How much power is really needed?

Discussion in 'Fishing Electronics Review' started by Clovis, Nov 14, 2006.

  1. Clovis

    Clovis New Member

    Messages:
    165
    State:
    Paris Tennessee
    Am contemplating a new depthfinder, and I have found a few I like, but to get higher powered units it seems as if you have to get a bunch of bells and whistles I don't want to pay for.

    Found one I like that is 800 several in the 2400 range, and on that is 4000 I think, but it is dual frequency.

    I know someone is going to say buy the one with the most power you can get, but is that the rule, or a suggestion.

    I fish water that could be up to 100 ft, but is generally less than 60 ft deep.

    Thanks,
    Steve
     
  2. tspergin

    tspergin New Member

    Messages:
    867
    State:
    newark ohio
    Any new name brand finder is a good investment the more resolution the better and if you check around the year end models are going on sale at up to 40% off
     

  3. SkiMax

    SkiMax New Member

    Messages:
    2,012
    State:
    Rising Sun, IN
    for 100 feet the most powerful is not needed. 800 watts should be plenty, IMO.
     
  4. Mr.T

    Mr.T New Member

    Messages:
    2,553
    State:
    MO
    More power will give you better target separation and identification and should help you track the bottom more accurately at higher speeds.

    Most single-frequency Lowrance units have about 2400 watts peak-to-peak, and many (if not most) single-frequency Eagle units have about 1500 watts peak-to-peak, which I guess helps to account for the lower price of Eagle units that are otherwise identical to Lowrance units (they're made in the same factory). The numbers you see advertised are the maximum power, however, not the average or continuous output -- the actual power output is affected by the sensitivity setting, water depth and other factors.

    I haven't seen a single-frequency unit with 4000 watts, but they probably exist -- the Lowrance units that advertise 4000 watts generally only emit that much power with a dual-frequency transducer, and everything I've read says you don't need a dual-frequency transducer in shallow freshwater applications.

    If I was looking for a new sonar unit, I'd select first based on price, then screen size and resolution, power output and then color vs mono. If you're on a tight budget, it doesn't really matter how much power you want; you won't be able to afford any but the least powerful units.
     
  5. dademoss

    dademoss New Member

    Messages:
    524
    State:
    Ohio
    High transmitter power increases the probability that you will get a return echo in deep water or poor water conditions. It also lets you see fine detail, such as bait fish and structure.

    Put another way, which is better for seeing your way in the dark, a 2 cell flashlight or a high power spot? Both light things up, but more power is more light and the ability to see better, in all kinds of conditions.
     
  6. SC Hartwell

    SC Hartwell New Member

    Messages:
    749
    State:
    Pickens, SC
    I'm not satisfied with 800 wat ouput. I would definitely go for a more powerful finder. Just my 2 cents.
     
  7. CatHound

    CatHound New Member

    Messages:
    164
    State:
    Missouri
    As a basic rule, High powered units are advantageous in these situations:
    1. when you are fishing deep waters (60-100 foot is not considered too deep for most sonars)
    2. when you need very precise target seperation at moderate to deeper depths
    3. when fishing near other fishfinders - as in ice fishing with your buddies
    4. having two units on the same watercraft.

    In the latter two cases, the sonar with the most power wins - the other fishfinders in the vicinity could experience interference from the more powerful units.
     
  8. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    Let me supply a little light on the subject.POWER is supplied by the unit to the transducer.Lowrances' high power units ie 8000w/4000w all come with a CHOICE of single or dual freq transducers.The 50 khz transducer simply focuses the power into a narrower beam for better penetration in deep water.Normal fresh water situations you DON"T need dual capabilty transducers.How much power do you need?Well its kind of like buying that new boat with a 50hp motor.After a month you wish you had 60 hp.With finder power its how much do you want to see?Keep in mind that the transducer projects a CONE of sound into the water and the highest "Power" point is directly below the boat.Targets are detected throughout the cone however,and at some distance from the boat.More power, more dispersion within the cone,better detection of targets on the fringe areas.More power also gives better definition which is one small advantage of the 50khz transducer.You narrow the cone but focus more of the power within it.Often whe I want to "see" something better I can zoom the 200Khz or switch to the 50Khz and zoom it.As long as the target is within the narrow cone I can "see" it better, or get a better idea of bottom compositon ,structure type etc.If power is a function of budget then get as much as you can, you wont regret it.:smile2: :big_smile: :wink:
     
  9. slimcat

    slimcat New Member

    Messages:
    952
    State:
    marion kentucky
    The Lowrance X135 is a Single frequency 4000watt unit. I have had it for this year and it worked great, but more watttage is better as Jim described. If you want to see those monster cats on the bottom, You had better purchase a unit with some good power, I would not choose any unit with less than 4000 watts for serious catfishing.
     
  10. ShilohRed

    ShilohRed New Member

    Messages:
    4,339
    State:
    West Tn
  11. Mr.T

    Mr.T New Member

    Messages:
    2,553
    State:
    MO
    Interesting screen shots, Pete.

    In the first one, my guess is that the differences in the target strength between two sides of the dual-frequency display are because the bait fish and other targets weren't directly below the transducer but off to the side by some distance. They would appear stronger in the 50 kHz beam because it's a lot wider, and not as strong on the 200 kHz beam because it's very narrow.

    Not sure what the second screen shot is really demonstrating related to the amount of power your unit has - the display looks like the typical shot of a sinker bouncing along the bottom below the transducer. I think the display would be pretty much the same no matter how much power the sonar had. If I'm missing something, let me know.
     
  12. ShilohRed

    ShilohRed New Member

    Messages:
    4,339
    State:
    West Tn

    The sinker and bait in the last shot was with me 20ft from the transducer. And a lot of lower power units will not mark that. Also that is a 1 oz sinker there also.
    Also my unit states it will track a BB down to 40ft.
    Pete