Ask Sail: Transducer Dilemma

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Transducer

Q: I have a nice in-hull depthsounder transducer, and it works fine going through the hull without the need for an outside transducer assembly. Do the new forward-sounding transducers all require an outside-the-hull transducer mounting, or can I use my current in-hull transducer for forward sounding?

M. Foster, The Bahamas

GORDON WEST REPLIES

The forward-looking sounder uses a propriety phased array transducer element, which mounts on the outside of the hull. The correct placement of the transducer is critical to its ability to sound from straight down to slightly forward and thereby detect, say, a coral reef up ahead. These sophisticated transducers would not be able to compensate all the hull variations for inside mounting, nor will a new forward-sounding sounder work off of the old transducer you now have inside the hull. That said, you should look at some of the sleek new transducers out there, as well as their sleek hull blocks. Their small size might work fine outside on the exterior of your boat’s hull. Work with a NMEA specialist to find the right equipment to spot those obstructions ahead.

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