Bass Boat Forums

Electronics Forums => General Electronics Q&A => Topic started by: Curt on October 13, 2019, 08:08:03 PM

Title: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Curt 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.
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Nightmare 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:
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Curt 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:
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Eric Low 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. 

Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Curt 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:
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Nightmare 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)
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Nightmare 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)
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Jig Man 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.
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Curt 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.
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Jig Man 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.
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Curt 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/
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Jig Man 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.
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Jig Man 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
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Curt 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!
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Jig Man on October 21, 2019, 09:18:49 AM
https://www.bassresource.com/bass-fishing-forums/forum/18-fishing-flea-market/

There is also a Helix for sale.
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Curt on October 22, 2019, 10:18:50 AM
https://www.bassresource.com/bass-fishing-forums/forum/18-fishing-flea-market/

There is also a Helix for sale.

Thanks @Jig Man I'll take a look!
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Curt on October 25, 2019, 04:11:05 PM
All of this makes my head hurt. LOL  :nod: (giggle)
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Eric Low on November 08, 2019, 06:40:16 PM
Got an email today from Russell Marine trolling for sales. Flabbergasted that for just 238 a month.......

Pretty bad when you need to sign a mortgage to buy a depth finder!(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20191108/5501a65a8d41845026cca6435d410b3a.jpg)

Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Jig Man on November 08, 2019, 06:47:10 PM
I got that same one.  It must be computer generated since I have a Humminbird 360 at their shop which I am picking up next week.
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Curt on November 08, 2019, 08:21:41 PM
Got an email today from Russell Marine trolling for sales. Flabbergasted that for just 238 a month.......

Pretty bad when you need to sign a mortgage to buy a depth finder!

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20191108/5501a65a8d41845026cca6435d410b3a.jpg)


They do that with so many things now. They'll wave anything they can in front of your face to try to entice you.

And, yes, it is sad that prices have risen so high on items like these that they even have to consider offering financing.  (fp)
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Curt on November 28, 2019, 07:30:18 PM
After doing my research, I am shooting for the Helix 9. My question now is whether I I need side imaging on the bow unit or not. My current setup has side imaging at the console, but not on the bow. Back when I bought those units, nobody was running side imaging on the bow units. Maybe that has changed??

The Helix 9 is $400 less if it has DI, but not SI!
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Nightmare on November 28, 2019, 09:54:19 PM
I'm not currently running HB, but a significant % of Lowrance users in the past have claimed SI doesn't work worth a crap on the TM - i.e. images smear from turning the TM. My perspective is that this is true inasmuch as the sudden/sharp turn of the TM would of course smear the images but a gradual extended and constant turn (long enough to get a picture) or straight run should return as good an image as that on the transom.

I have the equipment (Lowrance) to equip both my TM and stern with down/side scan, although not mounted at the moment. The front set-up was used when I got it along with the head unit and complete rigging so it didn't cost me a $400 difference.

My opinion (affordable as it is) is that if you like the side imaging capability, it should work within the parameters I explained, as long as mounted as level as possible when in use. Whether the $ difference is worth it is your determination. If you like the feature and make use of it often, I'd go for it, as I'm thinking you're not the type that changes electronics every whip-stitch.

I don't know if you can network the front and back on those units to show back info on the front screen, or not, which would be an option - although your info would be 18' old when seeing it up front.

It's one of those "if you have it you don't have to use it - if you don't have it, you CAN'T use it"

 (shrug)
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Nightmare on November 28, 2019, 10:04:12 PM
Not being an HB user, can you advise if the Helix 9 is G2n or G3n? 2nd gen is probably still availalable until stock is sold out and I assume it's not 1st gen model. An exact model package would help look it up to see what it's capabilities are.
 (hmm)
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Curt on November 29, 2019, 09:53:11 AM
Not being an HB user, can you advise if the Helix 9 is G2n or G3n? 2nd gen is probably still availalable until stock is sold out and I assume it's not 1st gen model. An exact model package would help look it up to see what it's capabilities are.
 (hmm)

Thanks for all the feedback. I do appreciate it.

Yes, it is G3N.

Here is the info for both, the SI and the DI only so they can be compared side by side.

https://dicks-sporting-goods.ryvx.net/LqWB3
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Jig Man on November 29, 2019, 02:33:58 PM
I have run di and si both places for years.  Di is what I have found the most useful.  Since I have gone to HB I only opted for di at the bow.
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Nightmare on November 29, 2019, 02:47:53 PM
What unit do you have on the console that has SI?

Making some uninformed assumptions, I looked at HB site for info regarding e-net sharing. Going to this ---> https://www.humminbird.com/support/faqs/what-information-shares-when-i-network-my-humminbird-units-together and following a link down the page for specific charts as to what units share what 'ducer info. Makin' a wag that you can get SI from console unit on front BUT hence the question above. Then a matter of if you can "live" with using slightly old info at the front to save $.

Too bad they don't share mapping (if you make use of additional map chips).
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Curt on December 01, 2019, 05:29:44 PM
My current console unit is a Humminbird 798C SI.

It is networked with my bow unit via a Humminbird Interlink unit.

Regarding the networking, it's the waypoints that get shared, not any of the screens. So with the current setup, the Interlink actually stores the waypoints and shares them out to each participating unit. I like that because if I mark a waypoint on either unit, it will show up on the other unit.

Based on my research, it looks like I will end up with a Helix 9 on the bow, with just DI, not SI. I don't think it's worth the extra money to have an SI unit up front in light of the fact that, based on feedback from other users that I have talked with, the quality of the SI images on a TM mounted transducer typically aren't great quality.

So, now it's just a matter of finding the right deal on one. Dick's actually had 25% off everything on Friday and Saturday, which I had hoped to take advantage of, since it would have saved me a lot of money, but I wasn't quite ready to pull the trigger.

Soon, hopefully.
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Jig Man on December 01, 2019, 08:41:05 PM
Yoy may want to check Cabelas.  I heard that they have a good sale on them now.
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Nightmare on December 02, 2019, 12:42:56 AM
https://www.amazon.com/Helix-Chirp-Fishfinder-Bluetooth-Ethernet/dp/B07MQFM8WD/ref=sr_1_2?crid=39I8ZQ4RCAPPU&keywords=humminbird+helix+9&qid=1575264984&sprefix=humminbird+helix%2Caps%2C155&sr=8-2

$100 cheaper than the Dick's price unless I'm missin' sumpin...
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Curt on December 02, 2019, 10:27:26 AM
Yoy may want to check Cabelas.  I heard that they have a good sale on them now.

Thanks @Jig Man I just took a look and their price was exactly the same as Dick's.

Quote
$100 cheaper than the Dick's price unless I'm missin' sumpin...

Thanks @Nightmare I just took a look and saw that this is a CHO unit. I didn't know what that was, so I checked it out further and saw that it is a Control Head Only. No transducer included!

Same price at Bass Pro, too.
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Nightmare on December 02, 2019, 11:14:34 AM
That's goofy - I went back to double check and it said right in there includes transducer.  (hmm)

Well, when in doubt - pass.  (shrug)
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Curt on December 02, 2019, 11:22:42 AM
Yes, it is goofy. At the top it says it includes a transducer, etc.

Closer to the bottom it says this:

Quote
All of Humminbird's fish finders include a transducer, except for a Control Head Only (CHO) model with MEGA Down Imaging+. This model is a great fit for those looking to select their own accessory transducer or pair with a Minn Kota trolling motor with Built-in MEGA Down Imaging.

As you said, when in doubt, pass. I think I will pass  (shrug)
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Jig Man on December 02, 2019, 07:24:58 PM
Yep CHO is Control Head Only.  That is why they are about $500 less than the si.  I have 2 of them on the front of my boat.
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Curt on December 10, 2019, 11:02:33 AM
Well, I found my new unit! Special thanks to @Nightmare for pointing me in the right direction, helping me contact a BBC member who had a brand new one for sale.

It's a Humminbird Helix 8 CHIRP MEGA DI G3N. It'll be a perfect fit on the bow of my boat and an awesome replacement for the 10 year old 5 inch unit I have been using for so long now.

Best of all, I got it for $200 under retail, brand new and still in the sealed box.  :thumbup: :thumbup:

Thanks to Nightmare for all the help!
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Jig Man on December 10, 2019, 11:39:16 AM
Sweet.  Which ducer are you going to use?
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Curt on December 10, 2019, 12:23:29 PM
Sweet.  Which ducer are you going to use?

It comes with a transducer, which I am assuming will probably be the transom transducer. I'm going to contact Humminbird to find out which one comes with it and then go from there. I don't know much about these transducers yet, so maybe I'm missing the point of your question completely?  (shrug)
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Jig Man on December 10, 2019, 03:36:34 PM
I donít know much about them either.  I was just wondering if it is down or 2d.
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Curt on December 10, 2019, 04:51:44 PM
I donít know much about them either.  I was just wondering if it is down or 2d.

I will do some digging and let you know what I find out  :thumbup:
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Curt on December 16, 2019, 10:36:24 AM
The new Helix is shipping out to me today!  (woohoo)
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Jig Man on December 16, 2019, 04:25:41 PM
Great
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Curt on December 20, 2019, 05:31:14 PM
Well, the Helix arrived yesterday!  (woohoo)

Since then, I have done a bot of homework and digging around. In doing so, I have discovered that the Helix will easily network with my older 798CI HD SI that is still on my console! That was great news to me because the lack of networking was concerning to me when I was pondering on replacing the bow unit.

The Helix units won't network or communicate via the Humminbird Interlink that I installed in my boat years ago, so the 2 units will be connected directly to each other via an Ethernet cable and one adapter.

Oddly enough, even though the N in G3N stands for network, it doesn't have a port that will accept an Ethernet cable, so I will need to buy an adapter for that. In light of the fact that the 798 does have an Ethernet port, there will be no adapter needed on that end.

The adapter will cost roughly $25-$30.

The Ethernet cable will cost me between $40 and $50, depending on the length I need to buy. I'm guessing a 15 footer will be more than sufficient, since my boat is only 18 feet, and the cable will only need to run from the bow to the console.

I was also told that I will need to make sure that the 798 is running the latest software updates, so I have downloaded that update and will be applying it soon via the SD card slot.

Lastly, I spoke with Humminbird today and asked them if I could exchange the transducer that came with it for a TM style transducer. They said they would do that free of charge, provided the transducer I send them has never been mounted or used. So glad I asked, since using the transom transducer on the TM wasn't really an idea that thrilled me.

In light of the fact that it is only December, and I most likely won't be back on the water until at least February (more likely March), I definitely have time to get this done well in advance  :nod:
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Nightmare on December 20, 2019, 07:11:41 PM

Oddly enough, even though the N in G3N stands for network, it doesn't have a port that will accept an Ethernet cable, so I will need to buy an adapter for that. In light of the fact that the 798 does have an Ethernet port, there will be no adapter needed on that end.

......

The Ethernet cable will cost me between $40 and $50, depending on the length I need to buy.

......
I was also told that I will need to make sure that the 798 is running the latest software updates, so I have downloaded that update and will be applying it soon via the SD card slot.

Lastly, I spoke with Humminbird today and asked them if I could exchange the transducer that came with it for a TM style transducer. They said they would do that free of charge, provided the transducer I send them has never been mounted or used.

......


* First thought comes to mind is, "what then, constitutes Network?". Secondly, if there's no e-net connector, what pray tell does an e-net adapter connect TO?

That's just double-odd sounding....  :o

* Yup. L is mighty ridiculously proud of their e-net cables also... My nephew commented that he could put 'em together hella cheaper until I challenged him to find their proprietary connectors.  :surprised:

* Gotta love dem updates. I hope for you that HB's work out better than L's.... It's always a 50/50 shot that one problem gets fixed but causes others...  (hmm)

* Bird was always good about that.  :thumbup:

Looking forward to hearing more.
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Jig Man on December 21, 2019, 10:30:38 AM
I think the interlink went the way of the do do bird.  Humminbird has so many different cables and hook ups that go with this unit or that unit.  I donít even try to get them straight.  I just tell Scott and Brad what I want to accomplish, leave the boat, and let them wave their magic wand over it.
Title: Re: Electronics Upgrades
Post by: Curt on December 21, 2019, 11:47:45 PM
Quote
I just tell Scott and Brad what I want to accomplish, leave the boat, and let them wave their magic wand over it.

That's the best way if it's anything complicated  :nod:

Quote
if there's no e-net connector, what pray tell does an e-net adapter connect TO?

Now that's a really good question!

Quote
My nephew commented that he could put 'em together hella cheaper until I challenged him to find their proprietary connectors.  :surprised:

I commented to the lady on the phone that their Ethernet cables kind of confused me since they didn't have RJ45 connectors on the ends. And being a tech guy, I had actually thought that I could just use a standard Ethernet cable until I had spoken with her!  (giggle)

Quote
Gotta love dem updates. I hope for you that HB's work out better than L's

I've done updates in the past and they have been pretty effortless, with no problems at all.