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Airmar b256 vs b260

Old 07-24-2005, 03:08 PM
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Default Airmar b256 vs b260

Has anyone had a chance to compare these two? I am looking for a transducer to use with a Furuno BBFF1. I fish in the SF Bay Area and I am usually fishing in less than 300 feet of water. Which of these will give better performance in shallow water? B260 owners, any complaints about performance in shallow water?
Old 07-24-2005, 07:05 PM
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Default Re: Airmar b256 vs b260

To me the break point is near to 100FT, the B256 may be a little better for shallow water, but if you spend the majority of your time fishing in 100ft or greater get the 260. If not, it is almost a tossup. They work OK in shallow water but even in 200Khz anything under 30ft is kinda funny looking, even with the gain turned waaaaay down. I turned on speed assisted chart draw speed and that has helped immensely.
Old 07-24-2005, 07:58 PM
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Default Re: Airmar b256 vs b260

I'm not clear. Are you saying that both the B256 and B260 are sketchy under 30ft? Or, are you saying only the B260 is sketchy under 30ft?
Old 07-24-2005, 08:14 PM
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Default Re: Airmar b256 vs b260

Any 1KW ducer is going to be sketchy under 30FT. They will read bottom fine as far as depth, mine doesn't really wig out until about 6ft, but they definition kinda gets fuzzy and it is hard to find smaller ledges. They just lose any advantage over cheaper ducers. They do not read zero or stop functioning.
Old 07-25-2005, 09:30 AM
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Default Re: Airmar b256 vs b260

There is really only one significant parameter where the B256 beats out the 260 and that is in depth performance at 200kHz. It will read deeper. And, its smaller/less expensive. In every other way the 260 series has better performance. Even though the 260 is less sensitive at 200khz, its target discrimination is better, the beam is better defined, and its ringing is less.
I've got a 582 and the NAV screen locks you into the 200khz mode for depth reporting. That's about the only mode of operation where the 256 squeeks out some advantage. I haven't seen proof of this yet, but the specs lead me to believe that the 260, with its lower Q, could actually read bottom in shallower water than the 256.
Old 07-25-2005, 02:06 PM
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Default Re: Airmar b256 vs b260

200Khz is really only useable to depths of around 350' or less. The 256 gives better performance at 200kz than the 260 does. After depths exceeding 350' the 260 starts to become the better transducer because it is tweaked for 50Khz operation.

So if you fish primarily at depths greater than 350' go with the 260. If you fish shallower than 350' go with the 256. If you want to target things at depths shallower than 20' you need a single frequency transducer, neither the 256 or the 260 will perform adequately at very shallow depths.

per Peter Bennet of Airmar.
Old 07-25-2005, 03:32 PM
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Default Re: Airmar b256 vs b260

I can’t compare the 256 to the 260 but I have the M260 and it is fantastic in shallow water. This is what Airmar told me when I asked about the 260 in shallow water “Performance in shallow water has more to do with the ability of the echosounder. If the sounder is able to have power, gain and sensitivity manually reduced properly for shallow water performance the transducer should be able to provide depth readings as shallow as 3'.” I reliably read as shallow as 3.5’ connected to a Lowrance LCX104C with the settings on automatic and have read down to 1.5’. As far as interference goes, I do get some minor interference on the LCX104C with the M260 when I have the upper helm LCX15MT with a transom mounted transducer turned on. I would have thought the M260 would have overpowered the regular transducer signal but it doesn’t. Good luck.
Old 07-26-2005, 02:21 AM
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Default Re: Airmar b256 vs b260

Thanks for the input, guys. Airmar is telling me the same thing they told Beachbum -- they swear that the B260 is superior to the B256 at all depths, shallow and deep. I am going to go with the B260.
Old 02-04-2009, 10:59 AM
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Default Re: Airmar b256 vs b260

so... did you install the B260??? how do you like it???
Old 02-04-2009, 10:44 PM
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Default Re: Airmar b256 vs b260

I may have a 260 for sale here soon, if I can make up my mind what I want to do...older style w/ 50 and 200 freqs on separate wires...Originally had a Northstar plug, now a Furuno plug going to a FCV271, 50 khz box... That I am getting rid of also..Hard for me to make that ducer work w/Garmins GSD22, can be done but will lose temp...
Old 02-05-2009, 05:36 AM
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Default RE: Airmar b256 vs b260

Airmar states that the B260 is the best performing ducer they sell!
Old 02-05-2009, 06:10 AM
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Default Re: Airmar b256 vs b260

When talking about the best performing Airmar transducer don't forget R199, R299 and R399
Old 06-30-2009, 08:06 PM
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I just installed the B260 thru hull with high speed fairing block along with Lowrance LCX-28HD and broadband sounder. I previously had the B256 and it was mounted directly in the center of the hull on a flat spot about 4ft infront of the propeller. I have a I/O with a bravo 1 drive. It reads fine on the 200kz setting down to 250ft. The B260 is giving me the same problem as the B256. It does not read in deep water below 300ft on the 50kz setting. Sometimes I can see the bottom but it isn't reading the depth, this is always blinking. Sometimes it reads fine between 700ft and 2000ft. What can I do with the setting to sort this out?
Old 07-01-2009, 05:31 AM
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Originally Posted by flyboy911 View Post
Airmar states that the B260 is the best performing ducer they sell!
I ams sure they are speaking about 1kw units, the 2 kw R199 and 3 kw R299 & R399 are significantly better than the 260 - also 3-4x the price.
Old 07-01-2009, 06:00 AM
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I run an M260 in some shallow water (6' and under) and can say that it works great. Very accurate.
Old 07-01-2009, 06:16 AM
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Originally Posted by khislop007 View Post
I just installed the B260 thru hull with high speed fairing block along with Lowrance LCX-28HD and broadband sounder. I previously had the B256 and it was mounted directly in the center of the hull on a flat spot about 4ft infront of the propeller. I have a I/O with a bravo 1 drive. It reads fine on the 200kz setting down to 250ft. The B260 is giving me the same problem as the B256. It does not read in deep water below 300ft on the 50kz setting. Sometimes I can see the bottom but it isn't reading the depth, this is always blinking. Sometimes it reads fine between 700ft and 2000ft. What can I do with the setting to sort this out?
It doesnt sound like a transducer problem sounds like a ducer location problem or the unit it is connected to. Have you tried manual settings? I have been running a B260 for three years and It does a fantastic job at all depths.
Old 07-01-2009, 06:45 AM
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From what I understand the B260 has separate elements for 50 and 200 hertz, while the B256 shares elements for both frequencies. The separate elements are supposed to give better definition since they are dedicated for a single frequency.
Old 07-02-2009, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by offshore3144 View Post
It doesnt sound like a transducer problem sounds like a ducer location problem or the unit it is connected to. Have you tried manual settings? I have been running a B260 for three years and It does a fantastic job at all depths.
I spoke with airmar and they told me to set it in manual mode and so on but it still doesn't work. I put it in fully automatic with the fish symbols setting and it works excellent for now. I don't really like using the fish symbols because I want to use it properly and not only that but it seems like that setting is for novices.

On the 200kz setting I can now read from 4ft to 300ft fine and from 400ft to 1400ft just fine and on the 50kz setting I can read from 1200ft to 2500ft good also.

I want this unit fine tuned to read from 100ft to 800ft because I do a lot of high speed trolling for wahoo on the edge of the drop off.

Like what you said it could be just the Lowance itself. I may change out to Furuno in the future if I can't get it to work.
Old 07-02-2009, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by offshore3144 View Post
It doesnt sound like a transducer problem sounds like a ducer location problem or the unit it is connected to. Have you tried manual settings? I have been running a B260 for three years and It does a fantastic job at all depths.
I spoke with airmar and they told me to set it in manual mode and so on but it still doesn't work. I put it in fully automatic with the fish symbols setting and it works excellent for now. I don't really like using the fish symbols because I want to use it properly and not only that but it seems like that setting is for novices.

On the 200kz setting I can now read from 4ft to 300ft fine and from 400ft to 1400ft just fine and on the 50kz setting I can read from 1200ft to 2500ft good also.

I want this unit fine tuned to read from 100ft to 800ft because I do a lot of high speed trolling for wahoo on the edge of the drop off.

Like what you said it could be just the Lowance itself. I may change out to Furuno in the future if I can't get it to work.

Also since I added the high speed fairing block it is causing cavitation and when I turn it stalls my engine right down. So to solve that I am going to have it flush mounted.
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Old 07-02-2009, 01:27 PM
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Mine is in a pocket mount. I can remove it from the cavity if I have too. Here is a photo...Mark


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