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Using Garmin BlueCharts for Navigation on a PC
Trophy
I have BlueChart Americas v9.5. I unlocked the waterway areas in my location. Using MapSource, I created waypoints and routes. Then I downloaded the waypoints and routes to my Garmin GPS Map 76Cx. The issue is that the window is too small to view the detail necessary for easy navigation. Question. Can I attach a USB GPS to my laptop and follow my routes on the MapSource charts? The MapSource charts are larger with more detail. If yes, what USB GPS should I purchase. Thanks.
Ken in Regina
Hi Trophy,

Mapsource does not have any navigation features. Specifically, it does not know how to use the signal from a GPS receiver. That function was removed from it many versions ago and moved to a program called nRoute.

I think your copy of Bluecharts will work with Garmin's nRoute navigation program. It's free. And you might be able to use your 76Cx with nRoute for the GPS signal. Does the 76Cx use a USB cable to connect to the computer?

...ken...
Ken in Cape Breton
I've just tried this using my Garmin Map 76CSx and nRoute on one of my computers and it works fine. In other words, you don't need to buy anything as you already have everything you need except a copy of Garmin's nRoute software and you can get that for free from here: http://www.gpsinformation.org/penrod/nroute/nroute.html

To make this whole process simpler, first try this on the computer you used to unlock and load your BlueChart to your 76Cx. Once you have nRoute set up on that computer connect your 76Cx to your computer with a USB cable and start nRoute. It will say it is "Attempting to connect to GSP". Go to the "Utilities" drop down menu at the top and choose "Select GPS..." When the dialog box opens, change the selection from "Serial Port" (the default I think) to "USB Device" You should see your GPS listed in the box next to this selection. nRoute should then say "Searching for Satellites" and then quickly change to "Ready to Navigate" and your are on your way.

I should also point out your Map 76Cx will also be powered through the USB cable while it is connected to your computer so the batteries in the 76 won't get run down. It won't charge the 76's batteries this way but it won't need to run off them either.

If you are accustomed to MapSource, you should find nRoute simple to use. Once you have installed nRoute you should end up with a users manual you can access from your start menu under "Garmin." Happy sailing!
tcassidy
If you are concerned about the download locations, nRoute is still available direct from Garmin here:

http://www8.garmin.com/software/nRoute_276.exe

Terry
Trophy
Hi Ken in Breton,

Thanks for the information, your instructions were perfect! After loading nRoute 276, I tried it out on the ICWW… very good results. I noted that the location of the Garmin GPS Map 76Cx on the boat is critical to continuous, uninterrupted navigation. The antenna on the GPS Map is built in and must be located facing the sky. My boat is a hardtop. I do have an external antenna on the boat, but the 76Cx does not have a connection. I placed the 76Cx next to a window that, in general, corrected the issue, but needed to reposition to maintain navigation when I changed directions. The message “You have lost connection is discomforting.” Any ideas? The more important issue, however is that when I tried to download my MapSource files, I get the message that I am using the wrong version. Do I need an updated BlueChart or should I download an earlier version of nRoute?

Thanks.
Ken in Regina
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trophy
... when I tried to download my MapSource files, I get the message that I am using the wrong version. Do I need an updated BlueChart or should I download an earlier version of nRoute? Thanks.
Are you talking about trying to open the Mapsource .GDB file with your waypoints and stuff into nRoute?

If so, that's easy to fix. Mapsource saves information into .GDB version 3 files by default. If you want to use that information in nRoute you must Save As (in Mapsource) "Garmin GPS Database Version 2 (*.gdb)". Then you can load that file into nRoute.

...ken...
Ken in Cape Breton


Your .276 version of nRoute is fine and your BlueCharts are fine, it's just that the newest versions of MapSource save to a newer file type than nRoute can read. you have to save to Version 2 as Ken in Regina said.

The latest versions of Garmin's GPS Map76Cx have a connector for an external antenna. It's next to the philips screw under the rubber section on the back under the antenna. It's the round part on the right. You'll probably need some sort of adapter as the connector on the back is quite small. Check the accessories section of Garmin's web site. Probably something like this: https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=553
Ken in Regina
An external antenna will make a huge difference. An adapter like the one Ken in Cape Breton listed should do the trick. As long as your external antenna is a proper GPS antenna.

...ken...
Trophy
OK. I used my MapSource to develop a route… saved the route using Garmin GPS Database Version 2. Opened nRoute and imported the file. However, when nRoute indicated ‘Ready to Navigator’ I was not able to see the detail on the route. I placed nRoute on Highest setting, lowered to 80 feet, but still only the route line. Very little or no detail regarding poles, depths, etc. Any suggestions? Thanks. Trophy.
tcassidy
You didn't say whether the detail you don't see is part of your route or on the existing Bluechart map you are using. If it is the Bluechart map you can't see you probably unlocked it to a GPS other than the one you are using.

To get around that, you need GPSGate. It can see your Garmin GPS and provide an output for nRoute. The unlocked Bluechart map won't see the serial number of your GPS and should work fine.

Terry
CNA51083
If you want to use Mapsource Bluechart as a navigation software you have to use the v5 version, after that they took off possibility to see your way in real time.
tcassidy
Actually, the last version of MapSource with GPS features is 6.5. You can use Bluechart maps with nRoute though. The difference is MapSource 6.5 could use either NMEA or Garmin PVT. nRoute only works with Garmin PVT but GPS Gate can provide that from a NMEA GPS receiver.

Terry
CNA51083
OK, I just have Mapsource 6.5 from yesterday so I still did not try to use it for boating. The v5 version is working fine, but new details are missing.

I installed Garmin Mobile XT v5.0 (PPC) and I already transferred maps, and I gonna try both of them to see if they are working in my Mapsource. I also have Garmin Topo v2 for France it is working fine.
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