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Old 06-16-12, 03:50 AM   #1
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Default Fish Finder advice.

Im looking to upgrade my current fishfinders. I have 2 worthless humminbird 300-400tx about all there really good for in my opinion is depthfinders what i would really like is a new Lowrance-Humminbird. I would love to see what the bottom of my lakes actually look like.I dont want to beat my wallet to death its my first real boat and i will probably upgrade within a year or 2. Can i get this feature for around 400-500 dollars or is that well below what i can expect to pay for a unit like this.
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Old 06-16-12, 08:54 PM   #2
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Down imaging - yes, Side Imaging I don't think there are any unit in that price range yet, but the prices on the smaller units keep getting cheaper.
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Old 06-17-12, 12:00 AM   #3
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DI, definitely. The new lowrance units(Elite 4's and 5's, I think) look very interesting and are the cheapest units with these features. HB makes some DI units that can always be found cheap on various sites too. Anyone with reviews of these new Lowrance units?...anyone?...anyone, who might have it mounted to their new yak?(hint, hint).
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Old 06-17-12, 08:47 AM   #4
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As mentioned, getting into a unit with side imaging will cost you $700+ for a 5" Humminbird, probably a little more for Lowrance because you also need a seperate module for SI and they are almost as expensive as the head unit itself.

That said a couple considerations that I've found through my own use of the Humminbird units. I have two, a 798 and an 1197. BIGGER IS BETTER - the small 5" screens are difficult to see, especally in direct sun and almost impossible to read when wearing polarized sunglasses. Split screen mode compounds the difficulty in reading the small screens, more so on the front deck if you're standing up. The 'bird units do have 3 preset buttons for quick access to 3 various views you select. That makes it easy to switch from (my choices) DI, SI and GPS views and avoid splitting the screen for multiple views. I haven't used any of the new Lowrance units but would believe the issues would be the same on the small units regardless of brand (yes, there are more than the "Big Two").

I had a problem with trolling motor interference with the unit on the front deck having the transducer mounted on the troller. My t/m is a MinnKota 36v, I don't know if my problem was due to the MinnKota specifically or the operating frequency of the transducer. I tried to eliminate the interference with a common ground between the cranking batter & the troller batteries and a rubber pad between the t/m & transducer without success. I haven't heard a lot of complaints about this issue and don't know if similiar problems occur with Motorguide t/m's.

One other thing, these units are expensive. If you're going to invest think about the price difference between the small units and the next size up. For me, dropping $1000 (new, retail) on a 5" screen or adding another $500 and going to an 8" would be well worth the money but adding another $1000 to go from 5" to 9" is a bit much. I think the best value, as a user, would be an 8" unit. That's MY thought, the extra money gets a more versitle unit allowing better use of split screen features along with being easier to see. I find the larger screen really shines when using the GPS - I run mine full screen which allows me to zoom in and see the chart (seperate SDM card = mo' money) with a better view of the area I'm running in.

Anolther possible issue, depending upon your boats top speed, would be the SI transducers do not hold bottom at speeds above 55 MPH, or so, depending on where it's mounted. If you can run at those speeds you will need either a seperate transducer or a cheaper unit (which is what I have, so consider keeping one of your older units) in order to hold depth at WOT.

One final issue (and I don't know if this applies to Lowrance), the SI transducer for these units are expensive - $200 +/- depending upon where you buy. I believe all the Humminbird SI units utilize the same transducer, so if one fails it's a much larger percentage of the investment in a smaller unit than a larger one. Not that that is very important as $200 is $200 dollars. I have seen many requests to purchase these transducers (I need a new one myself for the 798 unit which is only 18 months old) which leads me to believe there is a "high" failure rate of the transducers. They are obviously a complicated electronic device, doing multiple tasks at times simultainiously, so possibly more prone to failure. Just mentioning this, as it is possible owning a SI unit may involve rather high maintenence costs. It appears so im MY case and a few other people I know, but not for everyone. These units are still relatively new, and being constantly revised, a track record hasn't been easy to establish.

Hope this helps. These units are fantastic when compared to the old 2D units but at a much greater investment. If your budget allows, then give one a try, I think you'll be amazed at the difference over a 2D unitl.
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