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View Full Version : Lowrance Transducer Misconception



ReelJerks
10-07-2009, 11:27 PM
It seems there are many who think that the transducer engineering and manufacturing company AIRMAR, makes and provides all the transducers shipped with todays SONAR (fish finders). Not the case! At least according to an email I received from Irene at Airmar.

"Thank you for contacting AIRMAR Technology Corporation. Both Navico and Lowrance make their own low cost transducers.* Airmar only produces higher performing transducers for these sounder models."

Don't buy Lowrance thinking you're getting a top quality Airmar transducer. You're not.

If you want the high quality TOP END transducer for your new Lowrance, and some other manufacturers, you need to get it aftermarket. I believe most manufacturers offer their product with or without a transducer, so order without then go aftermarket for your Airmar. And BTW.....the difference is Night & Day!

Airmar does NOT sell direct to the public, so check the forum RESOURCES section for a dealer.

I understand from owners of Furuno and Koden and some Garmin units that they indeed come with (or can be ordered with) high quality Airmar transducers.

Edd

GN.
10-08-2009, 08:14 AM
That's good information. I've been looking at the Airmar transducers as well. If you look at the pictures of the different Airmar transducers it's clear the ones from some of the other companies aren't one of the Airmar selection. If I had known a little more about the Airmar transducers I would have probably bought the transducer separately. If you do your homework it should be clear to you what makes them better and why they should produce a better image. I also think this may be part of the reason why the Furuno units are so well respected. They come with them from the factory as far as I can tell. It stands to reason that if you were to take a unit that comes with the usual cheap transducer and replace it with a good quality one the performance would improve.

I would also keep in mind that the standard dual frequency Airmar transducer (P66) has a narrow cone of 11deg at 200khz. The 50khz is a generous 45deg but the resolution isn't as good.
http://airmartechnology.com/airmar2005/ex20/RMProducts/ElectCat.asp?ProdID=48&Man=All&PageNo=91

There is another option. This is what Airmar says about it.
"The SS270W, 1 kW, twin, wide-beam is now available as a transom-mount for larger trailered boats with outboards and I/O’s. The TM270W’s high-performance mounting bracket is easy to install and has a streamlined shape that delivers high-speed performance up to 30 knots (35 MPH). See the Wider Picture The TM270W gives you four times the beamwidth at 200 kHz than other high-performance transducers. Since the width of the beams are the same at both frequencies, a split-screen fishfinder display will clearly show the same water column and bottom coverage. Fish may also appear as arches. More fish will be marked while cruising, trolling, drifting, or at anchor. Get the wider picture on your sounder with the TM270W. • Tuna/Marlin Fishermen—Detect bait and gamefish in the upper water column that would go unseen with a traditional narrow-beam transducer. • Downrigger Fishermen—Have the ability to see your downrigger ball and the lines attached to it. Get a closer look at a fish strike on your echosounder screen. • Jig Fishermen—Seeing your jigs on the echosounder screen while bottom fishing can help avoid bottom hang-ups. Seeing a tuna attack your jigs on the echosounder display lets you reel up loose lines before it is too late."

This seems like it could be the ticket. It could be used to upgrade any fishfinder it's compatible with. My HDS unit may very well get one. I would like to hear from someone who's used one but I'm guessing that's unlikely.

ReelJerks
10-08-2009, 09:01 AM
That's good information GN and I forgot to place a link to Airmar. You did forget to mention that the TM270 ducers are running about $1200 in a general market. For a recreational fisherman, the P66 for about $130 will get the job done nicely. Also, for us lake fishermen/women the 1KW 'ducers are a big overkill. The people at Airmar are very eager to answer questions and, unlike most manufacturers they won't sell you stuff you don't need.

When you take into consideration the way Airmar constructs their 'ducers, the cone angle is not that critical for us recreational guys. If you can hitch in a boat with a P66 you will be truly amazed.

Here's that link.* http://www.airmartechnology.com/airmar2005/ex20/RMProducts/RMMain.asp

Edd

GN.
10-08-2009, 09:43 AM
$1200 wow! When I last checked on it the guy on the phone guessed at a price. Boy was he wrong. Never mind. I won't be doing that. What frequency do people use in shallow water with that transducer? I know the 200khz provides more detail but the cone is so narrow that you have to be right on top of the fish to see them. I had a dual frequency unit before and I'd use the 50khz setting. The detail wasn't as good but it was more useful because I could see more.



When you take into consideration the way Airmar constructs their 'ducers, the cone angle is not that critical for us recreational guys. If you can hitch in a boat with a P66 you will be truly amazed.


I'm not sure I completely understand. It's still an 11deg cone at 200khz right? that makes it really tough in 20ft of water since you're only seeing a 3.9ft dia. circle. If the target isn't in that circle you can't see it. If you're talking about the 50khz setting I can see what you mean if the detail is that much better. I'm not trying to challenge what you're saying. I just want to understand.

ReelJerks
10-08-2009, 11:17 PM
When you take into consideration the way Airmar constructs their 'ducers, the cone angle is not that critical for us recreational guys. If you can hitch in a boat with a P66 you will be truly amazed.


I'm not sure I completely understand. It's still an 11deg cone at 200khz right? that makes it really tough in 20ft of water since you're only seeing a 3.9ft dia. circle. If the target isn't in that circle you can't see it. If you're talking about the 50khz setting I can see what you mean if the detail is that much better. I'm not trying to challenge what you're saying. I just want to understand.


On the funny side, it's a GIVE and KEEP situation. I give up a little cone angle and I KEEP about $1070* :D
Seriously tho, let's look at Lowrance, because that's what I own. Lots of what you see on a Lowrance display is NOT under the boat. It's in front, behind, around and under the boat. This is because of the way Navico builds their transducers. This is actually a GOOD thing for the Bass guys but not so good for me. I'm probably always looking for fish between 25 feet & 150 feet so I want to know whats UNDER my boat and not so much what's along the sides.
Here's another fact that most people overlook. If you have a Lowrance product using a dual frequency 50/200 kHz transducer, your cone angle on the 200 kHz side is ONLY 12 degree. You only get the 20 degree cone angle with the single frequency 200 kHz transducer. So what it boils down to now is just 1 degree for dual freq users. Not that much difference in 'seen' bottom between 11 degree and 12 degree cone angles. But yes, a pretty good difference with the single freq ducers. I currently use a Navico 50/200 kHz ducer (12 degree on 200 kHz side) and I have no problem seeing my DR weights (both sides) as shallow as 35 feet. I will probably need to be deeper to see both, when I change to my P66.

Edd

Fin
10-10-2009, 12:44 AM
Anyone have screen shots comparing the Lowrance to the P66? I looked on Airmar's website to no avail...

GN.
10-10-2009, 06:53 AM
Give and keep...I like it. I hear you there. If I was fishing in deeper water I'd certainly want the narrower cone angle. For the commercial guys fishing deep water they make some with very narrow cones. They need to know when they are directly over the top of something.

I used to have a Lowrance DF unit and I could see the downrigger weight with the 200khz if the weight was down deep enough. When I changed to the 50khz I could see them if they were down even a short distance. If I still had a DF unit the P66 would be a no brainer. I already had a DF unit and didn't like it very much in shallow water. To see much I had to switch it to 50khz but then the detail wasn't very good. Even in the short time I've had My HDS unit with the 83/200khz ducer I can already see a huge difference. The 83/200 transducer is the standard 200khz unit operated in a different way. Each type of transducer has it's purpose. What's perfect for shallow water won't be for deeper water and vice-versa. I suppose it's a matter of deciding what what your needs are and matching the gear to your needs.

Something interesting thing about cone angles. They're not perfect cones. The radiation pattern isn't very round at all. Follow this link and you'll see what I'm talking about.
http://www.airmartechnology.com/uploads/CeramicDesignation/50_200A.pdf

ReelJerks
10-12-2009, 01:11 AM
Anyone have screen shots comparing the Lowrance to the P66?* I looked on Airmar's website to no avail...

My P66 is on the way so when it's installed I'll post some pics.

kaliona
10-19-2009, 07:01 AM
Skallywag, I'm so glad I stumbled across this forum.* I was this close (holding my fingers an 1/8 inch apart) to purchasing the HDS-5 with the dual frequency transducer.* Sounds like purchasing it without the transducer and installing the Airmar P66 would be the way to go.* I've never seen the images this unit would provide with the stock transducer and you seem very knowledgable on this subject, so if you say the difference would be night and day, I'll take your word for it.*

Sounds like its a straight swap if I go with the P66, but how does the unit know which frequency to display?* Is it simply a menu selection you can toggle back and forth between 50 and 200kHz?* Also, I was told by someone at FW in Manteca that the 50/200 transducer is just for use in salt water...huh???* From what I'm reading on this forum the 50kHz frequency is more useful in deeper water.* Since I don't ever plan on fishing anywhere deeper than 200' does that mean I'd be better off with an Airmar single frequency xducer (assuming they make one for the HDS-5)?

Thanks again for starting this forum. Lots of good info here for us sonar noobs.

ReelJerks
10-19-2009, 07:59 AM
.....but how does the unit know which frequency to display?* Is it simply a menu selection you can toggle back and forth between 50 and 200kHz?* Also, I was told by someone at FW in Manteca that the 50/200 transducer is just for use in salt water...huh???* From what I'm reading on this forum the 50kHz frequency is more useful in deeper water.* Since I don't ever plan on fishing anywhere deeper than 200' does that mean I'd be better off with an Airmar single frequency xducer (assuming they make one for the HDS-5)?

Thanks again for starting this forum.* Lots of good info here for us sonar noobs.

The frequency selection is done thru the menu system.

It would be more correct to say a 50/200 is better suited for deep water than to say salt water. On the other hand, the power of the 50kHz is needed for +200 feet in the salt to give better performance.

I wish someone would buy a P48W and post some performance info and shots. I believe the cost factor is compatible to the P66. The difference being the P48W comes with a switch that allows you to use a wide 38 degree beam from either port to starboard or bow to stern. The offsetting beam is 12 degree. Sounds kewl to me. Here's the drawback to this.....the P48W is 100 watts RMS vs the 600 watt RMS P66.

Edd

retired
10-20-2009, 01:39 AM
I think may friend is going to buy the p48. On the web page it says its good for black bass fisherman. That is what he is into. So if it works I will have him post a comment about the unit. I will be buying the P66 for my HDS7. You can get on AIRMAR webstie and pick the transducer you may want. It will give the the cone angle plus the width of coverage at a give depth. So you can decide on the one you want. Retired.

ReelJerks
10-20-2009, 02:12 AM
From what I understand the P48W has only been released for Raymarine at this time.

Edd

Fin
10-28-2009, 11:01 AM
My P66 is on the way so when it's installed I'll post some pics.
Been out yet, Edd??

ReelJerks
10-28-2009, 11:18 AM
My P66 is on the way so when it's installed I'll post some pics.*
Been out yet, Edd??
Not yet, having had everything stolen. A fellow Sniffer has arranged for me to borrow another sonar, and the P66 is already mounted so I'm* pretty sure I'll go Saturday. I'll be sure to post screen shots.....baring any problems.

http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh252/eddallen/Airmar-4.gif

http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh252/eddallen/Airmar-1.gif

Edd

retired
10-30-2009, 10:14 AM
Edd
When I ordered My HDS 7 today from Boe marine. He said I should have a 83/200 transducer. I only fish in lakes & the delta for stripers. So I did not ordered the P66 transducer. Hope I did not make a mistake. He also told me I did not need a SD card for showing me the contour of the bottom in the delta. B

GN.
10-30-2009, 12:40 PM
The SD card allows you to update the software and save sonar logs etc..

ReelJerks
11-01-2009, 08:11 AM
Finally made it to the lake yesterday about 10 a.m..

Let me start by qualifying what I did. I wanted the pics to be as close to even as possible, but that couldn't happen with the LMS-37 that was lent to me. The LMS has no 'ScreenShot' provision so I had to use my camera. It also has the old network so I didn't have GPS or speed available. I took a string of shots with the Airmar first, starting at the DC ramp and stopping at the buoy line at the dam. Then with the Lowrance 50/200 from the dam entrance to Zebe, across the lake to Lombardos, and back to the buoy line in front of the boat slips. The head unit was set to Auto Depth and the gain was set to 90%. Here you go..

Leaving the ramp area.
http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh252/eddallen/AT/Untitled-1.gif
http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh252/eddallen/LT/Untitled-14.gif
********************************
http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh252/eddallen/AT/Untitled-2.gif
http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh252/eddallen/LT/Untitled-15.gif
******************************
http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh252/eddallen/AT/Untitled-3.gif
http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh252/eddallen/LT/Untitled-16.gif
*******************************
http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh252/eddallen/AT/Untitled-6.gif
http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh252/eddallen/LT/Untitled-18.gif
*****************************
http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh252/eddallen/AT/Untitled-7.gif
http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh252/eddallen/LT/Untitled-20.gif
*****************************
At speed both ducers gave me this noise. I'm sure it just settings.

http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh252/eddallen/LT/Untitled-8.gif

I know my P66 needs to be raised about .5 inch, then a retesting will be in order.

One very noticeable difference between the 2 ducers is the Airmar has much less surface clutter.

A great big thank you to FisherWally for driving the big box onto my trailer for me. Nice talking with Chris again and also nice seeing Kevin again.

I did drag around 2 leadcore lines but never got hit that I know of. Dragged Chatter Sticks and crawlers on my harness at 4 to 5 colors behind Shasta Sling-blades in chrome UV.

Edd

Dennis
11-01-2009, 12:04 PM
Edd,
I'm lost. Which ones are the P66? You have 11 photos. Maybe you can just say #1, 3, 5 etc are the P66.

Sorry...
-Dennis
P.S. Thanks for the analysis

ReelJerks
11-02-2009, 01:15 AM
P66 shots are the top pic in each group of 2 which are separated by a row of *. Easy way to spot the Airmar shots.....they have far less surface noise.

This really didn't turn out like I wanted, so I'll do it again when I get my insurance settlement. I may even invest in a ducer switch.

Edd

ReelJerks
11-02-2009, 07:15 AM
Here are some captures from the sonar log.
First 2 are from the P66 and last 2 from the stock ducer.

http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh252/eddallen/P66-1.gif
http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh252/eddallen/P66-2.gif

Now from the Lowrance 50/200 ducer
http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh252/eddallen/Low-1.gif

Here's the Deer Creek ramp
http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh252/eddallen/Low-2.gif

Edd

retired
11-02-2009, 11:26 AM
Nice pictures Edd.
When I ordered my HDS7 from Boemarine. Jim said That I should get 83/200 transduer because I fish the delta and lakes around the area. He said Airmar P66 would be better if I fished the ocean.So i hope i did not make a mistake.* Maybe later I will order the P66. Also I bought the insight USA. do think I will need the SD card for the Delta ? I was under the inpression the the insight usa covered it all. Retired.

ReelJerks
11-03-2009, 01:21 AM
Well.....hmmmm........I ordered the P before I lost my gear. It's clear to see the P is better with the LMS and, I assume the LCX as well. I may not need it with the HDS. I'll have screen shots with the HDS before you buy so you can make a good decision.

Edd

retired
11-03-2009, 06:18 AM
Thanks Edd.
But I already bought it.UPS should be here today with it. So we will find out in the next couple days. I will go out on the water and see how it works. I am still wondering if I willl need the card for the delta. I think I will post a question and see what answer I get. TY