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Old 14-02-2012, 06:19   #1
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Echopilot 2D Forward Sonar

I'm thinking of installing an Echopilot 2D FLS.
Anyone got one? Does it pick up surface hazards such as logs etc?
What is the alarm function like? Does it give fair warning?
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Old 15-02-2012, 07:28   #2
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Re: Echopilot 2D Forward Sonar

You may want to wait and see what happens with Interphase, they were just bought by Garmin and will be fully integrated.

Panbo: The Marine Electronics Weblog: Garmin triple wow: thermal cameras, iPad app, and Interphase FLS!
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Old 15-02-2012, 08:34   #3
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Re: Echopilot 2D Forward Sonar

I have an Echopilot Forward Looking Sonar.

I am not able to get any useful information about depths ahead from it, and certainly would never expect to see any logs.

I have been using it for almost three years. It shows a pattern of dots on a screen which are supposed to represent the bottom as it slopes up or down ahead of you. I have seen, a couple of times, things like quay walls and so forth, but otherwise the display is all Greek to me -- the bottom always looks like it is sloping down and away.

Quite possibly I simply don't know how to interpret it, but -- for me, anyway, it doesn't work.

I use it as an additional redundant source of depth data -- and I am glad to have that. That being said, it is much less reliable than the regular Raymarine ordinary sounder I have on my network. It is easily confused by disturbed water and might show 0 depth for long periods of time.

I would certainly be open to tips on how to interpret it, however, if someone has a better idea.
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Old 11-05-2012, 00:58   #4
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Re: Echopilot 2D Forward Sonar

You have answered a question for me! I was seriously considering one 12 years back at a boat show. When I asked the rep a couple of questions he could not answer I moved on!

Again I am thinking of one as I head to coral lagoons soon. Guess it will be the Mrs in the rigging:-)
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:23   #5
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Re: Echopilot 2D Forward Sonar

I would suggest talking to guys at EchoPilot - they're a family run company and very good at answering questions. We decided to buy their product after they explained to us in detail. We also toured their factory and spent time on their demo boat looking at different types of sonars they manufacture.

If decide to go with it, you should really follow the manufacturer's instructions and never-ever cut any cables that they provide - that will result is non-optimal performance. Also note that the forward looking sonar is only useful in shallow-ish depths (don't remember the formula, but the guys at EchoPilot will know).

Note that no [recreational?] forward looking sonars will pick up logs (or even containers offshore) because they'll be obscured by the aerated water around them. Same with areas with a lot of wave action, muddy current, or strong prop wash.
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Old 11-05-2012, 09:34   #6
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Re: Echopilot 2D Forward Sonar

Kat wahat model did you settle for and how much:-) Please
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Old 11-05-2012, 16:35   #7
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Re: Echopilot 2D Forward Sonar

G'Day all,

I've never used an Echopilot, but after 16 years of using a Interphase "Probe" FLS I still find it generally useful, and in some circumstances a lifesaver. Obviously, my examples are not the latest models, and perhaps some of the downsides may have been improved.

Good things:
They do give a good idea of the general shape of the bottom ahead of the boat. The distance ahead that is viewed is dependent upon the depth and the quality of the bottom, but averages around 3-4 times the depth. This is extremely helpful when entering poorly charted anchorages, especially in poor visibility.

In some situations, ie coral lagoons, where the general depths are large (100-200 feet), one can see a coral head or other isolated rock at distances of >500 feet.

A floating semi-submerged container would indeed be visible at a useful distance IF you were watching the screen at the right time... logs are less likely due to their smaller depth below the surface clutter. See comment below about alarms.

Not so good things:

Because of the physics of sound propagation, the further ahead one is looking, the slower the sweep must go. Thus, at maximum range (1200 feet) on the fastest setting it takes around 15 seconds (this is from memory... may be longer) to sweep from straight ahead to straight down. This means that it is possible that a poor target on the surface would not be observed at a useful distance especially if one is going fast.

Further, the beam width is +/- 12 degrees. If the boat is yawing much it is possible to miss a narrow bommie or floating hazard.

In general, the display requires some practice to interpret correctly, much like radar.

The alarms, while useful on paper, have not proven even usable in our experience. They are set to trip on any return signal within the designated depth range, and if one sets the sensitivity high enough to respond to hazards there are constant false alarms from noise, fish, surface clutter etc. Thus one must actually be watching the screen continually if avoiding floating logs or containers is your goal. Not gonna happen on our boat!

So, it isn't quite as good as the glossy adverts promise, but for those of us who frequently ply poorly charted waters or like to explore in coral areas, I think it is an essential tool.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 11-05-2012, 17:04   #8
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Re: Echopilot 2D Forward Sonar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prashanti View Post
I'm thinking of installing an Echopilot 2D FLS.
Anyone got one? Does it pick up surface hazards such as logs etc?
What is the alarm function like? Does it give fair warning?
I used two FL models: one top specs (possibly Interphase model from around 2005) the other Echopilot Bronze (probably the most basic model there is). None showed anything at surface. The more choppy the water the wider the blind surface zone.

My guess is in flat water they showed from the sensor's depth down.

b.
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Old 13-05-2012, 19:43   #9
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Re: Echopilot 2D Forward Sonar

O my goodness! I just checked out the price of the new line of Interphase products. My god they are expensive. I think I will glass a cheap humingbird transducer facing forward lol. If they work it would be much less stressful entering lagoons and atolls!
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Old 13-05-2012, 22:11   #10
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Re: Echopilot 2D Forward Sonar

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Originally Posted by NorthPacific View Post
O my goodness! I just checked out the price of the new line of Interphase products. My god they are expensive. I think I will glass a cheap humingbird transducer facing forward lol. If they work it would be much less stressful entering lagoons and atolls!
Before you glass it in, try a temporary setup and save yourself some work. If it was that simple to achieve, all the fish-finder mfgs would be doing it.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 13-05-2012, 22:18   #11
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Re: Echopilot 2D Forward Sonar

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Before you glass it in, try a temporary setup and save yourself some work. If it was that simple to achieve, all the fish-finder mfgs would be doing it.

Cheers,

Jim
I agree, but if life was so simple!

We woud be much richer and have time on our hands!
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Old 01-08-2012, 03:58   #12
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Re: Echopilot 2D Forward Sonar

Hello,
I would just like to clear a few points up here. We have sold over 140000 instruments and the number of unhappy customers that we have can be counted on the back of my hand, sadly unhappy customers always make the most noise, If you are having problems with one of our systems, then give us a call and we are always keen to help.

So here are the facts:

If the transducer is fitted badly then the forward sonar will work badly.

The transducer MUST be mounted vertically, for example if your transducer is leaning back then the seabed will appear to always slope downwards, and the signals will be being transmitted in a direction that is not optimal.
I suspect that this is what dockhead is experiencing, so please give us a call and we will do our best to get you up and running properly.

NEVER cut the cable, the system uses a tuned cable and is measuring minute phase shifts in order to resolve angular information, if you do your going to have problems.

The forward range is dependant on depth. With our most basic system you will see around 5 to 8 water depths ahead, with our top of the line models you will see 10 to 20 times the water depth ahead.

Our systems are real time, updating twice every second, other systems can take much longer to update. Conventional depth sounders and fishfinders work by means of a rolling average, this means the information is very accurate if you are not moving. If you are moving then the depth you see will be some distance behind you.

Please don't just take my word for it, there are lots of videos on youtube showing our systems working in the real world:





There is also an article in the September issue (out now) of motorboat and yachting showing our equipment, that may be of some interest as its an impartial view.

Happy sailing from the EchoPilot team.
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