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Old 10-29-2019, 05:26 PM   #1
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New Boat Toy!

I had a pair of the new Garmin 8610 plotters installed last spring, one being the xsv sonar model. I couldn't get the sonar transducer installed until I had the boat on the hard for bottom paint. This was completed just before our ME vacation so I had to wait another month to play with it!

Finally got a chance to power it up this afternoon and; nothing. Got a "PS51 Source Not Found" message. Tinkered with the settings for a while and finally decided to call the electronics guy who installed it at the yard.

"Did you turn on the transducer?"

"You mean it has a separate power supply?"

"Of course, it needs to emit sonar you know!"

Duh. Went back to the breaker panel and found the breaker and voila!

I haven't played with any of the settings yet, but looks great!

Front Vu and Live Vu below. Front Vu showing the bottom (at the dock so the shore line appears), and in Live Vu (actual sonar) you can see my neighbors dock structure ahead of me.

Pretty neat toy! Will be real handy in parts of the AICW and Bahamas.
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Old 10-29-2019, 06:07 PM   #2
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Very cool! I had one installer tell me that when using a front Vu like that, you almost need two transducers; one for this front vu, and a traditional one for just straight down, is that what you're doing? It could be due to the front vu not being made for straight down depths....(?)
Also, it would be interesting to know this question: if front vu picks up an obstruction, say a log or deadhead in front of you, at what speed would you be going in order to be able to stop in time to avoid the obstruction (assuming you were looking at display)?
I know people have debated the utility, but I still agree it is a cool toy...
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Old 10-29-2019, 06:20 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by sledge View Post
Very cool! I had one installer tell me that when using a front Vu like that, you almost need two transducers; one for this front vu, and a traditional one for just straight down, is that what you're doing? It could be due to the front vu not being made for straight down depths....(?)
Also, it would be interesting to know this question: if front vu picks up an obstruction, say a log or deadhead in front of you, at what speed would you be going in order to be able to stop in time to avoid the obstruction (assuming you were looking at display)?
I know people have debated the utility, but I still agree it is a cool toy...
I actually have two other depth sounders - one B&G And one RayMarine.

As to obstructions - it looks up to 100 foot ahead so basically two boat lengths. Not sure how much of a help that would be - so eyes first!

The utility for us is in our usual cruising grounds. You wouldn't believe the number of times in the AICW, the Bahamas, or entering rivers for anchoring where we are going dead slow and feeling our way because of the depth and confusing channels. It also doesn't help that I am comfortable slowly going along with a foot or two under the keel in sandy bottoms (e.g. inside Luggers in the Abacos!).

So where previously we had to go to dead stop and prod our way along, I can come to dead stop and swing the bow back and forward to find a path - that's the theory anyway!

Will report back after more actual underway use.
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Old 10-29-2019, 10:20 PM   #4
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We have Garmin DownVue sonars in both of our 13' Whalers and love 'em. The detail is phenomenal. Here's a shot taken in 63' of water while just cruising around at 5kts.


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Old 10-30-2019, 04:05 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by menzies View Post
I actually have two other depth sounders - one B&G And one RayMarine.

As to obstructions - it looks up to 100 foot ahead so basically two boat lengths. Not sure how much of a help that would be - so eyes first!

The utility for us is in our usual cruising grounds. You wouldn't believe the number of times in the AICW, the Bahamas, or entering rivers for anchoring where we are going dead slow and feeling our way because of the depth and confusing channels. It also doesn't help that I am comfortable slowly going along with a foot or two under the keel in sandy bottoms (e.g. inside Luggers in the Abacos!).

So where previously we had to go to dead stop and prod our way along, I can come to dead stop and swing the bow back and forward to find a path - that's the theory anyway!

Will report back after more actual underway use.
Isn't the forward visibility based on depth? Many I've seen are limited in shallow water, where they would be most valuable.
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Old 10-30-2019, 06:47 AM   #6
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Isn't the forward visibility based on depth? Many I've seen are limited in shallow water, where they would be most valuable.
The sonar view shows everything, fish, swimmers, etc. per Garmin's docs. We will see.
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