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Electronics Forums => Humminbird Forum => Topic started by: Curt on December 27, 2019, 06:49:59 PM

Title: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Curt on December 27, 2019, 06:49:59 PM
Well, I had some time this afternoon, so I decided to connect the new Helix and make sure it powered on correctly.

Happy to report that it did just that!

Next, I will be removing the old 788 and prepping to install the Helix.

While I was playing with it, I did notice that the mounting bracket that came with it is fairly tall. I set it in front of my TM foot pedal and found that I will probably be able to mount it using the stock bracket, at least initially, and start the season using it that way.

If I find that it sits too low, then I will opt for an aftermarket mount to raise it up a bit higher.

As I move into the installation, the importing of the data from my old unit, and then actual on-the-water use, I will be writing about it over at TackleTest.com, to document the whole process, sharing what I like, what I don't like, and what I learn about it.

More to come...  :nod:
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Jig Man on December 27, 2019, 10:15:00 PM
The Helix is definitely the work horse of the Humminbird brand.
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Curt on December 28, 2019, 05:53:29 PM
Well, I spent a bit more time in the garage today, playing with the Helix.

The best part is that I got all of my GPS stuff imported from the old 788  (woohoo)

It was actually, very, very easy to do and took less than 5 minutes. Once I had done that, I spent some time cleaning up old waypoints that I no longer needed. Then I start figuring out how and where I will mount it.

Now that I have that figured out, I will start working on getting it done, step by step.
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Jig Man on December 28, 2019, 08:27:25 PM
Sounds good.  You probably have a bit of time to work on it with your long winters.
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Curt on December 30, 2019, 10:19:35 AM
Sounds good.  You probably have a bit of time to work on it with your long winters.


Definitely have time. I don't want to put it off, though, since we do sometimes have a thaw in February that allows me to get out and fish!

On another note, I have been told by a couple guys to make sure that I have a good power source for this unit, since the bigger screen tends to draw more than my old 788. I was advised to run a new wire directly from the battery, with an inline fuse for safety. I think I might just do that, just to be sure there are no issues with power.  :nod:
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Jig Man on December 30, 2019, 11:25:26 AM
I doubt you will have to rewire with only this unit being added.  The larger the screen the more it draws.  If you should experience extra draw you can reduce the screen brightness.
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Curt on December 30, 2019, 11:32:18 AM
I doubt you will have to rewire with only this unit being added.  The larger the screen the more it draws.  If you should experience extra draw you can reduce the screen brightness.

Thanks Jig Man. Looking back, I have definitely had intermittent issues with the wiring in the front, even with the 788. I think I have have resolved it, but I will do some voltage testing, just to be sure.

My 798 on the console always shows higher voltage than the 788 at the bow. Sometimes the voltage was as much as 2-3 volts difference. Again, I will do some testing. I'd rather spend a few hours and a little money to have it working 100% than to have to worry about it flaking out on me on the water  :nod:

I'm guessing that the wire needed should have to be no more than 14 or 12 gauge, so buying 50 feet of it won't be that expensive.  (nope)

The hardest part will be snaking it through the hull, but it's not like I haven't had to do that before.
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Jig Man on December 30, 2019, 03:16:01 PM
I'd go bigger so it won't have to be replaced later.  Some guys are going as large as 6 gauge on the new electronics.  If you have a fish tape it shouldn't be much of a problem to pull the wires.  I have pulled a bunch of wires with my old Harbor Freight fish tape.  If you lived closer I'd come by and help you.
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Curt on December 30, 2019, 03:23:50 PM
Wow. 6 gauge for electronics??  :surprised:

That's what most guys use for trolling motors. But I guess it's better to be safe than sorry  :nod:

Thanks for the offer to help me! I think it would be a fairly long drive, though  (giggle)
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Jig Man on December 30, 2019, 10:31:51 PM
6 would probably be over kill for you.  I know some guys who run as many as 5 large screen units.  There is a big juice draw with all of them on at the same time.
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Curt on December 31, 2019, 10:35:05 AM
Agreed. I will probably go with 12 or 10.

Quote
I know some guys who run as many as 5 large screen units.  There is a big juice draw with all of them on at the same time.

No doubt at all. I am in awe sometimes when I see the setups that some guys have with electronics now  :surprised:
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Curt on January 02, 2020, 01:27:56 PM
I packed up my transducer and shipped it back to Humminbird today. They are going to exchange it for a trolling motor transducer, at no cost to me, since I never mounted or used the one that came with it, which was meant for transom mounting.  :thumbup:

Gonna do some more research before purchasing the wire to run from the batter to the front of the boat.
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Jig Man on January 04, 2020, 11:00:40 AM
Curt here is a quote from another forum from a guy who was an electronics engineer for 37 years, "You will be better off using larger wire. Could get by with 12 but 10 would be better. The key for trouble free electronics is low voltage drop. The price difference to up the size in minimal. Its not like you are buying 1,000 feet. Also get marine connectors. If you ever buy bigger units you won't have to do it again."

He has helped me a bunch and has never steered me wrong.
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Curt on January 04, 2020, 12:07:03 PM
@Jig Man Thank you so much! I will buy size 10 wire and make 1 solid run from the battery to the bow, with an inline fuse. I will check to see what amperage the fuse should be.

Hummingbird also provides a filter that they want me to install to prevent interference.
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Nightmare on January 04, 2020, 09:55:27 PM
I will buy size 10 wire and make 1 solid run from the battery to the bow, with an inline fuse. I will check to see what amperage the fuse should be.

If that's how you plan, remember that the inline fuse at the battery is to protect the wire - not the DF. Gauge and run distance (full circuit, there and back) determines fuse size. Protect the DF with the in-line that comes with.

If you're going to go to the effort, make your run to a centrally located spot relative to your bow and console. Connect to a quality fuse box for the purpose (Blue Seas is a respected maker) with a ground bus bar. You can run from there to both bow and console units with same or lesser gauge conductor and install appropriate fuses at the fuse box.

Just another approach to circumvent potential future issues and provide clean & adequate power to all your electronics now instead of piece-mealing later.
 (shrug)
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Jig Man on January 04, 2020, 11:49:02 PM
All of the fish finder fuses that I have ever seen were either 1.5 or 3 amps.
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Curt on January 21, 2020, 09:21:06 PM
I ordered a cover for the new Helix and it arrived today.

I was a bit taken back by the price of this cover, at a tad over $40. It's a cover, for crying out loud!

But, I have to admit that when I opened it up today that I was very impressed with it.

It is heavy duty! And it is not just made of plastic. It is silicone. So it is very rugged, and I am assuming that it will fit the unit very snugly, so I won't have to worry about it flying off while trailering the boat.

On that note, though, I have seen pics of people with small straps around their covers to keep them in place while trailering.

Do any of you use a strap on yours? If so, where did you get yours?
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Jig Man on January 21, 2020, 09:30:57 PM
I have 2 units in the front.  I have a strap that fits around both of them at the same time.  It is from a bicycle carrying unit that we used to use.  Any kind of cord or bungie would do the job.  They probably would not blow off but my middle name is Chicken so I tie them on.
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Curt on January 22, 2020, 05:55:55 AM
Quote
They probably would not blow off but my middle name is Chicken so I tie them on.
    :thumbup:

Well, at the risk of losing over $40 with one of them disappearing, I will probably find some kind of small bungee or Velcro strap to secure mine too  (giggle)
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Eric Low on January 23, 2020, 06:54:07 PM
Ball bungees work great for this

Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Curt on January 23, 2020, 07:28:34 PM
Ball bungees work great for this


Cool. Thanks for the tip! I'll have to take a measurement and see what size I need  :nod:
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Curt on February 13, 2020, 10:55:52 AM
As of today, I have the Helix, the cover, the transducer and the Transducer Protector.

So, essentially, I have everything I need to install it.

The only thing I lack is a raised mount and the cables to network it with my older 798 unit. That will require me to purchase an Ethernet cable and two adapters. But networking it and using the raised mount aren't necessities at this time.

I'm going to do some measuring this weekend to figure out of I actually need a raised mount or not, before I drop $120 on one.

As for the cables, I will definitely want to add those in the very near future, but since I am planning on copying all of the waypoints from my old bow unit over to the console unit anyway, I don't need it right away.

Oh, and I priced #10 wire to run from the batteries to the Helix on the bow. All I can say is wow! Well over $100 for this wire :surprised:

Geesh. Buying a new unit is only the beginning of a long list of add-ons and accessories necessary to make it all work. I'm sure it will all be worth it, but it's like a Pandora's box being opened up  (fp)
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Curt on February 16, 2020, 01:35:15 PM
Well, I did some checking this morning and I have decided that I am going to mount the Helix using only the standard mounting bracket.

I tried raising the unit up simply by holding it in my hands, mimicking a higher mount, and I saw no advantages to it at all for me. The standard bracket seems to raise it up high enough for me, especially since neither the standard mount or a raised mount will make my bow trim switch easily accessible.

I will be mounting it using the standard bracket and giving it some on-the-water time in order to get a feel for whether having it higher would make any difference or not.

In my opinion, at least on my boat, mounting it on a raised bracket would only make it stick up higher in the air, with no perceived advantages for me personally.

Time will tell...  :nod:
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Jig Man on February 16, 2020, 06:49:26 PM
Have you considered mounting it over your recessed trolling motor foot control well?  I have mine there and really like it.  It is centered and easy to see no matter which foot I am using to run the trolling motor.
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Curt on February 16, 2020, 06:58:27 PM
Have you considered mounting it over your recessed trolling motor foot control well?  I have mine there and really like it.  It is centered and easy to see no matter which foot I am using to run the trolling motor.

As of right now, I am planning on mounting it directly in front of my foot pedal. This will place it right in the center, so I can see it no matter which foot I am using, like you mentioned.

My old bow unit was on the starboard side, very close to the front of the bow, so if I was fishing off the port side of the boat, I had to turn my head to see it.

This should remedy that once and for all.
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Jig Man on February 17, 2020, 07:17:28 AM
Sounds like a good plan to me.
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Curt on February 17, 2020, 10:12:37 AM
Sounds like a good plan to me.

I think it will work out perfectly with the new location. And I will know in time whether I will need to raise it up or not.
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Curt on February 18, 2020, 06:16:37 PM
Well, I spent some time on the phone with people from Humminbird yesterday and today. I had questions that I needed answers to, and they gave me what I needed for info.

First, I needed to clarify some things regarding networking y Helix with my older 798 unit. They assured me that the two will network just fine to share waypoints. Any waypoints created on the Helix will automatically be display on the screen of the 798. They will not be saved on the 798, however. Just displayed on it. If I want to save them to the 798, I will need to move the cursor to it on the screen and mark it on that unit.

It is possible to share sonar images from the Helix to the 798. To do this, though, I would need to turn off the MEGA imaging capabilities on the Helix, since the 798 doesn't have the capacity to process and display MEGA imaging data. This would make no sense for me to do, since turning the MEGA imaging capabilities off would render the Helix much less useful, and nobody in the back of the boat needs to see what is on the screen up front anyway.

I also asked them about the wiring for the Helix. First, did I need a dedicated run from the battery to the bow? Second, what gauge wire is required?

They highly recommend a dedicated run, directly from the battery, with a choke installed at the battery, to prevent interference on the screen of the Helix.

As for wire size, they recommend size 12 or 14 multi-strand wire, with a 3-4 AMP slow-blow fuse inline.

Now that I know all of this, I will be ordering the networking cables, which will basically be my last piece of Humminbird equipment needed. Then I need to pick up the 25-30 feet of wire to run from stern to bow.

Onward...  (giggle)
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Curt on February 18, 2020, 07:42:08 PM
Well, after spending some time searching, I finally found the 15 ft. Ethernet cable in stock, as well as the two adapter cables that I need. Good old Walmart.com had them both in stock, with free two-day shipping!

Best of all, the 15 ft. Ethernet cable (Humminbird 720073-5 AS EC 15E Ethernet Cable, 15ft) was priced at $42.47, whereas everywhere else had it listed at $52-$59, and most of those places were out of stock or wanted to charge a delivery fee.

The adapter cables (720074-1 AS EC QDE Ethernet Adapter Cable) were also in stock and available for shipping. The price for these was the same as everywhere else. But even Humminbird didn't have them in stock on their own website.

I'm hoping I don't get an email from Walmart, apologizing that the items aren't in stock, since I actually checked with them before I placed the order, to make sure they were available to ship. I was assured that they were both in stock and available.

I guess we will see!

And if they are in stock, they should be here by end of day, Thursday!  :thumbup:

The list of needed items is now down to just one more. The wire, which I have found and will be ordering shortly.  :nod:
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Curt on February 18, 2020, 08:22:46 PM
So, here is the wire I found on Amazon. It's tinned 12-2 marine wire.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MI5EOGG/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A1YXTETT9IAQMV&psc=1

My question is whether tinned wire is OK. I'm guessing it is, since it's marine wire, but I've never used tinned wire in the past and want to make sure before I spend the money on it.

@bullet20dc Do you have feedback on this?
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Nightmare on February 18, 2020, 10:11:54 PM
So, here is the wire I found on Amazon. It's tinned 12-2 marine wire.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MI5EOGG/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A1YXTETT9IAQMV&psc=1

My question is whether tinned wire is OK. I'm guessing it is, since it's marine wire, but I've never used tinned wire in the past and want to make sure before I spend the money on it.

@bullet20dc Do you have feedback on this?

Tinned is what you want for your application. Don't have the problems with corrosion that you would with regular copper.  :thumbup:
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: bullet20dc on February 19, 2020, 06:48:47 AM
tinned is what you should be using in any marine environment  Helps keep down corrosion on the copper  ( the green crap)
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Curt on February 19, 2020, 10:24:29 AM
@Nightmare @bullet20dc Thank you. That's what I figured, but wanted to be sure  :thumbup:
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Curt on February 21, 2020, 07:41:43 PM
My coil of wire arrived today.

Now I'm actually thinking of adding a separate fuse block under my console just to run my electronics off of.

https://amzn.to/2SLQNxZ

Then I can run a dedicated wire from the battery to the fuse block, allowing me then to run direct from the fuse block to each fish finder. This would give me a built in fuse for each unit and keep the fish finders on their own dedicated circuit.

Humminbird has also supplied me with a choke that they want me to install at the head of the run, right at the battery, that they say will help eliminate interference. So I will be doing that too.
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Nightmare on February 21, 2020, 08:11:31 PM
^^^^^^ That right there....  :thumbup:
Title: Re: Playing With the New Helix
Post by: Curt on February 21, 2020, 08:13:57 PM
^^^^^^ That right there....  :thumbup:

Thanks @Nightmare !