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Thread: Depth Finder transducer installation

  1. #1
    Member Swissy's Avatar
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    Default Depth Finder transducer installation

    I know it's not rocket science... but I installed a new HumminBird 596c HD depthfinder this week, with the transducer. I followed the directions, measurements and all that. Guess what...I was depthfinderless on a 3 day shrimping trip this week. It was not reading at cruise - and it was. It was not reading at drift - and it was. It didn't read deep- and it did. It didn't read shallow - and it did. I could not find one thing that made sense between all this. I have to assume a bad transducer installation (since I did it). But it would read at time, then not. In areas of 600' depth it would read 1200', and alot of the time it was reading shallow - like single digits. The only time it seemed to work right was in really shallow water - when we were running in 20' or less.

    What shop in Anchortown is reputable, and will re-install or trouble shoot a customer installation? I tried monkeying with it on the water but that was pretty hard - and **** cold. Tried rocking of forward and back, and even a little side to side rotation.

    Or if someone is a whiz at them... PM and we'll work something out.

    Boat is my 24' Hewes and a brand new Humminbird 596c HD with included transducer.

    Thanks!
    '04 Hewescraft 24' Searunner
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  2. #2
    Member SkinnyRaven's Avatar
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    Can you post a picture?

    07 Ocean Pro 220 ET HT
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    Member Swissy's Avatar
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    Sure! but my ugly mug will scare people...

    :-) I'll see about getting it soon. Altho it's been moved a few times trying to get it to work
    '04 Hewescraft 24' Searunner
    200hp Honda 4stroke
    + multiple other 'toys'...

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    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Any chance that your battery bank is toast? Certain units can be voltage sensitive.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Member Swissy's Avatar
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    It's always possible, but I put brand new Optima batteries in last fall and so far everything has performed flawlessly in regards to electricity. 3 days on the water and we used fans, heaters, and stressed them a bit more than usual. I'll throw a volt meter on and see since it's parked out front.
    '04 Hewescraft 24' Searunner
    200hp Honda 4stroke
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    Interesting issue. I had problems with my Ray Marine depth finder until I replaced the batteries as I was told these newer units are very voltage specific.
    First thing I would do is to put your battery switch to both batteries and not run anything else in your boat and see if that indicates it might be voltage related. Optima batteries are known to have hit and miss quality isses.

    If that doesnt help then look at your transducer. If it works at lower speeds but not higher it could be the location where it is mounted. If it only works at shallow depths then I am lost to offer advice
    Tennessee

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    Member Akgramps's Avatar
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    Have you contacted Hummingbird?
    That would be my first step, if the battery voltage is sufficent to start the motor I doubt the unit would be affected, these things are designed to operate in a range, probaly says what that is in your manual.

    Theortically a fully charged battery is ~12.7 and full discharged is ~11.7, now doesnt mean that your boat wont start on 11.7, cause you could still have enough amps to turn it over, just means low voltage at the battery. Typical alternator out put is 14.4 volts.

    Personally I doubt its the batteries, most likely a connection or a setting on the unit, I know my Garmin has several settings, maybe your setting is not matched to the ducer.............? A long shot but worth checking.
    My Garmin has a voltage indicator (& alarm) that can be displayed on the screen, maybe the bird has that function also........?
    I find it handy as to let me know when to fire up the boat and charge the battery.................conctat Hummingbird.............!
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

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    AkGramps,
    Everything in my Sea Sport would work (Garmin GPS, ICOM VHF, motor would start, etc) but the Ray Marine depth finder. It would shut down or give totally false readings while running (and charging the batteries). The guys over at the Hull truth told me to change out the 3 year batteries with better ones. Bingo, immediate and so far, permanent fix to the Ray Marine issues. Not saying better batteries will help every time, but in some cases it does.
    Personally I have had more issues with depth finders working correctly than any other piece of electronics on a boat. Very aggravating
    Tennessee

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    Member Akgramps's Avatar
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    I guess have been lucky, and my experience is with my riverboat that I take to Homer once a year.

    It sure sounds like Swissy is having the same issues you had, so hopefully that will do the trick.

    I have heard that the optimas like to see higher voltage than other batteries............? Dont know if thats true or not? But the shop I talked to claimed they would demand more from the charging system.......?

    Electrical issues can be diffucult to sort out, even for the best of them, I know just enough to get in trouble.........!
    But rely on the basics to bail me out, clean terminals, good connections and good grounds, poor grounds can cause all kinds of aggravation............ I just ordered two Odyssey batteries for my outfit, best deal was from ABS battery here in Fairbanks, still dang spendy, but hoping they last for a while. Had the boat out last wekend. And there were a couple of occasions where it cranked slow and I got some comments..........................No start on the river is inconvenient as hell, but a no start in CI is tempting fate..........IMO
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

  10. #10
    Member Swissy's Avatar
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    Thanks guys... good info to check. I just got back last night, and of course Humminbird is closed today for Good Friday. Means Monday I'll call them. i already have an email waiting for them to return.

    While we were on the water, I tried every setting on each screen multiple ways... and nothing seemed to make it better. It SOMETIMES would give you a bottom reading at speed... at drift... in deep... in shallow... straight line... hard bank... but never for long. The weirdest part was in an area of say 600ft by chartplotter, it would read first 5ft, then 1000ft, then 250, 100, 1, 25, 500 - I mean it was all over the place. And it didn't matter if it was deep, shallow, cruise or drift. I about went nuts trying to figure it out.

    Thanks for the help - I'll test the batteries for volts and see what else I can dig up. I did talk to one service dept locally that made it sound like it should work at drift even if the mounting job is not perfect, since it'll be in the water and not having and cavitation or turbulence. Unless it was kicked back or otherwise totally shooting in the wrong direction. So I'm thinking it's more an electrical issue or something with the transducer or cabling...?
    '04 Hewescraft 24' Searunner
    200hp Honda 4stroke
    + multiple other 'toys'...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swissy View Post
    Thanks guys... good info to check. I just got back last night, and of course Humminbird is closed today for Good Friday. Means Monday I'll call them. i already have an email waiting for them to return.

    While we were on the water, I tried every setting on each screen multiple ways... and nothing seemed to make it better. It SOMETIMES would give you a bottom reading at speed... at drift... in deep... in shallow... straight line... hard bank... but never for long. The weirdest part was in an area of say 600ft by chartplotter, it would read first 5ft, then 1000ft, then 250, 100, 1, 25, 500 - I mean it was all over the place. And it didn't matter if it was deep, shallow, cruise or drift. I about went nuts trying to figure it out.

    Thanks for the help - I'll test the batteries for volts and see what else I can dig up.
    Do you have a thru-hull or a skimmer type transducer? If its a skimmer, is it possible that the transducer is loose and isn't necessarily shooting straight down all the time?

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    Member Swissy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostbitten View Post
    Do you have a thru-hull or a skimmer type transducer? If its a skimmer, is it possible that the transducer is loose and isn't necessarily shooting straight down all the time?
    Transducer mounted skimmer type... and altho I cannot verify 100% level, it is not loose nor kicked back. We checked while out on the water even, and it was in the correct position. The service shop I talked to said that at drift, even if it was off a few degrees,it should still get SOME reading, of which most of the time it does not.
    '04 Hewescraft 24' Searunner
    200hp Honda 4stroke
    + multiple other 'toys'...

  13. #13

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    Couple things to check...

    Check menus for proper transducer setting...some units have choices.

    Are you letting it auto-range? If not, it will freak out when it gets too deep for the setting. Heck, I thought mine (Lowrance) was toast last weekend but had it set for 200` and it started acting up as soon as we left the harbor.

    How close it it to your drive? Too close and it can scramble or bubble-up on the surface and get a bad ping for a while.

    I had your problems with all 4 of my Humminbird units so I switched to Lowrance for the last 2 boats and don`t have any of those issues anymore. The Lowrance seems to fix itself very quickly if it loses bottom where as the Hums would just flash and flash and flash...very irritating to keep shutting it down and crossing your fingers.

    Anyway, best of luck.


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    Member Swissy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK2AZ View Post
    Couple things to check...

    Check menus for proper transducer setting...some units have choices.
    Oh my God I played with so many settings my head started to hurt! nothing we did helped - either 83hz, or 200hz, or both, sensitivity, surface noise, etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by AK2AZ View Post
    Are you letting it auto-range? If not, it will freak out when it gets too deep for the setting. Heck, I thought mine (Lowrance) was toast last weekend but had it set for 200` and it started acting up as soon as we left the harbor.
    Auto bottom, set to 1200, 400... nothing made a difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by AK2AZ View Post
    How close it it to your drive? Too close and it can scramble or bubble-up on the surface and get a bad ping for a while.
    It's on the extreme edge of the hull, on the same bracket the old Garmin was on. Not sure of the distance from the prop, but should be plenty far enough. Plus, it has this problem even at drift with no turbulence or cavitation possibilities.

    Quote Originally Posted by AK2AZ View Post
    I had your problems with all 4 of my Humminbird units so I switched to Lowrance for the last 2 boats and don`t have any of those issues anymore. The Lowrance seems to fix itself very quickly if it loses bottom where as the Hums would just flash and flash and flash...very irritating to keep shutting it down and crossing your fingers.

    Anyway, best of luck.
    So what Lowrance unit(s) did you go with? If Humminbird is of no help, this thing is going back so fast it'll leave burn marks on the pavement. I already ordered a new transducer for my old unit and will have it back on if it does go back, but it'll have to be replaced again. I was going to wait for the Garmin 550c which will be available mid-May, which now in retrospect I should have done in the first place. But I'm always open to suggestions! I'm wanting a minimum of 500w and color...

    Thanks again for all the help!
    '04 Hewescraft 24' Searunner
    200hp Honda 4stroke
    + multiple other 'toys'...

  15. #15
    Member Swissy's Avatar
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    here are 2 pics - one close up of the mount, and another showing a full back view, with motor

    100_0520.jpg100_0521.jpg

    Bear in mind I was monkeying with the placement of the transducer... it was originally a tad higher up on the bracket, then I slide it down as far as it is now - nothing made a difference. Plus the boat is not level on the road right now...
    '04 Hewescraft 24' Searunner
    200hp Honda 4stroke
    + multiple other 'toys'...

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    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    Hope ya get it worked out soon. It was nice meeting you at the ramp Tuesday morning. Sure was beautiful weather.

    Rob

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    Member SkinnyRaven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swissy View Post
    here are 2 pics - one close up of the mount, and another showing a full back view, with motor

    100_0520.jpg100_0521.jpg

    Bear in mind I was monkeying with the placement of the transducer... it was originally a tad higher up on the bracket, then I slide it down as far as it is now - nothing made a difference. Plus the boat is not level on the road right now...
    I can't tell from the first picture if the transducer is below the bottom or not, needs at least 1/8", back end may be a little high. Neither of these account for the readings when drifting. I see from the spec sheet the voltage range is 10-20 vdc. I would first check for a software update, if thats not it possible bad transducer.

    07 Ocean Pro 220 ET HT
    115 Yamaha
    Garmin 740S, GMR 18 HD
    Airmar TM 260-MM

  18. #18
    Member Swissy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robbentler View Post
    Hope ya get it worked out soon. It was nice meeting you at the ramp Tuesday morning. Sure was beautiful weather.

    Rob
    Hope you did better than we did!! Hard to set in the right depth area without knowing the depth Ah, we still had a great time, got about 6 gallons of whole shrimp, drank a ton of beer at the cabin and just said what the hell on the depthfinder after monkeying with it for the first day. Did ok just using the chartplotter for depth and area. We did come back a day early as my brother-in-law could not afford to get stranded out with the weather that came in Thursday/Friday
    '04 Hewescraft 24' Searunner
    200hp Honda 4stroke
    + multiple other 'toys'...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinnyRaven View Post
    I can't tell from the first picture if the transducer is below the bottom or not, needs at least 1/8", back end may be a little high. Neither of these account for the readings when drifting. I see from the spec sheet the voltage range is 10-20 vdc. I would first check for a software update, if thats not it possible bad transducer.
    It was below before - the pic is after I was monkeying with it - we tried lower, higher, rocked forward, backward... nothing worked. The volts are good on my boat, as I did a check. I don't think it's a ground issue as everything else works flawlessly on the boat.I'm just waiting now to talk with Humminbird on Monday, and am making plans to go back to Whittier this week (Thursday) and am gonna play with it some more, and video everything from the transducer install to what the screen is showing, in case Humminbird gives me the run around. Worst case I'll send it back and getting something different.
    '04 Hewescraft 24' Searunner
    200hp Honda 4stroke
    + multiple other 'toys'...

  20. #20
    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Save yourself the trouble shooting hassle and send the unit back. I assume that you are looking for a dedicated sounder, right? Take a hard look at the Furuno FCV 585 with a 1KW transducer. I am running the Navnet 2 with a 1KW thruhull the detail that it provides is phenomenal. It makes my old lowrance on my old Hewes look like a toy.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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