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Old 03-23-2015, 09:31 PM   #1
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Advice on electronics please

Greetings again all, the sounder on my vessel crapped out recently and I have been looking at the sounder/chartplotter packages available from Garmin, Humminbird etc however I was hoping for some first hand recommendations from those using them. The trawler will be used for GOM trips for the next 12 months (to gain more experience) then relocation to Ecuador so the surrounding waters including the Caribbean are foreseen. The downvu and sidevu on the Garmin look interesting however others have similar features hence my confusion between models and features.

Just to complicate things the boat has an older Furuno radar which I doubt would tie in to anything modern although I remain hopeful...

any advice or opinions appreciated !
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Old 03-23-2015, 09:43 PM   #2
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Well if you want first class equipment go with Furuno.

The Garmin and Humminbird stuff is nice though. Unless you are going to be fishing or diving I'm not sure if you really need any of the side scan stuff.

For basic depth readings and bottom pictures they all work well.

But for bang for you buck it's hard to beat the Standard Horizon plotter/sounder units. Nice units and very user friendly.
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Old 03-23-2015, 09:48 PM   #3
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Sounds like all you need is something simple. A Garmin 741xs and a transducer for your dead rise will do. Like Bill said unless you're fishing the sides can won't be of your use.
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Old 03-23-2015, 09:54 PM   #4
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I should have said - yes I will most certainly doing a lot of fishing...
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Old 03-23-2015, 10:10 PM   #5
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If you have engine controls in you cockpit then being able to take a good sounder from the helm back there and plug it in is great for fishing.

In terms of chartplotters, for inside helms a PC based system such as Nobletec or Coastal Explorer is worth considering as you can get a nice big screen and really good ease of use (scrolling, zooming etc) for nav.
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Old 03-23-2015, 10:12 PM   #6
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I should have said - yes I will most certainly doing a lot of fishing...

With the 741xs all you have to do is get a chirp ducer then. Or if you get a Furuno, they make a Chirp box for their line, I just put a non chirp box in but haven't been able to test it as we're installing the ducer next month.
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Old 03-24-2015, 02:37 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by AussieCraig View Post
Greetings again all, the sounder on my vessel crapped out recently and I have been looking at the sounder/chartplotter packages available from Garmin, Humminbird etc however I was hoping for some first hand recommendations from those using them. The trawler will be used for GOM trips for the next 12 months (to gain more experience) then relocation to Ecuador so the surrounding waters including the Caribbean are foreseen. The downvu and sidevu on the Garmin look interesting however others have similar features hence my confusion between models and features.

Just to complicate things the boat has an older Furuno radar which I doubt would tie in to anything modern although I remain hopeful...

any advice or opinions appreciated !
You did not say if you were going to use it for fishing or just simple depth depth measurement.
For depth only, Airmar makes a series of transducers called the SMART series that has no box. You just mount the T/D, connect it to 12VDC and it outputs digital depth sentences about once per second in NMEA 0183 or N2K (depending on the model) to your chartplotter. What you dont get is a trend showing fish arches like a typical fish finder chart.
Side scan transducers have limitations such as needing un-obstructed "view" mounting position for 180 degrees surface-to-surface. Things like keels, props, rudders, and vee hulls get in the way. You wind up with a great view to one side, but a greatly reduced view of the other. Another problem is turbulance. Side scans barely function at speeds over 5 knots with best images less than 3 knots. If you see those beautiful pictures in the advertising for the side scan units, take note of the speed.
Down view have the same speed restrictions as side scan. Image clarity diminishes with speed.

"Chirp" units are top-of-the-line fishfinding machines for a premium price.
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Old 03-24-2015, 11:16 AM   #8
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AussieCraig,
Sounds like you never gave a thought to getting your sounder repaired.

Sounders are something I insist on having two of. I bought a high end sounder (Ray Marine) that has large didgital numbers on it's display. Frequently in shallow water I like to be able to give an extremely quick glance at the sounder and big numbers allow that. Then I can concentrate on what's beyond the bow.

Are two cheap sounders better than one average sounder? I don't know. My 2nd is a quality product but my cheap sounder that came w the boat has never failed. Perhaps it's not as cheap as I had thought. It's actually a "fish finder" and I like one of my sounders to be such as I can tell much about the bottom scoping an anchorage w even a basic fish finder. My "one boat buck" sounder gives only a large liquid crystal display and I really like that. So for the bucks expended I've got just what I want.

As for other electronics I like single function dedicated instruments.
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Old 03-24-2015, 12:22 PM   #9
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As for other electronics I like single function dedicated instruments.
Interesting as all the plotter and instrument manufactures are going to integrated devices which means plotters show all your info on one screen. The aviation community went that direction 2 decades ago.

However I also like the redundancy of single integuments. In an integrated system if you loose the plotter you loose everything. I suspect though, if you're going to upgrade everything, it will be cheaper to go with the integrated stuff in the near future if it isn't already.
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Old 03-24-2015, 12:23 PM   #10
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We love our Furuno TZ14 system and sounder. I also fish a lot and having the ability to display the screen on my iPad works well for watching the fish finder from the cockpit. No additional units to install or wiring.

Expensive through!
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Old 03-24-2015, 12:33 PM   #11
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We love our Furuno TZ14 system and sounder. I also fish a lot and having the ability to display the screen on my iPad works well for watching the fish finder from the cockpit. No additional units to install or wiring.

Expensive through!
There was a big cut in they're price awhile ago.
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Old 03-24-2015, 04:34 PM   #12
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Greetings

In Ecuador you'll probably have a better Garmin assistance. I would go with Garmin in Latin America. Raymarine comes second

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Old 03-25-2015, 07:26 AM   #13
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Instead of just a fish finder or depth sounder I would suggest a unit that has a paper tape that it prints out.

That way you also have a navigation device for Contour Nav.
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Old 03-25-2015, 06:55 PM   #14
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Instead of just a fish finder or depth sounder I would suggest a unit that has a paper tape that it prints out.

That way you also have a navigation device for Contour Nav.
Can you even buy a paper roll depth recorder any more?

And can't you just run contour lines with just a color plotter or even a simple digital depth display. Not sure what you gain with a old style paper machine other than a paper record of the depth profile I guess.

Am I missing something?
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Old 03-26-2015, 07:33 AM   #15
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Not sure what you gain with a old style paper machine other than a paper record of the depth profile I guess.

The paper record gives TIME , passing from different depths.
Pencil required.
This helps in figuring out where you might be ,
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Old 03-26-2015, 08:03 AM   #16
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Some of the Lowrance depth finders have the ability to create maps based on your own survey data and you can also review your sonar history and go back to an area via a waypoint. I'm sure other manufacturers have similar functions.
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Old 03-26-2015, 01:58 PM   #17
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I have been chartering various boats over the past three years trying to determine what I really like in boat design and setup before I buy. In doing so I have experienced different electronic systems and models, (mostly Raymarine which seems to be the predominant player). I have found Garmin is by far the best in terms of being intuitive and easy to understand without having to read a manual. For me, Raymarine is more difficult for someone to pick up quickly. For example, with Raymarine if you plot a route and say you pass your first way-point before you start the routing it wants you to turn around and go back to catch the passed way-point which makes no sense. And if you pause the route it will do the same thing but starts from the very beginning way-point which could be miles and many way-points behind. It does have a way to skip a way-point but I have found it hard to follow. I am sure it is user error and Raymarine lovers will let me know what I am doing wrong but for me, Garmin understands what you are trying to do and is easy to pick up and understand. I have already decided if I buy used and need an electronics upgrade, I am going Garmin. If new, I will specify Garmin. Good luck.
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Old 03-26-2015, 02:55 PM   #18
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Someone suggested to me to come up with a list of things you may need to walk up to the system and do: MOB, route waypoint advance, etc.

Then at a show with your list in hand and no manuals or help from dealers, try to do the things on your list, also have, if applicable, the admiral try them (at least my admiral is less prone to reading a manual than I would be).

It seemed like good advice and something I plan on doing in the future.We also have an electronics upgrade coming up.
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