Originally Posted by lostsoul
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
Of course I am seeking budget
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.