EchoPilot Platinum FLS, better than expected

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now excited to have Ben Stein as very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2019 and beyond.

6 Responses

  1. Patrick says:

    I think it’s safe to say EchoPilot will have a VERY uphill battle when Simrad releases FLS. Navico has proven itself both with StructureScan and the broadband radars that they are a HIGHLY competent at signal processing, especially with making the result easy and clear for the end-user to understand. Coupled with the MFD integration you discussed, versus the clunky remote and 80s-appearing screens of the EchoPilot, it really limits applications where it would be the best choice.
    Nothing against EchoPilot – it takes a lot to build a forward-looking sonar, I just believe it’s going to be quite difficult to compete against Navico.

  2. Randy M says:

    Ben, your key points for me are (1) having realistic expectations and (2) experimenting with the FLS to see what it sees in various situations. The imagery you show is not much improved over what we saw on Echopilots and Interphase Probes and Twinscopes we installed prior to 2002 in Annapolis. Our most satisfied FLS customers were those with the greatest experience and the willingness to get to know how to use this tool. We finally stopped recommending Echopilot and Interphase units to the less experienced or focused boat owners. One owner of a Bristol 43.3 totally credited his Echopilot for saving him from hitting a coral head off Puerto Rico’s southeast coast. But an owner of a Silverton with an Interphase Probe put his boat high and dry on a sandbar at the mouth of the Severn River in Annapolis. We could have predicted that outcome for this customer! Have reasonable expectations going into it…..they generally won’t paint a great graphic image….and then practice using it til you can trust what it does and what it sees in your particular installation.

  3. Sandy Daugherty says:

    I too have discovered prudence and caution are keywords with earlier generations of FLS. I would add another: Focus.
    A catamaran with an 18 foot beam and one transducer on, say the port hull is still blind on the starboard hull. Need I dwell upon the resulting embarrassment?

  4. roger says:

    The thing everybody wants, the holy grail, is something that can tell a sailboater of the presence of a waterlogged shipping container 100 metres ahead. The problem of surface wave ‘noise’ makes this almost impossible, but we can dream.

  5. Rick O says:

    Ben,
    For a comparison, you might be interested in the attached screenshot from a Furuno scanning sonar (CH-250). The transducer is pointed straight horizontal (hence the 0 degrees tilt) and it is looking forward 400 feet from my end-tie slip. There is a sea wall that can be seen prominently on my starboard side. There is also a parallel sea wall, at a greater distance, that can be seen on my port side.
    Regards,
    Rick
    ps, I just realized that there is no way to attach a jpg? I will try to email that to you.

  6. Some interesting comments,especially from the dealer (Randy?)who only sells to more clued up boaters. I think that applies to fast automobiles,chainsaws….etc
    Seriously though yes practice helps,think of it like a radar, some targets look great others disappear,but with practice you get to spot side lobe echoes,back radiated echoes and multiple path echoes,the same applies to an EchoPilot Sonar.
    Ben, the EchoPilot’s performance on Gizmo would improve greatly if you switched off the other sounder you have running,even different frequencies have harmonics which may be multiples of the 200Khz we use. I can see on some of your screen shots at least one other running,and that will turn down the Auto gain.
    Cheers,Mike Phillips,EchoPilot

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