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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Getting to know the Garmin 741xs

The Garmin 741xs is a leap into twenty first century marine guidance systems.  Since I had to buy a chart plotter e.g having sold Belle with its Garmin 198C I naturally wanted to see what today's technology had to offer.  And it's pretty spectacular.  We all are used to the gestures used to pan and zoom our smart phones.  Well, the Garmin 741xs and its contemporaries  have made parallel steps forward in technology.  Not only are the charts detailed and up to day (this unit has all the G2 charts for US coastal waters and the Bahamas as well as Lakes and rivers) it is fully touch screen.  The old rocker switch is gone.  Just pan and zoom as you would on the smart screen on your smart phone.  I elected to pass on the Radar element for now.  When we move toward northern waters where summer fog can blindside you, I will probably indulge.  I would probably sooner spend the money on radar than an AIS transceiver.  Although announcing our location, heading and speed to larger ships would be helpful.  

Here I am demonstrating the Garmin Helm app on my Iphone 6+. It is connected via WiFi to the 741xs making the Iphone a second station for the 741xs.  All commands and gestures are available on both devices.  Route planning and way point plotting can be done on the Iphone and uploaded to the 741xs for implementation as an active route.  All instrumentation and all the features of the unit are available on the Iphone. 
I commandeered this 12 amp 12 volt power supply to run the mapping unit for study and practice.  I went ahead and labeled the NMEA 0183 ports 1 and 2 talkers and listeners on the wires so installation on the bus in the boat will be a minutes long process.  I don't have any NMEA 2000 devices yet so no plugs or cabling for the back of the unit.  An XM weather satellite device would plug directly into the NMEA 2000 port or if I had a network, into the drop.  
So far I am totally pleased with this device.  I am waiting for the water-tight deck mounting case to install it on Shallow Minded.This unit is certified IPX8 but I wouldn't want waves splashing on the back of the unit.  The case is cut for this unit so with weather seal provided nothing but the face or its cover will be exposed to the elements. 

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