depth sounder problem - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-14-2013 Thread Starter
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depth sounder problem

My standard horizon depth sounder has recently begun acting up. Especially in rough conditions (of course) it gives nonsense readings, such as flashing numbers that do not relate to depth. This has also happened after crossing a powerboat's wake. Turning it on and off while under way doesn't seem to help. After I'm back in the slip a few minutes and I restart it, it works fine.

I'm sure it's pretty old, but it had been working fine until recently. The transducer is a shoot through located just forward of the keel. This is on a 1966 Pearson, so I'm not concerned about a cored hull.

I'll be sailing this weekend and I wonder if I can get some suggestions of what to look for. Should I replace the transducer, or the whole unit? Is there a procedure I can try that will fix the problem? I'm on the Chesapeake, so I really need this thing. I'll appreciate any advice.
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post #2 of 10 Old 05-14-2013
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Re: depth sounder problem

I assume you've traced the wires and checked the connections. It could be that it is getting confused by turbulence, or turbidity, but it might just be shot.

I had a older transducer give up the ghost recently. Same kind of symptoms. Would work, then not, flash meaningless data, then nada. A reset would sometimes get it back on track for a while, but would drift off again. Turbulence seemed to make it worse, but in the end I had to replaced the unit.

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post #3 of 10 Old 05-14-2013
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Re: depth sounder problem

is it in an oil bath that needs to be filled up ? in hull sensors need to be mounted with no air between the solid hull and the face of the sensor. some are epoxied, siliconed or in an oil bath.
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post #4 of 10 Old 05-14-2013
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Re: depth sounder problem

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Originally Posted by overbored View Post
is it in an oil bath that needs to be filled up ? in hull sensors need to be mounted with no air between the solid hull and the face of the sensor. some are epoxied, siliconed or in an oil bath.
Yes, good point overbored. Make sure the connection to the hull has no air gaps. On a previous boat we used a shoot-thru-hull sounder that was positioned in a water bath and snugged against the hull. Whatever the medium, make sure there are no voids.

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post #5 of 10 Old 05-19-2013
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Re: depth sounder problem

Probably a stupid thought, but is it clear of bottom paint and fouling?

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post #6 of 10 Old 05-20-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: depth sounder problem

Thanks for suggestions. I am a on the boat now and have double checked connections and etc. The transducer appears to be a cheasey piece of plastic glued to the hull. I think it would be best to just swap it out. I must say, however, that it worked fine all weekend. But the conditions were mild.
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post #7 of 10 Old 05-20-2013
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Re: depth sounder problem

Does it look like this cheezy piece of plastic if so it has oil inside which may be low
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-22-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: depth sounder problem

No. It's way simpler. It looks like a cheap microphone. Black plastic disk, about the size of a silver dollar, with a wire running to the ds35 in the bulkhead..
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-22-2013
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Re: depth sounder problem

The slightest void, in either the conductive media or the hull itself will cause problems. I wonder if even a void in the ablative paint can do it?
In this instance, the [permanently affixed] transducer works...sometimes; so that leaves out xmit media or placement. External forces may be at work...IF the readout is in order. Possibly ...OMG! a blister forming?
Just a thought....

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post #10 of 10 Old 05-22-2013
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Re: depth sounder problem

I'm with Mike. My old transducer showed the same symptoms, was just going bad. Sometimes worked, failed in turbid waters, occasionally showed random depths. 'Specially as what you have sounds like one of those very low-cost models, which work fine for a while, but aren't as robust as one of the Airmar transducers (which tend to be cylinders, about 2" X 4" at a guess - and of course cost a lot more!)
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