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Magellan FX324
Team McLube



Sep 8, 2006, 7:49 AM

Post #1 of 6 (12431 views)
Magellan FX324 Log-In to Post/Reply

Does anybody out there have any experience with the Magellan FX324 chart plotter? I have a chance at getting one for a great deal but I have read many complaints about the "BlueNav" charts used by this chart plotter. If these complaints are true (only one chart allowed on a card at time, licensing issues) then there is no point in getting it since a chart plotter without usable charts is kinda useless, or at least no better than my existing non-plotter GPS. Since Bluenav is based on the Navionics Gold charts I was wondering if an SD Card loaded with standard Navionics Gold charts would work in the FX324. Any advice would be appreciated.

Alun James

Sep 10, 2006, 9:25 PM

Post #2 of 6 (12412 views)
Re: [kbianculli] Magellan FX324 [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

Unless you are absolutely CERTAIN that you need this information at the helm I would opt for a rugged laptop at your nav station connected to a conventional GPS loaded with Expedition software.

Expedition will import grib files for you for predicted weather, it will take input from your wind gear, it will factor in the polar diagram for your boat and tell you the best course to steer and when to tack even (if you want).

I use this software myself to great effect and it was used on 5 out of the 7 boats that competed in the Volvo ocean race.

Use CMAP-NT charts.

So costs?

GPS - allow $300
Laptop (second hand) - allow $200
Expedition - allow $1200 (I think)
Charts - $500 should be enough for your immediate sailing area (and quite a bit further I should imagine)

All up - $2500.

Hope this helps...

Jack Hubbard

Sep 11, 2006, 7:19 AM

Post #3 of 6 (12395 views)
Re: [kbianculli] Magellan FX324 [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

I have a Magellan Meridian Marine which probably has the same deal on charts and SD cards. The Magellan BlueNav CD is coded so that you can only put one little chart on the SD at a time (and it is a real nuisance to do). It is useless as we would sail off of a chart in a few hours and have to shut down the GPS/Plotter to change a card. Magellan now offers wider scale charts on an SD card for a couple of hundred bucks. It would take two of those to cover my usual summer cruise! I reverted to using the GPS to feed position information to my computer with a chart plotting program below decks ($50 in my case). Raster and vector charts can now be downloaded for free from NOAA so I sail with the latest updates at no additional cost. When a weatherproof chartplotter which will access the free charts becomes available, I will invest in the luxury of having one at the steering station.


Sep 11, 2006, 10:38 AM

Post #4 of 6 (12386 views)
Re: [Jack Hubbard] Magellan FX324 [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

I also have the Mederian Marine--and use it only for emergency navigation. The Magellan FX 324 is a discontinued model and is at least one generation back (I had looked at it several years ago and eventually pruchased several different brands)--You can get much better GPS units which use better charts currently. Look at Lowrance. These are NMEA 2000 plus NMEA 0183, so it will interface now and in the future, It uses Lowrance Nauticpath charts, which are basically the NOAA charts and are quite good, or you can use the Navionics charts. In the long run it will pay to have a better, brighter screen, faster fresh time and ability to update charts.

Magellan's direction is toward the new hand held units, plus automobile navigation, and away from the marine market at this time.


Sep 19, 2006, 9:00 PM

Post #5 of 6 (12304 views)
Re: [Alun James] Magellan FX324 [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

I always wanted an FX324, but thought that the price was high.

I also have a Meridian Marine, and don't find the memory card a problem. I live in South Florida, and the charts are large enough to plan one chart ahead if needed.

The charts are surprisingly accurate, and up-to-date, I can find most anything or navigate very well through areas I am surprised at.

I'm pretty sure that Magellan is out of the marine business, so if you buy one, get charts you want right away.


Oct 21, 2006, 6:20 AM

Post #6 of 6 (12200 views)
Re: [kbianculli] Magellan FX324 [In reply to] Log-In to Post/Reply

Hi, I am picking up on your reference to Navionic gold charts. Firstly please note that I am based in the UK so I dont know if that makes a difference ...for example we dont get free charts from the NOAA !! everything here costs an arm and a leg;-)

I am using Navionics Gold charts both at the nav station (Raymarine C120) and at the helm (Raymarine RC400). The RC400 is wired in using the nmea lead supplied (but considerably extended!!) such that it gets power fed to it constantly - this is essential since I have found that even on a English Channel crossing (approx 15 hours) a battery fed unit will fail in some way.

The space at the helm is restricted because I have a mini-center cockpit 32ft yacht so mounting the RC400 by the helm is perfect - you dont need a large display there anyway it really affects your night vision and I find it is distracting as well.

I have put a lot of info about wiring up this type of configuration on my blog - I can put up more info about the RC400 and connecting up if you wish.

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