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ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
Lowrance HDS Gen2 Touch
|Author||Topic: Lowrance HDS Gen2 Touch|
posted 09-29-2012 04:15 PM ET (US)
Lowrance is apparently on the verge of a new product announcement [that turned out to be the new HDS Gen2 Touch series.] Details will likely first be shown at their Facebook site,
Some leaked photographs seen in various discussion groups seem to indicate the new product will be a new HDS unit with a touchscreen interface. The unit screen sizes are also rumored to be in 7, 9, and 12-inch versions. Details are expected to be revealed on October 1, 2012.
posted 10-01-2012 07:28 AM ET (US)
It's October 1, but so far all we have from Lowrance is this teaser:
The video reveals several interesting features of the new device:
--touch screen interface;
--16:9 screen aspect ratio;
--two transducer connectors;
--same connectors as prior HDS units for power, network, transducer, ethernet;
--Structure Scan and Down Scan are built into the head unit; extra black boxes are not needed; the Structure Scan transducer connects directly to the new units;
--very few actual buttons or keys; most controls are on-screen and touch screen based;
--some screen display space is taken up by on-screen soft keys along the right hand side when the softkey "Menu" is activated.
The actual front panel controls appear to be limited to just these four:
--a PAGE button
--a WAYPOINT button
--a POWER button, and
--a rocker switch with plus and minus legends.
The user interface is enhanced by including on-screen text on many of the soft key displays which prompts or guides the user to using the features.
The screen resolutions for the new units are as follows:
7-inch = 800 x 480
9-inch = 800 x 480
12-inch = 1280 x 800
posted 10-01-2012 11:43 AM ET (US)
[Pointed to a secondary link of information. Please see my link below to the primary source of this same information and more from that source. Thank you--jimh]
The Lowrance website has been updated.
posted 10-01-2012 01:11 PM ET (US)
I was waiting for the prices to be announced; ouch! A 12-inch HDS touch screen is $3,279--that's more than some boats used to cost!
posted 10-01-2012 09:12 PM ET (US)
This presentation by Jason Gilstrap looks good:
Jason shows some very unique features of the new HDS Gen 2 Touch devices. In particular, the HDS Gen 2 Touchscreen can
--use the touchscreen to type on an on-screen keyboard for naming files, waypoints, routes, and so on. This is greatly improved from the older method where the cursor had to be driven around the screen to select a letter to use in file naming;
--waypoints can be managed in segments by using a screen rectangle to select areas of waypoints to be collected and stored in a file. Previously one could only export ALL waypoints, routes, and trails in a single file. This feature will make management of waypoints much easier.
posted 10-01-2012 09:52 PM ET (US)
Below is a link to a very nice presentation that shows many features of the new Lowrance HDS Gen 2 Touch Screen. Unfortunately it is narrated in French, so most wont't understand too much of the narration. However, the device is really put through a great many screens, and the presentation gives a good idea of the processor speed and screen presentations.
I find it curious that we don't have anything this comprehensive in English. Where is Lowrance with a good presentation?
posted 10-01-2012 10:00 PM ET (US)
I would describe myself as not being predisposed to like a touch screen interface, but, after watching the speed at which the user can manipulate and control the HDS Gen 2 Touch Screen in the video (linked above), I am changing my mind. Perhaps a touch screen interface is the way to go. The user can really fly through the menus and controls with this new Lowrance HDS Gen 2 Touch Screen. I look am looking forward to getting a chance to try one.
posted 10-02-2012 07:58 AM ET (US)
I like the look of the HDS-9 Gen 2 and I think the idea of a touchscreen is great, especially if you are used to using smart phones or iPads etc.
Interestingly the recommended retail in Australia is $ 3,299 AUD, (equal to approx. $ 3,398 USD on current exchange rates)while in the US the RRP is $ 2,479 USD. (I sourced the RRP figures from the Lowrance website).
So in Australia we get slugged about $ 919 USD (or 37%) more for what appears to be the same unit in the US (not sure if they actually are though - for example they might have different base maps and differing aftermarket support eg. upgrades).
Anyway I'm interested in one for my montauk and am looking forward to the chance to try one. If I end up liking it I might have to buy one online.
posted 10-02-2012 08:25 AM ET (US)
There are plenty of new features in the Lowrance HDS Gen 2 Touch Screen units. Let's concentrate on the chart plotter function for a moment.
Two Charts at Once
Chart Creation or Genesis
Note that the suggested website resource is currently not on-line, but is anticipated to appear in a month or two.
3D Perspective from Insight Charts
posted 10-02-2012 08:32 AM ET (US)
There is a great deal of information, images, illustrations, and video presentations given on a South African website. I think this is the best and most comprehensive source of images, illustrations, and videos that I have found. You may enjoy a visit to
Note: much of the content seen above has been reposted in part on other websites, but the above URL will take you to the actual source and the most comprehensive presentation of that fellow's work.
posted 10-03-2012 01:24 PM ET (US)
These products are very interesting I was considering the Simrad NSS line for my next MFD but having the Structure Scan module built in is a big plus for a small Whaler.
posted 10-05-2012 07:53 AM ET (US)
[I moved the discussion about WiFi, iLog, and the software developement kit to a separate thread.]
posted 10-05-2012 08:05 AM ET (US)
The new HDS Gen2 Touch 7-inch model is available to purchase now. The 9-inch and 12-inch models will be available in a month or two.
The 7-inch and 9-inch models have the same screen resolution, 800 x 480, but in the 9-inch model the screen is physically larger. The 12-inch model substantially increases the screen resolution to 1280 x 800.
One of the demonstration videos that was linked above indicated that the touch screen calibration of these devices was performed at each power-on. When I saw that video I thought this would be tragic flaw for the HDS Gen2 Touch. As it turns out, the touch screen calibration is not performed at every power-on. The unit being demonstrated had a defect. This is good news, as otherwise the constant calibration would have been a huge problem in acceptance of the touch screen device.
posted 11-01-2012 09:50 PM ET (US)
I had a few moments today to use a Lowrance HDS-9 Touch. It was only in demo mode, not on the water. The most impressive aspect of the device was the speed of response to user input via the touch screen. When you enter user input via the touch screen the unit responds immediately--no delay at all. Compared to my HDS-8 Gen1, the response to user commands is very much faster on the HDS Gen2 Touch units.
The on-screen menus with touch-driven operation are very similar to the existing menu structure seen on the HDS-series without touch. There is a slight reorganization of the the menu options, but, in general, if you are familiar with the current HDS menu structure you will be very comfortable with the HDS Touch menu structure.
One of the best features of the touch screen interface is the ability to have a full QWERTY keyboard on-screen for entering data for naming waypoints. You can type in a name for a waypoint in just seconds, whereas on the non-touch interface you'd be pushing cursor keys and the enter key for five minutes to accomplish the same changes.
The device I was using was on display and had been poked at by hundreds of people all day, yet I did not notice any big build-up of fingerprints on the screen. I was quite surprised by this. Even staring closely at the screen I could not see fingerprints or smudges.
posted 11-06-2012 09:34 AM ET (US)
One aspect of the HDS Gen2 Touch that was somewhat troublesome for me was the screen dimension. And here I am using aspect as an intentional double entendre. The HDS Gen2 Touch screen has a much different aspect ratio than the HDS units that preceded it.
My HDS-8 has a screen with pixel dimension of 800 x 600, which is the classic 4:3 ratio. Display screens with a 4:3 ratio were the most common for decades. The 4:3 ratio was a product of the NTSC television standard. Television display devices needed to display an image from television video that was transmitted in a 4:3 format. The display industry made 4:3 displays in huge volume to provide television manufacturers with suitable displays.
It is also interesting to note that the typical field of vision of the human eye is also in nearly an identical 4:3 aspect ratio. One source says human vision is nominally 155-degrees horizontally by 120-degrees vertically, for an aspect ratio of 4:3.075
But NTSC television is now a relic of a previous age, and the new standard for television is High-Definition TV or HDTV in the USA. HDTV typically is a widescreen format, with the aspect ratio of 16:9 being the most common. The HDS-9 Gen2 Touch has a screen with pixel dimensions of 800 x 480. This is an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 or 5:3 or 15:9. It is not quite as wide as a HDTV widescreen display, but almost. It seems there was an earlier Japanese standard that used 5:3 aspect. Perhaps this might be related to the display used in the HDS-9
You don't have to be a math savant to figure out that the new model has a screen with fewer pixels than the old model.
There are 96,000 fewer pixels on the HDS-9 than on the HDS-8. That is a loss of 20-percent of the screen! It seems entirely reasonable to say that the HDS-9 has a screen that is 20-percent smaller than the HDS-8. If the model numbers were going to be assigned so they were proportional to the number of pixels on the screen, we should call the HDS-9 the HDS-6.4 instead.
Now with some more math, we can figure out additional comparisons. If we know the diagonal length and the aspect ratio, we can compute the height, length, and area of the screen. Let me do this for the HDS-8 and the HDS-9
In this comparison the HDS-9 looks better. The screen area is actually larger than the HDS-8 by about one-square-inch. Again, if the model numbers were going to reflect the screen area, then the HDS-9 would be called the HDS-8.4.
However, the HDS-9 has fewer pixels and they must cover a larger area, so the pixel resolution is somewhat coarser. Again let's compare:
In this comparison we could say the HDS-8 has about a 32-percent improvement in resolution compared to the HDS-9
The matter of the screen aspect ratio is made confusing in part by Lowrance. In the Lowrance literature they describe the HDS-9 as having a "widescreen, 16x9 display." Clearly a display with a 16x9 aspect ratio is one with a 1.77:1 aspect ratio. However the pixels on the screen are in the ratio of 800:480, which is a 1.66:1 ratio.
Perhaps the pixels used by Lowrance are not square pixels. If that is the case, we might have to recompute the screen area based in the display actually being a 16:9 display. This would then give the following result:
Now we see that the screen area of the HDS-9 is less than we thought, and the improvement over the HDS-8 is only by 0.8-square-inch. The other comments about the number of pixels are not affected because the number of pixels is the same in either case, but the actual screen area is different, making a difference in the density of the pixels, which is now 11,066-pixels-per-square-inch, a slight improvement over the first calculation (which assumed a 5:3 aspect ratio).
posted 11-06-2012 11:28 AM ET (US)
A further problem in the screen dimension is the orientation. It might be said for a SONAR device that the most important screen dimension is vertical pixels. Vertical pixels show the water column details. Horizontal pixels show the water column history. For the fisherman we might postulate that vertical pixels are more important than horizontal pixels. On the typical SONAR presentation the pixels about to scroll off the screen on the left are not as important as the ones coming on the screen at the right. We also see that in some really high-end SONAR devices the traditional 4:3 display has been rotated to give a 3:4 display in order to favor more vertical pixels. For an example, look at some of the very expensive Furuno SONAR devices; they often have 3:4 aspect ratio displays. Thus, in the sense of vertical pixels being important, the HDS-9 suffers quite a bit. It has only 480 vertical pixels compared to 600 vertical pixels in the HDS-8. That is a loss of twenty percent of the vertical pixels.
posted 11-06-2012 02:01 PM ET (US)
For navigation purposes the most useful display might be a square display or an aspect ratio of 1:1. If we typically plot the boat's present position in the center of the display then a square display gives the best presentation of the environment around us. As the display transitions from square to wide-screen the display begins to lose value for presentation. If the boat position remains in the center, we'd have a varying distance shown on the display in various directions. Assuming we use a North-up display, with a widescreen we can not see very far in front of the boat when going North or South. It's much better when going East or West. If we use a Course-up display we are always in a bad situation, as we see farther to the sides on the display than we do ahead and that is a constant problem. It is only if we use an off-center or look-ahead bias to the display and use a Course-up option that we get any value out of the wide screen for navigation.
Perhaps the value of the widescreen display will be that it can add some menu or information displays to the side of the navigation display, leaving a more or less square area in the center for the chart.
posted 11-07-2012 08:52 AM ET (US)
The graphic below compares the screen sizes of the HDS-8 and HDS-9. It assumes the display in the HDS-9 is a 16:9 aspect ratio.
posted 11-07-2012 11:42 AM ET (US)
The only value I see in a wide screen (16:9) for a sonar or chartplotter is to split it into two screens vertically, then you have two screens, usually too small for old eyes, with a more desirable aspect ratio of 8:9.
posted 11-07-2012 08:55 PM ET (US)
The Lowrance Insight Genesis custom SONAR mapping website mentioned above is now on-line and ready to convert user SONAR log data files into customized charts. The website is
If you happen to have any good SONAR log recordings, you can upload them and see a translation of your SONAR data to a chart. The visualization on-line is free. If you want the data incorporated into a memory card for a chart, you have to pay a fee.
posted 11-07-2012 09:01 PM ET (US)
To use the Lowrance Insight Genesis mapping website, you must overcome a few small hurdles:
--you have to register with the website and create an account; not a big deal
--you have to download an application to use the website; very big deal because the application requires you to use a Windows-PC. That is a deal breaker for me.
The tool is apparently something used to provide the ability to upload a file to the website. I don't understand why this function has been made specific to a particular operating system. The file that is going to be uploaded is a file from a Lowrance SONAR that has been recorded. There is nothing about the file that is specific to a WIndows-PC.
I think Lowrance has made a big mistake in building into their Genesis system the need for all users to buy a Windows-PC. That is just not a smart plan these days.
posted 11-08-2012 01:17 PM ET (US)
Curiosity got the better of me, so I launched VMWARE and started a Microsoft Windows XP environment on my MacOS. I tried to install the Insight Genesis Upload Tool but my Windows environment was missing some components needed. I had to download NetFramework in order to install the Upload Tool.
Just a moment later I received the email. I was back in the MacOS environment, so I went to the URL contained in the email. Another hurdle: the website informed me that I must install Silverlight to view the resource. OK, back to the Windows environment, back to the URL, and then download and install Silverlight. Now I was finally ready to see the map rendering.
The SONAR log I sent was rather simple. I just made a pass over and near a wreck site in 100-feet of water. The wreck was sticking up about 15-feet. The map rendering just showed a flat bottom and a new contour line, a small oval, around the wreck site, with the more shallow depth indicated in a different color. I guess the output matched the input; simple data in, simple rendering out.
The takeaway for me is this service is tied to having Microsoft Windows to use it. No Microsoft Windows, no Upload Tool. No Upload Tool no data sent. No data sent no renderings to see. Also, you need Silverlight to see the renderings. Apparently there is a Silverlight plug-in for the MacOS, so at least that portion is not operating-system-specific.
posted 11-08-2012 01:29 PM ET (US)
I gave up 102-MB of my hard drive to install the Silverlight tool for MacOS. I confirmed that I could then see my rendered data on the Insight Genesis website with my favorite MacOS browser, Safari.
Here is what I got to see:
The chart rendering is on the left. My SONAR log is in the window to the right. The white line corresponds to the position in the log that occurred at the point of the red-orange dot. The red line is the boat track.
posted 11-08-2012 01:41 PM ET (US)
When you send a SONAR log to Lowrance using the Insight Genesis service, you will need to agree to their terms of service. In the lengthy agreement you will find this section; see the highlighted section:
By saying that they "may incorporate the sonar logs you elect to provide to us into our products" I think that means they can use the data in the logs, not just the logs themselves. In this way users could be contributing to Lowrance's Insight charts, if Lowrance wants to use their data. Or at least, that is how I read that.
posted 12-27-2012 11:42 AM ET (US)
Lowrance has also announced the HDS-12 Gen2 Touch device. The Lowrance HDS-12 Gen 2 Touch has a screen resolution of 1280 x 800, giving it 1,024,000 pixels, more than twice as many pixels as were shown on the earlier model HDS-10, the largest model previously made. Let's look more closely at this device.
First, we look for the actual diagonal measurement. Let us assume it is exactly 12.1-inches, as I don't see any other specification given in the Lowrance literature. We can now find the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the display from the aspect ratio.
The pixel ratio in the HDS-12 Gen2 Touch is actually 16:10, an older standard common for computer displays, and not the newer high-definition video standard of 16:9. To add to the confusion, Lowrance specifications refer to the display in the HDS-12 Gen2 Touch as a 16:9 display, but clearly the pixel ratio is not. The ratio is 16:10. Which aspect ratio is correct?
Which aspect ratio is correct? Let us assume both are possible. Now we can find its dimensions:
If diagonal is 12.1-inch and aspect is 1.77 (16:9), then
height = 5.93-inch
This gives an area of 62.5-inch^2
The pixel density is thus 1,024,000 / 62.5 = 16,383 pixels-per-square-inch
If diagonal is 12.1-inch and aspect is 1.6 (16:10), then
height = 6.41-inch
This gives an area of 65.8-inch^2
The pixel density is thus 1,024,000 / 64.8 = 15,562 pixels-per-square-inch
posted 12-27-2012 12:00 PM ET (US)
Looking at the pixel density we see the ranking is as follows (best to worst)
HDS-12 Gen2 Touch = 15,562
The new HDS-12 Gen2 Touch is slightly improved in terms of screen pixel density compared to the older HDS-8 models. The HDS-12 Gen2 Touch is about a 50-percent improvement compared to the new HDS-9 Gen2 Touch.
The HDS-10, which was previously the largest display, is not even close in this comparison. The HDS-10 had the same display resolution (800x600) as the HDS-8, but spread it over a much larger screen, producing a much coarser display. There is no comparison between the HDS-10 and the new HDS-12 Gen2 Touch display: the new display has more than twice as many pixels on screen and at a much higher density.
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