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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone have any experience or opinion of this software from Garmin. It's my understanding that you can plan routes and enter waypoints from your computer and onto an SD card that you plug into your Garmin unit before you hit the water. I have a Garmin 545s and am trying to get the most out of the unit.

I'm hoping this software will assist me in navigating treacherous waters in the Baffin and Rockport rock and reef infested areas. Will this software assist me in what I'm wanting to do, or is it just trial and error on a new fiberglass hull I'll have to pursue?
 

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I've not heard of a Garmin "Home Portal" software package but they have a "Trip & Waypoint Manager" software package that can be loaded onto a PC. https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=664&pvID=1951&ra=true#overviewTab

I have an older Garmin 178C that has a removable unique Garmin memory card.To get this software to work properly I had to purchase the Garmin MapSource BlueChart Americas ~$110.00 and a Garmin USB 2.0 Data Card Programmer for the unique Garmin memory Card ~ $40.00. You might not need this card reader option.

The initial set-up and understanding of how to manipulate the software/data is a bit intimidating, but its well worth the time & money invested. You'll need to set-up an on-line account w/Garmin to select the region for your Garmin MapSource BlueChart Americas and other registration information. Garmin is real "tight" w/their software licensing and there could be additional activation fees.

Once your up and running, you can transfer waypoints and routes to/from your memory card. It's a lot like saving & manipulating digital camera files.

I have all of my waypoints saved into my "Garmin Files" on my PC that are named after the HOT SPOT fishing maps and all of the coordinates listed on these maps such as F102 Galveston, Trinity, East and West Bays, F108 Matagorda Bays, F127 Freeport, F115 LLM, and etc. I don't keep all of my waypoints in my memory chip. Many coordinates have the same address. I can only fish one bay system at a time and I down load the information as needed.

This process is a bit time consuming to do this, but its handy to select a map file of the area I'll be fishing, save to the memory chip, load the information into my GPS, and go fish w/out trying to enter coordinates while on the water.

It will also add a new dimension to the use of your GPS. Good Luck
 

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Garmin has some newer software that is much more user friendly, less expensive, and uses standard SD cards for exchanging data between PC and the GPS unit. Here is the report (copied from another site.) I have found this source of information very reliable. By the way, be sure your unit has the latest software. Garmin updates several times a year. I think the latest for the 545 is version 5.2.

Guys--You going to like the new Garmin Planning Software, and here's why. You can download your exisiting G2 Charts from your 400/500/4000/5000 series to an SD memory card (min 4 gigs, strongly recommend 8 gigs, so you have room to add and save waypoints, routes, and tracks from your unit and Homeport). Once your G2 Charts on downloaded to the SD card you can then upload them into Homeport for use in planning trips and adding waypoints, routes, and tracks. This means there is no more requirement to purchase Map Source and the BlueChart CD; you already have all the charts you need on your chartplotter. Once you're finished building to you chartplotter. There are some really nice features in the new software.

Cost is $29.00 You can download it from the Garmin Website.
https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=64242#
Here are some of the features:
--displays both fishing and navigational charts from BlueChart g2 Vision
--allows user to measure distance and bearing on the charts
--displays route/track depth profile
--converts tracks into point-to-point routes (track to route conversion) and specifies the speed for each leg of the route
--provides ETA and arrival times (for each leg) when you create routes
--shows animated playback of data collected on device
--calculates fuel consumption (based on fuel flow data provided by the user)
--exports selected data to Google™ Earth
--displays statistics and graphical information about tide stations, tidal streams and currents
--displays grid lines to show latitude and longitude
--allows you to manage waypoints, routes, and tracks
--allows you to view the map north-up, map-up or course-up
--displays celestial information such as sunrise, sunset and moon phase
--displays photos and point-of-interest detail
--supports vector charts
--includes worldwide basemap --allows multiple map views
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the input. Do you have to have a special cable to interface the GPS to my laptop. I don't think there's a USB port on the unit, but I could be wrong. Maybe "interfacing" means just sticking the SD card in my computer SD card reader?
 

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Thanks for the input. Do you have to have a special cable to interface the GPS to my laptop. I don't think there's a USB port on the unit, but I could be wrong. Maybe "interfacing" means just sticking the SD card in my computer SD card reader?
It should be a cable with a USB on one end, and a smaller connection on the other end for your GPS.
 

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I've been using HomePort since it came out a month or so back. They just released a fix for some of the earlier problems folks have encountered.

This is a good thing Garmin has done. The ability to have all of the US Coastal Charts from your GPS on your computer and to have the ability to transfer, save and edit your GPS information is very powerful. All of this at the same price of the very basic "Trip & Waypoint Manager" software. It's still new and it will probably have some more growing pains but it already makes the job so much easier than its been in the past.

For a reference, before HomePort, if you wanted all of the coastal charts loaded on your computer you had to buy mulitple unlock codes for their BlueChart software at between $100.00 and $150.00 per area. The cost would have been over $2000.00. Now, with your recent preloaded Garmin unit and the HomePort software you have the same access for $30.00.

I purchased this software on an SD card. I did not try the download. Same price but you end up with an SD card at the end and that's what you need to download the charts from your GPS.

Good luck out there!!
 

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Problems

I've had some problems with the Home Port program not responding and crashing when attemtping to edit tracks. I know that the Garmin engineers are working on a fix because they sent me a beta build file to try but it had the same problems. The engineer that I exchanged e-mails with indicated that he thought it was a program speed issue. I'm sure they'll get it fixed soon and offer online updates.
 

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I have th egarmin 498 chart plotter/sounder. It dosent have a sd card slot on it. It has some kind of d shaped plug hole. How can I use home port on this 498? How do I get my charts uploaded to my PC?
 
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