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I got time today to take the Quest out and test the new sounder. Firstly I have to say that for $299 you get a pretty decent sounder, it works great in some ways but lets down just a little in fish ID.

Please excuse some of the pics, today was very bright and the glare and reflection made photography tough, most shots where taken with my hat over the sounder to shade it.

Does it live up to the hype? Well, not quite, but its bloody close though.

Intial set up, I spent an hour or so running through the various settings to get the best result. It seemed to me that the colour pallette is a bit gimmicky as only a couple of the options are really useable... the green and blue may as well not be there.... the red orange and purple are almost identical, so why bother, the sepia, and the grey scales are useful but the red (or orange or purple) gave the best definition today, in these conditions. Sensitivity is now called contrast and I fiddled with that for ages until I was happy.

It has a dual frequeancy signal and the 800Khz range gives a clearer image, apparently the 455 function is used in deeper water, you can operated both at one time with a split screen, but this screen is small enough as it is.

So whats good?

The DSI itself, structure ID is very very detailed, but only under ideal conditions, any sort of chop happening and things arent quite so clear. It seems that if you bounce quickly (boat wakes) the structure blurs or loses some of its recognisable shape. I cant be certain but I think a slow lift such as ocean swell will be ok, Ill test that next week, flood water allowing.

The test water was a small lake near Griffith, Lake Wyangan is used for skiers, wakeboats, sailing, jet skis etc and of course fishing. This means that I had a lot of boats zipping past (wake boats were actually the worst) and they made life a tad difficult.

Ok this is what we were scanning.. trees

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and weed belts...

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Firstly I found the depth readings to be very responsive, by that I mean it changed reading with small changes in depth and boat wake action was enough to affect this... this is a screen shot after a wake boat went past and the resulting wake can be seen as the bottom becoming undulating (as the yak moved up and down).

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As a fish finder the 4X is ok.... fish are displayed as dots or rough shapes as can be seen here near the bottom.

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The problem is that when you combine these dots with structure, they blend in and cant be distinguished easily.... and that, in my opinion, is its major let down... this shot shows fish amongst the branches of a tree, sort of...

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It clearly picks up the thermocline easily and this will be very useful in dams when targeting Trout and other species which are water temp sensitive. This is displayed as narrow belt of 'fuzz' in most of the pics at about 1.5 to 2 meters, this can be removed by adjusting the sensitivity, but to do so removes a lot of other detail, so I just lived with it.

Lets put it to practical use...is this tree 'fishy'? I say yes, but Yellas and cod like structure to hide in, for protection and to allow them to ambush passing food. Clear, open water doesnt hold many fish. So does this tree have structure under water?

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I can see that at some point a branch has broken off, so even without a sounder you can make some educated assumptions

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So I made a pass, and no surprises the branch is on the bottom and looks to be the goods for any predatory fish. See the vertical short lines near the top of the screen? Those are water disturbances made by my paddle strokes.... weird....

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But is it a fish holding spot? I just happened to have a few shrimp so I dropped one down ....

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And he wasnt alone...

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I think this will be a better deeper water sounder than it showed itself to be today, in 2.5 metres.

In short, as a sounder its great, as a fish finder its fairly average, but I prefer the structure to be detailed so Im pretty happy with it.

Next week I hope to be chasing snapper and if this can show me reefs and broken bottom in detail then Ill give it the big thumbs up, I have no doubts it will. In my opinion this thing struggled a little in shallow water, but I expect better things in the deep salty stuff.... Ill update this next week, all being well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Good morning all, just woke up and realised I had forgotten 2 points but first, yes the fish are pale, not so much as the pics appear to show, its really discoloured water and normally is (about 300mm visability) so the cod and yellas are very pale compared to their clearwater mates.

StevenM, if only we could combine the Garmins fish display with this things structure detail it would be the perfect machine...

I forgot to discuss the scroll back and teh screen freeze. Scroll back allows you to travel back over the last 3 to 400mm of screen display, so you shoot past a tree, see something but want to have a closer look, noneed to paddle all teh way round again, just hit croll back and have a look. Wanna keep that shot for a bit to analyse? Hit sonar stop and it will stay on teh screen til you resume normal scanning.

So you can take that shot back to the tree and fish while referring to it, you dont get a detailed image while stationary, you need to move over the object so a heap of soundings can be placed togather to make the 'image'.

Im not endorsing this sounder, I bought it because I liked what they said it could do, and mostly it does.... cheers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Shit, I forgot to mention, the US variety ONLY works in feet, doesnt have a metric option... I looked there first as well....
 

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Dunno for sure about the 4x but my 5x certainly has a metric option. It's called units in the settings menu.
 

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My old Lowrance had both, I doubt they would have removed the option. No biggie if they have though, pretty easy to do "rough enough" conversion, ie: 1m = 3.3'

Quick question - what is the power draw of these things? I'm in the market for a battery now, but want small and lightweight. 6 hours running time should do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I checked with lowrance on hat one, good luck, power draw is 200 maH according to the manual.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Gday mate, that means it will draw 0.2 of an amp per hour, so a 12 volt 7 amp hour battery will (theoretically) drive it for 35 hours (7 divided 0.2). Aint electrons wonderful stuff?
 

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They sure is!
Now I realise that a battery rated to (say) 2 amps (2000 mA) will NOT run a unit drawing 200mA for 10 hours, due to various losses along the way. Looking @ these: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/1x-12V-4800m ... 1c21f7169b should IN THEORY run it for 18 hours. I'd be more than happy if I got 12 hours out of a charge. For the price, I could get 2 of them for extended trips away, or have one recharging while using the other.
I'd have to house these in a watertight container, and of course take the usual precautions when recharging (ie: on a bare concrete floor or similar). What are your thoughts on these or similar batteries for a fish finder?
 

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I have a heap of 3 cell LiPo batts for rc heli use, I DID think about using them and did set one up in the yak and it worked great BUT I had a look at the vids of some going off and I frightened myself, even though I have a dozen batterys in various configs, Ive never had one go off, Id hate for it happen a k or so offshore, even in the fire bag!

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I decided to go the 12v 7AH SLA route, pretty cheap, charge using a std trickle charger and SAFE, plenty of capacity, I mounted mine in the foam kiddys back bubble in he rear hatch.

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Have heard of those things "going off", but I thought that was just when being recharged.
Hmm. No. Don't want bonfire @ sea... or up the creek, on the lake - under my bum!
Maybe the bigger, heavier old school SLA is the best bet after all. Chers for all your help, and patience, here Artie.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Mate I feel the same way, the LSA battery isnt expensive and my old trickle charger can charge it so no need for massive expense to set up. Even thought the LiPo or Li Ion units ARE efficient and light weight.... that thought would be in my mind the whole time it was under the hatch....

And mate its not a patience thing. Everything I know (or think I know) about kayaking has come from someone on this site... its how this thing works...

Good luck and cheers.
 

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G'day,

Nice review and keen to hear your thoughts after using it in the saltwater environment.
How have you mounted the Transducer?

Cheers.
Steve.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Gday Steve, floodwaters allowing I am leaving for the coast tomorrow morning,so we'll know how it stacks up by weeks end. Original trans mount and subsequent mounting ...here....
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Gday Punch, no additional sensors but you do have to turn it on though, go to:

Menu, then scroll down to,

'Overlay data', make sure the 'show' box is marked, then select 'configure'

Select 'water temp' and then the size of the display and where on the screen you want it, then select 'done configuring' and youre good.

Not forgeting this is showing surface water temp only.

Cheers
 
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