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Rank Newbie Looking At Lowrance Ifinder Pro


OHMIKY
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Hi, all - I am entirely new to this sport and am spending a great deal of time evaluating GPS receivers based on information I have gathered online. After reading specs and comparisons, I have just about settled on the Lowrance iFinder Pro because it seems to have the features I want at a price I like.

 

Not having any experience with this or any other GPSr, I am hoping that anyone in this group who has information that would be helpful in confirming or negating this (to me) important decision will chime in and let me know their opinion.

 

Thank you all who respond!

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THe Pro is an excellent unit and a great value but you might want to consider the iFinder H20 because it's waterproof and the Pro isn't. Its only a few bucks more.

 

iFindfers are a little harder to learn to use than units by Magellan and Garmin, so you might want to take that into consideration being a newbie. If you're technology savvy you should have no problem learning the thing. If you can't program your VCR you may want to go with a Garmin.

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implication: there is something wrong with MapCreate 6.3 - would you please elaborate?

Yeah the 6.3 software limits the number of chips you can put maps on and it's makes it just a little more of a PITA to use. It is not any less useful, just a belly button perspective idea from Lowrance making something more PITA to use rather than less.

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implication: there is something wrong with MapCreate 6.3 - would you please elaborate?

I hope I don't scare you off from a great product, but...

 

With MC6.2 you can use any card reader to store maps to the MMC/SD card. However with MC6.3 you are required to use, as a pseudo-dongle against piracy, the LEI card reader that is supplied with the mapping software and can only "register" up to five memory cards.

Because of these limitations, two complaints, one serious and one not so, have been blazing the forums. The most often mentioned and less serious one is the dislike of anti-piracy restrictions of any type, even though methods of the other two brands are more restrictive imho.

The second complaint is your PC failing to recognize or properly connect to the LEI card reader device. The main causes for this are 1) bad card readers and 2) users not following the installation procedures. For bad card readers Lowrance has been very good about sending a replacement without any hassles. But for it to work you must follow exactly the installation instructions. Bottom-line… Do NOT connect the reader to your PC until you are instructed to, which is after the mapping software AND the drivers have been installed AND the PC has been rebooted.

 

On the plus side, MC6.3 is a great product. The street-level only version has been replaced (at no extra charge) with a topo one. It is very easy to use. You can easily make multiple "map boxes" are construct "route corridors". Once loaded into the iFinder, there is no need to manually switch map files. Also users have reported using 1Gb memory cards with no problems.

 

reid.

Edited by reidster
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Thank you all who replied - I am now seriously considering spending a few extra dollars to get the H2O for its added ruggedness - I am not the clumsiest person on the planet, but I have been known to drop a thing on occasion.

 

Complexity does not scare me in the least - in fact it lets my geeky mind explore new terrain in much the same way as seeking a cache will involve me. Think of it, two opportunities for discovery in one place!

 

Well, when I say 'considering spending,' I really mean 'considering convincing my wife to spend a few extra dollars on my birthday present.' With a little luck, I will soon be searching nearby areas for hidden treasure.

 

Regards

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Thank you all who replied - I am now seriously considering spending a few extra dollars to get the H2O for its added ruggedness - I am not the clumsiest person on the planet, but I have been known to drop a thing on occasion.

 

Complexity does not scare me in the least - in fact it lets my geeky mind explore new terrain in much the same way as seeking a cache will involve me. Think of it, two opportunities for discovery in one place!

 

Well, when I say 'considering spending,' I really mean 'considering convincing my wife to spend a few extra dollars on my birthday present.' With a little luck, I will soon be searching nearby areas for hidden treasure.

 

Regards

If you get the "plus" package it can save you a lot of money in the end. It comes with the GPS, Mapcreate software, memory card and a LEI card reader.

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One last bit or two of advice…

 

I agree that getting the plus package is the best way to go.

But…

1) Consider also buying a large capacity SD card from the start. I get along with a 128Mb now, but a 256Mb would be really nice.

2) If you order on-line, you may get an older version with just street-level mapping. However, Lowrance will sent you the topo version at no charge and lets you keep the old version.

 

reid.

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Before you buy, or while waiting for it to ship to you, you may want to check out Lowrance's site and download the emulator and manual (PDF).

 

My wife and girls gave the 'CIGT Geocaching' for my bday with a picture of GPS unit in my card and the mandate to "go pick the one you want". While hitting these forums and some Google groups, started to zero in on the H2O (and the Garmin GPSMAP 60).

 

Downloaded the H2O emulator from Lowrance and have been finding it fairly easy to access its different features without consulting the manual too often. While it doesn't help you get a physical feel for it, it does (for free) let you play around at your own pace and without breaking anything. I live almost halfway between LLBean and the Kittery Trading Post but neither carries Lowrance so its the only opp I have to see it in action (albeit virtually not real world).

 

Haven't got one yet but if I get some free time this wknd may place my order or look on eBay.

 

Thanks to all the non-newbies for sharing your thoughts in here on the different model choices. With all the choices out there, it is a little daunting.

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Be careful not to drop it! It's not very tough. 

 

Not sure where you got that. I'm using the H20 right now and it gets bounced around pretty good. I'm sure the Pro is similar.

If you buy a carrying case and a lanyard ($20 all-together) you shouldn't have problems dropping it, and if you do, the case should protect it pretty well.

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I believe the 'do not drop it' quote was about the pro

 

The bday is still a week away and since no one locally carries it, I suppose that realistically it will be 2 weeks or so before I actually get one in my hand. I did notice the emulator on Lowrance's site and downloaded the manual (pdf file). I guess I will go back to download the emulator - my initial thought was that it was probably just a tour of the functions and not really a simulator. From what folks have said, I guess I was wrong :rolleyes:

Edited by OHMIKY
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I believe the 'do not drop it' quote was about the pro

 

The bday is still a week away and since no one locally carries it, I suppose that realistically it will be 2 weeks or so before I actually get one in my hand. I did notice the emulator on Lowrance's site and downloaded the manual (pdf file). I guess I will go back to download the emulator - my initial thought was that it was probably just a tour of the functions and not really a simulator. From what folks have said, I guess I was wrong :rolleyes:

Amazon.com usually delivers pretty quickly. I've received stuff within 2 days after ordering it.

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... I guess I will go back to download the emulator - my initial thought was that it was probably just a tour of the functions and not really a simulator. From what folks have said, I guess I was wrong

 

Oh yeah! The emulators aren't just a couple product images with arrows pointing to various features, it is a full blown simulator of the whole machine's functions, and the screen display is pretty much exactly what the real thing would look like. If you try the emulator, you are going to be suprized how EXACTLY similar the real thing is in your hands! Hat's off to Lowrance for creating those emulators :rolleyes:

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I'm going to jump in here and ask a related question -- How is Lowrance's customer service? I've also had my eye on the iFinder Pro or H2O (promised as a birthday gift) and in the meantime am using a Garmin Geko 201. This week I had such a positive experience with Garmin customer support that I've been considering holding out for a while longer and going with another Garmin model when I upgrade. While I think I'd prefer the Lowrance models still, Garmin may have earned my loyalty. I'd like to hear the good and bad of Lowrance customer support to help me decide, if anyone would be willing to share.

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I'm going to jump in here and ask a related question -- How is Lowrance's customer service?

Good on the phone, but sometimes "not so good" online :rolleyes:

 

I've e-mailed questions to them that didn't get replied. But then I'd phone them, and the tech guy on the other end has been very friendly & helpful. Give them a call before you buy & see how well you like them :unsure:

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:rolleyes: While I cant speak about Lowrance customer support, I cant say enough nice things about Garmin cutomer support. I recently (about 3 months ago) purchased a map60cs from garmin after using the 12XL for the past 5 years. Though it came with a usb cord, I soon discovered it wouldnt allow me to download my National Geographic TOPO maps. So I called gasrmin and they sent me a free serial port cord via FedEX Next Day, all for free. A month later when I called to ask a question about mapsource, I mentioned how the DEET on my hands had discolored the back of the unit and they sent me a very nice neoprene case for my gpsr, again all for free.
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I cant say enough nice things about Garmin cutomer support. I

 

Garmin is superb. They replaced my Vista when the rubber gasket came lose even though it was out of warranty. I sent it in and had a new unit within 4 days. Cant speak for Lowrance though, as I've yet to have to call them.

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I could almost believe that the emulator is the real deal installed on my 'pooter -

I am in the basement (hey, at least it is cool down here!) and the bloody thing has been acting for the past twenty minutes or so as if it can find no satellites. Maybe if I install it on the laptop and take it out on the deck LOL

 

ah well, guess I'll just have to wait until I have the unit in hand

 

:rolleyes:

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