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PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 5:13 am 
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I've never liked the grease idea myself. People who like to have instant easy access to their gps (like WaterTribe people doing the 300 mi Everglades Challenge race) use grease. And some of them still complain about their gps quiting during the race.

An Aquapac bag, or its like, does make using the gps a bit more inconvenient, but not much. I use an Aquapac bag for my vhf radio--that is definitely more inconvenient because you need to press and hold down a button on the side where the seam is in order to speak. Still, I don't like the inevitable saltwater corrosion that makes my vhf radio almost unusable in time. Saltwater kills all electronics sooner or later--usually sooner. People who have only freshwater experience, have NO idea about the problems saltwater causes.

Keith

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:11 am 
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Glisson makes a neoprene case. It's not waterproof - just water resistant, but I think that if I *also* use dielectric grease it seems like it would still allow me to use it while giving 2 additional layers of protection. What do you think about that?

http://www.gilsson.com/garmin_gps/cases/r76n.htm

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:22 am 
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tspbrady wrote:
The dielectric grease solution is a bit messy, and I'm wondering if the grease causes any problems making the connection when it is plugged in to the computer?
It's actually not too messy. I only use the USB cover so it's the only one I have to deal with each trip. Dielectric grease is interesting as it 'helps' close electrical connections, but insulates slightly more distant connections.

When I open the flap to use the USB, I hold a Kleenex around the USB cable. After I'm done, I temporarily close the flap and wipe it once, then wipe off all sides of the USB cable connector. When I'm ready to put the GPS away, on little squirt of grease into the flap, then push down hard and wipe off the excess. It creates a suction on the flap so no more grease will usually come out, and the flap won't open.

I use my GPS in a Ram ball mounted plastic holder which I added a backing made from the thin plastic cutting board covers, glued on with silicon adhesive. It stops powerful waves from hitting the back of the unit unprotected.

A bag is probably better, but I can't see through it as well. I do bag my VHS radio and highly recommend bagging ALL electronics that you can around salt water.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:50 am 
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hmmm, not sure about pushing down on the seal though to create a vaccum though. I would think there would be a danger of salt-water intrusion if the vacuum ever equalizes for some reason. Not an issue though for me if I have it in the neoprene though - the sleeve is real tight and so would hold the seal shuts mechanically I think...

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 10:17 am 
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Boy! A neoprene sleeve seems like a sure way to keep your gps bathed in saltwater 100% of the time you are on the water. If you do any of these things, be sure and keep us posted.

KB says his 76 is a yr old, and he has been using DE grease. Clearly it lasted much longer than his first unprotected one.

In the early days, I literally tested the "waterproof" claim of Garmin--and, I paid. But, even those unprotected gps units lasted at least a year--after that you are living on borrowed GPS time. When you see moisture condensation under the LCD display, your gps is a real short-termer.

None of my "waterproof" gps units has ever spent any time under water. When I was in the testing phase (at my cost), the gps was simply on my sea kayak deck.

So, whatever you do Brady, keep us posted. And KB, let us know from time to time how yours is doing. Thanks!

Keith

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:11 am 
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I use my etrex in an AquaPac (http://www.aquapac.net/) in saltwater conditions - no problems with handling, corrosion, reading the display, receiving the signal or anything else. Device is normally hosted in one of the hulls pocktes and attached somewhere via rope of the AquaPac. Just can recommend this.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:29 am 
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My wife and I have 2 eTrex units (one color) and a 76CSx. Our experience has been the same as Axel's

Keith

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"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:37 pm 
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Thanks for that. They look good and a a little more protection. I also love the ipod and waterproof headphones. So much to buy and soooooooooooo little money :D

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 2:15 pm 
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Yup I think I bag (like the aquapac) is the way to go. If I short this GPS out I don't think the wife will let me get another one soon :) If for any reason the seal on the bag fails, I'll know it and should be able to rescue the unit before it's too late (although that possibility should be remote).

Meanwhile....

So I got the Blue Chart on chip, but I'm thinking that was a mistake, since I'm not able to bring up the Blue Chart info in the MapSource program that came with the GPS. How to plot a course??? The only way I can figure is to use a combo of Mapsource for editing the route, the GPS for getting depth soundings and Google Earth to see where the heck I am. That seems pretty complicated considering I just spend $400 for a GPS. I'm thinking I must be doing something wrong...

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:40 pm 
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Hmm, I've got a nasty feeling the dealer warned me when I purchased it that I wouldn't be able to use Bluecharts on the the PC if I bought it on the SD card.

A few suggestions (in no particular order):

- Go back to the shop and yell about not being warned about this problem and demand an exchange.

- Try using a card reader on your PC (no idea if this would work).

- Connect the GPS to the computer, bring up Mapsource and select Transfer->Receive from Device, then check the Maps box. (Don't know if this works either).

- Get the Topo map Keith recommended on CD. If it's like mine, it's far more useful than Bluecharts anyway and the two can coexist on the GPS.

- Plot all your waypoints on Google Earth and transfer them using the technique I discussed earlier (it's simpler than it sounds).

That's all the ideas I have. You really should have been warned by the shop that sold you Bluecharts.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:32 pm 
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Brady,

Here is what I said on an earlier post:
Quote:
The easy way to get data into your gps when planning a trip or sail is to purchase National Geographic TOPO! for Florida, Alabama, & Georgia. $49.95 at REI (they often have sales with 25% off on one item.) The link http://www.rei.com/product/737963

I used the original version for about 10 yrs. Six weeks ago I bought the new version above. I pulled it up as I am writing this and used the "route" tool to draw a free-hand path from Flamingo around East Cape Sable up to Mid Cape--15.5 mi. When I stopped drawing, a dialog window came up asking several questions, like how many waypoints I wanted to put in along the free hand drawing to make the route (10 is default). I accepted 10, hit enter and had my 10-wpt route. The process took 5-8 min. That route and wpts can then be painlessly uploaded to your Garmin 76 (takes a minute or 2). You can fine tune the route/wpts if your free-hand drawing is not so good. You save this route and recall it a yr or two from now to use again.

After I do a multi-day trip using a TOPO! route, I can download my actual track to NG TOPO!, save it, then convert it to an improved route for use next time I do that trip. It is all quite simple and painless. In time you build up a library of wpts & routes which you store in TOPO! on your computer.

If, God forbid, you should ever screw up your beautiful 76CSx through "user error," your years' of data will be safely stored on your computer.

I believe you can do this sort of thing using Garmin BlueCharts, but I have not used them for 6-8 yrs. You can probably do it using the sofeware which comes w/ Garmin Topo maps--again, I have not done that. National Geo TOPO! software has been my tool of choice for putting in wpts/routes into my GPS units.

Regarding a cut and leakage into your Aquapac bag--that generally is not a problem. I've put a 1/2" cut in one bag (like a knife cut--how?) and got some drops of saltwater in the bag, but that is minor.

Keith

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:31 pm 
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Tough to get my mind wrapped around the topo maps, I'm kind of more familiar with water charts. Do the topo charts have *any* of that stuff in there - buoys and channels and depths and stuff like that?

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:53 pm 
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Brady,

Here is a picture of National Geo TOPO! map for an area you are familiar: Matheson Hammock Park.
Image

Now, I am sure that Garmin Topo map software--which allows you to upload maps to your GPS--probably does not give this much detail. National Geographic digital maps are some of the best available. Garmin's Topo maps for their handheld gps units give fair maps on your gps--not great maps. I'm out in New Mexico at 9500' so it is not convenient for me to look at my Garmin gpsMAP 76CSx to see what the Matheson area looks like using Garmin TOPO Florida maps.

Still, the Garmin Topo maps have always been adequate for the shoreline of FL for the style of kayaking and AI sailing that I do. These maps do show some buoys. I don't remember that they show much in the way of channels or depths. Most of the time, when I am doing a trip, I have a route laid out (prepared using NG TOPO!) which will route me around shallow areas and into a channel if necessary. But, as an AI sailor in the shallow waters of FL, you will be constantly on the lookout for areas of shoaling independent of what your charts or gps says. On our recent kayak trip along the Florida Big Bend area (which I plan to do in my AI next year) there are many oyster bars and gravel bars which are never going to show up on any marine charts other than in a very general way. You have to be on alert all the time unless you are well off shore. And, as you know, if you do happen to sail into a shallow area, it is a fairly minor problem for an AI/TI. Sailing onto an oyster bar is a bit more serious—keep your eyes open.

With sailing time, you will become very familiar with the waters you regularly sail in, such as Biscayne Bay or the waters out of Flamingo. Charts will be truly unnecessary most of the time. If you have NG TOPO!, you can lay out a route to get you to various points even for a day sail when you are in unfamiliar waters. Also, before you ever get on the water you can put wpts on your gps to guide you. For example, if you were to sail out of Matheson marina, put a wpt for Matheson on your gps using TOPO! or, simpler, when you are launching your boat, put a wpt in for your launch site. Go out and sail around for a couple hours, then pick that launch wpt off your gps wpt list, and do a GOTO. Follow the GOTO to get right back to Matheson.

Again, take your gps for a walk around the neighborhood. Put in wpts at corners, then, when you get home, use those wpts to make a route on your gps (you could also lay out a route in your neighborhood w/ NG TOPO!) Once you have your neighborhood route on your gps, next time you go out, tell your gps to follow that route. Then see how the gps, the display, behaves as you follow that route. See how it behaves as your cut corners and deviate from the route. You can learn a lot about your gps just using it on neighborhood walks.

Be sure to learn the difference between a GOTO and a route. Both can get you to a destination but in very different ways.

Keith

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"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:34 pm 
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Even though Bluecharts has channel markers and buoys, I have found it worthwhile to enter some of the more important markers in my area manually, as waypoints, so they show up on the Topo map as well. As Keith says, you tend to build up a map of your local waters over time, with features like oyster beds and seagrass beds included.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:51 pm 
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Location: Germany;Formentera (Spain)
chrisj wrote:
... you tend to build up a map of your local waters over time, with features like oyster beds and seagrass beds included.


Sounds not far away from the idea of http://www.openstreetmap.org, except that the latter one enables you to share your knowledge and participate on the work of others ;-).
Altough, you are right, it's not an out-of-the-box solution like comercial products, but nearly every alternative has its pros and cons ...

Quote:
Here is a picture of National Geo TOPO! map for an area you are familiar: Matheson Hammock Park

and here the OSM version: click http://www.openstreetmap.org/?lat=25.6866&lon=-80.2616&zoom=14&layers=O

Axel (just 3 days away from the next AI trip along the cost line of Formentera :D)


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