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Grrr...

Cruising Instruments

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I'm continuing to work on my old Catalina 30 to bring it up to reasonable standards.  In the process, I parted out an old Hydra 2000 system (synchro, 20/20 cd display, and processor) on ebay because the component prices are insane and it's not worth rebuilding.  The knot meter, depth transducer, and mast top unit were all destroyed by the old owner so I would have had to replace them.

So this is a cruising boat.  I don't need whiz-bang electronics of any sort.  This thing is essentially a big dinghy.  I've got a real compass so I don't really need an electronic one.  I don't need a speedo.  The only thing I really need here is a depth transducer and display.  I've seen $400 depth transducers, but I have to believe somewhere there's a cheap display + tranducer combo that is a little more reasonable than that.  Any leads on a reasonably priced one?  (blah blah boat bucks blah blah).

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Yes I'm a big believer in cheap shoot through the hull transducers + fishfinders. I've had a Raymarine 265 / Garmin 120 / and Hummingbird XXX. The Garmin was the best and was about $100. Allows you to see coral/rocks/ and with a bit of practice you can usually tell mud from sand. I've used the transom mount transducers meant for little powerboats and just epoxied to the bottom of the hull. Works fine with solid glass hulls.

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Navico tends to segment their market. B&G/Simrad/Lowrance all use generally the same hardware at different price points. 

You can get very nice 5" MFD with GPS & depth sounder for about $500, that allows you to add the sailing instruments at some point in the future... 

 

 

 

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Basic Garmin GPS 72 plus paper charts ang a simple depth sounder does it for me. 

Plus a pair of polaroids for reef nav.

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12 hours ago, TQA said:

Basic Garmin GPS 72 plus paper charts ang a simple depth sounder does it for me. 

Plus a pair of polaroids for reef nav.

That ^^^^^^ 

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I have the $100 hummingbird depth sounder on my boat, with the transducer epoxied to the inside of the (solid) hull.  

Works fine for me. 

Also as a former dinghy guy, I figured depth and compass was enough, but I find wind speed to be a worthwhile instrument too. Boat speed is nice, but not really necessary.  

 

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I had that on my Coronado 25. Worked fine for me also.

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21 hours ago, Zonker said:

Yes I'm a big believer in cheap shoot through the hull transducers + fishfinders. I've had a Raymarine 265 / Garmin 120 / and Hummingbird XXX. The Garmin was the best and was about $100. Allows you to see coral/rocks/ and with a bit of practice you can usually tell mud from sand. I've used the transom mount transducers meant for little powerboats and just epoxied to the bottom of the hull. Works fine with solid glass hulls.

That is what I did on my first boat (Catalina 25).  Worked great.  I didn't even use epoxy, I just got a ring of toilet installation wax and carefully embedded the transducer in that, making sure there were no voids.

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17 hours ago, Alex W said:

That is what I did on my first boat (Catalina 25).  Worked great.  I didn't even use epoxy, I just got a ring of toilet installation wax and carefully embedded the transducer in that, making sure there were no voids.

A little off topic: Years ago I put a packet of toilet installation wax into a ziplock bag on my boat, thinking it might be handy one day for plugging a leak or something. The wax does not take kindly to sitting in 90 and 100F Houston summer heat. After a year, the bag became a semi-liquid, mushy, goo-fest. I would examine the bag like it was something from the bottom of my middle-school locker on the last day of school. Maybe I had a bad batch of wax, but I could not see how wax would bed a depth sounder transducer to a hull in hot weather. I used silicone caulk to bed mine, which worked well.  

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The humble Walker log...

400151346_Walkerlog.jpg.3f3833de603a6deb9101f03016b6d2f4.jpg

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1 hour ago, snubber said:

A little off topic: Years ago I put a packet of toilet installation wax into a ziplock bag on my boat, thinking it might be handy one day for plugging a leak or something. The wax does not take kindly to sitting in 90 and 100F Houston summer heat. After a year, the bag became a semi-liquid, mushy, goo-fest. I would examine the bag like it was something from the bottom of my middle-school locker on the last day of school. Maybe I had a bad batch of wax, but I could not see how wax would bed a depth sounder transducer to a hull in hot weather. I used silicone caulk to bed mine, which worked well.  

Puget Sound runs just a bit cooler than the Gulf.

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^^^ Yeah, I live in Seattle where even the lakes rarely get much over 65 or 70F (I kept that boat on Lake Union).  Since the hull is in the water and the wax is attached to the hull it is going to stay pretty close to water temperature.

 

 

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download.jpg.beb03d961ff1d4c2da39716a0e478b75.jpg

+

bee-wax-1214471.jpg.6644428bb89c06b57e8bc82c9068da14.jpg

ya good to go .

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I like the Lowrance Elite series for bang for the buck.  Raymarine dragonfly is similar but the widescreen is better because you can run chart/fishfinder on the same screen with better shape to the displays(set chart to partial offset and small boat icon, with heading up).  In the dragonfly I find you have to step up to the 7" to get it equally usable.  I've always preferred Raymarine, but that square display is dumb in that size. 

https://www.ebay.com/p/Lowrance-Elite-5-TI-5-Touch-Fishfinder-chartplotter-With-Cover-No-Transducer/22012317471?iid=362276792204

300$ with half decent map and transducer included.  I would just install it for shoot through the hull.  Instead of gooping it directly, I just adhesive down a piece of plastic pipe bigger than the transducer itself, put the transducer on a bit of scrap aluminium tall enough to be attached to the pipe near the top so you can pull the transducer as needed.  This lets you play with angles as well to get it just right too.  Get the press on type cap, drill a hole to run the cable, little sealant where the cap goes through, fill it with low toxicity anti-freeze and stick the cap on.  Good for years, fast to swap later. 

 

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On 5/31/2018 at 1:34 PM, Fleetwood said:

http://www.cruzpro.co.nz/

Simple, flexible.

Got one of their transducers that spits out NMEA0183 over a serial cable. Haven't got it wet yet so can't comment further but the specs look good.

FKT

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On 5/30/2018 at 8:26 PM, Grrr... said:

I'm continuing to work on my old Catalina 30 to bring it up to reasonable standards.  In the process, I parted out an old Hydra 2000 system (synchro, 20/20 cd display, and processor) on ebay because the component prices are insane and it's not worth rebuilding.  The knot meter, depth transducer, and mast top unit were all destroyed by the old owner so I would have had to replace them.

So this is a cruising boat.  I don't need whiz-bang electronics of any sort.  This thing is essentially a big dinghy.  I've got a real compass so I don't really need an electronic one.  I don't need a speedo.  The only thing I really need here is a depth transducer and display.  I've seen $400 depth transducers, but I have to believe somewhere there's a cheap display + tranducer combo that is a little more reasonable than that.  Any leads on a reasonably priced one?  (blah blah boat bucks blah blah).

For cheap and simple there is the NASA stuff : http://www.nasamarine.com/product-category/products/depth-instruments/

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17 hours ago, jgbrown said:

I like the Lowrance Elite series for bang for the buck.  Raymarine dragonfly is similar but the widescreen is better because you can run chart/fishfinder on the same screen with better shape to the displays(set chart to partial offset and small boat icon, with heading up).  In the dragonfly I find you have to step up to the 7" to get it equally usable.  I've always preferred Raymarine, but that square display is dumb in that size. 

https://www.ebay.com/p/Lowrance-Elite-5-TI-5-Touch-Fishfinder-chartplotter-With-Cover-No-Transducer/22012317471?iid=362276792204

300$ with half decent map and transducer included.  I would just install it for shoot through the hull.  Instead of gooping it directly, I just adhesive down a piece of plastic pipe bigger than the transducer itself, put the transducer on a bit of scrap aluminium tall enough to be attached to the pipe near the top so you can pull the transducer as needed.  This lets you play with angles as well to get it just right too.  Get the press on type cap, drill a hole to run the cable, little sealant where the cap goes through, fill it with low toxicity anti-freeze and stick the cap on.  Good for years, fast to swap later. 

 

I bought one of those for a trip up the delta (from SF), and it was a great way to get a cheap chartplotter with good depth sounder. 

We named it, which became a running joke... "Where does Laurence say we are?"

 

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19 hours ago, jgbrown said:

I like the Lowrance Elite series for bang for the buck.  Raymarine dragonfly is similar but the widescreen is better because you can run chart/fishfinder on the same screen with better shape to the displays(set chart to partial offset and small boat icon, with heading up).  In the dragonfly I find you have to step up to the 7" to get it equally usable.  I've always preferred Raymarine, but that square display is dumb in that size. 

https://www.ebay.com/p/Lowrance-Elite-5-TI-5-Touch-Fishfinder-chartplotter-With-Cover-No-Transducer/22012317471?iid=362276792204

300$ with half decent map and transducer included.  I would just install it for shoot through the hull.  Instead of gooping it directly, I just adhesive down a piece of plastic pipe bigger than the transducer itself, put the transducer on a bit of scrap aluminium tall enough to be attached to the pipe near the top so you can pull the transducer as needed.  This lets you play with angles as well to get it just right too.  Get the press on type cap, drill a hole to run the cable, little sealant where the cap goes through, fill it with low toxicity anti-freeze and stick the cap on.  Good for years, fast to swap later. 

I got a Lowrance Elite 5 in 2016, and after a few issues, it has worked very well. At first, not at all. It came with a Navionics chart card of US and Canadian waters, and since I sail in the North Channel of Lake Huron, that was good. So, 2016 and I'm getting ready to haul my boat for three days (from Texas to the UP), and sail over to CA. Before I leave,I hook the chartplotter up to a 12v power supply in my living room play with the charts and menus. And the thing cannot zoom-in and zoom-out reliably. The display won't rescale the charts. I re-boot it, and more than 60% of the time it cannot rescale the charts (either the loaded Lowrance charts, or the Navionics charts). After some reading and emails to Lowrance, I end up downloading a newer version of the firmware, load it, and (voila!), it can rescale the charts. But now I am nervous, so I reboot the chartplotter 60+ times, to see if I can induce the error. I cannot, to the firmware worked. Good. 

Second issue? The Lowrance charts for US waters are "ok," but they are horrible for Canadian waters. For example, the Lowrance chart shows a large island in the False Detour channel, between Drummond Island and Cockburn Island. Zoom in? The island is still there. But there isn't an island in the channel. Luckily the Navionics charts don't show the magical, disappearing island of Atlantis in Lake Huron. 

I would buy another Lowrance product again and I am happy with mine.  The experience reinforced my fetish with testing gear before I have to rely on it. (and yes. I have paper charts and a handheld GPS and that system worked well for four seasons). Thread drift? Sure.

Snubs

img_0345_resize.jpg

img_0346_resize.jpg

img_0349_resize.jpg

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Back when I was working in marine retail, Lowrance was the most problematic brand in chartplotters and fishfinders, followed by Humminbird. Uniden was the worst VHF until Cobra came along.

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8 hours ago, Ishmael said:

Back when I was working in marine retail, Lowrance was the most problematic brand in chartplotters and fishfinders, followed by Humminbird. Uniden was the worst VHF until Cobra came along.

They aren't great.  But when the goal is cheap and cheerful... In the price for a plotter with included add on charts(not the OEM crap), transducer and a wide screen just big enough to display both at once, there isn't much out there.  It's the best of that world in my opinion.  Bump that up to a couple grand and the options are better of course, but that's a different discussion. 

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9 hours ago, jgbrown said:

They aren't great.  But when the goal is cheap and cheerful... In the price for a plotter with included add on charts(not the OEM crap), transducer and a wide screen just big enough to display both at once, there isn't much out there.  It's the best of that world in my opinion.  Bump that up to a couple grand and the options are better of course, but that's a different discussion. 

Yes but better to buy something simpler that is reliable. He doesn't seem to need a chart plotter.

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1 hour ago, Panoramix said:

Yes but better to buy something simpler that is reliable. He doesn't seem to need a chart plotter.

All the problems with the Lowrance that I've seen were with the plotter function/not wanting to load charts/sometimes trouble with location.  For depth only I have never had an issue . 

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On June 1, 2018 at 7:45 AM, QBF said:

The humble Walker log...

400151346_Walkerlog.jpg.3f3833de603a6deb9101f03016b6d2f4.jpg

Marion-Bermuda has a celestial division, we use one of those (I own 2) because the little paddle wheels are just not that good over 600 miles. Taffrail logs kick ass. Yestertech, pure analog.

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Garmin head unit, with a matching Airmar transducer (OEM transducers on fishfinders are generally crap).  Mounted to shoot through the hull with goop of choice, all-in $200.  That will get you depth and once you learn how to read a colour display you can even see the different kinds of bottom composition hunting for the right place of deep sand to drop the hook.

 

Navigation, $80 gets you a 10" Android tablet.  Just make sure somebody makes a waterproof case for it (Otterbox FTW!).  Load it up with $19.99 Navionics, or look into Open CPN for Android.

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On 6/3/2018 at 4:33 PM, snubber said:

I got a Lowrance Elite 5 in 2016, and after a few issues, it has worked very well. At first, not at all. It came with a Navionics chart card of US and Canadian waters, and since I sail in the North Channel of Lake Huron, that was good. So, 2016 and I'm getting ready to haul my boat for three days (from Texas to the UP), and sail over to CA. Before I leave,I hook the chartplotter up to a 12v power supply in my living room play with the charts and menus. And the thing cannot zoom-in and zoom-out reliably. The display won't rescale the charts. I re-boot it, and more than 60% of the time it cannot rescale the charts (either the loaded Lowrance charts, or the Navionics charts). After some reading and emails to Lowrance, I end up downloading a newer version of the firmware, load it, and (voila!), it can rescale the charts. But now I am nervous, so I reboot the chartplotter 60+ times, to see if I can induce the error. I cannot, to the firmware worked. Good. 

Second issue? The Lowrance charts for US waters are "ok," but they are horrible for Canadian waters. For example, the Lowrance chart shows a large island in the False Detour channel, between Drummond Island and Cockburn Island. Zoom in? The island is still there. But there isn't an island in the channel. Luckily the Navionics charts don't show the magical, disappearing island of Atlantis in Lake Huron. 

I would buy another Lowrance product again and I am happy with mine.  The experience reinforced my fetish with testing gear before I have to rely on it. (and yes. I have paper charts and a handheld GPS and that system worked well for four seasons). Thread drift? Sure.

Snubs

img_0345_resize.jpg

img_0346_resize.jpg

img_0349_resize.jpg

Ah, St. Joseph Island/St. Marys River.  Lots of rocks.

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