Chartplotter and transducers - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 10 Old 07-27-2013 Thread Starter
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Chartplotter and transducers

I am new to sailing and newer to chartplotters. I would love to get the gpsmap 521 or 527 but not sure on the transducer thing. Do I have to purchase and install a new one or will I be able to use my existing ones? I am not sure what I have at the moment but the boat has a raymarine depthsounder and knotlog with temp. Two through hull transducers. Anyway to make it work or does raymarine sell chartplotters that would work with my current setup? Thanks for any help with this matter.
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post #2 of 10 Old 07-27-2013
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Re: Chartplotter and transducers

There aren't that many companies that make transducers, so it's likely to work as long as you can figure out the correct wiring. Try it and see what happens.

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post #3 of 10 Old 07-27-2013
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Re: Chartplotter and transducers

I think it would help a lot if you could see if there are any part numbers on your transducers. Also, what kind of display were they being used with? Are those displays still working?

If you have working displays and transducers, I'd be tempted to leave them as they are, and just install a chartplotter.

The answer is you can make almost anything work with anything, but at what point does it become easier to replace the transducers than to battle with compatibility.

Also I find it better to have a separate display for the depth and speed, than to clutter up the chartplotter display.

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Last edited by MarkSF; 07-27-2013 at 01:11 PM.
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post #4 of 10 Old 07-27-2013
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Re: Chartplotter and transducers

And if the chart plotter poops out you still have depth and knot log. There was a blurb by Mainesail on cruisers forum about just such an installation since they network by 183 or 2k and with adapters you can mix and match but this is well above my pay grade.
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post #5 of 10 Old 07-28-2013
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Re: Chartplotter and transducers

Why not just install the transducer that comes with the chartplotter? It couldn't be easier- just run the cable to the proper location in the hull and fix it in place with silicone. This way you'll have another (redundant) depth gauge. Also, I don't think you can mix and match transducers. Each depth gauge comes with its own transducer and a specific length of wire between the unit and the transducer. A shorter or longer length of wire will affect the readings.
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post #6 of 10 Old 07-28-2013
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Re: Chartplotter and transducers

copa has the answer. Pot the transducer that comes with the chartplotter.

For what it is worth, if it was me, and i was looking for a 5" chartplotter/sounder combo, I go with this over the garmin:
Lowrance Elite-5 | Fishfinder Chartplotter - LOWRANCE | Marine Electronics
map chip is included, so it ends up being a better value, and is a better plotter, IMO.

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post #7 of 10 Old 07-29-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Chartplotter and transducers

Was just thinking of saving g some cash. I think the transducer is a couple hundred. Also I thought the transducer was a through hull deal. I'll look more I to it. I did read something
about mounting it in the hull with some restrictions on hull thickness.
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post #8 of 10 Old 07-30-2013
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Re: Chartplotter and transducers

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Originally Posted by copacabana View Post
Why not just install the transducer that comes with the chartplotter? It couldn't be easier- just run the cable to the proper location in the hull and fix it in place with silicone. This way you'll have another (redundant) depth gauge. Also, I don't think you can mix and match transducers. Each depth gauge comes with its own transducer and a specific length of wire between the unit and the transducer. A shorter or longer length of wire will affect the readings.
Neither the 521 nor the 527 come with any kind of transducer. The best transducer to use with it would be the Garmin/Airmar DST800, which connects via NMEA 2000, and gives depth, speed, and water temperature. I have one myself.

This does require a through-hull fitting, yes. If you can live with just depth, you could probably pot a transducer (no through-hull).

The Lowrance Elite 5 does not have NMEA 2000 which would be tremendously limiting. Personally, I wouldn't buy a plotter without it.

To the OP, you could start with the Garmin plotter and transducer combo, and then you will have an NMEA 2000 network. The expandability is excellent. Extra displays, transducers, autopilot can all be easily added and will share data.

Bristol 31.1, San Francisco Bay
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post #9 of 10 Old 07-30-2013
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Re: Chartplotter and transducers

I believe the 521s has a transducer and costs about 50 bucks more for the depth option. The "s" is for "sounder". I have the 421s and the difference in price was less than 50 bucks when I bought it. A nice thing about getting the sounder option is you have another redundant depth gauge. The installation is a breeze and is best done with silicone in case you decide to move or remove the transducer. You should have no problem shooting through a thick fiberglass hull as long as it isn't cored.

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post #10 of 10 Old 07-30-2013
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Re: Chartplotter and transducers

Hi Guys,

To the OP, what info do you want to display on the plotter? You could have depth (and maybe SONAR display), Speed Over Ground (SOG or GPS speed), Speed Through Water (STW or what the knot / log paddlewheel) reports, water temperature, and possible wind information too (true and apparent wind speed and direction).

There is really no way to know if your current transducers are compatible with the new plotter unless you have part numbers.

Many of the new plotters use networked sensors, and unless your current transducers output NMEA information, you are out of luck.

Lastly, you may or may not be able to have two depth transducers. This will work if the transducers are on different frequencies and will NOT work if they are on the same. For example, my boat came with ancient (and functioning) datamarine instruments for wind, depth, and speed (STW). I installed a modern Lowrance plotter / SONAR unit (LMS337 C DF) that included a dual frequency SONAR transducer (50 / 200 Hz). I mounted the transducer to the hull with some wax and it works great. However, if I run it on 50hz the older depth meter doesn't work - it blinks 0 every other second or so. If I change the Lowrance unit to work at 200 Hz (or maybe the other way around) then both depth units work fine.

My datamarine units are analog and my plotter can't use the information.

Barry

Barry Lenoble
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