We Want Better Gear - Eagle/Lowrance Electronics Issues E-mail
Monday, 19 April 2010 09:53

Connector ends have corroded to the point of being non functionalThere is a lot of equipment we use for kayak fishing that isn’t specific to the sport. Many items we have borrowed from other sports; most notable paddling and fishing. Things are changing though and now we have clothing made for us, rods, etc. However some products don’t hold up or do the job and that’s what I’m going to discuss here. Hopefully it will get the attention of manufacturers. I took the same view in my early days in the sport and by selling gear and talking about it we got the attention of many companies and because of this better products. There is a major electronics company I’ve used extensively and I’ve come to the conclusion that their products aren’t up to the task. This is unfortunate but the company has been impossible to communicate with too. Hopefully articles like this will get their attention.

When it came to selling and installing electronics (fish finders and combo units) at KFS we decided it would be easiest to stick with one brand.  We ended up choosing Eagle/Lowrance products for a few reasons. They had a number of units that claimed to be waterproof and covered an array of options. Also they all shared the same transducer which made installation uniform and switching between units easy and convenient. We use to get lots of calls from the company too asking installation questions and eventually they just had anyone interested in installing one of their products in a kayak contact us. We both sold and installed a lot of units. I was a big fan of their products and recommended them. All Vexilar connector pictures of fish finders and combo units in my book are their products also.

I am no longer recommending their products and suggest purchasing from other companies. Here’s how I’ve come to this position. First, the power/transducer wire has a flaw and the connector rots out to the point of being useless. I have had this happen on a number of transducers and I have two pictured at the beginning of this article. I am not the only person to have this happen to and it seems to be a regular flaw in the system. I have spoken with others who have had the same problem. So it is not an isolated situation. I'm not sure why it is doing this but whatever the reason it is unacceptable and wouldn't be hard to change. I and others have tried to contact the company to discuss this but they are impossible to communicate with. A search on the internet found prices from $65 to $110 for a replacement! That's not pocket change. Also the pins on the unit are very thin and it isn't that hard to bend or break them. I've had it happen and I know others who have had issues too. Other companies do a better job with their connectors. I have a Vexilar connector pictured and it is a far superior design from a Garmin electronics connector much less expensive unit. Also Garmin has a nice system too with built in caps for both the main unit and the transducer/power cord.

Secondly, I have had an issue with one of their units. It is an expensive unit, for a kayak, the Fish Elite 642c. While in the Everglades the unit stopped reading the accessory chip which contains detailed chart data for the GPS part of the unit. I called my contact and he was the head of the tech department and they replaced the unit on warranty. Then a bit over a year later the same thing happened and my contact was no longer there. I couldn’t really speak to anyone and they wanted $250 to repair the unit. It was the same exact problem. Communication was very difficult and I would have to press button after button on the phone to try to get to someone.  Turns out the company was under new ownership and things appear to be very different there. I finally got someone in marketing and told them of my problem and that I was an outdoor writer and had been a big supporter of their products. I also explained if nobody was willing to help me I was not going to continue to recommend their products and do just the opposite and steer people away from them. His comment to me was with the way I was being treated he couldn’t blame me and he would do the same and he couldn’t help me!

Some companies are taking kayak fishing seriously. Humminbird is definitely one of them. Their parent company is the same one that owns Ocean Kayak. Their units are available with a transducer installation kit for internally installed transducers. Also available from the company is a scupper hole transducer designed to be used with Trident and Torque kayaks. This allows for accurate water temps and shows that the company is thinking about us. We will have a review on their kayak specific model in an upcoming issue.

As stated earlier maybe this will evoke change. At the very least we’ll get the word out within the kayak fishing community to consider other electronics for kayak use. If you have specific comments about Eagle/Lowrance products please do so in the comments section of this article.  Also if there are any products you would like to see improved or are not cutting it please let us know. You can email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with that information.

 

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