new Echopilot vs. Farsounder 3D forward looking sonar

Discussion in 'OnBoard Electronics & Controls' started by expedition, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. expedition
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    Location: Panama

    expedition Thorwald Westmaas

    I read on Panbo about the new and upcoming 3D forward looking sonar of Echopilot.

    The shots on their website show very clear looking image compared to the Farsounder its pricing is about 1/8.

    It has a longer forward range apparently but is more limited when it comes to depth. But then again, if we have enough water below the keel, we wouldn't need the forward looking sonar.

    Our application would be to - very slowly - find our way between coral formations around island where the charts are or not reliable.

    I wonder if anybody on this forum has more knowledge about how these systems compare and why the huge price difference.

  2. mark775

    mark775 Guest

    I don't know either but, to me, it looks better than the other. What is the price?
  3. expedition
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    Location: Panama

    expedition Thorwald Westmaas

    Echo quoted around $ 5K for a system without display. That was last year. I'm waiting to get an update one of these days. A Farsounder system was about $ 90 K.
    1 person likes this.
  4. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Let us know the result Thorwald, that is interesting for me too.

  5. EchoPilot
    Joined: Aug 2010
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    EchoPilot New Member

    Here is some technical information about our new echopilot 3d. The system has a maximum forward range of 200m, however as with all forward sonars the actual usable range is dependant on depth. The EchoPilot 3D can see between 10 and 20 times the depth ahead and work in water bellow 1m deep! The screen update is between 1 and 2 seconds depending on the range.
    I cannot say what figures the competition achieve however I do know that we compare quite favourably. Even our cheapest 2d models available from just £500 will achieve higher forward range to depth ratios than any of the competition, and update the screen twice every second. For a true real time image.
    The 3D will be on the market in late September for around £5000. Keep checking the website as it is updated every week, just yesterday we added some more 3D screen shots; the one on the home page is particularly impressive, showing a buoy chain ahead of the boat. If you have any questions give us a call or send an e-mail, the EchoPilot team will always be happy to help.
  6. singleprop
    Joined: Mar 2008
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    singleprop Junior Member

    It might not be a true 3D sounder but Interphase SE200C could be a cheaper alternative (for cheap charlies like me) with a price of around 2300 US$.

    It is apparently good for fish finding as well (don´t know if Echopilot 3D is good for that).
  7. SnakeDoctor
    Joined: Jan 2011
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    Location: Ontario, Canada

    SnakeDoctor New Member

    I have an existing Echopilot FLS (Black box Platinum I believe). I've compared it to the Interphase models on friends boats (but don't know the models of the Interphase).

    My big issue with the Interphase was how slow it updated. These units don't really see that far ahead. Most of the time I'm using mine, it's in 20' or less water. That means it's best seeing 120' ahead. Add the fact that the transducer is mounted 20 feet from the bow, and I'm down to 100'.

    Now even at idle, that doesn't give you much time. I've used mine in a few spots that I was really concerned with and kept going from idle to neutral to keep my speed down. In one case the Echopilot found a big boat killing rock 'just' before I would have hit it. Since I was going slow, I was able to throw it in reverse (with lots of throttle) and was stopped and just starting to reverse as my wife yelled from the bow.

    It wasn't a huge amount of time between when the Echopilot saw it, and my wife did - but it was enough. Even if that rock just took out a single prop, it would have cost more than the echopilot!

    I'm looking forward to this new 3d unit because it will see farther, which is a real bonus, but also the 3D mapping might be useful in determining where to drop an anchor. If I could see where the shoreline slopes up, I might better know how close I can get to it (Currently my wife takes the dinghy in and reads depth soundings over the vhf while I anchor - this would be better and give me more piece of mind that she didn't miss a rock or something)

    It would also be fun in crowded anchorages to see where peoples anchors actually are, so I don't drop mine over theirs.

    The horizontal and vertical scanning will certainly help paint a better picture.

    My only real complaint with my Echopilot is that it doesn't work properly with my Furuno Navnet 3D units. It's like the old TV's where the Vertical Hold function wasn't set right (the image just keeps scrolling). Echopilot has a firmware fix for this but I have to send it to England to get the update! I know when I get it back, Canada Customs will try to charge me a few hundred dollars of duty for my 'new' unit (They almost always do, and if you don't like it, then you don't get your stuff - then good luck fighting for it back).

    I would appreciate a user downloadable firmware for this reason
  8. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

  9. SnakeDoctor
    Joined: Jan 2011
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    Location: Ontario, Canada

    SnakeDoctor New Member

    This looks pretty intersting RWatson. I can't comment on its performance but would expect it to be no better than the current crop of these units. The bad part here would be the transom mount. May be easier to mount but would limit it's effectiveness even more.

    Remember that they only work about 6 times the depth forward (so 60' forward in 10' water), if you put it at the back of your 30' boat, then you're really only seeing 30' ahead. That's not much time at all.

    It would work to help distinguish slopes and shorelines a bit, but rocks and other obstacles could show up with not enough time to avoid - even at a crawl.

    It does offer a through hull, so I'd definitely go that way.

    You should ask what the update frequency is for Interphase. I remember it being very slow, and that was a deal breaker.
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