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Thread: Annoying blinking depth sounder readings!

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    Question Annoying blinking depth sounder readings!

    My crew and I are tired of the blinking depth sounder number when we are shrimping. Our boats have the newest sounders and mine actually was just installed last year because of the annoyance of the previous one! We usually idle our motors and sometimes shut them off and they still do it while we set our shrimp pots. We work the same area over and over, so fortunately we don't need to rely on them, but even in the calmest seas they still lock in a number and just blink. No, it's not motor cavitation bubbles, not waves, no shrimp lines or pots, depth maybe. We spend plenty of time around the research and development campfire pondering this annoyance, what do you guys think???

  2. #2

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    Mine often does the exact same thing. Often it shows really shallow depths...like 6 or 8 feet...and jumps back and forth. I've even turned the engine off and the sounder off and back on. Eventually, seems like it finally works for whatever reason. My transducer does have a crack on top and it's probably time to replace it, but from what you're saying a new transducer might not do the trick.

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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    I had the same problem when I had my old searunner (old lowrance lcx series gps/sonar combo). I could find bottom most of the time when setting my shrimp pots if I had the sonar set in the low frequency mode and I was just idling along. Mine was a transom mounted 'ducer that was set mid way between the keel and the chine. I wish it was mounted closer to the keel. This would be beneficial with boats with less beam. It would not hold bottom at cruise unless the water was quite shallow. I suspect that your seasport behaves quite similarly. Where is your transducer mounted?

    My new boat has a 1KW thruhull transducer that is incredible. It is mounted just to starboard of teh keel. The detail is unreal and I hold bottom, at cruise, while going across Port "Swells" in 1000+'. THe new boat has a lot more beam and is much more stable, so I am sure that contributes too, but it is hard to beat the power of a big 'ducer.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

  4. #4

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    Just port of the keel, between the trim tab and outdrive.

  5. #5

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    I have port and starboard transom mounted transducer's.
    First day out both worked fine.
    Second day the port side started acting as you described.
    Third day starboard side said transducer not found.
    Found muskrats (I think) had been setting on the trim tabs and chewing on the transducer cables at night. Starboard was chewed in too and port was frayed.
    Repaired the frayed area and got the port side working for the rest of the trip.
    All that said to suggest looking over the cable where it passes thru bulkheads to make sure it hasen't chafed on something.

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    Member patrickL's Avatar
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    Mine does exactly what Spoiled One describes. I don't think it has to do with where its mounted. I had a boat we ran in both salt and fresh. In fresh it was great. In salt, this was the scenario. Really annoying so if anyone know what's going on that would be great.

    In my experience, I just set the depth range at what it supposed to be and it works more often. So lets say I'm in 400ft. I set the depth range between 50 and 500. It finds bottom alright but still records the wrong depth. What I mean is the depth recording still says 5ft but I can see the bottom on the sounder. Anyway, its really annoying so any help would be much appreciated.

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    Some sounders have a feature to turn off surface noise. Turning it off may help. Sometimes on ours, it will pick up turbulence right under the boat and pick up that and read it constantly, or sometimes just not work. Turning surface noise off seemed to fix the problem. Also, setting the depth range high enough sometimes fixes it.

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    Member GOT TOYS's Avatar
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    Default Steep dropoff

    Mine works while running in up to 1000'. When setting pots though, I get the same thing, and I think it has to do with the signal bouncing back up and missing the transducer, due to the high angle of the sea floor we usually use when setting pots. Think of dopping a basketball on a ramp, it doesn't bounce straight back up. My guess.
    Kingfisher 2525. 225, 20, and 2hp Hondas.

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    Spoiled One, what kind of depth sounder are you using now? Is it a 1kw unit or a smaller unit hooked up to a 1kw transducer? Thanx for info

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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomfishhunter View Post
    Spoiled One, what kind of depth sounder are you using now? Is it a 1kw unit or a smaller unit hooked up to a 1kw transducer? Thanx for info
    I have a furuno navnet 2. It is set up as a 1 kw unit.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Default Garmin Sounders Don't Work as Good

    Myers - what kind of sounder do you have. I had a Furuno on my last boat like Spoiled One and the software on it was much better than the Garmin I have now. The Garmin will lose bottom, won't give a digital readout of depth when zoomed in for shallower depths, etc. Garmin makes poor sounders attached to good chart plotters IMHO. Get a Furuno, Raytheon or sounder by a company that specilizes in them and bet your problems go away.

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    Member patrickL's Avatar
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    I have both a Garmin and a Lowrance. I don't like the Garmin much but it does get bottom, just not at speed. My Lowrance which has a more powerful ducer doesn't get a correct bottom most the time, regardless of whether I'm moving or not. In shallow water it does well but in deep it doesn't. I had this on a boat I used in fresh water at lake Tahoe and Pyramid Lake, both pretty deep (Tahoe 1500+ feet). Never had a problem getting a bottom reading. For some reason the salt is different. A friend of mine also had a Lowrance and had the same problem. Worked well in fresh but couldn't get a good bottom reading in the salt out in Monterey Bay.

    I was able to get it to show the bottom though. I forced the depth range to between 50 and whatever deeper range I wanted...say 400. Then it would show the bottom on the sounder as a thin line but still show an incorrect depth reading. I just point all this out in hopes that someone can help us figure this out.

    My Lowrance states that its good to 3K ft with a 3000 watt peak-to-peak or 1000 watt RMS. Don't exactly know what that means but it sure seems I should have enough power to read the bottom.

    Sure would be nice to figure this out.

  13. #13

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    I have a Garmin. The one I replaced was a very, very, old Eagle. How about the difference in the 'cone' settings, I can't explain it without the manuel or unit in front of me, the narrow-deep vs the wide shallow. Know-what-I-mean??? I set mine on the split screen or both settings. Power of unit??? Would the bottom have anything to do with it? Shape of rocks, corral absorbing like on a stealth bomber, mud or hard rock, or tall kelp? I get better readings in Homer and Seward than I do in Whittier. I guess one of us needs to call one of these manufacturers and ask some questions.

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    Member patrickL's Avatar
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    I definitely think the frequency is important. I know on the Lowrance that 200khz is for detail and not depth. 50khz is for depth but has a much narrower cone. My Garmin is the same. I don't have a dual frequency transducer on my Lowrance so its just the 200khz. However, I was still able to pick up the bottom in much deeper water when in fresh than I am now. The Garmin has dual frequencies so it isn't as much of a problem.

    I still can't figure out what's going on though. It must have something to do with being in the salt. Either more stuff in the water or something that is interfering with the signal. I guess I could break down and call the company. Hmmmm, I hate dealing with customer service.

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    I have a Ray Marine on my Sea Sport and experienced problems with it for the first three years of owning it. The guys over at the Hull Truth told me these newer electronics are very specific about voltage requirements and I should switch out the batteries. Replaced both cheap house batteries with the Sears AGM's and never had another problem with the unit.

    My riverboat has a Hummingbird in it and it is the biggest piece of junk I ever had in my life. Shuts off when it wants to, does not read correctly, and in short is a piece of crap.

    Sounders (and transducers) are most likely the strangest piece of electronics to get working properly. Good luck if you can figure it all out!
    Tennessee

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    I put brand new batteries on my Sea Sport this summer, your saying stronger ones?

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    Maybe not stronger, just better. The AGM's will sit 8 months and still be 98% charged come spring time.
    Tennessee

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    Quote Originally Posted by Myers View Post
    I have a Garmin. The one I replaced was a very, very, old Eagle. How about the difference in the 'cone' settings, I can't explain it without the manuel or unit in front of me, the narrow-deep vs the wide shallow. Know-what-I-mean??? I set mine on the split screen or both settings. Power of unit??? Would the bottom have anything to do with it? Shape of rocks, corral absorbing like on a stealth bomber, mud or hard rock, or tall kelp? I get better readings in Homer and Seward than I do in Whittier. I guess one of us needs to call one of these manufacturers and ask some questions.
    Here is a link that will help explain the ins and outs and which settings do what with your sounder: Here

    It is hard to beat the Furuno sonars IMO. The Garmins make great GPS units, but seem to be weak in the sonar department from what I have heard from other boaters. Snowwolfe made a great point about batteries. GPS and sonar units are very sensitive to changes in voltage. I replaced my house bank with four, six volt AGM's run in series and parallel. Spendy, but they work much better than the bank that came with the boat and should last a hell of a lot longer.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Member patrickL's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link Spoiled One. I'll check it out and see what they suggest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spoiled one View Post
    Here is a link that will help explain the ins and outs and which settings do what with your sounder: Here

    Great link Thanks

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