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ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
New LOWRANCE ELITE-9 CHIRP
|Author||Topic: New LOWRANCE ELITE-9 CHIRP|
posted 12-19-2014 10:04 AM ET (US)
Somewhat lost in the recent announcement from Lowrance of a third generation of their HDS series of multi-function displays, chart plotters, and SONAR devices was the concurrent announcement of a new ELITE-9 CHIRP model. Like all the ELITE series, the ELITE-9 CHIRP offers the user some of the principal features of the HDS series while omitting several of the less commonly used features. Perhaps the ELITE-9 CHIRP is best described by noting what has been omitted compared to the HDS-9 Gen3.
To best figure out what the ELITE will have, we first have to become familiar with Lowrance's names for various types of SONAR devices. As best as I can deduce, the names and descriptions used by Lowrance are:
For a conventional monotone SONAR with downward directed transducer using very short pulse duration to improve resolution and frequencies between 50-kHz and 200-kHz, Lowrance uses the name BROADBAND.
For a conventional monotone SONAR with downward directed transducer using frequencies between 400-kHz and 800-kHz to improve detail, Lowrance uses the name DOWNSCAN IMAGING.
For side-scan montone SONAR using side facing transducers and various frequencies, Lowance uses the name STRUCTURE SCAN.
For frequency-modulated long-duration low-intensity pulsed SONAR using rather narrow frequency ranges which is processed on receive with pulse compression techniques to improve signal-to-noise and target resolution, Lowrance uses the name CHIRP. (Again, "chirp" is really not an acronym for anything except Lowrance's marketing department's odd invention of terms, but refers to the acoustical sound of a linear frequency-modulated pulse.)
In the HDS Gen3 series, the devices can do BROADBAND, DOWNSCAN, and CHIRP, and with an added transducer can also do STRUCTURE SCAN.
In contrast, it appears the ELITE can only do DOWNSCAN and CHIRP. Is that clear? I hope so. I think it means the ELITE-9 CHIRP does pulse compression and high-frequency SONAR. It may do BROADBAND, too. The specifications suggest this (curiously calling it "Narrow Band" instead of BROADBAND) but it is not mentioned in the feature list.
The network capabilities of the ELITE are also reduced. It lacks Ethernet connectivity, but it has NMEA-2000. (It may also have NMEA-0183, but I can't find that explicitly mentioned.)
The ability of the display to show other functions is also reduced in the ELITE. It will overlay AIS targets onto its chart plotter it knows about from a connected AIS receiver. It appears to lack support for engine data display, RADAR overlays, control of auxiliary devices such as music players, Sirius entertainment and weather receivers, control of a trolling motor or auto-pilot, and other advanced functions available in the HDS.
The ELITE does have an internal GPS-only GNSS receiver, and can use the usual variety of charts for its chart plotter, loading them via only one SD-Micro slot. It can also share waypoints via NMEA-2000 with other Lowrance chart plotters. It can make use of a the POINT-1 heading sensor and external GPS-only receiver, too.
Another significant difference: the ELITE-9 CHIRP does not have a touch screen. Its user interface is driven with conventional buttons. But the display is of similar size as the HDS and has LED backlighting.
The MSRP of the ELITE-9 CHIRP is $1,199. The HDS-9 Gen3 is priced at $2,049. The ELITE-9 CHIRP can save about $850 if you don't need the extra features of the HDS.
Lowrance's website on the ELITE-9 CHIRP is found at
posted 12-19-2014 10:54 AM ET (US)
Cool. Since I have my Elite-7 sitting on the desk next to me let me add some info, it has the NMEA 0183 port as part of the Power/Data cable and a separate NMEA 2000 port. The transducer is BIG. As for what it does, and this is a little confusing, it does AIS and has a series of predefined "pages". The page content is not very user manipulatable, unlike the HDS where you can select the stuff you overlay on the screen. The display is very nice and the sonar imaging is quite good. Since this is NMEA capable the only thing preventing it from showing things like engine parameters or other NMEA device data is software. Looking at the price point it's a tough call as to whether to go with the Elite-9 or the HDS-7 Gen 3.
posted 12-20-2014 08:54 AM ET (US)
The HDS-7 Gen3 that David mentions is priced at $1,249.
posted 12-20-2014 10:42 AM ET (US)
Thanks for this thread. I need to upgrade the sonar and add GPS capability to my Sport 13. Price is a consideration but having used a very modest Lowrance sonar and a hand held GPS for the past three years I'm ready for something with a larger screen that I can install easily.
Virtually all our use of the Sport 13 is in water less than sixty feet deep and much of it less than six feet deep. We often boat in waters with few, if any, channel markers. We fish and cruise with the boat.
For our purposes the Lowrance Elite-5 CHIRP Gold catalog number 000-11648-001, and 83 - 200 transducer catalog number 000-11652-001 seem like good reasonably priced choices. We don't now use a VHF on the boat because of excellent cellular service in our area although I may soon buy a hand held VHF with built-in GPS.
Please share your opinions.
posted 12-20-2014 11:06 AM ET (US)
Butch, How much time do you spend in/near commercial shipping? If you spend a lot you might want to consider upgrading your equipment suite to include AIS receive/display capability. Knowing your area, I sure would. That'd mean a fixed mount VHF like the Lowrance Link 8 Radio and the Elite-7 chartplotter. In any case, having both an HDS-5 and an Elite-7, I can say the bigger screen is worth it. It sounds like a lot of stuff for a 13', but if you get extra cables and brackets you can move it between boats.
posted 12-20-2014 04:51 PM ET (US)
That sounds like good advice. I'll have to check the budget and see if I can figure out how to mount all that gear on such a small boat.
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