Fishfinder/Chart Plotter Reliability Issues

John McKroidJohn McKroid Posts: 1,807 Captain
Of the 3 fishfinders I have had on my kayak, the dragonfly 7 gets: A+ for picture -- super bright excellent look below water for the price, an A for software - easy to use good presentation displaying useful info for kayak fishing. C- for reliability, less than a year old and already sent in for repairs twice(about 6 weeks to get it back last time with multiple follow-up phone calls). Reliability issues include: broken plug-in pin, inconsistent operation (fails frequently in the morning, but works well once the sun is up), Failed card reader, On/Off button sticks on, and short in power cord( since the power and transducer cord are connected, have to replace both). I am wondering if it is time to switch to another brand, or if I should attribute the failures to the harsh environment of offshore kayak fishing. When I purchased the dragonfly 7, I noted it was IXP7 water proof rating, now note the website says IXP6 and IXP7. How can it be both? It is the lesser of the two, which in my opinion is unsatisfactory for offshore kayak fishing. Kayak owners with Garmin,Lowrance, and Humminbird, don't hesitate to chime in......... would like to know if other brands have similar reliability issues. Thanks.

Replies

  • RickysreefRickysreef Posts: 394 Officer
    I want the dragonfly4 now I'm not sure,lots of people are having problems with the dragonfly :(
  • YakNPompYakNPomp Posts: 227 Deckhand
    I've had zero problems with my Garmin 50dv. Its now discontinued but 54dv is the same thing. Maybe you would like the 74dv?

    Being in an outback mine gets wet all time due to rain, waves, and the like but I have yet to flip with it (that day will come im sure). Garmins are true IPX7... as you said IPX6\7 rating is BS, its IPX6.

    I had a lowrance elite 4 hdi with my previous outback that I did flip over a few times but again never had any issues other than I didnt like actual unit that much.
  • YakNPompYakNPomp Posts: 227 Deckhand
    for those reading and wondering what IPX means:

    http://www.garmin.com/en-US/legal/waterrating
  • Nick561Nick561 Posts: 339 Deckhand
    I have a garmin dv70. So far I love it. It's been solid
  • Android77Android77 Posts: 486 Deckhand
    I've had Garmin, Humminbird and Lowrance. They all have there problems. The Garmins I've had had very small plugs which means the positive and negative on the power cord are very close so a little water on the pin and electrolysis kills them. Hummibirds suck for deep water they claim 600' but that's in crystal clear mountain lakes. 300, is the maximum. I have a Lowrance on my AI now with a 50 ha transducer because it's the only unit that can read 1000 plus feet without having a very expensive unit and transducer. None are designed to work reliably on a kayak with what we put them thru. Your problem with not working in the morning is because of surf launching and the transducer cable gets water on the pins. This can be avoided by putting the unit in a dry hatch and mounting it after the launch. Dielectric grease helps a lot but the best thing I've found is to buy from Bass Pro and get the replacement policy and when it gives you trouble take it back to them get a new one and a new replacement policy and I'm back fishing in one day with a new unit. There is no depthfinder made to be immersed like we do to them no mater what the manufactures claim. Also only having the battery plugged in only when on the water will help a lot in there life span.
  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Posts: 1,807 Captain
    YakNPomp wrote: »
    I've had zero problems with my Garmin 50dv. Its now discontinued but 54dv is the same thing. Maybe you would like the 74dv?

    Being in an outback mine gets wet all time due to rain, waves, and the like but I have yet to flip with it (that day will come im sure). Garmins are true IPX7... as you said IPX6\7 rating is BS, its IPX6.

    I had a lowrance elite 4 hdi with my previous outback that I did flip over a few times but again never had any issues other than I didnt like actual unit that much.

    Erik, Glad to know that your fishfinder is working well for you. I like the Garmin EchoMap series alot, my one hold back is the that Garmin stopped making their units compatable with Navionics. I have Garmin Blue Chart and Navionics on my Ipad and they both have good and bad features, but overall I would prefer Navionics for my fishfinder.
  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Posts: 1,807 Captain
    Nick561 wrote: »
    I have a garmin dv70. So far I love it. It's been solid

    Nick, Glad to hear your unit is holding up well. I was impressed by the fishfinder picture you posted off the bahamas -- impressive range with that unit. I think Garmin did well with the latest line of echomap units, just wish they kept the compatability with navionics.
  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Posts: 1,807 Captain
    Android77 wrote: »
    I've had Garmin, Humminbird and Lowrance. They all have there problems. The Garmins I've had had very small plugs which means the positive and negative on the power cord are very close so a little water on the pin and electrolysis kills them. Hummibirds suck for deep water they claim 600' but that's in crystal clear mountain lakes. 300, is the maximum. I have a Lowrance on my AI now with a 50 ha transducer because it's the only unit that can read 1000 plus feet without having a very expensive unit and transducer. None are designed to work reliably on a kayak with what we put them thru. Your problem with not working in the morning is because of surf launching and the transducer cable gets water on the pins. This can be avoided by putting the unit in a dry hatch and mounting it after the launch. Dielectric grease helps a lot but the best thing I've found is to buy from Bass Pro and get the replacement policy and when it gives you trouble take it back to them get a new one and a new replacement policy and I'm back fishing in one day with a new unit. There is no depthfinder made to be immersed like we do to them no mater what the manufactures claim. Also only having the battery plugged in only when on the water will help a lot in there life span.


    Thanks for posting your prospective. Dielectric grease is definitly key to mininizing corrosion. I think all of the brands make claims that are a bit of a stretch in regards to depth range of units, atleast that has been my experience with lowrance and raymarine. I am curious as to which model Lowrance and transducer you are satisfied with ? I believe the higher end garmin echo maps work in over 1000ft and are under $1000. I believe the inconsistent morning operation is more of a condensation issue.....If I keep the unit inside all night, and don't hook it up until just before launching, the unit tends to work better. West marine has a warranty program also, now I am curious to see who has a better replacement policy. Although fishfinders can be found for $100 less on line, and the local store warranty is $100, when the unit goes caput, it seems like a necessary expense.
  • Android77Android77 Posts: 486 Deckhand
    Bass Pro gives you a gift card and you just go get a new one but sometimes there in stock selection is not so good. But I keep the cables and transducer the girls at counter don't know what they are supposed to get back. West marine wants to send a tech out and have fish finder installed on boat, found that out after I had to special order Elite 5 with a 50 Hz transducer. Didn't really want all that hassle but that's what I'm stuck with now.
  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Posts: 1,807 Captain
    Android77 wrote: »
    Bass Pro gives you a gift card and you just go get a new one but sometimes there in stock selection is not so good. But I keep the cables and transducer the girls at counter don't know what they are supposed to get back. West marine wants to send a tech out and have fish finder installed on boat, found that out after I had to special order Elite 5 with a 50 Hz transducer. Didn't really want all that hassle but that's what I'm stuck with now.

    West Marine warranty is around $100 for 1 year, return the fishfinder for any reason during the year and get the price you paid deducted off the cost of a new fishfinder. No tech required for installation.
  • mikenavmikenav Posts: 786 Officer
    Navionics recently released SonarCharts for Garmin, which is a chip you can put in your Garmin unit and get Navionics charts, fully updateable, etc.
  • BarrellBarrell Posts: 1,174 Officer
    I never remove the fishfinder. I leave them mounted year round with electric grease on the plug and have never had a plug corrode out. It always the guys who leave a hot plug dangling that have a problem. disconnect the battery when you disconnect the unit and keep thos eplugs greased up.
    Android77 wrote: »
    I've had Garmin, Humminbird and Lowrance. They all have there problems. The Garmins I've had had very small plugs which means the positive and negative on the power cord are very close so a little water on the pin and electrolysis kills them. Hummibirds suck for deep water they claim 600' but that's in crystal clear mountain lakes. 300, is the maximum. I have a Lowrance on my AI now with a 50 ha transducer because it's the only unit that can read 1000 plus feet without having a very expensive unit and transducer. None are designed to work reliably on a kayak with what we put them thru. Your problem with not working in the morning is because of surf launching and the transducer cable gets water on the pins. This can be avoided by putting the unit in a dry hatch and mounting it after the launch. Dielectric grease helps a lot but the best thing I've found is to buy from Bass Pro and get the replacement policy and when it gives you trouble take it back to them get a new one and a new replacement policy and I'm back fishing in one day with a new unit. There is no depthfinder made to be immersed like we do to them no mater what the manufactures claim. Also only having the battery plugged in only when on the water will help a lot in there life span.
  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Posts: 1,807 Captain
    mikenav wrote: »
    Navionics recently released SonarCharts for Garmin, which is a chip you can put in your Garmin unit and get Navionics charts, fully updateable, etc.

    Wondering where you got your information....the following is off the Navionics website:

    "we must inform users that, in December 2014, Garmin announced a change to their software thus making their devices incompatible with Navionics charts. Customers that utilize software version 2015.0202 or newer will no longer be able to use Navionics charts."
  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Posts: 1,807 Captain
    Barrell wrote: »
    I never remove the fishfinder. I leave them mounted year round with electric grease on the plug and have never had a plug corrode out. It always the guys who leave a hot plug dangling that have a problem. disconnect the battery when you disconnect the unit and keep thos eplugs greased up.

    Wish I could leave it plugged in, the plugging and unplugging can't be good, but theift prevention dictates removal. Can't agree with you more on the rest of your comments.
  • mikenavmikenav Posts: 786 Officer
    Wondering where you got your information....the following is off the Navionics website:

    "we must inform users that, in December 2014, Garmin announced a change to their software thus making their devices incompatible with Navionics charts. Customers that utilize software version 2015.0202 or newer will no longer be able to use Navionics charts."

    That means if you buy a Garmin manufactured after dec 31, 2014 or if you have a Garmin older than that but installed the update, the charts won't work. HOWEVER, if you are like most people who buy a plotter, put it on your boat and just never update it, the Navionics SonarCharts for Garmin chip should work in that plotter. And I get that information from seeing it work many times.
  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Posts: 1,807 Captain
    mikenav wrote: »
    That means if you buy a Garmin manufactured after dec 31, 2014 or if you have a Garmin older than that but installed the update, the charts won't work. HOWEVER, if you are like most people who buy a plotter, put it on your boat and just never update it, the Navionics SonarCharts for Garmin chip should work in that plotter. And I get that information from seeing it work many times.

    I am looking to upgrade the unreliable fish finder that I have. Your original post lead me to believe that new garmin fishfinders/plotters work with Navionics, that is why I cited the website and asked the question. I was hoping your source was more contemporary and the website was somehow out of date. Sorry if my earlier reply offended you....did not intend to provoke sarcasm.
  • mikenavmikenav Posts: 786 Officer
    No worries, John McKroid. Didn't mean to come across like I was offended. I was just trying answer your question. That's my fault. If you have any questions about any of the plotters you're looking at, please feel free to ask. Though I am faaaar from an expert, I deal with a lot of them fairly regularly. You can always direct message me if you want.
  • Dude-On-A-KayakDude-On-A-Kayak Posts: 256 Deckhand
    So...my Hummingbird 365Di was never amazing to begin with and now it is having power issues. I want a reliable, 7" minimum wide screen display and the ability to actually see the bottom at 600'. My Humminbird goes bonkers when I get past 500'. The biggest issue with the hummingbird right now though it that it is constantly loosing power. I cleaned the power and transducer pins and put a thin coat of silicone grease on the plugs, but it just seems to be getting worse.

    I'm considering soldering my own waterproof connector to the pins, then potting it to make it permanently waterproof.

    The more expensive option is to buy a new unit from Garmin or Lowrance. Garmin seems to have a good customer service rating, but seems to be a little behind in technology with some of the lower to mid level GPS/Sonar combos. Lowrance apparently has nicer graphics and map options, but also has reliability issues and crappy customer service.

    I have been looking at the $500 units, up to the $1200 units from both Garmin and Lowrance. I'm not excited about spending over $1000 on my little plastic boat, but it's getting to that point. The main issue with going to one of the larger units is the power consumption. Some of the Garmins pull an average of 1.3Amps @12VDC with a peak of 2.5A! Yikes! You would need a 12lb, 18Ah SLA battery in order to run it all day and not drain below 50% or a dangerous amount Li-Ion batteries onboard.

    Anyone have a unit with a 7" display that they rely on?
  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Posts: 1,807 Captain
    I have been looking at the $500 units, up to the $1200 units from both Garmin and Lowrance. I'm not excited about spending over $1000 on my little plastic boat, but it's getting to that point. The main issue with going to one of the larger units is the power consumption. Some of the Garmins pull an average of 1.3Amps @12VDC with a peak of 2.5A! Yikes! You would need a 12lb, 18Ah SLA battery in order to run it all day and not drain below 50% or a dangerous amount Li-Ion batteries onboard.

    Anyone have a unit with a 7" display that they rely on?


    I wish their was a good bullet proof 7" fishfinder for kayak fishing, but as of now, don't think it has been made(it would have IPX8 water rating). Regardless of brand, if it is used offshore, sooner or later it is likely to have a problem. For now the best solution seems to be buying a warranty...not only does it allow you to replace your unit , but also use the funds towards an upgrade to the latest technology. My AGM is probably close to 12lbs. I have contemplated buying an LiPo battery to cut the weight in half and had not consider the danger factor ?
  • Dude-On-A-KayakDude-On-A-Kayak Posts: 256 Deckhand
    I wish their was a good bullet proof 7" fishfinder for kayak fishing, but as of now, don't think it has been made(it would have IPX8 water rating). Regardless of brand, if it is used offshore, sooner or later it is likely to have a problem. For now the best solution seems to be buying a warranty...not only does it allow you to replace your unit , but also use the funds towards an upgrade to the latest technology. My AGM is probably close to 12lbs. I have contemplated buying an LiPo battery to cut the weight in half and had not consider the danger factor ?

    Unless I am misreading something, West Marine's warranty has a $400 cap on replacements. Bass Pro has a $300 cap. I would want to be able to walk in and say "new unit please" if I am going to pay for a warranty. I wouldn't want a repair plan. That's what the factory warranty is for.

    I'm considering the touch version of the 740 series, but I am wondering if the touchscreen will be more of a pain in the *** than the regular key pad?

    https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/on-the-water/fishfindergpscombos/gpsmap-741xs/prod119867.html



    I bought this thing a while ago and so far my kayak hasn't melted into the abyss. I think you hear horror stories from people who use crappy battery chargers or their motorcycle alternator is over charging it. LifePO4 aka " Lithium Iron" (not Ion) is not as toxic or volatile as Lithium Ion. Knock on wood sir!

    My issue with this particular LifePO4 "starter" Batterry is that the Amp-Hour rating is misleading. Apparently my 36Ah battery is closer to 12Ah. The special charger that charges each individual cell is also $80! Though, it does weight less than 5lbs.

    http://shoraipower.com/lfx36a3-bs12-p126
  • RickysreefRickysreef Posts: 394 Officer
    Touchscreen and wet fingers don't get alone very well ��
  • John McKroidJohn McKroid Posts: 1,807 Captain
    Rickysreef wrote: »
    Touchscreen and wet fingers don't get alone very well ��

    2x Agree. I have a water proof case for the ipad.....aside from being hard to see in sunlight, takes about 10 touches to get every function to work. Also used Raymarine e7d which has touch and buttons. Again, touch screen very inconsistent and frustrating. Better to have knobs and buttons when using close down to the water.
  • Dude-On-A-KayakDude-On-A-Kayak Posts: 256 Deckhand
    I decided to try and make my Humminbird work for the rest of the season. Here was my solution. Worked beautifully today. It seems that all of the issues I have been having were related to to the power input and not the transducer input.
  • Dude-On-A-KayakDude-On-A-Kayak Posts: 256 Deckhand
    Reviving an old thread to ask a question. I have the Raymarine A78 now and the depth reading takes anywhere from a minute to several minutes to change. If I peddle over to 310' from 300' it stays at 300'. This makes it really hard to fish wrecks. I posted this same question on the Raymarine forum. See example below. It says 237' because it hasn't updated in a few minutes. The displayed depth is below 250'!

    Has anyone else experienced this issue?
  • inshore daveinshore dave Posts: 554 Officer
    John, being a devout Humminbird user forever, I can tell you that in my boats and on my kayaks I've never eve had a problem with anything on my units. I now use the Helix 5 DI-GPS on my PA14. It's been through it all and never had 1 problem with it. Good luck.
    2014 Hobie PA14-Dune
  • Android77Android77 Posts: 486 Deckhand
    I love my humminbird until I get to 300 plus feet then it's just useless.
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