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Old 28 October 2011, 10:22   #1
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Garmin 5xxS Question

Question for someone with a Garmin 5xxS and whose boat is out of the water...

Could you tell me please what the depth sounder display shows - as in depth of water available in ft/m - when the plotter is powered up?

The depth sounder system isn't able to give a reading out of water...but...is the ft/m display blank, does it flash a "dash" mark or does it flash the last remembered reading, or what?

Still on a quest to find out what's wrong with mine
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Old 28 October 2011, 10:29   #2
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I have a Garmin 556s and I am about to go to the boat so I'll check it and let you know later
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Old 28 October 2011, 13:17   #3
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If you get a return, it's typically about 4x the actual distance (i.e. a ducer one foot from the ground will show 4 feet due to faster sound propogation in water.)

Whether or not you get a return depends on proximity, direction, and substrate. If you don't get a return, the unit (well, Lowrance does; not sure about Garmins) should show either the last reading received with a flashing display, or if it doesn't remember that (i.e. just powered on), a series of flashing dashes.

jky
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Old 28 October 2011, 13:49   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jyasaki View Post
If you get a return, it's typically about 4x the actual distance (i.e. a ducer one foot from the ground will show 4 feet due to faster sound propogation in water.)

Whether or not you get a return depends on proximity, direction, and substrate. If you don't get a return, the unit (well, Lowrance does; not sure about Garmins) should show either the last reading received with a flashing display, or if it doesn't remember that (i.e. just powered on), a series of flashing dashes.

jky
On the plotter I get nothing...when in 'Chart' mode, the ft/m depth reading just shows a dash "-" ...there's no flashing, no last reading, no nothing Garmin say it should flash a nonsense reading but I think even they are out of ideas now. In 'Sonar' mode it's just a blank screen. It's just the same in the garage as it was on the sea at water depth less than 15ft...if the water's more than 15ft, perfect

The transponder makes that cyclic electric pinging noise it's always made.
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Old 28 October 2011, 13:50   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BogMonster View Post
I have a Garmin 556s and I am about to go to the boat so I'll check it and let you know later
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Old 04 November 2011, 17:33   #6
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Apologies, I got slightly waylaid by a wheel nearly falling off my trailer and forgot ... then left the country

Anyway I did check and mine shows "-.--" when you switch it on out of the water, and if it loses the signal in the water it flashes the last known depth.
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Old 05 November 2011, 00:19   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BogMonster
Apologies, I got slightly waylaid by a wheel nearly falling off my trailer and forgot ... then left the country

Anyway I did check and mine shows "-.--" when you switch it on out of the water, and if it loses the signal in the water it flashes the last known depth.
Thanks for that. I'd been reading about your trailer 'excitement' and globe trotting so guessed things had got in the way.

When out of the water is the "-.--" reading constant or flashing? Mine's constant now after upgrading to v5.3.

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Old 05 November 2011, 04:05   #8
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I'm 99% sure it was constant because I remember thinking that I expected it to flash and it didn't.

How do you upgrade the firmware then - and what issues is it supposed to fix? I'm thinking "if it ain't broke don't fix it" but depends on whether there are any benefits.
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Old 05 November 2011, 10:18   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BogMonster
How do you upgrade the firmware then - and what issues is it supposed to fix? I'm thinking "if it ain't broke don't fix it" but depends on whether there are any benefits.
From the Garmin Support website you need marine plotter updates. It's a one-size-fits-all thing. You download the c60Mb file to a Windows OS pc (Mac not supported), unzip the file and save it to an sd card. Put the card in the plotter, go to Software Update in Configure and away it goes...it chooses what it needs depending on which 5xx you have.

I went from v4.3 to the latest 5.x...In the dowload to pc process it tells you what is fixed at each update level. There's depth sounder improvements, bug fixes, interface changes, additional language support, plus, plus...I'd do it for the performance ang bug stuff.

Thanks for your depth sounder comments. Much appreciated
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Old 14 June 2012, 03:40   #10
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Bump...

Recap...Garmin 551S and associated transducer doesn't show water depth less than 15/20ft. It's not intermittent, it's a permanent thing. Once over 20ft, perfect. Coming back into shallow water, once under 15 ft, nothing. So there's a little hysteresis involved.

The 551 is running the latest (v5.6) software. All other plotter functions are fine.

Spoke to Garmin Technical who were perplexed...they didn't think it was the plotter but could be the transducer but they weren't sure as they'd no experience of this problem. Spoke to a respected Marine Electrician who was very clear...it's not the transducer, it's the plotter...the transducer is digital in that it either works or it doesn't

Can anyone explain to me the process by which depth readings are produced? I'm just trying to get my head around the process to try and understand where the problem might be.

* There are two frequencies...why?
* Is one frequency better in shallow water and the other in deeper water?
* If so, is the plotter/transducer capable of failing just one frequency?
* Does the transducer provide the separate frequencies or are they produced in the plotter and the transducer merely transmits and receives them through the water?
* Is there any 'intelligence' in the transducer or is it just a transmitting/receiving device that merely passes a data stream to the plotter?

Next planned step is for a Marine electrician to connect a new transducer to the current plotter, hang it over the side of the boat and see what happens. If that doesn't work, go back to the original transducer and connect a new plotter to it. If that doesn't work, open the sea cocks
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