Depth Finder goes blank for long periods - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 11 Old 07-04-2010 Thread Starter
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Question Depth Finder goes blank for long periods

I have an old Standard Horizon Depth finder with transducer. It is very similar to the $99 ones you see in West Marine with a round display.

It has always gone blank when the boat is keeled.. but on my last trip.. it was blank for most of it, no reading at all, not even 0, then would randomly go on for a short period.

Very dangerous as I was going up the Petaluma river!

FYI: the transducer is mounted thru-hull (possibly - I need to look better but it is found here ) on the port side under my settee in my Ericson 27.


My boat is on dry-dock for some other work. I need to deal with this before they drop it back in.

Any suggestions on how to debug this issue?

caliman

Last edited by caliman; 07-04-2010 at 01:07 PM.
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post #2 of 11 Old 07-04-2010
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Lightbulb

The E-27 has fairly slack bilges, IIRC.

On one tack it would be pointing outward at quite an angle, and likely not getting much of a return echo.

I used to have a Standard Horizon DS and KM on my prior boat. Good quality for their day, altho much surpassed in view-ability by more modern stuff with much larger digital readouts.

Anyhow, the DS used to have a built-in default mode to show only a pair of dashed lines rather than a depth reading when it could not get a solid return after XX number of seconds. I always liked this because otherwise you could be mislead by the last lingering number even tho the instrument was no longer receiving true information for updates.

Mine also was not fond of muddy shallow bottoms, and would go in and out of the "no info" mode as too much soft mud would refuse to return a decent echo.

Whether yours is doing this or has some other electronic problem is difficult to say, at this point. Might be time to at least take the head into a good marine electronics shop for a bench test.

You might want to drop your questions in front of hundreds of Ericson owners of similar hulls and vintages over at the owners' site at EricsonYachts.org: The Starting Point on Ericson Yachts!.

Regards,
L
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post #3 of 11 Old 07-05-2010 Thread Starter
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Thanks L - I am going to play around with it some more today and see if it is a wiring issue. Otherwise I am not sweating it as much as I ran across the Hummingbird Depth Finder that has an in-hull puck transducer that doesn't require drilling or being out of water to install. I just glue it in. Might go that route if I have to.
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-05-2010
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Curious... Is there bottom paint on the transducer? If yes, how much and what type -- specialized transducer paint or regular bottom paint? Too much paint (of any sort) might interfere with the transducer's ability to receive an echo on a consistent basis. A quick dive and a 3M nylon scrubbie could fix your problem.

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post #5 of 11 Old 07-15-2010 Thread Starter
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From what I can tell there is a metal plate over it on the outside of the hull. This plate has slits in it. The plate is painted with bottom paint. When I look between the slits I do see what appears to be the other end of the transducer. It is somewhat opaque. These are observations noted while it was in the yard. Unfortunately it is back in the water now. I am still not getting a reading. I am getting "--" 2 dashes.
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post #6 of 11 Old 07-15-2010
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One, there should not be anything mounted over the transducer. Chances are pretty likely that having something mounted over it has led to its early demise and certainly would have led to false readings.

A transducer that is mounted through-the-hull needs to be mounted on a fairing block so that it is effectively LEVEL when the boat is not heeled. If it wasn't mounted using a fairing block inside and outside the boat, then it would not have read accurately.

If your boat has a solid fiberglass hull with no voids or core, you can mount a transducer inside the hull without the need for a through-hull. I generally recommend mounting a transducer for this purpose by glassing a 4" diameter PVC tube to the hull and then mounting the transducer in a cleanout cap that is mounted on a cleanout fitting welded to the tube. This allows you to remove the transducer easily for repair or replacement. Fill the tube with either non-toxic antifreeze or mineral oil.

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post #7 of 11 Old 07-15-2010 Thread Starter
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Great post. Thanks for the info. I plan on following your advice.

Next time it is in the yard, should I remove the old transducer? How should I seal the hole?
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Yes, removing the transducer would make sense.

Sealing the hole would be a typical fiberglass repair, where you grind the hull at about a 12:1 taper around the hole. If the hull is 3/4" thick, you'll need to grind an area 3" wide around the hole...then lay up new glass starting with a piece the size of the ground out area and continuing with slightly smaller patches.

Ideally, this type of hole should be patched from both sides....

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post #9 of 11 Old 07-19-2010 Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info!

FYI - I went sailing this weekend and I noted that the depth finder works when keeled over to starboard.

This has to be a clue. Anybody have an idea what this means?
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post #10 of 11 Old 07-20-2010 Thread Starter
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solved.. I think!

I think I figured this out now that I had a free moment tonight to devote to this...

Original thru-hall is no longer used, so toss all my talk of that above.

I located the transducer - it is an in-hall version mounted on a pvc cylinder that is glued to the hull. Upon close inspection I noted that the puck was not seated well - in fact, it was only being held by one screw that was pretty loose. I removed the screw and pulled the puck out. Although there was mineral oil on the sides of it, there was very little inside the cylinder. There was not enough even to pool at the bottom of the cylinder.

So I think all I have to do is put mineral oil in and screw the puck on. I am relieved! I will report back when I do this.. (too late to get it tonight..)
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