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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:30 pm 
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Location: Portland, OR
Hey all,

My 20 year old Lowrance X70A is starting to fog up and my 20 year old Garmin GPS III recently died. I have been looking at replacing these two units with a combo for my kayak. In looking around it appears to me that feature wise the Humminbird 597ci HD DI Combo has everything I want and a good bit more. I know there are smaller units, but my 50 year old eyes like the big screen :) I searched the site but was not able to find enough information on the following questions:

Questions:
1. How is the screen in the bright sun (good, bad, acceptable)? Does it scratch easily?
2. Waterproof. Has anyone accidentally tested this? Mine will be exposed out in the rain. Any issues here?
3. Down imaging. Looks great in the demos. Anyone see benefit in practice? Do you use it this mode or just the normal sonar mode?
4. How good is the GPS? I can not find any information here. Does it lock fast? Does it stay locked? Does it seem accurate compared to other GPS?
5. Does the unit operate well in deeper water (100', 200').
6. Did you upgrade your maps or do you use the built in maps? If upgraded, to what and are you happy?
7. Ruggedness. Does the unit seem rugged? If you have banged yours around at all has it affected performance?
8. Anything else that you specifically like or dislike about this model?

Thanks for any specific information you can provide.

_________________
Fish tremble when they hear my name :)

A ship in harbor is safe -- but that is not what ships are built for.
--John A. Shedd, Salt from My Attic, 1928


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:12 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:59 am
Posts: 543
pdxfisher wrote:
Hey all,

My 20 year old Lowrance X70A is starting to fog up and my 20 year old Garmin GPS III recently died. I have been looking at replacing these two units with a combo for my kayak. In looking around it appears to me that feature wise the Humminbird 597ci HD DI Combo has everything I want and a good bit more. I know there are smaller units, but my 50 year old eyes like the big screen :) I searched the site but was not able to find enough information on the following questions:

Questions:
1. How is the screen in the bright sun (good, bad, acceptable)? Does it scratch
easily?

The screen is very good in bright sun light, except when the sun is right behind you and you see the glare from the sun. I have not scratched the screen yet, but I do protect it from rough surfaces when stored. It will scratch.

2. Waterproof. Has anyone accidentally tested this? Mine will be exposed out in the rain. Any issues here?

Rain will not be a problem as long as you have the "sims door" closed. Turning over the yak and submerging the unit will be a different situation and not waterfroof in this condition.

3. Down imaging. Looks great in the demos. Anyone see benefit in practice? Do you use it this mode or just the normal sonar mode?

The only reason to buy a unit with down imaging is to use it most of the time. But you have the advantage to switch to the other screen to get another reading with different details. The benefit comes with experience. You have to learn what you are looking at and learn to read the input. If you think you are going to use the other options most of the time, then I would not spend the extra money for the DI. You will have different color options for the DI... You need to try the color options until yu find one that fits your eyes. I use Amber, but many like the blues... It will be a personal choice with what you like best. Make sure to try them all before you give up on the DI... do you have someone to show you the DI before you buy? The demo at the fishing stores are not real life, but do help a little.. Go for a live test look if yhou have any doubts.. the salesman will want to close the deal and may not tell you everything you need to know unless you ask the right questions. He won't lie, but might not tell the whole answer if you don't ask. Sorry for the rant...

4. How good is the GPS? I can not find any information here. Does it lock fast? Does it stay locked? Does it seem accurate compared to other GPS?

I am not sure how to answer this set of questions. It is very good for the price of the unit. Ask these questions to the salesman.

5. Does the unit operate well in deeper water (100', 200').

I have not been in that deep of water to test.

6. Did you upgrade your maps or do you use the built in maps? If upgraded, to what and are you happy?

I use the built in maps. Someday when the have the right amount of coins I will get navitronics maps for the unit... But not now.

7. Ruggedness. Does the unit seem rugged? If you have banged yours around at all has it affected performance?

So far, knock on wood, I have not banged mine around at all. I try not to abuse the unit.

8. Anything else that you specifically like or dislike about this model?

Not sure what you have been using in the past. I would say that battery life is shorter with the DI units and color... If you have been using a black and white unit then you need to consider getting longer battery life battery, or have a spare for the full day of use. That has been my experience so far. Good Luck.

Thanks for any specific information you can provide.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:55 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:48 am
Posts: 192
Location: Portland, OR
Thanks for the detailed reply!

Thinwater skinner wrote:
pdxfisher wrote:
Hey all,
3. Down imaging. Looks great in the demos. Anyone see benefit in practice? Do you use it this mode or just the normal sonar mode?

The only reason to buy a unit with down imaging is to use it most of the time. But you have the advantage to switch to the other screen to get another reading with different details. The benefit comes with experience. You have to learn what you are looking at and learn to read the input. If you think you are going to use the other options most of the time, then I would not spend the extra money for the DI. You will have different color options for the DI... You need to try the color options until yu find one that fits your eyes. I use Amber, but many like the blues... It will be a personal choice with what you like best. Make sure to try them all before you give up on the DI... do you have someone to show you the DI before you buy? The demo at the fishing stores are not real life, but do help a little.. Go for a live test look if yhou have any doubts.. the salesman will want to close the deal and may not tell you everything you need to know unless you ask the right questions. He won't lie, but might not tell the whole answer if you don't ask. Sorry for the rant...

You are preaching to the choir here. I am not too daunted by some folks complaining about DI. I have a PHD in electrical engineering and will put in the effort necessary to get the most out of the DI unit. I think a lot of complaints are from folks who want an auto setting that will always work. I do not run my present depthfinder in auto mode and do not expect to run a DI unit in auto mode.

4. How good is the GPS? I can not find any information here. Does it lock fast? Does it stay locked? Does it seem accurate compared to other GPS?

I am not sure how to answer this set of questions. It is very good for the price of the unit. Ask these questions to the salesman.

My concern was that there were a few reviews on Cabelas stating that the GPS would take hours to lock or fall in and out of lock. After getting plenty of feedback indicating the GPS is fine I am guessing that it was a setup issue and not a flaw in the design.

6. Did you upgrade your maps or do you use the built in maps? If upgraded, to what and are you happy?

I use the built in maps. Someday when the have the right amount of coins I will get navitronics maps for the unit... But not now.

I am in the same kayak as you on this one. I plan to start with the built in map and perhaps upgrade at some point in the future.

7. Ruggedness. Does the unit seem rugged? If you have banged yours around at all has it affected performance?

So far, knock on wood, I have not banged mine around at all. I try not to abuse the unit.

I try to be reasonably careful with my stuff, but bumps do happen. I was just looking for general concerns with any observed flimsiness or touchiness. Sounds like there is none.

8. Anything else that you specifically like or dislike about this model?

Not sure what you have been using in the past. I would say that battery life is shorter with the DI units and color... If you have been using a black and white unit then you need to consider getting longer battery life battery, or have a spare for the full day of use. That has been my experience so far. Good Luck.

If you don't mind me asking, what size battery are you running and how long does it last? I presently use a 12V 8AH battery. Do you think that this will last for 12 hours? I can always get a second battery if needed or switch to a slightly bigger size.

Thanks again for your detailed answers!


_________________
Fish tremble when they hear my name :)

A ship in harbor is safe -- but that is not what ships are built for.
--John A. Shedd, Salt from My Attic, 1928


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:59 am
Posts: 543
If you don't mind me asking, what size battery are you running and how long does it last? I presently use a 12V 8AH battery. Do you think that this will last for 12 hours? I can always get a second battery if needed or switch to a slightly bigger size.

Thanks again for your detailed answers!


I use the 12v 7AH battery.. It is about 2 years old and last about 9 hours at best. A brand new battery might last 12 hours but I am not sure about that answer.

Some of the folks on here use the 8 "AA" batteries in series and won't get very much time out of that set up with the color and DI mode.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:14 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:48 am
Posts: 192
Location: Portland, OR
Cool. I think I will at least up-size to a 9AH battery. I did see (after last post) that the draw is supposed to be 615mA with the backlight off (not sure if GPS is on or if it is always on). I am not sure what the back light draws. Thus the theoretical limit of a 7AH batter would be 11.38 hours. However, you never get all of that. If we assume 80% of it then you end up around 9 hours. A 9AH would get me up to about 11.7 hours. I will look at prices and then decide on whether I want a 9AH battery or two smaller ones, knowing that I will have to swap during the day.

Thanks again for all of your help.

_________________
Fish tremble when they hear my name :)

A ship in harbor is safe -- but that is not what ships are built for.
--John A. Shedd, Salt from My Attic, 1928


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