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Grabs

Potential Problem with New FL-18?

14 posts in this topic

Well I purchased an FL-18 over X-mas. I have a 30-day return policy on it and after using it this past week on LOW I think I may need to return it for a new one.

The first few days were fine, but then one afternoon I started noticing this porblem.
I could be fishing just fine with the unit, gain set just high enough to see my jig. I would reel up after catching a fish or loosing my bait. Go to put the line back down and it wouldn't show up on the flasher. Jig for a a few seconds and still nothing. I would have to crank the gain all the way up to find my jig and then turn it back down again. This started happening so consistently that I finally just got in the habit of cranking it up and turning it down. It seemed as if the unit would sort of go to "sleep" or something?

Has anyone else seen this? Is it a problem with the transducer or the flasher itself?

Thanks in advance.

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Even though its quite obvious, Is your jig or possible spoon just drifting out of the cone? Even a glow devil or forage minnow will drift a little. It seems it happens to me more with my 18 than it ever did with my 8. But hey, might as well return to be safe right? Can't hurt anything

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Most of the fl8 units have the 19 deg ducer and the fl 18 has a 12deg so the cone will be smaller.

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Set the unit up on a table and do the test that Vexilar recommends to see if the unit is working properly.

Hang the transducer 24" from the floor(Hard floor not carpet) and clear of obstacles. Turn the gain to 0, it should read 9' at this point.

If you need to turn the gain up high in order to see the floor you may have a problem. You should see the floor and possably a second mark below it at with the gain set at 0.

If that checks out fine it may have been that your lure was drifting out of the cone or you didn't have the transducer down far enough in the hole? You could have a bad transducer, that happens too. If it fails that table test you likely do.

------------------
Ed "Backwater Eddy" Carlson..><sUMo>

Backwater Guiding
"Ed on the RED"
(701)-281-2300

backwtr1@msn.com

http://ed-carlson.fishingbuddy.com

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Grabs -

How deep were you fishing? What type of lure were you using? I think one of the other responses already answered the question. It is very likely that your spoon/jig drifted out of the cone during its drop to the bottom. Some lures swing alot further than others. Jigging raps and some spoons can drift several feet in just 20 ft of water, in my experience. If your were fishing deeper than that, they can drift even further. As you jig the weight of your lure centers itself under your hole again, and the Vex picks it up normally.

ScottO

[This message has been edited by ScottO (edited 01-06-2003).]

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Thanks much guys. I thought about the jig diving to far away, but this problem didn't happen for the first two days on the ice, fishing the same angel eye and the same depth. And actually it happened to me first in shallower water 20' and then again at 33'. I will try the table top test and see what comes of it.

This actually happened a few times after the jig had been down for a while, fish on the screen and everything, then gone...can't see anything.

Can someone bump that old post, I think Ed you posted it from Vexilar about tests and etc. I would like to print that out and save it now.

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i was just out fishin a crappie spot. during the day i was catching perch and i had the gain on 0-1. at night all the sudden lines were all over the screen, movin up and down. i put the gain on 0 and it was still doing it. it wasn't interference either. it was weird, i am wondering if i was in a plankton school or something. i couldn't tell anymore what was going on. weird stuff, i hit the interference button about 200 times so that wasn't the problem smile.gif

------------------
Good Luck Stickin Dos PigZ!

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When I say "boom, gone" I mean everything from the surface to the bottom is gone. I am still marking bottom, but no longer my lure or the fish that were just there seconds ago.

Battery reads 100% charge the entire time and I never let it get much below that as I would top it off each night.

I will try the test tonight, I still haven't been able to find that post from about a month ago on, I think it was a Vexilar Newsletter or something like that.

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Getting Ready for a Great Ice Fishing Season
--------------------------------------------
This edition of the Vexilar Update is dedicated to helping you get ready for a successful ice-fishing season. Making sure your gear is "good to go" can be the difference between smiles and laughter at the end of the day or an endless string of curse words somewhere in the middle of it.

Make Sure Your Battery is Ready for Winter
------------------------------------------
At the beginning of every ice-fishing season, our service department sees a rush of problems due to "bad" batteries. Before you go out on the ice for the first time, make sure your battery is ready. The first thing to do is charge it up full. Batteries will lose voltage over the long summer months of storage. Once it's been charged, make sure it's holding a charge by running your depth finder on it. Set it up on a table or workbench and point the transducer at the floor. Turn on the flasher and let it run. You don't have to run it until the battery goes dead, but run it long enough so you're confident that it will last you out on the ice. Be sure to recharge the battery after your test.
If the flasher's lights fade out within a short period of time, it's time to replace the battery. We recommend a good quality sealed lead-acid (sometimes called a gel-cell) and a good charger to match. When it comes to batteries and chargers, you get what you pay for. A cheap system will get the job done, but you'll need to have very good care and charging habits to make it last any length of time. Our Vexilar battery and charger (model V-120) is a very high quality system. It's been thoroughly tested in the ice-fishing environment and can take abuse better than most.

Vexilar Power Products - http://www.vexilar.com/products/power.html
All About Lead-Acid Batteries -http://www.vexilar.com/help/tips/tip004.html

Testing Your Unit and Transducer Sensitivity
--------------------------------------------
There's nothing worse than ice fishing with a FL-8 or 18 that's running weak. Due to the cold and just the general nature of the ice-fishing environment, your equipment can take quite a beating. Here is how to test your system to make sure it's up to snuff:

Set your Pro Pack, or whatever ice kit you have, onto a kitchen counter top or workbench in the garage. There must be a flat solid floor below, no carpet. Place a hard cover book on the carpet if you need to.

Hang the Ice-Ducer over the edge so that the bottom is about 24" from the floor. Make sure that it is hanging by itself in mid-air and not resting against anything. This is to insure that the transducer will hang straight. If you have a Puck transducer mounted on an arm, level it off so it is pointing straight at the floor.

Now, turn the flasher on to the first range. With the Gain set to zero, you should see a mark at the 12:00 position indicating the top, or your transducer, and another mark at the 9 foot line indicating the bottom, or floor.

Notice how the depth is completely inaccurate. The reason is that the speed of the burst of sound coming out of your transducer is traveling much slower in the air than it would be in the water. So the unit thinks it's deeper. Also the strength of your system is much weaker in air than water. The top line should be mostly red in color. The bottom line may be green, orange, or red (depending on the strength of your system, how straight your transducer is, and the type of floor).

If you cannot see the floor mark without having to turn your gain up, try a harder or smoother type of floor. If there is no change, the system has a sensitivity problem. You must see at least a green mark, on a hard floor, with the gain at minimum to pass the test.

You can judge the overall sensitivity of the system by doing this "air demo" test, but you can't tell if a weakness is due to the unit or transducer (which is much more common) without replacing one or the other with a known good component. Borrow a friend's transducer or bring your setup into your local Vexilar dealer and ask if you can use one they have in stock for your test.

If your transducer doesn't pass the test, it will have to be replaced. Weak transducers cannot be repaired. I'm sure the dealer will be happy to help you out. If the flasher itself proves to be the culprit, it may be your opportunity to justify that shiny new FL-18 you've been waiting for. If that's not in your budget, our service department should be able to save the day.

Vexilar Flasher Transducers -http://www.vexilar.com/products/fl-xdcr.html
Contact Vexilar -http://www.vexilar.com/help/contact.html

FL-18 Software Update
---------------------
There is a software update available for the FL-18 color flasher. This update is free of charge. It will help the unit maintain a solid lock on the bottom when using the Auto Zoom feature in certain ice fishing conditions. The update applies only to FL-18 units with a serial number of 192500 or less. The serial number can be found on the back of the unit under the power and transducer connections. Some units have already been updated. If the back of the unit is marked "Version 2" or "V2", it
already contains the update.

To get the FL-18 Update, send the unit to:
Vexilar, Inc. Attn. FL-18 UPDATE
200 W 88th St. #10
Minneapolis, MN 55420-2752

When you send the unit in, please include a short note inside the box including your name, return address, and telephone or email. You will only need to send the main "head" portion of the system. We will attempt to keep turn-around time to a minimum. A day or two is our goal.
The update is installed by connecting the FL-18 to a special "flash" programmer. Some units will need to have the main processor chip replaced before it can be updated.
Again, the update and the return
shipping are free of charge.

Replacing Parts
---------------
Maybe a gimbal knob or your transducer support arm fell down the hole last year, or maybe the dog ate your Ice-Ducer float. Whatever you may need, now is the time to take care of those little loose ends. You can get these hard to find items in the Vexilar Direct section of our web site or by simply giving us a call. And while you're at it, why not make a little improvement to your system by adding a protective Soft Pack or a Mag Shield to make the display easier to see. Oh, and if your transducer test is showing you a wide red line at minimum gain, an S-Cable will give you much more control in shallow water.

Vexilar Direct - http://www.vexilar.com/purchase/direct/direct.html
Contact Vexilar - http://www.vexilar.com/help/contact.html

It's sure looking like winters is coming on strong this year. Get ready for a great ice-fishing season by making sure your gear is ready to go.

Be careful out there,

Team Vexilar Staff.

Vexilar Inc.
200 W 88th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55420-2752
www.vexilar.com
Send comments to info@vexilar.com


------------------
Backwater Eddy..><sUMo>
Backwater Guiding
"Ed on the RED"
(701)-281-2300

backwtr1@msn.com

http://ed-carlson.fishingbuddy.com

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When you say boom gone, is the whole screen blank? If so you very likely have a bad transducer, or the jack pins are bent and your getting a bad connection to the cable?

Do a search here on FM.com for "Vexilar update" and you should find the details on troubleshooting your unit.

I have a hunch it is nothing just poor target acquisition. Lets hope so!

------------------
Ed "Backwater Eddy" Carlson..><sUMo>

Backwater Guiding
"Ed on the RED"
(701)-281-2300

backwtr1@msn.com

http://ed-carlson.fishingbuddy.com

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Well it passed the counter top/floor test just fine. I will try it again this weekend and experiment with different jigs and conditions to see what happens.

Thanks guys!

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Pig a Stick
I've had my vex for seven years now and just the other week I had the same thing happen to me!! I had never seen it happen like this before, but after dark the bottom 8 ft was full of green lines. I could still pick out the crappies because they were red and obvious in front of all the little green lines, but I have no idea what all the green lines were. I figured it was plankton too. Who knows??

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