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Old 08-06-2019, 04:07 PM   #1
ProfessorLongArms
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Lowrance Hook5 just died after a year. Considering options

Hey All,

As usual, forgive my lengthy post... Actual questions in bold

I've been using a Lowrance Hook 5 chirp (2nd most recent gen) for about a year.
I also just got through outfitting my new scupper with a 2nd transducer and wiring so I can just use the same head unit on both kayaks.

Works great when it works, but recently started crapping out. I've had a few trips now where it just works for an hour, dies, then refuses to stay on for more than 30 seconds. Corrected itself with a hard software reset (power+plus/minus buttons pressed down in case you ever need it), but then came back 2 trips later and is now permanent.

This isn't the first time I've heard complaints about Lowrance, or for that matter, this exact issue with the same unit.

I'm faced with a bit of a quandry.... I'm outside of warranty with Lowrance, and they'll send me a refurb for 40 bucks. I bought an extended warranty with WestMarine (big thanks to a couple of friends, and especially Andy, for the advice here rather than just selling me a unit direct) and they're happy to give me $280 store credit on the unit since it's discontinued.... *but* it'd mean I need to rip out the wiring/transducer, drive it down to Long Beach, eat the cost of my $120+ 2nd transducer, and move all of my data over to a new format.

AFAIK, the problem I'm facing is from taking a lot of saltwater over the bow in rough conditions, and generally putting my fish finder through considerable punishment....

Do I know anyone who has put their Lowrance (pre hook2) units through more than just flat calm conditions and found them especially reliable? I'm considering getting a replacement from Lowrance and seeing how it goes since I'm kind of invested.


Are there any alternative units that are known for being especially water tight, or that anyone has found especially reliable under similar conditions?

I'm looking at units like those cheap garmins (though I'm not crazy about a small screen) and toying with just going cheap so that it doesn't hit me nearly as hard if one craps out on me.
I'm looking for durability and reliability first and foremost.

I don't care about touchscreen or even downscan/sidescan bells and whistles so much as decent GPS with the ability to import/export coordinates.
In fact, the one thing that turned me off from almost upgrading the new Hook2 4 was that it doesn't actually have a microSD port.

On the other hand, I'm 90% sure my saltwater damage came through the rubber gasket on my microSD port and am considering just putting silicon seal on it next time if I stick with a Hook5.
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Old 08-06-2019, 05:41 PM   #2
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Also- As I'm doing research on models that don't have an SD card port, does anyone know if there's a way to backup your GPS without an SD card?

Weirdly the Lowrance Hook2 4x lists that it *can* be backed up in its specs, but it has no port.
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Old 08-06-2019, 05:46 PM   #3
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Did they ask for the cables and transducer. I’ve returned multiple units for warranty with just head unit in box.

Get the store credit, don’t buy another hook unit. And get the extended warranty again and every time.
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Old 08-06-2019, 07:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YakDout View Post
Did they ask for the cables and transducer. I’ve returned multiple units for warranty with just head unit in box.

Get the store credit, don’t buy another hook unit. And get the extended warranty again and every time.
The store manager did say I'd need to bring in the whole thing.... Prolly a case of forgiveness being better than permission, but I can also bring it in to any store Thanks for the info.

So you clearly don't endorse Lowrance... what's your poison?
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Old 08-06-2019, 07:56 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ProfessorLongArms View Post
The store manager did say I'd need to bring in the whole thing.... Prolly a case of forgiveness being better than permission, but I can also bring it in to any store Thanks for the info.



So you clearly don't endorse Lowrance... what's your poison?


I do like Lowrance outside of the hook line. Specifically have had great luck with HDS and ELITE
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Old 08-07-2019, 01:43 PM   #6
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Ah that makes sense....

I guess more what I'm looking at is sub $300 models....

Trying to find out if there's a model, be it Garmin/Raymarine/Humminbird that tends to perform better long-term that anyone's especially fond of... or if that price point is just buggy and crappy.
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Old 08-07-2019, 03:23 PM   #7
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Based on how you phrased your questions, I'm guessing you already know these tips. But I will just say them anyway.

Regarding waterproof of lowrance units: I have used several lowrance units and found all of them to be good in wet applications. That said, do you launch with your fishfinder installed on deck? There is basically no sonar unit which will survive repeated surf launches/landings. No matter what brand or model you use, always stash your head unit in a drybag below deck, then install after you are clear of the surf. I have an elite 4x (pre "hook" model) and it has lasted nearly 5 years and still going strong. It has only been used in the ocean for the most part.

If you already do this, apologies for the redundant information. I just see lots of guys launch with sonar installed and seen many units destroyed.



Regarding unit dying after and hour: the failure you describe sounds a lot like an issue I have encountered when my battery is bad. The battery will take a full charge, but when you put it under load it dies very quickly. First the screen starts flickering, then it completely shuts off. Usually u can restart it once or twice but it wont stay on. Based on your description it my be an issue with the hook2 line...

I hope you don't take offense to the simplicity of my suggestion, but did you try a fresh battery? Probably you have already tried that, and if so, sorry again for the redundant info.

In my experience I have found Lowrance products to be very reliable in the marine kayak application. I now have Elite 7ti2 and I highly recommend it to people with the budget for it. Touch screen works great, even when soaked with saltwater and yellowtail blood. Never had an issue with water ingress to the SD port. I had a Raymarine dragonfly which I found to be totally inadequate for La Jolla, the SD slot shit the bed after a couple months. Raymarine customer service was great but IMO its an inferior device.
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Old 08-07-2019, 03:57 PM   #8
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Hopefully you already checked all the connection of the cable to the unit for corrosion on damaged pins. Also and usually the first area of problems is the connector to the battery inside the kayak. I always apply di-electric grease on ALL connections and periodically need to still scrape the surface of the connections to the battery do to a layer that develops due to the salt water. I even use a pelican dry box for the battery that has a deck connector to a male end connector at the cable. When those have some slight corrosion the unit while turn on but if bump or after a short time it cut out, then will work again for a short time. It could also be a bad cell in the battery as Chris mentioned. I have had several Lowrance unit and prefer them over Raymarine I had before. All have issues in salt water if not maintained. I always have my Lowrance 7TI mounted and plugged in during launching and landing, but I learned the hard way before not to have the unit turned on during the launch or the landing in case or rolling. I had one the failed due to a minor amount of moisture that got in through the memory card slot and with the power on it was instant toast.
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Old 08-07-2019, 04:27 PM   #9
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West Marine replaced my gen1 hook5 and all were did was let them keep the new transducer and I retained my original. Not sure if you’re facing a change in connectors- I admit I kinda skimmed through this thread.


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Old 08-07-2019, 04:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris138 View Post
Based on how you phrased your questions, I'm guessing you already know these tips. But I will just say them anyway.

Regarding waterproof of lowrance units: I have used several lowrance units and found all of them to be good in wet applications. That said, do you launch with your fishfinder installed on deck? There is basically no sonar unit which will survive repeated surf launches/landings. No matter what brand or model you use, always stash your head unit in a drybag below deck, then install after you are clear of the surf. I have an elite 4x (pre "hook" model) and it has lasted nearly 5 years and still going strong. It has only been used in the ocean for the most part.

If you already do this, apologies for the redundant information. I just see lots of guys launch with sonar installed and seen many units destroyed.



Regarding unit dying after and hour: the failure you describe sounds a lot like an issue I have encountered when my battery is bad. The battery will take a full charge, but when you put it under load it dies very quickly. First the screen starts flickering, then it completely shuts off. Usually u can restart it once or twice but it wont stay on. Based on your description it my be an issue with the hook2 line...

I hope you don't take offense to the simplicity of my suggestion, but did you try a fresh battery? Probably you have already tried that, and if so, sorry again for the redundant info.

In my experience I have found Lowrance products to be very reliable in the marine kayak application. I now have Elite 7ti2 and I highly recommend it to people with the budget for it. Touch screen works great, even when soaked with saltwater and yellowtail blood. Never had an issue with water ingress to the SD port. I had a Raymarine dragonfly which I found to be totally inadequate for La Jolla, the SD slot shit the bed after a couple months. Raymarine customer service was great but IMO its an inferior device.
These are fine questions and I don't mind them at all! This is quite helpful thinking and worth considering.

I always keep my unit in the hobie rectangular hatch box and dry stored until I'm through the surf.

I'd honestly be surprised if it's the battery, but I happen to have a spare from my baja trips that I rotate between... That said, both batteries are only about a year old and I store them with charge.

As far as connectors go, I'm pretty religious about keeping them cleaned and greased these days, and also only connecting to the battery once the terminal is hooked up. I also keep a VU meter in my bag, and I test the battery before putting it in the pelican case. I pretty regularly check my lines to make sure they're holding up well, but I haven't thought to check my voltage while on the water and it's acting up. I'm gonna do that right now.

TBQH, this isn't a problem I've had in my outback... it rides pretty dry unless there's excessive swell and even then it's only splash. The big problems started showing when I was out on the water in my scupper... I still keep my head unit below deck until after launch, but that one's decidedly waaay more of a wet ride. Most of this planning is to be able to keep a unit on that one without much issue.
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Old 08-07-2019, 04:41 PM   #11
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Huh. Well I feel smart. I plugged in on that same battery and watched it drop from 12.9 to 6v in about a minute. It's about 2 years old, so I'd guess it's about time to replace it.
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Old 08-07-2019, 04:45 PM   #12
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Alternative question!

Is Nocqua/LiPo worth it in terms of life span?

Battery life is fine for me (I've never killed a healthy one on the water or even in multi-day trips) on the SLA batteries and I don't mind the weight.

Would I be looking at a similar life span of about 2 years?
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Old 08-07-2019, 04:54 PM   #13
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I love my noqua! Great little battery, feather light compared to SLA. I can get 2.5 full days of fishing BAJA with my 10AH. Using an elite 5 TI max brightness. Definitely get the 10AH though
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Old 08-09-2019, 02:33 PM   #14
chris138
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProfessorLongArms View Post
Huh. Well I feel smart. I plugged in on that same battery and watched it drop from 12.9 to 6v in about a minute. It's about 2 years old, so I'd guess it's about time to replace it.
I've had SLA batteries that were bad the day I received them. I think it depends on how the distributor stores them.

Regarding Lithium Ion, I have never tried. If you have the money it might be worth it. It depends on your application. Elite 7 ti2 for example draws 0.9 amps, so 10 ah will get you about 11 hours on a charge. For most trips that's fine. Some days I will do 12hours+ OTW so I have to use 12ah batteries which aren't available in LiPO I don't believe.

Cheers!
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Old 08-09-2019, 07:00 PM   #15
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I've had SLA batteries that were bad the day I received them. I think it depends on how the distributor stores them.



Regarding Lithium Ion, I have never tried. If you have the money it might be worth it. It depends on your application. Elite 7 ti2 for example draws 0.9 amps, so 10 ah will get you about 11 hours on a charge. For most trips that's fine. Some days I will do 12hours+ OTW so I have to use 12ah batteries which aren't available in LiPO I don't believe.



Cheers!


Not sure if they make a lithium polymer “LIPO” battery in 12 AH but they definitely make a lithium iron phosphate “LiFePO” battery in a 12ah. And they are great batteries.
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