Let's start a war... Opencpn vs timezero vs Inavx


Member III
I tried Opencpn and do not like it. Inavx is brilliant but comes short on NMEA2000 and timezero is really... expensive...
What is your favorite soft for sailing??
I'm in the process of finish my electronics (everything is NMEA2000) so let's start the game...
Best bang for the buck!

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
By coincidence, I received an email out-of-the-blue about a week ago from the company that acquired the MacENC plotting application.
I have done deliveries with that application on my MacBook and also with the prior version GPSNavX.
Good products. They say that they have rewritten the code for the new/current MacOS.
Link: https://www.navstation.net/2020/05/navstation-acquires-macenc/

Of course I have not tried it out, yet. Hopefully in 2021.
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Member III
Blogs Author
OpenCPN with RNC charts on a Samsung 10 tablet WiFi connected to Vesper for AIS overlay + paper charts as back up and route planning.

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Curiosity.... Do you have an external GPS antenna plugged in? The specs for the current Samsung model do not mention GPS, just wifi.
(My older Mac used a 'hockey puck' antenna that is sensitive enough to work fine with both computer and 'puck' secured to the nav table of several different boats.)

Current system is the Lowrance 9" plotter/radar display at the helm, apropos of whatever.
Chief advantage, among some others, is the sunlight-viewable display, and of course being waterproof.

...There must be about ten 'right' answers to this line of inquiry...

Hmmm. A "war" where no one loses, as long as they find their way home!

Add link: https://www.globalsat.com.tw/en/pro...with-USB-interface-SiRF-Star-IV-BU-353S4.html
Looks exactly like mine, but probably with some performance upgrades over the years. Available from various web vendors.
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Member III
I think to install a GPS puck (USB, nmea0183 or nmea2000) is a good idea. Anyway, any navigation software or Chartplotter will take just one signal, relegating the rest as support.
If you ask me, I will prefer to install a gyrocompass GPS like Furuno or maretronic or Raymarine unit. Basically not take just the GPS signal but add 3 or 5 or 9 axis signal in order to add more information at autopilot. But those units are expensive. Montessier hat, the add for the raspberry opencpn comes with a 9 axis compass but work through the soft is a little bit complex.
In a perfect world a GPS/gyrocompass is a necessity if you want your autopilot to go straight and without kill your batteries


Member III
As Loren said, there are many right answers. For those that used hockey pucks and dead reckoning in the day, what a magnificent improvement. But does take some of the adventure out of it...

My primary source is a ray marine mfd mounted on the binnacle. I like iNavX on the phone in a waterproof case, because I generally have it both on and off the water. That way I can pass it around in the cockpit or bar(pre COVID) to others as we discuss and ponder various courses and tactics. Convenient and only $6 now. But things break, so I also have a gps puck and opencpn (free is its most outstanding feature, but it does work, I mostly use it to sort out routes and waypoints, rarely real time navigating. I also have a functional handheld gps but discontinued by Garmin,so no new maps for 15yrs. It is kept in a clean paint can with batteries and desiccant in case of lightning strikes.


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Member III
Blogs Author
I have Navionics on my iPhone and my Axiom MFD from Raymarine comes pre-loaded with Navionics.

I try not to run into stuff I can see and with GPS coordinates I figure out I can work out the other details mostly.

I mostly want easy and reliable more than I want cheap/free.

5 sources, assuming I don't forget my phone at home:

GPS on my iPhone
GPS on my AIS
External GPS antenna on my NMEA network
GPS in my Axiom MFD
GPS in my VHF radio

I think I would need my laptop to get the GPS data from my AIS, so that's not really fair.
Excluding phone call it four sources, three hard-wired and visible.


Member III
I'm way behind the times on this - still using paper charts and dead reckoning. Sorry for dumb questions.

Is the Navionics ($15 bucks ?) per device ? Are there ongoing charges of any sort. Only need in-shore US East Coast.
Does a GPS puck require a subscription to a service? Are some brands better than other or is it all commodity.
Can I use an iphone as a GPS hotspot ? By that I mean use bluetooth or wifi to get to the GPS signal through the iphone (and without cellular service)?

Thanks for starting this thread.


Member III
Hi Steven,

On navionics you pay a subscription to use the charts. The subscription for the united states charts is $15 per year per device.

GPS is a free service there shouldn't be any fees other than buying the equipment to use it...same as a rooftop TV Antenna.

An ipad will have an internal gps that the program can use to find its bearings. The ipad can use this gps without being connected to the internet or cell network.

hope that helps.

e38 owner

Member III
There is a nice little ap that runs on android. SailGrib
It does routing and does a decent job. Free for up to 100 miles of routing.
It does weather route optimization etc


Member III
I use navionics on an ipad pro (and on my iphone) . I also have an old raymarine (c80 ?) chartplotter that is networked to raymarine instruments. My plan is to get rid of all the raymarine stuff and replace with wi-fi sensors and wireless instruments with displays mounted on the mast. I then can connect my computer and ipad to the network and get live inputs from the sensors. It's on my list but probably not for a year or two.


Member III
I am rather old school and until this year had no plotter type thing on Silver Maiden. When I moved her to the new home port I could not lay my hands on a paper chart of the area I was to traverse so I loaded openCPN on my old samsung galaxy S5 (no cell service) downloaded all the needed charts via my home internet, and loaded the same on my every day carry cell phone which has a 7 day battery life.

I played with opencpn for a couple of days on board in the marina before treking to the new marina. It preformed well on both devices. I did wish I had a tablet with built in GPS as sometimes the phone was hard to see and a tablet mounted at the right place in the cabin could have been seen just fine from the cockpit.

My long term plan is to set up a big (13 inch) monitor on the head bulkhead connected to a raspberry Pi running opencpn with one of my old cell phones doing the GPS duties. Heck I have about 6 old cell phones that still work fine as nema gps devices. Why not use them.

I should be able to see that from the companionway and I can also have opencpn on my cell phone as backup.

I do not know anything about the other software mentioned, but for the several hours I used it opencpn seemed to do everything I needed. I will admit I did not program in waypoints to sail to. I just used it as a moving chart display and I picked my course as I went having of course reviewed the route before starting.