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Boat Electronics Setup - Need Ideas


eyepatrol

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I'm working with a boat dealer to get all my ducks in a row and set such that when it comes time to purchase a new boat, everything is in order.

This will be the second boat I've ever purchased. On the first boat, I simply had one locator put on it. This time, I'm going to have two locators put on it. Before I get into anymore detail, let me just say that I'm a die-hard Lowrance fan, so I'd only be interested in responses regarding Lowrance products...no offense to those who use other brands.

Back to the locators....one of the locators I want on my rig is the Lowrance LMS 332C. This looks like a sharp locator and it has what I need. Here's the dilemma I have...what should my second locator be? Another LMS 332C or something else? Also, if I were to get two different Lowrance locators, where should the LMS 332C go...on the console or on the bow? I'll be getting a Minnkota with the universal sonar, if that helps in understanding some of my boat setup.

Since I'm buying new, I want to make sure I have top-of-the-line equipment from Lowrance. I don't want to spend $3,000 on a single locator, but I have no problem spending $3,000 on two locators, if that's what it takes. It'll all be wrapped into one big loan anyways! grin.gif

Thanks for the help!

bc

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I have a 332c mounted in-dash on the console and a x102c on a RAM on top of the console. I use the 332c for gps only and backup sonar. Each unit has their own transducer, one bedded in the hull and the other attached to the transom.

I also have a graph on my bow, mounted on a RAM right in front of the bow panel - I didn't want an in-dash mount up there.

RAMs are nice because they're versatile and functional, and it's easy to upgrade units in the future.

If you have 1 gps I would think you'd want it on your console, but it really depends on how you fish. It's not very often that I fish out of my bow, if I did I'd have better electronics up there.

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I had my first 332C installed on the console and ran a flasher up front. I liked the 332C so much I had to put one up front too. One option some people do is share the GPS module so it works for both units, there is a network adapter that allows this and it will save some $$. With that said you will not be as accurate on your location. I paid the extra and have separate GPS. Also you need to consider which chip to go with. I have the Lakemaster Pro chip up front and the Navonics on the console unit. I prefer the Lakmaster but I do fish in Canada and the navoncis does have the Lake of the Woods for the Canadian side and also some lakes in WI that I fish. The lake master has FAR better zoom capabilities and if you do not fish outside of MN I would recommend the Lakemaster Pro chip in both. My recomondation is go with 2 332C's!!!! Good luck with your new boat.

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I will second having a 332c on the dash and on the bow, I would also order the extra parts that would allow me to run my ice flasher up on the bow also laugh.gif Nothing like having the best of both worlds and being ready for any situation. I will also add that the Lakemaster Chip Rocks smile.gif

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Thanks for the replies fellas. That's exactly the kind of info I was looking for. I like the thought of having a RAM up front, and maybe even on the console. I'm liking the idea of having two of the 332C's. Keeps things a little simpler...don't have to learn 2 different units.

I'll keep all this in mind. Thanks for the help!

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Im putting a 332 in the boat this year,but if i had the coin to spare id probably go to an x25.There just over a grand at cabelas and offer a little bigger screen and a few more pixels.That being said the 332 for the money is the best color unit that ive seen.....

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I will put a plug in for one of the bigger Lowrance units. I have a LCX-15MT and I love it. The larger screen is nice for running the GPS. I have a LakeMaster chip and it is nice to have a bigger picture of where I am and where I am going to. If you run split screen it is really nice. The other nice feature is that it takes two MMC cards. If you are using a LM chip or Navionics chip you can have another card to store waypoints if you plan on having a lot of them or if you would like to transfer them to a different unit like a H2O. The newer models and the color units of the same size are extremely nice.

The other thing to consider is that Lowrance came out with a new model the LMS-334C. It is about no more expensive than a 332C but it has a built in antenna. IMO that would be extremely nice for a bow mount. No need to monkey with an external antenna and if you wanted to use it for another boat or for the GPS on a wheeler or snowmobile you are set.

As far as learning two differnet units I don't think you would have much of a problem with the Lowrances. The sonar/GPS combo units all run the same. If you know one you know them all.

I guess if I could replace my electronics in my boat right now I would go with a LCX-25C for the drivers seat(I have a tiller and fish from there a lot)$1249 with the GPS and dual freq trans from Bass Pro, and a LMS-334C for the bowmount, $649 from Bass Pro. That is about $1900 for the pair. A savings of $1050 from the $3000 you said you would be willing to spend grin.gif. With some of your savings you could by Lakemaster or Navionics chips for each and still have some change from that $3000! Think of all the tackle you could by with that.

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If you are not going with an in-dash mount, then the 334c would be a better way to go than the 332c, especially for the bow (unless you can netork your units together off 1 external antenna, but on the boat basscatcher wants I don't think you can run wires from bow to console). The 332c and 334c are the same units except for internal vs. external antenna, you will be able to find them for the same price. The 339c is the dual frequency version which is usually $50 more than single frequency.

If I was going to upgrade my bow unit, it would be to a 334c.

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I am a big fan of both Lowrance and Minn-Kota, but I think you may want to reconsider a standard Minn-Kota with a Lowrance Transducer. Anytime that you add a product that is universal I don't have the most confidence in it. I've talked to a couple of PWT guys that have said the same thing. I have one with the universal. It is a great motor but I had to add an exterior transducer to get the best readings.

Jason Erlandson

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Great info guys and I really appreciate it. I'm waivering a little bit now on what to put on the bow. Most of my fishing is done on lakes of 1000 acres or less, which leads me towards putting the 332C on the console and an X135 on the bow, but I'm just not certain yet. If I put the 332C on the console, and put it on a RAM mount, I should be able to rotate it 180 degrees to read it from the bow should I need the use of a gps or lakemap, correct? I know I want the 332C on the console, but am wondering if I'd really need a second unit like this on the bow if I can rotate the one on the console and use that.

Any further suggestions? You guys would know more about this than I would...my first boat only had one X65 on it, so I don't know the pros & cons of having two locators.

Also, I was planning on getting the Minnkota Powerdrive 80lb thrust motor with autopilot. Sounds like the universal sonar might not be the best way to go. Can anyone tell me what the difference is between the cable steer and electric steer bow mounts?

thanks

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If you don't care if you spend 3 grand, I would get something bigger than the 332C. Go with the bigger screen models as suggested earlier. When you split the screen on the 332, it gets pretty small to see. Not undoable, but if you have the money to spend... grin.gif LCX-25C, LCX-26C are a few that are in the 1500 dollar range. Then put a 332 up front. If I were you, I would also have a flasher(vex,marcum) up in the bow. They are great for crappie fishing.

The cable steer is going to be faster to repond. You can turn it on a dime, whereas the electric steer, it is slower. You can't have an autopilot in a cable driven motor though. The cable driven models are also easier going up and down. The electric aren't bad, but you can get the cable ones in and out of the water quick.

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Ram what ever you mount. Second you dont want to be trying to look threw a windshield at a locator on the dash. Mount what you need on the bow. You will be sorry later if you dont. I had to do this before and it stunk until I got my new unit on the bow. Go with a bigger screen unit on the dash and if you have the cash on the bow as well. No such thing as a screen too big but too small stinks in the waves. As said before you can run both off of one puck but I have heard 2 is more accurate.

No matter what ya do error on the side of too much or too big rather than wish you had it later. I did that and it cost me more in the long run. Have fun, new boat shopping is a blast. Heck new anything shopping is a blast til ya have to pay for it every month. grin.gif

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PerchJerker...

Would you know if the LCX-25C/26C would fit on a RAM on the dash of your Reata (since I'll likely be getting the same boat).

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basscatcher - yes, you could fit the lcx-25c on the dash if you used a RAM. But for a couple hundred bucks LESS you could go with a x-102c sonar AND a 3500c external antenna gps (or 3600c internal antenna gps) on your console and have a bigger display in total AND not have to split the screen. That is essentially how my boat is set up. It's in storage now and I don't have any photos of the cockpit to show you, but I think it's a nice setup.

The lcx-25c is a larger unit, I assume heavier too, so you may have issues with the RAM sagging down while trailering or in rough water. It's not a problem with my x-102c (but it's close).

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Last year I bought a Stratos that had an X25B sonar in the dash and I added a LMS332 on a RAM mount on the side of the windshield. That way I could use it from the console and the bow. It does work to rotate 180, but not the best. I was just about to add a X135 on the bow and then I found a great deal on a LMS480. Basically the same unit as the 332, just monochome instead of color. I can also run the 480 and the 332 off of the same external gps until. A nice feature of the new Lowrance networking capabilities.

On the trolling motor, I would go with a cable drive everytime over an electric drive. The cable drive is faster and stronger. My home lake has milfoil and I fried two Minnkota 65 Powerdrives, literally fried them because they send smoke 20ft into the air out of the mother boards, Minnkota was absolutely great about it, but when I bought my Stratos I put on a Maxxum Pro 80 and I love it. There is just one less thing to go wrong and turn as fast as you can move your foot. The only time I miss my Power Drive is when I am in the back of the boat and would like to use the Co-Pilot remote. That was very nice to have, but I will sacrific it to not have to worry about my trolling motor everytime I get in the heavy weeds.

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I have to agree with perchjerker. I have a tiller boat so I had plenty of room but at my old age I like the idea of my gps and locator being seperate screens. On the down side I saw a demo on the X-26 abd it looked usefull to be able to put your cursor back over a spot on the graph and have the gps data available. You are on the right track. Ask lots of questions and do lots of research.

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basscatcher...i have a x-135 for sale used very little....thought you might be interested.

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Thanks for the offer Gary, but I'm about a year away from getting the boat and when I do, I'd just prefer to go new with everything.

I appreciate all the great ideas and responses from everyone. This really helps me understand the various electronics available out there plus the pros/cons of everything. I think I've got a pretty good handle on the direction I'd like to take.

Just one last question though....is it better to get a Minnkota with the cable steer or the electric steer? Would one be more durable and reliable than the other?

Oh, and one more question for PerchJerker...did you get a boat cover and do you have a bow-mount electric trolling motor? Reason why I ask is with my previous boat, I had to dismount the bow-mount in order to get the boat cover to fit over the front end. Wondering if this would be the case on the Reata or not.

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200...paid 380....got a color one for a gift...so im selling this one...also a minn-kota 55pd bow mount for sale...just to answer about trolling motors...i have a transom mount vantage(minn-kota)...80 pd ...very nice for fishing...can backtroll just like a kicker motor..

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I have a 332c and like it a lot...BUT I really, really like the 10+ inch screen on the LCX110c. That is phenomenally better than the 5 inch on the 332c. True, those units are about #2000 this year; but they are so much easier to see. Your boat partners would really appreciate the big screen. As others have said, you can mount it on a RAM and then when you are in the bow, you can turn it to where you easily view it. Just a thought... Maybe size does matter?

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basscatcher - I have a Ranger cover and a Minnkota powerdrive.

Ranger covers are awesome. Lots of people say they're the best you can get, I believe it. No snaps, which I like. Awesome quality. Awesome features, like a velcro flap over the gas cap so you can fill up with the cover on, ratchet buckles that mount to a bracket by the motor so you can get the cover tight, matching covers for the big motor and the kicker, a strap that goes under the center of the boat to stop wind flap, several colors to choose from. Order it when you order the boat and Ranger will make it so it fits over the windshield, rails, and bowmount motor. If you buy in the spring (boat show time) there might have a free cover as an incentive. I bought in the summer and paid for my cover (they ain't cheap).

Regarding bowmounts, I prefer electric steers like the Minnkota powerdrive. I don't do much bass fishing and don't get in weeds or wood very often, if I did then maybe I'd want a cable steer motor. But with cable steers you have a BIG foot pedal that's permanently attached and on the bow platform, and a short cable. With Powerdrives the cable to the foot control is 18 feet long, it's removable so you can stow it when you're not using it, and you can add features like copilot or autopilot.

The cable steer is probably more durable, less electronic parts. But powerdrives are great motors too, I've had them for years and don't plan to switch.

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hj..

Yeah, I'm gonna go with a 25 on the console and a 332C on the bow. Bigger one on the console for times when I'm using the kicker, smaller one on the bow 'cause I'll be sitting right there in front of it.

Perch....

That's awesome. Thanks so much for your help. That is exactly what I was wondering, both on the cover and on the electric motor. I got a clear picture what the cable steer is now. And now that you've described it, I'll be going with the PowerDrive too, 80lb thrust (think that's the biggest they offer). Man am I glad you bought a Reata! HA! grin.gifgrin.gif I'd have to say we got a lot in common when it comes to boats! cool.gif Thanks again. If I have any more ?'s, I'll let ya know.

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Sounds good basscatcher, I love to talk boats. Sounds like you're well on your way to an awesome setup.

Unless you can network your 25 and 332 together off 1 puck antenna, I'd go with a 334 on the bow. Same as the 332 but with an internal antenna, that way you don't have put holes in the glass to mount a puck up there. I'm not sure if you can network from the bow to the console, one one hand it seems like you should be able to, but on the other hand the cooler and baitwell seem like they'd be tough to get around. Maybe with a fish tape someone that knows what they're doing can get through the gunnel from the console to the bow????

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Definitly go with the autopilot and co pilot right away and you won't have to take your foot off the floor. Mine is great and I wouldn't be without either. It's nice to be able to point the bow in to a 35mph wind, set the autopilot and drift slowly to either side or power forward or back without lifting a foot.

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i have to chime in and say i love the auto/co pilot. i have a 70lb on my 20' pontoon boat that seems it is as heavy as my truck and i get up to 3.5 mph on it which is fairly decent i think. The copilot feature is awesome on bigger boats. I can be walking around, letting someone else fish up front, be in the back doing stuff and still controlling the trolling motor. You will find uses for it when you have and think "what would I have done with out it."

I'm currently in the situaiton of having the 330c (predecessor to the 332c) on a ram mount at the tiller. Now I'm trying to think like you what to put up front.

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