Garmin GDL 40 cellular weather, hand’s-on #1

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

10 Responses

  1. Patrick Harman says:

    I have a Furuno WEFAX on my boat. I appreciate the weather radar loops and the buoy reports both US and Canadian. I still want the surface analysis and the 24, 48 and the 96 hour progs. The 500mb products are very helpful, particularly for predicting storm tracks here on the west coast.
    When I went to Alaska last summer on my boat the WEFAX and my iPhone mostly kept me informed. The additional charge for a weather subscription service which just repackages government data which is free. Even Canada gives their weather information away for free.
    Now if I had a weather station on my boat that transmitted my weather along with scores of other boats in my general area, which was then used in the forecast models, then I would eagerly subscribe to such a service.
    The bottom line for me with weather is in marginal conditions making a go-no go decision. The current subscription based service products just don’t improve much over what I can get for little or no cost. Upgrade your products and you will get me as a customer.
    Patrick Harman

  2. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Patrick, that’s a very interesting thought about serving as a weather data collector. The NMEA 2000 network on Gizmo includes an ultrasonic weather station, heading sensor, and GPS, not to mention depth sounder — a setup which is becoming fairly common. It would seem almost trivial for the GDL 40 to poll those sensors and report the data back to Garmin for sharing on its service (and hopefully with NOAA), as well as collecting soundings.

  3. Dan Freedman says:

    I’d like to learn more about how the GDL 40 compares to Garmin’s XM weather box, which I have aboard Sea Spirit. Specifically, I’d like to learn whether there is any advantage or disadvantage to having one over the other. I’d also like to learn whether they both work together on the same network, or whether having both of them confuses the Garmin MFDs.
    From the article, it looks like the cellular service brings up weather faster than the XM service. However, I would also presume that the XM service is available much further offshore than the cellular service. Other than these two differences, both of which are significant, are there other differences, perhaps differences in the types of weather presented?
    I’m loathe to get rid of the XM box, because of its ability to present weather even when far offshore. But perhaps, if they work together, the cellular box would be a good addition for inshore? Enquiring minds want to know 🙂
    Dan

  4. bwp says:

    The GDL 40 and GXM 51 Smart Antenna can coexist on the same N2K backbone. With that said I’m not sure I see any value if you already have an XM Weather package using either the GXM 51 or GLD 30 series. If you don’t have either system and you are a coastal mariner then the GDL 40 warrants a hard look. The only draw back I see is the wireless network coverage. I fish extensively in the near to offshore waters of NC. To say the least cell coverage in the area between Cape Lookout to Oregon Inlet is tenuous at best. If you fish offshore or transit to your destinations in the open ocean then the GXM 51 system is your best bet.
    As to download speeds to first view, they are heavily dependent on the size geographic area to be viewed (i.e GDL 40 620 x 620 mile box versus GXM 51/CDL 30 North America, the Carribbean, Canadian Martime Provinces displays). The other varibale affectiving initial download speeds is the amount of item data being received (i.e. GDL 40 7 lines of data versus the GXM 51 (master Mariner 21 line of data. Using the GXM 51 the data initially displays as received and some data is a cumlative looped time display of movement (i.e. NEXRAD info, 48 hour forcast etc).
    GXM 51 Weather Subscription displays …..
    http://i676.photobucket.com/albums/vv129/bluewaterpirate/Garmin%20740%20and%20SH%20GX2100%20Install/21MAY11_1434_00.jpg?t=1306237806
    http://i676.photobucket.com/albums/vv129/bluewaterpirate/Garmin%20740%20and%20SH%20GX2100%20Install/21MAY11_1435_00.jpg?t=1306237806
    Can the radar info provided by the GDL 40 be looped?

  5. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Thanks, Tom. Yes, the GDL 40 weather service does animate Nexrad. And note that there are actually 13 data types (lines) shown on the GDL screen collage. I’m not sure that the two lists are completely comparable, but I do think the GDL service may be missing the Fishing, Surface Forecast, and Storm Cell Attribute data that XM provides. I’ll check.
    I agree the GDL 40 is not meant to replace existing XM set ups and is aimed more at smaller, inshore vessels. But then again if Garmin adds the other sorts of services that seem possible — like monitoring and security when tied up — that’s when it might be useful to an offshore trawler guy like Dan.

  6. steverow says:

    That Bluefin Weather App looks great for Android, I must have missed it first time round, but once again it’s US only. What is it with US companies that Europe just gets ignored, do we exist??
    Language can’t be a barrier because nearly every sailor in Northern Europe ie Benelux northward Scandinavia etc speaks and reads English well.
    So what am I missing here? Why does this happen? any answers anyone particularly from US companies??
    Steve

  7. Dan Corcoran (b393capt) says:

    Easy answer. This happens because the government source data is in different formats and/or distributed by different agencies via different systems around the world. So a weather application written to process North American weather data running on a server somewhere servicing Android and iThings, isn’t receiving data for Europe.
    While you could quickly name a product that can get you weather data across a large portion of the glove, it is a specific feature of that product that cost time and money to develop.

  8. steverow says:

    Thank you Dan for that honest answer, so I suppose what we are looking for is some sort of global standardisation for WX and most other things Marine.
    It is such a shame, as Ben works hard to showcase the latest products, and there is some fantastic stuff on here, but perhaps less than 50% of it ever makes it the the EU. really only the big boys stuff. It’s a bit like living in two parallel universes. I dont quite understand the numbers game of it, as there are 1.2 million boats in the UK alone, and perhaps four or five times that in the English “understanding” Northern europe.
    I understand that translations to languages for southern Europe could be very time consuming, and maybe not worth it, but hey I watch these products roll by and think, yeah I’d like that, but most of the time it’s not out there, and import duty and VAT and fedex really stack the price up.
    Such a shame
    Cheers
    Steve

  9. Eric says:

    Plus, how many European Boaters are willing to spend $13 per day for a weather snapshot service? This is the current cost of this service outside of the U.S!!!

  10. steverow says:

    Yes Eric, There seems to be little advantage over getting a 500MB PAYG top-up, and using the UKMO FNMOCS,Meteo France, DWD or Sembach 21OWS sites to get everything you need very quickly.
    500MB of data on most networks for 48 hrs validity is about 2 to 3 pounds or less than $4. You can pay a 24 month contract and get 15GB per month on 3UK network for £15.99 about $20 dollars ish. So that makes the 13 dollars a day look somewhat overpriced.
    Another point that needs raising, is will it be locked to a certain network provider?. Under EU rules, networks and manufacturers must provide a way for Mobile UE to be unlocked to change networks if requested. Some do it for free, some charge up to £15.
    So hopefully Garmin will have recognised this and be providing MNC access via SIM card rather than locked module.
    I think this needs working on a lot more for Europe. It smells like a rip-off to me.
    Steve

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