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Old 27-01-2017, 21:14   #1
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Depth sounder, which one to get?

SO what is the thought on depth sounders lately?

I have a Tartan 34, mono hull, solid hull. I just cruise and dont race.

I am about to haul the boat and do some serious maintenance. Rats ate the wire off my depth sounder transducer, so it is time to up grade. The display is shot too, so I am not that upset about that rat damage. (dont get me going about the anchor rode)

I have a bronze thru hull connected to a West Marine (Standard) depth only display. Just a big number telling the depth.

Lately I have read that shoot thru the hull transducers are popular. Also, it seems, that fish finder displays are often used instead of the traditional digit readout display.

I think a fish finder display might be fun, and even cheaper then those digit displays. I could replace my broken thru hull and wonder if I could pair it with a fish finder. Some guys have said this is possible with an appropriate adapter.

If shoot thru transducers are acceptable, I might prefer that over having a thru hull.

I wish to have a stand alone depth sounder and dont plan or having it paired with any other instruments or navigation program.

Of course I am seeking budget solutions.

What do you guys think?

Thanks----
frank
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Old 28-01-2017, 07:00   #2
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Re: Depth sounder, which one to get?

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. . . . Rats ate the wire off my depth sounder transducer, so it is time to up grade. The display is shot too, so I am not that upset about that rat damage. (dont get me going about the anchor rode) . . .
Rats ate thru your anchor chain too? WOW!!! Some rats!
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Old 28-01-2017, 07:28   #3
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Re: Depth sounder, which one to get?

Frank, the little Eagle / Lowrance or Garmin fish finders are excellent with colour screen models starting about $88. For a little bit more the Raymarine Dragon Fly either new or second hand would be an excellent choice.

Glue the transducer in with sealant and bobs your uncle.

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Old 28-01-2017, 07:39   #4
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Re: Depth sounder, which one to get?

What Pete said. Except I don't have an uncle Bob.
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Old 28-01-2017, 08:53   #5
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Re: Depth sounder, which one to get?

Lostsoul: I can't help w/ thru-hull transducers, but was just reading about depth sounders that now can view forward (about 300 ft) and not just down...but unfortunately not cheap, prices from about $750 - $7200!..
thnks
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Old 28-01-2017, 08:58   #6
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Re: Depth sounder, which one to get?

I recently refitted our boat with B&G gear.....9" Zues2. The chart plotter is great, and also fitted a Forward Scan depth sounder. The FS is great until you get into about 2m of water with a flat-ish bottom, where the FS becomes unreliable. Since I bought it to creek crawl its not a lot of use, but it does show rocks coming at you!
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Old 28-01-2017, 12:01   #7
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Re: Depth sounder, which one to get?

Whatever you buy do not a Raymarine I series. I have one and it is very unreliable.
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Old 28-01-2017, 16:32   #8
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Re: Depth sounder, which one to get?

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Whatever you buy do not a Raymarine I series. I have one and it is very unreliable.

My experience with Raymarine is the exact opposite. Last boat we had ST60 Raymarine instruments that worked flawlessly for 8 years from when we installed them new until we sold the boat. Our current boat has the same series Raymarine ST60 instruments, and again zero issues. The boat is from 1998. We have the original Raymarine ST7000 autopilot which has worked well for us in up to +25 kts of wind that we've seen so far in season one with the boat.

We just ordered a new Raymarine Quantum Chirp radar, and 9" color MFD. The new Raymarine MFD will talk to the old instruments easily with a single cable change from our original 1998 instruments. Love the B&G stuff as well, but the install wasn't as simple when getting data from our old RM instruments, and B&G didn't offer autorouting. Raymarine doesn't off forward scan yet.

For Frank's Question as to what to buy... If you never plan on buying a radar/mfd, just buy what's on sale. All the brands are pretty decent imho. I don't think you will go wrong with any of the big brands.

Otherwise if you decide you want to expand your electronics later on, find the company, Garmin, Raymarine, B&G etc, whose plotters and radar you like the most, and buy that brand of instruments too. It will make life easier down the road when you add components to your boat.
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Old 29-01-2017, 08:00   #9
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Re: Depth sounder, which one to get?

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Originally Posted by lostsoul View Post
SO what is the thought on depth sounders lately?

I have a bronze thru hull connected to a West Marine (Standard) depth only display. Just a big number telling the depth.

Lately I have read that shoot thru the hull transducers are popular. Also, it seems, that fish finder displays are often used instead of the traditional digit readout display.

I think a fish finder display might be fun, and even cheaper then those digit displays.

If shoot thru transducers are acceptable, I might prefer that over having a thru hull.

I wish to have a stand alone depth sounder and dont plan or having it paired with any other instruments or navigation program.

Of course I am seeking budget solutions.

Hi Frank,

You are asking a number of different questions but it is important to remember that in essence you are talking about two different things. One is a depth gauge and the other is a fish finder/chart plotter. This is not an either/or question since they are designed to do different things.

I'm going to start with the last item first. The least expensive solution is to get something along the lines of a Norcross Hawkeye D10 depth gauge with transducer. Depending upon where you buy it and how much effort you put in, you can get one for between $80 and $110. If you want water temperature you can add $30 or so. THIS IS A STAND ALONE DEPTH GAUGE AND TRANSOM MOUNT TRANSDUCER.

You do NOT have to pay $300 to $500 for a stand alone depth gauge. Yes, they are great instruments but if money is the overriding concern, it is not necessary, and as Voltaire pointed out, perfect is the enemy of the good.

Why have a stand alone depth gauge? It provides an instant and clearly understood idea of how much water is under you. There is NO information overload. There is no risk of missing critical information because you are on a different screen. Like a stand alone engine temperature gauge/warning light, it stands by itself keeping you informed every time you look in its direction.

A fishfinder/chart plotter (most chart plotters have fish finders) provides the depth but also provides more information. From a sailing point of view, it can also help you anchor. Many also provide a photo like view of the bottom letting you know where and where not to anchor. Yes, they will also provide the depth HOWEVER it is much less noticeable than a stand alone instrument.

If the budget allows, you are best served by having both. Also keep in mind that the less expensive gauges and plotters, if they come with a transducer, will provide a transom mount transducer.

A transom mount transducer can be used in the hull however the hull must be solid. If it is cored, you have to remove the core by the transducer and fill it with epoxy. You must also make sure that there is no turbulence where you put the transducer. There must be no air between the transducer and the hull. This is easily done by using some sort of fluid such as silicone, anti-freeze, etc. Most people affix the xducer but I know a few who just placed sandbags over it and had great success.

Someone earlier mentioned forward looking sonar. It works but it has limitations that you must be aware of. First, at best you will get a look up to some 60 feet (18 meters) in real time with an affordable unit. Some systems claim up to a half mile but those are much slower and cost a lot more; in some cases up to fifteen or twenty seconds of delay. In water that has a lot of silt, etc. your view will be less. Even under perfect conditions, you will only get a benefit if you are moving very slowly. Do the math and you will see that at even just five knots you will have just about seven seconds of warning when getting real time forward sonar. That of course assumes that you are looking at the sonar when something pops up and you are actually able to see the full sixty feet.

If you're on a budget (you don't mention what your budget it), consider something along the lines of the one I mentioned earlier. You may also wish to look at the Garmin DV series of chart plotters. Many places are selling them at clearance prices since there is a new model coming out with an enhanced transducer, which you really don't need. The Garmin 44DV or 54DV are great units at a good price, but there are many good options available now.

Good luck with what ever you decide to do.
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Old 04-02-2017, 19:08   #10
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Re: Depth sounder, which one to get?

Thanks everyone!

I can see I have a choice to make, LOL. Actually if all I want is to know the depth I can get either a digital readout or a fish finder for around 100 dollars with a shoot thru.

Then I can move up to a GPS fish finder, Garmin Striker for $120. Or I can go to a fish finder plotter from a few vendors for 100 or 200 more.

I am still inquiring about the transducers.

I may just start with the Hawk Eye digital read out for less then 100. It is simple and I can mount it on the cabin so it can be seen from any point in the cock pit. The fish finder plotters would be mounted closer to the helm.

BTW I am about to pull the boat and have a long list of projects for the Florida winter. Rebuild the rudder, remove the center board, scrape years of growth, repaint the bottom, redo the teak and on and on. I will post questions about all this, I am sure.
Thanks again!!

frank
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