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Vexilar FL-8 Sensitivity loss


gill man

Question

I'm using a Fl-8 that I've had for 10 years or so. Seemed like last year the sensitivity was a little less than I remembered it being. The other day it took an unfortunate toss out of my fish trap at about 15 MPH (Oops, long story). Since then the sensitivity has certainly decreased. I have a hard time picking up a 4mm Wolfram jig in 30 feet of water even with the gain turned all the way, or almost all the way up.

The battery is good, and I swapped another battery from a different unit to be sure.

What is the likely cause of the sensitivity loss? I'm wondering if the transducer has gone bad. Unfortunately I don't have a way to try another transducer in the short term...

Thanks for any suggestions.

Tucker

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22 answers to this question

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I would sencond that.I took mine to a elontronic place and they tested it. Bad> If you are in the Citys stop at Vexilar or call or email them.

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Good call on contacting Vexilar, they have excellent customer service, they did a great job with me and my Tri-beam issues. They will get it handled or give you answers.

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People can bash vexilar all they want, but there customer service is AMAZING. People are very nice and always take care of the problem and will usually throw something in with you on the way out. Id take it there if its in the driving distance for ya.

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Your absolutely right Vexilar is the way to go! Best products on the market and awesome customer service! its the only flasher ill ever run!

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I would have to guess transducer as well! If you have a buddie who has a Vexilar swap out the ducers and see if that helps.

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Good to know that you guys are thinking likely bad transducer too. Based on your recommendations I'll give Vexilar a call too and see what they have to say. They sure don't owe me anything. I'd love a unit with a little nicer (brighter) screen and zoom, but this thing just keeps going. I think the BATTERY lasted about 8 years.

I'll probably upgrade some day and will consider my options but Vexilar will be high on the list of considerations.

Thanks for the help.

Tucker

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Transducers wear out over time, doesn't matter which brand of electronics you're talking about -- transducers wear out over time.

Most guys don't see a sudden, noticeable loss of sensitivity like you described, or a sudden complete failure ...... it tends to be gradual, happening slowly over time. I usually replace my transducers after 4-5 years even if they don't "need it" ..... and there's usually a noticeable improvement as soon as I plug in the new one.

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Perch jerker: pulled up vexilar site out of curiosity and a new transducer is 89.00, you're really changing yours out every 4-5years? Guess I've been lucky, fl18 10 years old and have never had an issue, other than replacing the battery. Just curious

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It's not that often that I have electronics for longer than 5 years, but I have had 2 ice fishing flashers that were 5+ years old (one vex, one marcum) and 2 transducers on my boat that were 5+ years old (both lowrance). I've only had an issue with one where it needed to be replaced right away. The other 3 were ones that I replaced at the beginning of the season or early in the season and noticed the difference right away. There were no issues with the old ones, the new ones just worked better than the old ones.

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I ended up ordering a Tri-Beam transducer. Pretty excited to have 3 different beams to choose from as I do some shallow(er) water walleye fishing as well as deep water crappie fishing.

It came tonight, and I did the "hard floor" test. I'm worried that I might have received a bad new transducer. On any of the beam settings it struggles to even read the floor. When it does, the signal is a flickering green line with maybe a tinge of orange. Any heigher than maybe a foot off the floor it struggles to maintain a constant signal. Plugging in the old transducer gives a fairly thick red signal with a double echo with the ducer a couple feet off the floor, and will keep marking the floor to about shoulder height on the lowest gain setting.

I'm fishing tomorrow after work for a bit and will give the new transducer a try but have a feeling this one isn't going to work. Not a terribly big deal but unfortunately I ordered it online so I'm sure by the time I send it back and get a replacement it's going to be a couple weeks.

Wish me luck!

Tucker

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Let us know how it goes, you might have done damage internally during the spill. If you end up going with a new ducer again I have heard really good things about the proview and a lot of guys are switching to that. I have yet to personally try it.

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Has noone suggested that after that many years, the brushes may need to be replaced? I was losing my readings after 15 feet or so and I had recently cleaned the brushes and still had weak readings. I sent it to Vexilar and they diagnosed bad brushes. Got it back in four days, ready to go.

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Cicada, I wondered if brushes could cause it too. I did try cleaning them per the Vexilar instructions this year and didn't notice a difference, but it may need new brushes all together.

Regardless, doing the floor test, the new transducer shows a weaker signal than the original. A true water test will be in order to make sure.

Will update my progress on the pursuit of regained sensitivity.

Tucker

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I did try cleaning them per the Vexilar instructions

Where can this brush cleaning process info be found? confused Thanks.

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This was copied and pasted, so beware and try at own risk:

How to Clean You FL Unit's

Brush Contacts

|

Remove the two screws from the back cover, unplug the power and transducer jacks from the PC board, and remove the back cover. Next, remove the control knobs from the front of the case (the allen size is 1.5mm). Remove the four screws that hold the PC board in place and remove the board.

Using compressed air, blow out all of the brush dust from in and around the wheel assembly and wash the front case, inside and out, with soap and water.

To clean the brush contacts, make a tool by stapling a small piece of fine sandpaper to the end of a popsicle stick. Connect the rear case power jack to the PC board and turn the unit on. Be careful of the spinning wheel! Insert the tool you made between the board and the spinning wheel. Clean the three brass rings until they are shinny. Run the unit for at least 30 minutes at room temperature to re-seat the brushes. This should increase your light intensity to where it was when the unit was new.

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Thanks sounds like it could help on a older unit. Not sure mine needs it yet but good info to have on hand when the time comes. wink

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Out of curiousity regarding cleaning the brushes - what role would they play in a lack of sensitivity? Isn't their job only to show the readout on the screen of what the transducer and unit are marking? I thought the only thing cleaning, or new brushes would do is make a dim read out brighter.

Do the brushes play a role in detecting objects also?

Tucker

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Their still part of the electrical circuit and any time you can have good continuity throughout a circiut from power source to read-out your going to have better performance. wink

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Figured I had better update my findings. Have used the Tri-Beam on a few outings fishing in 25-45 feet of water. The New transducer seems to help. On 20 degree I can turn my gain down from what the old transducer required. Not a huge margin but slightly. One thing I noticed is the back side of my bottom signal is more crisp now. Before the bottom signal would be wide with a lot of "clutter" dancing around behind the bottom line. Now the bottom signal is "narrower" and more of a single, solid red mark. Neither bottom return signal effected performance or usage, just something I noticed.

Anyway, switching from 20 degree to 12 degree cone shows a big difference. Even in 30 feet of water I can read a 4mm jig with a gain setting of 3.5-4 power versus 7 or 8 or so with the 20 degree. I was a little surprised that the 8 degree doesn't seem to be much different than the 12 degree, but maybe that would be more apparent in very deep water fishing lake trout or whitefish.

It still seems like it used to pick up jigs a little easier on 20 degree than it does now, but my memory could be a little clouded about its performance in the last 10-12 years. I'll have to borrow somebody else's transducer when I get a chance some day to rule out any issues with my new transducer. If I see no difference, but they are able to run their unit with less power I might replace the brushes or maybe just send the head unit to Vexilar for them to check out.

Overall the performance is very good in less than 25 feet of water when set to 20 degree and deeper than that works quite well on 12 or 8 degree, which is probably reasonable and expected. Darn, just when I thought I might be able to justify buying a new LX-5. wink

Tucker

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