Electronics Recommendations

charitysteve

Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2021
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Age
45
Model
Freedom 275
Hi,

I am new to the site and boating and I am eyeing a Freedom 275 with a build date in Nov.

With that, I am looking into electronics to add. A navigation/charter screen and a transducer seems to be the minimum. A radio and maybe radar is also what I see when I google around. I will be out of Florida (Not much fog) so I am not sure I need the radar but maybe I do in a one off event? Outside of that, I read that I should stick with one brand or supplier. I will most likely by a satellite phone to be safe too because my wife and I would like to explore a bit around Florida, the keys and potentially the bahamas on safe travel days.

Any feedback would be appreciated. I can scour the internet and probably this forum for info but I figured I would ask as my first post so that I can get the information dialed in for the build.

Thanks,

Steve
 

Hookup1

GreatGrady Captain
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
932
Reaction score
201
Points
43
Location
Cape May, NJ
Steve - You are in the right place. Many of the members have relevant experience that can help guide you. First off where are you based out of? Over the last 30 years me and my family have done all that you plan to do.
 

doug228

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
100
Reaction score
26
Points
28
Age
33
Model
Seafarer
If you might want radar in the future, make sure you get a radar capable unit.

Garmin sells the echomap series (cheaper) but they only do radar and 600w transducers. The GPSmap series is radar capable and has a 1kw sonar.

Other manufacturers sell similar products that are or are not radar capable.
 

charitysteve

Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2021
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Age
45
Model
Freedom 275
The boat will be out of Belleair Beach which is the gulf side of Florida and just south of Clearwater Beach. I am going the grady white route most likely because of everything I have read. I am trying to find a rental place with them but not seeing any. I might have to just suck it up with a sea trial of the actual boat and a contingency that I like the boat for the purchase. I like the freedom 275 because I want more a cruiser with fishing capability that can make it out to the bahamas from Fl and is trailerable without permits.

So what are the recommendations for the package? Also, do you trust the broker lining up the electronics and getting them installed versus doing it through the elctronics company broker?

Thanks for all the help.
 

rockpool

Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2021
Messages
16
Reaction score
6
Points
3
Age
50
Model
Fisherman 257
You just missed a 12% sale at west marine. I would put in a garmin 8616xsv, an 18” hd radar and a 215vhf. With transducer you’re looking at about $10k
 

Hookup1

GreatGrady Captain
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
932
Reaction score
201
Points
43
Location
Cape May, NJ
You won't see the latest Garmin equipment on sale. The "package" deals are about all the discounting I see. West Marine gives you "points" which can be used to buy more stuff! Gold membership is $25/year with 4% reward. They were running a 3X points on electronics.

What ROCKPOOL describes would be a good choice. If you are planning to fish I would install a GT51M-TH transducer on the centerline in the aft section.

You may be able to get two Garmin displays side-by-side in the dash and delete the engine display. A friend of mine just took delivery of a Sea Hunt with twin Yamaha F250's and a pair of Garmin 1243xsv displays. The 1243xsv and the 8612xsv are great units but the 86xx series have better screen resolution at a higher price. Two displays are really handy to have especially when your engine info is up. Even if you don't install two displays initially you should plan for and position the displays in anticipation of upgrading. If two 8616's (or 8612's or 1243xsv) would fit side-by-side install one to one side and put the Yamaha engine display centered where the other 8616 would go.

Consider adding the Garmin Fusion Apollo stereo too.

I would not go with the lower end Garmin unit. Screen resolution is so important on a boat this size where everything comes back to the display.

From where you are you could trailer to the Key's and launch there. This is a perfect boat for fishing there. I wouldn't run it down - its too open a boat for me - but its surely capable.

I did the Bahama's trip several time with my family. That was in the late 90's and on larger boats. My kids still talk out their Bimini trips! I would recommend teaming up with other GW members and doing a flotilla. Its only 60 miles across but its a good idea to have company. Summer has better crossing condition. Winter is doable but you can be stuck on either side for a week or more waiting for the right day. to cross.
 

rockpool

Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2021
Messages
16
Reaction score
6
Points
3
Age
50
Model
Fisherman 257
The 1243 Garmins are a sweet price point, but they are slow compared to the 8x units - I would have loved to put in a pair (or just one) of the 12's but working them side by side it was like comparing a palm treo to an iPhone. There's nothing wrong with them though - they are great workhorses but would probably have been discontinued if not for covid. They are old tech now. I expect in a year or two we'll see 9x units and an upgrade to 1243 series.

Go to west marine and play with them - there are others, simrad etc which people love. I've always had Garmin but I won't knock the other manufacturers - they all make quality gear.

All depends on your budget of course - all the units are expensive, and we don't need 90% of their features most of the time ;-) I'm going for the 16" because it's 25% bigger than the 12" for the price point. I don't want to be misreading channel markers or missing things and over the expected life of the boat it's a small upcharge.

Radar is useful if you're out at night - here in FL we have so many small boats without lighting - Radar will help you see them - it's not "needed" though.

Absolutely get a radio, but remember if you have one, you're legally obliged to monitor channel 16 and offer assistance. It goes two ways though, everyone else is obliged to help you as well.

Finally, if you stick to one manufacturer, there are often nice integration points - the Garmin VHF and chartplotter talk to each other for example, you can dial up a distress call off the plotter screen - That's how they keep you loyal to their ecosystem...
 

NCcruiser

Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2021
Messages
12
Reaction score
3
Points
3
Model
Freedom 235
Hi, I just took delivery of my 2022 Freedom 235. Here is what I went with in regard to electronics: Garmin 1243xsv, Garmin VHF215 with Mic relocation kit, Airmar B75 transducer. Nice bonus is that the Yamaha CL-7 touchscreen that now comes with the 2022 is basically another 7" Garmin screen, so you can use it as a second screen to display chart, sonar etc... I was thinking about getting a radar at some point but during these last few weeks with the boat have really not had a need so will probably hold off.
 

blindmullet

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2015
Messages
314
Reaction score
61
Points
28
Location
Florida
Model
Explorer
If you're new to the area and want to be successful fishing offshore radar is helpful. ;)
 

charitysteve

Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2021
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Age
45
Model
Freedom 275
Sonar?

I assumed radar was needed for Fog or at night. Jumping Marlin.....?
 

Hookup1

GreatGrady Captain
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
932
Reaction score
201
Points
43
Location
Cape May, NJ
I would definitely omit the CL-7 and install a larger Garmin unit and preferably a matching pair.

I'm actually going thru the 1243xsv/8612xsv selection process for my boat. The 8616 won't fit. I'm have decided to wait until later this year to see what Garmin announces. It's usually at the Lauderdale boat show.

The 1243 was released in 2020 as a 2021 product. The 86xx series was announced 2019 as a 2020 product.

Display Resolution
8610. 1920 x 1200
8612 1920 x 1080. IPS touchscreen anti-glare.
8616. 1920 x 1080
8617. 1920 x 1200
8622. 1920 x 1080
8624. 1920 x 1200

1243 1280 x 800. IPS touchscreen.
943. 1280 x 900
743. 1280 x 600

My pet peeve with the Garmin displays is this "keyhole" effect. If you zoom in to get the detail you want you can't see the big picture. So you back out see what's around you and the detail disappears. As screen resolution goes up you can see more of the big picture and still preserve detail. If you line several of these displays up side by side, pick a chart area, zoom to say 2 nm scale and look at the edges to see how much of the chart you can see. Higher res = more visible chart.

The 86xx series resolution is higher than the x43 series but doesn't really change with screen size. I think Garmin is behind the curve on screen resolution. I'm hoping they fix it this year. I would like a 4K screen resolution and something like a 5:4 aspect ratio instead of the 16:9.

The higher screen resolution doesn't always translate into more detail on most screens. Sonar and radar screens appear to be rendered for an internal screen. So more resolution doesn't show more detail except maybe when you are using combo's.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: rockpool

doug228

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
100
Reaction score
26
Points
28
Age
33
Model
Seafarer
"The 1243 Garmins are a sweet price point, but they are slow compared to the 8x units - I would have loved to put in a pair (or just one) of the 12's but working them side by side it was like comparing a palm treo to an iPhone. There's nothing wrong with them though - they are great workhorses but would probably have been discontinued if not for covid. They are old tech now. I expect in a year or two we'll see 9x units and an upgrade to 1243 series."

Discontinued? The 1243s just came out and are an upgraded version of the much slower 1242 series. Are you sure you where playing with a 1243? I did not find the screen load times to be much different between the two. If I ad the G3 vision it will probably start to have a a slight lag, maybe the 8612 wont. Either way the speed was not a deal breaker for me. I would expect the 8600 series get a bump soon now the the 1243s have closed the gap a bit.


"My pet peeve with the Garmin displays is this "keyhole" effect. If you zoom in to get the detail you want you can't see the big picture. So you back out see what's around you and the detail disappears. As screen resolution goes up you can see more of the big picture and still preserve detail. If you line several of these displays up side by side, pick a chart area, zoom to say 2 nm scale and look at the edges to see how much of the chart you can see. Higher res = more visible chart"

This is exactly why I opted for a 1243 over two 9" displays. I have no issues with this on my 1243. It is worth noting that the 1243 has a larger screen that the 8612, the 8600 series is has a more distinct landscape shape. 1243 is more square, which helps when navigating with the charts and being able to see ahead.

No complaints split screening the sonar/charts while running at speed. If I'm splitting 3 or ways ill be running at idle speed so I don't mind it being a big crammed. It is very easy to expand a single screen temporarily then jump back to the split.

The biggest hang up of the 1243 is not being able to run multiple transducers or dual channel transducers. I could add a GSD 25 sonar module if I need dual channel for slightly less than the cost of buying an 8612 initially. If i just want to run a second chirp transducer i could add a second screen like a 743. That combo runs 100 bucks more than the 8612. Second screen would go in overhead console. Could also score a deal on a 7/942 for second screen.
 

blindmullet

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2015
Messages
314
Reaction score
61
Points
28
Location
Florida
Model
Explorer
Some use radar to find birds feeding on bait.
Yep, and some scumbags follow the charter/commercial guys around. With all the social media fish posts it makes it easy for the newbies.
 

charitysteve

Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2021
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Points
1
Age
45
Model
Freedom 275
I dont know the area available. It may fit 2 10 or 12 inch screens. Definitely not 2 16 inch screens. is the yamaha screen useful where I could move it somewhere and have two screens as well. So in essence 3 screens. 1 for navi, 1 for sonar and 1 for engine output? I may have think where the radio will go with that layout though.
 

Hookup1

GreatGrady Captain
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
932
Reaction score
201
Points
43
Location
Cape May, NJ
With radar and an autopilot/magnetic heading sensor you can accurately drop markers on a nearby boat and check it out later. Without a magnetic sensor the heading is derived from the changing GPS position and isn't accurate when the boat is stopped.

I don't know if the Yamaha CL-7 does anything that a larger Garmin unit does. You would have to talk to the dealer. My friend eliminated it on his new boat and has two 1243xsv's instead. I would spend the money on a larger display.

More screens are always better but you are going to need a place for the radio and stereo.
 

rockpool

Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2021
Messages
16
Reaction score
6
Points
3
Age
50
Model
Fisherman 257
Radio can be relocated to the overhead box, or the dash footprint eliminated entirely if you go for a VHF315 which only has a handset.

Good call on the heading sensor - that's something that always bugged me in the past but I was never willing to drop $800 on one - good to see Garmin now has a $150 unit!
 

Hookup1

GreatGrady Captain
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
932
Reaction score
201
Points
43
Location
Cape May, NJ
Good call on the heading sensor - that's something that always bugged me in the past but I was never willing to drop $800 on one - good to see Garmin now has a $150 unit!
The new Garmin units no longer ship with hardtop GPS antenna. They all use an older generation GPS19x internal GPS antenna. I installed the external GPX24xd. Multi-band GNSS for 1 meter GPS accuracy and built-in heading sensor.
 
Last edited: