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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks,
I am in the market for a new fish finder / GPS combo unit. I have looked at the 3 following units:

Furuno GP1870F
Garmin echoMAP 73dv
Lowrance HDS-7 gen 2

All seem to have a lot of the same features and are fairly comparable in price. Do you all have any experience with these units. I would also appreciate any other suggestions if not listed.
Thanks in advance for the help.
 

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I have the Furuno GP1870F that I use for my back up GPS and primary fish finder. I really like the unit. On the fishfinder side it offers the same digital processing technology as the award winning FCV587 and DDF1 (and more powerful than the FCV627). It doesn't offer "down scan" but is an excellent machine for marking fish. It is full 1kw capable with the right transducer if you want that power. The plotter can be a bit quirky to use at first but it is easy to get used to. The charts are purchased separately but they are fantastic (CMap 4D - offer both vector and raster charts plus satellite overlay to see ports better). Another feature I hope to use later this year is that the unit is WiFi capable so you can view the screen remotely on an iPhone or iPad.

You can see some photos of mine here:

www.facebook.com/iFishMD/photos_stream

Great part about Furuno is that the company usually supports their stuff a long time and tend to be the most stable platforms on the market (why they are popular for commercial uses). There is also a factory center here in Maryland.

If you are in the Annapolis area and want to check out mine, give me a shout. 410-533-1435 or [email protected]
 

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I have the hds7 touch which I have been using for the past 2 years. I have not bought any maps for it but have been pretty happy with their version of what is preloaded. It came in a bundle with the downscan which is what I use mostly out on the water. This year they came out with a autopilot that works directly from the unit if you download the update from the website. The update also gives you the look and the feel of the gen3 as well as adds wifi capabilities. If all goes well, I should be having mine installed next Thursday so I will chime in with how pleased I am with it
 

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I have been on IFish's boat and like his Furuno. That being said, I have the HDS Gen1 with sidescan and downscan. To be honest, I have never really liked my Lorance FishFinder. In the FF mode, it shows too much "junk". Surface clutter, air bubbles,and all sorts of things leave themselves open to interpretation. Even bait balls simply come across the screen as a big blob and appear as a "cloud".
Now the Larance Downscan is totally different. It shows fish in singles and groups. Even bait balls show individual dots for each baitfish. I swear, if I could freeze the screen (and you can do that) you could count how many menhaden are in the bait ball!! If I hit a floating log in the bay and it rips my original Lowrance skimmer off the boat, I would not replace it. You can purchase better transducers to give you better resolution, but I love the downscan transducer.

it's hard to buy something that is unacceptable right now. All the manufacturers are stepping up and producing quality units. Whatever you buy, you will be happy with the results. They are all better than the "flasher" Raytheon unit I grew up with:)
5th
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for the responses. I have a older garmin GPS map 492 and the furuno FCV 600 color finder. So I like the garmin maps and the furuno depth finder. I guess that's why I'm having difficulty deciding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I forgot to mention, I had to send the furuno back for service and even though there is a place in Maryland I still had to send it out of state for service. I want to say it was California but can't remember
 

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I have the HDS 9, and am very happy with it. If I had bought the HDS 7, I would have been disappointed. The extra screen size is very important as a practical matter, especially in split screen mode, which I use very often-
 

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I have been running Lowrance units on my boats for over thirty years and I love their reliability and they are extremely user friendly. Currently have a Lowrance DSI and plan to upgrade to a 9" Gen 3 touch with Chirp included in its features.
 

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I have the HDS Gen1 with sidescan and downscan. To be honest, I have never really liked my Lorance FishFinder. In the FF mode, it shows too much "junk". Surface clutter, air bubbles,and all sorts of things leave themselves open to interpretation. Even bait balls simply come across the screen as a big blob and appear as a "cloud".
If you are not getting results at least as good as this, then your sonar setup is wrong. This screenshot is from 2012 when I was still using GEN1 units.
Now using Gen2 Touch with CHIRP technology, and the results are truly outstanding.

 

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cobb
Yep; never see anything this clear. I'm sure my unit would not pick up individual fish packed as closely together as that. In fact; I would think it would be tricked into thinking that is a BIG pile of bait and show it as a "cloud".

I have to admit; I tried to use "manual" settings, but didn't get any better results than leaving it on "auto" and simply adjusting the Sensitivity (mostly down to maybe -2 or -3).
I had the FF for a year before buying the SS/DS. Then I would run both screens side by side (FF/DS). With DS, I could distinguish individual targets.
Another problem I had with the regular FF mode, was that "at speed" (20 mph), my FF screen would be simply white. I could see bottom and the depth would show accurately. So the unit was "holding bottom". If I went across a large bait ball, I would see a thin vertical line quickly pass across the screen. I could circle back and slowly troll across my snail trail and the bait ball would appear at its normal size. When I run DS, it shows the bait ball !! Now it appears smaller because you run across it so quickly at speed, but it is definitely a bait ball.
I don't "miss" as much information with DS.

I only give you this much information so you can possibly say, "Oh hell yes, your unit is not set up properly; or yep, that's a common complaint when running FF/DS and evaluating them side by side. I have seen many of your post showing your unit at work. The pic's are amazing. Some of your SS photos of wrecks and bottom structure are textbook examples of how the unit should be working.
I, and most of my friends who also have these units, are envious of the way you have your unit "dialed in".

Not on the boat, but from memory, I would say that our settings might be:
Shallow water (Chesapeake Bay use only)
Surface clutter (low)
Screen scroll (fast)
Water depth (auto)
Sensitivity FF (auto -3)
Sensitivity/contrast DS (depending on depth of water 59-80 %)

I have no problem recommending the unit to anyone. I can find fish, search structure, and I love using the SS portion when trolling to see what side of the boat holds the biggest portion of a bait ball. I turn my boat in that direction to bring all my lines through the most concentrated bait.
Thanks for listening.
5th
 

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Garmin sonar has come along way in the last few years, and their GPS is still great . I switched from Furuno sonar and Garmin GPS to Garmin 4210 combo unit a couple years ago and have been very happy with it.
 

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I have the Lowrance HDS gen 1 & been very happy with it. I have the 83/200 transducer I think & bought a navionics chip & have been pleased. I use the navionics chip as I am a troller & like to troll the wall of the eastern shore & the chip has better mapping then comes with the unit.

I had difficulty setting up the settings but once they were set I seldom make changes. I think cobbs HDS is a 10?, but have gotten similar results withmy unit. If you are new to using the unit, I know many people have had success in going out with Captain Tom Hughes who will go out on your boat & tune up your finder. I can't say I have used him, but it would have been far easier than what i went through with trial & error, & know others were very pleased with him. He also may have recommendations. http://capttomhughes.com/Trip_Information/Index_GPS_Sonar_Plotter.htm
 

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I have both a Gen 1 and Gen 2 HDS 2 on my boat reading from the same transducer. I can read the FF and the downscan well at all speeds, and particularly like the downscan view as it is easier to pick up hard bottom in that mode. Gen 2 is capable of CHIRP, but you need another box for that. I am very pleased with my HDS units. Gen 3 is out now as well. Can't say anything about the other units mentioned. I will add that a fishfinder screen is on the short list of the only two things a man possessed and never complained about it being too big.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you all for your responses. I believe at this point I am leaning toward the Garmin unit. I really like the Furuno but have discovered that you have to buy the transducer separate and also the charts if you want the upgraded charts. that would put the unit over $1100.00. Going to try and make a final decision by the weekend.
 

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I had the same question last year. Did some research on here and found alot of good feedback on the Raymarine Dragonfly. I got the 7inch with the gps navionics gold charts .. the works.. and it is an awesome uni!
 

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If you aren't going to hook it up to the NMEA 2k network you could go with the Lowrance Elite series and save yourself some coin.
 

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If you are not getting results at least as good as this, then your sonar setup is wrong. This screenshot is from 2012 when I was still using GEN1 units.
Now using Gen2 Touch with CHIRP technology, and the results are truly outstanding.

It probably wouldn't be a bad idea for people to start posting their settings on the tech site to help other people out. It took me a while with some searching and playing around to get mine correct as well.
 
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