What is Side Imaging Sonar?

Side imaging sonar, sometimes referred to as side-scan sonar or bottom classification sonar, is a type of sonar, which is primarily used to efficiently create an image of vast areas of the ocean floor.

The process of using a side imaging sonar involves a marine technique that allows one to see or have a clear image of the ocean floor. This process uses sonar. Sonar is basically sound pulses. These pulses are whlowrance-fishfinder2at are shot across the sea floor from a towed towfish or transducer. Once the sound pulses reach the ocean, river or lake bottoms, they reflect off of reefs or objects. The strength and the travel time of these sound pulses are then recorded and processed to form an image of how the bottom looks like. The technique of using side imaging sonar is almost exactly the same as taking a low angle picture of the sea bed as opposed to an overhead photo through the use of a flashbulb and a white and black film. The thing that makes side imaging sonar different is that there is an illumination of the ocean bed through the use of sound pulses as opposed to light. Because of this reason, side imaging sonar can even work in black or murky waters.

 

The following video gives a great hands on look at side imaging features, hook and look does a great job here!  Pretty amazing how much detail side imaging gives.

 

The use of side imaging sonar in the seas, oceans, rivers and lakes has dramatically increased. For those who do large scale fishing, the technology has provided one of the best navigation means. Fishing vessels can now choose paths that hold the best opportunities for large catches. Fish finders now say that through side imaging sonar, they have experienced improved catch loads. This is because like the technology suggests, fishermen can be able to locate large migrations of fish because as the sound pulses move down to the ocean bed, they are affected by this large gatherings of fish. Clear image and sonar pictures also help to assist fishermen.

Side imaging is commonly used by various individuals and institutions to search for shipwrecks, pilings, submerged trees, dumped drums or any other sort of debris that can be found on the sea floor.

In regards to the commercial sector, side imaging sonar can help with underwater inspections of docking berths and shipping channels. In cases of pipeline snags or deviations, side imaging sonar can be used to solve the problem.

For those who regularly spend time on the seas and oceans, doing various forms of fishing or marine activities, the sea or ocean bed is an important aspect. They usually need a clear and extensive view of what is on the bed. Through side imaging sonar, such individuals can map out vast areas of sea and ocean floors.

Side imaging sonar helps to not only detect objects but also give a clear view of the said objects. With today’s technology, sonar has become highly developed and therefore images and pictures are now clearer and more accurate.

Side imaging sonar is currently used globally. Government military institutions are currently use sonar to navigate the ocean bed. They have even gone as far as doing successful rescue operations, saving ship wrecked sailors.

How Do I Install My Fishfinder?

Different anglers have different methods for catching fish and for some, it is their main source of income. Whether you are fishing professionally or simply for recreation, it is essential for you to get a fish finder and also to get it installed on your boat. A fishfinder is a component which helps you in finding the fish easily that is available in the river or the lake where you are fishing. The fish finder can be an a component that you may install in your boat sooner or later as it makes it easy for you to catch fish. It is lucky to have fish finders with binnacle mounted on it along with the transducers that are transom mounted. You can easily install a fish finder by following the steps given below.  I also included this video that I found when mounting some of my own units.  Just remember to take your time and follow the supplied directions as closely as possible.

Installation of Binnacle Mount

Before you start with the job of mounting, you need to find out the location that is best for it to be placed. The fish finder should be placed close to the center that is over helm so that you can get the better viewing angle. The height at which the unit is placed is between the shoulder and waist height. The unit should be away from the electronics box and it should not be hanged down. The helm station should be inspected from underside so that you can make sure that the underneath does not have any kind of obstruction. Once the location is found, you can either user the template associated with the binnacle or the binnacle itself as the template. Drill the holes that are needed for mounting the binnacle. Exit and entry points are required for the wires that are used with the unit. Through the holes insert a bead that is made out of silicon sealant. Secure the bolts to helm and fix the binnacle.

Mounting Transducer

Fix a location for the transducer to be placed on your boat. Mark the location with the marker or pen. The mounting bracket that is used should be in a level. A small drill should be made used for making a starter hole and a larger bit should be made used for creating hole for screws. Wires should be connected from transducer to boat’s inside. The hole that is around wires should be sealed using silicone caulk. The transducer should be attached to boat using and screws that you got along with the fish finder.  Here is helpful guide to installing transducers that I came across while writing this article.

Installation of Fish Finder

The best spot for the installation of fish finder should be found. This location should be sturdy and it should be easily accessible for it’s purpose. Holes should be made for mounting the bracket and then bracket should be attached using screw driver. Fishfinder should be attached to the bracket that is mounted.  Obviously these directions are pretty basic, but it’s best to refer to specific directions provided by the manufacturer.  Look to find a spot where turbulence is at a minimum as this will give you the best results as slow and faster speeds.

Wiring The Fish Finder

12 gauge wire should be made used along with wire connectors for connecting the electrical wire from fish finder either to battery or to the fuse box available in the battery.  If you wire straight to the battery make sure you include an in-line fuse to make sure you protect your unit and to make sure you don’t void any warranties.

Advantages of a Black/White (Gray-Scale) Fishfinder

Fishfinders are used to find and catch fish, and is essential in locating fish beneath the surface of the water.  This tool gives the fisherman the resources to check out the depth,structure,fish locations,speed and also temperature.  The display can be colored or black and uses sonar signals. These locate and report the visual images of both moving and still objects beneath the water surface.  A transducer will convert electronic impulses from the fishfinder to sound waves.  These then travel down through the water.  The sound waves will bounce off the bottom or a fish and the returning echo will be picked up by the transducer, which in turn converts it to electrical impulses.  These impulses are the ones that are sent to the fishfinder where they are converted into a picture or a symbol.

We often get asked……Are color fishfinders are really that necessary?  We think so, but don’t just take our work for it.  I did a little research and found a nice topic at a forum that I frequently visit.  Additionally, here is a list of the advantages of black/white fishfinders:

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  • The fishfinder uses modern GPS technology and can charter the location of the boat as it moves on the water.
  • They have an easy to read screen and have the ability to locate fish in all water terrains.
  • Can be used in different weathers like in the rain,in the snow, in ice fishing,on the lakes and rivers.
  • Some of the black and white fishfinders have a noise reduction feature that captures images of fast moving prey.
  • The capabilities are able to point out the exact location of fish by using a temperature gauge especially if it is the spawning time.They have track back capabilities which are inbuilt and can be used to review the movements a boat has made.
  • The fishfinder has a speedometer that can inform you of the speed of the boat.This is necessary information because driving too fast can scare the fish away.
  • The black and white fishfinders are cheaper than the rest.
  • Fishfinders are available in different powers depending on the depth of the waters .If the waters are deep like salt water,a fishfinder with a high peak-to-peak watt can be used.
  • The black and white fishfinders have an option of the amount of pixels depending on the display quality required.In case you want fishfinders that have a better image, then you will have the choice to choose one with a higher pixel.
  • They have a side scan which has the ability to scan the left and right sides of your boat so that you are able to find fish.This increases your knowledge of the surroundings and in turn shows you where there is more fish.
  • The fishfinder can be used to fish as a port,pleasure or commercially.
  • The fishfinders have the ability to tell the difference between the bottom of a body of water and a large rock depending on the strength of the reflected signal.
  • The black and white fishfinder has a number of useful features among them depth alarms,fish alarms,zoom,there is a contrast enhanced clear edge grayscale display.
  • Affords a nice contrast which is easily seen in bright sunlight.
  • The screens are user friendly with easy to read icons .

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Lowrance Elite-7x HDI

Delivers Top End Performance at a Fraction of the Cost

Over this past weekend I upgraded my test boat sonar to the Lowrance Elite 7x Fishfinder.  I’ve tried many units over the last several years including sonar from Lowrance, Humminbird, Garmin, and Raymarine.  I’ve always liked the functionality of Lowrance products, but to be honest their customer service has been very poor in all my experiences with them.  From what I heard from other fisherman their new products are exceptional and they have completely overhauled their customer service system as well as providing a 2 year limited warranty which doubles the previous 1 year warranties that they used to give.  I was willing to give them another shot.

Larger 7″ Display Provides Superior Clarity and Readability

Anyways, onto the review.  All of my previous units on the test boat have been 5″ screen models or higher end models which most fisherman can’t afford.  Unfortunately, the newer HD models made by Humminbird (800 series) and Lowrance (HDS Series) can be very expensive and unless you put serious time on the water may not be worth the price.  This larger HD screen with the moderate price is what attracted me to the Elite-7x.  When I first got the fishfinder installed, I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the screen.  I’ve had many models that can be tough to see in direct sunlight or when wearing polarized sunglasses, but those issues aren’t evident with the Elite-7x.  Overall the screen is the same quality as top end models made by leading manufacturers, but there was one thing I was disappointed in.  The fishfinder didn’t come with the standard white cover for the screen.  It’s hard to complain with the great value, but at least let me know so that I could buy one separately.  I plan on ordering a standard cover along with the clear screen covers that most smartphones are currently using.  I figure this will help keep the screen from smudging and help prolong the life of the display unit.  Here is a picture I took from my phone a few weeks ago after installing it.  I was fishing about 6 miles offshore for some Salmon and Steelhead on Lake Michigan, and it performed flawlessly marking bait, gamefish, you name it.

elite7

Transducer Options and Capabilities

The heart of a fish finder is the transducer and this unit performs extremely well under all conditions.  Depending on the type of fishing that you do most, you should take this into account when picking a transducer.  The Down Imaging feature is certainly innovative technology, but I think it still needs some tweaking to be effective in deeper water.  If you routinely fish waters that are 60′ or less, you will get the most benefits of the HD down imaging and it will help you catch more fish without a doubt.  If you troll deep waters of 100’+ routinely, you might want to think twice about upgrading to the HD transducer.  You would be better off using the standard 83/200 khz skimmer transducer or even better the 50/200 khz skimmer transducer.  I had a previous 50/200khz transducer laying around and since this transducer gives off the most RMS power of any model, I decided to call Lowrance and ask if this would be compatible with the new Elite 7x.  They were very quick to answer my question and it is indeed compatible.

The install was extremely easy, but I have installed dozens before so I have a pretty good idea of mounting/installation procedures.  Both the power and the transducer cables are compatible with most older models making re-routing cables unnecessary if you previously owned a Lowrance product.  The unit worked great in both 50kz and 200khz.  The only real complaint I have is that the 50khz transducer is recognized as 83khz even though it really isn’t.  This doesn’t effect the sonar reading at all, but it can be confusing when first installing the product.  I was able to mark bait, gamefish, and even my downrigger cables when trolling at 3.1 MPH.  I was also able to get a good picture at speeds up to 27MPH.  I’m not claiming that you can mark bait at this speed, but it clearly marked the bottom and gave you great idea of the topography on the bottom of the lake at depths up to 120 feet deep.

One of the nicest features is the ability to scroll back and look at previous readings from earlier in the trip.  This can really let you target in at a certain depth and observe what column of the water you should be targeting.  The navigation was extremely easy to follow and after playing around with the unit for few minutes I was able to get exactly what I was looking for.  I still feel that I need to spend some more time dialing in the unit, but it’s tough to do when you’re catching fish 🙂  The more you get to know the settings of the unit, the better it will perform under various conditions.

Recommendations and Opinion

Overall, I’m very happy with my purchase and would recommend this unit to fisherman looking for high performance and a large screen at a fraction of the cost.  There is no doubt that the units with a price tag over $1000+ will provide a marginally better reading, but this unit provides all of those features for $100’s less.  The only real complaint I have with this unit is the down-imaging in deep water.  Like I mentioned earlier, if you are routinely fishing depths over 100′ think about just using a regular skimmer transducer (50/200 or 83/200) for much better performance and decreased costs.  However, the down-imaging can provide superior reading at shallower depths and really can increase your catch rate.  The best selling point of the unit is the high quality screen and overall ease of use for a much more reasonable price.  Once you decide on the proper transducer, you won’t be disappointed.

Humminbird 898c

The Humminbird 898c HD SI Combo is top of the line in the 800 series fishfinder line.  The unit boasts Humminbirds SideImaging technology, which are immaculate on the 7 inch high def screen.  The 898c HD SI is a proven top performer, which is why so many fisherman have upgraded.


Screen and Display Quality

The 7 inch screen on the 898c HD SI provides great sonar and GPS images.  With a resolution of 480 by 800 pixels, all of the features such as side imaging, GPS maps, and weather sense all are crystal clear.  In addition to the outstanding resolution, the 16:9 color is the same as a high def television.  When using the GPS and Fishfinder in dual screen modes, the screen is large enough to use both modes without feeling that you are missing out on the small details.  When using the 898c HD in a split screen mode while side imaging, you can set waypoints of bottom structure on the GPS.  When you come back to these honey holes that are already input the GPS will alert you when you enter into casting range.

GPS

The GPS is external on the 898c HD, when shopping Humminbird products the model CI indicates an integrated GPS.  The external GPS on the 898C has some advantages, such as some situation require an external GPS due to electrical current which can interrupt GPS signals.  The unit has two SD card slots, which allow multiple map packs to be loaded.  Compatible map packs are Humminbird Contour XD, Navionics and LakeMaster.  With these map packs you can enter the 3-d chart view, which gives both the above and below water contours.  The CannonLink, which is an option for the 898C lets you have precise control over downrigger depth by setting downrigger depth in relation to the lake bottom.  The I-pilot link is the autopilot feature, which lets the fishfinder use the trolling motor to follow set courses allowing the fishfinder to drive while you make the perfect cast!

Sonar

One of the best inventions for fishing is the 360 degree sonar that humminbird offers.  The price tag of around 2,000 is steep, but none the less allows a 360 image of the bottom of the boat.  The side imaging which is standard on the 898C allows for 180 degree imaging, the reason there are only 180 degrees is that the transducer is transom mounted whereas the 360 imaging is lowered below the boat allowing sonar penetration forward of the transom.  The side imaging sonar is in two different signal strengths 455 kHz and 800 kHz, which can operate at a maximum of 150 feet.  The Dual beam sonar that comes with the unit is 200 kHz by 83 kHz, which does well in situations that are not in extreme depth.  If you need to go deep, 1,500 feet is the maximum.  To get the best results in deep water the optional 200 kHz and 50 kHz transducer works in up to 3,000 feet of water.  The switchfire feature allows for precise adjustment of the sonar images.  Options using switchfire include multiple color sonar screens and controlling the feedback from the sonar.

Conclusion

The 898C combines many great features such as the side imaging into a 7 inch fishfinder.  If you decide to give the 898C a try spend some time reading the manual and experimenting, because there are tons of features and options.  If you decide to upgrade to the 898c HD SI you will be purchasing one of the best fishfinders on the entire market.

Humminbird 998c HD SI

The new 998c HD SI from the Humminbird 900 series is one of the best fishfinders on the market.  For years Humminbird had a bad name in the industry, but when Cannon downriggers took over control they have quickly made a resurgance to one of the top brands in the industry.  Many of my old fishing friends liked to call them chumminbirds simply because the sonar was weak and there seemed to be alot of interference making the sonar essentially useless.  Charter captains all across the great lakes are now finding that these upgraded finders can provide a distinct competitive advantage over many other competitors.    The screen has a high resolution and is a much wider screen than most other models giving great sonar and GPS images.  You will have no problem reading the screen from nearly anywhere on the boat and it provided more detail for the captain sitting right next to it.  The GPS plotter function is completely functional and compares well with other popular units such as Garmin.  This unit also has a newer capability which they call 3-d charts mode, it really a fascinating new technology that gives boaters a much better view of the bottom.  With inclusion of all the bells and whistles such as side imaging, downimaging, and DualBeam, Humminbird created the class of market.

Sonar

The sonar on the unit has multiple frequencies to use in either dualbeam, downimaging, or sideimaging sonar modes.  The frequency of the DualBeam Plus is 200 kHz and 83 kHz, which works well up to 1,500 feet of water.  If you encounter depths greater than 1,500 feet the optional 200 kHz and 5o kHz frequency transducer is available and works up to 3,000 feet of water.  These units also took in mind the older transducers and made them interchangeable which is always nice if you’re just looking to upgrade the size of your screen without buying a whole new transducer.  The side and down imaging use the same signal lengths, which are 455 kHz and 800 kHz.  The 800 kHz sonar imaging for the side imaging is quite amazing on the large high def screen.  I will include below videos explaining the sonar modes, if you haven’t checked out what Humminbird fishfinders are capable these days I strongly recommend watching them.  The big difference between lower model units and the 998c HD SI Combo is the power output.  The power output is the strength of the signal, and with 8,000 watts peak to peak and 1,000 RMS the unit boasts one of the strongest signals on the market.

Screen and Display Quality

The 998c HD SI features a great screen with a 8.0 inch diagonal size.  The high resolution allows for in depth analysis of side and down imaging sonar pictures by zooming in without loosing resolution and clarity.  The pixels that Humminbird used are 480 vertical by 800 horizontal.  The result of the ratio is a wide screen, which works really well in dual or tri screen modes.  The color is provided by the 16:9 TFT and allows you to switch setting until you find the perfect fit for the conditions.   The screen holds up well in all types of lighting so don’t worry about any problems such as glare, or not being able to see the screen wearing polarized glasses.  The display is best flush mounted, for some reason to me a having a couple of these flush mounted in dash is hard to beam cosmetically.

GPS Plotter

The antenna for the GPS on the 998c HD SI combo is built in and offers precise location.  The unit also has a built in cartography made by Humminbird.  The compatible Navionics and LakeMaster maps take the GPS/Plotter to another level.  The platinum Navionics map pack allows for 3-d charts so you can see everything in 3-d both below and above the water line.  When fishing thats a great feature for fishing structure such as drop offs.

Recommendation

Humminbird created the class of the 8 inch display market with the 998c HD SI Combo.  The display shines with all of the features that are available on the unit, side imaging with 800 kHz provides some of the best sonar images available to fishermen.  The ultimate addition is the 360 sonar option which provides an image all the way around the boat.  If you decide to try the 998c HD SI you will not be disappointed, the fishfinder is a proven favorite among fishermen.

Humminbird 1158c

Humminbirds 1158c Combo is equipped with dual beam sonar, which provides improved sonar images.  The unit also boasts a 10.4 inch screen, that has great resolution and provides top notch sonar images.  The dual beam sonar pictures provide top of the line high def images on the large display which is the reason why fisherman have chosen to upgrade to the 1158c.

Screen and Display Quality

The main attraction to the 1100 product line for Humminbird is the 10.4 inch displays that come on each unit.  The screen has a high resolution, and provides great sonar images and gives a huge map when using GPS.  The pixels on the unit are 600 vertical and 800 horizontal, which is high resolution providing great sonar images.  The color is TFT and has many adjustments, so finding the right one for the condition is easy.  The unit holds up to all types of lighting and is backlit so that the images do well at night time.  The controls on the display take some learning, so be sure to study the manual before the first time out which helps cut down the learning curve and gets the most out of your fishfinder.  The 1158c Combo uses a gimbal mount, and can be flush mounted which looks amazing.

GPS Plotter

The GPS uses an external antenna, which comes with the unit.  The antenna does a nice job, so don’t worry about an upgrade of antenna.  The cartography on the unit is a built in Humminbird map pack.  Map packs are available for upgrade, and are compatible with Navionics and LakeMaster.  The Navionics Platinum map pack has the 3d chart view, the model is really cool and gives a topographic map both above and below the waterline.  Other features are the compatible i-Pilot offered by Humminbird.  The i-Pilot hooks directly into the trolling motor and is controlled by the GPS plotter.  So when you set a course for the trolling motor or select a depth you would like to stay on the i-pilot steers and keeps the boat in place.  Which lets you concentrate on setting lines or casting while your electronics control the boat.

Sonar

The sonar on the 1158c is meant for deep water.  The standard transducer which works with dual beam plus is 200kHz and 83 kHz signals.  If you are in depths greater than 1,500 feet then there is a deepwater transducer available with frequencies of 200 kHz and 50 kHz.  The DualBeam Plus is a good feature and provides upgraded sonar images that include both frequencies.  A great option is the Cannonlink, which lets the head unit control the downrigger depths on compatible Cannon Downriggers.  Below is a DualBeam Plus video, check it out so you get an idea of what the unit is capable of with the sonar.

Recommendation

The 1158c makes good use of the 10.4 inch screen.  The dual beam mode gives great sonar images.   The Switchfire feature further refines the dualbeam allowing for great adjustments and color options to give the best possible sonar pictures.  With such a large screen using the GPS is fun, especially in 3d chart mode!  If you chose to upgrade to the 1158c Combo you will join many other happy Humminbird owners.

Humminbird 1158c DI

Humminbirds 1100 series features a 10.4 inch LED backlit color display, which shows high definition sonar and GPS/plotter  images.  The 1158c DI Combo features Humminbirds downimaging technology, which on a screen the size of the 1158c really shines.  Also featured are GPS functions, allowing you to use hook into Humminbird accessories via ethernet networking.  With all the features Humminbird has packed into the 1158c DI, its easy to see why the Humminbird 1158c DI is a favorite among fisherman.

Sonar

The sonar Humminbird has paired with the huge screen is geared toward shallow or bay fishing.  The maximum depth of the Downimaging is 350 feet and 600 feet when using the DualBeam Plus.  The stats on the Down Imaging are 455 kHz and 800 kHz, the 800 kHz in particular gives a great underwater images.  I have included a video from Humminbird below, that does a great job explaining the Down Imaging.  The other sonar setting is the DualBeam Plus which uses two frequencies at 200 kHz and 455 kHz.  The higher frequency allows for sonar images with higher resolution and more detail.  The unit doesn’t have a deep water transducer, either a 83 kHz or 50 kHz so make sure that the water you are fishing will be 600 feet or less.  The addition of Switchfire to the DualBeam lets you really dial in the sonar picture.  There are multiple colors to chose from, in addition to refining the sonar noise so that you get the best possible picture.  I have included below an instructional video, which shows the Switchfire in action, I recommend checking it out if you haven’t seen Switchfire before.  There is also a DualBeam video, which highlights the features.

Display and Screen Quality

The main attraction to the 1158c DI Combo is the screen.  The 10.4 inch screen is impressive and delivers incredible sonar images.  The screen resolution is 600 vertical by 800 horizontal, which is high resolution.  The color is 4:3 TFT, which has alot of settings so that you can adjust the unit to any light condition.  The display can be mounted either via a gimbal mount or flush mounted.  Also included is a unit cover.  In terms of taking the unit on and off of the boat its pretty easy, just a couple screws and the units off.  Disconnecting unit from sonar, power and GPS antenna usually takes a bit more time than taking the unit off the mount.

GPS Plotter

The GPS antenna on the 1158c DI is external and is included with the unit.  As an option you can upgrade the antenna, but the unit provided by Humminbird does a great job as is.  There is also a built in map that comes with the 1158c DI that is made by Humminbird.  In addition to the built in maps the 1158c DI is compatible with LakeMaster, Navionics Platinum, Gold and HotMaps.  With the Navionics Platinum there is a 3D chart view, which allows you to view the map with 3D topography both below and above the water.  A great use of the charts is the optional i-Pilot link, which allows you to control your trolling motor from the 1158c DI.  You can select a desired depth you would like the unit to troll on, and the fishfinder and trolling motor will follow the contours.

Recommendation

Humminbird has put together a great set of features on the 1158c DI.  When fishing in water less than 600 feet the 1158c DI shines.  Between all the sonar features and the great user friendly GPS, the 1158c DI is the ultimate fishfinder upgrade.

Humminbird 596c HD DI

Humminbirds 596c HD DI is a great product that gives fisherman a chance at owning a unit that will provide high def pictures with downimaging at a great price.  The display is 5 inches and provides nice looking sonar images, especially in downimaging mode.  The unit doesn’t come with GPS features, which are available on the 597 product line.  The 596c HD DI does its one intended purpose really well which is using sonar to find fish!

DownImaging Sonar

The 596c HD DI boasts Humminbirds downimaging sonar feature which is really impressive and new to the market.  By using higher frequency sonar signals of 200 kHz and 455 kHz, you get a great picture of what is going on underneath of the boat.  Although the downimaging isn’t quite the sideimaging available on higher end models, it really makes a huge difference compared to the normal 200 kHz, 80 kHz or 50 kHz signals.  The result is a more detailed picture, so what would have looked like a tree on a normal sonar shows branches and fish holding to structure!!

Dual-Beam Plus

The dual beam plus is the normal sonar fishfinder setting, which displays less detailed images but works in deeper water.  Unlike some other models the dual-beam on the 596c HD  DI has a higher frequency.  The unit uses 200 kHz and 455 kHz signals, instead of the 80 kHz or 50 kHz.  The result is that the unit does really well in water less than 300 feet.  If you fish in water more than 300 feet, there are deep water and bay units available in the 596 product line.  The pictures with the 455 kHz is nice and clear and in shallower water outperforms other units that have lower frequency dual beam transducers.  The addition of switchfire to the dual-beam plus really helps, since you can adjust the settings for radar noise, and allows for operation in tough situations like temp brakes, current, and high waves.  Below is a video on the downimaging system on the 596c, if you haven’t seen the downimaging in action before you will be impressed with the picture quality.

Screen and Display Quality

The screen and dispay on the 596c HD DI is mounted with the Humminbird quick disconnect, which as the name implies makes removing the headset quick and easy.  The screen is 5 inches, and has 640 vertical by 640 horizontal pixels.  The result is a high resolution display, that gives crisp clear images especially in the DowmImaging mode.  The color on the 596c is 256 color TFT, which provides setting for any type of light condition.

User Interface

The user interface on the 596c is easy and all the options are available with just a few presses of the button.  Getting into the switchfire command pane is simple.  I will attach a video below that goes over the switchfire system and is worth checking out.

Recommendation

When designing the 596c HD and outfitting the options Humminbird had a specific intention in mind.  They put the features on that will give great pictures both dual beam and downimaging in water less than 300 feet.  By using the high frequencies the unit provides crisp clear images.  Without a doubt the unit does the one thing expected of it exceptionally well and that is Find the Fish!

Garmin Echo 100

Garmins Echo 100 fishfinder is about as tried and true as they come in the fishfinder marketplace.  The Echo 100 is Garmins entry level unit, providing great sonar images at an incredible price.  Garmin provided fishermen with a product that displays sonar images and gives all the necessary details needed for a day at the lake.  When pared with an unbeatable price of around 80 dollars, its easy to see why so many fishermen have chosen the Echo 100.

Screen and Display Quality

The screen on the Echo 100 fishfinder is a 4″ diagonal display, which provides nice sonar images.  The resolution on the unit is 160 by 256, which gives a good picture.  When compared to the other models in the Echo line the picture isn’t as clear.  When you consider the price on the unit which is around $80 you really can’t argue with the display resolution.  The Echo 200 and 300 offer better display quality, the Echo 200 is a 5 inch grey scale model and Echo 300 is a color unit with a better picture.  These units are priced at around $150 and $200 respectively and offer a  few more features.  For the price however the Echo 100 comes up big in terms of value since you get most the higher end features for just a small portion of the price.  The grey scale on the Echo 100 is 8 levels and allows for adjustment for most light conditions.  Also the display is waterproof.

Sonar

The sonar on the Echo 100 is a singe beam 200 kHz frequency transducer.  As above the next step up the Echo 150 has the dual frequency transducer, which is a nice option to have when in deeper water.  Garmins Echo 100 works in water up to 600 feet deep in fresh water and 300 feet in salt water.  So in most instances the fishfinder will provide nice sonar images.  The transmitting power of 100 W RMS and 800 W peak to peak does well with the 200 kHz transducer.  When the 77 kHz transducer on other Echo models is used the units require a bit more power in order to reach a greater depth.  Features that are included with the Echo 100 are the Ultra scroll, which lets you use the fishfinder at higher boat speeds and the Auto Gain Technology.  The auto gain technology is nice because it auto adjusts the sonar images and gets rid of clutter and maximizes potential targets.  The transducer has a 60 degree width which creates a sonar image of a large portion of the water column.

User Interface

Garmin tries to make all of their products as user friendly as possible.  To do so they make the menus easy to read and navigate.  There are 5 buttons on the unit including the power, so all of the adjustments are done through the menu button and then using the scroll buttons and enter to select the desired option.  Adjusting the gain, which increases and decreases sonar noise is easy and quick to do.

Conclusion

The Garmin Echo 100 is really a great value and gives fishermen the chance to have a nice fishfinder onboard for a great price around $80.  Although some of the features of the other Echo line are not included with the 100, the main features are part of the Echo 100 package.  There are countless positive reviews on the unit, and for good reason when the value and quality are taken into account the Echo 100 is a great fishfinder.