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Thread: GPS & Transducer questions

  1. #1
    Member oakman's Avatar
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    Default GPS & Transducer questions

    Hey guys,

    I'm looking to get a GPS for my 20' Seaark that I use for hunting and fishing on rivers (sometimes on lakes). I've had good experiences with Garmin in the past, so I'm leaning that way for the GPS. Any suggestions on a good GPS model to use for tracking location and keeping track of depth?

    I'm also interested in getting an "alumaducer" for an in-hull transducer. After searching the forums, it looks like there hasn't been any word on these in a few years. Has anyone tried one of these? Any luck? Suggestions?

    Any input on which transducer to get and what GPS to pair it with would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2

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    I recently installed a Garmin GPSmap 527xs in my skiff, and am happy with it. Have bluecharts and figured out I can load the Garmin Topo software ($100 I think) for better coverage of rivers and lakes. The bluecharts is horrendous for inland navigation. The 527 has worked well, and is NMEA200 compatible for showing engine data. Seems to work well down to about 3' of water. I ran out of water (beaching) and snapped off the cheapo 50/200 tansducer that came with the unit, and have orderd the CHIRP/downview ducer so I'm interested to see how that works. Still trying to figure out a break-away mount. Thinking of using plastic screws or something...

    Honestly I've had both transom mount and thru-hull transducers and while the through-hull ducers seem like they'd work better, they haven't for me. Typically for aluminum thru-hull you need a stainless ducer as the brass ones will react with aluminum.

    Also, whatever brand GPS you go with, get their branded transducer. That way if you have issues you don't have to endure the blame game. My dad has a Garmin sounder with Airmar transducer that have never worked correctly. Garmin blames Airmar, Airmar blames Garmin.

    EDIT - just looked up Alumaducer. Cool. Dunno how well they work. I've also heard of people putting their transom mount ducers inside their boats, and heard that it does work if they are submerged in water (like in the bilge or bucket with water in it), although I don't know how well.

  3. #3
    Member KelvinG's Avatar
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    Garmin! An easy way to pick a Garmin depth finder that's GPS topo map compatible is look up Garmin's topo map software on their website then look at "compatible devices" tab. It will list all their sonar/fish finders that run GPS topo software.


    Aditional advice would be NOT hummingbird!!!! What a POS! I got a hummingbird 598 SI DI sonar/GPS that was on sale and paid additional $170 for Alaskan topo software. The topo map consisted of an outline of Alaska with three blue dots that represented three lakes. When I called Hummingbird to complain I was told "Not our fault, call the map software company". When I called the map software company I was told "Not our fault, we make what Hummingbird tells us to make". Fortunately I left it in my boat during a few hot, sunny days and the case just fell apart. Cracked in several places with pieces just falling off!

    Hummingbird = crap!

  4. #4
    Member oakman's Avatar
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    For anyone interested in the Alumaducer, they have great customer service. I talked to one of their guys for a bit to figure out which product would work best for my application. I was a little surprised that he was not pushy or trying to make a sale. He had plenty of warnings about how to (and not to) install the transducer, problems that could arise, which adapter to get, etc.

    I ordered one today. I'll post a little report after I've used it a bit.

    http://www.vexilar.com/

  5. #5

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    So a couple days ago I tried just putting my old cheapo Garmin 50/200 transducer in the bilge, and it worked. It found bottom in ~80' of water, but lost it as soon as I started moving. Would be nice if it worked while moving... I'd heard of people putting them in buckets (with water in bottom) inside the boat and tracking bottom, just never tried it. Did not think a regular transducer would work through 1/4" of aluminum, but good to know it will find bottom in a pinch. Would be awesome if it worked in shallow for running rivers...

    Are the Alumaducers 50/200? Looking forward to a review!

  6. #6
    Member Music Man's Avatar
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    It does work! and at 49mph and through 1/4" aluminum!
    When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away.
    '08 24' HCM Granite HD "River Dog"

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Music Man View Post
    It does work! and at 49mph and through 1/4" aluminum!
    Best on 50 or 200? I assume it does not spot fish that well, but most of the time all I care about is when to start puckering I seemed to loose bottom as soon as I started moving - is that because it was deep, or are there some other tricks I don't know about? I'd like to mount my slightly broken ducer inside as a backup for when I snap the other one off...

  8. #8
    Member Music Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    Best on 50 or 200? I assume it does not spot fish that well, but most of the time all I care about is when to start puckering I seemed to loose bottom as soon as I started moving - is that because it was deep, or are there some other tricks I don't know about? I'd like to mount my slightly broken ducer inside as a backup for when I snap the other one off...
    I don't think 50 or 200 matters. I have an old Garmin 188C, I have never lost bottom in the rivers. Mine is a broken ducer with the ears filed off.
    PM sent!
    When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away.
    '08 24' HCM Granite HD "River Dog"

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