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Discussion Starter #1
Let me start by saying I am not a techie. I am certain that my current set up has features I don't know about. But I'm looking to add a sonar to the bow of my Lund. I currently have a Lowarance at the helm. Not sure if I care (or can) network the two.

I thought I wanted another Lowarance, but the Cabelas guy was showing my a Hummingbird that he said would likely integrate with my iPilot Terrova better.

So I am looking for advice on what to get. My budget is $1000 or under, and I want to buy at Cabelas since I have been banking points on my visa. I think I would like to use the transducer on the Minnkota (unless you convince me otherwise), and hook it to what I think is power already at the bow.

So, what is your advice?

Here is what I already have at the bow of the boat.


The back of my current sonar.


Current sonar at the helm.
 

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I'm interested to hear the sonar gurus reply to this. Sonar is one of my weaknesses. I have two Lowrance HDS 7 units.. They work great for me, but my technology is pretty old at this point. You already have the ipilot, so your boat is already a gem.... adding a good unit will be cool. I probably need to upgrade so again, looking forward to replies on this one.
 

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The more $$$ the better? :biggrin1: I haven't looked at Electronics for a while. Pretty cool they have down and side scan in that price range now.
 

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If you get a chance to do some research you'll realize the answer to your question is a somewhat obvious one. If you have a Minn-Kota with ipilot, the only way to go is Humminbird. I am not an expert by any means, but I've been looking into this in depth recently. My father-in-law purchased a Lund from Crowley and they were trying to sell him a Lowerance for his new Ulterra. After some research we realized that was terrible advice. (Not digging on Crowley, I just don't think the salesman had much knowledge of this pretty complicated subject).

Lowerance, while compatible with the Minn-Kota transducer, is not compatible with the ipilot function. By installing a Lowerance you are missing out on an opportunity to add tons of fishing advantages offered by linking your fish finder unit to your motor. Linking the Minn-Kota to your sonar/gps allows you to control the motor from your unit. You can tell it specifically where to spot lock, to follow a contour line, or navigate to a destination simply by selecting a sonar blip (fish/structure) or location on your screen. You can also record many more spot lock locations and tracks.

I am in the same market as you and I was originally looking at the Helix 7. It won the ICast best/most affordable fish finder award last year so I thought it was an obvious place to start. It will do everything I stated above and then some. However, I'll be purchasing the Helix 9 for one reason, it includes the AutoChart live function internally. It allows you to map a lake while you are fishing it, and even better yet, the maps you create function with your Minn-Kota. Meaning you can map a hump or a shoreline on a lake with poor contour maps and use that map to follow the contour which works great for trolling/jigging/casting.

As for transducers regardless of what unit you chose you will be doing a great injustice to it by using the Minn-Kota transducer. The Minn-Kota transducer will only function as a 2d sonar. Which is your traditional "arch" sonar screen. Whereas the transducer that will come with the unit (depending on which one you purchase) will also provide down imaging and/or side imaging. Giving you a handful of more tools to help you catch fish.

Something extremely cool about linking a side imaging unit with your Minn-Kota allows you to mark schools of fish up to nearly 100 yards on either side of the boat. You can then move your "cursor" to a school of fish and tell your motor to "Go to" that spot. Your motor will proceed to take you to the exact location you marked the fish and spot lock. Its almost like cheating...:biggrin1:

My father-in-law installed the Helix 9 and we've been using/playing with it for about 2 months. The functionality has been amazing and its very user friendly. Watching the AutoChart function in action made me realize its versatility. Most of the contour maps for Colorado lakes are pretty poor, specifically for all of the reservoirs. With this function you can map a spot in 5-10 minutes and have an extremely accurate contour map that no one else has. You can imagine how that will give you a strong advantage over other anglers or even just help you catch more fish.

Sometimes the new units have so many functions it can be a bit overwhelming for people that aren't tech savvy. Especially for people that are switching from Lowerance to Humminbird since they have different user interfaces. My father-in-law was skeptic for this same reason, he had an old Lowrance and jumped up the the Helix 9. However, he got it very quickly after spending an hour or two with it in the driveway. You can get a Helix 9 with down and side imaging for around $900 on Amazon.

There are tons of videos on youtube. If you do a couple of quick searches that will be very informational. I suggest taking a look.
 

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If you get a chance to do some research you'll realize the answer to your question is a somewhat obvious one. If you have a Minn-Kota with ipilot, the only way to go is Humminbird. I am not an expert by any means, but I've been looking into this in depth recently. My father-in-law purchased a Lund from Crowley and they were trying to sell him a Lowerance for his new Ulterra. After some research we realized that was terrible advice. (Not digging on Crowley, I just don't think the salesman had much knowledge of this pretty complicated subject).

Lowerance, while compatible with the Minn-Kota transducer, is not compatible with the ipilot function. By installing a Lowerance you are missing out on an opportunity to add tons of fishing advantages offered by linking your fish finder unit to your motor. Linking the Minn-Kota to your sonar/gps allows you to control the motor from your unit. You can tell it specifically where to spot lock, to follow a contour line, or navigate to a destination simply by selecting a sonar blip (fish/structure) or location on your screen. You can also record many more spot lock locations and tracks.

I am in the same market as you and I was originally looking at the Helix 7. It won the ICast best/most affordable fish finder award last year so I thought it was an obvious place to start. It will do everything I stated above and then some. However, I'll be purchasing the Helix 9 for one reason, it includes the AutoChart live function internally. It allows you to map a lake while you are fishing it, and even better yet, the maps you create function with your Minn-Kota. Meaning you can map a hump or a shoreline on a lake with poor contour maps and use that map to follow the contour which works great for trolling/jigging/casting.

As for transducers regardless of what unit you chose you will be doing a great injustice to it by using the Minn-Kota transducer. The Minn-Kota transducer will only function as a 2d sonar. Which is your traditional "arch" sonar screen. Whereas the transducer that will come with the unit (depending on which one you purchase) will also provide down imaging and/or side imaging. Giving you a handful of more tools to help you catch fish.

Something extremely cool about linking a side imaging unit with your Minn-Kota allows you to mark schools of fish up to nearly 100 yards on either side of the boat. You can then move your "cursor" to a school of fish and tell your motor to "Go to" that spot. Your motor will proceed to take you to the exact location you marked the fish and spot lock. Its almost like cheating...:biggrin1:

My father-in-law installed the Helix 9 and we've been using/playing with it for about 2 months. The functionality has been amazing and its very user friendly. Watching the AutoChart function in action made me realize its versatility. Most of the contour maps for Colorado lakes are pretty poor, specifically for all of the reservoirs. With this function you can map a spot in 5-10 minutes and have an extremely accurate contour map that no one else has. You can imagine how that will give you a strong advantage over other anglers or even just help you catch more fish.

Sometimes the new units have so many functions it can be a bit overwhelming for people that aren't tech savvy. Especially for people that are switching from Lowerance to Humminbird since they have different user interfaces. My father-in-law was skeptic for this same reason, he had an old Lowrance and jumped up the the Helix 9. However, he got it very quickly after spending an hour or two with it in the driveway. You can get a Helix 9 with down and side imaging for around $900 on Amazon.

There are tons of videos on youtube. If you do a couple of quick searches that will be very informational. I suggest taking a look.
Nice write up! And within budget. :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks Dakota. That really points me in the right direction.

Might be a dumb question, but are all Terrova ipilot models able to interface with the sonar, or is that an option I might not have?


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Thanks Dakota. That really points me in the right direction.

Might be a dumb question, but are all Terrova ipilot models able to interface with the sonar, or is that an option I might not have?


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I think you need the Ilink model.
 

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AO is correct.

To my knowledge all Terrovas are Ipilot Link compatible. However, you can purchase Terrovas with Link already integrated into the system, or you can can purchase it without Link. If you have a version without Link you can buy the add on (which just switches out the head unit of the Terrova). The addon does cost some money.

http://www.minnkotamotors.com/Products/i-PILOT-LINK-ACCESSORY-TERROVA/
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks guys. Well, that $800 will blow my budget.

Not sure if I'd update in the future either.

With that said, would you still go Bird?


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The newer Humminbirds are known for their user friendly interfaces. You can use nearly all of their functions and adjust any setting with the push of one or two buttons. Each screen also has a very convenient shortcut menu. You will get more "bang" for you buck with a Humminbird such as down imaging, side imaging, AutoChart live.

Lowerance units seem to be a little more pricey, harder to use, and don't have the same functions for the price. I should note that Lowerances have a comparable mapping function called insight genesis. It allows you to record contours while you are fishing, and build personal maps at home. It does not map the lake "live" while you are on the lake. Some one correct me if I'm wrong on this.

The reality is both companies make great sonar/gps units. I would pick the functions you want then see what models have them. If AutoChart live is a must then you need to go with Humminbird Helix 9 "or up". If you don't need that function and want down imaging and/or side imaging you could go with a Lowerance or Humminbird. The Helix 7 has both those functions for the cheapest price. Just so you know, the Helix 7 is identical to the Helix 9, except the screen is 2" smaller and it does not have AutoChart live.

Its really a coke/pepsi decision. Obviously I am a Humminbird guy because of the technology it offers. Either way, you will want to use the transducer that comes with it as a fish finder is only as good as the transducer and the Minn-Kota transducer will not function with down imaging or side imaging.
 

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Do you have a Cabela's visa or something?

Before making a big purchase I always check discount gift card sites like www.cardpool.com

Cabela's cards are 11% off. If you create an account they will alert you when they have new cards if they sell out.

Cabela's usually sells out but they get more every few days. Buy up enough gift cards to make your purchase and you'll save $100+ on a $1,000 purchase.

Plus you can buy the gift card with a credit card and earn points too.

There aren't any credit card rewards programs that give you an 11% reward.

This site searches multiple discount gift card sites:

https://www.giftcardgranny.com/buy-gift-cards/cabelas/
 

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http://www.bbcboards.net/showthread.php?t=583834
Guess the helix 7 and 9 come with the compact.
Onix comes with the better one. Onix supposed to have some crazy stuff but I don't know much about it. Bigger screen the better when it comes to side imagining... makes things so much easier to see so buy the biggest you can afford if you plan on using side imaging much?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks again Dakota. Do you think the Bird interface is equal or superior to the Lowarance? Just seems like a touch screen would be nice, but you are swaying my opinion.

Dallas, I have a Cabelas Club Signature Visa and about $750 worth of points.

Looks like Amazon has the Bird for about $150 less than Cabelas so I will have to see if they will price match. I know they have done that before, but Cabelas has proven them self less customer friendly recently so I won't hold my breath.

If I have to spend some of my own cash, I will look into the gift cards. That is something I had not thought of. Thanks.


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I have tinkered with touch screen models and they turned me off. While I was initially impressed, I thought about how often my hands are covered in sucker juice, nightcrawler dirt, and fish slime. I imagined all of that grime would leave some nasty finger prints and dirt on the screen. Nothing cleaning would fix I suppose. I also thought "its just another thing to go wrong." I'm sure tons of testing has gone into the touch screen, but the touch screens in fish finders is a new technology. I wonder how they would hold up against freezing temperatures and rain. I don't always fish in nasty weather, but I do often fish in the cold. I wouldn't want to be taking off my gloves every time I wanted to switch screens. Maybe someone that has had experience with one can chime in.

Do they work in the cold?
Do the screens get dirty?
Have you experienced any dead spots on the screen?
Does it work with gloves?
Does it have a bad glare?


If I were you, I would go to a BPS or Cabelas and just play with the displays. They will have all the sonars we have talked about and then some. Play with the touch screens and Humminbirds for 30 minutes and see which ones you like best. I find reading reviews of people that have had extended experience with the units very helpful as well.
 

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Get one with the down-imaging or CHIRP. You will never go back to the "arch" type of sonar.

I replaced my HDS-5 with an Elite 7 CHIRP 2 years ago and planned on using the HDS-5 up front with the universal sonar. It works fine but it don't have CHIRP. I am "blind" using the HDS-5 and now it sits in the garage.

Any body need an HDS-5? Cheap?
 

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Get one with the down-imaging or CHIRP. You will never go back to the "arch" type of sonar.

I replaced my HDS-5 with an Elite 7 CHIRP 2 years ago and planned on using the HDS-5 up front with the universal sonar. It works fine but it don't have CHIRP. I am "blind" using the HDS-5 and now it sits in the garage.

Any body need an HDS-5? Cheap?
I'll give you a pack of Keystone Ice and 50 cents cash! Seriously, how much? What model (Gen 1 or 2, Insight or not)? I could use it for ice fishing.
 

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I'll give you a pack of Keystone Ice and 50 cents cash! Seriously, how much? What model (Gen 1 or 2, Insight or not)? I could use it for ice fishing.
Pretty sure it's a Gen 1. It was new in 2010. It may be worth more as a boat unit being it has the transducer and Ram mount.
 

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Pretty sure it's a Gen 1. It was new in 2010. It may be worth more as a boat unit being it has the transducer and Ram mount.
Shameful bait and switch! SMH :mad: But you may have a point. If you change your mind, I mean, if you make up your mind, let me know.
 
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