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redlabguy

This may be wishful thinking but I am thinking about upgrading my boat electronics.

I’ve been using Humminbird for years and currently have a 997c SI on the boat with a Minnkota troller. Last year I saw some Helix systems that look good and I hear Lowrance and Garmin are both putting out new technologies. 

Any wisdom you all can offer? 

 

Dick

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mbeyer

CHIRP

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redlabguy

CHIRP looks good. Big improvement?

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Sushilicious

Panoptix or dont upgrade.

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BrianF

The Helix Mega SI units are excellent.  Probably half my fish last year were caught because of that technology.  Get the biggest screen you can afford.  

 

I’ve got a 360 bow unit attached to my Helix and would never want to be without that technology having now seen the benefits.  You might look into that if you’re a shallow water fisherman who looks for cover and structure and fish.  

 

The new Garmin technology - Livescope - is on my wish list as well, but I’m letting the technology evolve another year or two and thinking about how best to utilize it in open water in the meantime.  If mounted on the trolling motor, the near constant movement of the unit means you lose contact with what you are trying to see.  Same with a fixed position on the boat as the boat drifts with wind and waves and it’s own momentum.  Seems best to have it mounted on a pole that can be easily adjusted for direction by hand, but have no firsthand experience with it...yet.  The Lowrance equivalent to the Livescope was just rolled out and not well received.  YouTube videos will show you why.  

 

Another consideration:  conventional wisdom is that Lowrance customer service is poor, while Humminbird is much better - which was my experience with the two companies as well.  Not sure about Garmin.  The customer service reputation might factor into your decision. 

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gimruis

I have a Lowrance HDS that's about 5 years old and it may honestly already be outdated.  The problem is that most of us simply can't afford to just go out and upgrade our electronics every other year.

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redlabguy

My set up is about 7 years old. Today’s sonar technology is amazing but as I consider spending a bundle ( in addition to other things- it’s about time for the septic tank guys)  it is a tough decision about spending thousands to get new electronics.

You know, if you play golf, today a lot of people have range finders, some with height adjustments. But in the old days, there weren’t even fifty yard markers. You just looked at the shot, the wind, the height, and picked a club and hit it. Most of my fishing was without any electronics. You looked at an area and thought about where the winds been blowing and what might work at the time, and if you caught a fish you tried to replicate the drift or the route to catch another. 

But it’s hard to say no to tech that can help you catch fish. And I use a range finder on the golf course, too. 

Thank you all for your thoughts. More input is welcome because I still don’t know what to do!

RLG

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BRULEDRIFTER

Stay away from Lowrance. Garbage product and garbage customer service. 

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mbeyer

Is there the option to upgrade the transducer and keep screen? Seems like that is where the advances come s from. The screen just reads/ displays the data??

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DJ_Slick

Normally, the electronics inside the unit receive and process the data from the transducer, which is then output to the screen.  The transducer itself doesn't do any of that.  Depending on the age of the unit, the internals may not be capable of processing the signal from a newer-technology transducer.

Think of it like this: if you have an old school flasher and you hook up a transducer from a side-scan unit, does the flasher work "better" ?  More likely, it doesn't work at all.  The technologies have to be compatible.  Just because your unit has an LCD display doesn't mean the circuit board inside knows how to "talk" to the new transducer.

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delcecchi

The prices of sonar units are insanely high as compared to other sort of similar consumer electronics devices, for a number of reasons.    Fortunately competition seems to be actually working and the various makers are coming out with new lines at a more affordable price to complement their cadillac or maybe I should say ProV lines.   

 

I'm a cheapskate, but it seems to me that getting at least one 'bird unit to run an ipilot link would be a good idea.    The live, maps on the fly, feature seemed really cool when I fished with another guy that had it.  

 

I really can't comment about chirp or side imaging or mega or any of the other newer features since I have no experience with them. (see Cheapskate, above)

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gimruis
23 hours ago, BRULEDRIFTER said:

Stay away from Lowrance. Garbage product and garbage customer service. 

 

Can you be more specific Bruledrifter?  I've had nothing but Lowrance electronics since I started fishing over 20 years ago and I've never encountered a malfunction or other issue.  So I guess I can't comment on their customer service.  The primary reason I continue to use them is because I am very familiar with their operating system too.

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IceHawk
33 minutes ago, gimruis said:

 

Can you be more specific Bruledrifter?  I've had nothing but Lowrance electronics since I started fishing over 20 years ago and I've never encountered a malfunction or other issue.  So I guess I can't comment on their customer service.  The primary reason I continue to use them is because I am very familiar with their operating system too.

Have to second that I have three Lowrance units in my boat as we speak and have run Lowrance products for many years. I personally am real happy with them. I've heard a few things about customer service over the years but as far as I know those issues have been taken care of. 

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BRULEDRIFTER
Posted (edited)

I bought a Hook 7 a few years ago and it's never worked properly.  It freezes up constantly, the GPS doesn't keep up, the down imaging is garbage, it's the same image you get from the regular sonar, just a different color.  No where near the clarity or definition it was apparently supposed to have.  

 

I feel like I got robbed by them. Lowrance won't do anything unless I give them a bunch more money, so I'm stuck with a $500 unit that doesn't work.  I've heard many of the same complaints about their units and customer service as of late as well, so I guess I'm a little salty towards them now.  

 

It seems Hummingbird is the unit leading the charge, so my money would go to them.  I'm hoping I can upgrade soon, but I will have to continue to use a faulty, inoperable unit until I can afford to drop another pile of money on another graph. 

 

I also bought an ice transducer for it to try and convert it to an ice fishing graph and that was a joke, too.  I took it out lake trout fishing and was in around 40 ft in clear water and it barely picked up bottom and no matter what settings I used, the screen was cluttered and grainy. I fortunately was able to return the ice ducer for it. 

 

It's just been a bad deal all around, so I will definitely no longer support them, nor would I recommend their products to anyone else. 

Edited by BRULEDRIFTER

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gunner55
Posted (edited)

Nothing but Lowrance here too, all we've ever ran. Did have 1 with the old blue 5 or 7 pin transducer connectiors on it that just about did or actually did  put them into bankruptcy. Think someone else (Simrad)  owns them now. Put a new transducer on it & it was fine. Like others have said I mainly stick with them because I know how their controls work. 

Edited by gunner55

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bopper4

I upgraded to a helix 10g2 last year and absolutely love it! I also Have a garmin on the bow. While I like the sonar I like the mapping of the hummingbird better. 

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gimruis

That's fair Bruledrifter.  If I had an experience like that I'd be sour too.

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BRULEDRIFTER
23 hours ago, gunner55 said:

Nothing but Lowrance here too, all we've ever ran. Did have 1 with the old blue 5 or 7 pin transducer connectiors on it that just about did or actually did  put them into bankruptcy. Think someone else (Simrad)  owns them now. Put a new transducer on it & it was fine. Like others have said I mainly stick with them because I know how their controls work. 

 

When did this happen?  What unit did you have?  The unit I have is a blue transducer with the blue connector (not sure how many pins it has).  

 

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PRO-V

I switched my GPS and sonar from Lowrance to Garmin a few years ago and haven't looked back.

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gunner55
16 hours ago, BRULEDRIFTER said:

 

When did this happen?  What unit did you have?  The unit I have is a blue transducer with the blue connector (not sure how many pins it has).  

 

It was a long time ago( '07) as it was our 1st color unit, LMS 520c, & I'am almost positive that they quit making those transducers  not long after. Pretty sure they didn't come out with the Hook series until well after this. 

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Getanet

I wanted a cheap fish finder for our family pontoon. We're on a 250 acre lake and the pontoon won't be used anywhere else, so I didn't need anything fancy. I was pretty sure I'd buy a lower end Lowrance or Hummingbird that were on sale, but wound up going with a Garmin Striker 4. It seemed to have a lot more features, and even though we don't need the GPS for navigation, being able to track your trolling speed is a nice option.

 

Just picked it up this week so we'll see how it goes once it''s installed and the pontoon is in the water. The only bad thing I read in the reviews was people saying the screen can't get wet. A lot of the reviewers use it on their Kayaks - so I'm hoping they mean it can't get submerged or really soaked. I can't imagine any fish finder not being able to get a little rain on it or morning dew.

 

Anyway, I know was picking from low end models, but I was more impressed with Garmin that I thought I would be.

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Raven77

Humminbird vs Lowrance is like debating Ford vs Cheyv trucks.  Both make great products.  It largely boils down to personal preference and what you are used to.  I have had nothing but Humminbird in my boats so that's what I prefer.  I have a 9" Helix in the bow and another in the console.  Just added a Helix 12 CHIRP SI on a Ram mount and have all 3 linked via ethernet.  Love the link to the Ulterra trolling motor and remote control.  To each their own.

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delcecchi
On 4/10/2019 at 3:55 PM, gunner55 said:

Nothing but Lowrance here too, all we've ever ran. Did have 1 with the old blue 5 or 7 pin transducer connectiors on it that just about did or actually did  put them into bankruptcy. Think someone else (Simrad)  owns them now. Put a new transducer on it & it was fine. Like others have said I mainly stick with them because I know how their controls work. 

I had both an lms 33x (don't remember last digit) and an lms 53x.   They were both crap and didn't last.  I think that is the series that sent them into chapter 11 and simrad.    My elite units have been fine (some people never learn..)  The transducers with the blue plug were also junk.  

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SkunkedAgain

Think of how much beer you could buy for the price of the electronics?!?  😎

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gunner55
6 hours ago, delcecchi said:

I had both an lms 33x (don't remember last digit) and an lms 53x.   They were both crap and didn't last.  I think that is the series that sent them into chapter 11 and simrad.    My elite units have been fine (some people never learn..)  The transducers with the blue plug were also junk.  

Actually I did a little investigating & Lowrance, Simrad, B&G, & 1 other company are all part of Navico. They are in turn partners with Navionics which is a Garmin company. We found an Airmar transducer from somebody down in Florida & ours worked fine after that.

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