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prjavelin

Helix 5 Si Vs Dragonfly Vs Hum. 398Ci Vs 859Ci Help Me Decide!

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Pretty much my budget is around $500. I want a fishfinder with the capability to do a bunch of things my lowrance elite 4x dsi lacked. As you can see in torn between a couple features. I primarily want a fishfinder for the front of my 12' jon boat. I want to be able to have a good sonar and the chart plotter wasn't important until I found out about autocharts. There are no maps for the lakes of puerto rico. Then there's side imaging that will really help me figure out lakes. I don't like the fact that with si is more of a console unit with the transducer on the back of the boat vs one in the front making the image more current and I feel I'm being feed a live image.

Helix 5 si- looks like a great unit with si, gps so that I can upgrade with auto charts any time I want. It's hard to get right now.

Dragonfly - looks awesome. Best image I have ever seen. Very bright lots of features. Doesn't make maps with the gps unit :(

Hum 398ci everything I want way cheaper with a small screen:( for $500 I can even have it with auto charts.

Hum 859ci - doesn't have si :( everything else is very nice. Big screen! Lots of features! Says it's 360 compatible!!!! Does that mean I have to pay a $ 1000 to buy the transducers and parts or what? ??

What do you guys think?

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#1. Any SI is better than no SI.

SI on the bow with the SI transducer on the trolling motor works very well. The unit has the adjustments to make it a useful tool there or on the transom. 

I took these screen shots with a couple of Side Imaging units at the bow with a trolling motor mounted SI transducer on an electric-only lake. I think they are sort of useful.

 

CloseUp.jpg

 

AdjLedgeTracks.jpg

 

There are two 859ci versions. 859ci HD Combo which is 2D sonar and GPS, and 859ci HD DI Combo which is 2D sonar, Down Imaging, and GPS.

Including the 899ci HD SI Combo, all of them support the 360 Imaging accessory.

 

There are two versions of the 360. One is a transom mount with an electric deploy system and the other is a trolling motor mount for cable/foot steer-only electric motors. Both preform the same for the 360 sonar.

The transom model is $500 more than the trolling motor model. Both have had a price drop of $500 recently and can be obtained at some dealers for about $240 less than that.

 

The Raymarine Dragon Fly is 2D and DownVision. Some don't think the image is all that superior compared to other brands and maybe even a lower quality. It's all in the preception and familiarity with use.

Humminbird, Garmin, Raymarine, and Lowrance have units that have that technology.

 

IMHO, Down Imaging, DownVision, DownVu, Down Scan is not as useful as the side looking imaging products of any brand due to the comparative lack of coverage. It's nice to be able to see "what's over there" rather than just what is under the boat.

 

The Helix 5 series is a new product just coming out and would be a far superior unit to the 398ci HD SI Combo due to display width. With the side looking imaging, screen width is the most important. The Helix has a wider screen that the discontinued 500 and 700 series and the current 600 series.

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Wow buddy thanks for taking the time to write a post like that and help me clear all my doubts. It was the kind of information I needed!

Happy new years!

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Those pics are awesome compared to the little info I would get from my down scan. Down scan is useless compared to this

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When I woke up today I saw that the helix was back on stock on bass pro and I immediately ordered it. Im so pumped. Do I need a trolling motor mount for the transducer on the front?

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When I woke up today I saw that the helix was back on stock on bass pro and I immediately ordered it. Im so pumped. Do I need a trolling motor mount for the transducer on the front?

Good question and not to be taken lightly.

 

If you have a variable speed trolling motor, you should use a transducer that is designed for trolling motor use.

Adapting the included transom transducer for trolling motor mounting may be issues waiting to happen.

Do your installation right the first time.

I assume you ordered the Side Imaging version instead of one of the other Helix 5 models.

The trolling motor puck SI transducer is the XTM 9 SI 180 T.

If you want the unit to give even better images, you can upgrade to the XTM 9 HDSI 180 T for about $70 more.

 

When you get the unit, do not open any packages in the box that involve the transducer (mount or transducer itself). Some have stated the transducer is not in a sealed package.

Contact Humminbird Customer Serice and arrange for an exchange for the trolling motor puck version of that transducer.

 

Additionally you probably paid MSRP of $499 which is about $50 more than a marine electronics dealer's price.

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right now my trolling motor is a hand controlled minnkota 27#. Its the next thing I will need for my boat, a decent foot controlled trolling motor. Humminbird will exchange that transducer for mine and I should end up with a better picture too??? NICE. for me the frustrating part is waiting with the unit sitting there without being able to use it. I guess its all for the best, I will end up with a way better product. 

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I got one more question: what do I do when I get auto charts... I can't run around with the trolling motor down making maps. My lakes around here are small but not that small and I want to map them whole.

Should I stick to the transducer on the back or can I somehow move the transducer you recommended?

BTW you assumed right I bought the SI version!

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The XTM 9 HDSI 180 T is the same as the transom model XHS 9 HDSI 180 T. You can get the transom and trolling motor mount for it and put it where it is convenient.

 

The XTM 9 SI 180 T is a trolling motor puck and not suitable for transom mounting-- no bracket for it.

 

Auto Charts is a computer software.that processes the sonar logs that the unit records.

 

I don't use Auto Charts, but I do record sonar logs to create contour mapping with the Navionics Sonar Charts program. Have over 200 sonar logs.

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Just got off the phone with humminbird they told me the unit doesn't have the transistors to run the 800 kHz that the hds I transducer uses. So the upgrade won't be an upgrade and it's not necessary. Something else about the pins in the connection too.

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Just got off the phone with humminbird they told me the unit doesn't have the transistors to run the 800 kHz that the hds I transducer uses. So the upgrade won't be an upgrade and it's not necessary. Something else about the pins in the connection too.

It's not about the frequencies, it's about the SI crystal length.

A transducer does not add any capability that the unit does not have.

 

That is BS about the pins, both transducers have the exact same cable plug with the exact same number of connection pins (5) in the exact same positions and the exact number of crystals. You talked to an inexperienced customer service person.

 

The HDSI is longer and has longer SI crystals. Those longer SI crystals produce a thinner SI pulse, those thinner pulses producer sharper images.

It IS an upgrade and I have been doing that with a 798ci SI Combo for five years. The 798 does not have 800 kHz capability either, but it has 455 kHz for Side Imaging just like the Helix SI unit and every other SI unit except the very first ones that used 262 kHz for Side Imaging.

My 1198c SI units have both 800 kHz and 455 kHz for Side Imaging and the HDSI is the standard for them.

I used to use a Compact SI transducer on the transom and a HDSI transducer on the trolling motor when I just had one SI unit. I moved the display to where I was in the boat, so I used both transducers several times a day.

 

As a matter of fact, Humminbird gave me a HDSI transducer for my 798 to replace a Compact SI transducer when I was dealing with trolling motor RFI a few years ago. That is how I know about the protective shielding the HDSI has that the Compact SI transom transducer does not have. My first Compact SI trolling motor puck was built before the extra shielding was added to that model-that is why they gave me the HDSI transducer. I still have that tranducer and don't use it except for experimental purposes.

 

Another fact is the Compact SI transducer can be used with the higher end SI units with both 455 kHz and 800 kHz Side Imaging frequencies. I've done it several times as a Mythbuster example to the uninformed.  

 

My 1198c SI units can be set for three different SI transducers.

Hi-Def Sidescan=455/800 kHz

Compact Sidescan=455/800 kHz

Sidescan= 455/262 kHz.

 

Frequencies are generated by the unit processor, not the transducer. A transducer is just a combo speaker/microphone that broadcasts sound and detects sound echos.

The crystals are tuned to operate within a certain frequency range.

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You definitely have more experience than the guy that took my call! I will order the transducer. I want the best I can get. Thanks for the insight!

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An additional gem.

I recently purchased a Down Imaging unit just to get the Down Imaging transducer so I would have a down oriented imaging sonar crystal for Down Imaging with a Side Imaging unit. Got a good deal on it for less than the price of a DI transducer.

That transducer also has 5 pins

 

This is a single down oriented imaging crystal with a Side Imaging unit creating the Down Imaging view.

 

S00276_zps24a5e2dd.png

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Hello

Helix 5 Si Vs  398Ci

Can you record video of the side imaging with the helix 5 for later viewing

How long can be the video ?

 

thank you

You can record video on both units.

 

The units can use up to a 32GB card which is more that a day of recording.

BUT you do not want to do a long recording. 15 to 45 minute segments is the best. It is very boring watching a recording playback waiting for some subject to be displayed.

The largest card I use is 16GB and I have not come close to using all of the memory.

I record for a purpose not just to have long hours of recorded data.

I keep all my recordings in a file for later viewing and for using the data for contour mapping.

I file them by the lake name.

 

The Simulator that the units have is a recording just like what you can do.

 

There are several free recording viewers you can install on you computer to have better control of the playback instead of just using the unit itself. Humminbird does not have a computer software for that purpose. 

I use HumViewer and DeepView FV.

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So for my need it is better to get the Helix 5 ?

what is the big diference betteewn Helix 5 Si Vs  398Ci

thank 

 

Display size and shape

 

The Helix displays are a lot better for Side Imaging than any of the units smaller than the 800 series.

For Side Imaging, screen width is the most important factor.

 

Before the Helix series, the 500 and 700 series 5" display were the best.

This is a comparison of the 5" square display and the Helix rectangular display

 

Helix700_zpsacde08c6.png

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I made a map of my 350 acre lake I made with my HB 898ci si. Took me two months and a ton of gas. 3 mph was max speed. I used a timer and made 15 min recordings.

 

I used Dr Depth software (had to buy). Worked well but contour lines are not very close to show alot of detail.

 

I had them made on 11 x 17 paper (two sided) and laminated. I have sold a bunch for $12.

 

Here is the map.

fullmap_zpsi23tks56.jpg

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I made a map of my 350 acre lake I made with my HB 898ci si. Took me two months and a ton of gas. 3 mph was max speed. I used a timer and made 15 min recordings.

 

I used Dr Depth software (had to buy). Worked well but contour lines are not very close to show alot of detail.

 

I had them made on 11 x 17 paper (two sided) and laminated. I have sold a bunch for $12.

 

Here is the map.

fullmap_zpsi23tks56.jpg

 

At least one person is doing Navionics Sonar Charts at Lake Monticello. Wasn't any new data applied when I did an update a few minutes ago. I talked to him at one of the Winter sports shows.

You can see what is done so far by looking at the Navionics website's Web App in the Sonar Charts layer.

The whole lake will be 1' contours when it is finished.

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