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inneedofadvice

Handheld GPS for backup

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Last season my GPS quit while singlehanded in some pretty knarly weather, big waves, poor visibility. It was in an area that I am somewhat familiar with but after switching to charts I realized that had I been in a less forgiving location it may have been a little more treacherous. 

Now looking for a suitable handheld for backup without spending a lot. Garmin has a https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5026-548/eTrex-10-GPS?gclid=Cj0KCQjwkpfWBRDZARIsAAfeXaptoLLTRaQPA0mMsm3EeNIm9TVuV1QLr0whW9l9PWoMeBZh3eB2MSgaAmqqEALw_wcB for just over a $100. I think it's mostly for hiking but I think it has all the pertinent info that I need for it's limited purpose.

Any experience with this unit?

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i have had many of the etrex handhelds over the years - of the generation you are looking at.., i have the etrex 30 - it has mapping.., including the ability to display marine charts. the screen is tiny though...

In general, the etrex units are great - but they are mainly for hiking and that sort of thing.

i'm not really sure what you want to do with the handheld.., so i can not tell you whether the etrex 10 is suitable  - it seems to me like you might need to display charts though and i don't think the etrex 10 (the one you have selected) can do that.

i think most people would tell you that an iphone with inavx or navionics would be a good backup - and it would be.., in most cases...

 

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About half the time we don't have cellular service and although gps seems to work without it my phones map doesn't. All I'm looking for is a map that places me on it so that I know where I am. Although this https://www.amazon.ca/Garmin-GPSMAP-2-6-Inch-Waterproof-Chartplotter/dp/B003I86PJG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1522956335&sr=8-1&keywords=gps+78sc seems a better choice by the time I download maps of my area on it for another $176 I'm at over $500 and might as well go witham getting close to the price of a second fixed unit.

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both inavx and navionics can use charts stored locally on your phone.., so no cellular data connection is required.

the GPS on the phone works without cellular service

i think inavx is $20

i am not sure what the chart situation is in canada.., but in the usa raster charts for inavx are free...

so the iphone solution is really cheap - but you might want to add a waterproof case like the lifeproof case

a garmin _is_ better than an iphone in many regards: easy to keep charged by putting new batteries in.., waterproof.., daylight viewable.., pretty rugged...and so on...

that gpsmap 78 would be better than an etrex becasue the screen is much larger...

the negative of the garmin is that the interface is clunky..,  the screen, even on the 78 is smaller than on a phone.., and they are more money than an app

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Just now, steele said:

I have this https://www.thegpsstore.com/Garmin-Montana-610-Marine-Bundle-P4567.aspx. It is more of a mini chartplotter than a handheld, big enough screen for regular use since my fixed unit is down below, will run on AA batts.

 

i have an older version of that - i find the touch screen to be really annoying

it's difficult to select, say, a navaid - to get info about it.

it's a bit fuzzy compared with the non-touch garmin screens

it's not as bright as non-touch screens - so not quite as good in some light conditions

maybe they have made them better though...

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I agree it is a bit clunky, and way to expensive for what it is. I do like that it will go for hours on a single charge and the built in battery can be swapped for AAs. It has also been very wet and dropped a few times and keeps on working.

If a second fixed unit is a consideration take a look at the newer Garmins. They have quick release mounts and in the 7 inch size are about the same cost of some of the handhelds. As always with Garmin the issue is the charts, they seem confusing and overpriced.

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For R2AK on a 20ft beach cat we used Garmin's GPSMap 78 and Navionics on iphone. They have different strengths and therefore different uses:

- GPSMap 78: Fairly long battery life (~24hrs) and very rugged.  Costs $180 if you look around online, and you can get data cards on Ebay for <$40.  So quite affordable.  We kept the unit always on to periodicially check any nav dangers, rocks, distance to waypoint, etc.  We carried them in a Aquapack forearm pocket, which means we didn't even need to hold on to them, just turn your arm and glance at the screen.  Could also work to occasionally check speed/heading, though the numbers are tiny.  In general it's not an easy display to read (too small), and also not 100% waterproof (particularly in the battery compartment) despite what Garmin claims, so it's best to have a transparent waterproof bag for it, though probably not needed for occasional use.  But if I had to choose 1 handheld back-up display for at night when it's blowing 30kts and there's spray all around, this is it.  Also great if you need to abandon ship into a liferaft.

- Navionics on iphone/Android: Beautiful display, great for route planning / larger scale navigation (much better scrolling across your course than GPSMap).  Needs a waterproof case.  Easy to drop overboard too as there is no lanyard to hold the phone once it's in the case...  Can be very power hungry, so we used these only 30min a day or so, just to look at big picture navigation, do we go E or W of an island, etc.  Definitely a great plotter substitute for larger scale navigation.  Need to pay extra for advanced functions like setting waypoints etc though.

You'll probably end up using Navionics way more is my guess. I sometimes look at the maps on my phone at home to plan a route etc.

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i have to admit that i never really liked the iphone navonics app 

i really prefer inavx - the one big thing that's missing in inavx is a good project waypoint function. the graphical one is terrible.

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4 hours ago, galacticair said:

For R2AK on a 20ft beach cat we used Garmin's GPSMap 78 and Navionics on iphone. They have different strengths and therefore different uses:

- GPSMap 78: Fairly long battery life (~24hrs) and very rugged.  Costs $180 if you look around online, and you can get data cards on Ebay for <$40.  So quite affordable.  We kept the unit always on to periodicially check any nav dangers, rocks, distance to waypoint, etc.  We carried them in a Aquapack forearm pocket, which means we didn't even need to hold on to them, just turn your arm and glance at the screen.  Could also work to occasionally check speed/heading, though the numbers are tiny.  In general it's not an easy display to read (too small), and also not 100% waterproof (particularly in the battery compartment) despite what Garmin claims, so it's best to have a transparent waterproof bag for it, though probably not needed for occasional use.  But if I had to choose 1 handheld back-up display for at night when it's blowing 30kts and there's spray all around, this is it.  Also great if you need to abandon ship into a liferaft.

- Navionics on iphone/Android: Beautiful display, great for route planning / larger scale navigation (much better scrolling across your course than GPSMap).  Needs a waterproof case.  Easy to drop overboard too as there is no lanyard to hold the phone once it's in the case...  Can be very power hungry, so we used these only 30min a day or so, just to look at big picture navigation, do we go E or W of an island, etc.  Definitely a great plotter substitute for larger scale navigation.  Need to pay extra for advanced functions like setting waypoints etc though.

You'll probably end up using Navionics way more is my guess. I sometimes look at the maps on my phone at home to plan a route etc.

^^^ this

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Just to add 2 bob's worth, I have a backup handheld GPS when all else fails - and it has - and I have the Garmin GPSMAP 78. http://www.bcf.com.au/Product/Garmin-Hanheld-GPS-GPSMAP-78/224795?menuFrom=571548&isvariant=true&gclid=Cj0KCQjw2KHWBRC2ARIsAJD_r3fIGYiU35-J4OB5Gpx4EW-fWvCF9HhDP2DGgOP5l4n53k-HUSGADJsaAgAxEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

I guess the following comments apply:

1.  They are very different than (say) Expedition.  Make sure you know how they work before having to work it out in a crisis;

2. They chew through batteries.  12 hours continuous use seems about the limit, so carry spare batteries;

3. For what they are they are not cheap, and don't have large screens.  But they are an emergency backup;

4. Without wishing to start WW3, mobile phones and the like do need mobile tower coverage to give a position, although the story is more complex than this and manufacturer-dependent.   Look at the debate about how this works on a telecomms geek site like Whirlpool http://whirlpool.net.au/, noting this is Aus telco site.

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Some of the handheld GPS have power supplies that plug into lighters.  So you can use your ships power to power the handheld.  So you don't go through batteries as fast.

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My back up is a Bad Elf which I link to Navionics on my cell phone and iPad. The Bad Elf gives better resolution than the built-in GPS of the cell phone (claims sub-meter), is small, uses a USB charger, and holds charge a long time.

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The standard horizon 870 handheld vhf is a potential backup If you don’t need to view charts, but occasionally need a fix  

It’s GPS will output lat/Lon and I think Sog/Cog from a marine package, variety of batteries/ 12v power and can provide DSC-VHF as well. 

 

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On 4/7/2018 at 5:12 PM, DuncanR said:

4. Without wishing to start WW3, mobile phones and the like do need mobile tower coverage to give a position,

i think you meant to say "do _not_ need"...

like many others.., i have used my iphone to get a position in the middle of the ocean.

they give position in airplane mode...

they don't need cell service for the GPS to work.

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Installed Navionics on my iPhone6 and wife's old iPad3. Paired both to a Bad Elf Pro+ via Bluetooth. Got a Lifeproof Nuud case for the iPad. Wife wants a new iPad now.

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Navionics on a cheap water-proof phone (Sony have been waterproof since the Z1, light-years ahead of the rest.)

Works offshore, forget about the "no signal" stuff.

I wasn't keen on my Garmin 78 CSX (bought for paragliding, which it handled well) and it drowned eventually.

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Anybody using iSailor? I've installed it but have not taken it on the water yet.

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Not sure if Garmin has improved their QA/QC/Customer Service, but about 10 years ago I was in a similar situation. Bought a Garmin handheld with proprietary Garmin charts. Worked for about a months past warranty expiry. Crapped out. Garmin happily sent me a replacement with many "so sorry's". The replacement lasted just as long. 

On the second failure Garmin's response was "so sorry. You can buy a new one". Haven't been a customer since, nor will be again. Not for boats nor aircraft (talk about spendy...).

Sorry Garmin. As they say, fool me once... 

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