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  Depthfinder for my Montauk?? Which one Guys?

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Author Topic:   Depthfinder for my Montauk?? Which one Guys?
John from Madison CT posted 10-02-2001 09:35 PM ET (US)   Profile for John from Madison CT   Send Email to John from Madison CT  

Well, I settled at $7K for the '89 Montauk w/90 Yamaha. I also bought a new 2001 trailer (Bunks with keel rollers.)
The first thing I need to buy is a depth finder/fishfinder. I'm looking to spend up to $400 if necessary, but I want to get a decent unit that works relatively well. I won't be fishing over 150 feet of water.
Anyone out there is welcome to put in their $.02 if they have any good advice on which depthfinder to get.

Thanks guys,


grandmufti posted 10-02-2001 11:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for grandmufti  Send Email to grandmufti     
Lowrance 350A or its equivilant.You can actually watch a 1/2 ounce sinker descend to the bottom as you fish.
It has no equal!
Dick E posted 10-02-2001 11:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick E  Send Email to Dick E     
John get one with 240x 240 resoultion also a temp guage.

I belive Lowrance has discountinued their 350 model
They make an excellent one the X-85 model that can be bought in the price range.

Also garmin 240 is in that price range is a very good unit.

JBCornwell posted 10-02-2001 11:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
I'll second Dick on the X85, John. I have a X65 on my Montauk and am quite happy with it. If the budget had been a bit stronger I would have gone for the higher power and better resolution of the X85.

Red sky at night. . .
JB :)

Dr T posted 10-03-2001 12:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for Dr T  Send Email to Dr T     
If you cannot find the exact feature set you want in Lowrance, look at Eagle. They are made by the same company.

Also, I have always felt that the engineering and quality of workmanship of Lowrance/Eagle was head and shoulders above the competition. For example, I had a 1982 vintage Lowrance fish finder (spinner sonar) that was still working when I finally took it off the boat this spring.

dgp posted 10-03-2001 07:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp
whalerron posted 10-03-2001 08:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for whalerron  Send Email to whalerron     
I just bought a Garmin 240 Blue and I like it alot. The 240 Blue is just like the standard Garmin 240 except that it has a more powerful transmitter for penetrating saltwater. It has a dual frequency transducer which utilizes 2 cones: 10 degree and 40 degree. The transducer also has a built in temperature sensor. The dual frequency transducer supposedly allows it to see through thermoclines. It has 2 levels of backlighting for nighttime use. The unit is also waterproof and meets the "submersible to 3 feet for 1/2 hour" rating. I am very satisfied with this unit and it is very easy to use and configure. Is it as good as some of the $500 units out there? Maybe, maybe not. But, it only costs about $225.

- ron

whalerron posted 10-03-2001 08:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for whalerron  Send Email to whalerron     
Sorry, my fingers were typing before my mind was engaged. My unit is a Garmin 160 Blue.

- ron

whalerron posted 10-03-2001 08:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for whalerron  Send Email to whalerron     
I forgot to mention that the Garmin Blue series models will operate with input voltages upto 18 volts whereas their other models are only good to 15 volts. At WOT, my outboard puts out 16.5 volts and this causes the standard Garmin models to shutdown but the Blue just keeps going. The only differences I see between the 240 and the 160 Blue is that the 160 Blue has a stronger transmitter but the 240 has more detail in its display because of the 80 extra pixels in each direction.
andygere posted 10-03-2001 11:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
John, congrats on your new boat. It sounds like you got a nice package at a very reasonable price. I have a Garmin 240 on my Montauk, and I couldn't be more pleased with it. The screen resolution is great, and the built-in software is easy to use. Best of all, it is easy to interpret, and it really does a nice job of locating fish. I was amazed a few weeks ago when my wife took a look at the screen and casually informed me that there was a bait ball at 25 feet. Get the transducer with the temp. sensor, but skip the speed sensor; your GPS will be much more accurate.
John from Madison CT posted 10-03-2001 12:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for John from Madison CT  Send Email to John from Madison CT     
Guys...Thanks again for all your input. I'll look at the Garmin 160 and 240 as well as the Lowrance X85.

Can you guys recommend a decent, customer service friendly place to buy these units?



whalerron posted 10-03-2001 04:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalerron  Send Email to whalerron     
I bought my 160 Blue from
They are in Jersey. Originally I ordered the 100 and I changed my mind. I called them back and they were more than happy to let me change the order to the 160 even though they had already shipped the 100. I had both shipments in 2 days.

I called boatfix about 1/2 dozen times for various reasons and I had a difficult time getting them on the phone when I called so I had to leave a message. But, they were very good about calling back. They usually called me back within an hour.

You might also try Hamilton Marine in Maine,

- ron

andygere posted 10-03-2001 06:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
If you are going the mail order route, I suggest Cabela's. No hassle on warranty, fast shipping and knowledgable staff. Their prices are about as good as everyone's--I haven't seen much discounting on these units. If you open a Cabela's Visa account, you earn dollars to spend there with every purchase. If you want to kick the tires and play with the sounder (a good idea), West Marine usually has display models set up in demo mode so you can try out the software etc. My experience is that the folks at West can't answer too many questions about sounders and GPS units. West also has a customer loyalty program, awarding West Bux for accumulated spending. Customer service varies from store to store, so check it out for yourself.
simonmeridew posted 10-03-2001 07:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for simonmeridew  Send Email to simonmeridew     
Lowrance X-85. I bought mine on eBay for $225 without the depth transducer, but with the speed/temperature transducer. Another$40 bought the 20 degree transducer, and basically the unit is plug and play. No issues at all. I ran the transducer cables up over the transom and bundled with the fuel and engine control cables up thru the tunnel to the console. The instruction advised against tapping the buss bars in the console for power, but I did anyway and I'm glad. No interference from the motor running, same screen motor off or on. You can run a separate power cable back to the battery if you want of course. The speed unit took some calibration, but it's done with the software on the display.
Whatever unit you end up buying , look back through the archives for transducer setup, say a month ago or so in the archives

BTW: Cabela's sells the same unit calling it the Lowrance LCG-2400 unit. Same exactly as X-85. Runs same price plus or minus.

Mort posted 10-03-2001 07:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mort  Send Email to Mort     
I have done a lot of business with Hamilton Marine in Maine. They are very good, at least at the store in Portland, they know what they are talking about.
Dick E posted 10-03-2001 07:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick E  Send Email to Dick E
good sevice and the best prices
They have 800# on website
jimh posted 10-03-2001 08:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Here is another vote for LOWRANCE. I have an X-45 on my 15-Sport and an X-65 on my 20-Revenge.

The LOWRANCE transducers are very nice. I can get good results at planing speeds from their "skimmer" transducer.

I would also recommend getting the speed/temperature option. While there are other sources for speed information (like a PITOT tube or a GPS), you will find the distance log function very nice to have.

For example, we took a little cruise around Lake St. Clair a couple of weekends ago. Total distance travelled was 45 miles. I would not have a clue how far we had gone without that knot/log function.

The water temperature is also nice to have. In our northern waters we always look at the temperature before taking a dip!

We use the "fish finder" for everything but fishing, but it gives us a great deal of data we find useful:

--water depth
--trend of depth
--type of bottom
--battery voltage (very handy function!)


Eric posted 10-04-2001 02:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Eric  Send Email to Eric     
I got an Eagle X45 recently, and like it so far. Very easy to use, and good resolution so far. However, here's how I got it for less than cost:
1. Sale at West Marine: 5% off electronics
2. add in a 10% discount for the first purchase on my new West Marine credit card.
3. everything in the store was marked down 10%, on top of the previous discounts.

By stacking the discounts, I got the unit for less than they paid for it. I think the usual markup is less than my total discount. In addition, a purchase of $200 or more is interest free for 90 days, >$1000 dollars is interest free for 6 months. I put the money in the bank every month, and pay it off right before the finance charges kick in.

Peter posted 10-04-2001 03:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
Congratulations John,

I saw that ad and said wow, that looks like a good deal!

My Revenge came with a Humminbird 3D Wide something or other. It's actually pretty good in the non-3D mode, and in the 3D mode it builds a six node, wire frame 3D picture of the bottom (a little gimmicky in my opinion). I primarily use it in the non-3D mode. It's sensitive enough that you can pick up a blob of ventilation bubbles when you back up. Nice thing about it is that the display unit can be swiveled and tilted and is removable from the base. I think that's a great feature when you take your electronics off after use. I have the optional speed and temperature sender and the puck reads at speeds up to 25 mph reasonably well.

llewellyn posted 10-05-2001 02:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for llewellyn  Send Email to llewellyn     
I've got an X-85 and like it except for the speed unit which varies significantly from Garmin GPS(X-85 indicates 52mph, GPS indicates 44mph). Distance log may also vary.
simonmeridew posted 10-07-2001 07:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for simonmeridew  Send Email to simonmeridew     
I don't think that the indicated speed is accurate throughout the linear range. Did you try to fine tune the indicated speed via the software by calibrating by the buttons on the screen? I had to play with mine but after I got the right combinations, I think I adjusted the speed by .87 or so is can be made quite accurate. One thing I noticed is that there is a sort of bell curve of correct speeds indicated. I'm not explaining it very well. Maybe this way: At a given speed, there is a range above and below this speed which will be accurate when you calibrate for this speed. Say you want to know the speed and trip distance for cruising at 21 MPH. The unit will be accurate for say any speed between 10 MPH and 30 MPH. But above or below this indicated MPH would not be especially accurate. The directions are not especially good in the book, I can try to help if you want.
jimh posted 10-07-2001 11:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The accuracy of the paddlewheel speed sensor in the X-65 or X45 LOWRANCE is an interesting function.

On my 15-Sport with the X-45, there is no adjustment but the accuracy seems quite good when compared to my GPS over the whole speed range.

On my 20-Revenge with the X-65, I have to use the software re-calibration to get good agreement, and, as others have noted, there is a noticeable difference in the accuracy at different speed ranges.

The explanation that I have come up with to resolve this: it depends where the paddlewheel is mounted!

On the 20-foot boat, the paddlewheel is mounted close to the keel center line (because I have twin engines) and it at the deepest part of the hull.

On the 15-foot boat, the paddlewheel is mounted off-center, and it is near the edge of the submerged part of the hull when on plane.

Another variable: variation in the paddlewheel units themselves. At the price point where they are sold (mine was "free") I don't imagine they are precisely tested and calibrated.


jimh posted 10-07-2001 11:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Another idea about the variation in paddlewheel results with different mounting locations:

--if mounted at the centerline the paddlewheel is deeply submerged at low speeds, but on plane it may almost be spinning in air. This may explain the difference in calibration accuracy with different speeds.

--if mounted outboard from centerline (as is typical with single engine transoms) the difference in the depth the paddlewheel is operating at does not change as much.

Peter posted 10-07-2001 12:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
I've had two Humminbird units over the last 8 or so years. One on my former 18 Outrage, the other that came with the 22 Revenge. Both units had the paddle wheel speed and temperature transducer. The units are calibrated at the factory. No user adjustments can be made. On both units, the factory calibrations produce remarkably accurate speed indications at all speeds when measured against the GPS.

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