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GPS Chart Plotter Sonar. HELP


Priority1

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Paul, If you get to geeking around with the FF keep us updated.:)

I wanted to make another point on Laptops being used on boats. Of course the main thing is get one that can take a splash or put it in a dry place. The second concern is sunlight visibility. These two reasons are why I picked a refurbished Toughbook. Other than the laptop there isn't much of an investment. I plan on using the laptop in motels when I travel. I do some stock trading, so I would think at least a portion of it's cost should be tax deductable. Are there any accountants here that can verify this?? I don't want to get myself or any members here in trouble with our uncle Sam.:)

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  • 2 weeks later...

In addition to my Toughbook Chartplotter I may be adding a refurbished Garmin 340C. I'm leaning towards the Dual Beam transducer, but can get the dual freq. one for $25 more. Most of the times these refurbished items are open box that can't be sold as new. I know the guy that sells them and can return it for another if I don't like it. I seldom fish deeper than 50 ft. I have seen 300 FOW under the Priority1 a few times. The unit with a dual beam should come in for less than $300. DEAL OR NO DEAL???? Would the dual freq benefit me a lot or not??

My LMS 350 Combo will still ride for another year, to glean WPTs. The display was acting up last year. I could get it to correct itself by switching from sonar to plotter. I'll probably sell it next yr as is or for parts. It's like an old friend. It took a licking and is still ticking.

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Have you found any issues with the laptop program or just looking to replace ff? Real interested in the laptoop idea, hoping to follow your progress before investing, that is if you dont mind being the guinea pig!!:D

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Frank, I had the dual beam ducer on my 340c and traded it in this year for a dual frequency. The dual beam was all right but the dual frequency is much better. Worth the $25. I bought an Airmar and it cost me quite a bit more than $25.

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Frank, I had the dual beam ducer on my 340c and traded it in this year for a dual frequency. The dual beam was all right but the dual frequency is much better. Worth the $25. I bought an Airmar and it cost me quite a bit more than $25.

Nick, Just wondering about the dual freq. over the dual beam in less than 50 FOW. Your input is valued since you had both. How does the price sound on this unit? If the dual freq will help any i'll certainly get it.

I'm going to do a shakedown cruise on my boat this week come hell or high water.:) It's getting serious Walleye Whacking time for me. I had a lot of family things going on.

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Have you found any issues with the laptop program or just looking to replace ff? Real interested in the laptoop idea, hoping to follow your progress before investing, that is if you dont mind being the guinea pig!!:D

I'm NOT replacing the Toughbook Chartplotter set up. I have tested it on the road, it works in Steel buildings. It's running and shows position right now in my basement. This week I'll do a shakedown on Priority1 and the toughbook will be dead center on my dash board. I had it onboard in the garage and it was very viewable from the back of the boat. I have a LMS 350 B&W Combo that will be getting replaced. The Garmin 340C is strictly a color FF. If there was a reasonably priced USB FF I'd probably get it. I did see one for about a G but that didn't seem reasonable to me.:) Maybe some geek will figure a way to adapt a USB cable to a standard FF transducer. These Laptop Chart Plotters have been used for years by the sail boat people. I went with the Toughbook because it's all that the name implies, and it's sunlight viewable and water proof.

Good or Bad I'll report how the Toughbook with SeaCLear2 and NOAA charts performs. So far I'm impressed.

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Frank, you can just bump the dual frequency over to the 200khz setting for shallow water. I have only had it out once and we started in 10'. I actually had to turn down the gain because I was picking up a lot of clutter. With the dual beam I had the gain turned up to 89%. With the dual frequency I turned it down to 65% and had the same clarity. I am looking forward to using it in deep water because I think the definition will be much better. I also think that it will be better while running on plane. I think the dual freaquency makes better use of the power the 340c provides.

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The SeaClear Program and NOAA charts met all my expectations when I tested it on the water this eve. It laid down a track and showed all the detail I needed. For a free software program and free NOAA charts, I continue to be impressed. Rather than load charts into the program I did buy a DVD for $17 preloaded, so in reality it did cost a little but saved a ton of time. The only slight thing that I had to do was go into the power management of the laptop operating system and set things to keep the screen on 100% of the time. With this program the way points, log book etc, have virtually no limitations. Even a small HDD will hold all anyone will ever need. This technology is nothing new. The sail boaters have been using it for years. I think the key is to get a rough and tough laptop that is sunlight viewable. If I encounter any problems I'll let you know. The Toughbook sets in the middle of my dash board on my Starcraft Islander Hardtop.

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saginaw_bay_vector_chart_opencpn.jpg

Here is a screen shot of another NOAA free electronic chart. This is part of a Vector electronic chart. It's is running on another free program called OpenCPN. The Raster charts, that I have running on the SeaClear program, are scanned Raster paper charts. They both have their advantages and with the two programs I can run either. NOAA doesn't have all the electronic Vector charts available yet. Producing them is more time consuming than scanning the paper ones. This time I just downloaded the MI Vector ENC charts and loaded them into the OpenCPN software program.:)

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Warnings

Weekly updates to the RNCs are done on a best efforts basis. The timing of their availability is not guaranteed. You are responsible for ensuring that your RNCs are the most current edition and that the most recent updates have been applied.

NOAA RNCs® were made by scanning the NOAA paper chart printing materials. Any inaccuracies due to old methods of collecting, processing and displaying data on the paper chart were transferred to the RNCs. As a result, the accuracy of modern positioning systems such as GPS may exceed the positional accuracy of the RNC. The impact of positioning accuracies can be minimized by not zooming an RNC beyond the scale of the original NOAA chart.

While NOAA has accuracy standards for each step in the data collection and chart production process, much of the depth information found on NOAA charts is based on surveys conducted before 1940, the shoreline is more than 20 years old, and paper charts used to be compiled manually. For more information regarding the accuracy of electronic charts, click here.

http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/mcd/Raster/download_agreement.htm

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NOAA has had a ship in AuGres for about the last month. I haven't had my system up and running very long. So far I haven't noted any errors in the data.

Data for Navionics (Lowrance), and Blue Chart (Garmin) is gleaned from the NOAA Vector and Raster Charts. Every piece of navigational hardware and software has a disclaimer. I will not post any, but read them yourself on your user manuals.

Here is the FULL user agreement for the NOAA Electronic Navigational charts. Note they are approved by the CG for certain commercial vessels.

USER AGREEMENT

By using the website and the NOAA Electronic Navigational Charts (NOAA ENCs®) distributed there, you acknowledge that you have read, understood, and accepted the terms and conditions stated in this User Agreement.NOAA reserves the right to change this Agreement at any time and without notice.Your use of the website and/or the Electronic Navigational Charts available there shall constitute your agreement to be bound by any this Agreement and any changes.

1. Description of NOAA Electronic Navigational Charts (NOAA ENCs®)

The NOAA ENCs distributed here are a geo-referenced database(s) of NOAA nautical chart features and their attributes, published by NOAA in the format of the International Hydrographic Organization S-57 Standard, "IHO Transfer Standard for Digital Hydrographic Data." NOAA updates the ENCs for Notice to Mariners on a weekly basis (timing of their availability is not guaranteed). NOAA ENCs are an official product of NOAA.

2. Permitted Use

The NOAA ENCs are intended for navigational use. They are intended to be used in their electronic form only. You may download, use, and redistribute them without restriction, and without payment to NOAA, except as noted herein.

They may be used to meet federal chart carriage regulations published in the Code of Federal Regulations. On November 15, 2005, the regulations were as stated below. These regulations may change, and mariners are advised to check the Code of Federal Regulations for their current status.

1) On May 2, 2001, the United States Coast Guard amended the United States chart carriage regulations to permit government vessels to use electronic charting and navigation systems in lieu of paper charts.

2) On July 1, 2002, the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) amendments to chapter V of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) became effective after being accepted by the Contracting Governments to SOLAS (Jan 2002) and the IMOs Maritime Safety Committee (Dec 2000). These amendments, in part, allowed an electronic chart display system (ECDIS) using ENCs to be accepted as meeting chart carriage requirements of SOLAS chapter V.

3) On August 15, 2002, the United States Coast Guard issued a statement of policy to bring its regulations into agreement with SOLAS Chapter V (as amended by the changes taking effect July 1, 2002). The policy statement said that, if a ship has an approved ECDIS installed according to SOLAS, Chapter V, the ECDIS will be considered as meeting the ship's nautical chart carriage regulations. The ships that are affected are:

a. U.S.-flagged ships of 150 or more gross tons that engage on international voyages.

b. U.S.-flagged ships certificated solely for service on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.

c. Foreign-flag ships to which SOLAS, Chapter V, applies that are operating on the navigable waters of the United States.

This policy is not applicable to U.S.-flag ships engaged only on domestic voyages. These ships must continue to comply with existing navigation equipment requirements until the chart carriage regulations are formally amended.

3. Limitations on Use

NOAA ENCs® may be redistributed, but redistributed NOAA ENCs are NOT considered official NOAA ENCs, and do not meet federal chart carriage regulations for regulated vessels unless redistributed by a "Certified NOAA ENC Distributor" or by a "Certified NOAA ENC Value Added Distributor". Click http://chartmaker.ncd.noaa.gov/mcd/enc/fedreg_encrule.htm for further information on ENC Distributorships.

Copying of the NOAA ENCs to any other server or location for further distribution is discouraged unless the following guidelines are followed: 1) this User Agreement is displayed and accepted by anyone accessing the NOAA ENCs, and 2) a reference to this Web site is included so that anyone accessing the NOAA ENCs is advised of their origin.

If these NOAA ENC's are incorporated into any other product in a form other than as provided by NOAA, the producer of that product assumes full liability and must adhere to conditions described in the paragraph above concerning copying.

4. Warnings

Weekly updates to the ENCs are done on a "best efforts" basis. The timing of their availability is not guaranteed. You are responsible for ensuring that your ENCs are the most current edition and that the most recent updates have been applied.

While NOAA has accuracy standards for each step in the data collection and chart production process, much of the depth information found on NOAA charts is based on surveys conducted before 1940, the shoreline is more than 20 years old, and paper charts used to be compiled manually. For more information regarding the accuracy of electronic charts, click http://chartmaker.ncd.noaa.gov/mcd/enc/encartcl.htm.

5. Trademarks and Copyright

"NOAA®" and the NOAA® emblem are registered trademarks of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA ENC® is a registered trademark of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Click OK to download MI_ENCs.zip

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Firstly, thanks for the time and effort you are putting into this endeavour. :thumb:

You are right about all aids to navigation having a disclaimer. Even the coast guard does not guarantee their lights and buoys. All printed charts fall into this as well. :(

I have a chart for Lake St. Clair. 49th Ed.,Sept 7/96. It's based on the North American Datum of 1983. The most up to date information is the 92 - 96 survey of the international shipping channel, which was done by the US. Corp of Engineers. The rest of the lake was surveyed from 1964 and back as far as 1868 on the Canadian side. :(

If Navionics (Lowrance), and Blue Chart (Garmin) are only as good as the free NOAA charts, then I'll be getting a laptop as well. :thumb:

Do you know of a way to put NOAA charts directly onto a Garmin or Lowrance chip?? If we could do that it would be the best of both worlds. I'm not getting anywhere with this so far! :(

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Firstly, thanks for the time and effort you are putting into this endeavour. :thumb:

You are right about all aids to navigation having a disclaimer. Even the coast guard does not guarantee their lights and buoys. All printed charts fall into this as well. :(

I have a chart for Lake St. Clair. 49th Ed.,Sept 7/96. It's based on the North American Datum of 1983. The most up to date information is the 92 - 96 survey of the international shipping channel, which was done by the US. Corp of Engineers. The rest of the lake was surveyed from 1964 and back as far as 1868 on the Canadian side. :(

If Navionics (Lowrance), and Blue Chart (Garmin) are only as good as the free NOAA charts, then I'll be getting a laptop as well. :thumb:

Do you know of a way to put NOAA charts directly onto a Garmin or Lowrance chip?? If we could do that it would be the best of both worlds. I'm not getting anywhere with this so far! :(

You can load the charts on to all kinds of blank removable media. I don't have a Lowrance or Garmin unit that takes the chips. I think the Lowarace and Garmin use a standard format card. It wouldn't take much to load a couple of charts on one and try it. The last chart type I posted along with OpenCPN program is Auto Pilot capable. The Charter Boats are required by law to have charts of their areas. The Raster and Vector electronic charts provided by NOAA meet this requirement. So a commercial vessel wouldn't need to carry paper charts. I'm not sure if the Navionics or Blue card meet this requirement. Maybe some Charter Captains will know the answer.

The charts on the laptops perform far better when put on the HDD. They will work on CDs DVDs Thumb drives, SD, CF, etc. I have done this with a CF, Thumb drive, and CD.

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Just ordered a toughbook and charts going to give it a try, got the tough book used for 189$ no touch screen, so I am willing to bet on it, Thank you to Frank for the information and will post along as I learn the system..

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I hope it works out for you. It's not for everyone. It wouldn't be at all practical on smaller boats. There are some hot key functions that make using it very simple. Like everything there are pros and cons. The nice thing about the toughbooks is they are sunlight viewable, shock resistant, and waterproof.

I kind of like the OpenCPN software also. It runs a slightly different style NOAA chart, and is compatible with Auto Pilots. I like the flexibility of running either. It wasn't all that difficult to download the charts from NOAA and load them into this program. Hopefully I'll be on the water Sat, Sun, Mon. I'm not normally a weekend warrior but this weather has darn near made a land lover out of me.

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I have a Garmin and that card is proprietary.

I just about fell over when I heard the price of an adapter cable and blank card.

My Garmin hand held came with a cable but only has a small internal memory.

here chippy, chippy..........:mad::mad::mad:

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I didn't realize you were talking about a hand held. The newer fixed mount plotters have a place to add a card. You can buy a card reader cheap if you can figure out a pin out for the Garmin. I'm sure they would give you that info. RIGHT.:)

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Frank, thanks taking this project on and sharing all this great information. I am very interested but would probably have to go the netbook route due to space limitations. I was wondering if you could update us on your progress and overall satisfaction with the system after running it for a month. Thanks again!

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I am more than pleased with this system. I do have a slight issue with my refurbished Toughbook. The Toughbook's touchscreen developed a problem. It is covered and I will not take it out of service until mid Sept. I used chartplotters on other peoples boats but this is the first one on Priority1. Way points saving is a bit tougher with this system. It involves a right click and a lil typing.The MOB (Man Overboard) feature is the quickest way to put a marker on the chart. MOB is simply a Ctrl Spacebar. Overall I'm very pleased with it's size and the way it functions. There are several hot keys for zoom, track, auto, find boat, etc. I can see depth numbers from the back of the boat.The SOG is also in nautical miles per hr. At my trolling speeds I simply add 0.2 to this to come up with MPH. Turning it on and off is like powering a computer on and off. The GPS locks on better than any other I have seen. It was functioning in my basement, a steel building, and in my garage. The fact that it's also a fully functional laptop is another big plus. Using the plotter I find it's not necessary to have as many way points as I had before. I can quickly recognize areas I have done well in before. Other than the cost of the laptop I have under $60 into it. These are the pros and cons.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, you've made a believer out of me. I have ordered software, gps and netbook with solid state hard drive (found a refurbished model for $140). Did you find the 5' cord on the gps long enough to get it on your hardtop?

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Well, you've made a believer out of me. I have ordered software, gps and netbook with solid state hard drive (found a refurbished model for $140). Did you find the 5' cord on the gps long enough to get it on your hardtop?

My GPS receiver is on the dash. I didn't see any need to put it on top. A standard USB cable could extend it. I have never had an issue with GPS losing signal while on the water.

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Well, so far so good. I have it up and running on the netbook. I have to find a permanent home on the dash, route the power and gps wiring, and figure out a hold-down system. The downside is the screen is not very readable in the sunlight. But no complaints as of yet.

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Hey Frank if you remember the newer chart on my boat, the hummminbird 700 series is a great choice at a slightly cheaper price. They will read the same chips as lowrance. Also if you do have any issues with the unit you wont have to deal with the reputable customer service department that lowrance features. And that doesn't necessarily mean good. I love my new unit. Just my personal preference though. :D

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Frank, have you made the connection to run your laptop off of boat power yet? I was told by a manager at Radio Shack that I could not do that because the 12VDC pulses?? He also said the laptop power connection is proprietary and that I'd have to buy the connector from the manufacturer?

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