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Old 06-28-2020, 12:17 PM   #1
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Forward-Looking Sonar compatible with RayMarine MFD's?

I've searched around on this forum and have not been able to find an answer to my exact question, so will start a new thread.


Is anyone aware of a forward-looking Sonar that might be compatible with my RayMarine (e127) MFD? I've been told that Garmin's is not...but I'm not sure if what I've been told is accurate.


Intended use is for approaching unknown inlets and anchorages at slow (2-3kt) speeds.


Thank you in advance for any suggestions!
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Old 06-28-2020, 02:14 PM   #2
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Ask your question in the electronics portion of the linked forum:

https://www.thehulltruth.com/
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Old 06-28-2020, 02:46 PM   #3
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Is anyone aware of a forward-looking Sonar that might be compatible with my RayMarine (e127) MFD?
Count me as "interested also!"
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Old 06-28-2020, 04:19 PM   #4
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After meeting with some Garmin Engineers (not sales guys) recently i was advised to choose Panoptix PS 51 or Panoptix Live scope LVS32 to achieve the application you describe. I am finalizing my decision shortly, also it will require the boat to be hauled in order to mount a special transducer as far forward as possible on the hull. that's the latest info i have. best of luck, Delta Couple Bruce
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Old 06-28-2020, 05:29 PM   #5
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I think all the forward sonar offerings are either proprietary to a single manufacturer’s system (Garmin and Simrad), or are self contained and stand alone (Furuno, Farsounder, EchoScan, wesmar)
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Old 09-25-2021, 11:32 AM   #6
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I wonder if the Real Vision 3D transducer (side and rear view) could be turned into a forward-looking-sonar by rotating the transducer.

https://www.raymarine.com/fishfinders/
Has anyone tried that? Thoughts?? Comments???
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Old 09-25-2021, 11:53 AM   #7
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If the job of the transducer is to capture data, the job of the MFD is to interpret and display it into some graphic that is understandable. If the MFD does not have the application within it do do that, it can't happen. At least that's my take on it.

Leaving Simrad and Garmin MFD's as the only options at the grade levels we are likely to buy. Unless you add an additional display to the helm console for something else like Hummingbird, which I know nothing about.

There are videos up showing the displays by Garmin and Simrad so you can judge which are the easiest to read. Many think Simrad but that's not universal.
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Old 09-26-2021, 03:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottC View Post
I've searched around on this forum and have not been able to find an answer to my exact question, so will start a new thread.


Is anyone aware of a forward-looking Sonar that might be compatible with my RayMarine (e127) MFD? I've been told that Garmin's is not...but I'm not sure if what I've been told is accurate.


Intended use is for approaching unknown inlets and anchorages at slow (2-3kt) speeds.


Thank you in advance for any suggestions!
When installing a new electronics suite, I chose Simrad. For me it was plug and play, nary a problem in four years since. I opted for Simrad's forward-looking transducer. It works but I have found the forward-looking aspect pretty much useless. The problem is, when in shallow waters, the unit can't see far enough ahead to provide any margin of safety moving forward. I never use the display screen. Perhaps other brands perform better but I rather doubt it. I will definitely choose differently if there is a next time. The boat came to me with a Standard Horizon transducer and display. The display crapped out and I replaced it with a Raymare I-40 display. It works just as well as the Simrad plus it is a large display prominent on my helm. I look at the Simrad as a double-check but my first look is to the Raymarine display. I have no idea of which model of transducer the Standard Horizon used or how old it is. I just know that it works and I have redundancy.
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Old 09-26-2021, 10:59 AM   #9
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When installing a new electronics suite, I chose Simrad. For me it was plug and play, nary a problem in four years since. I opted for Simrad's forward-looking transducer. It works but I have found the forward-looking aspect pretty much useless. The problem is, when in shallow waters, the unit can't see far enough ahead to provide any margin of safety moving forward. I never use the display screen. Perhaps other brands perform better but I rather doubt it. I will definitely choose differently if there is a next time. The boat came to me with a Standard Horizon transducer and display. The display crapped out and I replaced it with a Raymare I-40 display. It works just as well as the Simrad plus it is a large display prominent on my helm. I look at the Simrad as a double-check but my first look is to the Raymarine display. I have no idea of which model of transducer the Standard Horizon used or how old it is. I just know that it works and I have redundancy.
Thanks for that insight. I have a new build in process and have had as Plan A the Simrad route you describe, with forward looking sonar. So for you, with hindsight 20-20, what would you do differently?
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Old 09-26-2021, 07:36 PM   #10
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Thanks for that insight. I have a new build in process and have had as Plan A the Simrad route you describe, with forward looking sonar. So for you, with hindsight 20-20, what would you do differently?
I would have chosen a "standard" transducer of some sort. There are many from which to choose. I think it's a balance among performace, features, and price.
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Old 10-05-2021, 11:50 AM   #11
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I've never used one, but all of the tests and comparison tests of forward scanning sonar convince me that it would do me no good. They require significant depth to look forward any distance, if I have that depth I am not interested in what's forward.

But I have found the structured side scanning sonar (Raymarine 3D in my case) to be quite useful. Since it builds a picture of the bottom as you troll, I do strafing runs at the shoreline of interest and let the side scan map it out. Next pass go in closer if it looked good on the last pass. This has let me anchor on the shelf of river outlets up in the PNW fiords, which change yearly (or weekly) and tend to go from 3' to 150' in a hurry. I also often tool around an anchorage a bit to see if there are humps or rocks to avoid.

It is also useful transiting a narrow channel: you cannot see ahead but you can see where you are relative to the shoals currently, and that gives an indication of which way to correct as well as a verification of chart data.
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Old 10-05-2021, 12:31 PM   #12
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Echo Pilot might be one to look into. I believe that I'm gonna get one.
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Old 10-05-2021, 12:34 PM   #13
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I've never used one, but all of the tests and comparison tests of forward scanning sonar convince me that it would do me no good. They require significant depth to look forward any distance, if I have that depth I am not interested in what's forward.

But I have found the structured side scanning sonar (Raymarine 3D in my case) to be quite useful. Since it builds a picture of the bottom as you troll, I do strafing runs at the shoreline of interest and let the side scan map it out. Next pass go in closer if it looked good on the last pass. This has let me anchor on the shelf of river outlets up in the PNW fiords, which change yearly (or weekly) and tend to go from 3' to 150' in a hurry. I also often tool around an anchorage a bit to see if there are humps or rocks to avoid.

It is also useful transiting a narrow channel: you cannot see ahead but you can see where you are relative to the shoals currently, and that gives an indication of which way to correct as well as a verification of chart data.
I have read where some use forward scan as a sort of searchlight. Once in / near your desired anchorage area do a tight 360 to view whether there is any thing bumpy to avoid. Same concept as your side scan. Different tool.

But that leads me to a question about the side scan and building a profile of the bottom. Is that profile info saved in the MFD? It would seem to represent a large data file? I can see a valuable use of building local survey data of detailed profiles of common paths for you where there is anything tricky involved in the bottom. Such as narrow cuts, shifting shoals, and so forth. Is that practical or pie in the sky?
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Old 10-06-2021, 01:07 AM   #14
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But that leads me to a question about the side scan and building a profile of the bottom. Is that profile info saved in the MFD? It would seem to represent a large data file? I can see a valuable use of building local survey data of detailed profiles of common paths for you where there is anything tricky involved in the bottom. Such as narrow cuts, shifting shoals, and so forth. Is that practical or pie in the sky?
This has progressed further than you realize. It constructs a 3D map of the bottom as wide as the sonar pattern, stabilized by an AHRS and GPS. On the Raymarine, this map is maintained while you criss cross the bottom, filling in the blanks. It does not work perfectly (at least on my boat) but gives a previously unimaginable view of the bottom.

It also stores soundings and some structured sonar data which can be called up later, if you enable it, allowing building your own bathymetric charts. Large data file, yes, but computer storage is incredibly cheap now. If you opt in to the Navionics or other systems, the information collected is uploaded to their servers at the next point of internet connectivity. This is how the Navionics Bathymetric charts are sourced (or at least a main source of data). These are surprisingly good and detailed in many areas.
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Old 10-06-2021, 06:35 AM   #15
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This has progressed further than you realize. It constructs a 3D map of the bottom as wide as the sonar pattern, stabilized by an AHRS and GPS. On the Raymarine, this map is maintained while you criss cross the bottom, filling in the blanks. It does not work perfectly (at least on my boat) but gives a previously unimaginable view of the bottom.

It also stores soundings and some structured sonar data which can be called up later, if you enable it, allowing building your own bathymetric charts. Large data file, yes, but computer storage is incredibly cheap now. If you opt in to the Navionics or other systems, the information collected is uploaded to their servers at the next point of internet connectivity. This is how the Navionics Bathymetric charts are sourced (or at least a main source of data). These are surprisingly good and detailed in many areas.
Wow. Thanks. New avenue to come up to speed on. Electronics is pulling a thread that seems to have no end to it.
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Old 10-16-2021, 11:37 PM   #16
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Furuno setups (chartplotter, transducer, DFF-3D module) can also store and play back your own 3D bathymetric graphs. Coordinated with their satellite compass it can provide VERY steady mapping of the bottom, as it's able to compensate for the boat movements and factor that into the scanning results.

Though I get the impression their specialty is deeper water scanning, not the shallow depths we get on the Chesapeake.
In chatting with some Garmin folks at the Annapolis show today they indicated you can't redisplay the scans in the same way as a Furuno.

I'd be interested to see how a Raymarine handles it.

There definitely seems to be a lot of progress being made on this front.
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Old 10-17-2021, 07:37 AM   #17
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Wish to thank the posters. Just spec’d a full replacement of the RM system on our new to us boat with Simrad. Included sonar. After reading above thinking of using existing depth but add second one angled forward and calibrated to compensate for the angle. I’m not interested in fishing. Just not grounding. Any thoughts?
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Old 10-17-2021, 08:04 AM   #18
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Wish to thank the posters. Just spec’d a full replacement of the RM system on our new to us boat with Simrad. Included sonar. After reading above thinking of using existing depth but add second one angled forward and calibrated to compensate for the angle. I’m not interested in fishing. Just not grounding. Any thoughts?
Simrad has forward-facing sonar capability. It that's what you want, then why not get the forward facing transducer? Curious about the thinking on this since I'll have decisions to make.
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Old 10-17-2021, 08:13 AM   #19
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Yes that’s what I initially spec’d but if I understood the above posts correctly you don’t gain much if your only goal is to not ground.
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Old 10-17-2021, 11:27 AM   #20
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Yes that’s what I initially spec’d but if I understood the above posts correctly you don’t gain much if your only goal is to not ground.
Well, the look forward is at an angle. It gives something like 7 ft forward for every 1 ft of depth below the transducer. So yeah, in shallow shoals that gently rise its not going to add much. In deeper water avoiding rocks or coral heads, more so.

At least that's my take. Its not magic and perfect. Just one tool.
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