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Small boat, inshore fishing - your thoughts on FF

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Small boat, inshore fishing - your thoughts on FF

Old 03-04-2013, 08:36 AM
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Default Small boat, inshore fishing - your thoughts on FF

We've got the old reliable dual frequency transponder units, the newer StructureScan stuff, and CHIRP, from this new budget entry from Raymarine up to units costing thousands of dollars with transponders the size of a boom box.

For a 24' walkaround that fishes in mostly 50-100' of water, what would you be looking at? Budget is near the $1k range. I wouldn't mind a combo unit (FF and GPS), but I don't mind getting separate units either or mixing and matching new and used (newer FF with older GPS).

I have to admit, I'd be a lot more keen on this Dragonfly unit if not for the fact that it has a transom mount transducer.
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Old 03-04-2013, 08:44 AM
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For about $1k you can get an NSS7. B60 transducer will run you about $200. Add Structure Scan for about $400 right now. I think that is about what things are costing right now with rebates.
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Old 03-04-2013, 02:41 PM
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for a budget like you (and I) have for electronics I like the smaller 5" separate units, in a combo the screen is to small but separate just fine and you can get a plotter and FF for a grand or less, at least in Garmin, which is what I have now.

And don't worry to much about the transom mount ducers, if you mount them right the work pretty good.
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Old 03-04-2013, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Brooklyn Greenhorn View Post

I have to admit, I'd be a lot more keen on this Dragonfly unit if not for the fact that it has a transom mount transducer.
From what I see ...the DragonFly will not be best at higher speeds but more in the line of a trolling speed..and those lower speeds may allow the transom mount to be working in better conditions.
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Brooklyn Greenhorn View Post
We've got the old reliable dual frequency transponder units, the newer StructureScan stuff, and CHIRP, from this new budget entry from Raymarine up to units costing thousands of dollars with transponders the size of a boom box.
I came across this not long after writing a rather thorough reply to your similar query in the other thread. With the conversation scattered across multiple threads, it becomes much more difficult to keep it coherent. Granted, that other response was more focused on the MFD/chartplotter side of things; but it's all interrelated, and trying to look at any one piece of the puzzle in a vacuum isn't productive for anyone.


For a 24' walkaround that fishes in mostly 50-100' of water, what would you be looking at? Budget is near the $1k range. I wouldn't mind a combo unit (FF and GPS), but I don't mind getting separate units either or mixing and matching new and used (newer FF with older GPS).
If this $1,000 or so is in addition to the ~$1,500 you targeted for the MFD/chartplotter, your overall budget is in much better shape than I'd thought. Further, at this level, the economies of an integrated system that I'd spoken of before have a real chance to shine. For example, that Simrad NSS8 I suggested includes (the equivalent of) a BSM-1 sounder module in its ~$2K cost; so that still leaves several hundred for a good transducer and installation within your "combined" ~$2,500 budget.

But you you try to get similar performance and features with two stand-alone units, you're going to have a much tougher time meeting your budget targets (not to mention, fitting it all neatly on your helm).


I have to admit, I'd be a lot more keen on this Dragonfly unit if not for the fact that it has a transom mount transducer.
The Dragonfly is too new to count on much of anything. But I will point out that given the "50-100' of water" comment, your need for CHIRP is at least next to zilch. StructureScan, OTOH, could prove to be VERY useful.



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Old 03-05-2013, 12:16 PM
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You vould go this way too ......


https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=119850





Maps and Memory:

Basemap: yes Preloaded maps: yes Ability to add maps: yes Accepts data cards: dual microSD™ card slots Waypoints/favorites/locations: 5,000 Routes: 100 Track log: 50,000 points; 50 saved tracks

Physical & Performance:

Unit dimensions, WxHxD: 5.9" x 6.1" x 2.4" (15.0 x 15.5 x 6.1 cm) Display size, WxH: 3.0" x 4.0", 5.0" diagonal (7.6 x 10.2 cm, 12.7 cm diagonal) Display resolution, WxH: 480 x 640 pixels Display type: VGA display Weight: 1.7 lb (0.8 kg) Waterproof: yes (IPX7) Maps and Memory:

Basemap: yes Preloaded maps: yes Ability to add maps: yes Accepts data cards: dual microSD™ card slots Waypoints/favorites/locations: 5,000 Routes: 100 Track log: 50,000 points; 50 saved tracks Features and Benefits:

CANet® compatible: no Supports AIS (tracks target ships' position): yes Supports DSC (displays position data from DSC capable VHF radio): yes Audible alarms: yes Tide tables: yes Sun and moon information: yes 3-D map view: yes (with optional BlueChart g2 Vision card) Dual-frequency sonar capable: yes Dual-beam sonar capable : yes Split-screen zoom: yes Split-screen sonar/gps: yes Ultrascroll® (displays fish targets at higher boat speeds): yes See-thru® technology (exposes fish hidden in cover): yes Fish Symbol ID (helps identify fish targets): yes AutoGain Technology (minimizes clutter, maximizes targets): yes Whiteline (indicates hard or soft bottom): yes Adjustable depth line (measures depth of underwater objects): yes A-scope (real time display of fish passing through transducer beam): yes Bottom lock (shows return from the bottom up): yes Water temperature log and graph: yes Water temperature sensor included: yes Other:

Frequency: 25-210 kHz (dependent on transducer) Transmit power: 1kW (RMS) / 8,000W (peak to peak) Voltage range: 10V-32V input Maximum depth: 2,000 ft salt water (depth capacity is dependent on water bottom type and other water conditions) Additional: Wi-Fi connectivity: yes
HD-ID tracking technology: yes
Sonar recording: yes
Connects to a compatible Fusion media system: yes
Bluetooth® wireless technology: yes

Physical & Performance:

Unit dimensions, WxHxD: 5.9" x 6.1" x 2.4" (15.0 x 15.5 x 6.1 cm) Display size, WxH: 3.0" x 4.0", 5.0" diagonal (7.6 x 10.2 cm, 12.7 cm diagonal) Display resolution, WxH: 480 x 640 pixels Display type: VGA display Weight: 1.7 lb (0.8 kg) Waterproof: yes (IPX7) Maps and Memory:

Basemap: yes Preloaded maps: yes Ability to add maps: yes Accepts data cards: dual microSD™ card slots Waypoints/favorites/locations: 5,000 Routes: 100 Track log: 50,000 points; 50 saved tracks Features and Benefits:

CANet® compatible: no Supports AIS (tracks target ships' position): yes Supports DSC (displays position data from DSC capable VHF radio): yes Audible alarms: yes Tide tables: yes Sun and moon information: yes 3-D map view: yes (with optional BlueChart g2 Vision card) Dual-frequency sonar capable: yes Dual-beam sonar capable : yes Split-screen zoom: yes Split-screen sonar/gps: yes Ultrascroll® (displays fish targets at higher boat speeds): yes See-thru® technology (exposes fish hidden in cover): yes Fish Symbol ID (helps identify fish targets): yes AutoGain Technology (minimizes clutter, maximizes targets): yes Whiteline (indicates hard or soft bottom): yes Adjustable depth line (measures depth of underwater objects): yes A-scope (real time display of fish passing through transducer beam): yes Bottom lock (shows return from the bottom up): yes Water temperature log and graph: yes Water temperature sensor included: yes Other:

Frequency: 25-210 kHz (dependent on transducer) Transmit power: 1kW (RMS) / 8,000W (peak to peak) Voltage range: 10V-32V input Maximum depth: 2,000 ft salt water (depth capacity is dependent on water bottom type and other water conditions) Additional: Wi-Fi connectivity: yes
HD-ID tracking technology: yes
Sonar recording: yes
Connects to a compatible Fusion media system: yes
Bluetooth® wireless technology: yes
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:30 PM
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Gamin 740s. On sale right now for $999.99. Touch screen, built in antenna. Pick your transducer, anywhere from $70.00 up $1000.00 depending on the performance you need.
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:36 PM
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You can actually pick up a 740 for the low $800 right now .....
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Old 03-05-2013, 01:23 PM
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Your budget is along the lines of my budget, and last year I went with the HDS7. At the time, it was the best value for a 7 inch screen under $1000.

However, this year if I was doing it over I'd look at
Simrad NSS 7 (very nice touch screen unit, with transducer its probably over $1k though)
Garmin 740s (Great GPS, touch screen, decent not great FF, and its a few years old so I wouldn't be suprised if this is dicontinued for a new model soon)
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Old 03-05-2013, 07:37 PM
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I think the part I'm struggling with is differentiating CHIRP and something like StructureScan. If I understand correctly, most FF work with dual frequency transducers that send signals under the boat (different frequencies providing different depths and areas). CHIRP would be the equivalent of the same type of sonar but over a spread spectrum to achieve greater accuracy/resolution (kind of like the difference between an xray and a cat-scan?).

Where does StructureScan fit in? Is it the same sonar but applied over a wider range using multiple transducers? Is the advantage of SS that it covers a wider area, and that CHIRP manages greater depths better? I'll admit, my inexperience and having digested a lot of marketing materials has left me a little unclear on how these things differ.
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Old 03-06-2013, 03:57 AM
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Originally Posted by bluewaterpirate View Post
You vould go this way too ......


https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=119850
Really? A 5-inch screen? Have you been following what this fellow is trying to do?

And besides, until and unless this:
This device has not been authorized as required by the Federal Communications Commission. This device is not, and may not be, offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until authorization is obtained.
stops appearing on that page, it's vaporware.



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Old 03-06-2013, 04:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Brooklyn Greenhorn View Post
I think the part I'm struggling with is differentiating CHIRP and something like StructureScan.
They are completely different animals, with essentially nothing in common save for the fact that they are both some form of SONAR.


If I understand correctly, most FF work with dual frequency transducers that send signals under the boat (different frequencies providing different depths and areas). CHIRP would be the equivalent of the same type of sonar but over a spread spectrum to achieve greater accuracy/resolution (kind of like the difference between an xray and a cat-scan?).
Sort of.

Conventional sonar, in its simplest form, sends out a series of tone-burst pulses, listens for the return echo from each of those pulses, then calculates the depth-to-target from the time it took for the echo to get back to the boat. These tone bursts are generally done at one of two frequencies, 200kHz or 50kHz (some Navico units use 83kHz instead of 50kHz); and the operator can choose which one to use (usually based on the expected depth of the target). Some models support a "dual-frequency" mode where the screen is split and pulses of both frequencies are transmitted concurrently.

In essence, CHIRP uses swept-frequency tones instead of discrete fixed-frequency pulses, transmitted on a more-or-less continuous basis (it's not really continuous; but for purposes of explanation, think of it that way). This effectively puts a LOT more total energy on the target, because each frequency sweep takes a LOT longer to complete than a single tone-burst "ping" from a conventional sounder. For this reason, it maintains excellent target discrimination even at extreme depths.


Where does StructureScan fit in? Is it the same sonar but applied over a wider range using multiple transducers?
No. Not at all.

Both conventional and CHIRP sonar read strictly in one dimension, straight down from the boat. The display you see on the screen is this one-dimensional data, spread over time.

StructureScan effectively "sweeps" its beam from side to side in a 180-degree arc, taking "snapshots" thousands of times per second in the process. The return data is then reassembled via some fancy DSP to form an image which is effectively two-dimensional (because the boat is presumably moving during this process), and which extends for upwards of 150 feet on either side of the boat. In essence, it paints a picture of the bottom. This makes finding bottom "structure" like rocks, ledges, holes, wrecks, etc. (i.e., where fish tend to hang out) much easier. Beyond that, you should study the literature:

http://pro.simrad-yachting.com/uploa...e_LR_03-12.pdf
http://www.lowrance.com/Products/Son...uctureScan-HD/
http://www.lowrance.com/Products/HDS...ctureMap-View/
http://www.lowrance.com/en-US/Products/Sonar/
http://pro.simrad-yachting.com/en-US...-HD-en-us.aspx


Is the advantage of SS that it covers a wider area, and that CHIRP manages greater depths better?
That is a whopping oversimplification, but not entirely wrong.

Also note that StructureScan is not intended to replace conventional (or CHIRP) SONAR, but to augment it.


I'll admit, my inexperience and having digested a lot of marketing materials has left me a little unclear on how these things differ.
Apples and oranges.



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Old 03-06-2013, 05:24 AM
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Really? A 5-inch screen? Have you been following what this fellow is trying to do?

And besides, until and unless this:
This device has not been authorized as required by the Federal Communications Commission. This device is not, and may not be, offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until authorization is obtained.
stops appearing on that page, it's vaporware.
Yea ... I've been following what the gentleman is trying to do ..... have you? Maybe it's time you get your head out of your backside and see some daylight.
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Brooklyn Greenhorn View Post
I think the part I'm struggling with is differentiating CHIRP and something like StructureScan. If I understand correctly, most FF work with dual frequency transducers that send signals under the boat (different frequencies providing different depths and areas). CHIRP would be the equivalent of the same type of sonar but over a spread spectrum to achieve greater accuracy/resolution (kind of like the difference between an xray and a cat-scan?).

Where does StructureScan fit in? Is it the same sonar but applied over a wider range using multiple transducers? Is the advantage of SS that it covers a wider area, and that CHIRP manages greater depths better? I'll admit, my inexperience and having digested a lot of marketing materials has left me a little unclear on how these things differ.
CHIRP is a new way to do traditional sonar. Its display and interpretation are the same. If you are used to using sonar, the only difference will be the amount of detail on the CHIRP screen and how deep your sonar works. Its like TV versus HDTV.

Structure Scan is completely different. Watch the 5th Element, when they reconstruct Leeloo. How they put her together one sliver at a time. That is how structure scan works. It takes pictures and assembles them one sliver at a time. If they boat doesn't move, it keeps taking the same picture and adding it so you don't really see anything but a single sliver repeated. Move the boat a little, and you get Leeloo
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:44 AM
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I guess I need to figure out for my application which might be more useful. Am I summarizing correctly when I say the StructureScan will help me better find structure (obviously, the point of which is to find fish holding on that structure) versus the CHIRP might be better at target acquisition (finding and correctly identifying the size/number of fish and where they are in the water column)?

I split my fishing between Jamaica Bay (saltwater bay that is mostly 10-30' depth and really not much structure to be found) and the south shore of LI (the western end mostly, near Brooklyn), which has it's share of wrecks, artificial reefs and occasional natural structure, in the 20-100' depths. I plan to go further out at some point, once I'm completely comfortable doing so, but again probably not going much farther than 100' in depth.

The only other point I'd consider worth mentioning is the possibility of acquiring bottom fish targets, in particular fluke. I'm assuming that at my price points, nothing will help target fluke since they're relatively small and hold so close to the bottom, but I'll throw it out there just in case.
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Old 03-06-2013, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Brooklyn Greenhorn View Post
I guess I need to figure out for my application which might be more useful. Am I summarizing correctly when I say the StructureScan will help me better find structure (obviously, the point of which is to find fish holding on that structure) versus the CHIRP might be better at target acquisition (finding and correctly identifying the size/number of fish and where they are in the water column)?

I split my fishing between Jamaica Bay (saltwater bay that is mostly 10-30' depth and really not much structure to be found) and the south shore of LI (the western end mostly, near Brooklyn), which has it's share of wrecks, artificial reefs and occasional natural structure, in the 20-100' depths. I plan to go further out at some point, once I'm completely comfortable doing so, but again probably not going much farther than 100' in depth.

The only other point I'd consider worth mentioning is the possibility of acquiring bottom fish targets, in particular fluke. I'm assuming that at my price points, nothing will help target fluke since they're relatively small and hold so close to the bottom, but I'll throw it out there just in case.
CHIRP would be your fluke finder. The merits of CHIRP are vast. With CHIRP you are doing with a $1000 transducer what used to take a $3000 transducer. Go check out this thread if you haven't already: R199 Discussion
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by stiletto View Post
CHIRP would be your fluke finder. The merits of CHIRP are vast. With CHIRP you are doing with a $1000 transducer what used to take a $3000 transducer. Go check out this thread if you haven't already: R199 Discussion
Interesting thread, thanks.

Right now, I'm looking at a few different options, with the pro's/con's as I see them (if I'm wrong, please feel free to violently disagree):

Option 1 - Lowrance HDS-7 w/StructureScan

Cost - roughly $2k after purchase/installation/maps

Benefits - coverage over wider area, better imaging of structure underneath the boat, integration options available should I decide to upgrade radar or add on other units.

Downsides - Might not have the resolution as a FF at identifying smaller fish or fish close to the bottom. Could be mistaken, but looks like it also has a transom mounted scanner of some sort (for the SS).

Option 2 - Raymarine Dragonfly

Cost - $850 after installation and purchase

Benefits - lowest cost CHIRP entry, might be able to provide sufficient down imaging while offering increased target resolution.

Downsides - No integration available between it and other units, unit is brand new and there aren't any reports from the field on it's effectiveness, sold with a transducer that is transom mount (and I personally would rather not TM one).

Option 3 - Upgrade current transducer, remain with 600L, get a new GPS unit

Cost - $800 after installation

Benefits - Lowest cost upgrade, would require only installing a B60 transducer for use with my existing 600L and picking up a reasonably priced GPS for standalone duty.

Downsides - I'm not a fan of the Furuno interface on that unit and it could be that my inexperience or problems with that unit are to blame, not the transom mounted transducer. I'd be sinking cost into a unit that is already well past EOL.
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Old 03-07-2013, 03:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Brooklyn Greenhorn View Post
I guess I need to figure out for my application which might be more useful. Am I summarizing correctly when I say the StructureScan will help me better find structure (obviously, the point of which is to find fish holding on that structure) versus the CHIRP might be better at target acquisition (finding and correctly identifying the size/number of fish and where they are in the water column)?
The summary is not incorrect; but I think you're misapplying it. It's not really a choice between CHIRP and StructureScan. You can do both, if you want to. But more to the point, StructureScan is irrelevant to any decision about CHIRP, because "CHIRP vs. non-CHIRP" applies ONLY to conventional (i.e., traditional down-firing) SONAR.


I split my fishing between Jamaica Bay (saltwater bay that is mostly 10-30' depth and really not much structure to be found) and the south shore of LI (the western end mostly, near Brooklyn), which has it's share of wrecks, artificial reefs and occasional natural structure, in the 20-100' depths. I plan to go further out at some point, once I'm completely comfortable doing so, but again probably not going much farther than 100' in depth.
This is the key. At those depths, CHIRP just isn't necessary. Could it possibly provide a teensy bit more detail of targets holding close to the bottom? Perhaps, at least if we restrict that question to the deeper end of your stated depth range. But at only 100 feet, even that is a bit of a stretch; and either way, it's just not going to make enough difference to be worth putting yourself through all this angst.

Now, if/when you start making runs out to the Hudson Canyon, that would be a different story.



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Old 03-07-2013, 04:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Brooklyn Greenhorn View Post
Interesting thread, thanks.

Right now, I'm looking at a few different options, with the pro's/con's as I see them (if I'm wrong, please feel free to violently disagree):

Option 1 - Lowrance HDS-7 w/StructureScan

Cost - roughly $2k after purchase/installation/maps
If you go this general route, step up to at least the HDS-8 Gen2. The difference in screen size alone is more than worth the incremental cost difference. But beyond that, you also get a second SD-card slot and a row of "Soft Keys" just below the display which make the unit MUCH easier to use (if still not as nice as an NSS8 or NSE8).


Benefits - coverage over wider area, better imaging of structure underneath the boat, integration options available should I decide to upgrade radar or add on other units.

Downsides - Might not have the resolution as a FF at identifying smaller fish or fish close to the bottom. Could be mistaken, but looks like it also has a transom mounted scanner of some sort (for the SS).
You don't need to use the bundled transom-mount transducer, or even buy the unit with that item included. Refer to http://www.lowrance.com/en-US/Produc...DS7-en-us.aspx and http://www.lowrance.com/en-US/Produc...DS8-en-us.aspx. In both cases, look at the little box toward the right side of the page, which lists all the different P/N variations. The versions you
would want are P/N: 000-10531-001 or 000-10538-001, which include "Insight USA" cartography, but no transducer. You would then purchase and install the transducer of your choice (as previously discussed, an Airmar B60 would be near-ideal for your purposes).


Option 2 - Raymarine Dragonfly

Cost - $850 after installation and purchase

Benefits - lowest cost CHIRP entry, might be able to provide sufficient down imaging while offering increased target resolution.
As previously established, you really don't need CHIRP. And you are apparently misunderstanding the difference between Raymarine's so-called "DownVision" and Lowrance/Simrad's "StructureScan" -- they are NOT the same thing! The former is more akin to "DownImaging" found on the Lowrance Elite-7 HDI and some Humminbird units, and is MUCH more limited.


Option 3 - Upgrade current transducer, remain with 600L, get a new GPS unit

Cost - $800 after installation
Assuming which GPS/chartplotter, precisely?

Hard to assess the comparative merits of this approach without knowing that.


Benefits - Lowest cost upgrade, would require only installing a B60 transducer for use with my existing 600L and picking up a reasonably priced GPS for standalone duty.
You're going to need the B60 either way.


Downsides - I'm not a fan of the Furuno interface on that unit and it could be that my inexperience or problems with that unit are to blame, not the transom mounted transducer.
Inexperience may be part of it. But we already KNOW that your existing transducer is the main problem.


I'd be sinking cost into a unit that is already well past EOL.
Incorrect. Presuming you use the "Mix & Match" version of the B60, it would require only a plug-in cable swap to continue using it with a different-brand sounder.



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Old 03-07-2013, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Itteldoo View Post
If you go this general route, step up to at least the HDS-8 Gen2. The difference in screen size alone is more than worth the incremental cost difference. But beyond that, you also get a second SD-card slot and a row of "Soft Keys" just below the display which make the unit MUCH easier to use (if still not as nice as an NSS8 or NSE8).




You don't need to use the bundled transom-mount transducer, or even buy the unit with that item included. Refer to http://www.lowrance.com/en-US/Produc...DS7-en-us.aspx and http://www.lowrance.com/en-US/Produc...DS8-en-us.aspx. In both cases, look at the little box toward the right side of the page, which lists all the different P/N variations. The versions you
would want are P/N: 000-10531-001 or 000-10538-001, which include "Insight USA" cartography, but no transducer. You would then purchase and install the transducer of your choice (as previously discussed, an Airmar B60 would be near-ideal for your purposes).




As previously established, you really don't need CHIRP. And you are apparently misunderstanding the difference between Raymarine's so-called "DownVision" and Lowrance/Simrad's "StructureScan" -- they are NOT the same thing! The former is more akin to "DownImaging" found on the Lowrance Elite-7 HDI and some Humminbird units, and is MUCH more limited.




Assuming which GPS/chartplotter, precisely?

Hard to assess the comparative merits of this approach without knowing that.




You're going to need the B60 either way.




Inexperience may be part of it. But we already KNOW that your existing transducer is the main problem.




Incorrect. Presuming you use the "Mix & Match" version of the B60, it would require only a plug-in cable swap to continue using it with a different-brand sounder.


OK - this is really helpful. I'm a slow learner with this stuff, but it's starting to become more clear.

So the B60 would be useful (save for changes to the connector/pinouts) with either the Furuno or the Lowrance unit. At that point, is there any merit to upping to the B164? Now I'm pushing my budget (but I'd rather spend another $500 and get something that works and works well than drop $2k and find out I'm unhappy).

I dug up a somewhat useful picture of the helm from a distance, from when I initially looked at the boat pre-purchase. I'll have more useful pics, but I was thinking of repurposing the glove box (with the smoked glass cover here) and putting the unit(s) here.

I realize the HDS units network together - at some point, does it make more sense to buy two units (the HDS-5 and HDS-7) and use them as dual screens instead of a single HDS-8? I realize there are other differences (those soft keys in particular) but from a cost perspective, this would break out about even IIRC.

The electronics are currently mounted on the top of the helm, but in thinking about the ergonomics I'm not crazy about that. I'd like to try and fit the new unit(s) in that space.

In reading the online reviews/opinions on the Lowrance units, it seems that there are some knocks on the unit's performance in choppy water. Is that just imaging? Would regular sonar, by virtue of the B60, work just as well as other units?
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