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Author Topic: Need Feedback & Opinions on Sonar  (Read 5624 times)

Offline Curt

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Need Feedback & Opinions on Sonar
« on: December 18, 2016, 08:55:51 PM »
I currently have two Humminbird units on my boat. One is a 798CI HD SI (with side imaging). The other is a 788CI - no side imaging or down imaging.

I have the two units networked together with a Humminbird Interlink unit.

The screen on the 788, which is on the bow, is problematic. If it heats up too much, it goes gray, and the only way to get it to work again is to remove the unit from the bracket, let it sit and cool down and then power it back up. Removing it from the bracket is the only way to get it to power down.

I've spoken with Humminbird customer service and I was told that the screen is bad and needs to be replaced. But, they no longer stock parts to repair that unit  :rolleyes:

So... I either need to find a used 788CI that's in good working condition or replace that unit completely with something new. The catch to that is that I will lose my network and will have to go back to marking waypoints on my front unit and then going and marking it on my console unit too. A pain in the butt.

It also means having to lay out some cash for a new unit that I'm not really prepared to do quite yet.

So I am in homework mode right now, window shopping and reading tons of reviews.

I have looked at the Humminbird Helix units but I'm unimpressed. They are quite expensive and only the most expensive models offer networking. And I have read some horrible reviews on them. Additionally, they don't come with a trolling motor mount for the transducer. They also don't come with a cover for the screen. So this means laying out additional cash for things that should come with it when you buy it.

I've started looking at Garmin units, which I have heard some great things about. They also seem very reasonably priced.

I've also heard some good things about Raymarine. But I haven't price shopped them yet.

I know Lowrance is also an option, but I have heard a LOT of horror stories about their customer service and the reliability of their units. So I am inclined to avoid them based on that.

What is everyone else running and what are your honest opinions of the units you have? Please be honest with your feedback. If you love them, tell me why. And even if you love them, tell me what you dislike about them.

If you hate them, tell me why. Tell me everything you can, if you don't mind taking the time to write it here.

Any and all feedback and opinions are greatly appreciated.  (yes)

Thanks in advance.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2016, 09:30:51 PM by Curt »

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Offline Sully401

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Re: Need Feedback & Opinions on Sonar
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2016, 10:21:39 PM »
My suggestion would be to take a look at the Lowrance Elite Ti series units. Although they dont offer interlink with the 5 inch display, you can get interlink compatibility with the 7 inch display. but that would mean getting two new units. I have owned Lowrance units since i started fishing and i have had nothing but a great experience thus far. Also along with the Elite Ti series from lowrance you get alot of features at an affordable price, compared to helix series units from humminbird.

My only other suggestion would be to look around on Ebay for the same unit you have on your bow now, you may just get lucky and find one! I cant think of any smaller units like your humminbird that have interlink compatibility currently. There is Also the HOOK series from lowrance, a bit cheaper then the Ti series but not as many features and not sure if you can interlink the units.

Good luck Curt!

A quick search on Ebay and i found one of the 788CI units for 230$

- Note the one i found for 230 (buy it now 175 current bid) DOES NOT include the transducer. But if its only the unit giving you issues your transducer should plug and play

« Last Edit: December 18, 2016, 10:24:19 PM by Sully401 »
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Offline Hawgstomper

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Re: Need Feedback & Opinions on Sonar
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2016, 11:35:21 PM »
 I run 4 Lowrance units, I have 2 gen-1's,,one 8" on the console and One 5" in the front that were flush mounted when I purchased the boat THEN I added 2-12" Gen-3's a few years later on Ram ball mounts, one to the side of console and one on the bow and linked the 2-12's up.. except for my front sonar which runs off my troller mounted transducer. They have performed flawlessly in all weather from snow, rain,extreme heat and severe wave poundings!
Anyway when I had the new graphs installed at a certified dealer (which I highly recommend if they are new or used) the trade up value of the Gen1 were low,, 2-250$ for the 5" and up to $400 on the 8"..so I left mine in there to run my mapping. So you may Check with some installers to see what they have deals on..a lot of guys trade up every year and the units are still like new, even the structure scan module which is all you would need to link 2 or 3 of them, the transducer was also upgraded on gen3's and the satellite puck for gps/radio is no longer needed because they are installed inside all the new gen-3 units.
I have not used anything other than Lowrance so I can't give you any input there but all my units work great, I just wipe the screens after every outing To keep water spots off and put the cover back on. If I have any issues with settings/setup or questions I call the CERTIFIED installer and they help me take care of it over the phone.
I'd look at some Lowrance gen-2 it's a great unit and there's a lot of them being traded in on Gen-3's in the last few years.

Offline JackJ

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Re: Need Feedback & Opinions on Sonar
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2016, 09:02:39 AM »
After a little over a year with my boat, I am very satisfied with my Lowrance Gen 3 touch.  If I was buying I for sure would be getting another.
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Offline Jig Man

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Re: Need Feedback & Opinions on Sonar
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2016, 10:08:54 AM »
Curt if you change brands you are talking about some serious coin as well as having to learn a whole new operating system with all new commands.  My suggestion is to take a look at Bass Boat Central under the electronics for sale.  There are several used birds listed maybe one of them will work for you.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2016, 10:10:33 AM by Jig Man »
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Offline Curt

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Re: Need Feedback & Opinions on Sonar
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2016, 10:12:20 AM »
Thanks everyone. I really appreciate the feedback and help!  :thumbup:

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Offline Carl Lovisolo

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Re: Need Feedback & Opinions on Sonar
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2016, 03:39:22 PM »
The Raymarine Dragon Fly 7 is relativity inexpensive and has excellent Side, Down, Sonar and mapping capabilities. You can link it to a phone or tablet with the Garmin app and view in real time anywhere on the boat what the unit is seeing.  I don't own one but my buddy has one on his boat! Clarity is excellent. I don't know how to load pictures here but thats the sonar image of a school of stripers taken about two weeks ago in Connecticut on a linked android..


« Last Edit: December 19, 2016, 10:13:13 PM by Curt »

Offline Curt

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Re: Need Feedback & Opinions on Sonar
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2016, 09:10:16 PM »
Well gang, after doing some homework I ended up buying a used unit that's almost the same as my current one, but it's a year or two newer, so it has down imaging, which my current unit didn't have.

Doing it this way saved me some cash and guaranteed that I will get a unit that's compatible with my Interlink and my console mounted unit.

Thanks to all of you for your help and suggestions!  :thumbup:

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Offline frugalangler

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Re: Need Feedback & Opinions on Sonar
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2016, 11:03:59 AM »
A wise and 'frugal' choice! The industry is leap-frogging severely right now, so good to wait til the technology settles a little!
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Offline Curt

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Re: Need Feedback & Opinions on Sonar
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2016, 09:09:43 PM »
A wise and 'frugal' choice! The industry is leap-frogging severely right now, so good to wait til the technology settles a little!

Thanks! I feel like I did the right thing to hold me over for a while without breaking the bank. ANd it will keep me using a unit that I am already familiar with  :nod:

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