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Depth finder upgrade

2/5/21 @ 11:54 AM

Hello-I currently have a Humminbird 899ci depth finder with side imaging and mapping.  I think this is a 7" screen.  My only complaint about it is the screen size when I am running split screens(my age and eye sight are starting to catch up with me).  

I would like to upgrade to a larger screen size.  Is there any newer technology that I should be aware of?   


3/11/21 @ 9:12 AM

Thanks for the input, I will definitely check that out.  

Is there a way to look at what lakes are offered on each chip?

3/4/21 @ 3:06 PM
USER SINCE 1/22/17

Lundy, I run Lowrance and use their HotMaps Platinum cards in my units. Beware though, these are expensive cards and are not for everyone. They have subscription based content associated with them such as updates and SonarCharting. These can be renewed yearly if you want to stay up to date however, there is a somewhat high cost associated with it especially if you have more than one card. With that being said, I love the cards and the mapping is phenomenal. -- Rippin

3/1/21 @ 11:28 AM

So I couldn't resist the half off deal on the Lowrance Elite 12".  Just hope it fits on the dash of my boat.  Its not much wider, but 2-3" taller than my Humminbird.

Question for Lowrance users-It looks like there are several different map options to purchase for Lowrance.  I fish mostly northwest Wisconsin with the Chippewa Flowage being 5-6 trips per year.  What would you recommend?

3/1/21 @ 9:42 AM
USER SINCE 5/21/03

I don't get any kind of rooster tail with my setup.  G3N Humminbird Helix 10.  But, I have a high speed transducer glassed into the bottom of my boat, inside the hull.  It shoots through the hull (Ranger 619) and I get sonar at 55+mph.  Not that I need it, but it is there.  I had Brew City install my side/downimaging unit, middle of the back of the boat and down as far as it could go.  No rooster tail, no distortion due to the kicker motor being back there.

When it comes to that technology, I left it to the experts to get it onto my boat correctly.  I'm handy, but with something like that, I wanted it perfect.  And it is.  Tim at Brew City really knows his stuff.

2/28/21 @ 11:57 PM
USER SINCE 8/18/03

I've been running HB sidescan since it first came out, and have owned each generation as it became available. With each new generation you end up with a better product. I currently run a Helix 9 Mega+ G3N and an Onix 8 on the console, and my old 999 on the bow. All three are networked together along with the i-Pilot Link. I've got both the Helix & Onix transducers mounted on the transom, but mostly use the Onix for mapping. I don't fish a whole lot, rather I'm scanning looking for whatever's laying around on the bottom (60+ boats on the Madison chain plus tons of other stuff). I also Scuba dive so it all ties together. Personally I'll look closely at the Helix 9 G3 with the Mega+ imaging. The screen has higher resolution than your old unit and is a full digital system. Right now I think the G3 is around $1100, with the new G4 at the $1500 price that the G3 used to be. 

Your old unit was analog and probably came with the subcompact transducer. This smaller transducer has smaller elements which yields lower resolution scans. The Helix 9 G3 Mega+ will give you much better detail. You get the three transducer frequencies, of which I use the 455khz or 1.2Mhz for searching (depending on depth, bottom composition and other factors). I don't recall if the subcompact comes with the 800khz or not. Regardless, personally I never use the 800khz, in my experience on the older units it didn't perform as well. You could upgrade to the full size (HD) transducer and this would give better scans (and give you 800khz, for what it was worth). On the older units the 800khz was a more compressed beam and the 455khz outperformed it. Your old 800 series did have a 7" screen, thankfully they got rid of their old numbering system and now the Helix 8 has an 8" screen.

The problem with losing bottom lock has to do with the size/shape of the transducer. On my old 999 I wouldn't lose bottom at top speed (40MPH). On the Onix which has a similar size/shape I lost it above 25MPH or so. Lowering it deeper into the water helped some. On the Mega+ it was useless, so I added the "high speed" 200khz transducer. Keep in mind that when you do this the 200khz is disconnected from the Mega+ transducer, so get the correct high speed transducer. Your mapping uses the 200khz beam as well as your 2D sonar.

Look at the specs between any unit you're considering & Helix 9 G3 Mega+. I haven't made the jump to the new G4 yet, can't justify it at this point. But the higher the resolution of the screen will make a sharper scanned image. On older models if you went to a bigger screen you didn't necessarily get a higher resolution display, in fact some were the same screen resolution. So a bigger screen on these units would be easier to see, but more "blocky".

If your old 800 series has networking you can connect an (expensive) cable between it and your new Helix "N" series. This would allow you to share waypoints between the two units, but not sonar. So if you're using the old 800 for mapping you can mark a waypoint on either unit and it will show up on both. You would need a separate mapping card for each unit also (can't share LakeMaster or Navionics maps). Also, the mapping card in your old unit is probably a full size SD card (depending on when you bought it, it may be a micro-SD card in an adapter). The Helix G3 units use micro-sd cards. Thankfully, since I remove my cards after every trip out (to manage my navigation data) these unit have nice slots that pop the card out far enough to remove them, and the slots are on the front of the locator. The smaller Helix's, up to the G2, have the slots on the side of the locator, and they basically suck in getting the card out. Not sure if the smaller G3's are this way or not.

2/28/21 @ 11:38 PM

Thanks, Mightyhunter, that answers my question.  I knew the Helix could use older transducers - I actually used it this weekend to try it out using the XI9 20 ice transducer, which I had for the 698 model already.  Overall it worked good, but I think I'll keep using the 698 with it for now.  I don't really want to spend the money right now to get the latest and greatest ice transducer for the Helix model.

I hope eventually most of these flashers will be able to just have upgrades to them.  Pay for the software and insert it in.  These units are changing all of the time but most of it is the same.  Why not just have upgrades available for download?

Regarding your question about the transducers spraying's not supposed to do that, and everyone that drives in my boat always comments on the spray coming out.  And a few times I got wet from that spray.  They need to find a way to make these transducers much smaller.  I'm sure the will, its just it might take 20 years to do that, but eventually I'm confident they will be much, much smaller instead of getting bigger!

2/28/21 @ 10:38 PM
USER SINCE 3/25/06

I'm no humminbird expert but I do work at a boat dealer and work with humminbird on a daily basis. Ill see if I can help answer some questions.

Fishloveme- although the transducer many look the exact same, the technology inside the transducers is different. The 698 would be able to use that new transducer but it would not be in high definition and mega because the 698 is not capable of reading the mega imaging from the transducer. The same goes to putting the helix 7 on and using the old transducer. The helix 7 is capable to get the mega imaging but the old transducer does not have it so therefore the helix 7 would have the old side imaging picture on the screen. I hope that make sense.

Lakeshiner- as far as getting readings at high speed, the side imaging transducer is capable of doing this. However the big misunderstanding is transducer placement. To get the best side imaging picture you want the transducer to be in the middle of the boat level with the boat as it idles. However to get a reading at hi speeds, it needs to be in constant contact with water and level when the boat is planed out. This generally is a different location and the need for two different transducers connected by a Y-Cable. If you just want one transducer for both, you will be short coming on either the imaging or the high speed read out. I hope that helps clear things up.

Now a question for you guys for a personal reasons to help me understand my customers better

With all the upgrades in technology, the transducers are getting bigger and is leading to "rooster tails" coming off the transducer and spraying the motor or shooting up. We get more calls/complaints about this and I for the life of me can't figure out why this is such an issue to people. I have never once looked back while driving my boat and worried about water shooting up from a transducer. The boat is in the water already and going to get wet from spray. I don't quite understand it and like I said we get complaints about this all the time. Any one explain this to me?

2/28/21 @ 11:09 AM

I contacted Humminbird, and they sent me the link to the transducer that comes with my unit.  However, they didn't answer my question!  I already knew which transducer came with it, I wanted to know if I needed another transducer, or buy a separate transducer to get the latest and greatest technology of the mega side imaging or not.  So I replied back to their email, hopefully they can answer my question!   This transducer looks EXACTLY  like the one I have mounted on my boat already that came with my 698 model 5 years ago!  So that was a nother question I asked them - will that one do the same thing that this transducer will do? Cause if so, I wouldn't bother installing the new one!

Why does Humminbird have to make like 20 different transducers for one model?

Humminbird XNT 9 HW MSI T Transducer

2/26/21 @ 6:14 PM
USER SINCE 3/23/20

Fishlovme I have the same problem with my helix 7 mega si g3 rooster tail when at full throttle i have a tiller 40 up 17 ft deep v and rooster tail every time but reads bottom and speed real well. I had a 597c with down imagining and it had a different transducer  and no rooster tail but didn't read bottom or speed accurate at all. The new g4 are coming out of are already out maybe it has a better design to the transducer but like others said different models have totally different shape transducers.

2/25/21 @ 9:03 PM
USER SINCE 7/20/09

There are more than I expected, that is for sure.  Took me a bit to figure out the correct one I needed.  Here is the link I looked at for my speed issue in case anyone else ran into it.  First part is for fiberglass boats, second for aluminum.  I also heard this from a boat dealer when I was looking the other day and they had boats setup with 2 transducers, if one was the longer side imaging one.  The smaller compact ones don't seem to have as bad of an issue with it.

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