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Old 22 January 2013, 08:15   #1
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lowrance elite-5 dsi

hi this is my 1st post on this forum can anybody help.
can you buy a u.s version of the elite 5 that is loaded with u.s maps and us it in the uk?
would you have to load in uk maps or would it not be possible.
does anyone know the best place to get a uk version?
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Old 22 January 2013, 11:22   #2
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I think the built-in maps are held as firmware, so unless you can find a UK map source and flash the unit to replace them, I'd say no (though if you're going to use third-party cartography like Navionics, you may get around that, not sure.)

For local (to you) availability, see Where To Buy - LOWRANCE | Marine Electronics or wait for someone else on here to respond to your query.


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Old 22 January 2013, 16:41   #3
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Originally Posted by captain daddy View Post
hi this is my 1st post on this forum can anybody help.
can you buy a u.s version of the elite 5 that is loaded with u.s maps and us it in the uk?
would you have to load in uk maps or would it not be possible.
does anyone know the best place to get a uk version?
Was talking to guys in West Marine in New York the other day and they advised against buying Lowrance as a US bought set will not work in Europe. They didn't have any easy way around it....

Would stick to Garmin or Raymarine!
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Old 22 January 2013, 17:16   #4
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thanks for the help
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Old 28 January 2013, 08:32   #5
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Originally Posted by mike-m View Post
Was talking to guys in West Marine in New York the other day and they advised against buying Lowrance as a US bought set will not work in Europe. They didn't have any easy way around it....
I do have to ask (and this is an open question!) so what happens if a random transatlantic sailor form NY decided he or she is going to spend the summer on an Atlantic crossing? It's not like Lowrance are going to fly an EU set out to the boat mid Atlantic!

Granted that is an unlikely scenario, but a GPS signal is a GPS signal wherever you are, so presumably this is all down to either protecting EU profits by making sure the "cheaper" US units won't work in Euroope, or possibly the map formats are different and there isnlt enough memory aboard the machine to tackle both formats?


Anyone tried putting USA maps on an EU purchased machine? Did it work?
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Old 28 January 2013, 11:26   #6
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My guess is it's more a international trade type restriction. Mapping is most likely the same; and, as you say, the signal itself doesn't change. As far as I am aware, the basemap is the only difference; I'm not personally clear on what it takes to change that basemap. I assume it can be done, but I suspect it would require a fairly low level change to the firmware.

The US vs. European units are probably designed that way such that the European importers do not have to compete with the US market.

This happens in other niche markets as well (though in a different fashion); I recall a lot of "gray market" scuba regulators and computers being sold through discount retailers here in the States that had no warranty, as they were surplus European stock. Functionally the same, but no warranty coverage on the US, based on where the unit was supposed to be sold.

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Old 28 January 2013, 11:47   #7
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I have heard about this geo fencing previously and the application between USA and International models. The point about use by bona-fide US citizens in international waters is interesting though
The power of google has a number of articles
From Continuous Wave
Some time in the recent past, Lowrance began a policy of dividing their HDS product line into two distinct groups: products to be sold in the Americas, and products to be sold in the Rest of the World (ROW). The ROW products are certified to European standards and carry the CE mark. It is not known if there are any actual electrical or mechanical differences in the products marked with the CE mark that would distinguish them from the products manufactured without the mark. The only difference may be just the mark, although that is speculative. For more about the CE mark see
CE marking - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The products for sale in the Americas do not have CE marks and therefore might be technically illegal to be sold in Europe or other places where a product like a recreational marine electronic device may be required to be certified with the CE mark.

Distinguishing which Lowrance product you have is apparently best accomplished by a close inspection of the original packaging. The box should show a notation of "This product for use in North or South America only" (or something similar).

On units intended for sale and use only in the Americas, some strange restrictions have been put into the software on the device. If the device determines (from its deduced position from its GPS receiver, I assume) that it is outside of the intended region, it goes into a limited function mode. The boundaries are the meridian at 30-degrees-West longitude and the International Date Line. The limited functionality consists of locking the units into the English units, that is, distance in feet or miles, not in Metric units, and a flashing of an on-screen reminder that the device is being operated outside of its intended region. For more details see Lowrance's document on

Restricted Use of Americas Region Units Outside of the The Americas
http://www.lowrance.com/Global/Lowra...icas-Units.pdf

The onset of these geographic restrictions apparently began around software version 3.0. Downgrading units to earlier versions of the software can apparently remove the geographic restrictions, but, of course, comes with a loss of features and upgrades.

Lowrance also apparently has a policy of providing a software unlock which will remove the geographic restrictions. It sells the unlock in four tiers, depending on what unit is to be modified. The prices are believed to be

MODEL PRICE
HDS-5 = 250
HDS-7 = 550
HDS-8 = 650
HDS-10 = 750

It has been speculated that this "geo-fencing" was undertaken to reduce the gray market export to overseas markets of devices produced and distributed for sale in the USA. There is often a substantial price difference between the cost of an HDS unit in the USA and the same unit in a foreign country. For example, an HDS-10 sells in the USA for around $2,500 (or less) but in some European countries it sells for $4,500 or more.


From Fixya
Hello

In order to protect the markups of local resellers Lowrance have built into its US versions of its HDS GPS/Sounder units a "Geo Fence" that monitors where the unit is. Units built with US base maps (identical to worldwide versions except they have a more detailed map of north America and cost literally half the price) will deactivate metric units, all languages except English and continuously flash up on the screen a warning "this unit is not for use in your area. please contact your local reseller"

You have obviously purchased a unit that is made for only the USA and so far there is yet to be a fix for the problem of geo fencing.

it is written into the "firmware" that is programmable components, that need "code" to be written to and changed, it is fairly common in the computer/electronics industry, now how true that is I dont really know, but it is not a simple software driven thing, firmware (as the name implies) is the layer between hardware and software. Supposedly the units "knows" via hard coded data where it is and where it is supposed to be, and as soon as an update is downloaded, or an OS unit is started up in Australia it throws a wobbly and has a whinge big time.

What's interesting about this is that international units do not have this issue, hence you could purchase one for your yacht and travel around the world.

So my advice will be for you to purchase an international version of the gps so you can use it in any part of the world.
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