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PurpleFloyd

Vex, Marcum or Humminbird.

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I'm thinking of buying a flasher as a backup and only have experience with graphs.
If I want a traditional flasher (fl28, lx5, HB55) which one is better and why? Durability, battery life, adjustability, ability to define bottom,fish,weeds etc.

 

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Honestly, if you haven’t owned and used a flasher much before, you’ll like any one of those 3 choices.

I have an LX 5 and am pretty happy with it.  With a 9 Ah battery I can run it non-stop all day when I’m laker fishing but it’s getting tired by the end.  The colors start to fade.  But that’s dawn till dusk and not usually in a heated shack.

The case sometimes annoys me for getting at the battery to change it if I need to but that’s rare.  And the transducer can freeze down in the cup that holds it for transport.  I just tip it sideways.  The upside to the compact case is it takes up less space.

I should have a snow shield for mine but don’t.  The viewing screen can fill up with snow when I’m hole hopping in windy, snowy conditions.  I’ve seen other flat screen brands don’t have the same issue.

I’m happy with everything else and love that I can use it around other flashers, even in the Jaycees contest.

I don’t have the experience with your other choices to speak for them but I like what I read on line about them.  The only negative I can say I’ve seen on the newer Vex is the signal throws me off.  I’ve watched someone’s screen before and it didn’t look as readable to me as my LX 5.  But that can just be what you get used to.

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I've had the most basic marcum (LX-1 or VX-1) for over ten years.  Just a good piece of equipment.  They probably don't even make that one anymore, but have never been disppointed in Marcum's simple versions.  

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So, as I understand it, Vex is probably the the oldest platform but is pretty much the most durable and rock solid. Marcum might have the most refined electronics so you can define fish from fish and fish from structure better and Humminbird operates on a totally different frequency from the other two so it might do better side by side as far as interference. It's probably the third place seller of the three.

Any other opinions?

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7 hours ago, PurpleFloyd said:

So, as I understand it, Vex is probably the the oldest platform but is pretty much the most durable and rock solid. Marcum might have the most refined electronics so you can define fish from fish and fish from structure better and Humminbird operates on a totally different frequency from the other two so it might do better side by side as far as interference. It's probably the third place seller of the three.

Any other opinions?

This may just be another Flasher Trap? But, here goes.

I have had the LX-5, HB-55, and a FL-18 plus a few other odds and ends old brands over the years.  To me both the LX-5 and HBird-55 were battery suckers. One time I sent the weekend on Red Lake and for S & Giggles I ran the FL-18 in one hole and the Hbird-55 in another with fully charged 7 amp batteries. The HB-55 lasted just a bit over one day and into the evening. The FL-18 I turned off when I left the ice 2 1/2 days later.  I sold the LX-5 and HB-55 and pick up another FL-18 like I had before I bought the other two sparkly lights battery suckers!  The Vex FL-18 has banged around in the porty behind the sled for 100's of miles and it works every time. :2c:

Edited by leech~~

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@PurpleFloyd

Whats your normal, or expected style of use for the flasher?  Just back up?

Shelter/house fishing or open holing?

Single day use or weekend trips?  

Truck travel or atv/sled trips?

Fishing in crowds or apart from others?

Acces to power for charging or bringing extra batteries?

I think your style should weigh heavy on your choice.

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2 hours ago, Wanderer said:

@PurpleFloyd

Whats your normal, or expected style of use for the flasher?  Just back up?

Mainly for my son. I just bought the helix7 ice for myself and my elite5 ice became his but they haven't been the most reliable and he seems to like flashers better for whatever reason so I am kicking around buying one either as a backup or for him to use and have one more for any friends of his or guests that may tag along.

 

2 hours ago, Wanderer said:

Shelter/house fishing or open holing?

 

Mostly inside a hub or flip. Some open ice but not really any hole hopping.

2 hours ago, Wanderer said:

Single day use or weekend trips?  

Single day.

2 hours ago, Wanderer said:

Truck travel or atv/sled trips?

 

Either in the Jeep,truck or snowmobile.

2 hours ago, Wanderer said:

Fishing in crowds or apart from others?

Pretty solitary

.

 

2 hours ago, Wanderer said:

Acces to power for charging or bringing extra batteries?

Probably no charging on the ice but I have a generator if we get carried away and an inverter in my truck as well. I probably have 2 extra batteries if needed.

 

2 hours ago, Wanderer said:

I think your style should weigh heavy on your choice.

 

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3 hours ago, leech~~ said:

This may just be another Flasher Trap? But, here goes.

 

Wait,what?

I must agree on the durability and ease of use of the fl18. My fishing buddy has one and he catches tons of fish with no quality issues at all. Not sure if they can be fished side x side without issues which is why I was sort of leaning to the HB55.

Other than battery life, did you have any other issues with it? How easy is it to dial in to different depths,weeds etc compared to the vex and does one show fish better than the other? More colors etc?

Is there any benefit to the new marcum m3/m5 vs the old lx models?

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I picked up the Helix Ice 7 also and used it this morning for the first time.  I like the display on the side that shows the coverage of the ducer cone.  The mapping is the biggest reason I bought it.  Need to get used to the flasher a bit but was very pleased with how it worked.  I had a camera down so I could see when fish were around and the sonar and flasher picked them up great.  I started with a fully charged battery and ran roughly 4 hours and used 36% of power.  I did have sonar and flasher on most of the time using a 12Ah Duracell battery.  Gonna bring the old FL8 with next time to see how interference is between them.

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I've only had Vexilars so I am partial but I have an FL-8 and an FL-20. The 8 was great until I got the 20. The flat screen is the best feature in my opinion. My son uses the FL-8 and I use the 20 but if he goes out without me he takes them both and used the 20 and lets a friend use the 8. 

I have nothing to compare it with but I have found the battery life to be very long with both units. The 8 causes a little interference but it can be limited enough to comfortably fish both of them in our 6.5' x 12' fish house.

What does the FL-28 do that the FL-20 does not?

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Given the one day typical use scenario relieves you of having to worry too much about battery life.  I believe they all have brushless motors and LED lights.  The old FL 8’s didn’t have either.

I might be tempted to try the HB55 if I didn’t go Marcum again.  I used to be a Vex user originally but they just don’t trip my trigger anymore for some reason.

Dual cone angle and good IR is a must for me.  Zoom is nice but I use super fine line (SFL) more for better target separation.

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i did a bit of looking last night and a few things stuck out from the Marcum units. First- they come with a bag. I guess I do have a bag from my dead lowrance unit so it isn't mandatory but they have it while HB/Vex are extra. I also like the way you can charge them without unhooking the battery connections. They do look like the lines are finer and colors are better. 

The lx3 looks like a great unit without breaking the bank. 

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14 hours ago, slammer said:

I picked up the Helix Ice 7 also and used it this morning for the first time.  I like the display on the side that shows the coverage of the ducer cone.  The mapping is the biggest reason I bought it.  Need to get used to the flasher a bit but was very pleased with how it worked.  I had a camera down so I could see when fish were around and the sonar and flasher picked them up great.  I started with a fully charged battery and ran roughly 4 hours and used 36% of power.  I did have sonar and flasher on most of the time using a 12Ah Duracell battery.  Gonna bring the old FL8 with next time to see how interference is between them.

Yeah, I think I am going to like the helix7

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The only flasher I constant see and hear about, that has issues, is a marcum. I feel they are trying to stay ahead with technology but have some serious quality issues...but I hear they have descent customer service for when it breaks  

Personally, I’d find buy me a simple fl8 if it was for a backup or for a kid and you won’t have to worry about it for the next 20+ years...or if you like something a little more advanced, get a fl18.  

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On 12/24/2017 at 7:48 AM, Wanderer said:

Honestly, if you haven’t owned and used a flasher much before, you’ll like any one of those 3 choices.

I have an LX 5 and am pretty happy with it.  With a 9 Ah battery I can run it non-stop all day when I’m laker fishing but it’s getting tired by the end.  The colors start to fade.  But that’s dawn till dusk and not usually in a heated shack.

The case sometimes annoys me for getting at the battery to change it if I need to but that’s rare.  And the transducer can freeze down in the cup that holds it for transport.  I just tip it sideways.  The upside to the compact case is it takes up less space.

I agree 100%. The LX-5i is the nicest flasher I've owned. I have no regrets.

However, when the the late-ice sales come around, I will likely replace it with the Humminbird Helix 7 gen2 once people have had some time to expose the issues with it, if any. I've always been a big fan of the Humminbird high-end electronics for the boat so I'll probably go that route from now on.

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Vexilar makes a great flasher. Its hard to go wrong with a fl18 not the basic but not the top of the line. I myself have had problems with hummingbird and would not buy another but thats just me. 

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No troubles whatsoever with my HB55.  Big fan.

I have a bulletproof FL-18 that I couldnt part with when I upgraded to the 'bird.  It's the backup, loaner now.  

I don't need these fancy full screens, just give me a flasher.  

I don't buy into the hype of 1.21 jigawatts of power and 0.25 inch target separation.  Every Marcum fanboy I know has boasted of their 1.21 jigawatts of power and when I asked what it does for them, I get a more is better explanation.  My FL-18 and my HB55 show me my lure and fish that come to take a look, so I'm not sure what is gained by all these extra watts of power.

Never owned a Marcum but not a fan.  As soon as my buddies flip on their Marcums they jam up everyone with a Vexilar with interference.  My bird isn't affected too bad and I can noise reject 95% of it if there is.

Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge

Everybody has a favorite and thinks the rest are junk because they bought a lemon once.  All these companies make a good product.  

Just not a fan of Marcums because they don't like to play well with others.  

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The problem with Vex is their technology is decades old but they still charge primo dollars for the bare bones.

Fl-18. No case. Single beam and still $400. I could get a helix ice5 gen2 for that and have a case,more features like GPS and an option to put on a boat.

The HB 45 is similar in regards to no case, single beam and no other features.

 

The M3 at least has a soft case. But for the money I might just spring for the helix 5 and get the latest technology at the same price

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1 hour ago, PurpleFloyd said:

The problem with Vex is their technology is decades old but they still charge primo dollars for the bare bones.

Fl-18. No case. Single beam and still $400. I could get a helix ice5 gen2 for that and have a case,more features like GPS and an option to put on a boat.

The HB 45 is similar in regards to no case, single beam and no other features.

 

The M3 at least has a soft case. But for the money I might just spring for the helix 5 and get the latest technology at the same price

If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it! I wish more companies would do what vex does. Build something that works great, gets the job done, and will last a lifetime! 

 

Fyi...u can use a vex in a boat  

 

Edited by ClownColor

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2 hours ago, ClownColor said:

If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it! I wish more companies would do what vex does. Build something that works great, gets the job done, and will last a lifetime! 

 

Fyi...u can use a vex in a boat  

 

Usually that's the death knell of a company. Typewriters were pretty trouble free and windows based computers crashed a lot but programs like word made the typewriter obsolete.

Rotary phones were pretty bulletproof too.

Yes. You can use a vex in a boat. The number of people who actually do pretty much sums up their usefulness in that situation lol. 

 

No knock on vexilar, they are a great unit and a great Minnesota company with excellent customer service. My point only is that because their tech is so long in the tooth they should be able to be much more competitive in their pricing.

 

 

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1 hour ago, PurpleFloyd said:

because their tech is so long in the tooth they should be able to be much more competitive in their pricing.

It is a distribution and volume issue would be my presumption.  Pretty tough to make a business out of a limited market, and give a good part of the price to the retailers.  

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1 hour ago, delcecchi said:

It is a distribution and volume issue would be my presumption.  Pretty tough to make a business out of a limited market, and give a good part of the price to the retailers.  

I don't want to side track this much but part if any business model is research and development which allows you to bring new products to the market. 

 

Aside from the fl28 there really hasn't been a ton of new products coming to market over the past decade or so.

compare that to Marcum, HB etc who have brought significant new models and designs to market while offering products that compete in the same market at the same price point and that doesn't hold water.

But once again, it's clear they have solid, reliable products.

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It’s just market based pricing.  People pay it, so why not charge it?

I taught the future SIL how to use a flasher today.  He’s seen them work before but never understood what he was seeing.  I drilled 3 holes in a line in the hub and put the transducer in the middle hole.  The SFL really helped for us to keep our jigs separate as we worked a lot of the same fish.  It was the best way to coach someone ever.

The first thing he said to my daughter afterward was “Babe, I need a Marcum”. :lol:

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21 minutes ago, Wanderer said:

It’s just market based pricing.  People pay it, so why not charge it?

I taught the future SIL how to use a flasher today.  He’s seen them work before but never understood what he was seeing.  I drilled 3 holes in a line in the hub and put the transducer in the middle hole.  The SFL really helped for us to keep our jigs separate as we worked a lot of the same fish.  It was the best way to coach someone ever.

The first thing he said to my daughter afterward was “Babe, I need a Marcum”. :lol:

Lol

 

Good story.

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