Garmin HandHeld and Charts

cougarmeat

Paddler
Joined
Sep 17, 2012
Messages
847
Location
Bend OR USA
As much as I’ve posted that I love the real estate of the iPad mini, it has some issue. 1) you really can’t see the screen in bright sunlight - especially with polarized glasses. 2) Some of the upcoming feature updates will not run on my older vintage hardware (Mini - 3, I know, I should have waited for the “4”).

The Garmin GPSMAP 76csx has become pretty useless as far as any charting is concern. Though I had a BlueCart chip for the Vancouver Island area and the San Juans, the expected detail is not showing, no matter what I select in Map Settings. Because the Chip is discontinue and the Garmin is discontinued, any improvement there is a dead end.

But I do like having it as a “dashboard” instrument, telling me speed, travel distance, estimated arrival time, etc. It just bothers me that the charting is bad.

So I’ve considered and upgrade. Here’s the problem … I want to have better than “default” charts of the San Juans and paddling around Vancouver Island.
There seems to be two or three candidates and their comparisons are hard to ferret out.

There’s the basic GPSMAP 78 - it has a world wide base map and will take a G2 chip
The GPSMAP 78s adds a 3-axis electronic compass and barometric altimeter. It also has a WW BaseMap and takes a G2 chip.
I have plenty of compass backups but it is handy to have that one feature. I know you can use the barometric altimeter as a weather predictor - but that’s seldom been a issue as I can’t imagine paddling out if the range of VHF Marine Weather reports.
Last there’s the GPSMAP 78sc that adds BlueCart info for US Coastal waters - but US Coastal is not Vancouver Island.

Now on Amazon I see BlueChart HXUS039R that seems to cover the west coast, including Canada, up to Alaska. But I had something like that before, and though Vancouver Island was in the coverage rectangle, the quality of maps dropped radically with major land masses not even shown.

So … if there were a G2 chip that would cover, with equal quality - NOAA Puget Sound level quality or better - those Canadian waters and the San Juans, I could save some money not getting the 78sc and putting that saving towards a G2 chip for the 78 or 78s.

I tried a link Alex gave me some time ago: https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/digital/p/36987
But that comes up 404 now.

What would you do - go for the 78sc, and look for a chip to add that covers Canada’s west coast or go for the 78s (or just 78) and add a chip that covers both USA and Canada WestCoast - if such a critter exists.

What I don’t want to do is - as happened before - invest in a BlueChart G2 chip that turns islands into tan blobs once I cross out of US waters.

Last but not least, it appears the built in cart of the 78sc is G3, but the 78s says it will take G2 (not G3), but on Garmin’s web site they sell HXUS604X as G3 and listed as compatible with the 78s.

So it looks like the combo of a GPSMAP 78s + HXUS604X will cover what I’m looking for???
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
3,028
Location
Victoria, BC
My advice would be to use the GPSMap 78 (any flavour) and a copy of the HXUS039R Bluechart. The HXUS039R is generally available 'used' on eBay for about $50.

That's the combo I've used here on Vancouver Island and also in Prince William sound in Alaska, with no problems.

The GPS Map 64 is also a good unit and seems to display the HXUS039R equally well.

I haven't used the HXUS604X G3 charts. My impression is that the G3 charts have a lot of features which aren't useful on the small display of the handhelds..
 

a_c

Paddler
Joined
Dec 23, 2014
Messages
76
Location
Victoria, BC
So it looks like the combo of a GPSMAP 78s + HXUS604X will cover what I’m looking for???
I have the 78s with a G3 chip HXCA600X. Haven't used it much but just scrolling around it does show pretty good detail through the San Juans.

But the G3 chips work just fine in the 78s. Not digging the tiny screen size, but I knew that when I bought it, and the price was right.
 

cougarmeat

Paddler
Joined
Sep 17, 2012
Messages
847
Location
Bend OR USA
Thank you for your replies.
Yeah - I know many of those G3 features are for the bigger ChartPlotters. Maybe Garmin has a “smart device” (A.K.A. iPad mini) app that can somehow interface with data loaded from the G3 - turning the iPad’s screen into a chart plotter. Would still work like …brown smelly stuff … in the sunlight, but it’s a start.
 
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