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kstruck

My first impressions of my Lowrance HDS

18 posts in this topic

Well I finally splurged and bought a new fish finder. Having just purchased my fist boat last fall I am still working at making it a complete fishing boat.

Got a big pay check and my plan was to head to Cabela's and tinker with different units. I was looking for something mid-priced that I could use as my main finder until I could purchase a better unit and use move this one to the front of the boat.

The first guy to help me at Cabela's was really directing me towards the Humminbird SI units, warning me of the Lowrance customer service and other issues. But with several models from both companies out of stock, I took the last HDS 7. I probably would have waited longer to purchase if I didn't have an imminent trip to the northwoods where I would be fishing unfamiliar lakes.

I also purchased the 09 Navionics chip.

Bringing the unit home I was anxious to get it turned on and play with it some more. This is when I realized it wouldn't read the navionics card, it said I needed to update the software. So this included running to best buy the next day to purchase a fresh SD card. Well I did that and loaded the software and it was pretty simple, I don't have too much computer knowledge, but for someone who is unfamiliar with this stuff I can see how it would be a headache.

Set up was really quite easy, I am not a mechanical person and with a little help from a friend I had it mounted and ready to go.

Once I got on the water I had to tinker with the sonar a little bit to get it working properly, I still don't see the fish echoes real well, but I know that has been discussed on here before and I have to go and re-read some of that discussion. But I did get it usable.

Of my first three jaunts last week, twice the GPS had trouble locking in location. This was even when the unit was had a strong signal from the max number of satellites. The location of the mapping was off on one lake, and I think that was more or less because the gps was having trouble. After rejuicing the battery it seemed to work fine again, I wonder if that wasn't part of the problem. My prop did not appreciate not having a gps signal on a rocky north eastern lake in darkness.

One issue I have when I use the Navionics mapping is that hundreds of boxes appear across mainly MN, it doesn't affect anything, but these boxes remain whether zoomed in or zoomed out. Just kind of annoying when you are fishing a mud flat on mille lacs and there is a line across your screen.

I did take advantage of the quiet wind and drove up to Mille Lacs last night and I am still trying to pinpoint the optimum sensitivity level, anyone with this unit have a special number? Again this might have been discussed and I will look back at the archives. It was just kind of frustrating wondering whether I was looking at fish or particle interference.

I really do enjoy this unit and would recommend it. I'll have to think hard about adding the SI feature when it becomes available, the cabela's guy said it would be about $450, and I don't know if that is really worth it. It took me about an hour on the water to learn all the nuances of the unit and now I can't imagine myself without it. And once I really pinpoint the sonar it will be the perfect tool.

So that is my two cents on my new toy.

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Cool, thanks for the review. If you get any further experience, post it for us to see. I'd like to be informed when I finally do get another unit.

I'm excited about getting either a 5 or 7 once the hard water season sets in. Waiting for some funds, some time for the bugs to be worked out, and for the structurescan pricing to come out.

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I'm with Solbes on this. I would love to get the 5 or 7 in my boat soon. I have a 522c and want to move that to the front and network them.

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I hope your Lowrance works well for you. As I think all fish finders should be free of all types of technical problems. I to just purchased a fish finder GPS. I also got it from Cabela's. I did quite a bit of searching and forum reading before I made a decision. I went with the 997si from Hummingbird. Also Navionics chip. Part because I wanted to see how the side scan would work. Yes quite a bit more money. That was a little hard to swallow. Purchased for the same reason you did. Was heading up north to vermilion for a week of fishing. Didn't want to take a chance on wrecking the boat. I decided on the Hummingbird just for the reasons you described. (Trouble) that your having. I read on forums and talked with a lot of people who have them before I made my purchase. I guess I didn't want the hassle of going through what you are right now. I do hope it works for you and that Lowrance will get things figured out. I will have to say one thing. That not all the Graphics on the Navionics are right on. The forth day on my week trip I took out the lower unit on my boat. Rented a boat for the last two days. Just a small boat. Seems you still can't rely one hundred percent on the GPS. I don't care what unit you have. I Think that will have a lot to do with how well you signals are from the satellites. But I will say that my Hummingbird works very good for me in spotting fish. And being that this is my first GPS system I love it so far. It like all electronics will take some getting used to. Now all I have to do is post again with a question on how to get the lower unit off. That is if i tackle it my self. Good luck with your unit.

MK

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I have the HDS 5 and HDS 7 on my boat. Since day one both units have worked remarkable well. I can't really say I've had any issues. I know I have read that some are having problems with the GPS cutting out on them - I haven't experienced that. (Hope that doesn't bite me in the butt...I'm not superstitious - but I am a little stitious)

I am using the Lake Master chip and am happy with it. The one thing I haven't been able to figure out yet is when I do a search for Mille Lacs POI's, they won't pop up. Come to think of it, nothing will. But that isn't the units fault; I need to tinker with it a bit more. What I have been doing is zooming out and then looking at the map; when I find my POI I put the cursor on it and then select "go to cursor."

What is the difference between the Lake Master chip and the Navionics chip? I will be looking at buying another chip – which do you prefer? I guess I find it easier to have one chip for both rather that exchanging when I get to the fishing spot. Lazy – perhaps…….

Hope you figure out your unit and have better luck in the future.

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Mugsaway, just figured that out last time on Mille Lacs on my 522. Off the top of my head you go to Waypoints and then I scrolled down to "water". Then you can search all the built in way points on the chip.

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A lot of lakes have algae blooms and bug hatches right now --- mille lacs included for sure --- and you will get interference or readings from them on your sonar.

Make sure you have the right transducer selected in your installation menu. I run my HDS on shallow water mode and 200 kHz. I bumped the sensitivity and the ping speed up slightly early in the year, but lately with the weeds / bugs / algae I have bumped them back down a bit. I also bumped the colorline up, close to 90%. It depends on what color pallete you are set on too, and how you like your screen to work.

I think I'll be adding the SI feature to mine too as soon as it comes out.

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I just got an HDS-5 like 2 weeks ago. Seems pretty good so far. My question is that another guy I know well just had to replace an older unit and while shopping for and HDS-5 he got info that it was discontinued already? He was at an L and M Fleet store in northern MN and I think it had something to do with the store vs Lowrance? I was trying to check the Lowrance site this morning, as I know they have discontinued a ton of stuff lately, but not their newest line?? Too many problems already? I would really like to find out. Funny enough the Lowrance site just keeps giving me "Server too busy" message right now. I have had bad experiences with their CM service also lately, as I had to replace a different unit and they were horrible to deal with and very very slow.

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I just got an HDS-5 like 2 weeks ago. Seems pretty good so far. My question is that another guy I know well just had to replace an older unit and while shopping for and HDS-5 he got info that it was discontinued already? He was at an L and M Fleet store in northern MN and I think it had something to do with the store vs Lowrance? I was trying to check the Lowrance site this morning, as I know they have discontinued a ton of stuff lately, but not their newest line?? Too many problems already? I would really like to find out. Funny enough the Lowrance site just keeps giving me "Server too busy" message right now. I have had bad experiences with their CM service also lately, as I had to replace a different unit and they were horrible to deal with and very very slow.

Lowrance has not discontinued the HDS series. Your buddy got some bad info.

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I purchased the 7 as well. Overall I am happy. Seems easier and faster to navigate than my LCX-27. The HDS-7 with the new Lakemaster chip is a tough combo to beat, just wish I had the 50/200 ducer for my type of fishing. Was under the impression that it would be better than the 50/200 I had on the 27 which it is not.

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With the HDS units, is there a menu tab for shaded depths?

Can you manually select the depth you want colored on the screen?

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You can select depths in 6' intervals, up to 24' or so. Hbirds can be set to any depth AND you can change the map background to black with white contours. The high contrast is awesome IMO.

I've had a really positive experienc with my Hds unit, intalled since March. The sonar is very nice.

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Do you guys have any problems reading in shallow water or weeds like the LCX units?

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You can select depths in 6' intervals, up to 24' or so feet. Hbirds can be set to any depth AND you can change the map background to black with white contours. The high contrast is awesome IMO.

I've had a really positive experienc with my Hds unit, intalled since March. The sonar is very nice.

Thanks fishwater. I have a 997 and love the shaded depth aspect. Just wondering what the HDS units had for a menu option.

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This has probably been covered on here but can you place just an icon without a waypoint on the HDS? When hitting the enter button it goes straight to waypoint instead of dropping an icon like on last years models on my unit.

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No icons; everything is saved as a waypoint with positional data attached.

Jim Carroll NPAA #13

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I purchased the 7 as well. Overall I am happy. Seems easier and faster to navigate than my LCX-27. The HDS-7 with the new Lakemaster chip is a tough combo to beat, just wish I had the 50/200 ducer for my type of fishing. Was under the impression that it would be better than the 50/200 I had on the 27 which it is not.

I just bought the lcx-27 today any tips?

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