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Author Topic: Flasher suggestions  (Read 90738 times)

icetechy

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Re: Flasher suggestions
« Reply #40 on: Sep 23, 2008, 08:05 PM »
Ken- -Are you going to update the new power numbers on MarCums flashers for the units shipping 15 Oct 08.  LX-5 going up to 2500 watts and LX-3 will be 2,000 watts and VX-1 moves up to 1,000. Also all three units will be enhanced thoroughly by the new patent pending enhancements in the powerhead.  Another breakthrough from MarCum!
Tim Rogers

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Re: Flasher suggestions
« Reply #41 on: Sep 23, 2008, 08:11 PM »
ops!  Just canceled my FL-20 order.  A new 2500 watt LX-5 might be in order!

Bean

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Re: Flasher suggestions
« Reply #42 on: Sep 23, 2008, 08:29 PM »
Ken- -Are you going to update the new power numbers on MarCums flashers for the units shipping 15 Oct 08.  LX-5 going up to 2500 watts and LX-3 will be 2,000 watts and VX-1 moves up to 1,000. Also all three units will be enhanced thoroughly by the new patent pending enhancements in the powerhead.  Another breakthrough from MarCum!

Yes, I will be updating them.
Ken                                          
 

icetechy

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Re: Flasher suggestions
« Reply #43 on: Sep 24, 2008, 08:32 AM »
How about this little ditty..

The receiver is way outdated on the Vexilar units as for the most part the internal components on a Vexilar are pretty much 25 year old technology. To my knowledge and testing, the only thing that has changed in Vexilar is the cosmetics and the "digital zoom". More on this later....The low power mode and suppression cable are the band-aids to make the unit work. For the guys that have a vexilar with a low power mode or s-cable, try this.... Set your unit on a table and place a hard object under the transducer on the floor. Turn your unit on and your gain all the way down. Almost every one of the Vexilars I have used new and old will still give you a signal picking up the object on the floor. Now, if the receiver is properly designed, you should be able to turn the gain down and completely remove the signal. It kind of works like the volume on your tv. I want to be able to turn the volume all the way down to where the tv is 100% mute. On a MarCum, when you turn the gain down to 0, there is nothing being transmitted onto the screen. This is all being done without any low power or s-cable..It is better engineering and technology.

Power is everything. It creates a stronger cleaner signal right from the beginning. The stronger and cleaner the signal you send out, the stronger and cleaner a signal is received. Sonar works like a ball being thrown against a wall. Throw it hard and it bounces right back to where it came from. Throw it soft and it may bounce and roll close to where it came from.
So, if you have a strong signal being sent out, the capability of the interference rejection working better is a lot higher due to a cleaner, truer signal. Target separation is greatly increased and being able to see things in the weeds is very easy. Along with all of this, distortion is kept at a bare minimum giving you a better clearer picture on your dial.

If low power is better, why do all lowrance, raytheon, humminbird, etc....boat units strive for the most power they can get.

Touching back on the zoom....When MarCum uses the zoom, they use an optical zoom. It actually increases the target separation to less that 3/4 of an inch. On a Vex, they use a digital zoom that just blows up the already 2.65" target separation onto the opposite side of the screen.

Here are some tests that were done with some very sophisticated equipment.


MarCum Technologies LX5 VS: Vexilar FL20

Receiver sensitivity : Receiver sensitivity is the measurement of a sonar receiverís ability to detect an input signal. This measurement tells just how small of a return signal the unit is able to pick up and display. The LX5ís receiver is more sensitive.
Measurement:
LX5- 24uV
FL20- 40uV

Receiver Gain: Receiver gain is a measurement of the total system gain or amplification. Typically the more gain a receiver has the smaller signal it will be able to detect. The LX5 receiver has more gain.
Measurement:
LX5- 89.77db
FL20- 70.89db

Receiver distortion: Receiver distortion is a measurement of the sonar receiver to filter, amplify, detect, and display a return signal. A receiver with less distortion will give a more accurate display. The LX5 has less distortion.
Measurement:
LX5- less than 1%
FL20- more than 40%

Transmitter power: Transmit power is a measurement of the output power into the transducer. This is usually defined in Watts peak to peak or Watts RMS. In the sonar world more power means a better return signal with less noise and less filtering. The LX5 has more power.
Measurement:
LX5- more than 2000 Wp-p or 300 Wrms
FL20- more than 400 Wp-p or 50Wrms


Conclusions: The LX5 surpasses the FL20 in every sonar measurement that was made. With these measurements it becomes clear that the LX5 is a superior product in respect to its receiver/transmitter design. These measurements were made on off the shelf units using an industry standard tester.

What this means to the ice fisherman is that with the LX5 you will get a clearer, less distorted picture of whatís below the transducer. We at MarCum believe that these measurements reflect what LX5 users have been seeing on the ice. The MarCum Technologies LX5 is truly the best and this can be backed up and verified by scientific measurements.

Duane Cummings
Chief Sonar Engineer
MarCum Technologies Inc.
Tim Rogers

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Re: Flasher suggestions
« Reply #44 on: Sep 24, 2008, 06:39 PM »
IceTechy -

You might want to clarify to us "non-engineers" that the receiver sensitivity (listed in db's), is not a linear scale.
It is logarithmic...so that ~19db difference is NOT 19 x's more sensitive!

Though, in ice fishing, sensitivity really makes a difference!

Cheers,
MD

icetechy

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Re: Flasher suggestions
« Reply #45 on: Sep 25, 2008, 05:52 AM »
absolutely Maine Dog..

The dB is a logarithmic unit used to describe a ratio. The ratio may be power, sound pressure, voltage or intensity or several other things.
Tim Rogers

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Re: Flasher suggestions
« Reply #46 on: Oct 02, 2008, 08:04 AM »
I'm will be buying my first flasher this winter and I get exited seeing the hummingbirds because I use hummingbird in the summer.  I like that they have the dual cone cause I can fish in the hundreds for the lakers and shallower for the others with the same cone!  Does the dual cone look like it might be a problem to anyone I don't know much about flashers.

dkfry

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Re: Flasher suggestions
« Reply #47 on: Oct 02, 2008, 09:19 AM »
"On a MarCum, when you turn the gain down to 0, there is nothing being transmitted onto the screen. This is all being done without any low power or s-cable..It is better engineering and technology."

Why would you want to turn the gain all the way down and not be able to see anything? You may call it better engineering, I call it different engineering.

"If low power is better, why do all lowrance, raytheon, humminbird, etc....boat units strive for the most power they can get?"

Those units also read depths MUCH deeper than any flasher on the market. Every notice that when wattage goes up on the units, they can read deeper?


"Touching back on the zoom....When MarCum uses the zoom, they use an optical zoom. It actually increases the target separation to less that 3/4 of an inch. On a Vex, they use a digital zoom that just blows up the already 2.65" target separation onto the opposite side of the screen."

How are the target seperation claims verifyed? Any in water tests, or just machine measurements and theory?

Not trying to put you down, but I'm wary of any claims made by someone on the companies payroll. Every product X company is trying to sell is better than the competiors product. Best to compare both on the water and decide IMO.

icetechy

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Re: Flasher suggestions
« Reply #48 on: Oct 02, 2008, 01:46 PM »
"On a MarCum, when you turn the gain down to 0, there is nothing being transmitted onto the screen. This is all being done without any low power or s-cable..It is better engineering and technology."

Why would you want to turn the gain all the way down and not be able to see anything? You may call it better engineering, I call it different engineering.

Whoa, like an "S" cable band-aid, seems to be more backward thinking than forward thinking to me.  MarCum's receiver adjustability far exceeds Vexilars, not even close.
 


http://210.150.89.24/marine/200710030001.html

"If low power is better, why do all lowrance, raytheon, humminbird, etc....boat units strive for the most power they can get?"

Those units also read depths MUCH deeper than any flasher on the market. Every notice that when wattage goes up on the units, they can read deeper? 

This is also why the MarCum gives you a crisper and cleaner display and unequaled interference rejection. I guess that's why there is such a delay in vexes on screen response in deep water


"Touching back on the zoom....When MarCum uses the zoom, they use an optical zoom. It actually increases the target separation to less that 3/4 of an inch. On a Vex, they use a digital zoom that just blows up the already 2.65" target separation onto the opposite side of the screen."

How are the target seperation claims verifyed? Any in water tests, or just machine measurements and theory?

   One only needs to take some monafilament line and splits shots to do this. 

Not trying to put you down, but I'm wary of any claims made by someone on the companies payroll. Every product X company is trying to sell is better than the competiors product. Best to compare both on the water and decide IMO.

Your not putting me down at all.  I don't get paid. 
There is no way that you do not get more bang for your buck from MarCum Sonars. I spent a season evaluating both units, posted my results and that helped ice fisherman through the work I did to make an informed decision.  Why not share it with fellow ice fisherman and give them the information to help make there choice.  This isn't rocket science it's ice fishing and like most I want the best for my dollar.  MarCum is adding more umph to an already powerful unit and the "AT" patent pending geez, they don't sit back and rake the cash there always trying to do more.  American know how in an American sport, tell that to your Hondex boys..
Tim Rogers

dkfry

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Re: Flasher suggestions
« Reply #49 on: Oct 02, 2008, 02:18 PM »
The test results are from someone on Marcums payroll or at least was. Any manuf tests or claims have to be taken with a grain of salt I don't care what they make.

I think the Marcum higher end Marcum units do indeed have better target seperation than the Vex. The split shot does only give a vertical measurement though. I can set my Fl18 up where I can see the individual maggots, have to set it up right. I just prefer the Vexilar display maybe its because I'm used to it, also feel that Vexilar builds a higher quality and more reliable unit. The Fl-8 is an old design the S-cable doesn't thrill me however the Fl-8 is the only unit that has it but only needs it in shallower water.  Vexilar has a different setup than Marcum and it works very well. IMO you won't catch any more fish with an Fl-8 vs the top end units from Vex, Marcum, Hummingbird and etc. I have an Fl-18 and an Edge 2 LCD and my dad has an Fl-18. Its real nice to be able to upgrade to a 9/19 ducer or swap transducers from unit to unit. Marcum should have a similar setup so the guy that has an LX-3 doesn't have to take the hit and go out and buy an Lx-5 to get a dual ducer. I see the competition in flashers as only a good thing. I want to buy an Fl-20 however I think Vexilar may bring out another unit within a year or so. :-\

icetechy

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Re: Flasher suggestions
« Reply #50 on: Oct 03, 2008, 07:30 AM »
The test results are from someone on Marcums payroll or at least was. Any manuf tests or claims have to be taken with a grain of salt I don't care what they make.

Then you would agree with me that the .5" target I.D. on a Vexilar is propaganda and not fact.

I think the Marcum higher end Marcum units do indeed have better target seperation than the Vex.

I know the VX-1 has better target seperation than the higher end vexes

The split shot does only give a vertical measurement though.

You have to stagger the size of the shot largest at the bottom

I can set my Fl18 up where I can see the individual maggots, have to set it up right.

I can do the the same with any MarCum

I just prefer the Vexilar display maybe its because I'm used to it, also feel that Vexilar builds a higher quality and more reliable unit.

I here you it takes about 2 minutes to get used to the display on a MarCum unit but I am not swallowing the statement that Vexilar makes a higher quality and more reliable unit than MarCum. I have been to the repair shop when it was in Anoka and they had one guy on staff.  The design of the MarCum powerhead alone is stronger and more durable than the vex. Point being I have smashed the ceramic disk on a transducer on my LX-3 and it still functioned like new, had a VX-1 one take a sled dump when my trap flipped over at a high rate of speed and it still functioned properly. In my opinion after owning both manufacturers units there both built to take the abuse the average ice fisherman dishes out.

The Fl-8 is an old design the S-cable doesn't thrill me however the Fl-8 is the only unit that has it but only needs it in shallower water. 

My FL-18 was no where near as impressive in shallow water weeds than my LX-5, I know guys that have put cellophane wrap over there transducers to dampen the signal on there FL-18's to achieve a bit better clarity when fishing heavy weeds. That's where the MarCum shines when we discuss having an user friendly gain adjustment. When it comes to stacked fish, weeds, and marks tight to the bottom there is one clear choice between these two systems and it's MarCum.
Vexilar has a different setup than Marcum and it works very well.

Yes and I like liked both the Vexilar stop and MarCum swing arm on both unit's, didn't care for the float on my 18 so I took it off

IMO you won't catch any more fish with an Fl-8 vs the top end units from Vex, Marcum, Hummingbird and etc.

You can say that about any flasher or LCD for that matter... I will say this that there is way more bang for your dollar with MarCum than the competition.  That value I believe was why the company went  under and was bought out. They have the best flasher on the market and it was sorely under priced.  I believe they did this to get there name out there in a flasher world dominated by one manufacturer but it came at a price and eventually they had to sell.  The price increases for the new and improved MarCums being realeased October 15th are more representative of what this unit is worth finally

I have an Fl-18 and an Edge 2 LCD and my dad has an Fl-18. Its real nice to be able to upgrade to a 9/19 ducer or swap transducers from unit to unit. Marcum should have a similar setup so the guy that has an LX-3 doesn't have to take the hit and go out and buy an Lx-5 to get a dual ducer.

I totally agree with you there that narrow beam transducer is the cats meow on my LX-5

I see the competition in flashers as only a good thing. I want to buy an Fl-20 however I think Vexilar may bring out another unit within a year or so. :-\

Absolutely right competition brings innovation and I believe it has helped Vexilar make a better product because of MarCum's innovation. Vexilar's needed a larger zoom and everyone new it hence the FL-20. You can't knock innovation and American innovation is what made MarCum, there not one to stand pat and rest on a good unit there always searching and engineering it up every chance they get.  MarCum's innovation forced Vexilar to do something for there customers as well.  Both companies will compete for a good long time and that's the way we want it as consumers.
Tim Rogers

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Re: Flasher suggestions
« Reply #51 on: Oct 03, 2008, 09:10 AM »
That top-end Humminbird is a darn nice looking unit. But,  $500 for an untested (yet) product made by a southern US company (Alabama) that will be used in places that have temps that they only read about is kinda steep. I guess we'll see how it holds up in the cold.

dkfry

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Re: Flasher suggestions
« Reply #52 on: Oct 03, 2008, 11:54 AM »
Hummingbirds are a nice looking unit and they will probably get popular after ice trials this winter.

Something that concerns me on the higher end Hummingbirds is the LCD screen. The description says "LCD", LCDs and cold weather don't mix. Hopefully it is a TFT display as they work better. On a cold morning in the 30s the LCD unit on my boat will get very sluggish, until its on for about 15minutes.

icetechy

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Re: Flasher suggestions
« Reply #53 on: Oct 04, 2008, 08:37 AM »
I talked to a guy who ran the upper end Humminbird late last ice season and was pretty impressed with it but not the set-up or sunlight viewing, he didn't like the fact over 20' of water you had to have the gain past half way to see a size 6 shrimpo..  After fishing all the top leading flasher units the LX-5 came out on  top, Humminbird ICE-55 second and then the Vexilar FL-20..

I would like to see more reports on these Humminbirds and I am sure a few will be bought this season so we can have some more reviews on it.
Tim Rogers

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Re: Flasher suggestions
« Reply #54 on: Oct 06, 2008, 03:17 AM »
ill be reporting  on my ICE-55 as soon as we get some ice !!!!!!!!!!  C'mon big freeze, BRING IT ON!!!

I can....jig it, rip it, pop it, crank it.

AugustWest

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Re: Flasher suggestions
« Reply #55 on: Dec 04, 2008, 04:58 PM »
What's Up ???

Nothing left to say about the New "Bird Ice 55"...I am curious about these things ???
I have been researching these for the past week and I am BLUE in the face from looking at computer screens!!!!!!!

I guess the Arguement has just GROWN TO MASS PROPORTIONS ??? With the addition of a new Superpower in the Flasher Industry...I have heard LOTS of great stuff and very little bad things about the unit. Does "Bro" actually PS these things? I don't care either way...It's just food for thought :-\

Can we please get back to Bean's Topic...I Want Info...Real Life Info ;D

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Re: Flasher suggestions
« Reply #56 on: Dec 23, 2008, 08:39 AM »
   When making a purchase on a new unit I always like to know who i am dealing with. So today i made three phone calls. First to vex, the tech was rite on the phone great conversation with this gut he spoke ENGLISH good point in dealing with a MFG. I liked his sales point never bashed hummingbird or Marcum. But the power unit is made in Japan. Were hurting for jobs in America?
     Second call Hummingbird how about this one the secretary answered all of my questions and yes it was a woman and again she spoke English. I didn't have a long conversation with her but she was straight to the point and could answer anything I asked. Made In Alabama wow that is in America. I thought only Beer was made in america? But did not have a mount or ducer for a boat for the ice  series yet. It is a  new unit i'm ok with that.
       Last I spoke to Marcum got the Tech on the phone and again he spoke English was very helpful in any question I asked and did not bash on the competition. They are made in Minn wow not just Beer anymore. He gave me some company backround about the engineers being ex Naval Techs. 
       All in all I was impressed with all three on the phone and am trying to decide which to buy. Well i have narrowed it down to two. I do like to spend my money in america. Now i guess it will narrow down to personal preferance from here. I like to find out who i am dealing with before i buy a product and English is important to me. I may not be able to spell but i can talk.

icetechy

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Re: Flasher suggestions
« Reply #57 on: Dec 23, 2008, 01:29 PM »
AugustWest I found this review on the new Humminbird 55..

Humminbird Ice 55 Review

Before I get on with my review of the ICE 55 flasher I'd like to point out that I'll not try and hide the fact that I'm a big MarCum fan. In my opinion MarCum has done a lot to advance the flasher market over the past 10 years to the benefit of all ice anglers that spend time out on the ice hovered over their flasher unit of choice. And that's how I view the introduction of the ICE 55 from Humminbird. This is just one more player in the market that will bring new ideas and technologies to the market place and in the end the competition will continue to push each of the major manufacturers forward seeking fresh technology and improved performance.

As I walked out onto the ice at the MarCum High Power Challenge event held on White Bear Lake on Saturday, December 20 I was actually quite excited to have the opportunity to put flashers from different manufacturers side by side in ice holes separated by a couple of feet and finally get to see the strengths and weaknesses of each respective unit. It is one thing to listen to the double talk on the chat forums about what a unit can and cannot do. It is a whole different experience to set aside 30 minutes or an hour of your time and compare the units with a critical eye where it counts... out on the ice in a real world situation.

This review will focus on the strengths and weakness of the ICE 55 from Humminbird as it is a new unit for 2008 and little is know about the unit's capabilities.

I did not take the time to see if an ICE 35 or 45 was available at this event as I wanted to test the "top dog" in the Humminbird lineup to get a feel for the best their product line had to offer. If I get a chance to hit another one of these events I'll be sure to seek out some ice time with their other units.

Ice 55 Soft Pack

A top of the line flasher unit should come in a soft pack standard from the factory. If I'm going to drop $500 on a flasher I want it to stay safe and protected while in transit from one fishing spot to the next. The ICE 55 comes in a black and grey soft pack that appeared to be well made and without any noticeable flaws in the stitching. The soft pack material felt durable. I did not care for the way the soft pack opened or closed. Instead of velcro a pair of zippers, one on each side of the opening flap, is used to open and close the face cover. Getting a grip on the little zipper tabs with gloved hands was a difficult task and I feel the opening cover to the unit would be best secured with velcro. In watching the way others opened the case it was apparent to me that the zippers on the cover will take a beating over time as everyone I watched as they opened the cover simply reached to the bottom of the flap and yanked the cover upwards forcing the zippers to retreat backwards under force. If you have the discipline to take off your gloves and work the zippers by hand this arrangement will not be an issue. If you fish like the masses you'll be a "grip and rip" guy and those zippers won't be long for this world.

Initial Impressions

My initial impressions of the unit's look and layout was fairly positive. The flat panel face of the unit was easy to read (conditions were overcast with visibilities of about 1/4 mile due to blowing snow) so it was impossible to determine on this day how well this unit would do in bright sunlight. Control knobs were large and easy to manipulate with gloved hands. The unit I was using was fairly quiet and the standard color readout of red, yellow, green appeared to be on par with other units reagrding brightness. The ICE 55 did not have the crisp bright colors and color separation you see on a MarCum unit but I would give the ICE 55 decent marks in this area.

I did not like the way the unit sat on its mount and the overall size and height. This is a big, tall unit. Obviously if you design a unit around a larger flat screen display the unit is going to be bigger than other flashers offering a smaller display area. That's not my beef here. What I didn't like was how high the unit sat on the mount... the head unit needs to be lowered considerably and there appears to be room to do so by moving the head unit forward and down in front of the battery. I could see no reason why the ICE 55 couldn't be tweaked slightly to reduce the overall height of this unit substantially. The mount and plastic shuttle on which the unit is mounted seemed up to the task.

Getting Set Up

Here's where I started having serious issues with the unit. The knobs for adjustment on the face of the unit are large enough to be easily adjusted. However it would be nice if they were actually attached in a manner that would keep them attached securely. The "on/off" knob on the ICE 55 that I demoed pulled off under a light amount of pressure. Upon inspection I found that the plastic knob used friction alone to hold the knob in place. In comparison the MarCum units I'm familiar with use a metal allen head screw to "pin" the adjustment knobs in place securely. In fairness I was able to push the knob back in place and get back in action and the knob only came off one other time during the course of the event. However, this lack of attention to detail is going to bite someone out there and you'll find that guy adjusting his Ice 55 with a pliers for the remainder of his trip until a replacement can be secured.

The function buttons are fairly large but the labels next to the respective buttons are silk screened or printed on the face of the unit in a "dirty" white that is very hard to read when fishing out on the ice in blowing snow. I'm sure this can be addressed in the future as the product is refined. I would highly suggest bolder print or decals using contrasting colors to indicate the function of each control.

The ICE 55, and likely all other ICE series units, use a system to adjust settings where a user pushes the button for the desired control and then the user makes the adjustment using the large adjustment knob at the top of the head unit. It sounds workable, right? Here's why it drove me nuts!

For example, the active function is set for "gain" but I want to adjust the noise filter. I press the "noise" button and I adjust the amount of noise suppression using the control knob. So far, so good. The issue is that after a few second the active function is re-set to the default function, which was gain. Now when you go back to further tweak your noise settings you're now adjusting your gain. To correct the issue you need to re-adjust your gain, re-select your "noise" function and then make the needed adjustments within the allowed time before things reset back to the default function control. Are you kidding me?! Is there a way to turn that off? If there is that "reset to default control" should be set to "off" at the factory. Why wouldn't the selected function stay selected until it is changed by the user? If I'm working on tweaking the noise settings I'll tell the flasher when I'm done doing so. Every person I watched use the ICE 55 struggled with the way the controls functioned.

#12 Gill Pill in 24 foot of Water

To begin the actual performance comparison I headed for deeper water. I wanted to test the sensitivity and target separation in a scenario that is common to the way I fish. For me "common" would be 20+ foot of water and small jigs for crappies and bluegills. The jig I picked was a #12 gill pill from Custom Jigs and Spins (one of my favorites of late )and that jig would be used on the same rod and line in all tests going forward.

The test was started with the Humminbird ICE 55 in the wide beam transducer setting. Gain was turned up enough to return a bottom reading. That reading, if memory serves, was under 5 out of the possible 25 gain settings on the ICE 55. Once the bottom was established I slowly began to lower the jig. After the jig had been lowered approximately 7 - 8 feet below the ice the jig was given time to come in under the cone. After a wait of sufficient time with no mark for the jig showing on the ICE 55 display it was apparent that more gain would be needed.

The gain was turned up slowly with the jig held motionless. The jig did not appear as a steady return on the ICE 55 until the gain had been turned up past 15. Once the signal for the jig had been established at a gain setting past 15 the jig was again slowly lowered deeper. As soon as the jig started to move the ICE 55 unit lost the jig and would only display a very intermittent return on the display.

The gain was again increased to maintain a useable return signal from the jig. As we continued to lower the jig that gain had to be increased. At 20 feet the gain was at a setting of 25. Maxed out for this unit. As the jig was sent deeper to just above bottom in 24 foot of water the ICE 55 absolutely could not display a return for the jig. When the jig was raised back shallower than 20 feet the jig would again be displayed as a flickering return on the ICE 55 display. Clearly the unit has some incredible sensitivity issues in the wide beam setting. So much so that we opted to not attempt a target separation test in the wide beam as there was no way to substantiate performance if the unit was unable to display returns for the targets.

In narrow beam the ICE 55 did a better job. Once the narrow beam was selected the jig was immediately displayed and the gain setting could be turned down to a setting of 3 - 4 depending on depth. The ICE 55 did a acceptable job of tracking the jig as it fell, the signal was fairly consistent as the jig fell in the water column which allowed me to track the movement of the bait most of the time as it fell towards the bottom.

A target separation test was conducted using sinkers pegged to a line. I know, I know. Flashers aren't designed to mark sinkers, they're designed to mark the bottom and fish. I'll give you that, no doubt about it. But how do you get a couple perch to maintain a consistent separation while we test various flashers? So the sinker test is as good as it will get coming from us ice heads. Do know that the test was applied uniformly to the units tested.

Two sinkers were pegged to a line and that line was lowered to a depth just about the bottom in 24' of water. If the flasher being tested could not distinguish the two sinkers as unique target the line was reeled up and the distance was increased.

The distance between the sinkers was increased until the ICE 55 could distinguish the targets as "separate." In this test, in 24 foot of water and in the narrow beam setting, the ICE 55 consistently returned target separation results at 5". In comparison the MarCum LX5 was able to produce target separation results around 2 inches without the use of the Super Fine Line option on the MarCum LX5.

These target separation tests backed up what I thought I was seeing visually. The ICE 55 display did not seem to be very crisp and the sensitivity was very poor in comparison to some of the other units on the market.

After evaluating the ICE 55's performance in the wide and narrow beam modes I think it is important to point out how I think Humminbird has engineered their transducers as I feel that is playing a significant role in the capabilities of their unit.

First we need to talk about transducer crystals. I'm not an engineer so stick with me if some of my terminology is off a bit. I think the point I'm going to make will be plainly evident once we get past my feeble attempt as explaining how a transducer crystal works.

Inside every transducer there's a crystal. When power is applied to the crystal that crystal resonates at a known frequency. Cystals give off primary and secondary frequencies. Primary frequencies produce clean signals with minimal noise or distortion. Secondary frequencies lack in the sensitivity and noise department and are not often used by sonar engineers when the goal is to produce the most sensitive signal possible.

A MarCum LX5 has two crystals in the transducer, each responsible for producing a primary frequency. One primary frequency is used in the narrow beam setting. The other primary frequency generated by the second crystal is used in the wide beam setting. If primary frequencies result in clean signals with less noise it is only obvious to me that you're going to need two crystals to get the best performance out of the narrow beam and wide beams settings.

Humminbird uses one crystal in their ICE Series of flashers. I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that the secondary frequency is being used in the wide beam setting. And that's why the wide beam setting proved to have such difficulty displaying a return for that #12 Gill Pill in 24 foot of water when the MarCum could do so with ease.

Overview

The Humminbird Ice 55 is the newest player in the hotly contested flasher niche and bring a larger flat panel display to the market that will almost certainly force MarCum and Vexilar to offer units with larger displays in the near future. The overall quality and durability of the unit seemed to be acceptable, with a few minor reservations regarding the closure of the soft pack and the control knobs. Owners of this unit will find they're able to adapt the way they fish to accomodate the exclusive use of the narrow beam setting in deeper water and use the ICE 55 as a serviceable tool out on the ice.

What needs attention? In my opinion the user control interface needs to be improved. With that much space available for the placement of user controls shouldn't there be controls dedicated for each function? But the user controls aren't the heart of the problem. The real issue at this time is with the nuts and bolts performance of this unit. Sure, a big flat panel display is nice. But none of that matters if the sensitivity and target separation is compromised. And shouldn't the top unit in a product line that advertises a dual beam transducer offer a dual crystal transducer so the wide beam setting is actually useable at depths where most of us fish, which is to say at depths deeper than 22 feet?

I for one am excited to see where this product goes over the next couple seasons. I'm sure Humminbird will take this year one product back into engineering over the coming summer and address some if not all of the issues anglers will report to them over the ice season. For ice anglers looking for a flasher for use THIS SEASON I can say, without reservation, there's flashers on the market that bring to the table a better combination of performance and features than the Humminbird ICE Series of flashers offers at this time.
Tim Rogers

RickOnt

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Re: Flasher suggestions
« Reply #58 on: Dec 25, 2008, 10:40 AM »
Picked up the 55 Merry mas to me!!!!

As far as the Bag is concerned I felt it was Excellent and very well constructed and designed. Strong easily opened,Good access.

As for the Knobs they are very secure and even trying to pull them off I could not!!!  Now I did not try pulling with pliers!!!


As for the jumping "Back to default" setting

 After you adjust Gain,Noise Etc Etc You have to push Setting dial to lock your desired setting or It Will go back to default setting.


As for the unit not reading/Marking jig I have no info here as I have not had it out on the hard stuff. 

Anyone else???

I will let you know What I find

Rick

saskman

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  • team CanAm
Re: Flasher suggestions
« Reply #59 on: Dec 25, 2008, 08:06 PM »
got the hummingbird 35 and will review it as soon as I can.
go to taxidermy, mount it on the wall

 

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