Choosing a depth sounder - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 9 Old 04-04-2013 Thread Starter
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Choosing a depth sounder

I have a Oday 272 (my first boat) and one of the things that I want to put on it is a depth finder. I'm the type of person who doesn't want to drill holes in his boat so I was looking at transducers that can shoot through the hull. Reading up on the problem I can find information but I have some questions that I can't seem to find any answers.

You can find simple depth finders with transom/inhull transducers for sale. However it seems that you need to create fluid enclosure to use the as inhull. I found transducers like the P79 transducer which are basically sold with the enclosure however I can't seem to find it sold with a display or inexpensive displays sold without a transducer.

So, can anyone suggest info about finding a display for the P79 transducer or do I just have to build the enclosure myself. Also, I've seen a little information about just using sealant and not using a liquid but no real documentation on it working well. Is that a better/viable alternative?

Next I'll have to figure out placement and wiring. I think with my boat I can place it under the stern by the engine vs under the v-berth but I'll have to wait till I have a transducer to test that out. Wiring will be a whole new researching task.

Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 9 Old 04-04-2013
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Re: Choosing a depth sounder

Vaseline will hold the transducer in place and allow you to shoot through the hull. I used a Hummingbird this way.
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post #3 of 9 Old 04-04-2013
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Re: Choosing a depth sounder

Get a fish finder (I like the Garmin Echo series). It will come with a transom mount transducer. Mount that inside your hull using a bubble free section of toilet ring wax (a couple of dollars at a hardware store). It will work well without any drilling. Range will likely be reduced from 600' to 400', but who cares?

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post #4 of 9 Old 04-04-2013
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Re: Choosing a depth sounder

I epoxied my Hawkeye transducer in the bilge and it works fine.
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post #5 of 9 Old 04-04-2013
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Re: Choosing a depth sounder

As folks here have said, you can attach the transducer a number of ways. Toilet wax, Vaseline, epoxy. The only essential factor is no air bubbles in the medium - and you must have a solid (not cored) hull. If you have a cored hull it will not work. If you epoxy it in place, and trap air bubbles in the epoxy (through vigorous stirring), it will not work.

You may want to test for a good location beforehand; fill a plastic bag with water (remember, no air bubbles) and try it in a few spots, see where it works best.

If you want to go the fluid enclosure route, people generally use mineral oil. I went this way myself; I bought a piece of PVC piping from Home Depot, cut it to match the camber of the hull, and epoxied it into place. Filled it with mineral oil, put in the transducer (a moderately tight fit so it won't move), and screwed on the top. Done.
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Last edited by paul323; 04-04-2013 at 11:21 AM. Reason: (forgot something)
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post #6 of 9 Old 04-05-2013
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Re: Choosing a depth sounder

You can also use common silicone to glue the transducer to the hull. It works fine and makes an eventual removal of the transducer a lot easier than epoxy. I have 2 transducers glued to the hull with silicone and both work fine.

+1 on getting a fishfinder. They are cheap and you get so much more than just depth data.

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post #7 of 9 Old 04-05-2013
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Re: Choosing a depth sounder

My buddy got a Hummingbird black and white inexpensive fishfinder / chartplotter for under 300, epoxied the xducer to the hull and all was good.
Later he upgraded the chart chip for 99 bucks.

Two in one, no muss, no fuss.

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post #8 of 9 Old 04-05-2013
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Re: Choosing a depth sounder

+1 on using Silicone to stick the transducer to the inside of the hull. This is exactly what I did with my O'day 35, when I mounted a Garmin Echo 200 to replace my ancient, and unreliable Signet unit. The old signet unit would frequently jump from 3' (which was impossible with a 5.7' draft) to 20'.

I can state that the Garmin echo reads fine up to 150' (which is far deeper than my keel), and may read deeper - I just haven't been in deeper water yet. It is far more interesting, and reliable, to constantly see fish pass under me, and watch the bottom contour than it was to see the digits (which may not be accurate) change.

The Garmin echo units retail from under $100 to about $400.

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post #9 of 9 Old 04-05-2013
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Re: Choosing a depth sounder

Thanks for this post
I was going to buy a new sounder for my "new to me" boat but now after reading this I will just use my $79 garmin echo 100 fishfinder from the center console I am selling this year.
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