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Slyster

Eagle 480 / 480DF questions and help!

11 posts in this topic

I have couple questions for anyone who uses the Eagle 480 line...

1- I bought the 480DF for local metro lakes.. is there any drawback to buying the dual frequency model? I wish I hadn't now. I bought it before I found out that the 50mhz is more for DEEP water.. as in the ocean. Is the standard 480 better in regular local lakes then the DF in any way... or is it just as good? Seem documentation states smaller cones with the DF? I hope I didn't make a costly mistake?

2- I tried it out today for the first time. SO much clutter on the screen at the default "reset" settings. Couldn't see anything.. then I tweak and can't tell heads from tails... either full of junk or WAY too many fish finds with fish alarm- must be false.. can't be THAT many fish in the water... I don't get it... is this normal? or what settings to have to tweak to get it set right?

3- I also seem to have a double bottom image (an echo) which used up half my screen? Is this normal? Any tips on how to avoid this? This bothered me since only 1/2 the screen was showing the actual view!

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There should be no drawback to having the DF model vs. the SF model other than price. You want to use the 192 or 200 mhz setting - as you said, the 50 mhz is for deep water (or saltwater). How deep? I'd guess at least 60 feet, maybe more, before you would even think about wanting to use 50 mhz. And that's only if you want to see detail on the bottom - the higher mhz setting will still tell you the depth in deep water, just won't show much detail. In water shallower than 60 feet or so the lower mhz setting will "overpower" the display.

Make sure you're on the higher mhz setting. Go into the sonar setup and turn off the fish id symbols and the fish alarms. Make sure the chart speed is turned up as fast as it will go. Get in about 20 feet of water and a more or less constant depth and drive at trolling speeds - less than 3-4 mph. If you're still getting too much clutter manually lower the sensitivity setting but I don't think you should have to do this. This should be a good way to start interpreting whats on the screen. Watch how it changes as you move deeper, shallower, go faster, go slower, etc. - just try to make gradual changes to speed and depth so you can learn what you're seeing on the screen.

You could also speed up or decrease the ping speed. Slower ping speeds and faster boat speeds will show you less detail and faster boat speeds will show you more "clutter".

You can always go to the menu option that lets you reset to factory settings, so don't be afraid to play around with the settings. Just start with the ones I talked about and make your changes gradually and try to see what effect each change has by itself.

If you have the unit set to the auto depth range you can end up with what you saw, with only 1/2 of the display showing above the bottom. If you're in a constant depth you can manually set the depth range, but then when you change depths you need to go back to auto or keep changing the manual depth range. Make sure you're not in zoom mode as that only shows 1/2 or 1/4 of the depth closest to the bottom. Looking at the grayline (the part of the display under the bottom of the lake) will show you information about how hard or soft the bottom is, and help you find transitions.

I hope some of this helps - good luck.

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PerchJerker nailed it! Turn off the fish ID and the alarm. The only alarm I use is shallow water. You might want to go to lowrances web site, they have a sonor tutorial that's very informative. What works for me when I get a new depth finder, besides reading the manual several times is to go out in the boat with just the manual (leave the fishing equipment and kids at home) and play with the settings. A few hours of concentrated practice can save you alot of frustration over the season. Good Luck

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You have some good advice there. I've got the 480 DF on my lake Superior boat. I'll use both the 200 and 50mhz split screened. Why the 50mhz, because it has a wider cone angle then the 200mhz and it picks up my downrigger balls. In your case you'll use the 200mhz because its much higher detail. Study the manual then go to Eagles site and download the emulator. You can then familiarize yourself with all the sounders menu and functions on your PC. Eventually you'll not use any auto functions or fish ID and tweak your settings manually.

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Does anyone feel it would be worthwhile getting a 480 (and selling my 480DF) just to increase the 200hz cone from 12 to 20 degrees?? Or will that not make any appreciable difference?

(The dual freq transducer has only a 12 degree cone vs the 20 of the single freq transducer)

That's what I am kicking myself about.. didn't realize that the DF was for deep water/oceans.. I only fish 5-15 feet at any given time!

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I think the single frequency unit would be best for your application if it has a 20 degree cone. I would check with Eagle and see if they have any advice. Perhaps a different transducer is all you need.

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Sly,

Run the unit on the 50mhz mode, and it will display and even larger area (this will be in effect, a 35 degree cone) in shallow water, than the 20 degree ducer you are thinking of buying. I have the 320 and wish i would have gotten the DF ducer just for the reasons that Surface Tension mentioned.

(See page 45 of the owners manual to show how to switch back and forth between the 12 degree and 35 degree ducer angle, in the sonar features pick-list.)

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If you're only in 5-15 feet of water you're not going to be marking much for fish anyway, and regardless of your cone angle (and how big an area of the bottom you're viewing) it will read the shallowest spot in that area. I don't know for sure, but I doubt that you'd see much difference between a 20 degree cone and a 12 degree cone in 15 fow or less.

I'd suggest you play around with what you have until you learn how to use it and read it, instead of deciding you already need to change transducers. I just don't think a new transducer will do that much for you.

Good luck.

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I agree with PerchJerker, you haver to calm down and learn to use the unit you have. Only difference between the 2 is transducer (which is more expensive in the DF). If you fish in 5 ft of water I sincerely doubt you'll ever see a fish on sonar, maybe 1 or 2 but that's it. Your boat draft is 1ft under, your motor 1.5ft, it means there is less than 3 ft between you and the bottom. I don't think any fish will stay there waiting, and at that depth your cone angle is few inches, that's also why you see 1/2 screen of bottom, you are too shallow for your sonar.

If you intend to fish small lakes that are very shallow, your sonar will not help much, mainly to know how deep is the bottom.

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If your having second thoughts about the 12 degree cone angle, for what its worth. I bought a second DF tranducer and mounted that on my eye boat.

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I had better success my second time out. I realize it's going to take a long time to learn how to read the display.. I will work at it. I doubt that the 12' vs 20' really even matters in shallow water like some of you mentioned. Thanks for your time.. I'll go hit the books and water smile.gif

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