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Author Topic:   New Lowrance Combination GPS Receiver, Chart Plotter, and SONAR
PeteB88 posted 06-14-2009 10:18 PM ET (US)   Profile for PeteB88   Send Email to PeteB88  
Has the crew heard anything regarding the new Lowrance combo units? They look real good however, lots of hardcore fishermen/boaters in my area have not said much good about Lowrance reliability and customer service. What are you hearing out there, if anything? '

Getting close to purchase - Humminbird 77X, 78X, 79X leading the pack.


jimh posted 06-14-2009 10:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Pete--Give us a hint what units you are talking about. Did something just come out this weekend?
jimh posted 06-14-2009 10:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Also, I don't put much stock in "what I hear." I put stock in first-hand reports from intelligent users who have had a few months of hands-on experience. At the current state of the marine electronic art, I'd say that in about 90-percent of the cases the electronics are far, far more sophisticated than the people who are trying to use them.
TransAm posted 06-15-2009 07:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for TransAm    
I was in West Marine last week looking at these (and other) units as I am considering and upgrade. I was steered to the Raymarine A50 from the Lowrance HDS-5. When I asked the salesman why he said Raymarine tech/customer support was clearly better. When I asked more probing questions about accessories, etc. a second salesman entered the fray (not knowing what the first guy had relayed about Lowrance) and started sharing a story about being on hold with Raymarine for an hour the day before.
Hoosier posted 06-15-2009 08:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
Which of the combo's features is most important to you?

GPS is GPS, every one will tell you where you are and they all have pretty much the same set of features.

Chart plotter is a discriminator, what chart packages are available and what do they cost? I have a Lowrance XOG that I use in my car that takes an SD card. I got the Navionics Gold SD card of the entire Great Lakes; it has all Canadian and US charts from Nova Scotia to Duluth in it. Used it last weekend on the Lake Michigan Whaler Run. It had all the bridges and bouys on the Grand River and the Milwaukee rivers in it, plus the shipping lanes in the middle of the lake.

The HDS units use what Lowrance is calling HDS sonar. I talked to a charter captain at Detour and he said he was changing all his gear to HDS because it was so good.

jimh posted 06-15-2009 09:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Salesmen usually recommend the unit with the highest price or best commission. I really do not care if the salesman had to wait on the telephone to talk to his vendor. That is a vendor-distributor problem.

I estimate that I have used a GPS and SONAR for over ten years. During that time I have never had a reason to call the manufacturer because of some defect or malfunction. The various units have been in operation for perhaps 1,000 hours. To decide on a new unit I would consider that my ratio of time in use to time calling the manufacturer is greater than 1000:1. Therefore, if some salesman told me he had to wait on the the telephone to speak to his manufacturer, I would discount that influence in proportion, that is, it might weigh on my decision about 1/1000th as much as how the unit performs.

If you want to buy electronics on the basis of who answers their telephone the fastest, please go ahead. But I think it is something of a nutty new world when that is how you gauge the performance of an electronic device.

As I said before, these new marine electronic devices are far more sophisticated than most of the people using them. This might account for a high volume of calls to customer support.

If all a salesman can tell me about a unit is the time on hold when calling the manufacturer, I would look for another salesman. The unit is probably too sophisticated for the salesman to offer any cogent advice.

jmorgan40 posted 06-15-2009 11:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for jmorgan40  Send Email to jmorgan40     
I am with Jim and go by first-hand experience. I have had my Lowrance LCX-26HD for almost 5 years now. I have contacted their customer support on numerous occasions with no problem. Yes, there is a long wait if done by the phone. I find Lowrance is much more responsive via email. On four separate occasions I have contacted them with questions via email. I always get a detailed response back within 24-48 hours. On one occasion when installing the new NMEA network, I even got an email asking me how the project ended up and whether I was in need of any further assistance.

I am sure you can also find several folks who can rebut my good experiences with Lowrance. Heck, I have a buddy up in NJ who installed a new Raymarine C80 system with radar on his 22 Guardian. The unit failed in 13 months. He has had nothing but poor service from the manufacture who blames it on the distributor who installed it. After 6 months of back and forth, he ended up getting only several hundred dollars off a new replacement dome. This same person had a Lowrance unit on his previous whaler. It had a display issue and was well out of warranty. He called Lowrance, the gave him a RA#, he paid a flat $185 repair fee and within a month he had the unit back on the boat as good as new with no hassles.

I hope this first-hand knowledge is of some benefit. I never trust what the sales person tells me.

PeteB88 posted 06-15-2009 01:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
HDS 5 - finder and chartplotter. I am aware of sales incentives and try to pick through all that when shopping.

Without mentioning specifics let's say that many of the charter boat crews and serious salmon trollers are not saying nice things about Lowrance. I have determined that consensus, bases on my non-scientific interview/survey and casual Q&A methodology is specific to Lowrance products over the last four or five years. Apparently they had significant complaint history with the first internal antennae combo units (model 334??) a few years back. There seems to be a correlation to marginal to poor customer service and product support that is reportedly unresolved. That said, my plan, as I narrow down to two choices, is to call their support humans on the telephone and ask specific and hard questions. I have direct experience with those post purchase resources from my days in critical care medical devices. Those calls came to my desk, ultimately.

There is no getting around the fact that in West Mich, Lowrance is not always recommended by hard core users. However, that HDS stuff is very interesting and attractive. These guys seem to like Humminbird first then smaller Raymarine for boats like ours. Price point is indeed a serious issue but I want it to work great and be cool. One local retailer promised if I had problems he'd replace it from inventory and agreed to indicated that on the sales receipt.

So I will keep my question active and plan to narrow things this week. I also appreciate responses to my earlier thread on the same subject.

TransAm posted 06-15-2009 01:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for TransAm    
Just to be clear, the point of my post above was not to emphasize and manufacturers customer service, good or bad. It was to show that 2 salesman, in the same store, selling the same merchandise were sharing conflicting information. I would agree that tech support is not a primary concern of mine when purchasing equipment. I hope to choose the unit that will need little or none of that support.

Having said that, I am considering Raymarine and Lowrance over same brand upgrade to my Standard Horizon CP 150. The unit is unable to obtain a fix for the second time in 3 years. The first time, it was sent back to Standard Horizon under warranty; this time it's on my dime if I choose to go that route. Since my fish-finder crapped out some time ago. I think an upgrade to a combo unit might be in order. The Lowrance HDS-5 unit did look sharp, and the graphics are much improved.

PeteB88 posted 06-15-2009 04:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Trans - agree totally. That's part of the confusion actually. Plus it's difficult where I live to find demo units live and powered up to play around with. Best options for me are Bass Pro and Cabellas in SE Michigan about 150 miles from here.

Let me know what you decide.


jmorgan40 posted 06-15-2009 04:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for jmorgan40  Send Email to jmorgan40     
I am surprised that fisherman on the Michigan lakes do not like Lowrance. I have run Garmin, Lowrance, Raymarine, and Furuno when I ran charters. Unless I was fishing deep offshore (1,000 ft plus) i would go with Lowrance. By far I think nothing marks fish clearer and eliminates unwanted targets like the Lowrance units. I have not used the new HDS units but they would be my first choice if I was upgrading my current unit. Now if GPS is your main concern then I do not rate Lowrance as #1. I think Garmin and Raymarine are much more accurate. I have plugged the same numbers from Raymarine and Garmin into my Lowrance and sometimes it will not put me right on the wreck but it is never off by more than 30-60 feet. The Garmins are always dead on accurate. The Lowrance GPS module is also sometimes slow to aquire a signal. It will take 2-4 minutes in some situations to acquire a position when the unit is first powered up. I did hear something about antenna issues with the 334 units at one time but I also know several folks on Lanier who use that unit with not problems. Those issues were happening over 2 1/2 years ago. I am not sure if it is wise to base your decision on issues that happened that long ago and obviously have been corrected by the manufacture.
makoman310 posted 06-15-2009 06:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for makoman310  Send Email to makoman310     
i have the hds10 it is amazing it preloaded with all the maps in the world one tranducer you can change the frequncy from 50 200 or 83 200 and they are coming out in july with a side scan sonar to add to the unit i also have the broadband radar added to the unit with the help of heading compass and real time weather and sirius radio with the lwx 1 antenna let me tell you this combo blows any thing away. you can zoom in on the gps of your unit to 20 feet not .5 of a mile radar is clear you can zoom in to 1/32 of a mile and you can record all of it there is two sd card slots so you can record and take home your cards and watch every thing you did all day on the computer watch the fish hugging stucture and there is your lat long it dont get better than that oh wait i forgot the radar has trail tracking feature so if you want to know were your buddys fishing if you have him on your radar screen you can lock him and give him a color and it will track him all day than tranfer to a waypoint in your machine no more hiding spots lol
PeteB88 posted 06-15-2009 07:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
mako - that's what I'm talking about for sure. I think they are shakin' up things. Everybody around here are all about Humminbird or Raymarine for the big boats. I remember when Humminbird was junk and Johnson Outdoors picked them up and now they are respected. Maybe the time has come for Lowrance. I wanna make my decision within the next 10 days.

Keep it coming


jimh posted 06-15-2009 08:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
There is some anecdotal evidence that the Lowrance GPS receiver with NMEA-2000 interface in the models LGC-2000 and perhaps LGC-3000 were sensitive to static and could be damaged. The problem seems to have been resolved by the LGC-4000.

As far as GPS accuracy, it would surprise me to learn that one GPS receiver was fantastically more accurate than another. GPS receivers are almost something of a commodity these days. You can get an extraordinarily good GPS receiver for $35. They all use the same satellites, the same precision fix augmentation system, and the same mathematics to deduce their position.

GPS receiver sensitivity has become phenomenal. Receiver sensitivity specifications of -156 dBm are now common. This is a real performance specification. You might ask the salesman at Cabela's about the GPS receiver sensitivity in dBm. That would be more informative than knowing his job required him to call Lowrance and sit on the telephone on hold for a while. In an open boat, or a boat with a canvas top, or a boat with a fiberglass top, the radio signals from the GPS transmitters will pass through to the GPS receiver without much attenuation, and it is possible to get good performance from an internal antenna. I get good GPS receiver performance in my living room, sitting under a roof and an attic with foil backed insulation.

One distinguishing aspect of GPS performance is speed to acquire a fix, and speed to acquire a precision enhanced fix. Some really hot new receivers can acquire a fix in less than a minute, and add WAAS precision augmentation very quickly afterwards. Other receivers take longer. I'd ask the salesman to demonstrate acquisition of a precision fix from a completely cold start, and time it. That would be a good metric for comparison: time to precision fix, not time on hold with customer service.

As for what salesmen like to sell, I should also mention they like to sell what they have on hand. If the back room has a certain brand of product in boxes stacked to the roof, you can be reasonably sure that salesmen out on the floor will be mentioning that brand and that product. They might perhaps even steer a customer toward that product.

As for measuring the value of an electronic product by how fast their customer service telephone line gets answered, this might be more important for a salesman who needs to reach the manufacturer frequently than it will be for a boater who is out in the middle of some strange water and wants to know the depth or his position. As a boater, I am more interested in hearing about how the device performs, not about how long the salesmen spent trying to get his question answered in the customer service cue. It is more important to me that the device finds the bottom, shows strong echoes from fish, has good GPS performance, comes with charts, and has a bright color display.

If at some point all of the units on the market are exactly the same in their performance and price, them maybe I would start to give more weight to considerations like how fast customer service answers the phone. However, I think you will find that there is plenty of variation in price, performance, and features that you can distinguish one unit from another on those parameters.

Hoosier posted 06-15-2009 08:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
Pete, you did't tell us which combo feature was most important to you. There's an older thread in here about the HDS sonar theory, at least as much as we can figure out from marketing literature. I stand on my chart plotter comments, card prices and selection rule. For me, $174 for all of the Great Lakes wasn't too bad.
SJUAE posted 06-17-2009 04:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     

What I liked about the Lowrance was the same electronic wizardry is in the HDS 5 unit as the 10.

What more do you want from a +$500 unit

My HDS5 was shipped 5 days ago from the US, still waiting to be delivery here


Menemsha69 posted 06-17-2009 07:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for Menemsha69  Send Email to Menemsha69     
Pete- I have had a Lowrance 527-C unit for 3+ years and love it! I couldn't tell you about depths over 160 feet, but it clearly marks fish and bottom structure as well as my downlines and bait. On numerous ocassions I have watched fish rise from an 80 foot bottom, investigate my bait, and take the hook.
As far as GPS accuracy goes, all I can say is it is accurate enough for me. I have marked structure on Lanier, and been able to return to the same structure by using the GPS feature. A great unit for around $600, I don't see Lowrance quality getting worse in this competitive market.
Customer service? Never had to use Lowrance customer services, so I couldn't tell you! My unit has not required any servicing. Hope this helps-k

(I have been aboard boats that use the Garmin depthfinder, and have found them lacking in detail and clarity compared to the Lowrance)

PeteB88 posted 06-17-2009 07:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Both features are important my I would lean toward navigation over fish finding. We spent some time looking at powered up units at Wolf Marine (one of the seven wonders of the boating world) in St Joe Mich yesterday and at West Marine in Holland. If I want most accuracy it would be for navigation.

So far on the list are Humminbird 780 or 790 series (I'm starting to like that side imaging for lake fishing - D&R Sports near Kalamazoo (home of Kevin Van Dam) are all about Humminbird especially for lakes and walleye fishing.

Next is Raymarine A50 - on sale w/ rebate at West Marine - Tom G, who I respect, is all about Raymarine and says it's a mini-me unit like the big one on their Tiara 36.

and Lowrance HD series probably the 5.

Bonus plan for me would be unit that is preloaded w/ maps including Hot Maps - Fi Fi loves to fish for her bluegills and yellow perchies

Thanks - keep it coming.

It's not the destination!

SC Joe posted 06-17-2009 09:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for SC Joe  Send Email to SC Joe     
As for measuring the value of an electronic product by how fast their customer service telephone line gets answered, this might be more important for a salesman who needs to reach the manufacturer frequently than it will be for a boater who is out in the middle of some strange water and wants to know the depth or his position. As a boater, I am more interested in hearing about how the device performs, not about how long the salesmen spent trying to get his question answered in the customer service cue. It is more important to me that the device finds the bottom, shows strong echoes from fish, has good GPS performance, comes with charts, and has a bright color display.

In your opinion, does the knowledge the tech support person has of their product and how they can help you fix your issue have any value?

I have no knowledge of Lowrance's tech support, but since they are now one with Navico, there might be some correlation to Navico's other offerings. After dealing with Northstar's horrible tech support (and the included documentation), and the fact that calling 3 times with the same question will yield 3 separate, and totally unrelated answers (and none were correct) will make me never again buy a Northstar product for that reason alone. The unit(s) I have had might have good GPS performance and strong echoes from fish, but if I am unable to to discern this info from the documentation or tech support..what does that leave me with?

My point here is tech support is important--perhaps more important than a bright display.

jimh posted 06-17-2009 10:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
As a measure of product quality, I agree that evaluating the usefulness of customer service that is provided is more important than simply measuring the number of minutes that elapse before you are connected. I separate technical support from customer service. Customer service is focused on problems with the basic transactions. Your new device has a broken knob, or there was a part missing, or something about the device is not quite as it should be as part of your transaction of buying it and taking ownership of it. Technical support is about helping you resolve problems with the use of the device.

Based on current day practice, if you call a 1-800-telephone number for technical support for most products, particularly products which are made in large volume and are intended for use by the general public, you will reach what is generally known as first-tier technical support.

First-tier technical support generally consists of people who know exactly the same information as the manufacturer has already provided in the instruction manual. Their function is to answer questions from users of the product who cannot read or will not read the instruction manual or cannot comprehend the instruction manual. On occasion the printed manual may not reflect the latest information, and most companies now have on-line updates of their manuals, so a first-tier technical support person is someone who also has read the latest version of the manual. If you read the manual yourself, you'd know everything they do.

Some manuals are not very well written, and although they contain information, it may be hard to find it. And many customers are very poor readers, particularly of anything remotely technical, and just lack the skill and comprehension needed to learn by reading a technical document.

If you have a problem with an electronic or software product that is beyond the knowledge of the first-tier technical support, that is, requires knowledge that is not available in the instruction manual, your outcome varies. Some companies, again large ones in general, may have a second tier of support available. Your inquiry will be escalated to the second tier. At the second tier you can obtain information that may not be in the instruction manual, or may be in the manual but be quite obscurely placed or hard to find, or perhaps needs elaboration.

Another measure of the value of support is the range of remedies which the support person is allowed to offer. Usually the first-tier support person cannot provide much of a remedy. If the first-tier support person is empowered to offer you a significant remedy, such as sending you a free new replacement, that is great.

SJUAE posted 06-17-2009 03:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     

How accurate do you want it ?

I'm not sure you are spliting hairs trying to deduce which of these 3 modern units are more accurate for GPS postion.

If your that concerned it's going to cost another 500 for a gyro compass to make sure your in the right direction let alone position.


100 meters: Accuracy of the original GPS system, which was subject to accuracy degradation under the government-imposed Selective Availability (SA) program (turned off in 2000).

15 meters: Typical GPS position accuracy without SA.

3-5 meters: Typical differential GPS (DGPS) position accuracy.

< 3 meters: Typical WAAS position accuracy.


TransAm posted 06-17-2009 07:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for TransAm    
Don't mean to misdirect this thread, but since I too am considering the Lowrance HDS 5 and Raymarine A50D, I thought I'd throw the Standard Horizon CPF 180i in the mix. I have not done a side by side comparison, but it too is a multi-function GPS/Fishfinder with a high-def screen of comparable size to the others. The one difference I have noticed thus far, it's only about $500.00. Can anyone share info on this unit?
jimh posted 06-17-2009 07:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The Standard-Horizon CP180i is very similar to the CP300, with the exceptions that

--the display is smaller
--there are no soft keys
--the GPS receiver is internal to the display.

See my comments about the CP300 in

One important distinction among various brands of echo sounder, GPS receiver, and electronic chart plotter combination devices is the digital chart cartography that can be used with them. In the case of the Standard-Horizon devices the cartography is from C-MAP.

PeteB88 posted 06-17-2009 08:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Okay - thanks to you all but I am about to make the jump - I think we're going to get the Raymarine A50. Best thing is it is pricing is good and there is a $200 rebate from Raymarine for the next 30 days. The one I will get will be preloaded w/ maps and I will buy the Hotmaps for Ellen for her bluegill lakes. There are so many features including weather radar (subscription) and more that can be added on. I believe Raymarine is designed as a commercial level unit. My pal Tom says it's identical to the big expensive console unit they have on the Tiara 36.

There is something bombproof about Raymarine and I think it will jazz up the boat.

I also heard from highly placed sources in the industry that Lowarance is having failures with new HD series - Displays are leaking. It is a rumor from an industry source. I hope it is wrong but with some history of failure modes of Lowrance I am rejecting those units. Strong second for me is Humminbird 78x or 79x which have positive reviews.

I will post my final decision.

TransAm posted 06-17-2009 08:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for TransAm    
Yes, I read your write-up jim; I am curious though, about the CP"F" 180i as it has the sonar component built-in, and as you mention, an internal GPS receiver and smaller screen. Assuming I can operate out of split screen mode, the smaller screen may work. It appears as though I will need to do a manual comparison of spec sheets of the comparable models. The other 2 mentioned here also have a 5" screen with the Raymarine of similar aspect ratio (the Lowrance is more square). What keeps me interested in the Standard Horizon is I have a CP 150 unit now and the C-map digital card already. At something around $500, I am really tempted. Its overall size is appealing as well. I am looking to flush mount the unit and the Standard Horizon presents the best options for adjacent equipment and gauges. While I will likly not compromise quality over something like size that can be overcome, all other things being relatively equal, it's a plus.

Also, I wonder why it is several hundred dollars less than competing brands of the same size. And for some reason, lately Standard Horizon seems to be left out of the discussion when the topic GPS or GPS/Sonar units is brought up. I don't see as many retailers in my area carrying Standard Horizon.

jimh posted 06-17-2009 08:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Since we seem to have devolved into total nonsense and quoting unknown sources, I may as well join the defamation of companies by passing on what I "hear." Industry insiders are talking about a possible failure for RAYMARINE due to lack of capital. I thought I'd throw that into the mix of "what I hear."
TransAm posted 06-17-2009 09:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for TransAm    
I would be surprised if every secondary industry related to the marine industry didn't have all options on the table these days. I'd also be surprised if these secondary industries could withstand the scrutiny of new bank underwriting.
PeteB88 posted 06-17-2009 10:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
There might be some flame throwers out there who have come and gone on these threads but I'm not one of them. I think it is prudent and responsible to post reports that are likely to be accurate for our pals out there.

I understand very well the risk and potential ramifications of quoting "unknown sources" as well as hearsay. As a former regulatory professional in the medical device industry we were compelled by the FDA to "investigate" complaints or reports of x,y,z or the likelihood of x,y,z. Field reports specific to our products that were confirmed were given priority for possible investigation. Those reports, including rumors from known or unknown sources were documented and trended for possible action. Those files were monitored closely and if they hit a certain number we presumed that we had a real issue or problem at which point the trended reports or rumored incidents would become an active file for possible investigation or corrective action.

Now most of us don't really know each other except from the time we have spent on this forum but I have seen, over the years, similar anecdotes or reports from the Whaler crew out in the field that were unconfirmed or likely.

I assure you, what I heard about Lowrance today was from a reliable source. I might even call their customer service people and ask the question about the specific report. If they are awesome they will implement corrective action for those units affected - recall.

SJUAE posted 06-18-2009 04:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     
Well hopefully my my non leaking HDS5 series arrived this am, along with my Navionics Platinum card and NMEA 2000 interface cable.

As Pete has already opted for the Raymarine A50 I won't post any pic's etc, unless someone has any other specific points


Hoosier posted 06-18-2009 07:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for Hoosier  Send Email to Hoosier     
Please give us a report, or ping me off line, the HDS series is at the top of my list. What's been holding me back is figuring out how to run the cables through the rats nest that's already in my rigging tunnel. The last time I installed stuff I had the deck off.
jimh posted 06-18-2009 07:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I only recall seeing one first-hand report from an owner of a new Lowrance device in which a problem was mentioned with ingress of water to the display. This report mentioned that the water ingress occurred after the open boat on which the device was installed had been driven at 40-MPH during a very intense rain. From that report I concluded that if you blast a strong torrent of water at 40-MPH or more at these new Lowrance units you might have some water getting into them. I don't know if that would influence my tendency to buy one or not. On my boat, electronics are not installed where they are likely to get exposed to direct blast from wind driven rain at 40-MPH. So I would tend to ignore this single data point about water leaking into the display.

Perhaps there are legions of boaters who have purchased new Lowrance units and had problems already with water ingress, but I do not recall reading any first hand reports from them about this. I have had a number of Lowrance products in the past ten years, and to the best of my recall I have never seen any sign of water ingress into their housings. Based on my own personal experience with Lowrance products, and their long history in manufacturing marine electronics, I am not inclined to think that Lowrance suddenly has lost the manufacturing skill to make a device that withstands the marine environment in normal use.

Anyone who has purchased a new Lowrance HDS series product which has permitted water to enter into the housing is encouraged to reply and let us know. I would find this sort of first hand report more persuasive than the suggestion that I ought to call Lowrance and require them to defend themselves against rumors.

TransAm posted 06-18-2009 09:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for TransAm    
Looks like you got a Yamaha F350 on the back of that rig.
PeteB88 posted 06-18-2009 10:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
no decision yet, Lowrance still on the list - this is making me tired and I agrre, I bet the insyalled basew of Lowrance exceeds the others. Let's stay friends.
SC Joe posted 06-18-2009 11:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for SC Joe  Send Email to SC Joe     

Looks like you got a Yamaha F350 on the back of that rig.

It doesn't look any larger than my Mercury 90 FourStroke.

PeteB88 posted 06-18-2009 12:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
It's a diesel
Slippery Eel posted 06-18-2009 01:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Slippery Eel  Send Email to Slippery Eel     
I purchased the Raymarine A57D this spring. The only complaint I have about the unit is that the operation is not intutive. I have a Garmin 545S on my Montauk and you don't even need a manual to figure it out. Not so on the Raymarine. It does have a lot of features and the HD sonar is awesome. It is the same sonar used on the larger series units.

I did have to call Raymarine Tech support to figure out how to display seawater temp on the unit and they answered on 2 rings and were very helpful after I went thru the auto attendant to reach tech support.

I remove the unit when I leave the boat for the week and the wire management system has worked out well. I do have the Navionics Gold card in it and overall am very happy with the features and performance.


SJUAE posted 06-18-2009 03:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     
First Impressions on HDS5

(Note I bought this unit on spec from the US as we don’t have the same access to marine stores here)

The casing feels very nice and pleasantly sculptured not just for injection molding purposes. It would seem a reasonable amount of thought has gone into the appearance.

The screen cover is more than just a push fit with extra recesses clips to hold it in place.

The rubberized buttons feel nice and have a reassuring click when depressed.

The SD slot is on the front so allowing close mounting to other items, if flush mounted. Although the magnetic catch and rubber seal looks not as robust as the normal slide in holder bay type cartridge, it appears a small drainage channel is provided.

The front bezel unit to gain access to the flush mount screw holes is easy to remove and also has additional sticky strips. (4 mounting screws are provided).

The back of the unit with 4 ports (power/data, sonar, ENET and NMEA 2000) are substantial. Two covers are provided for the ENET and NMEA 2000, should you not use them.

The rear casing has 12 screws holding it to the front, so if there is water ingress it could only be via the screen/keyboard IMO.

The gimbal bracket is nothing special. You would have to drill the base should you wish to pass any cables directly down as shown in the installation manual. It appears the base of the gimbal has a recess to mount a horizontal swivel but no attachments are provided other than the 4 long mounting screws for the flush fit option.

The power data cable has 2 cables from the plug. One for power/earth and wake up, the other for NMEA 0183. All the ends terminate in simple soldered loose ends, no connectors are provided. A separate waterproof in-line 3 amp fuse is provided with similar loose ends.

The 83/200 sonar transducer is nicely rounded unlike some of the puck type units I have had previously. The cable seems thick yet supple.

The transom bracket complete with 4 rubber washers, 2 s/steel washers and bolt with lock nut seems over complicated to allow for ratchet like adjustment to the angle. (2 mounting screws are provided).

Plenty of leaflets and a disappointing black and white (apart from the glossy cover) operations guide are provided. The quick start guide in colour seems the best to keep onboard.

I ordered the NMEA 2000 interface cable for my ETEC. This is a bit short at 15ft and I’m still waiting on the extension cable to arrive.

The provided network tee looks a bit naff all in black compared to the blue/red ones and no terminators are supplied. The plug to the engine is not sheathed all the way and the 4 wires are exposed just as they enter the plug.

There is already a software update available so I need to get a separate SD card for installing this and for copying screen shots etc.

As this is a US unit it has the preloaded costal and lake maps. Not sure I will be able to access them here as it’s 6K away but will try later.

The platinum maps here don’t include ariel shot overlays else should be similar 3D stuff.

I noticed the internal gps receiver is only 1 second updates where the external would be 0.2 seconds.

When I get it mounted I should be able to compare with my Navman 5350 and my HTC touch diamond phone as this unit is only replacing my Navman 4350 sonar unit and the second GPS is just a bonus.

I will try and post some close-ups pics later to compliment my observations above.

I don’t think I will get it installed this weekend (Friday/Saturday) as I’m off to Emirates Palace hotel. I wanted to go on my whaler there but they don’t allow anything under 80ft to be moored :)


SJUAE posted 06-18-2009 03:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     
Some pics:

TransAm posted 06-18-2009 05:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for TransAm    
O.K., I'm taking a real hard look at the Standard Horizon CPF 300i. This unit has everything I will ever use and more, and the display is almost twice as big (total sq. in.) than the Raymarine & Lowrance. I had to estimate the dimensions of the Raymarine & Lowrance displays as I only saw diagonal screen measurements. Both were listed at 5" diagonal with the Lowrance appearing almost square, and the Raymarine more of a 4" x 3" configuration. So that suggests:

Raymarine, 3" x 4" = 12 sq. in.
Lowrance, 3.53" x 3.53" = 12.5 sq. in.

while the Standard Horizon is 6" x 3.6" = 21.6 sq. in. When the screen is split between sonar and GPS functions, this also provides a more favorably sized sub-screen for each component. The Lowrance will render 2, tall and narrow sub-screens while the Raymarine will be slightly better. The Standard Horizon will have 2, almost square sub-screens. This presentation is a major plus for me. And the CPF 300 can be bought for right around $800.

TransAm posted 06-18-2009 05:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for TransAm    
Take a look ProdCatID=232&encProdID=CA41D55048F3068CA0008CF3665E1A44&DivisionID=3& isArchived=0
PeteB88 posted 06-18-2009 06:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
You know what - I talked to fishin and Whaler pal for life Dale this afternoon - he has the ribbed 21 Outrage on Mona Lake. He has an old monochrome Lowrance X 15 or some damn thing he got a number of years ago. That sucker works and has taken every kind of abuse Dale the Whale has thrown at it. It's got built in charts for the entire world and probably Mars who knows. Maybe I'll just track one down on Ebay for a few bucks and get out of the emotional phase for awhile. I'm all messed up - I'm going to take my 13 for a ride.

I truly appreciate all the information, sincerely.

SJUAE posted 06-19-2009 01:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     

I had a quick look at the CPF 300i.

All I can say it appears not as polished as the others and with a few new features missing like NMEA 2000 and broardband sonar.

These savings has allowed them as you note to put a larger screen for only another $250

I would look in to the maps especially the base maps provided.


jimh posted 06-19-2009 09:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
It is very important to include the cost of digital chart cartography when comparing chart plotter devices. Some devices are now being bundled with very extensive chart data which just a year ago might have cost $1,000 to acquire. On the other hand, some devices come only with very limited base map data included, and you must purchase charts for your area. Without consideration of the cost of the charts, a comparison of chart plotter price can become confusing.
TransAm posted 06-19-2009 10:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for TransAm    
The CPF 300i accepts the local charts contained on my c-map NT+ card I currently use in my CP 150C. This is what continues to attract me to this unit, as well as the larger display.

Aside: I have confirmed what the re-occurring problem I am having with my unit and its inability to obtain a fix. Apparently, the where the antenna connections are made to the internal circuit board is a somewhat fragile arrangement. Since I remove the unit each time I use my boat, the continued screwing and unscrewing of the external antenna connection tends to cause the internal soldered circuit board connection to eventually fail. This would flaw is cured both with an flush mount installation and the internal antenna.

SJUAE posted 06-19-2009 09:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     

If you intend to use the internal antenna then check it's update speed. Usually the external one is faster.

The spec for your external is only 1 second, I'm not sure what the internal one is.

The added screen size is nice and I intend to get another 5 or 7 inch display as this seemed better value than just one 8 inch one.


TransAm posted 06-23-2009 07:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for TransAm    
Steve, what was your take on the SH CPf 300i display? I cannot find a shop in my area that has one on display. Does the display present with 3-d characteristics like the Lowrance, or is it strictly a colored map, perhaps similar to what I currently have.

I can live without NMEA 2000 as I don't ever anticipate integrating other components it other than perhaps my VHF. As for the broadband sonar, that too is less important. But the display characteristics and its capabilities would be of greater significance.

jimh posted 06-24-2009 09:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
There are some photographs of the screen display of the Standard-Horizon CP300 in my article:

The illustrations are not screen captures, but photographs of the display, and as a result there is some moiré from the scanning lines. The display has excellent capabilities, and what you will see depends more on the cartography used. In my case I had the C-MAP NT cartography, which is probably what you have described as "a colored map."

TransAm posted 06-24-2009 09:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for TransAm    
Thanks jim, I assumed the screen captures were the C-map NT; Do you know if the C-Map MAX charts capture a more 3 dimensional display similar to other modern devices (i.e. Lowrance HDS units)? The new Garmin display is saw in Bluewaterpirates thread was also impressive.
TransAm posted 06-24-2009 09:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for TransAm    
Woah, those Garmin 4000 & 5000 series units are a bit salty. I guess you gotta pay to play in the 3-Dimensional arena.
PeteB88 posted 06-27-2009 09:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Okay sports fans - it's now between Raymarine A50D (great pricing w/ $200 rebate), A57D (not so great w/ $50 rebate), Humminbird 78x or 79x. Pressure is on - rebate ends Tuesday. Sorry to report that I continue to hear concerns (when pressed) about new Lowrance HDS units from the long list of dealers and one Detroit area marine electronics sales and repair business. This includes some software issue that Lowrance techs are correcting, some in the field at larger dealers. Don't shoot the messenger; take it or leave it. For me Raymarine makes total sense - for budget the screen is small for my squinty eyes - Humminbird gets solid reviews and screen is large and clear.

I've got the weekend and it's a nice one here in West Mich.

TransAm posted 06-27-2009 09:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for TransAm    
What about Raymarine's impending doom, ;-)

PeteB88 posted 06-28-2009 12:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
The whole dang country is facing impending doom. I don't know - now I spotted Garmin 440 combos for about $600 bucks, West Marine is sold out and I'm more messed up than ever. I doubt if Raymarine goes out of business. There isn't a boat or marine business that isn't having challenges. I can see big money cats with Raymarine on their yachts picking up Raymarine if things go to worse.
SJUAE posted 06-30-2009 06:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     
Sorry Chaps moved about 3k closer to you as I'm on holiday in UK and just managed to get online.

Transam I have only used the NT+ maps myself, not sure what the higher spec gives but I dont think it will match navonics higher end 3D maps used on the Lowrance/Garmin units.

Pete I would of like to give you some first hands on info on the Lowrance but failed to get it installed before my leave. FYI Lowrance just released a big update like Garmin maybe you were reading posts prior to this release

As you have gone full circle now just stick to your original aim on maxing value for money to suit your preferences, there are some great deals out there and I'm sure no unit will be a dissapointment


TransAm posted 06-30-2009 07:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for TransAm    
I ended up going with a Standard Horizon CPF300i. All things considered, it best suited my needs. The comparatively sized Lowrance HDS-7 was just about $300 more. Several things swung my decision. First, I wanted the unit flush mounted. The HDS 7 was almost an inch too tall to fit in the designated space. Second, 80% of my boating is in very familiar waters, so I rarely even look at my current unit. Last was price. I'm sure there will be times I wish I had the fancy 3-D graphics, but in the end, a 2-D, high definition screen is equally accurate and an improvement over what I currently have.
SJUAE posted 07-01-2009 02:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     

Congrats, nothing like real estate when it comes to screen size.

I too had problems with flush mount size, 5" was ok 7" cut through 2 of my 2" dials and so the 8" would just fit over the existing 31/2" navman sounder hole and the lost 2" dials.

The price differance between a 5" and a 8" screen was not good value IMO and as I already have a 5" Navman plotter the 5" Lowrane HDS5 gave me the best option.

I did not really need the GPS in the Lowrance but considering the cost difference between the sounder only model it was not worth buying without, the Platinum maps is just a bit of over indulgance on my part and as you note the 3D is really a nice to have

Let us know what you think of the sounder


TransAm posted 07-01-2009 04:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for TransAm    
My Standard Horizon CPF300i arrived today. I fired it up in my driveway, and it found me in about 30 seconds. I bought the brass thru-hull transducer and it did not like being out of water.

Speaking of the transducer, there is much discussion in another thread regarding its use. It too arrived today, and I must say, it is a rock solid piece of brass weighing close to 2 lbs. I am considering mounting it in the splashwell of my Whaler Drive. Directly beneath the well the underside of the Whaler Drive is flat which would make for an ideal place to mount a transducer. This will also free the main hull from another hull penetration and the needed use of a fairing block. I need to get an eye on this to see if plumb holes can be drilled, etc. and won't be at my boat until Friday.

PeteB88 posted 07-01-2009 08:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Made my decision and purchase today - Raymarine A57D.

Dave at Lockeman's went the extra mile for me yesterday, above and beyond, however he did not have the unit I wanted in stock - inland lake charts and lake/river 'ducer only. He and the crew there are awesome just as Jim and Buckda have said. Skipper Ellen wants the OR ready for the water this weekend - I think we're heading to Hamlin Lake.

I considered Trans Am's Standard Horizon unit but probably too wide for the console - great unit and less than I paid for 5.7 inch display.

Thanks everybody.

SJUAE posted 07-02-2009 02:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE  Send Email to SJUAE     

Congrats looks very nice with the 5 menu buttons at the bottom which is only on the larger Lowrance units.

Won't be able to play with my HDS5 for another 3 weeks, yet I did manage to start 2nd pull my old Johnson 5hp that has been left for 7 years in my in-laws garage.


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