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Garmin or North Star?

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Old 05-11-2009, 11:11 PM
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Default uhh sort of.......

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Originally Posted by kr1276 View Post
Garmin with XM and Satellite Weather! Can't beat it!
Yes, The high end garmins are very nice units - but the machines refresh rate/screen load times aren't stellar- especially when loaded up with details and sat pictures.

Watch the video - especially at about 1:30

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqmwcuLIxaw

Almost none of the maps load without blocking and at about 1:30 the operator cant even get a map up and has to shift away from the screen.

Compared to Furuno Nav Net 3d the Garmins are dogs-


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Old 05-11-2009, 11:23 PM
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Default The Difference

Garmin is very accurate in terms of speed as with just about any WASS Enabled System

Garmin is very easy to use etc like everyone said.

For me, the single two biggest attractions to Garmin are the constant and fairly consistent updating of info and the ease of which to aquire it.

They release updates to the mapping software. You can choose which software you want. They also stay on top of bugs and such within the unit and offer lots of firmware upgrades which help with efficiency on how the mapping software is used etc...

For performance boats where there is seldom unlimited space, I like the units that have their own internal "lithium" battery. If you hardwire the unit to the helm, it constantly maintains the health of the battery. So----

If you have a breakdown where your boat's batteries become discharged, there is a backup power source for your GPS so you know where the heck you are and you now have an extened time for which to use the GPS itself...

If you have a DSC enabled VHF and you link it to the DSC output on the Garmin, it will broadcast your exact coordinates when the mic is keyed on 16.

The catch is that your service provider has to be setup to receive DSC. Worth looking into. It's a way nice feature. Roamless private calls with DSC and really makes it nice for someone who is looking for you on a call for help.

BTW, the VHF phone calls, the availability for someone at home to view your location on a pc and "DSC all inclusive" is the "SeaSmart" offering from Sea Tow. I'm currently not familiar with another way to do it.

Sorry I rambled.

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Old 05-12-2009, 08:43 AM
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how do you get the depth finder to work on my Garmin as well as my uniden depth finder unit..I hate seeing it register a blank on that screen. Thanks Jeff
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Old 05-12-2009, 08:45 AM
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The only reason to use the Northstar is to interface with the Mercury Smartcraft. You can display analog style gauges on the screen. Other than that my unit of choice is the Garmin.
Much better display and ease of use.
In addition you can update the software with downloadable updates to an SD memory card. BTW they just released 5.0 May 1st for anyone that needs it.
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Old 05-12-2009, 10:45 AM
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The only reason to use the Northstar is to interface with the Mercury Smartcraft. You can display analog style gauges on the screen. Other than that my unit of choice is the Garmin.
Much better display and ease of use.
In addition you can update the software with downloadable updates to an SD memory card. BTW they just released 5.0 May 1st for anyone that needs it.
I read somewhere that Merc has changed their tune now that the nmea2000 standard offerings can basically give you what smartcraft does- are they still hanging on to proprietary data? Anyone know this for sure?

Almost all the newer units will take an NMEA2000 feed and give you a dashboard from it, but yes smartcraft was one reason to go northstar.

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Old 05-12-2009, 11:01 AM
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I read somewhere that Merc has changed their tune now that the nmea2000 standard offerings can basically give you what smartcraft does- are they still hanging on to proprietary data? Anyone know this for sure?

Almost all the newer units will take an NMEA2000 feed and give you a dashboard from it, but yes smartcraft was one reason to go northstar.

Uncle Dave
There have been rumors to that effect but nothing has changed so far.
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Old 05-12-2009, 11:46 AM
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how do you get the depth finder to work on my Garmin as well as my uniden depth finder unit..I hate seeing it register a blank on that screen. Thanks Jeff
If your depth sounder has the output capability, just run a signal wire to the input of the Garmin. They both need to support that feature in order to work just like DSC.
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Old 05-12-2009, 11:49 AM
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There have been rumors to that effect but nothing has changed so far.
Don't quote me as it's been a while since I reviewed the menu but if you scroll through the comm menu of the Garmin, it has a list of protocols to use. It should have the comm protocol for just about everything.

I agree most everything from Merc is proprietary but the list in the Garmin is robust enough that you may get lucky. I'm not sure. I'll post if I find it in mine. It would certainly have to be one of the later models..
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Old 05-12-2009, 12:07 PM
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That would be nice but the Merc codes are proprietary and nobody can read them.
Northstar was a part of Brunswick until recently so they didn't share the codes with anybody but them. For some reason they still will not release the codes.
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Old 05-12-2009, 12:30 PM
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Don't quote me as it's been a while since I reviewed the menu but if you scroll through the comm menu of the Garmin, it has a list of protocols to use. It should have the comm protocol for just about everything.

I agree most everything from Merc is proprietary but the list in the Garmin is robust enough that you may get lucky. I'm not sure. I'll post if I find it in mine. It would certainly have to be one of the later models..
Merc is in a bad place at the moment- and needs to get on board with the NMEA standard.

Smartcraft started before NMEA 2000, in late 99- but is now superseded by it as a standard. BEfore NMEA 2000 proprietary made sense, but it doesnt anymore because-

NMEA 2000 is more robust as a whole than "smart craft"
Hundreds to thousands of theirs party products are now NMEA 2000 compliant
Every other major engine mfgr is now NMEA 2K compliant-
(Ilmor, Yamaha, Evinrude, Suzuki, Honda)

I think Merc will turn around pretty quick but an older engine is still probably locked to Northstar.



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