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Old 02-07-2012, 09:46 AM
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Default HDS-8 with stock transducer or Garmin 740s with Airmar B60-20 ?

So I am currently using a Raymarine 435 chartplotter and Garmin 340c fishfinder.
The Garmin 340c is connected to an Airmar B60-20 thru-hull transducer.

My question is, which will produce a higher quality sonar reading for me?

An HDS-8 unit with the stock lowrance 83/200 transom-mount transducer
Or a Garmin 740s plugged into my thru-hull Airmar B60-20

From what I have read on here the HDS units operate differently and do not require as much power to get a high-quality reading. And if I am not mistaken, work well with the supplied transducer.

I typically fish offshore bottom less than 250 feet and typically run my 340c at 200kHz with pretty good results. I can run at 40mph and still track bottom.

I am looking to add satellite weather this year, hence the upgrade(s).

Thanks for the help/advice!
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Old 02-07-2012, 11:01 AM
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I think you would be better off with the 50/200 transducer, especially if you are bottom fishing in 250' water. The 83/200 is better suited in 150' or less according to everything I have seen. As for sounders, I presonally feel the Lowrance offers a better sounder than Garmin when it comes to the entry level to mid level units. That is one of the reasons I pulled my 740S out and replaced it with the HDS-10 Gen2. This however is not the case if you are willing to spend the $$$ on one of Garmin's network plotters that can accept the new GSD26. From what I have read Garmin has a nice unit here but sadly it is just out of my price range and much more that I need.

Don't get me wrong, the 740S is a nice plotter an I DO like Garmin's maps alot however it's weakness in my opinion is that it is not networkable and upgrades are limited.
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Old 02-07-2012, 11:03 AM
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Most of the time I bottom fish the 60' reef, or the 120'
Sometimes we hit the 180 stuff out to 230-250, but that is the max limit.
Most of the time I'm in less than 120 when bottom dropping.

So you think the Lowrance 50 or 83/200 transducer with the HDS-8 would product more detail than the 740s with the Airmar B60?
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Old 02-07-2012, 11:21 AM
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If it were me I would probably take a moment and call Jim at BOE marine or you can post to him in the forum and ask his opinion. I am sure he would be happy to help.
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Old 02-08-2012, 09:18 AM
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Lowrance can use the existing B60... I'm 99% sure the guts are the same and you might just need an adapter cable or a new plug. That's what I would do.
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Old 02-08-2012, 10:22 AM
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Yeah I emailed Airmar and they told me I can cut the end off and attach a Lowrance connector. I would just loose water temp, but I could install a separate NMEA sensor for that.

Why would you go with the Lowrance? I'm trying to get some input here into which combination would give me the best results.

Thanks.
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:44 PM
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I advised Lowrance because it seemed that's what you really wanted but were afraid the OEM transducer was not cutting it. Using it with the B60 is a significant upgrade, and then you no longer needed to choose between the preferred display unit and the better transducer.

I personally feel the sonar capabilities of the Lowrance are better than the Garmin, when using comparable transducers.
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:39 PM
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I've got an HDS-8 with the stock 50/200. I only go to the 50 when it is > 350' or I want to search a larger area (but now I use side scan for that).

I get great bottom with 200 (just narrower footprint) in well over 200'. Offshore, I even like the 200 ( > 1,500') since I'm not looking for bottom, but detail in the 50-150' range.

I've compared it to my friends Garmin. Both are nice. My HDS has a better sonar (maybe I know how to use it better), his overall unit may be a little easier and has better charting. I also like that the HDS has the sounder built into the unit; no need for another black box.

Adding the side-scan and radar was very easy. Sounds like you may have some of that already.


Side question - is the Garmin a touch screen? If so, how do you keep the screen clean? Fingerprints always bug me. I asked the Simrad guy about it and he said it can get dirty. Fixable, but I like my buttons, particularly when it is cold and I've got gloves on.
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Old 02-09-2012, 05:25 AM
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Yeah I believe the Garmin is a touch screen unit. I don't particularly care for touch screen stuff myself. Thanks for the insight. So the side scan feature works well in water 140-230ft?
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Old 02-09-2012, 10:58 AM
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What do you guys think about the Raymarine A57D or A70D against these two units. It was suggested by a knowledgeable forum member. Is anyone using this Raymarine "digital" sonar? How well do you think it would perform connected to the B60?
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Old 02-09-2012, 11:46 AM
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For a standard sonar using the same transducer, among your brands, I'd choose Raymarine>Lowrance>Garmin.

Of course, you're buying a combo unit so how it performs as a chartplotter, what peripherals or black boxes are available to expand its capabilities, etc are also considerations. If you wanted just a great stand-alone sonar to pair with your B-60, I'd throw the Furuno FCV620 in your list. It's the old faithful for a standard sonar... you're not going to do better out of the box, IMHO, unless you upgrade to a black-box unit and spend a lot more money.
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Old 02-09-2012, 11:51 AM
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I need satellite weather, that's the problem...
So I'm trying to choose an all-in-one unit, and possibly upgrading my sonar capabilities in the process.
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Old 02-09-2012, 02:27 PM
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I really like my HDS unit alot. I don't have a problem with a touch screen but for me it is easier to use the arrow keys to navigate around the screen versus dragging my finger. I have not used it yet but I think I am going to love the Structurescan especially with the type of fishing I will be doing. I will be fishing fresh water, inshore, as well as several offshore reefs and wrecks. In fact the reason I bought a smaller boat was to allow me to more easily travel from place to place compared to having my bigger boat at the outer banks only.
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