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Portable GPS/Depth Sounders


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hi all,

I have been looking around for some GPS and fishfinders lately and have seen a few portable types. These seem pretty cool as they're not as expensive as the big ones and would suit my boat (as its tiny). Has anyone heard or have any feed back on these portables? Any brands to recommend?



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Hey Ash - I got a portable GPS. I use it in my car, in my boat and on bush walks. I reakon it's great. It does everything you will need it to in your tinny, in kayaks or any other fishing trip.

I got the H2O mid range model for $499 (I think). I upgraded it with local map ($165 I think) and it was worth it. It actualy told me I was at Norman Creek when I went looking for where you got the Jew.

It runs on batteries and 12v. It also has a built in areal which has never failed me (yet anyway)

I origionally bought it to get me home at night cause I can't see as good as I used to and the waterways are still new to me, so I don't know the way. I got lost one night off Moreton and the missus banned me from night fishing untill I bought a GPS.

The other day when I was with Angus and the typhoon hit, we could not see land, but the little GPS got us home, without it I think we'd still be doing donuts in the bay. It has a great tracking system.

Another good thing about it is that it allows you to save your hot spots (I think they call em \"way points\"), so you can get back to the same spot (within 2 meters).

Post edited by: Brian D, at: 2006/08/08 20:31

Post edited by: Brian D, at: 2006/08/08 20:32

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Ash about fish finders - I have a hummingbird debth sounder with a range to 240 feet, or so they say. I think this is just as important as the GPS or even more so in your case.

Most chanels in the river that I have mapped range from 30- 60ft in the middle, so finding the drop offs and holes is the go. Also you need to know if there are sand banks or hidden objects coming your way.

The model I got is about 5 years old so there are many more new models with advanced software but really I have not found the need to change it. It shows the drop offs and holes.

The other day, (with Angus still) and again cause I couldn't see, with out it we would have run up on a reef at the back of peel island. I have set the \"beep\" to sound a loud beep if the water depth changes rapidly or within 30 ft. That is enough time for me to stop the boat before disaster struck.

The problem here is the install. You gotta get the sounder radar underwater thing set up right or you will get false readings.

I don't know pricing but I would say it's a tuff call for you. Do you want a 2 in 1 unit that is fixed to your boat or do you want 2 seperate units? For the river and if it was me and I had to pick one to get first I would go the sounder to find the fish, as my budget would be stretched to buy the $2000 combo unit. Which ever way you go,as far as I know, the sounder needs to be installed and mounted and wired to a 12v system.

hope it helps ya

Post edited by: Brian D, at: 2006/08/08 20:55

Post edited by: Brian D, at: 2006/08/08 20:56

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if you want a cheap used one plenty on ebay or trading post. they do not have a good resale value and lots of people now upgrading to colour which is the way to go. Beware of ones with cracked screens as you are looking at around 160 bucks to replace them. also never clean a humminbird screen with metho or window cleaners as this will crack screen immediately. also humminbirds seem prone to nitrogen leaks and the screen will fog up internally when the sun hits it of a cold morning. renders sounder useles untill it warms up. my old 3d paramont had to be repaired twice for screen fogging and my mates matris 35 has been in 3 times in last 12 months . no problems with waranty claims its just a pain having to take them to tingalpa and being without a sounder for 2 weeks.

if you get a second hand one and want it to be easily portable the suction cap transducerare readily available and its cheaper to get a small 12v sealed battery from the likes of supercheap than to run it off 2 6v dry cells


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Hey thanks for response guys.

I think i want to go the 2 seperate peices. And yeah, was thinking of getting depthsounder/fish finder first, then the gps. All the info will come in handy for sure.

Now, at the risk of sounding stupid, and remembering ive only just started, whats a beacon to beacon and y need one?

And Feral, where do i get these Bias sounders? Are they good quality? Being that cheap i guess they're not A grade, but as long as they dont fall apart within 30 days kind of thing.

Brian, when i buy a depth sounder, i may just P.M some questions as to wher/how to set up the thing! I really have no idea yet about these things:blush:

Rayke, do u think it worth the risk to go threw ebay or post? I dont usually buy second hand electricals.

Post edited by: Ash, at: 2006/08/10 21:18

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Hey Ash the beacon to beacon is a book by Maritime Qld. Get it at the Newsagent or Fishing Store.

It's like the referdex for the waterways. Shows the safe passage on all waterways and lakes in Qld. It also has great detail of the Brisssy River.

You should really get one, you'll love it and it will help you.

By the way the only stupid question is the one not asked, so ask away.

Post edited by: Brian D, at: 2006/08/10 21:34

Post edited by: Brian D, at: 2006/08/10 21:35

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probably better off buying new if you are a bit wary. My latest lowrance colour i purchaced new from usa on ebay aprox half auzzie price only drawback if i have a warranty problem i will have to send to usa for service or have to pay to have it fixed in australia as they will not recognise usa warranty here.

i have been told navman will recognise overseas warranty claims but i have not personally checked.

trading post should be better to buy from as at least you meet the sellerand get to try before buying otherwise word of mouth from fishing/boat clubs would be ok.

have a talk to the boys at bias boating as they are very helpfull and sell several brands..


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  • 7 months later...

Hey Guys,

Sorry to bring up an old topic but just found these and thought you might be interested:


A rod mounted fish finder with a wireless probe you attach to your line and cast out.


A watch fish finder with a wireless probe.


A portable fishfinder with a regular transducer plus a castable wireless probe.

The first two can be had for about for around $160 AUD.

The third one around $250AUD.


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  • 4 months later...

I too have been looking at these.

And to be honest am horrified with Australian pricing.

Take for instance the Humminbird 383CX GPS Chartplotter/FF Portable

In Australia it is AUD $1049.00

In the US, RRP USD $479.99 But I have seen is for USD $418

Even after conversion, and sending it the highest express mail 1-2 business day courier you can find (about $100 for postage). Its still double the price! And if you are happy to wait a week or 2 postage comes down alot.

But unfortunately, no OZ maps makes the GPS side of it useless.

So, ok no GPS...

343CX Fishfinder Portable in OZ AUD 769 vs US USD 306

Still Double the price give or take..

Is this normal for fish finder pricing in Australia ?

But Portable models I have found in OZ include

Humminbird 343CX Fishfinder Portable

Humminbird 383CX GPS Chartplotter/FF Portable

Humminbird Piranha MAX 210 Portable

Humminbird 535 Portable Fishfinder

Garmin FF90 Portable

Eagle Cuda 168 Portable

HawkEye FF3355P-I

Hondex HE-6100 (but I don't think it will work with tinnies)

I believe the Eagle FishMark 320 and 480 both have portable options as well. But haven't found anything in Australia. I actually believe most of the Garmin models come in a portable version, at least in the US.

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small boats need serious gear just as much as large ones do, garmin make decent small sounders, i can vouch for that from my yak, 300 approx.

but for gps i would not be mucking around, seen to many crap ones. garmin 172c with a chart imported under 1k, credit that to nailing me plenty of fish, makes it a breeze working a barra run at nite.

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The transducer is stored inside the case and attached to the transom with a G clamp.

The battery is a 7amphere hour so should last for at least 20 hours would last less time if you are going to run a colour unit as they use more power but would still be adequate for a days fishing.

I used a cheap old eagle magna sounder that I got from ebay but the principle is the same for whatever sounder you use. If I ever get around to it I will remake the case using smaller ply to cut down on the weight and size.

Ray [img size=500]http://www.australianfishing.com.au/media/kunena/attachments/legacy/images/P1010622_AFO-bed33646013ce17a4fc4d57cb43fca2b.jpg


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Ray thats a very good portable finder set up!!

As I have just about finished fitting out my tinny with a fish finder I have become \"stuck\" with the choice of battery I should be using. I see you are using a sealed 7amphere hour that would last for a days fishing. If I was to add nav lights and a livebait tank aswell as the finder what size battery should I use???

Would a heavy duty car battery do the job??

Ash sorry to hijack ya post mate !!!!

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Dazz, you've got to add up the amps used by each device, then multiply by the number of hours you want to use it for. For a normal battery you should not go regularly below 80%charge if you dont want to do long term damage to it.

If you use LED Nav lights, with the Sounder, the current used would be bugger all, the main issue woulds be the size of the pump in the live well.

If you use normal nav lights, they run 25 watt bulbs from memory, so 3 x 25watt, or 75watt, equals about 6amps per hour (volts x amps gives watts)I think (Brain is starting to hurt!)With just the running light on (anchored), thats about 2amps per hour.

I dont have a clue how much power is needed to run a live well.

If you have an old amp meter (you know those old 30amp ones that used to come in every instrument cluster you bought when you were a rev head!) lying around, connect everything up and run it through the ampmeter to your car battery for a couple of minutes and see how much power it uses.

Note: if you do much rough work, that significantly reduces the life of a car battery in a boat, they cant handle the bouncing around. A Lump of foam under the the battery might be a wise move!

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For your live well you will only need a 400gph pump that will draw 1.5 amps.

For your live well pump get the best you can afford eg a rule or a red johnstone, the cheaper $16 economy ones dont last and are not designed for continous operation.

I dont run my live well continiously . I only turn it on for 10 minutes every half hour but it would depend on what fish load you have in your tank.

If you were using it to keep fish live in a comp you would have to run it all the time but to keep bait live intermittent use works ok for me.

I wouldnt worry too much about the nav lights if they already exist as you normally dont have them on for that long but I would recommend a led white riding light as they draw minimal power.

If you already have a white riding light you can buy a led type bulb to fit.

An ordinary small supercheap 7 plate car battery will run your riding lights and live well on an overnight trip.

From memory they have a capacity of around 30 to 40 ahs.It will last for around at least a year before you need to replace it which is a lot cheaper than a deep cycle battery.

So for an overnight trip your power consumption would be

Sounder .5 amp by 10 hours = 5ah

White riding light .5 amp X 10 = 5ah

live bait continious 1.5 X 10 = 15ah

live bait intermittent 1.5 X 3 = 6ah

nav lights whilst under way 4 X 2 = 8ah.

You can reduce the power of your nav lights down to 10 watt bulbs to save power and whilst they will still be legal they will be a lot dimmer.

So your battery consumpion can vary between 24 ah to 31ah which still gives you some reserve to run a spotlight intermittently and maybe an internal light.



You can also save a bit of power by not having the backlight turned off on your sounder or turning it off when anchored.

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OK, my turn to highjack this thread!:woohoo:

I also have a \"stupid\" question to ask:

If I want to fit a depth sounder / fish finder like those mentioned (cuda 168 maybe) to my little tinny, how does the transducer get mounted?

Does it involve putting a hole in the hull, or does the lead run up over the transom and down to the bottom of the boat?

Any help appreciated.


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You can buy a suction cap and use that but they will come off at speed and if you dont notice that the transducer isnt working they twist up the lead something fearfull or you can do what i do and mount the transducer on a bit of wood and clamp it to the transom with a g clamp.



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  • 3 months later...

Hey Ray, time to re-visit this old thread cause now I've got my sounder and it's time to mount it up! Its a Navman 4431.

Does it matter what type of wood you use to mount the transducer?

Obviously it will be in the water for extended periods, but does it need to be marine ply or anything special like that, or could I use treated pine (fence paling etc)?

Also!...I was lucky enough to get two big ass 6v 225amp hour batteries from shortie.

I intend to use these when I get my electric (xmas list!), but they seem like a bit of overkill (and excess weight) just to run the fishfinder.

I'm thinking that for trips just using the fishfinder (not the elect motor) I might be better off getting a small rechargable like the one you use, any recomendations on battery and charger?


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12v .7ah non spillable bias catalogue number 3239 for $29.95 is ideal

1 amp trickle charger catelogue number 3246 for $34.95.

Or have a look at supercheap and see what they want for their emergency jump start batteries. They start off at around $40 including charger and inbuilt light and are handy just to keep in the boot in case you forget to turn off headlights etc.

A bit of fence paling is fine for mounting the transducer on. On my dam boat i just use a bit of builders ply and it is just starting to delaminate after 5 years.


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go to someplace like bunnings buy the cheapest 12v drill bring it here ill cut the drill in half and turn it in to a battery bay for your 12volt stuff then buy another drill you now have a drill with lots of batterys and a 12v addapter for bait pumps lights sounder etc the more batterys the longer the running time

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