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Old 11-03-2013, 06:41 PM   #1
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Electronics upgrade time!!

As my boat is on the hard for the winter, I've decided that it's about time to upgrade some of her electronics, I estimate my sounder to be over 20 years old, it's a Si-Tex CVS-106, also my GPS, a Furuno GP-32, has seen better days, it's hardly state of the art!!.
At least the radar is quite new, although I can't understand why the PO decided to install an I/COM MR-570 radar, it's not even colour display.

All in all my helm has quite an array of various manufacturers products..
So I leaning toward a new multi function GPS/CHARTPLOTTER/SONAR unit, with a 10"/12" display..easier on the old eyes!!, I rather like the Lowrance HDS-10 GEN2, it's not a cheap unit to start with and if I want to utilize the structure scan capabilities I would need to spend another 1.5 boat dollars.

So I'm looking for a few suggestions, what advise can you give me?, what manufacturer would you choose if you wanted to upgrade?, would you trust the built in GPS antenna or opt to install a new external one?, etc.
I will keep the old GPS it's nice to have a back up.

My main consideration when it comes to electronics is not the price, rather the rugged and dangerous coastline I will be navigating in, so I need quality and reliability foremost.
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Old 11-03-2013, 07:28 PM   #2
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Robbie, being a Lowrance man myself, I can vouch for their user-friendliness and functional reliability, and your plan of the intergated unit sounds good. Unless you are a mad keen fisherman however, spending the extra for the structurescan might not be worth it. Most of us trawler people just want to know how much water do we have under us at any given time. What I do agree with is keep the stuff you have if able, as back-up, because then if one module of the intergrated unit suddenly dies on you, you have the other GPS and depth sounder to look back on.
I have a separate new dedicated sounder in addition to my Combo, but still kept the old Seafarer strobe sonar that was the original one in the boat. It must be over 30 yrs old, yet still work perfectly, so no way would I ditch it.
As to the entenna - try it first before adding in an exernal mounted one. I have an external one for my combo, but the sensitivity of the inbuilt ones now are far superior, so may well be enough for you, as you don't appear to have that much over the top. I'm amazed how well the one in my iPad works, even down at the lower helm, and I use that as GPS back-up and for up on the flybridge.
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Old 11-03-2013, 07:38 PM   #3
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You didn't say whether you'd be installing radar too - that makes a difference in any recommendation.

On the upper end, it's worth looking into the new products that Simrad announced this week at the Ft Lauderdale boat show.

In general, Garmin has great products at every price point. Their reliability and ability to service/exchange is pretty good. It's also nice to be able to pick an amount to spend and know that you're getting a top notch device for that price point.

I threw out a complete Raymarine setup about 2 years ago after it become totally unreliable and impossible to fix/service. After boxing up units to send back for a fee each time (with multi-week turnaround), I finally gave up. I had one failure early with one Garmin piece. They sent a brand new one and let me swap it out to return the old one when it was convenient for me. For obvious reasons, that's a much more user-friendly approach.
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:00 PM   #4
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My dos centavos- Raymarine. specifically, the c/e 12x series. c127 is non touchscreen, and the e127 is hybrid touch (combination of touch screen and fixed buttons).

The built in sounder is a 600w unit. Peter makes a good point about the sounder- most trawlers don't need the added capability of a CHIRP sounder, so the 600W built in is more than adequate. The GPS unit is a 50 channel built in unit that works wonderfully under cover.

If you can use an iPad, or touchscreen smart phone, you can use the E127- and you have the built in redundancy of hard buttons for rougher conditions. Additionally, WIFI and Bluetooth are built in, and you can use your iPad as a second station via a free app (we use this for overnight anchor watches). You can plan your routes on the iPad, the automatically transfer them to the e127

RM has had its challenges in the past: after FLIR acquired the company, the product line and customer service has been top notch.
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:06 PM   #5
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Lowrance is now part of Navionics, along with the Simrad line and other products they bought up over the years like NavMan. I put a Lowrance broadband transducer in my Simrad NSE-12 and it is plug and play. You should go to a boat show and try some things out this winter before you buy. My BSM-1 is good for 3000 feet and if it's deeper than that I guess I just don't care :-) Reads right down to the last foot before you hit bottom, great detail.
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:30 PM   #6
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We installed a Simrad NSE 12 on Blue Sky this spring, and it is excellent. With it we also installed an AP28 autopilot and the Structurescan. No radar yet, but that will eventually come.

After installing a complete Furuno Navnet2 on our previous boat in 2011, there is no comparison; the Simrad beats it for out of the box useability, user friendliness, and reliability. Much brighter screen as well.

I love the Structurescan! It gives exceptional detail if you are exploring wrecks, coves, or whatever. BUT, it is only good for about 150' so you'd also definitely want a "proper" depth sounder. Our Structurescan module, c/w special transducer, was about $800 before installation.

Attached is an image of the HCMS Columbia that I took using the Structurescan. (You can record as you are scanning if you wish.) This is the downscan; it also has sidescan capability.
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Old 11-03-2013, 09:03 PM   #7
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ActiveCaptain,
As I said, my radar is new so I'll stick with that unit, I would like the option to overlay radar to map, but whether that can be done with the I-COM I don't yet know, just thinking compatibility wise, thanks I will check out Simrad to see what's new.

I've become very confused with structure scan, it's offered on many top end units..but, it seems you need to add the module ie LSS-2 AND a through hull transducer, 600w gives 600ft, a 1kw gives around 1800ft the 1kw starts at about $900.
I enjoy my fishing and I'm planning to explore the uninhabited coastline and secluded bays around the island, wreck hunting and photography also appeal to me.
Iphones, cell phones are out I'm afraid, we don't have any coverage up here in the North of the "Rock".
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Old 11-03-2013, 09:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Conrad View Post
Attached is an image of the HCMS Columbia that I took using the Structurescan. (You can record as you are scanning if you wish.) This is the downscan; it also has sidescan capability.
That's quite amazing Conrad.
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Old 11-03-2013, 10:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robbie View Post
That's quite amazing Conrad.
The image is actually much better in real life;this is an iPhone photo of the NSE 12 screen.

To answer another question: we had a Lowrance 5 (forget the actual model) that we purchased in 2009 for a different boat. It had the internal GPS antenna and it worked just fine although it was outside and up on our flybridge.

On our Simrad NSE 12 we require an external GPS antenna, and we went with a Lowrance (again can't remember the model) antenna that includes a heading sensor that is required for things like radar overlay etc.
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Old 11-03-2013, 11:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robbie View Post
I enjoy my fishing and I'm planning to explore the uninhabited coastline and secluded bays around the island, wreck hunting and photography also appeal to me.
Iphones, cell phones are out I'm afraid, we don't have any coverage up here in the North of the "Rock".
Robbie, with the RM, no cell service is needed- the units connect and converse via Wifi and bluetooth.

If your plans include hunting for wrecks, CHIRP type sonars are best, especially in shallower depths. That being said, the built in sounder module paired with a good transducer will serve you quite well for most normal operations.
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