Kayak electrical systems

-- Last Updated: Dec-02-04 3:28 PM EST --

OK, so the title was a bit of a hook to get you to look... but now that you are here... I will share my daydream and new toy. My new toy is a Magellan Meridian Color GPS receiver and boy is it neat! Ok, I am a gagdetaholic.. deal with it. I love um, and need to own stock in Duracell or NIMH companies.
Gee, consider the AA's used in digital cameras, GPS, VHS, FRS, flashlights, strobes, EPIRB's, portable music devices and a few others I just can't think of right now... maybe my next boat will have a deck similar to a solar cell that would recharge all my batteries. Not a bad idea.
Anyway, to get back on topic, this is about advise... If you like gadgets, get a GPS unit. This one has so many bells and whistles on it, you need earplugs.

Oh, and real men don't ask for directions.... we have gadgets!

I’d be interested
in hearing what features you actually end up using the most.

I have a Garmin Rino, and about all I use are:

*current speed

*total distance

*moving average

*trip average

Here in WV I often lose satellite lock due to the surrounding hills & cliffs, which often renders the max speed useless (71 mph!!!).

The Tracks feature got me un-lost while paddling at Little Deal Island in MD this spring. I had neglected to include lat/lon ticks on the map I printed, and we missed a critical turn. By looking at the tracks trace I was able to determine the need for reversing our course and was then able to identify the proper gut.


The Map Screen!

– Last Updated: Dec-02-04 8:22 PM EST –


My unit has a large basemap (16MB) and unlimited storage on SD flash cards for detailed maps, charts and points of interest. My fear was to be out in a large body of water and get fogged in and not see land or the correct "entrance" to inland water where my vehicle or campsite is. This happened recently where there are 4 slough entrances to choose from and they all look the same in thick fog. Thank goodness I had a hand compass and ended up in the correct one. Now I have a deck compass, the GPS and a backup handheld compass. I like the speed, distance from and distance to features in addition to the map for geospatial relationship, and of course the ability to mark and select waypoints. Being it holds points of interest, in unfamiliar areas, I can locate food, gas, police, fire, hospitals and many other useful things on the map screen.

Map Screen
Hi Jim, I don’t want a get nasty but you should

have looked at Garmin before to buy. I Just purchased the new Map 76c with (115MB).You can almost load up half the country with Maptopo.It is also waterproof and can be mounted on your deck.So far I am very pleased with my new toy.


That is a nice unit…
And I know you will be happy with it. A friend of mine has 76 B&W model. I ended with the the Meridian color because of a great price (now ended). I got the traveller pak with the US on CD’s, a windshield/dash mount, 12volt power cord, computer serial cable, 64MB SD card, batteries, handstrap,… for less that most sell just the unit for. $350.

I have not see a better price on the net anywhere.

super fast processor as well
Yep, it is super fast as well. Probably one of the best if not the best yet. Hope to get one at some point!

Small GPS
Easy to read for time, distance, speed and avg. speed. Been under water a few times and was still running (didn’t give me the depth though). It is made for slow speeds, running and cycling and is more accurate and more responsive then my other hand helds. One neat feature besides retracing track, is the screen displays operating hours remaining on startup. Cost $79 discounted.


Great GPS!
I’m very satisfied with my Magellan Meridain Marine. I would like the color version you have, but I can live with my B&W version. I use a 512 MB SD card in the extended memory slot to store my detailed charts and routes. If you plan to expand to the BLUE NAV charting software, be careful which SD card you purchase; some versions don’t work.

You may want to visit one of the user groups related to this type of GPS at:




I have found a lot of useful information in thier FAQ’s, links, and downloads.


For about $40 you can get a 12V rechargable sealed battery and charger from Cabela’s that will run all your gadgets. I used one to run a sonar on my fishing kayak. It is about the size of a small motorcycle battery. Then you will have an electrified kayak. It could also be used to run a bilge pump or lights. You could even tie in a solar cell.

Solar System?
You may want to review the how-to description for building a solar powered recharging system designed to recharge 10 AA batteries and a Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) battery at the Rouge Paddler:


The configuration described would be able to power just about anything you would want to power, including a laptop from the larger battery and your GPS from the smaller batteries. The article is old, so you may want to consider replacing the LSA with a NiMH configuration similar to what Eric is building (refer to another ongoing P.Net discussion-“Electric Bailer - Part 2”). Going the NiMH route saves weight and space and with today’s technology, is probably just as good. Alternately, you can use a LIPO battery unit, but their safety is still an issue; so I wouldn’t recommend them at this point. They are half the size of NiMH and twice (or more) the power of NiMH.

solar - I use
both of these, pretty handie little unit(s).


or go to http://www.icpsolar.com

and then click on products and then isun

I have it and the battpak

or click on the coleman section for a different version.