A Second Depth Sounder

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Sno' Dog
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A Second Depth Sounder

Post by Sno' Dog »

Like most recent 34's, our boat came equipped with the Raymarine package which included a DSM 300 depth sounder. We seldom use the full fish-finder screen, instead we've set our E-80 displays to show the depth read-out in small windows along the edge of the screens. This works OK as long as the depth sounder is producing a good reading, but we've had a lot of trouble getting our unit to work properly - particualrly in shallow water.

Discussions with RayMarine Technical Support revealed that the DSM 300 was actually designed as a "fish-finder" - with a range up to 500-feet - it is not really a shallow-water fathometer. After some fussing, we've finally been able to obtain reasonably reliable readings down to about 5 feet, but that's about it.

This spring, we installed a second depth sounder which gives us excellent readings right down to 3 feet. We put the transducer in the starboard hull, so now we actually have readings from each side of the boat. Going down the ICW, this is very cool as we can easily see shoaling as we approach the side of the channel - and of course, this tells us immediately which way to steer for deeper water.

In order to make this work, you need a transducer which works on a different frequency from the Raymarine. We purchased a Furuno RD-30 unit which we mounted on the fly bridge to starboard of the E-80 display. (The new unit operates on 235 kHz and so does not interfere with the 200 kHz operation of the Raymarine). We installed a (retractable) transducer in the starboard hull (under the floorboard in the head ) and we now have simultaneous port and starboard depth readings! Another plus is that we also have water temperature AND speed-through-the-water readings. Although not really necessary, it's fun to know immediately what the current is doing.

Here's a photo of the RD-30 unit in action on Sno' Dog's flying bridge: Image

The RD-30 unit costs a mere $359 - plus another $220 for the transducer (an Airmar 235DST-PSE). The biggest job was routing the wire from the head up to the flybridge. PDQ does provide built-in wireways, but it's quite a challenge to snake a wire some 20 feet through them.

We are very happy with our latest gadget. Certainly a big catamaran advantage is the ability to have dual depth sounders - it's something I've always wanted!

Henry - Sno' Dog
Last edited by Sno' Dog on Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ThomKat
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2nd Depth Sounder

Post by ThomKat »

Hi Henry,

Good idea! Have thought about doing the same thing but was not particularly interested in spending what RayMarine wants for their unit. We have a depth only transducer in the port hull and like you, we have the data displayed on the nav display.

The problem that got me thinking about a 2nd unit was an incident in a dredged channel. We were meeting another boat and had moved over toward the edge of the channel. I was looking at the depth and it was showing 18' - under the port hull - when we hit something very hard and took about 2" off the bottom of the starboard skeg! Fortunately we didn't damage the prop or rudder.

Hadn't thought about the interference between units but it only makes sense. Thanks for the post!!

Tom
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Mishigas
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Post by Mishigas »

Henry, I did a similar mod last season. I also have a Raymarine DSM 300 but asdded a stand alone Raymarine Depth Sounder for the Starboard Hull. Also installed the transducer under the head sole with the reader on the flybridge. It is nice to have redundancy and be able to get a read on which side of the boat is getting skinny. For cats I think this option should be almost required for our boats.
Regards, Sandy MV34 "Mishigas"

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AMCarter3
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DSM-30 Dropout Issue

Post by AMCarter3 »

I'm sending this message to a 2007 series of posts regarding DSM-300 shallow depth limitation issues. I'm hoping that there are some PDQ owners who have encountered and resolved a different DSM problem like we are experiencing. Our DSM-30 Depth Sounder unit intermittently drops out... meaning the depth data is suddenly "lost". It's been doing this for about 3 years. Sometimes, months go by without a dropout. Other times, the depth/speed data drops out 2-3 times a week. Sometimes we get an alert on our MFD saying, "DSM Lost". Other times, the depth data simply disappears from the ST60 gauge.

So far, we have: 1) replaced the transducer; 2) traced and verified each cable & wire connection to/from the DSM unit. I recently purchased a 2nd DSM-30 unit and power cable on eBay. Haven't tried either yet. I appreciate hearing from anyone who has encountered and resolved this kind of intermittent signal loss on a DSM-30 unit.
Mac Carter
2006 34' PDQ PowerCat "All Heart"; MV 98; twin 100 HP Yanmars
Home Port: Bellingham WA 98229
Member of San Juan Sailing & Yachting Charter Fleet: http://sanjuansailing.com/charter-detai ... .php?id=35

AlanH
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Re: A Second Depth Sounder

Post by AlanH »

Mac,

Our problem was different than yours. I had problem with the depth readout but never got a DSM data lost message. The electronics guy replaced the DSM-300 with a CP370. The DSM300's had manufacturing problems and Raymarine extended the warranty for a long time. I think that may have run out though. Unfortunately, we still had the problem and he decided something must be wrong with the new CP370 so he put another in. Same problem and I no longer had any confidence in him. Eventually I figured out it was the transducer on our boat. You have replaced that so, it may be the DSM300 in your case.

Last spring we replaced all the electronics. Best move I ever made. Modern, easy to use, touch screen, expanded capabilities and much more reliable. With the new electronics (we used Raymarine) the exhaust temp and high bilge water alarm can be wired into the MFD's. We had it done for both sets of alarms which were installed as a part of the project. The only down side is the MFD's must be on to get an alarm but I was satisfied with that.

We also had the temperature, oil pressure and tachometers wired in. It required a Actisense EMU-1 ($400) to convert analog signals to NIEMA 2000 digital data. We had a tack fail one time underway and this eliminates that problem. We also have access to gauges at the upper station now right on the MFD. We can split page with them but I usually just switch pages periodically. It was not cheap, about $15,000 installed but well worth it in my opinion.

Alan
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AMCarter3
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Re: A Second Depth Sounder

Post by AMCarter3 »

Thanks for that, Alan! Good to hear about the new Raymarine gear. We've heard similar positive feedback from several boat owners in our charter fleet about the new Raymarine gear... especially when compared to Garmin and B&G. Doing a full replacement is probably our next big investment in the boat. It's either that or buy a new cat! Hmmm... thinking.... OK, new electronics.
Mac Carter
2006 34' PDQ PowerCat "All Heart"; MV 98; twin 100 HP Yanmars
Home Port: Bellingham WA 98229
Member of San Juan Sailing & Yachting Charter Fleet: http://sanjuansailing.com/charter-detai ... .php?id=35

Ortolan
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Re: A Second Depth Sounder

Post by Ortolan »

Another possible fix for your DSM-300 issue (if being inputted to your Ray Marine chartplotter) could be the settings on your chartplotter. My depth worked only intermittently for 3 years (& the previous owner’s 2 years), so I added a separate depth sounder in the starboard hull to use instead.

Jump ahead to last spring - my flybridge E120 was having issues, so I bought a used one on eBay for $300 - it’s like new & works great. While playing around with input settings, all of a sudden the depth started displaying & now displays correctly 99% of the time. I wish I knew which setting it was, but something to do with NMEA or SeaTalk.
Russ
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AMCarter3
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Re: A Second Depth Sounder

Post by AMCarter3 »

Russ, thanks for that suggestion... I'll play with the MFD settings and try to find something like you reported.
Mac Carter
2006 34' PDQ PowerCat "All Heart"; MV 98; twin 100 HP Yanmars
Home Port: Bellingham WA 98229
Member of San Juan Sailing & Yachting Charter Fleet: http://sanjuansailing.com/charter-detai ... .php?id=35

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