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New finder Garmin - Furuno


Blade
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I am starting to think about and research my options for a new mid range finder.

I currently run a Lowrance HDS5 Gen 1- it works well and holds bottom at full speed, it is a good unit but the screen is a bit small to run split screen modes so I was thinking of using this unit for navigation only and getting a 9 inch finder to run side by side.

The units that I have been most interested in are the Garmin Echomap UHD 95sv https://buy.garmin.com/en-AU/AU/p/690358#specs(it has been suggested to me to go for the GT51 transducer vs the standard https://buy.garmin.com/en-AU/AU/p/537004) and the Furuno GP-1971F https://www.furuno.com/en/products/chartplotter/GP-1971F.

My fishing is varied from 15M up to 200+M I dont fish in the bays or rivers.  

Hoping someone has had some experience with both of these units.

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Have a look at the Garmin  gpsmap series units and run the gt51m transducer will suit your fishing better. The UHD is great for shallow water side/down scan, unbelievable vision great for bays and shallow reef. Garmin is very user friendly with plenty of transducer options depending on the head unit purchased. Furuno a bit more technical to use. Have been down the same path and went with Garmin, both units are great it's all about the transducer and the head  unit output power.

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It's a bit of a mixed bag this one, Garmin is easiest to use and has way better GPS, but Furuno has excellent sounder technology (in my opinion)

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  • 2 months later...

Okay so the search (and confusion) continues. 

I have eliminated the Garmin as it is not a 1KW unit, so options to upgrade the transduce later are limited.

The Furuno Gp1971F is still in the mix.

The confusion has come about due to the Lowrance Elite FS9- it is a 1KW unit, can do side and down imaging (the Furuno cannot) it can be upgraded to do 3d structure scan (the Furuno cannot), It can be networked to my Motorguide XI5 which will allow me to Spot lock on marks that I have on the sounder.(Only possible on Lowrance and Simrad units) 

All of this looks great on paper but here is where I need some help from Raiders who know more about sounders than me.

1. Is side scan and down scan useful for the fishing I do (I fish the Jibbon Bommie, The Peak, 12 Mile reef, Stanwell humps in 70-90M water, FAD's on occasion) 80% of my fishing is in less than 100m of water.

2. Is 3d structure scan useful (even though I am not going to buy it now should this factor into the decision when deciding Furuno vs Lowrance?) Or is it a gimmick 

3. Can I network the Elite FS to my current HDS gen 1 to share waypoints.

4. Will the Elite FS9 connect to my current HST DFSBL (P6376) Transducer (I will have it unplugged and just plug it into the head unit as and when I need it for deeper water) 

5. Is the Lowrance comparable to the Furuno in terms of pure sounder capabilities, most of the Lowrance advertising is aimed at Bass fishing while Furuno is more saltwater focused.  

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I put a Garmin echomap ultra 105 in my daughter's boat with just the gt54 transducer and have been extremely impressed with it. It picks up kings and holds bottom better than my gt51 on my 8410 Garmin. Around Montague in the 30-60m it seperates and shows kings just like my $2000 + hw175 airmar. 

The sidescan on the gt51 obviously out performs the gt54 in deep water but both have their merit. Her 54 is great in shallower water, to the point you can often see the shape of fish and tell exactly what they are much of the time. My gt51 will scan at depths of 140m and around 225-250 either side of the boat on 260khz. At those depths and that range it's only useful for finding structure. In deeper water I set the sidescan to around 80m each side which picks up bait schools pretty easily. I then back round to the bait using my 175hw set at 80m to see if there are predators feeding on the bait. 

I do think my daughters lower powered unit will also be of use out wide chassing tuna etc if the frequencies are set to suit the situations.

Something you are forgetting to compare is the screen resolution, the Furuno is greatly lacking for this day and age, many fish in deeper water will struggle to show whether you have a 300w or 3kw unless you know what depth the fish are at and set the min and max limits to just use that part of the water colum. Plenty about that in sounder secrets or other online sources. 

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Transferring weighpoints from the old Lowrance to the new can be done, Ive done it myself. Also Garmin seem to of made it easy and Ive moved my Lowrance marks onto my Garmin. 

Pretty sure that transducer will work on the elite, I used the same one on a carbon hds before moving to Garmin. 

3d is a function I can do with my Garmin but never find the need for it. Also my panoptics does a 3d type of thing which I also don't use but I do use the other panoptics screens ( which are fantastic ) Lowrance has a live view transducer option too but I haven't tried their version. 

Using one head unit to control everything isn't something I personally do but I do have a Lowrance point 1, Garmin 8410 and a simrad evo 3 all networked together via nmea 2000. The fusion radio is easy enough to operate from its own buttons so Ive stayed away from the frustration of bringing that into the network. Having phone calls is handy to have pop up on my head units as I tend to keep the phone tucked away safe where I wouldn't normally hear a call. 

There are limits networking all the units, even though some information is shared between brands, sonar and charts aren't. 

The garmin G3 vision charts are better than The Navionics version ( yes I have both to compare side by side ). With vision charts you often don't need sidescan at all as the sea floor surveyed charts are outstanding and extremely accurate. However, setting up the charts for Garmin isn't straight forward as you have to load them to a phone or iPad and then transfer them to the head unit. For the entire coast it took something like 9hrs to transfer, where I ended up leaving my phone in the boat all day hooked up to a seperate power source to do the transfer. I do have the charts on my phone so I can use them on any vessel I hop onto, this doesn't cost extra. I also put the same charts onto my daughters Garmin ( which surprised me ).

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6 hours ago, JonD said:

Transferring weighpoints from the old Lowrance to the new can be done, Ive done it myself. Also Garmin seem to of made it easy and Ive moved my Lowrance marks onto my Garmin. 

Pretty sure that transducer will work on the elite, I used the same one on a carbon hds before moving to Garmin. 

3d is a function I can do with my Garmin but never find the need for it. Also my panoptics does a 3d type of thing which I also don't use but I do use the other panoptics screens ( which are fantastic ) Lowrance has a live view transducer option too but I haven't tried their version. 

Using one head unit to control everything isn't something I personally do but I do have a Lowrance point 1, Garmin 8410 and a simrad evo 3 all networked together via nmea 2000. The fusion radio is easy enough to operate from its own buttons so Ive stayed away from the frustration of bringing that into the network. Having phone calls is handy to have pop up on my head units as I tend to keep the phone tucked away safe where I wouldn't normally hear a call. 

There are limits networking all the units, even though some information is shared between brands, sonar and charts aren't. 

The garmin G3 vision charts are better than The Navionics version ( yes I have both to compare side by side ). With vision charts you often don't need sidescan at all as the sea floor surveyed charts are outstanding and extremely accurate. However, setting up the charts for Garmin isn't straight forward as you have to load them to a phone or iPad and then transfer them to the head unit. For the entire coast it took something like 9hrs to transfer, where I ended up leaving my phone in the boat all day hooked up to a seperate power source to do the transfer. I do have the charts on my phone so I can use them on any vessel I hop onto, this doesn't cost extra. I also put the same charts onto my daughters Garmin ( which surprised me ).

The Garmin unit in my price range is the echoMap UHD 95sv, which is a 600w output unit with the same screen res as the Furuno and Lowrance.

If I wanted to get the 1kw Garmin the only option in my price range would be the 752xs HD which has a 800 x 480 res screen so the same as the Furuno/ Lowrance 

I have read good things about the GT51 ducer and it seems to offer the best versatility. Is it possible to add an amp to the echoMap UHD 95sv if I wanted to run a 1kw later? 

I also need to consider the law of diminishing returns I don't fish in more the 150m of water often so is a 1kw necessary?

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I believe the Garmin gs26 is the booster box that will allow up to 3kw transducers but again the price creeps up. 

In my opinion at 150m both a 600 or 1kw will work well, however the 1kw should show better detail at those depths. My lowrance would show bottom even on 200khz on occasions deeper than 300m (with the cheap 200-50 not the airmar 260). On 50khz it did hold bottom to over 500m once in perfect conditions.

Here are some screen shots form the old lowrance, even though they show fish they tend to do it as a large blob and not individual fish, which makes it difficult to tell what's bait and what's not.

IMG_0157.JPG.78856bd5d0921232e5be7a422b0584fe.JPG  IMG_0158.JPG.624fe37c7b9d95489b25450314d82364.JPG  IMG_0160.JPG.ef4deb0888d20c44c518f269e7c28756.JPG    IMG_0161.JPG.4a67600295192d8147723fe13ef0568b.JPG

 

This was how deep water was when it did work. Note both 200 and 50 kHz on the split screen.

 

IMG_1708.thumb.PNG.5b686033399e43839d45f6ff2185987d.PNG

 

Not sure if you've seen the video from Baymarine testing the Garmin gt51 but if not its pretty impressive.

 

 

 

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From around 10+ years ago with one of the first hds5 units. By cranking up the gain I was able to see my lures falling to these snapper and nanny's. I believe the cone angle was about 25' on that 200-83 $100 transducer. 

IMG_4687.thumb.JPG.8ee44c2336378a4f672b86ca62cf56da.JPG

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2 minutes ago, Blade said:

The Lowrance unit referred to above was it an HDS12? If so which generation?

The ones with sidescan was a gen 3 which never got deeper than 150m what ever transducer I tried. The deeper water screen shot was from a hds 8. 

Things seemed to go down hill with the newer units, with mine constantly freezing up and setting off shallow water alarms when I was deep dropping in depths of around 400m!!!

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That depth off an Gen 2 HDS 8 is impressive, if the specs I have for that unit are correct it was 250w RMS max head unit, unless you we running an amplifier?

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By the way, my gen 3 12 was working pretty good until I did a firmware update which caused screen freezing and false depths etc. At the time the unit was under warranty and lowrance admitted to several complaints of the same issue and a firmware update would soon be out to fix that problem. Contacted them again just before the warranty ran out only to find them now claiming to of never heard of an issue and offering me the option to buy another unit at their discount price. Their discount price brings the units down from rec retail to what they are in most shops, only buying this way they only give you 3 months warranty. Simply trying to speak with the tec department and someone with very poor English just adds to the frustration as does constantly doing full restarts and loosing all your marks. 

Ive had 4 lowrances that suffered firmware issues and needed replacing (not under warranty) hence moving over to Garmin. 

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4 minutes ago, Blade said:

How did you settle on the Garmin?

 

Garmin has a rep locally that you can talk to who knows the gear. The Garmin gear is also available at virtually every boating store and tackle store locally.

Having spoken with Garmin tec on the phone they instantly have your details from your phone number and know what units I have (inreach and other handhelds etc) from registering them online. I had to call them recently in regards to changing a Simrad transducer to use on my Garmin, which they were great to correspond with, not only giving me the info over the phone but also backing it up with the info via email. They are polite and very friendly if you do need to contact them.

The boats my daughter skippers have one of the best reputations down here on the south coast for finding fish, they use Garmin.

Look at it like photography with the big brands leading the field, all good in their own right. The results (head units) of low end body's with high end lens's is better than the other way around in my opinion. I would rather have a cheaper boat with better sonar than the other way around. The reason I sold my last boat and dropped to a cheaper boat was partly so I could set up my electronics with that price difference between boats. Jumping on a boat where you can see fish in 700m of water or distinguish snapper in shallower water soon makes you forget what it initially cost!!!!...unless the Mrs keeps reminding you!!!

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