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Old 02-21-2015, 10:56 PM   #1
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Garmin Down Vue Writeup

Last fall I had a Garmin Down Vu Plotter/Sonar installed on the Whaler we keep down in AZ. I mentioned it in a couple of threads and several people expressed an interest and wanted to know what I thought of it after Iíd had a chance to use it.

I was out about 2 weeks ago and got familiar with it but the photos I took that day didnít come out well. The screen wasnít clean and the sun was shining real bright. I could see the screen OK in the sunlight but the photos didnít come out well because of the dirty screen.

So today I hit Lake Pleasant again to take some better photos, and yes, I cleaned the screen. The day was just about perfectóhigh 70ís, just a slight breeze, a high, thin overcast but lots of boats on the water.

I did some fast runs to see how the Down Vu was able to keep up with my boat speed, and it did well. Most of the photos I took were done at slow speed o keep the boat and camera from bouncing too much. I also used a sweatshirt as a sun screen. I could see the screen OK in the sun but it didnít photograph well, hence the sweatshirt over the unit to block the sun.

I explored a new section of the lake I hadnít been on before. On prior trips weíd checked out the many coves on the NE area of the lake but today I went to the NW area. The rock sculptures were pretty cool in some of the areas. Here are a few photos of the rocks.






I made a few quick runs around the lake then pulled into a couple of coves to see how this thing did mapping shallow water. I also found that I could switch the positions between the plotter and the Down Vu on the screen. Here are the results:

I thought this was pretty cool to be able to see the trees on the bottom in 65' of water. If you're fishing and looking for a place where fish might hang out, this would be the ticket.


This show shows the bottom structure, even in 50+ feet of water.


This shows the bottom contours over a drop off to a flat bottom area.


This shot shows the bottom contours even down to 170' of water. Pretty cool.
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Old 02-21-2015, 10:56 PM   #2
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While I was slow cruising around one of the coves I noticed this coyote standing on a little ridge a few feet above the shore. He was watching me as I drifted around taking pictures. He was OK with me being in his territory as long as things were pretty quiet. When I put the boat in gear to back out from the shore he decided he’d been there long enough and ambled off into the brush.



Here's one final shot. While the display on the plotter screen shows me going cross country, I'm really just crossing an area that in normal water depths would be above water. With the water levels as high as they are now, there are many areas that are normally high and dry that are now submerged.


So that’s about it for the writeup on the Garmin. All things considered I’m pretty happy with it. I did find that when I’m cruising on plane (20-25mph) the detail on the mapping of the bottom pretty much goes away, but I guess that’s to be expected.

The screen is easily viewable in direct sunlight. There is a brightness control which I have set at about 80%, so it could be set a little brighter. There are many controls over the display settings, nav settings, depth alarms, etc. I haven’t spent enough time with it to really get to know it, but I’m pretty happy with what I’ve seen so far.
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Old 02-21-2015, 11:08 PM   #3
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Thanks for the write up. We putting that unit on the boat I run right now.
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Old 02-22-2015, 01:12 AM   #4
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Thanks for taking the time to share that with us
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Old 03-07-2015, 12:12 AM   #5
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Garmin has decided to discontinue the 50dv model that comes loaded with the inland lakes software and transducer. I found that out when I called West Marine to order another one of these to install in my Whaler in WA. WM doesn't have any in stock, nor does Defender, Fisheries Supply or anyone else I called. A worker at REI gave me the phone number of their wholesale distributor but they didn't have any in stock either. He gave me a 'super secret' phone number to Garmin's dealer support department.

I called them and the fellow I talked to said they didn't deal direct with the public. I explained how many places I'd called to get one without any luck. I also suggested he look in their computer records and he'd see that I already owned one 50dv and also several Garmin automobile GPS units. He finally relented and not only sold me the unit I wanted but knocked a hundred bucks off to match West Marine's sale price. Nice guys those Garmin guys!

So, if anyone wants to get one of these units you'd better hurry. They'll still be available with the coastal charts loaded but if you want inland lakes charts you'll have to buy the additional $200 chip to get them.
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Old 03-07-2015, 08:53 AM   #6
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It seems a main player in charting isn't listening to their customers. It's getting hard to pick a system. Here's a thread (Panbo) from yesterday.

Panbo: The Marine Electronics Hub: The Navionics SonarCharts for Garmin conflict, messy business!
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Old 03-07-2015, 11:27 AM   #7
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Larry, interesting read. I'm pretty sure the decision to not offer the 50dv with inland lakes charts any longer was a business decision. Fortunately it will still be available with the coastal charts and one can purchase the inland lakes chip for it. Granted, that's an extra $200 and that sucks, but it's still available.

I'm just glad I made my decision to buy when I did.
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