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Hello all,

I am a commercial captain looking for some electronics advice.

I have been using North Star equipment for the last 20 years, and now it appears I have to switch. (North Star was sold to Simrad and there is no support for old units like the 951 or 958).

I recently purchased a Garmin 4212 because it has a keypad for inputting data and seemed to be widely used on the sport fish boats in Cape May. I have used the unit for a year and I am disappointed, as are other captains who use the same boat and who were used to the North Star's ease of use.

The single most important function that is missing from this unit is the ability to input a quick way point with ease/ and navigate to that way point, all in one step. On the North Star 958- hit way points, quick way point, enter the coordinates, hit enter twice and the way point is automatically saved as quick way point, and the plotter is steering you to it. This is vitally important when you get a hot report on a lumpy day. There is enough going on as a captain- the last thing you need is to be fumbling around with the plotter for too long.

The only way we have figured to do this same thing on the Garmin is to enter a quick way point, which is then saved on the chart, you then can either scroll through all your way points and select navigate to that way point, or go find it on the chart and select navigate to. This extra step is a major pain- not to mention that after we create the "quick way point" it gets saved until we go back and delete em. I might need it the next day- I sure don't need it next year.

Also- The Garmin freezes- on rough days and sometimes on not so rough days it would just freeze and not respond- just like an old computer. The only way to get it back was to turn it off and then back on. In 20 years of Northstar GPS and another 20 of North Star Lorans before that, I never once had one freeze screen.

I am strongly considering the Furuno Navnet Vx2 1920 since it still has the keypad for inputting coordinates. The Navnet 3D does not have this feature. I have also looked at the Simrad North Star Edition which seems nice, but I do not know much about Simrad's reputation for anything other than Robertson Autopilots. I know very little about Raymarine units. I would consider just about anything at this point since the North Star 958s loose more satellites by the year.

Thanks in advance
 

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I've got a Simrad NSE 12 sitting next to my old Northstar 961 on my dashboard. As the 961 is no longer supported by Navico, when I needed to upgrade my depth sounder, I went with the NSE-12 primarily for it's broadband depth sounder, but also so I could get a good feel for it's chartplotting capabilities as someday, I'll no longer be able to keep my 961 running with ebay spares. The NSE-12 easily interfaces with my old Simrad autopilot too.

I've got the navionics platimum plus chip in the NSE-12 and I'm very satisfied with chart display and ease of use. I was even able to get someone at Navico to convert my 961 waypoint download for use in the NSE-12. Entering new waypoints with the keypad is simple. The functions are very similar to the old Northstar, which is what Simrad was aiming for when they called their new units Northstar Edition. The same guys that used to work for Northstar, now work for the Simrad division of Navico, and copied most of the Northstar programming.

Feel free to email with any specific questions you might have. Unfortunately, I can't demonstrate until spring, but you might want to check one out at a boat show or retailer.
 

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Jeff I have the navnet 2 on my blackfinn and Im very happy with the plotter and the radar. If you want I can put it back on my boat and you can give a look. Mike, give me a call if you want to try it out/:D
 

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Capt. both the Furuno VX2 and the Simrad NSE 12 are great chartplotters. They both have the numeric keypad for programming waypoints. you can build on to either one. The simrad is a faster unit as far as zooming in and out on the chart. We have installed a lot of the VX2 units on the large commercial fleet but Simrad is starting to come on strong. We will be at the AC Boat Show and have will have both on the display so please stp by and I can show them to you. Thanks
 
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