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Author Topic:   LOWRANCE HDS-5: Will Updates Relieve Negativity
DTL504 posted 07-23-2009 10:02 PM ET (US)   Profile for DTL504   Send Email to DTL504  
I'm in the market of buying that Lowrance HDS-5 to fish in bays and lakes down south North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. I might go out in the Gulf of Mexico five miles maximum. Which transducer and map would best fit my conditions above:

-- 83 and 200-kHz; US Basemap
--83 and 200-kHz; Lake Insight
--50 and 200-kHz Nautic Insight?

Here is updated information on the Lowrance HDS-5. Is [the LOWRANCE HDS-5] worth the money? Will these updates relieve Lowrance from all the negativity?

jimh posted 07-24-2009 08:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I haven't really noticed any negativity about the HDS-5 SONAR from LOWRANCE. Most of the negative comments about LOWRANCE came during the period of Jihad Against Lowrance, a time when a few boaters complained prominently in a few on-line discussion forums about the time they had to wait on the telephone to speak to customers service representatives. However, I don't think a software update will affect customer service telephone line hold times--well perhaps it might. If the update resolves a problem that was causing a lot of people to call.

What specific remedies are included in the update?

PeteB88 posted 07-24-2009 10:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
I would have bought an HDS no hesitation. However, there was no question several months ago Lowrance was having significant reliability problems. Besides a dozen or more visits to boat and marine suppliers including Bass Pro and Cabela's as well as specialty retailers (marine electronics only), marine repair shops, fishing pro shops (D&R Sports - home of Kevin Van Dam), direct conversations with charter boat captains AND countless phone calls to friends and retailers around the country I confirmed, to my satisfaction, it was best to avoid Lowrance.

Some sales reps reported a few Lowrance units were returned because of the "complicated interface". I found the interface intuitive and cool - very similar to Canon Pixma printers, iPods and other electronic devices. Super cool actually.

One Bass Pro sales person said they had sold over 100 Lowrance HDS models had had zero returns. Other specialty big box sales persons confirmed "a percentage" of Lowrance units "had problems".

I also spent significant time speaking w/ a capable department manager who confirmed a list of problems including software issues (they were installing updates at time of sale - I watched him do one), leaks (water), condensation and other issues. This information matched that of a manufacturer's rep who handled multiple product lines including Lowrance and other anecdotal reports.

I believe Lowrance will resolve the quality issues however, I did not have the confidence or time to wait. Furthermore, I tested the customer service phone lines and felt other manufacturers were readily accessible and handled my calls professionally and with patience.

I hope I am entirely wrong but this is my report based on my experience of evaluating and considering every unit in the $1000 range. My budget was $800 or so, I stretched to $1200 for Raymarine A57d. I am concerned the daylight performance is not what I expected. I will be testing today. Moreover, I think Raymarine is foolish to even offer the A50 model because the screen size is just to damn small especially for "challenged" and aging eyes.

Regardless the Lowrance units are impressive on displays and I am sure there are many happy owners. I just did not want hassles.

My .02

jimh posted 07-24-2009 03:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Pete--The announcement of this update was supposed to relieve the negativity, not re-live the negativity.
bluewaterpirate posted 07-24-2009 04:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for bluewaterpirate  Send Email to bluewaterpirate     
The biggest issue with the HDS 5 was really not software ..... the case in paricular the buttons leaked like screen doors causing water intrusion inside the unit. Lowrance dragged their feet in admitting it instead of just replacing the units no question asked. Of the first 5 I installed 3 went back because of water intrusion. Hopefully that's all behind them.

PeteB88 posted 07-24-2009 04:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
I read the title of the thread - I made it clear that I would have bought a HDS series unit. I also said I hope they get all the bugs out besides the software issues. It's a lot of money to spend to be frustrated with out of box failures. I am reporting my experiences shopping for gps/sonar combo.

I am frustrated with my purchase at this time because the Raymarine A57d screen is not as bright as promised - I will check the brightness adj - and for the money it should not be a problem. It's kind of a warranty of merchantability thing. I expected a bright screen and so far it's not as bright as Humminbird for example.

I understand your intent however, this thread will not correct all the reported issues w/ the units. The company and reps know they have issues. My bet is if they take things corrective action seriously Lowrance will be the best on the market.

I wish them well.

PeteB88 posted 07-24-2009 05:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
I meant to have said: if they take corrective action (opportunity) seriously....

SJUAE posted 07-25-2009 05:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for SJUAE    

After all that testing you done it's a shame about the brightness.

My HDS-5 is still in the box for a month now I will try and get it fitted next week along with the Lowrance network to my Etec


PeteB88 posted 07-25-2009 12:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
No kidding - I will be testing in bright sun this afternoon and will max the brightness control. More later.

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