Testing Electronics on Board a Classic Grand Banks, (continued)
Less Touchy, More Feely
Garmin EchoMAP Chirp 74sv
The Garmin EchoMAP Chirp 74sv brings the latest sounding technology to a helm in a compact, easy-to-use package at a tremendous price point. It’s a rugged unit that can take shocking abuse and come back for more. Don’t ask how I know.
The 7-inch diagonal WVGA display is bright and viewable, and, perhaps most interesting from a test perspective, it’s not a touchscreen. That takes some getting used to—I imagine my fingerprints are still all over the unit—but it surprised me how little I missed pinching and swiping. On a moving boat, and Arawak moves very little compared to a center console where this EchoMAP would be right at home, placing the cursor on a specific chart point may be easier with the simpler controls, and one hit is worth ten near misses. Particularly if you think about how your electronics can monopolize your line of sight when you’re trying to accomplish something, the touchscreens may not always be the best choice.
The BlueChart g2 cartography is proprietary and is loaded with data, though this unit does not allow route sharing from Garmin’s BlueChart mobile app, a terrific way to familiarize yourself with charts while you’re away from the boat or even away from the helm.
We jury-rigged everything on this test, including the GT51M-TM transducer, which we connected to the end of our boathook with some bungee cords and zip-ties, and maybe some chewing gum. We managed to penetrate the boundary layer and look at some sounder data. This unit is fully CHIRP enabled with low, mid, and high frequencies supported and can provide traditional fishfinder views with frequencies of 50, 77, and 200 kHz, as well as photo-like DownVü and SideVü looks at 260, 455, and 800 kHz frequencies. We didn’t see that. But what we did get a sense of is the immense amount of force exerted on a transducer by the water passing over it. And another reason professional installation is the way to go.