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charliepete

Garmin GPSMAP 76CSX w/Lakemaster Chip

31 posts in this topic

I finally decided to get a gps with some lake map software for icefishing. I've been limping along with a 12 year old gps and paper contour maps for few years now.

I initially thought about a Lowrance h20 or h20c, but after testing out a buddies unit I liked the maps, but decided to see if I could find a unit that was utilizing more up to date GPS features. After searching around on the web I started to find some great reviews of the Garmin GPSMAP 76CSx and decided to get one. They can be had for around $300 new.

I really like my new Garmin. One of the best features is that the unit is completely submersible, and it floats. I've talked to a few guys who dropped their h20c's through the hole while fishing and the thought just sends a shiver down my cheap spine. The high sensitivity receiver of the Garmin is unbelieveable. My old GPS has trouble picking up a signal inside my truck if it isn't near the glass, my new unit gets a signal in the basement of my house. Pretty impressive. The built in electronic compass is another nice feature. It's a lot easier to navigate to a spot when the unit doesn't have to be moving to give you a direction. If you want to spring for an extra upgraded map from Garmin the unit is also capable of giving you turn by turn directions for driving like a Nuuvi. It's a nice feature when you are in a new city.

I also like Minnesota Lakemaster Map I bought for the unit. With the Garmin you have the choice of buying the CD of the map and loading it yourself, or just buying the chip like you can for the H20. I opted to buy CD. It was easy to install, and it's much easier to plot all the waypoints and routes you want on the laptop and then transfer them to the GPS. You also have the option of syncing the laptop screen to the GPS and watching the large screen of the laptop in real time. Pretty cool. Besides the purchase of the unit and the map I didn't have to guy anything extra to see it on the laptop, which is not the case with other models. Another nice thing about having the CD instead of the mini sd card is that you can go out and buy yourself a blank 2 gig mini SD card for the unit and load multiple states onto the same SD mini SD card so you don't have to switch them out.

The standard GPS features of the unit are easy to use as well. I have an old Garmin and an Old Magellan and I was able to use all the features of my new garmin without much more than a skim of the directions.

I figured since there were so many reviews of the h20c and it's variants, I'd weigh in with a positive review of the Garmin just to let folks know there are other good options out there.

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Nice review. I picked up the 76Cx last fall but wish now I opted for the 76CSx for the electronic compass.

I to am verry happy with it and how accurate it is. So many features to list and I am still finding new ways to use it.

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Nice to see a few guys commenting on using the Garmin's with the Lakemaster chips, I think as time goes by you'll see more and more people using them, simply because of how easy Garmins are to use over any of the competitors out there. I like the fact that the 76 model floats, that's a big plus in my book.

I just got done setting up a Garmin Nuvi 500 for Kingfisher from the site here, that is one beautiful unit. It will take the Lakemaster chip, already has a built in Topo map for land, it's waterproof and it will give you turn by turn street name navigation from your home to the lake, switch it over to the boating mode and it puts the lake contours on the screen and off you go to your favorite waypoints. Absolutely easy to use, transfer waypoints and update right off your computer.

One the the best things I've always like about Garmins is when you mark a waypoint, you can name it right then and there, it doesn't just give it a number and you have to come back and rename it.

I'll be buying a new Garmin soon, now I just have to figure out which one, I'm really leaning towards the Nuvi 500 with the bigger touch screen, all of the navigation capabilities and battery life is respectable at 8 hours if your off of 12v power but the 76 has longer battery life and it floats. Prices are pretty much the same between the 2 units.

AHH, the indecision continues......

Mike

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Look at the new Garmin "Dakota" once.

Touch screen, Built-in basemap 850 MB internal memory...mmc card capable..and more. Starts at $299. Two new models.

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I just saw those the other night on Garmin's site, looks to be about the same as the Oregon that I looked at too, I just didn't like the price tag but MAN did they have stuff on those GPS Units, the Dakota GPS should be awesome units as well, sounded like they will be available this fall / winter sometime, I'll keep my options open smile they look interesting.

Mike

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MN Mike, Do you have to install the Garmin boating software before installing the lakemaster chip on the Nuvi 500? Or does the Lakemaster chip plug in and go. It was unclear on the HSOforum. Thanks

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At first the unit did not give a boating option, the Nuvi had to be updated with the latest firmware.

We signed up at Garmins' HSOforum for an account, it's free and easy to do. Once you sign up and get your account created, you tell it the serial number of the unit you have, plug it into your computer and it will pretty much automatically update you to the latest firmware for your Nuvi.

Once the new firmware was downloaded, I dropped in the Lakemaster Micro SD card and the unit picked it up, after that, I had a Boating option in the Mode menu. SO, once you update to the latest firmware you should get a Boating Mode automaically.

Mike

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One thing I should add, you probably didn't get a USB cable with your Nuvi to hook it up to the computer, all you need is a USB to Mini USB cable, you might even have one if you have a digital camera that you plug into your computer. Otherwise you can get one online or possibly a local big box store. Once you have the cable, just plug it into where your power cable plugs in on the Nuvi and you'll be set.

miniusb.jpg

Mike

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Mike you hit on a good point..be sure to register your Garmin product and start your personal user account..easy like you said. This offers you access to many upgrades and software options as they become available. Depending on the unit, map upgrades may also apply.

Garmin has a excellent customer service system and support structure, superior in the market.

A large part of a Garmin GPS or sonars/Gps units appeal, and value, is after the point of purchase, many folks are not aware of that. Take full advantage of it.

And...now the Google Earth/Garmin connection adds even further expandability and Kewl options. Be sure to look into that too.

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charliepete, are you telling me that you can hook the gps up to your computer and see it live on the laptop screen waht you would normally see on the handheld screen? this would be awesome to have the laptop riding shotgun while looking for contours!

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Great review, Charlie. Now more than ever I want to consider upgrading from my Rino120.

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$300 for the Garmin and another $100 for the MN Lakemaster chip or CD...is that about right?

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One other great thing about the 60Cx, 60CSx, 76Cx and 76CSx are the actual GPS antennaes. They use a proven SiRFstar III 12 channel antenna that is head and shoulders above what most other handhelds use, including the new Garmin Dakotas and Oregons which use a cheaper antenna. They have very quick initial lock, and are able to relock fast if you lose it. I wouldn't be suprised to see the 60Cx, 60 CSx, 76CX, and 76 CSx units hang around for a long time as they have a devoted following with people who use them for geocaching.

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charliepete, are you telling me that you can hook the gps up to your computer and see it live on the laptop screen waht you would normally see on the handheld screen? this would be awesome to have the laptop riding shotgun while looking for contours!

I will respond for charliepete. Yes, you can hook the GPS up to the computer and see it live. You are NOT seeing the same screens though, but rather you have the mapsource maps that are loaded onto the PC as the background and whatever maps loaded onto the handheld as it's background.

So the handheld can be zoomed waaay in and the PC zoomed way out. Or if you have fishinghotspot maps as well as topo maps loaded, or the lakemaster vs. navionics etc.

All the handheld is doing is allowing the PC to utilize the antenna.

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Look at the new Garmin "Dakota" once.

Touch screen, Built-in basemap 850 MB internal memory...mmc card capable..and more. Starts at $299. Two new models.

Bought me the Dakota 10 during the holidays for $250 which included the bundle pack and topo USA, plus $50 mail in rebate so I paid $200 for the bundle. The unit itself is going for $299 like you said. Selling the Topo CD for $50 so now I got my unit for $150....AND LOVE IT! So far I've downloaded the entire state of MN at 24k Topo and the complete Garmin Lakemaster CD and have plenty of room for more downloads.

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Torn between 60csx and the 76 for my water needs. Wish the 60 floated. Those of you that have the 76csx, does the screen get blocked by using the buttons on top one handed? Is it a brick to put into bib pocket? Do you guys like the size and square corners? Been looking and reading about handheld gps for couple months now and will soon buy one of these two models. Thanks for the influence by answering my questions.

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I have a 76CSx and have been looking to buy the CD or card. The CD sounds like a good idea.

The question I have is you say you can load the points and routes from your computer to the GPS. But can you actually load any of the contour maps to your GPS? So if you go to a different location than what you plotted from your computer, is there sill contour maps for the lakes on the GPS, or does it just put a waypoint on the GPS with no contour lines?

Hope thats not to confusing.

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The way I understand Garmin's Mapsource Lakemaster CD is that you load as much or as little of the map data available to your handheld as you'd like or as the memory allows. That means you put which lakes you want onto your handheld, or Topo maps, or road maps, or any combo that Mapsource has available. You can also do all of your waypoint management and trip planning in the warmth of your house, and load it to your GPSr as needed.

As was also stated, you can you your GPSr tethered to your laptop to view your live location on your laptop, updating as you move around. FYI, your GPSr is pretty useless when doing this, but why would you want to use that when you have the laptop to guide you? Toss it on your dash until you disconnect it to leave your vehicle.

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Thanks mcgurk. Thats what I was hopping for.

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is all you have to do is plug in the gps to the computer to get the live action on the laptop screen? i cant wait!!! my lakemaster mapsource should be arriving today!

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I have a GPSMap 76S, and I've downloaded topo maps into it from the CDs. And from what I've read above, I can buy a Lakemaster CD and do the exact same thing?

And I'd guess that the CD costs about $100? Give or take a few bucks?

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I had the garmin map 76 for years then about 2 years ago upgraded to the 76CSx, the built in compass is a feature I would not want to go without now, I load many maps into mine, Lake Master, US Rec and Trails for ATVing, and Topo maps, would not go with any other brand, I also have a nuvi in the truck.

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how do i get the pc to utilize the gps antenna like you stated? i received the mapsource today and cant figure it out for the life of me!!

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