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Author Topic:   Lowrance HDS Series: Stored Data
jimh posted 10-29-2012 07:12 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
In a Lowrance HDS series device, for example, in an HDS-8, the device contains quite a bit of useful memory space. My HDS has a huge amount of digital cartography stored on it--a detailed map of the entire United States. It can also store dozens of files of screen captures, several tracks containing thousands of track points, many routes using hundreds of waypoints. It also can track three distance logs or trip logs simultaneousl, and note the maximum speed reached in any of them as well as the time underway in any of them. It can accumulate this data and store if for a year or more. However, when it comes to fuel, the HDS knows nothing--nothing, that is, if there is not an EP-85R Data Storage Device on the network.

It is not clear (to me) why the FUEL MANAGER function in the HDS has to rely on this external data storage device to keep track of the fuel consumed. The HDS has no problem keeping running totals on other data, but it seems that the HDS can't track fuel usage. It depends on the external data storage to store this information. This seems odd, and I have looked at the system to see if there is an obvious explanation.

One possible explanation for using the EP-85R data storage device to hold fuel data might be the access to the data by multiple devices. With the data kept in an EP-85R, it seems like it might be available to both the HDS device and other devices, such as Lowrance's LMF-200 and LMF-400 gauges. There seems to be some sort of protocol in place so that the information on the EP-85R can be shared. But this is just speculation on my part.

Another possible explanation might be the concept of keeping the fuel use data with the boat, rather than in the HDS. With the EP-85R more or less permanently associated with a particular boat, it holds the fuel data for that boat. If you want to know how much fuel is left in the tank, the data is in the EP-85R, it is not in the HDS. I can see that might be useful if a fellow had two boats and moved his HDS between them. If the fuel data travelled with the HDS, tracking the fuel level one each boat separately would be more difficult.

Is there any more information on why Lowrance choose this approach to storing the fuel data in a separate module? Perhaps it is just a legacy from days when chart plotters did not have the capacity to hold much data. But the data stored in an EP-85R can't amount to more than a few bytes. It seems strange to have to pay $90 for a data storage module that only holds perhaps a couple of kilobytes of information. If anyone has an idea about this, let's hear it.

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