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Using Tablet(s) as Chart Plotter/Depth-Fish Finder. How feasible?-gctid351644

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    Using Tablet(s) as Chart Plotter/Depth-Fish Finder. How feasible?-gctid351644

    So I'm in the market for electronics for my boat. Complete newbie at this. I've seen other threads where folks use tablets (iPAD, Android based) to supplement their electronics. How feasible is it to use them exclusively as chart plotter and depth/fish finder? I downloaded the Navionics app to my Android based smart phone and really liked it. However, as I have no experience whatsoever with using a "real" chart plotter, I have no idea of the limitations of the Navionics when compared to a dedicated unit. Same goes for a depth/fish finder.

    What are you guys thoughts (good and bad) on this?

    -Jorden

    #2
    Using an iPad as a plotter is 100% feasible. Depth and other things would be far more challenging. Plotting is easy and I do it; it's the only nav device on my helm. I've done a number of night trips where I have to navigate around small islands and was perfectly comfortable laying out the safe course and then following it at normal cruise speed.

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      #3
      They are just as good if not better and more up to date IMHO. I do have the iPhone version, iPad version and my Northstar chartplotter for comparison. I have a built-in fancy nav system in my recent $$$ car. My iPhone with navigon kicks it's butt any day. Maps are always updated and so is the program on a regular basis. If you want to update on the dedicated car or boat stuff you are looking at $$ and the PITA that goes with it. The tablet/phone stuff tells you there is an update and you press OK, done deal. Tablet is defiantly better just because of screen size however direct sunlight is not handled very well and they are not waterproof. Still tend to use the Northstar as the main unit but would consider just the iPad if I was starting from scratch.
      Cheers, Hans
      2007 Carver 41 CMY
      Twin Volvo D6-370
      Montreal, Canada
      Midnight Sun I Photos

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        #4
        If you plan on using your boat in salt water and have an open helm (as yours does), it is not a good idea. Marine electronics are waterproof with the IPX7 or IPX8 standard. A splash of salt water can destroy your device.

        If they make an IPX7 or IPX8 tablet, I'd consider it.

        Comment


          #5
          Astral Blue wrote:
          If you plan on using your boat in salt water and have an open helm (as yours does), it is not a good idea. Marine electronics are waterproof with the IPX7 or IPX8 standard. A splash of salt water can destroy your device.

          If they make an IPX7 or IPX8 tablet, I'd consider it.
          I don't know what IPX7 & IPX8 are, but I will go do some research. I have seen quite a few waterproof cases for the various tablets out there. I wonder if any of those are up to the task.

          -Jorden

          Comment


            #6
            Hey Swampnut,

            What are you using as a mount for your iPad? I have a small chartplotter which works well but I am interested in playing with my iPad with Navionics.

            Thanks

            Comment


              #7
              The fishfinder part is probably not feasible. Fishfinders require considerable power ( 3-5 amps ), heat sinks, DSPs .. You can buy standalone electronics to tie into a PC but these devices are very expensive. There are low cost fishfinders that output NEMA 183/2000 sentences, but these are mostly limited to depth only - depth sounder stuff, not fishfinder stuff.

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                #8
                More of the above. I've been using iPad since they came out with Navionics as my main plotter. My iPhone with Navionics is back up. My old B/W Garmin would be my last resort. I was going to get a fancy Ratheyon, Furuno set up, but they were expensive and very complex for my poor brain. I also looked at a laptop with Nobeltec, but again expensive and complex.

                Don't know of any interface to any tablet for a fish finder, you'll need a dedicated unit for that.

                Machog
                1996 4087 Lazy Days
                2011 11’ West Marine Rib 350 Lazy Mac
                2011 Porsche Cayman
                2010 Lexus IS 250C
                2008 Honda Ridgeline

                Comment


                  #9
                  Machog wrote:
                  More of the above. I've been using iPad since they came out with Navionics as my main plotter. My iPhone with Navionics is back up. My old B/W Garmin would be my last resort. I was going to get a fancy Ratheyon, Furuno set up, but they were expensive and very complex for my poor brain. I also looked at a laptop with Nobeltec, but again expensive and complex.

                  Don't know of any interface to any tablet for a fish finder, you'll need a dedicated unit for that.

                  Machog
                  I too have been using my iPad as my main plotter. i bought a Raymarine chartplotter/fishfinder as a backup and will be hooking it up in a few weeks.

                  The iPad is great, it's on the bridge all the time, gets a splash every once in a while but held up real well with a rubber case that protects it some. Very easy to use!

                  And I can see the images fine even in direct sunlight! A lot of people have said before that you cant see the screen good on a bright day.

                  I decided that i was'nt going to spend a lot of money on equipment i wont use(and will have a hard time learning to use) when the iPad does the trick!

                  Ed

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Another vote for the iPad as a chart plotter. Now that the Raymarine E7 has come out with iPad/wireless connectivity, the reasons to have a tablet grow stronger and stronger...

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Flash Jorden wrote:
                      I don't know what IPX7 & IPX8 are, but I will go do some research. I have seen quite a few waterproof cases for the various tablets out there. I wonder if any of those are up to the task.

                      -Jorden
                      IPX7 and IPX8 are specifications for how long a device can be exposed to water without any damage or loss of functionality. I believe IPX7 is 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter. IPX8 is full submersion.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Pau Hana wrote:
                        Another vote for the iPad as a chart plotter. Now that the Raymarine E7 has come out with iPad/wireless connectivity, the reasons to have a tablet grow stronger and stronger...
                        Besides the issue of exposure to water one thing I would be concerned about is how well the iPad is going to handle being banged around under heavy seas? There have been some reports about iPad2 and cracked screens. Most of the articles recommend a good case to protect the unit so I would definitely look at the Otterbox products for boating. They are water resistant and should provide some good protection against dropping or jarring the device.

                        I have the Navionics product on my iPhone as my backup. It's pretty good, although using the small iPhone screen is sometimes a pain.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I use a suction mount on the flybridge, and it works great. As for waterproofing, my other half came up with an emergency solution that has served us well- a large freezer Ziploc bag.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Found 1 disadvantage to using the apps. Doesn't turn me away from them though.

                            My question to the Navionics support:

                            Question regarding order #16912689........:

                            Hello Navionics team, I purchased this download, and since had to reset my smartphone back to factory settings. As a result, I lost my download. Am I able to re-download for free, or do I have to pay again? Thanks, -Jorden

                            Their reply

                            Jorden, The Marine: US East app has been discontinued due to the release of the new Navionics Mobile single apps (ex. Marine & Lakes: USA). Please be advised that the original apps are no longer being supported, and will no longer receive updates. The new Navionics Mobile single app is not an update to the previous regional apps, but an entirely new app product. This app will feature a much larger coverage area, updated chart data, as well as many new features. If you would like to continue to get the most updated information and features, Navionics recommends upgrading to the new single app. The single app will require an additional purchase. If you decide to reinstall your previously purchased app, please click on the link provided, and follow the instructions provided below:

                            ....

                            Guess I'll be making an additional purchase

                            -Jorden

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Flash,

                              Same as Carlos, we use the iPad for primary navigation with Navionics. I also have a Raymarine with Navionics charts for backup. The iPad is as accurate and easier to use.

                              We boat on a large lake (Canada & US) with over 14,000 islands to navigate around and prefer using the iPad for this.

                              I'm currently using a cheap mount and will be switching to RAM system for this season. I prefer having a seperate Fish Finder along side chart plotting.

                              BTW, I have two iPads (started with iPad I when it came out) and purchased an iPad 2 for last season, one for each boat. Guests that we bring out to the lake were always nervous navigating on their own due to this lakes complexity, but they all found it much easier using the iPad.

                              I'll add a note, that the iPad will overheat in direct sunlight and shutdown after about an hour. So, either keep it out of sun or have backup chart plotter. I did not have either one water proofed.

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