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Old 02-14-2017, 06:30 PM
BillSteen23 BillSteen23 is offline
 
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Default Best ice fishing sonar?

So I bought a humminbird helix 5 at the beginning of January. Had it out once, and it worked great. Next time I had it out it was nothing but issues. Tried a new transducer- it didn't work. So I exchanged it for a new one. First time with the new one out this past weekend and nothing but problems again. So this one will be going back to the store as well. I'm looking for suggestions in the 600-900 dollar range. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks!
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Old 02-14-2017, 06:39 PM
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EZM EZM is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillSteen23 View Post
So I bought a humminbird helix 5 at the beginning of January. Had it out once, and it worked great. Next time I had it out it was nothing but issues. Tried a new transducer- it didn't work. So I exchanged it for a new one. First time with the new one out this past weekend and nothing but problems again. So this one will be going back to the store as well. I'm looking for suggestions in the 600-900 dollar range. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks!
What kind of issues did you experience? I'm curious only because sometimes common and basic settings/configurations can fix issues sometimes.

A higher end unit like a Helix 5 isn't a "plug and play" device like cheaper sonars.

I haven't heard anyone having issues with the Helix units before.
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  #3  
Old 02-14-2017, 06:40 PM
splake0 splake0 is offline
 
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Vexilar FL 18 or Marcum LX 7
Both have my vote.
But I fish in deep water.
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Old 02-14-2017, 06:58 PM
Iceman80 Iceman80 is offline
 
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Love my LX7. With the recent software upgrade it works well in shallow water to ( under 10'). I've had out in very cold temps and no problems. Love the digital displays.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Old 02-14-2017, 07:02 PM
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BUCKAROO BUCKAROO is offline
 
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I have the marcum lx3 and it worked great at cold lake this past weekend, the deepest water I was in was 120'. I'm sure the 5,7 and 9 are better but I'm not sure how they are better my 3 showed the bottom and everything in between. The only think I couldn't do was make the fish bite my hook.
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Old 02-14-2017, 07:30 PM
BillSteen23 BillSteen23 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by EZM View Post
What kind of issues did you experience? I'm curious only because sometimes common and basic settings/configurations can fix issues sometimes.

A higher end unit like a Helix 5 isn't a "plug and play" device like cheaper sonars.

I haven't heard anyone having issues with the Helix units before.
The depth will erratically change and most of the time it will not read the correct depth at all. It will show structure/objects on the screen that aren't there, and the odd time will say transducer not connected. Any direction on how to fix any of that would be appreciated as well!
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Old 02-14-2017, 08:17 PM
huntsfurfish huntsfurfish is offline
 
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Have to ask, is the transducer hooked up and snug/secure?

Battery good? And charged?

Transducer level with the bottom of ice?

If yes.

Do a default reset.

check again.

Also check the trouble shooting section of your Helix 5 manual.

edit: Also what model? is it the an Ice model/portable?
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Last edited by huntsfurfish; 02-14-2017 at 08:22 PM.
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  #8  
Old 02-14-2017, 08:34 PM
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I use one of the lowrance hds 8's off my boat. It needs to be manually adjusted through the day as others come and go. Other sonar and augers will affect them. When moving to new holes most of the time it will need to be manually set for depth until it finds bottom. Fully charged battery and keeping them warm are a must
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Old 02-14-2017, 08:51 PM
honker_clonker honker_clonker is offline
 
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I've had my vexila FL 20 for the last 10+ years and it's been rock solid reliable. I've had all the other brands of mechanical flasher and I've sold them all and bought Vexilar's when the opportunity presented itself. Now run 3 FL20s for myself, father and spare/loaner. Just gotta watch the red band tri-beam. There was a bad run of them but vexilar will replace the faulty ones for free. The new tri-beams rock!
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Old 02-14-2017, 08:55 PM
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Here's your huckleberry. 15% off. You won't find better.

http://www.wholesalesports.com/store...System/p/16549
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  #11  
Old 02-14-2017, 09:19 PM
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Was using my hds 8 gen 1 off of my boat and a helix 5 before that. I traded my helix 5 for a lowrance hds 5 gen 2 and it is the best ice unit i have used so far with my humminbird ice 45 coming in 2nd. I like the hds unit because of the gps mapping and the history that you see on the screen.

The bird ice 45 has been bullet proof since the first month they were released for sale. Never had a problem with it. It marks the smallest barrel swivel without a problem and makes ice fishing a fun experience. It is now my back up unit to the hds 5 gen 2.
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  #12  
Old 02-14-2017, 09:23 PM
Jaylive Jaylive is offline
 
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I dunno I'm just saying but I have had great success with my helix 5. There are lots of tutorials online on how to set em up. I assume you bought the ice ducer... cuz I tried running the skimmer and it worked but a nightmare to set up. Under 10' it picks up a lot of interference but I'm always deeper that that. Ensure ducer is hanging straight from the support cord if tension is on the data cord it seemed to hang funny and not work properly. I'd try this few things before giving up on it. Such a great unit. My flasher buddies are making the switch.
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Old 02-14-2017, 09:34 PM
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EZM EZM is offline
 
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Hopefully you are using the ice transducer, and as mentioned, it's positioned properly at, or just below the bottom of the ice.

I would also try to reduce sensitivity and try a few Hz ranges to see where the return paints the best picture.

Like I said, on a high end unit, it's not plug and play. The ability to make adjustments, and give you the best results in a wide range of conditions is the trade off against having to know how to set up and use the unit.

Also, like Huntfurfish suggests, if that isn't working a reset might be in order.

I'd also check the inputs on where the transducer plugs into the unit - maybe something is wonky there.
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  #14  
Old 02-14-2017, 10:13 PM
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Willowtrail Willowtrail is offline
 
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Love my Marcum LX7
Worked great for the last 4 years, after this years firmware upgrade I get a lot less interference from buddies Showdown.
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Old 02-15-2017, 10:55 AM
BillSteen23 BillSteen23 is offline
 
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Thanks for the input guys. I've tried everything, connections are good, transducer just below the ice, multiple default resets, played around with the different hz, and still the same result. Maybe before I go out this weekend i will watch a few tutorial videos online and give it one more chance. I will try much deeper water as well and see if I get the same result
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Old 02-15-2017, 11:34 AM
cube cube is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillSteen23 View Post
Thanks for the input guys. I've tried everything, connections are good, transducer just below the ice, multiple default resets, played around with the different hz, and still the same result. Maybe before I go out this weekend i will watch a few tutorial videos online and give it one more chance. I will try much deeper water as well and see if I get the same result
Sounds like it could be shallow water or set way to sensitive. Or someone is close to you using the same frequency
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Old 02-15-2017, 12:52 PM
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Tikka300 Tikka300 is offline
 
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I have been happy with my Marcum LX 3tci. Not the fanciest machine but it works well everywhere I fish.
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  #18  
Old 02-15-2017, 01:10 PM
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livefortherut livefortherut is offline
 
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with my humminbird if the transducer is not sitting just below the ice and it isn't hanging straight up and down it will give me funny readings.
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  #19  
Old 02-15-2017, 08:17 PM
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DOGFISH DOGFISH is offline
 
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Default Helix 5

With your Helix 5 is the Switch fire on or off. If I remember correctly in shallow water with the Switchfire is on it can give you inaccurate readings. Just seems funny it is your second unit and you are still having problems. Do you fish close to or with other guy's with Flashers as these unit have a lot of power and can cause interference. Like previously posted the Helix series is not just plug and play, they have more Capability than most of us angler's. Good luck as I won't fish without my Helix now.
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  #20  
Old 02-15-2017, 08:39 PM
Tcon Tcon is offline
 
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For the most accurate results I manually set the depth range, sensitivity and surface clutter settings as needed. However, my Helix 5 has worked flawlessly in both deep and shallow water. The thing is amazing and I was able to pickup walleye hugging the bottom where my friend's high end flasher wouldn't. The multi-view screens area also really helpful. I too won't fish without it.
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Old 02-15-2017, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tcon View Post
For the most accurate results I manually set the depth range, sensitivity and surface clutter settings as needed. However, my Helix 5 has worked flawlessly in both deep and shallow water. The thing is amazing and I was able to pickup walleye hugging the bottom where my friend's high end flasher wouldn't. The multi-view screens area also really helpful. I too won't fish without it.
They advertise 2.5" of target separation and i have seen it with a camera. I to have seen Walleye hugging the bottom as well. Awesome units they just take a little while to get used to.
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Old 02-15-2017, 10:54 PM
Tcon Tcon is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DOGFISH View Post
They advertise 2.5" of target separation and i have seen it with a camera. I to have seen Walleye hugging the bottom as well. Awesome units they just take a little while to get used to.
I agree, once you understand what the graph is telling you it's hard to use anything else. I just hope the OP didn't run into a bad batch!
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  #23  
Old 02-15-2017, 11:06 PM
otto389 otto389 is offline
 
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Default Helix

Quote:
Originally Posted by livefortherut View Post
with my humminbird if the transducer is not sitting just below the ice and it isn't hanging straight up and down it will give me funny readings.
I noticed this as well.

Last edited by otto389; 02-15-2017 at 11:17 PM. Reason: Adding
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  #24  
Old 02-15-2017, 11:10 PM
huntsfurfish huntsfurfish is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by npauls View Post
Was using my hds 8 gen 1 off of my boat and a helix 5 before that. I traded my helix 5 for a lowrance hds 5 gen 2 and it is the best ice unit i have used so far with my humminbird ice 45 coming in 2nd. I like the hds unit because of the gps mapping and the history that you see on the screen.

The bird ice 45 has been bullet proof since the first month they were released for sale. Never had a problem with it. It marks the smallest barrel swivel without a problem and makes ice fishing a fun experience. It is now my back up unit to the hds 5 gen 2.
Hi Nate! Really like fishing with my HDS 5's as well - hard to beat.
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  #25  
Old 02-16-2017, 08:11 AM
swifthunter swifthunter is offline
 
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I had issues with my helix 5 giving me random readings and the depth going crazy for a while one day, can't remember what I did to solve it but it works good now. It works good for catching perch in 10' of water to lakers in 100'. It's nice when your down that deep and I could see the bait falling from my hook if it fell off
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  #26  
Old 02-16-2017, 04:59 PM
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Rockjockey Rockjockey is offline
 
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Was someone close to you using a sonar near you.
My buddy bought the same Lowrance unit as me because mine worked so well. Every time he turns his on it cause interference on my unit and visa versa. This effect is amplified by proximity and also if we are fishing a sharp drop off.
I asked a Lowrance rep and he said that unfortunately it is a common complaint that is unfix able.
What is of interest is that our other buddy has a Vexilar and he can use his beside me and it only causes a brief period of interference upon initial turn on.
It makes sense that the sound wave is bouncing around down there and the transducer can not differentiate from one wave to another.
I have found that changing the ping speed and screwing with the sensitivity and noise reduction will reduce the interference.

RJ
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  #27  
Old 02-16-2017, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huntsfurfish View Post
Hi Nate! Really like fishing with my HDS 5's as well - hard to beat.
Its my go to on the ice and will be my full time mapping sonar on my boat this open water season. I hope i can get a bunch of recording done and sent in this year.
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  #28  
Old 02-16-2017, 11:28 PM
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I like to use my 6th sense to find fish. Works great, no battery need to be charged.
I fish without any sonar or camera, nothing could beat those unexpected bites feeling. IMHO
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  #29  
Old 02-17-2017, 12:03 AM
Tcon Tcon is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angler View Post
I like to use my 6th sense to find fish. Works great, no battery need to be charged.
I fish without any sonar or camera, nothing could beat those unexpected bites feeling. IMHO
Sight fishing is far more exciting than blind fishing. Consider electronics your eyes, just cause you see them doesn't mean they will bite. Electronics can also help you hone your sixth sense by ensuring you aren't fishing over unproductive water or using an undesirable bait, lure or cadence. Knowledge is power..
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  #30  
Old 02-17-2017, 12:18 AM
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If it's unproductive water - I move, if it's undesirable bait - I change it. Fishing is all about looking and experimenting. At least I like the way it is.
You are right, knowledge is the power, doesn't matter though you can't gain it without electronics. I'm not trying to force anyone join my side, I'm just sharing the way I love to fish.
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