Sonar Settings

As promised, here are a few paragraphs covering the use of manual settings on the LCX-15mt or any other large format screen unit in the LCX-Series.

Lowrance’s new large format products like the LCX-15mt, X-135-25/26/27/28/110/111/112/113, LCX-16ci, LCX-17m, LCX-18c, LCX-19c and LCX 25c, process and display all sonar returns in the automatic mode. The product’s default setting is “Automatic”, without some good sonar skills the images you see on the product straight out of the box may be confusing to the novice.

(The info in the next few paragraphs is not worth much to a person who does not use the sonar product as a tool. Manual operation requires that you make changes to settings throughout the day as conditions change and you change areas where you are fishing. For example, depth, wind, current and water clarity. That being said...if they don’t want to push a button or two and aren’t interested in increasing their sonar skills the Automatic mode is best for all round use.) YOU CAN’T TURN THE PRODUCT TO MANUAL AND JUST LET IT RUN.

To achieve the best display of information think about the big picture, the whole concept relating to how sonar works and the screen it is being displayed on. You’ll find it’s best to put the product in the Manual mode. In other words...the key to making a good picture on a LCD type screen is to maximize the screen area you are using, controlling the sensitivity yourself, and monitor the method by which the signals are processed.

You can control these features manually by accessing the “Sonar Features” window using the product’s keypad. For this, touch the “Menu” key taking you to the screen showing the Sonar Smart Menu. From this list use the “Up or Down Arrow” key to move the highlighted area over the “Sonar Features” option...now you can enable or disable automatic modes. Once you see the “Sonar Features” window you navigate around this screen by using the “Arrows” key.

First, enable “Chart Manual Mode” by highlighting that selection and pressing ENT to place a check mark in that selection box. Second, disable the “Auto Sensitivity” by removing the “X” in the box next to “Auto Sensitivity”. Third, set the ASP to “OFF”. Fourth, set the “Surface Clarity” to “OFF”. Now hit the “EXIT” key to back out to the Sonar Smart Menu. These settings completely disable the digital sonar functions of the unit so that no changes in sensitivity or in displayed information are made without you knowing about it. All aspects of received sonar echoes are displayed on the screen, and you adjust for optimum performance.

Select the “Sensitivity” option...adjust this down to an average setting around 70% to 80% (a little more or less may be required given the days fishing situation). Hit the “Exit” key to return to the Full Sonar Screen. To obtain the best possible setting you may consider one of the following. At your depth of operation, turn sensitivity all the way to 100% or until the screen darkens with noise. Then back off the setting until a good readable chart is seen. This gives the maximum sensitivity possible, and still has a readable chart. Alternatively, set the depth to twice the actual depth and turn up the sensitivity until you begin to see the second echo begin to chart. Set depth back to actual depth and use normally. This ensures you are receiving all possible echoes in the water column.

Remember you disabled the “Auto Depth Range”. You now have to control the depth range yourself. Go to the Sonar Smart Menu and select the “Depth Range” option. The proper setting is the closest depth to the depth of the water you are fishing without glint under. For example: If you are finishing structure that is 32.5 ft deep you need to set the depth range to 40. As you move around from place to place on the body of water you are fishing, you will have to change this setting a number of times. If this is not a convenient enough tool for the user (i.e. they’re lazy) they can leave the “Auto Depth Range” enabled, but will sacrifice the best advantage this product offers...it’s unmatched detail and target separation capabilities.

One other manual setting you may wish to adjust is the sounder ping speed adjustment. This will adjust the number of times the sounder will transmit sound and receive more often, up to 30 times per second. Turning it down will slow down the sending and receiving. The default setting is 50% or normal. From this you can adjust the ping speed to faster and fastest, or slower and slowest. Two settings up and two settings down. “We recommend the normal or 50% setting” for most normal use, but these can be adjusted for optimum performance in specific circumstances.

When traveling at higher trolling speeds and even when cruising from hole to hole we would recommend turning the ping speed UP. This puts more sound in the water and will cause more sound waves to hit and echo from a target. Example a small school of baitfish or a brush pile on a normal sounder could appear like a single dot or speck when traveling, say 20 - 30 mph. With the ping speed turned up, these targets would be hit by more sound waves, and return more echoes making their appearance on the sonar chart more recognizable.

When still fishing or deep jigging over structure, (over deeper waters 30-60 feet and over) sometimes you may receive noise and interference from your boat or nearby boats which are also running sonar. You can do one of two things, turn the ping speed down or you can put your unit in Stop Chart, this will help reduce and often eliminate noise and interference from other sources and sounders.

It is important to remember that changing the ping speed also changes the scroll rate of the sonar chart, as each sounding is displayed when it occurs. Changes in the ping speed should be made to provide you with the best possible picture or chart, which is usable for your specific application. Sonar chart details should be timely, and recognizable. You may wish to test some different ping speed settings over known targets or known stretches of your local waters to better understand and see how these changes can effect your sonar chart.

We should also discuss transducer types as it relates directly to what is viewable under your boat, specifically the differences between single and dual frequency transducers. Each of these transducers are unique and have unique characteristics when connected to your sounder. The 200kHz single frequency transducer uses a crystal element, which is specifically cut for use at a frequency of 200kHz. This transducer is a standard cone angle of 20degrees, which can provide coverage up to 60 degrees under the boat. The dual frequency transducer uses a different and special crystal element, which will operate at both 50kHz and 200 kHz. This transducer will provide a 12 degree cone and 45 degree coverage at 200kHz and 36 degree cone and 90 degree coverage using 50kHz.

Since these transducers have different elements they will perform differently. The single frequency 200kHz transducer, will provide the same detail and target separation, but a larger coverage area than the dual frequency transducer operating in 200 kHz model. It is better suited for fresh water application. When selecting a transducer, for operation in 200 kHz, the single frequency standard transducer will provide up to 60 degree coverage area, the dual frequency will provide only 45 degree coverage area. The relationship between coverage area and cone angle is explained shortly.

Cone To measure cone angle you must first locate the Peak power point under the center of the transducer. Then you locate the Half power point (-3dB) on both sides of the peak power point. This is the cone angle, which is used to identify the transducer. Outside of the half power point in decreasing levels is still usable power. The other half of the total transmits power. Now the power weakens at an exponential rate the wider the angle, however useable sonar power and useable sonar echoes are received up to 60 degrees on our standard 20 degree cone angle transducer. That is why the cone angle is only a measurement to identify the transducer and does not indicate what will or will not be seen as an echo return.

This diagram illustrates the relationship between Cone Angles and coverage areas as well as how this measurement is taken

NOTE: Although the cone angle of 50 kHz seems wider and provides a larger coverage area, the frequency of the sound does not provide as detailed an echo in shallow watersless than 100 feet deep. We only recommend the dual frequency transducers for Great Lakes freshwater, and for all saltwater applications, including inshore coastal areas. The increase from 60 degrees with 200 kHz to 90 degrees with 50 kHz is offset by the loss in detail so that no overall gain is achieved for normal freshwater fishing use.

NAV Chip for X-15 HM276XL

Always shut units off before shutting OFF power switch breaker on boat. It burns out your unit. To discharge, turn power switch in boat OFF, turn unit OFF after you do this hit Power Key again, this discharges capastor when no power is on.

Also, always shut power in boat OFF from the main battery. This prevents build up of corrosion in wires that can create electrical problems in the boat.

Be sure to check the bottom signal in your units. Put your boat in the water at the ramp, as they have hard bottoms. This can give you a good idea what hard bottoms look like

 

GPS Settings

 

BEGINNING GPS WITH THE LCX SERIES OF LOWRANCE PRODUCTS Although this is not a comprehensive guide to using GPS when on the water it is a good place to start an education. Readers can follow along with examples by turning on their units in the GPS Simulator mode.

For anglers it seems the biggest use of GPS is to save fishing hot spots and at some point in the future recall those spots and return to them using the GPS to indicate the path.

First things first, the spot you want to save is called a “waypoint”.

Most often you will want to save a waypoint at the moment you are at the location. Say you are fishing along and suddenly notice a rock pile on your sonar screen and it’s holding some fish, too. It looks like something you may want to remember. You would press the waypoint key (WPT) twice to save the spot into the memory of the GPS. The LCX series of Chart-plotters will display a small window on the screen, for example the window would read “the current position has been saved as 005". You will need to remember the number as the waypoint’s name. You may choose to edit the name so you can easily remember the significance of the waypoint. Let’s try it....simply touch the WPT key once, touch the ENT key to find the waypoint you want to edit. When looking for a specific waypoint find the name. Use the arrow keys to highlight the “Name” button and press ENT. If you have a small number of waypoints you’ll want to choose the waypoint from the list so touch ENT one time so that you can scroll through all the waypoints. Upon locating and highlighting the waypoint you want to edit press ENT. When the next sets of windows appear highlight the “Edit Waypoint” button and touch ENT. Another window appears. The highlighted portion will already be over the “Name” field. Touch ENT. Using the “Arrow” keys enter the name you want from the letters of the alphabet. Let’s name the waypoint “Rock Pile1". When finished touch the ENT key or EXIT key to accept the name. To return to the main chart-plotter screen touch the EXIT key a number of times until the mapping screen is displayed.

At other times you may want to save a waypoint but are not currently at that location. For example, you are doing some map study of a lake and notice an area that may hold good numbers of post-spawn fish. Maybe an area with a number of secondary points. No matter where you are (even in your driveway) you can easily move the cursor to the area using the “Arrow” keys and touch the WPT key twice. A message will appear this time that reads “the cursor position has been saved as 006".

Before discussing how to use the GPS to take you back to those hot spots you need to know a few golden rules of GPS....that is, GPS navigates in a straight line (as the crow flies). Recalling waypoints will tell you the spots coordinates, its distance from you, and the direction you would need to travel in order to cross its path. Information that can only aid you in making navigation decisions. The GPS will not take into account land mass, water shoreline and obstacles such as trees or other boats. A “Route” is a series of waypoints where you plan to make a change of direction at each waypoint. We will talk more about using routes in a moment, for now, just remember a route is used for true navigation, a waypoint is used for determining a spots location in relationship to where you are and to the waypoints surroundings.

To recall a waypoint touch the WPT key once, highlight the choice “My Waypoints”, touch ENT to find the waypoint name or by its distance from you. Choose the waypoint you want to recall by touching the ENT key and highlighting the waypoint of your choice. You’ll see four choices and tons of information about the waypoint. From this set of windows you can choose to navigate to a waypoint, edit a waypoint, find the waypoint on the bagckground map, or simply review data about the waypoint. To have the unit draw a course line from where you are at the waypoint highlight “Go To Waypoint” and touch the ENT key. The unit will automatically display a map screen and show a line depicting the shortest and straightest path to the waypoint.

To use the GPS in a safer manner you’ll need to create a route as outlined below and use the GPS in the “Digital Data” mode found under the PAGES key. The digital data will tell you volumes of the information about getting to your destination. Notice that the windows of digital data next the map show numbers referring to TRACK and BEARING. When running or navigating a route these numbers should match exactly. After selecting the key sequence that tells the unit to indicate the correct patch or route to the final destination simply steer the boat in a direction so that the TRACK and BEARING numbers are as close as possible. Being careful of the conditions, boat traffic and obstacles. Watch yourself go back to the hot spots time and time again for years to come.

Key Sequences:

Saving Waypoints
Press WPT twice

Recalling / Editing Waypoints
Press WPT once
Highlight “My Waypoints”
Press ENT once
Highlight “Name”
Press ENT twice
Highlight waypoint of choice
Press ENT once
Highlight “Edit Waypoint” to edit

Finding Distance
From a mapping screen move curser over Target using ARROW keys.
In seconds the unit displays a box indicating area, distance and direction.

Navigating Routes
Press MENU twice
Highlight “Route Planning”
Press ENT
Highlight “Saved Routes”
Press ENT
Highlight route of choice
Press ENT
Highlight “Navigate”
Press ENT

Creating Routes
Press MENU twice
Highlight “Route Planning”
Press ENT
Highlight “New Route”
Press ENT
Highlight “Waypoints”
Press ENT twice
Highlight “Add Waypoint”
Press ENT
Highlight “My Waypoints”
Press ENT
Highlight “Name”
Press ENT twice
Highlight Waypoint of choice
Press ENT
Highlight “Add to Route”
Press ENT
Continue with waypoints as needed

Master these functions and you’ll be well on your way to a good understanding of navigation with GPS. Other methods of GPS navigation include using Plot Trails, an electronic breadcrumb trial . It’s a simple method that is quickly understood

Factory Resets

When your unit becomes erratic, locked up or in lockout mode, try resetting the unit. Following are the directions to clear these problems according to your model.

X70A - LMS - 350A
To Reset - Press and hold down “clear key”. Press and hold down “on key” Both keys at the same time. Then release both keys again at the same time. When the screen comes on the unit is now reset.

X-45
No Reset No Memory - Turn the unit off and then back on, it resets when turned back on.

X-65
To Reset - Hold “left” and “right” arrows at the same time. Also, press “power button” at the same time. When the screen comes back on, let go of the keys. Then press “exit”, then shut off the unit. When unit is turned back on, it is now reset.

X75, X85, X71 & X91
Make sure unit is off. Press “exit button” and “power button” at the same time. When the unit powers-up and the light comes on, it is now reset.

X-15
Press “page button” and “power button” at the same time, when the map of the U.S. show, release the buttons. It is now reset. NOTE: You need to wait a short time for the map to show. Also, the unit has a built in reset. Look for system set up.

X51, X81, x97, EAGLE 320
Resets are built into these units. Press “menu” under system set-up.