering purchasing a fixed Garmin GPS for my RIB, either a 126 or 128. Does anyone have experience of these units?

I currently use a Garmin 12 but find the small screen difficult to read doing 20 knots in 3 metre swells! A great standby machine otherwise.


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Old 01 October 2001, 07:44   #2
Country: Other
Make: FB 55
Length: 10m +
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 1,711

My experience with ALL Garmin products has been excellent. The back-up (service) is outstanding too.
I would suggest you go for the Garmin 180 or even the next one up, if you can afford it.

Charles is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01 October 2001, 15:00   #3
Country: UK - England
Town: Great Harwood, Lancs
Boat name: Tigger II
Make: Bombardier Aerodeck
Length: 3m +
Engine: Tohatsu 25HP
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 626
I am using the new Garmin 176, a hand held (just) with a screen big enough (about 4 " across courners) to be usefull and will run Bluechart's as a full chart plotter.

Upto now very happy with it.

As the new family of Garmins are coming out there are a few bargins in the older 180 or 230's. However looking at the cost of charts the new Bluecharts should be cheaper in the long run if your starting from scratch even though the GPS's that run Bluechart is more expensive at the moment.

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Old 01 October 2001, 15:04   #4
Country: Sweden
Town: Karlstad
Make: Viking
Length: 5.4
Engine: Mercury 90
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 39
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What Garmin call their big strength - seemingly unlimited number of models - can be very confusing at times.

I would say that the 126 and the 128 are the same unit with the only difference being that the 126 has a built-in antenna while the 128 has an external. I wouldn't be surprised if they had the same "engine" as Garmin's older handheld receivers, i.e. 12, II+ etc. The fixed receivers have a benefit of much larger displays and keys, which is very much welcome feature in a fast RIB.

I own a GPSMAP 180 and I cannot recommend it. The update rate (when zooming or changing map coverage) is way too slow. Maybe it can be tolerated (although I doubt it) when doing 5 knots, but at 35 the things can get really scary!
Add to that low display resolution and the fact that the continued support for G-charts is questionable now that Garmin have started using Transas charts and it all gets even worse.

I had an opportunity to test the latest Garmin chart-plotters based on the Transas chart (or BlueChart as Garmin is calling it). And these units are really great. Transas charts are miles better that the old G-charts based on Navionics technology. All symbols look as they should and no longer do you see black squares and wonder what do they represent - a lighthouse, a cardinal mark, a beacon or what.
My favourite plotter was GPSMAP 2006C, with a 256-colours, 6.4-inch display with a resolution of 640x480 pixels! But it is also very expensive - approximately US$2000. I don't even want to know what the big brother - 2010C - costs.
I also tested the successor to the GPSMAP 180, the GPSMAP 182. While the unit looks just like the GPSMAP 180, that's where the likeness ends. The 182 features an upgraded 10-level grey, 360x240 pixels display (as opposed to 4-level grey, 160x240 in the 180). The update rate is around 1 s. The 182 is also WAAS/EGNOS compatible.

Given that the 182 costs some US$600 (which is more-less the same as the 180 costs here in Europe) and that the Transas charts are far superior to G-charts and that the Transas charts are much cheaper it's not difficult to conclude: if you want a chart-plotter in this price range go for the 182. If you can afford the 2006C or 2010C don't hesitate to check them out, but I would imagine that there are some other interesting alternatives in this price range.

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Old 05 October 2001, 12:05   #5
Country: UK - England
Town: Northumberland
Length: no boat
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 41
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I have used both the 126 & the 128 and they are the same except for the external/internal difference. I ended up buying a 128 because on the little boat I was racing, with the 126 positioned where it was easy to read and push the buttons, occasionaly the signals from the sattelites were blocked by either myself or the driver who was sat in front of me (the unit was mounted on the back of the drivers seat) If you are able to mount the unit where it has a clear view of the sky I would go for the 126 - 2 reasons, the external areal is vunerable to damage and the connector to the back of the set can work loose and you lose the signal.
These sets are very easy to use and have reasonably large figures which can still be read after 2 hours of the boat trying to shake your eyballs loose.
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