BioBase Troubleshooting Lowrance Sonar and GPS Source

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Too commonly we get files uploaded from customers that had either no sonar information or no GPS location in the file. This is typically due to some unit malfunction or user oversight of a disabled setting. If there is no GPS position or no sonar depth in the file, not surprisingly BioBase cannot create a map.  Here we show some of the most common troubleshooting tips and tricks that will help you diagnose common issues with newer generation Lowrance and get you back to BioBasing on the water.

1. Monitor Chart, Sonar, and Downscan pages while you map

Be sure to select a screen in the main page menu that has Chart, Sonar, and Downscan (Figure 1). Watch that page while you map because if something goes wrong with the sonar or GPS while you are mapping, you need to be able to determine that quickly, stop recording, and figure out what happened. Product Expert Ray Valley shows you how to set up your Lowrance screens takes you through some basic field collection tips and tricks with this video.

Figure 1. Shown is a screen-capture of the Lowrance HDS Live monitor during the 2021 test survey of Sarasota Bay. Notice that the survey track (yellow) and the east-to-west search-and-rescue grid lines (black) are spaced about 125-130 feet apart. The vessel was located at the end of the yellow track shown as an arrow surrounded by a circular compass reference dial. The sonar data is shown as an 800Khz downscan image in the top right panel, and a 200Khz primary image with bottom tracking on the bottom right panel.

2. Ensure GPS and Sonar is Working

Figure 2. Examples of situations where a GPS source or location is not found and there is no Sonar signal coming through SONAR. Your system may also say “No Source” for the Sonar or Downscan. If there is no source, investigate why.

3. Investigate Data Sources for Invalid Sources

Figure 3. If you are not seeing a signal or get “No Source” on the display, check the Network – Data Sources. Check GPS and Sonar data sources. Remove (uncheck) invalid sources or check unchecked boxes if valid and not checked already. Channel 2 is the most common channel for Sonar in HDS and includes SONAR and Structurescan channels if using an HDI or “3 in1” transducer.

4. GPS problems? Look at whether satellites are being acquired by your Point-1 or embedded GPS.

Figure 4. GPS problems? You’ll need to determine whether you there is a malfunction or data source issue with your GPS or whether there is simply an issue with satellite acquisition in your area. The Satellite screen in the System menu is the best way to see what is going on here.

Still can’t determine what’s wrong? Google or Contact Lowrance Support

The benefit of using a consumer device like Lowrance for mapping lakes, coasts, and ponds, is that you have a user base of over a million people globally creating and posting tips and tricks content that Google will often find (including many blogs available here). Also Lowrance has good warranty and customer support.

Author: biobasemaps

BioBase is a cloud platform for the automated mapping of aquatic habitats (lakes, rivers, ponds, coasts). Standard algorithms process sonar datafiles (EcoSound) and high resolution satellite imagery (EcoSat). Depth and vegetation maps and data reports are rapidly created and stored in a private cloud account for analysis, and sharing. This blog highlights a range of internal and external research, frequently asked questions, feature descriptions and highlights, tips and tricks, and photo galleries.

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