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Old 30-11-2006, 16:38   #1
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Instrument shopping

I have exactly two electronic instruments on the boat, a digital depth sounder and log. Both are as old as the boat, 1984.

I'm looking at probably replacing both, and looking for advisement. I'm not someone who enjoys lots of gizmos, generally. The best depth sounder I've ever had was a flasher, because it told me rather a lot about the bottom I was looking at as well as the actual depth. And I'm bothered by the tendency of depth sounders producers to increase power rather than increase sensitivity; it costs more to operate them, and they're probably more intrusive in the marine environment.

The log would be nice to have, but I've never had one which didn't foul and need cleaning often to remain accurate. I wouldn't be heartbroken if I just left the plug in place and put a different instrument in its stead in the cockpit. I may not have as accurate an estimate of my speed through the water though.


So, anyone really like their low-energy drain sonar, or a no-moving-parts log? How about just low-maintenance? Any equipment I should absolutely avoid?

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Old 30-11-2006, 16:42   #2
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I plan to replace my B&G with Raymarine this spring. I will be interested it what responses you receive here. I may change my mind!
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Old 30-11-2006, 16:47   #3
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sort of a Navman fan myself, while I have had some minor problem's , the warranty and service was second to none.
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Old 01-12-2006, 19:29   #4
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Flashers and recorders

I agree with you about how nice flashers are in allowing one to discern thermoclines, surface noises, and any hull effects on the signals that cannot be discerned with digital only displays.

Consider keeping your flasher as a backup and buying an LCD recording depthsounder that uses the same frequency transducer that you already have. It will be either 100kHz, 200kHz or 50kHz and is probably 100kHz.

The good displays show everything that your flasher shows and, in addition, shows the bottom trend as you move along. It will not be long before you begin to really appreciate that feature when anchoring or approaching relatively shallow and variable bottoms. If you decide to replace the transducer get one with the speed and water temperature built in and you will also appreciate being able to at-a-glance tell how warm/cold is the water before jumping in. You almost get those other features for "free" in addition perhaps to a voltage reading (obviously measured at the input lead to the display). These items merely appear in a relatively-out-of-the-way place on the display and do not intrude on the graph and digital display.

Sitex makes one, there are other good ones as well.
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Old 02-12-2006, 01:46   #5
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Sitex?

Thanks for the lead, Rick! Unfortunately, the flasher was two boats and nearly a decade ago. I've seen the occasional unit for sale at boating flea markets, but I'll pass unless I find a new one (don't laugh, I know of a place which has a couple "new in the box" which were store stock and never sold... and if I'm back in Minnesota in the next year I may just make an offer.)


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Old 02-12-2006, 04:48   #6
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In the last boat I had two depth sounders. One worked well and the other was not quite as accurate but mounted below. I disconnected the less accurate from power but left it all in place so I could reconnect it in about 2 minutes should the primary fail.

If you come to the Chesapeake you best bring a well working depth sounder or don't bother to come. It's why I had two. Some places you really do need one.

Near as I can tell most of the west coast is very deep once you leave one boat length from the dock. We have places near here where you can't see land and can run aground.
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Old 02-12-2006, 11:56   #7
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Sitex, Navman, Furuno...

These are all good units, but not many are designed for bulkhead mounts other than the digitals. It's pretty clear almost all the fish finder/depth units, with their nifty combination of log/temp/sonar, are designed for "dashboard" mounts on motorboats. ::sigh::

I may end up with a fish finder on a swing-out into the companion way. I have to say the Navman combo unit would look nice for this application, but more likely I'll end up with something cheap and off the shelf locally if I can't find a unit for the bulkhead.
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Old 02-12-2006, 14:37   #8
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You can supposedly get flush mount brackets for some of the Garmin fishfinders. Even if they only come with dashboard mounting brackets, I don't see why you couldn't mount them to a bulkhead (with a cutout for the stuff on the back) with a little bit of sealing adhesive...
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