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Author Topic: Electronics Upgrades  (Read 423 times)

Offline Curt

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Electronics Upgrades
« on: October 13, 2019, 08:08:03 PM »
Well, I'm thinking it might finally be time to upgrade my electronics.

I've been running some older birds for the last 10 years, and the bow unit is getting old and tired. The temperature sensor has a mind of its own. I don't know if it's a transducer problem or a problem with the unit itself.

My gut tells me it's a transducer issue. So maybe my best bet would be to find a replacement transducer and just stick with the older units for a while longer.

But, I want to start doing my homework and looking at some possible options for new stuff.

I have had birds for a long time. But I'm not stuck on them. I know Lowrance, Garmin and other companies have some great stuff to offer too.

My current units (798 and 788) are small. But they suffice for the fishing I do. I don't dropshot, so I don't need something suitable for that. Some higher resolution and larger screens would definitely be nice, though.

I also want them to be networkable, since my two current units are networked.

Any and all suggestions are welcome!

I don't know what kind of budget I have to work with yet.

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Offline Nightmare

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Re: Electronics Upgrades
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2019, 10:00:14 PM »
If you have 10 year old units, you got both some catchin-up-research to do AND a culture shock to prepare for regarding prices...especially if you want to network.

I used to run 'birds - nothing high falutin', 5' screen monochrome but was not unhappy with them - good sensitivity. When I lost one of my Garmin gps units to water intrusion, I couldn't do without and shortly discovered that stand-alone gps units were pretty well a thing of the past.

I went to shop a 'bird 397 (combo gps-sonar a/COLOR) since I was extensively familiar with the 'bird architecture... and ended up getting a Lowrance Gen2 non-touch which was similiarly featured plus a $100 rebate that I admit made me look twice.

You didn't specify what sort of network...Ethernet or NMEA? They do different things.

I can tell you a little of the good, bad and the ugly on Lowarance HDS.

HDS exists in multiple versions since 2010: Generation 1, Gen2, Gen2 Touch, Gen3, Carbon and currently HDS Live. The line is both Ethernet and NMEA networkable. Gen1/2 were a 4:3 aspect screen in sizes 5, 7, 8 and 10 inch. Gen2 Touch and later are wide screen format in 7, 9, 12 and NOW 16 inch screens. Depending on screen size, they can be split to show 3-4 different functions on a single screen.Gen1/2 have modules available to add down/side scan (with added transducer) while all Touch models have capability built-in. There was a I think a 360 Scan 'ducer that didn't near pan out the way they claimed - started out at $500 and by the time they were done, they were giving them away with units (for free). There is a 3D scan now and newest (it may or may not be released yet) is the LIVE 'ducer which also maps the bottom as you go (and displays on screen).

At the top end, the 16" HDS Live sells for about $3,300 w/o 'ducer. If interested in the HDS line, I might suggest looking at the used earlier generation units unless you want to spend significant bucsk. I run Gen2 (non-touch) at a price-point I could justify (4 units w/side-down scan front and rear). Of course, if I had known the info that follows before I bought my first HDS, I'd have probably bought the 397 'bird... But, I'm in it now and so far, so good. I'm not investing in newer versions though, for sure.

The good is many capabilities: color, resolution, networkable (e-net/nmea 2000/0183, multi-sonar options, Sirius/xm, radar, engine functions, gps with built-in mapping (Insight), SD/MicroSD readers.

The bad is it's basically a computer: Lowrance issues updates (much like Windows) here and there - sometimes they add functions, sometimes they fix functions AND sometimes they delete functions (like when they deleted the ability to log sonar/gps info that could be sent to Navionics to be incorporated in their SonarCharts feature to make more accurate maps). Sometimes the updates cause more disfunction than what they fix. Touch screens that sometimes don't function well when wet. Of course that's better than having a unit fill with water... After all, who fishes in the rain? The menu system is much less intuitive that 'bird - in my opinion/experience.

The ugly is that Lowrance warranty is lacking - 2 years and done. During that period if your unit goes in for warranty, the likelihood is you will get somebody else's (used) unit back that they fixed - your unit isn't fixed and returned (they claim they don't repair units). So understand under warranty - you will be sent a used unit. After the 2 year warranty and you have a problem, you're ship-outta-luck. Remember when I said that they say they don't repair units? They have no (admitted) facility to repair units....will not fix. Even though they ship out repaired units for warranty claims. IF you get the RIGHT customer non-service person concerning your out-of-warranty unit, they MIGHT offer you a few dollars off on purchase of a new unit. Customer support can be a challenge talking to people in Asia minor. Whoopee

And I won't go into their rebate "racket"  (nope)

Have fun researching/shopping.  :thumbup:
« Last Edit: October 13, 2019, 10:06:32 PM by Nightmare »

Offline Curt

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Re: Electronics Upgrades
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2019, 10:26:15 AM »
@Nightmare Thanks for all of the detailed info! It's a great starting point.

What you said about Lowrance "customer service" is exactly what I have heard from others also. That alone keeps me leery of buying anything Lowrance. I firmly believe in good customer service, so if I can't depend on a company to give that, I will steer clear of them, even if their products are great.

I have done some poking around and have been pretty shocked by prices.

As for networking, I currently use a Humminbird Interlink. I love being able to add a waypoint to one unit and have it show up on both.  :nod:

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Offline Eric Low

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Re: Electronics Upgrades
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2019, 09:44:57 PM »
I have been with Lowrance since 1987. 

 Lakemaster has done a much better job charting than navionics so probably will switch next time to Hummingbird for the better charts. I have a carbon 16 and 12 currently. 

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Offline Curt

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Re: Electronics Upgrades
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2019, 01:48:33 PM »
Quote
Lakemaster has done a much better job charting than navionics so probably will switch next time to Hummingbird for the better charts.

@Eric Low Interesting perspective. I have never bought any cards for lake maps, so I would never know this kind of thing.

I have actually been looking at the smaller Humminbird Helix units. The 7 is networkable, and I don't need giant screens. On top of that, they don't cost 3 arms and 4 legs to buy. Still shopping though  :nod:

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Offline Nightmare

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Re: Electronics Upgrades
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2019, 09:44:08 PM »
I don't need giant screens. On top of that, they don't cost 3 arms and 4 legs to buy. Still shopping though

I noted before concerning the "previously-owned" market and add (A) that some significant coin can be saved, and (B) gain more features for the price than buying new. Also the market switch to newer versions of a given line of product provides savings on the previous generation being cleared out.

Can't stress enough with all the features available now, to KNOW WHAT YOU'RE BUYING! I spend a lot of time on a specific Lowrance forum and CANNNN-NNNOT believe the people that gotta buy the latest whiz-bang but have no clue what it does, how it does, or what it DOESN'T do. They thought this, or, they were told that, or, they "heard"... spend big bucks but don't end up with what they thought they were buying. Drives me nuts....  (fp)
« Last Edit: October 17, 2019, 09:51:08 PM by Nightmare »

Offline Nightmare

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Re: Electronics Upgrades
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2019, 09:57:06 PM »
Lakemaster has done a much better job charting than navionics

That's what I've heard - a lot. Although I've also heard that Navionics covers water that Lakemaster doesn't - don't know - ain't got LM. Makes an argument for running both brands but then ya start runnin' outta real estate to plant everything on....  (shrug)

Offline Jig Man

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Re: Electronics Upgrades
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2019, 08:06:15 AM »
If I were you Iíd stick with Humminbirds.  I ran Lowrances for years.  If something goes wrong under warranty you get a referbed replacement.  They collect units until they have a bunch then send them to Mexico for repairs.  Humminbird repairs and returns the unit to you.

I broke 3 ribs which didnít heal properly.  I bought a trolling motor that would stow and deploy without me having to pull a rope.  After I got it I found out that it would do so much more if I matched it with Birds.  So I bought a couple.  Months into ownership and I am still struggling with the language change.

If you change brands you will be looking at a significant learning curve if you want to get the most out of your units.
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Offline Curt

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Re: Electronics Upgrades
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2019, 10:32:04 AM »
Once again, thanks for all the great feedback!

Pre-owned units definitely save a ton of money. My biggest concern with that, though, is buying a unit (or two) that is out of warranty and having it break down on me 6 months later.

I don't need a ton of fancy features. I use my electronics for very basic stuff like depth, contours, saving waypoints, etc. Yes, I want good side imaging capabilities and I want good screen resolution. But beyond that a lot of the features offered today are just fluff for me.

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Offline Jig Man

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Re: Electronics Upgrades
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2019, 10:39:05 AM »
Take a look at the Helix model if you donít need touch screens.  They can do most everything.
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Offline Curt

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Re: Electronics Upgrades
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2019, 09:57:46 PM »
Take a look at the Helix model if you donít need touch screens.  They can do most everything.

That's exactly what I am currently looking at. I'm leaning toward the Helix 7.

https://www.amazon.com/Humminbird-Helix-Chirp-MSI-GPS/dp/B07MGZ9CPJ/

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Offline Jig Man

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Re: Electronics Upgrades
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2019, 10:03:25 PM »
From all that I have read the Helix is the go to model in the HB line.  I opted for the Solix since I had been using Low touch screens for so long.
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Offline Jig Man

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Re: Electronics Upgrades
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2019, 07:21:00 PM »
Fyi I just saw an 898 si di listed in the Bass Resource flea market. Asking $400
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Offline Curt

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Re: Electronics Upgrades
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2019, 10:19:09 PM »
Quote
From all that I have read the Helix is the go to model in the HB line.

@Jig Man That's the impression I've gotten too, which is why I am leaning toward it.

As for the used 898 unit you found, do you have a link to the post, so I can take a look? Not sure if it would be compatible with my current 798 unit with regard to networking. I think it would be, but want to check more closely and read more about this specific unit. Thanks!

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Offline Jig Man

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Re: Electronics Upgrades
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2019, 09:18:49 AM »
If you're too busy to go fishing you're too busy!!

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