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Old 19 October 2011, 13:35   #1
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Garmin 5xxxS flashing depth reading

Got a Garmin 5xxxS (551, I think, but they're all pretty much the same) attached to a dual frequency Garmin sounder fitted by RC in the transom well. Worked perfectly for three years.

Been out yesterday and today... at low water depth, mostly 10ft or less but occasionally 15ft, the depth reading starts to flash. Sometimes, the reading - whilst still flashing - varies, suggesting it's still reading an accurate depth; at other times it seems to freeze at some 10-15ft figure. Once I hit deep water the problem eventually clears. Back to shallow water and it flashes again.

When not flashing the depth shown appears to correlate with charts.

The Garmin handbook doesn't talk about flashing depth readings.

Any ideas?
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Old 19 October 2011, 13:42   #2
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Has it got any shallow water alarm pre set ? Could be set high hence the problem. Worth resetting or looking into.

Peter ~ Boatsandoutboards4sale ~ askboatsandoutboards4sale@sky.com ~ 07930 421007
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Old 19 October 2011, 13:48   #3
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On my Garmin, a flashing depth reading means that it has lost contact with the bottom so do not rely on the reading. It flashes the last known good reading until it gets a lock again. Mine doesn't read anything below about 1.5m and will flash if there is excess turbulence in the water too, such as when you're on somebody's wake.
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Old 19 October 2011, 14:11   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boats&Outboards
Has it got any shallow water alarm pre set ?
Hi Peter...that was my first thought too, although that usually shows as a "Shallow Water" pop-up. I did have it set but disabling it made no difference
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Old 19 October 2011, 14:20   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
On my Garmin, a flashing depth reading means that it has lost contact with the bottom so do not rely on the reading. It flashes the last known good reading until it gets a lock again. Mine doesn't read anything below about 1.5m and will flash if there is excess turbulence in the water too, such as when you're on somebody's wake.
Hi Erin...Yes, on the very few, very short duration occasions this has happened in the past, I assumed depth contact had been lost in murky shallow water: it usually always happened in the Marina. The last two days though it's been flashing more than not. Even when running In 60ft of water it would take a few minutes to get its act together.

Not much chance of running in someone's wake today...the Fal Estuary was as good as deserted.
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Old 19 October 2011, 14:37   #6
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What type of transducer is it? Does it bayonet into a housing bonded to the hull. If so, then it's possible some of the glycol has escaped. This happens to mine on bumby journeys as the o-ring is obviously not a good fit. I just top it up occasionally.
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Old 19 October 2011, 14:46   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
What type of transducer is it? Does it bayonet into a housing bonded to the hull. If so, then it's possible some of the glycol has escaped. This happens to mine on bumby journeys as the o-ring is obviously not a good fit. I just top it up occasionally.
It's Garmin transducer bonded to the transom well...it looks like it might also be designed for bolting as there are moulded in serrated mounting or swivel lugs. Other than that, I don't know much about it.

Glycol top-up? What should I be looking for and where?
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Old 19 October 2011, 15:09   #8
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This is what I have P79 ducer. You unscrew the top and put glycol in or some other inert oil type liquid such as castor oil. It provides the continuity for the signal between the transducer head and the hull. Any air in between the two will stop it reading properly.
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Old 19 October 2011, 15:15   #9
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Erin, thanks but mine looks nothing like that. But the principle of what you say may hold true. I'll take a closer look tomorrow.

Thanks
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Old 20 October 2011, 00:51   #10
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Ditto that it sounds like it's losing lock. Is the hull dirty, by chance? Or has the head unit been switched to a single mode rather than auto?

When it happens on my Lowrance, it's usually due to the xducer being kicked up, but that won't happen with yours.

jky
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