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TOPIC: Time 2 upgrade? Lowrance Elite 5 Chirp for mapping

Time 2 upgrade? Lowrance Elite 5 Chirp for mapping 6 years 4 months ago #5572

  • DiveExplorer
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Those who have used Lowrance Elite 5 Chirp for mapping. Are you happy with that unit or would you have bought some other unit instead ?

I wanted to get some input from those of you who knows and have tested. I have used Humminbird 581 for a nearly a year for making maps and I have used both DrDepth and Reefmaster. I have to say that I´m disappointed with 581 unit. It´s not very good unit I think for collecting data and depth information's. Very often it shows irregular depth, so that I need to manual change it or correct it. I think I want to upgrade or get me a new unit.

I´m not necessarily searching for a unit that can install and display maps, just a good unit that collects data very well and shows stable depth information, and of course not to large and expensive.
Humminbird 581i HD DI.
Mapping the ocean floor and search for history
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Time 2 upgrade? Lowrance Elite 5 Chirp for mapping 6 years 3 months ago #5709

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Those of you who uses depth finders with Chirp tech, would you say that it better than regular depth finders for mapping ?
Humminbird 581i HD DI.
Mapping the ocean floor and search for history
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Time 2 upgrade? Lowrance Elite 5 Chirp for mapping 6 years 3 months ago #5710

  • bigkahuna
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I'm interested in the same thing. I've not found much information or feedback on the usual forums. Most reports are related to finding and displaying fish. Like yourself, I'm more interested in mapping structure and bottom terrain. I'm also looking at Garmin's Panoptix sonar. The technology looks amazing, but all my inquiries to Garmin have gone unanswered. From what I've been able to find out on my own, it doesn't appear that you can save the Panoptix data and only the older displays are capable of exporting NMEA 0183, so I'm not sure if it would work as well as a cheaper Humminbird/Lowrance unit for map making.
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Time 2 upgrade? Lowrance Elite 5 Chirp for mapping 6 years 3 months ago #5711

  • hermes
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I've used the lowrance elite 7 (ordinary, not chirp) and have been very pleased with the results in reefmaster. Like you, I use it to make bathymetric charts. To get the best results, you do need to pay attention to tidal data, transducer offsets, do a bar check etc, but I compared a chart I created with reefmaster to a professional bathymetric survey and my chart looked almost identical. Now summer is here, I'm looking at upgrading to a lowrance structure scan unit as I want side scan data. However, I don't think you would be disappointed if you got the lowrance elite 5 (I'm pretty sure it's the same as the 7, just a different size - although if I'm wrong, hopefully someone will put me right) :-)
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Time 2 upgrade? Lowrance Elite 5 Chirp for mapping 6 years 3 months ago #5715

  • Team Colibri
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Hermes; they are the same with one seperation, your 7 has a limited NMEA2000 which the 5 does not have.
Panoptix: This is Garmins first attempt at this tech. Have a litle patience, there are MASSIVE improvements to be made and multi-beam sonar for recreational use is just taking it's first baby-steps. The funny part is that the tech they use is actually 12-13 years old, but that's another story.

DiveExplorer: What ducer are you using with your Hum 581? If it's Humminbirds OEM that would explain a lot. I ran Birds up untill 2010, but only a short period with their own ducers. Airmar is, and always has been, the way to go. Especially in water deeper then 30 meters or so.
Last Edit: 6 years 3 months ago by Team Colibri. Reason: Typos
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Time 2 upgrade? Lowrance Elite 5 Chirp for mapping 6 years 3 months ago #5717

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Ok this is interesting, its good to hear equipment experience and feedback from others.

TC: Yes I´m using OEM Humminbird Transducer, XNT 9 DI T. Good info thanks.
Humminbird 581i HD DI.
Mapping the ocean floor and search for history
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Time 2 upgrade? Lowrance Elite 5 Chirp for mapping 6 years 3 months ago #5719

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Yeah, forgot to mention the nmea 2000 network not available on the 5. However, it's not much of a loss as all you can really do is network in a point-1. I have had great results with and without the point-1... Although, saying that I have actually fitted one at the end of last year, mainly for a more accurate heading rather than relying on calculated cmg from GPS when going slowly.
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Time 2 upgrade? Lowrance Elite 5 Chirp for mapping 6 years 3 months ago #5722

  • bigkahuna
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Team Colibri wrote:
Panoptix: This is Garmins first attempt at this tech. Have a litle patience, there are MASSIVE improvements to be made and multi-beam sonar for recreational use is just taking it's first baby-steps. The funny part is that the tech they use is actually 12-13 years old, but that's another story.

The problem I'm having with Garmin's Panoptix is how unresponsive their tech and sales departments are. I've called and emailed numerous times but have never gotten a reply. I've not done a lot of business with Garmin and based on my recent experiences with them I can't say I plan on doing any further business with them in the future.

Back on topic: Is it generally accepted then that Lowrance sonars are better for mapping than Humminbird? I see a lot more Lowrance user posts here than H-Bird, perhaps that's the reason why?
Last Edit: 6 years 3 months ago by bigkahuna. Reason: typo
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Time 2 upgrade? Lowrance Elite 5 Chirp for mapping 6 years 3 months ago #5723

  • skinnee
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bigkahuna wrote:
Team Colibri wrote:
Panoptix: This is Garmins first attempt at this tech. Have a litle patience, there are MASSIVE improvements to be made and multi-beam sonar for recreational use is just taking it's first baby-steps. The funny part is that the tech they use is actually 12-13 years old, but that's another story.

The problem I'm having with Garmin's Panoptix is how unresponsive their tech and sales departments are. I've called and emailed numerous times but have never gotten a reply. I've not done a lot of business with Garmin and based on my recent experiences with them I can't say I plan on doing any further business with them in the future.

Back on topic: Is it generally accepted then that Lowrance sonars are better for mapping than Humminbird? I see a lot more Lowrance user posts here than H-Bird, perhaps that's the reason why?

A lot more lowrance users here as RM provides a lot of options as Lowrance have a really open mapping platform.

I am no sonar expert but airmar transducers are rated on a lot of forums due to their technology in the transducer. I can see the difference on my boat for fishing. Well respected people across the internet forums use the Airmar P66 for mapping.

I guess it really depends on what you are mapping for to decide what you really need. - i am mapping use lowrance structurescan to provide raster overlays for river structure first on my unit and depth contours next.
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Time 2 upgrade? Lowrance Elite 5 Chirp for mapping 6 years 3 months ago #5737

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bigkahuna wrote:
The problem I'm having with Garmin's Panoptix is how unresponsive their tech and sales departments are. I've called and emailed numerous times but have never gotten a reply. I've not done a lot of business with Garmin and based on my recent experiences with them I can't say I plan on doing any further business with them in the future.

Back on topic: Is it generally accepted then that Lowrance sonars are better for mapping than Humminbird? I see a lot more Lowrance user posts here than H-Bird, perhaps that's the reason why?

Sorry to hear that. Garmin is a big company, and just like with Navico (Lowrance) talking to the right people is the key. It takes a few years to find those people and get them to open up.... What we are doing (mapping) is not core-business for any of these brands, so the general salesrep has no idea what we are going on about. You need to hook up with the guys behind the reps, and talk to the techs that actually develops the stuff to get answers beyond Google-quality. I`ve been a "hang-around" in the industry for 15 years and have been fortunate enough to talk to a lot of techs. Usually having their products in your boat, and volunteering as a beta-tester is the easiest way to get to know the tech-guys.

Lowrance has a very sensetive sonar, and apart from their cheapest models they are compatible with Airmar. Both is good news for mapping, especially the Airmar-part. For general fishing most people preferr a ducer with a wide coneangle, but for mapping you want it to be as narrow as you can get it. P66 has a combination of relative narrow coneangle at 200 kHz and a reasonable pricetag. TM260 is even better, but the physical dimmensions and price will scare a lot of people half to death. (At least their wallets will be scared.) But the main reasons many RM-users stick to Lowrance is their openness on mapformats that allow for a lot of custom-features. It is worth noticing that you get the same with Simrad, although in another pricerange.
Last Edit: 6 years 3 months ago by Team Colibri.
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Time 2 upgrade? Lowrance Elite 5 Chirp for mapping 6 years 3 months ago #5742

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Team Colibri wrote:
Sorry to hear that. Garmin is a big company, and just like with Navico (Lowrance) talking to the right people is the key. It takes a few years to find those people and get them to open up.... What we are doing (mapping) is not core-business for any of these brands, so the general salesrep has no idea what we are going on about. You need to hook up with the guys behind the reps, and talk to the techs that actually develops the stuff to get answers beyond Google-quality. I`ve been a "hang-around" in the industry for 15 years and have been fortunate enough to talk to a lot of techs. Usually having their products in your boat, and volunteering as a beta-tester is the easiest way to get to know the tech-guys.
I've been working in the subsea robotics industry for 9 years and computer software for 20 years before that. You're absolutely right, and I've worked with most of the highend sonar companies through my work. Garmin's Panoptix really got me excited, the cost and potential are amazing. But it's hard to get to the right guy if nobody returns you calls. :(
Lowrance has a very sensetive sonar, and apart from their cheapest models they are compatible with Airmar. Both is good news for mapping, especially the Airmar-part. For general fishing most people preferr a ducer with a wide coneangle, but for mapping you want it to be as narrow as you can get it. P66 has a combination of relative narrow coneangle at 200 kHz and a reasonable pricetag. TM260 is even better, but the physical dimmensions and price will scare a lot of people half to death. (At least their wallets will be scared.) But the main reasons many RM-users stick to Lowrance is their openness on mapformats that allow for a lot of custom-features. It is worth noticing that you get the same with Simrad, although in another pricerange.

Great info to know. I was ready to pull the trigger on a H-bird unit when I learned about Panoptix. As cool as Panoptix is, if there isn't any way of accessing the sonar data its value for me is diminished. If Lowrance gear has better resolution / power and its data accessible, then those are two big pluses in my book. :)
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Time 2 upgrade? Lowrance Elite 5 Chirp for mapping 6 years 3 months ago #5744

  • bigkahuna
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Lowrance Structure Scan 3D is going to be officially announced tomorrow. I'm looking forward to learning more about this!

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