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Airmar / Raymarine DST800 Transducer Issue

15641 Views 44 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  wopalx
We have an Airmar DST800 triducer fitted to our XP38 supplied by Raymarine and installed by a professional marine electronics company of good standing.

The original installation was done when the boat was launched in 2012.

We had a failure of the automatic flap (which prevents water ingress when removing the transducer) after about 2 months and the installer hauled out the boat and replaced the faulty unit at their cost.

During 2013 we again had the flap fail.

In March 2014 we replaced the transducer and through hull with another DST800 during our annual haul out at our own cost, again it was installed by the same company.

After the second use the flap again failed...

From discussions I've had with the installer they don't believe they have done anything wrong, so hence I need to have the discussion with Raymarine. While I'm sure they will come to the party and replace the faulty unit I doubt they will cover any haul out or installation costs which obviously sucks big time!

So I am interested in finding out if other people have had issues with the Airmar DST800 tri-ducer, specifically in regards to the flap failing.

Also what are peoples opinion regarding installation / haul out costs? Should I push Raymarine into covering these..

Information I have from Raymarine is that Airmar made adjustments to the design in 2010 as they had issues with flap failures, I suspect they may not have sorted the issue.
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I've had a few challenges with mine, but I simply can't be bothered swapping it out any more and often leave the blank in even when out sailing. It's one less thing to worry about where GPS speed is good enough.

To your question: IIRC there isn't just one flap, but two interconnecting flaps on opposite sides of the unit that close against each other - and I suspect mine is missing one, but I don't get all that much water in - certainly not full flow...

There are known issues around the size and lubrication of the O-rings on the body of the plugs, and if you try to force the plug in (or force it out more likely!) with an incorrectly sized or un-lubricated o-ring, you risk dislodging one (or more) flaps and losing them out the bottom of the boat. For this reason I'd find it really hard to believe they'd replace the unit no questions asked... but it'd be a bonus indeed if they were. :)
Definitely a problem. Golly.
Nah.. not really.

Even with only one flap, you get a darned sight less wet than doing the same thing 20 years ago. Anyways it's a good excuse to (a) wash the bilges out and (b) test the bilge pump. :)
So.. you hold the manufacturer responsible for the transducer being located in close proximity to gear that can get damaged by salt water? Why do you have all that stuff located in the bilge anyway?? :confused:

One of the approaches I am considering is using GPS SOG data as you do. Has not knowing indicated boat speed or current conditions impacted you any in what you do?
WW, the sailing I do is on a large open "lake" (for want of a better description) with well-known (and relatively small) tidal runs. I guess I've not used boat-speed for so long now (a couple of years perhaps?) that I've got used to not having it. It would certainly be useful in some of our races, but then I'd be tracking the lifts/knocks by watching the speed indicator all the time, when I can get the same info quicker by watching the sails and the way the boat is tracking through the water. If, from the GPS track, I think there's a current pushing me sideways, a quick tack confirms it and tells me roughly how much...

So to answer your question, IMHO indicated boat-speed is a "nice to have", especially if you have wind-speed instrumentation (on my boat I don't) - but GPS SOG is good enough for me. At the end of the day, whether they be anchorages or racing marks, I'm still sailing from Point A to Point B and those are fixed points on the surface of the earth, not arbitrary points on the water. :)
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From the amount of water coming in in that video, it does seem to me that you've lost the flapper.

For completeness, here's a link to the installation manual for this beastie - I assume you guys are following it to the letter?

Of particular importance here:
1. On the blanking plug, inspect the O-rings (replace if necessary) and lubricate them with the silicone lubricant supplied or petroleum jelly (Vaseline®)

I found out the hard way with my DST transducer that if the plug wasn't properly lubricated when you pushed it in the first time, due to the extremely close tolerances, pulling it out pulled the flapper out also.. but after doing that once and learning from my mistakes, I've been smearing Vaseline on the plug every couple of times I use it, in accordance with the instructions. I really haven't had a problem since.
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