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Lowrance LMS 480 Sonar GPS

Old 07-17-2004, 10:48 PM
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Default Lowrance LMS 480 Sonar GPS

After researching boats, motors, etc., etc., we find the boat we like and the salesperson mentions equipment like GPS's, fish finders, VHF and DSC. Will the research ever end

I got a BoatUS catelog and I am trying to read up on these things. The salesperson suggested a Lowrance LMS 480 combined with a Cobra VHF (not sure which model). I know he said it had DSC which sounded like something we'd like to have at our finger tips for safety. Anybody know anything about the Lowrance 480? I also saw online after looking it up that there was single frequency and dual frequency and I'm not sure what the purpose or difference it for.

Any guideance in this area would be greatly appreciated. We previously (years ago) had a Garmin hand held GPS and a REALLy basic $100 fish finder. Things apparently have gotten better technology wise now. Just not sure what, or how much technology we truly need.
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Old 07-17-2004, 10:56 PM
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Default RE: Lowrance LMS 480 Sonar GPS

Lawtyger...your boat is going to look an awful lot like mine

I have the LMS 480...there are pros and cons to using a combo GPS/FF and you have to decide what you want to be able to do. I went with it because I want all my electronics in the box and not on top of the dash. (Lack of space was a problem). I generally keep mine on the map screen, with the depth, speed, water temp and battery volts "overlayed"...if I want to look at the bottom its easy to switch to the sonar screen.

See if your dealer will download the Lowrance maps onto an MMC card for you. I have a 128 mb chip and have the entire state of Florida, GA, NC and SC.

One other thing...get the firmware update done (again...if your dealer has a card programmer its a free download from the Lowrance website and it installs itself). I had a minor problem with the sonar locking up, but the firmware update fixed it. I think the latest version is 1.13

As for the VHF, a decent unit with DSC should run $150-$175. Figure about $110 for a decent antenna. (Digital makes a good one). You might snoop around Boat US and Boaters World...I recently bought a Horizon Spectrum for $130 and will get $40 back on a rebate. The radio sold for $300 not too long ago.
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Old 07-17-2004, 11:13 PM
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Default RE: Lowrance LMS 480 Sonar GPS

Could you go into the pros and cons a little further for us? When you say your electronics in the box and not on the dash, I'm not sure what you mean by the box.

Like I said, we years ago have a very basic fish finder that I don't think ever really worked. The Lowrance and the maps, what exactly does the map show? I guess I'm saying how much detail. The sails person and various sales outlet pages say "these units store up to 100 routes/100 waypoints per route, along with 10 savable plot trails and 1,000 waypoints/1,000 events markers.

I'm assuming waypoints or event markers are for things like your favorite fishing spot. Are routes just a generalized map from point "A" to point "B"? Are "plot trails" differnt somehow?

Here's the really stupid question. . . with our old Garman hand held the GPS would tell us the distance from our spot and the direction to go in, but of course, if there was anything between us (like an island) and where we wanted to go, we'd have to go around and then head that direction (ie. if we went in the direction of the arrow we'd crash into land). With the plot trails or routes on the Lowrance, do they actually guide you through known channels or around know islands or sand bars (I hope that isn't a way in left feild dumb question ).
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Old 07-17-2004, 11:22 PM
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Default RE: Lowrance LMS 480 Sonar GPS

I could explain it, but if you are anything like me, you might do better by "seeing" it...

Go to this link: http://www.lowrance.com/marine/Products/LMS-480M.asp

On the left at the bottom you will see both a sonar and GPS tutorial...

To answer your questions, the "trail" is where you have been. You can follow the line on the screen to get back. You can enter your waypoint to a destination (a reef, mouth of Tampa Bay, etc...) and yes - it will calculate the distance and the time it will take to get there based on your current speed.

The Lowrance maps will show you islands, etc...so you can navigate around them. They also show streets, boat ramps, channel markers, etc... The Navionics maps show depth ranges as well. Personal preference is to use the maps for navigation, and watch the water and use the sonar to keep an eye on the depth.

I just looked at the Aquasport website and the 215 does not have an electronics box. The electronics box is a compartment, usually lockable, that the VHF, GPS, etc...can be mounted in. Take a look at the dash...below the gauges...

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Old 07-18-2004, 07:23 AM
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Default RE: Lowrance LMS 480 Sonar GPS

Thanks, thanks, thanks for the link. . . that was exactly what I was looking for and very informative.

Sounds like a equimpment boxt would have been a great thing. I'm assuming the equipment will have to be mounted on the dash and come off to prevent theft.

Just finished reading the Sonar tutorial so not off to read the GPS tutorial. Sounds like you are happy with your Lowrance. . . is that safe to say? Really appreciate your help. Thanks again.
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Old 07-18-2004, 07:41 AM
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Default RE: Lowrance LMS 480 Sonar GPS

Take a long look at the Eagle 480. Same set up as the Lowrance(made in the same plant) and a helluva lot cheaper. I have an Eagle 320 chart plotter/fish finder, and an Eagle 480 fishfinder and love them both.

I am retiring from charter fishing and chose these electronics for my small boat. I fish for Grouper most of the time and these machines flat work. Yeah, I might occasionally miss something with monochrome display that I would see with color but I've had more than 40 years experience reading DFs and I don't think I miss much.

The Eagle 480 depth finder is better than any paper machine I ever used. Lots of old timers still use paper machines because of their detail.

I would definitely choose stand alone units. If you try to use both plotter and DF on the same small screen, the screen gets mighty small and "busy." The combo units are absolutely fantastic as back up units for both fish finder and GPS, though.
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Old 07-18-2004, 07:46 AM
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Default RE: Lowrance LMS 480 Sonar GPS

I just looked at the Aquasport website and the 215 does not have an electronics box,
Since you have taken a peek at the Aquasport's console, I was wondering what your suggestion would be for mounting both the Lowrance (If I get that brand) and the VHF. My initial thinking would be to mount the Lowrance in front of the steering wheel in that open area which seems to be made for that purpose. Not sure where the VHF would go though (there also / on the side area somewhere)? Any thoughts?

Also, from my reading of the tutorial, I think I better understand the Dual frequency stuff and it doesn't seem that the dual frequency (or having the 50 hz) would be necessary for my type of fishing (will fish in Tampa Bay I would think in waters 10 to 100ft at most - more of a fishing with the family day than a sport, down rigging type fisherman).
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Old 07-18-2004, 08:03 AM
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Default RE: Lowrance LMS 480 Sonar GPS

If you fish that shallow then I would suggest you buy the FF without the transducer. You can get single frequency transducers from airmar that will allow good shallow water performance. Airmar builds nearly all the transducers sold with FF's.


Oh, and there's nothing wrong with combo gps/FF from lowrance either. With my LCX-104C I have been able to precisely locate Sponge Bob.
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Old 07-18-2004, 08:16 AM
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Default RE: Lowrance LMS 480 Sonar GPS

Glad to hear you found the tutorials helpful. I will add that I have learned more about the LMS 480 just by pushing buttons while I am on the water. The owners manual, while handy, is a little lacking in certain areas. (If you decide to install it yourself, PM me...or else you will never get it to work )

I would definitely mount the GPS in the area in front of the steering wheel...since you will be watching it while you are running, you need to be able to quickly see it.

For the VHF, you may want to consider going with a flush mount kit. Maybe below the steering wheel? Not sure you can fit it along with the GPS in that pocket on the dash.
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Old 07-18-2004, 08:17 AM
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Default RE: Lowrance LMS 480 Sonar GPS

Take a long look at the Eagle 480. Same set up as the Lowrance(made in the same plant) and a helluva lot cheaper. I have an Eagle 320 chart plotter/fish finder, and an Eagle 480 fishfinder and love them both.

The Eagle 480 depth finder is better than any paper machine I ever used. Lots of old timers still use paper machines because of their detail.
Whopperstopper, Thanks for giving me another brand to check into and compare to the salesperson's only recommendation. We are beginner fisher's and only been out fishing for grouper for fun. Seems like this equipment may be more than we need, but I guess now that we have our own boat, I guess the fishing skills can increase.

Are there any other brands you can recommend?. We've always heard of Garmin and had a handheld Garmin GPS. Also, you mention possibly missing something on a monochrome display. I thought initially that the color displays were just for looks, but from your statement, do they also locate or display fish better or more accurate?
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Old 07-18-2004, 08:21 AM
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Default RE: Lowrance LMS 480 Sonar GPS

color lets you discern information faster. Theres much less effort involved in interpreting the display when it is painted in distinctly different colors vs. multiple shades of the same color.

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Old 07-18-2004, 08:21 AM
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Default RE: Lowrance LMS 480 Sonar GPS

If you want to go color, the LMS 335C is a good place to start...its identical to the LMS 480 and only a little bit more expensive.
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Old 07-18-2004, 08:26 AM
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Default RE: Lowrance LMS 480 Sonar GPS

If you fish that shallow then I would suggest you buy the FF without the transducer. You can get single frequency transducers from airmar that will allow good shallow water performance. Airmar builds nearly all the transducers sold with FF's.
I'm sorry Sea_dad, I'm a little confused (this stuff is still new to me). I see that a:

"Transducer is the part of the fish finder that functions like an antenna to send out sonar signals (sound waves) and receive return echoes that are displayed as pictures on the sonar screen (Lowrance transducers can be attached to the transom or inside the hull of a boat, or even to a trolling motor using a special mounting).

I thought the transducer just came as part of the Lowrance. Correct me if I am wrong, but are saying it is kind of like an accessory (similiar to how you have to buy an antenna for the VHF) and I can get whatever transducer I want and it will work with the Lowrance?

To be honest, I don't know how deep we will be fishing or how deep it gets in the Gulf (now that we can go out a little farther in this boat). My fiance, who by the way now wants a depth finder that can also find SpongeBob, says that when her and her brother fished, it didn't get deeper than 30 to 35 feet (she's fished more than me in the Gulf of Mexico so I'm hesitant to challenge her on this).
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Old 07-18-2004, 08:34 AM
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Default RE: Lowrance LMS 480 Sonar GPS

The transducer comes standard with the LMS 480 and the LMS 335. I tend to agree that, for where you are going to use it, the 200 khz is sufficient. Its only when you get into deep water (more than 200 ft) that the 50 khz transducer becomes a necessity.

Whatever you do, I would also pick up a handheld GPS as a backup...and don't make the mistake many people make of relying on a GPS instead of a chart. You want to make sure you can get home
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Old 07-18-2004, 08:37 AM
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Default RE: Lowrance LMS 480 Sonar GPS

Just pulled up the LMS 334C and the 330C for a comparison to the LMS 480.

Not sure how important these differences are (especially to a newbie fisherman like myself) but I see aside from color vs. non-color, when comparing the 480M and the 335C there are these differences:

480M 335C
480x 480 vs. 320 v. 240
Skimmer vs. Dual Skimmer
Fish Reveal vs. No Fish Reveal
Speed and Distance Optional vs. Standard

My newbie take on this is that you give up picture definition slightly for color (230 x 240 is still way better probably than what I've ever seen). Not sure in my depth I need Dual frequency. Still a little confused about fish reveal but I am going back to the tutorial to figure this out. And finally, speed and distance are something I wanted and thought the 480 had but the comparison said it was optional (maybe I'm missing something, or just losing brain power from failure to eat breakfast due to all my excitement and the fact that I have soooo much to learn rather quickly).

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Old 07-18-2004, 08:40 AM
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Default RE: Lowrance LMS 480 Sonar GPS

You want to make sure you can get home
That would be a plus We didn't even figure this type of equipment into our boat pricing unfortunately. I wasn't even aware of DSC but now that I've heard of it, it sounds like it is worth the extra money (I'd hate to be in a sinking both as my fiance and I look at each other and say "boy, wish we had paid the extras couple hundred bucks for that DSC thing). I'm assuiming that DSC is something that gets a very positive recommendation.
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Old 07-18-2004, 08:42 AM
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Default RE: Lowrance LMS 480 Sonar GPS

fish reveal is this...

symbols (fish reveal)


and no symbols.



go with the bigger screen.
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Old 07-18-2004, 09:01 AM
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Default RE: Lowrance LMS 480 Sonar GPS

Either unit will pick up the speed and distance via the GPS...if you want speed and distance over the water, you will need the additional paddlewheel sensor. I would suggest you upgrade to the Yamaha digital gauges anyway (probably a $600-$700 option) but you will pick up a resettable "trip odometer" function in the speedo that gives you distance and speed over the water. You will also get a volt meter, and clock in the speedo and in the tach, a trim gauge, oil level lights and an hourmeter.

You want to make sure you get a DSC VHF and connect it to the GPS. That way, if you ever need it, the VHF will transmit your coordinates as part of the distress call. Some of the higher end VHF units will also transmit your speed as well.
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Old 07-18-2004, 09:50 AM
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Default RE: Lowrance LMS 480 Sonar GPS

Parthery - 7/18/2004 8:01 AM

Some of the higher end VHF units will also transmit your speed as well.
as in sinking speed?
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Old 07-18-2004, 10:41 AM
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Default RE: Lowrance LMS 480 Sonar GPS

Good point
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