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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking to buy a gps/sounder. I fish in Long Island Sound only. Have looked at Garmin188, Lowrance LCX-15. Has anyone purchased either of these? Is there another unit I have overlooked? I don't want to spend more than I have to(who does?). Which unit would you recomend for a 20ft. center console. I have asked a lot of questions at different dealers, but I would like to hear from someone who is not making a commission. Thank you,.........Steve
 

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Steve,

I've been using the Garmin 162 for two season now going into my third. I also used the Mapsource Lights and Navigation CD-ROM. I don't have any complaints about either. If I had to purchase a new unit I would consider Garmin products again.

Riz
 

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I was looking at the 188C myself. I also researched different units for my 17 footer. I feel the 188C is superior. I had an interesting conversation with an a knowledgeable acquaintance. He sent me a very detailed letter below, which I can't possible hope to improve on. Here it is:

"You did well to look at the 188, I had forgot about it. Actually I think it would be my choice if I were you. The prices between those three, the 168, 188, and 238 go up about $300 as you move up the chain but I don't see where you get much more (other than the screen size) with the 238 over the 188. The 168 is a somewhat different beast and it suffers from one problem, it doesn't accept Blue Charts other than as one of the Maps Source subsets.
Lets look at that Blue Chart question for just a second. First off I have to tell you, the Blue Chart system is the best charting system out there. C-Map and Navtronics just aren't as good. Some aspects to buying the Blue Charts are a bit of a challenge to grasp though. They come in two different forms. The first form is easy to get, it's simply a data cartridge that you stick into the machine. The things are relatively small, about an inch long by half an inch wide and maybe an eighth of an inch thick. They come in three versions really, and one of the versions has several subsets. The versions are the large area of coverage Blue Charts (model number ends in the letter L), the Regular area coverage (ending in R) and then there are blank cartridges that come in several different capacities (8, 16, 32, 64, and 128 MB). If you buy a cartridge it will have loaded on it a bunch of NOAA paper chart representations. The Blue Charts are true to the paper charts, and that's what makes them so good. There are a great number of paper charts on each cartridge, more than you would likely ever use. They are simply amazing in that regard. You can see the area of coverage for each of them at the Garmin site but its not very easy to actually see what it is you will be buying. You can dig deep and find the numbers of the paper charts held in each cartridge and that certainly helps, particularly if you happen to have a copy of Chart 1 laying around the house. So you pick the one you want, understanding that the only difference between a R chart and a L chart is that the L charts hold more representations of paper charts.
The Blue Charts on CD are another beast. First off they are a subset of the Map Source group of charts. That part is really unimportant but just something to know. What is much more important is how they are sold. When you buy one of those CDs it will have on it a representation of every paper chart NOAA has in print. Really, every one! So you make the purchase and you get the CD. But that's not all you get. Now I don't know the particulars of how this is done but I do know generally how it works. You get your CD and you also get an access code. The access code gives you license to use one subset of the charts that are loaded on the CD and it also restricts you to being able to use that one subset on two different Garmin machines that you might own - and have the serial numbers for to enter. If, for whatever reason, you decide that you want access to more of the charts held on your CD you have to buy another access code. The CD and the access codes cost as much as the regular sized data cartridges do. What a surprise. Also, and this is really strange, the charts that you get when you pick you area of coverage from the CD is not necessarily the same as the area of coverage that you get on the data cartridges. So selecting some area, say the Cheseapeake, on you CD might not give you all the same charts as buying the same chart set on cartridge. Close, but not the same. It gets confusing. Now, lets really mix it up. Some of the machines, and the 188 and the 238 are among them, the ones that take the charts on cartridge, can also accept the same data input from the CDs, and you can just load it up on the blank cartridges. So with the 188 or the 238 you could have your charts either way. Of course everyone opts for the cartridge, and I did too for my 2006, but I thought you should know that the choice is yours.
The 188 comes in either internal or external antenna versions. The one with the internal antenna is a little less expensive, about $20 I believe. If the thing is mounted out in the open there wouldn't be a bit of difference between them except for one thing, the person looking at it may be blocking the view of a considerable portion of the sky. So at any given time, particularly if the thing will be mounted low, the external mounted one will likely work just a bit better than the internal. Of course if they are both locked onto the same birds then they will both work equally well, its just that the choice of satellites that the machine will have available will, at times, be better for the one with the external antenna. As far as the difficulty of mounting one goes, well, there is one more part to deal with if you go for the external, but that won't be any problem.
About the overall mounting. It's really not difficult to put in and the instructions that come with it will be very good. The hardest part will be running the cable for the transducer but in fact its not big brain hard, it's just a pain in the butt. Of course its only a pain in the but for about 30 minutes once you figure out how you're gonna do it. Go ahead, do it yourself. Not only is it actually pretty easy it's more important that you be familiar with the systems on your boat. That matters a year or two down the line. There's another thing too. The actual instillation of any of this stuff isn't to hard. The 188 will be about a 3 on a scale of 1-10 of instillation difficulty. That makes it a very good one to cut your teeth on.
When it comes time to mount the transducer you will want to put it off the one side and the side you will want is the side of the down stroke of your prop. That would be the Port side for most boats. You need clear water ahead of the transducer and that means that it can't be directly down stream from any through hulls (water intakes for wash-down pumps or such as that) and it has to be away from any strakes. It is to be mounted such that its face is submerged all the time. Once again, the thing will come with very good instructions and so it's just a matter of following them. One thing of great importance is to make very sure you do a great job of sealing the screw holes. My own preference is to epoxy a small block of plywood that has previously been encapsulated in glass, to the transom and then to mount to it. That way you don't breach your hull. Some guys do it my way some don't. Choice is yours and to tell the truth if you only plan to keep the boat a few years it'll be long gone before the damage from leaking screw holes shows up (rotted out transom). Your choice."
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Riz and BoatGuy, I am thankful for your replies. I am leaning towards the garmin. I am hoping to hear from lowrance products as well. Anyone out there use lowrance? I would like to hear from you, good or bad. Thank you....Steve
 

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GPS/Sounders

Boatguy did a great job. A couple of other items to consider-How are your eyes-in a couple of years they may not be as good. Buy the biggest unit you can afford and also before mounting perminently move it back and forth to get the best view you can. One problem I have with my unit is I mounted it too far away to easily reach the buttons in rough water situations. Also consider, one unit if it crapps out for any reason you loose both your GPS and your depth finder! I would recommend two units for more safety, if you can afford it.
 

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STEEVE DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND PURCHASE SEPERATE UNITS THE GARMIN FISH FINDERS ARE EXCELENT. I OWN A GARMIN GPS BUT JUST BOUGHT A HORIZON CP160 ITS AN AWSOME UNIT IT USES C- MAP NT+ CARTRIGES WICH ARE VERY SIMMILAR TO THE BLUE CHARTS IF NOT BETTER. BOAT GUY HAS ALLOT OF GOOD INFORMATION BUT FAILED TO MENTION THAT THER ARE 2 TYPES OF ELECTRONIC CHARTS NAVONICS+MAPSOURCE I BELEVE ARE RASTER CHARTS AND C-MAP+ BLUE CHART ARE VECTOR CHARTS THE SECOND BEING THE BETTER
 

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I bought the Garmin GPS map 168 sounder. It is one unit that does it all! I have a 20 cc as well, and fish all over LI sound and Block Island. It is a great space saver as well. If I had to buy a new unit today, I would buy it again.

Regards,
 
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