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Old 03 November 2009, 13:32   #21
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Country: Ireland
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We have added Blue Chart maps - very detailed - but added cost

How much extra are the blue charts? What extra detail can you avail of?
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Old 03 November 2009, 13:42   #22
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How much extra are the blue charts? What extra detail can you avail of?
A small-region G2 card should be about 90 squids.
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Old 03 November 2009, 16:17   #23
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- thats a pretty cool addtion as you can keep an eye on depth and fish

J
I never turn my back on those fish, slippery little suckers!
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Old 03 November 2009, 17:31   #24
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These guys have some great offers on at the moment and are hard to match.

http://www.mesltd.co.uk/index.php

I have a leaning towards Raymarine but that's because I was trained as a Marine Radio and Electronics Officer many years ago and Raytheon was one of the manufacturers that were in the lab where we trained.

Today's electronics are very reliable so my advice is, if you can, go and try some and see which ones you find user friendly and within your budget.
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Old 04 November 2009, 17:33   #25
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Country: UK - Channel Islands
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My boat has a Raymarine E80 with depthsounder, radar, Marpa and AIS. However, there are one or two problems with the setup: For some bizarre reason the E-series sounders are susceptible to voltage irregularities and if you haven't used your boat for a while they may not work until the batteries are fully charged and will sound a warning alarm until this happens- very irritating, believe me.

The MARPA feature is useful but not very reliable above 30 knots and is a bit fiddly to set up at speed anyway because you have to capture the MARPA targets manually. You'll need an electronic compass unit if you want MARPA. This costs about 500.

You can overlay the radar onto the plotter screen but again this only seems reliable at slower speeds. I'm convinced the plotter refreshes at a slower rate than the radar so at high speeds the two become misaligned.

The plotter itself is not as user friendly as my old Garmin 108c (a great product - buy one immediately if you can find one). The rolling road screen isn't too convincing, the head-up refresh rate is slow and the Platinum series E-charts are ok but the aerial photos are toss. However, the tide charts are excellent and easy to use.

The good points: The radar is really good (I have a 2KW Raydome) and much better than my old JRC. AIS is another nice feature as it allows you to call commercial traffic by their callsigns and will show their tracks. The plotter will show your boat's heading as a track - a simple but very helpful feature that wasn't on the Garmin. The E80 screen can be divided up to show the plotter, radar, sounder and engine management functions simultaneously (my ETec is wired up as well).

Bottom line: It cost a fortune, it’s just about ok but I wish I had looked around before buying it. A friend of mine who is a MEE reckons Furuno is the way to go.
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Old 04 November 2009, 18:04   #26
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Originally Posted by ciaranp View Post
Are the maps fairly detailed? Is the internal antenna sufficent enough?
Did you add any maps?

whats the difference in the 550 to the 551?
Pre-loaded chart detail is equivalent to the normal Garmin Bluechart, so yes, very detailed. The plug in G2 Vision charts add land detail, sat imagery and 3D views, which you won't get on the pre-loaded mapping.

Internal antenna is fine on an open boat. If the unit were to be used in a cabin, then an external antenna would be the way to go. Unlike older Garmins, all 550/551 units have the internal antenna as standard and an external antenna can be purchased as an aftermarket accessory and plugged into the back of the unit.

The 551 has NMEA2000, whereas the 550 has/had Garmin caNet instead. The 551, according to Garmin, has a faster re-draw speed. Both units have NMEA0183

Good value units.
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Old 04 November 2009, 18:20   #27
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For some bizarre reason the E-series sounders are susceptible to voltage irregularities
THAT'S the other thing I didn't like about the A65 - Raymarine recommend running it off a "domestic" battery, as the voltage drop while starting a motor causes the unit to switch off.
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