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Humminbird PiranhaMax 197c DI Review

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Using precision sonar, the Humminbird PiranhaMax 197c DI makes aquatic environments as clear as day. The fish will never rest easy again. A compact device measuring roughly 5.6 by 3.9 inches on the front and just over 1.3 inches deep, the new PiranhaMax features a 3.5-inch LCD monitor with 320 by 240 pixel resolution. Combined with 256 hues of color, the LED-backlit screen supplies an especially detailed picture to show just where the fish are biting. To make the device easier to operate under all circumstances, a gimbal mount is provided that allows the unit to be rotated and tilted. It can also be in-dash mounted. Using 10 to 20 volts DC with 220 mA supplied by the boat, the unit generates an average of 300 watts of energy that reaches a peak-to-peak output of 1,600 watts.

Making Waves

The 197c DI is capable of generating two distinct sonar beams emanating from a transducer secured below the water line on the transom of the boat. On this particular unit, the narrower beam forms a 16 degree cone. This beam is designed to supply sharp details of items right beneath the boat. Another beam at a frequency of 200kHz is created simultaneously. This beam has a cone angle of 28 degrees. With this wider, deeper span, it can include more objects but at a lower level of detail because current disturbances and stirred-up silt are more likely to be captured.

Coming Into Focus

Once the sound waves reflect back to the transducer, the Humminbird PiranhaMax 197c DI translates them into a visual animation. Each sonar pulse is turned into a narrow vertical plane that’s displayed on the right-hand side of the screen. As the planes are layered next to each other, a representation of the underwater terrain is produced. Essentially, it’s an image someone could see viewing things below and behind the right side of the boat. With its Dual Beam Plus capability, this fish locator can show the results of a single beam, both in a split-screen configuration, or both merged in a single image with closer objects appearing in orange and background objects colored in blue. When displaying images, the fish locator also provides a fish ID feature that distinguishes fish from other objects in the water. In addition, water temperature is built-in the transducer. The PiranhaMax 197 comes in 3 versions: 2D sonar only, 2D and down imaging, and the portable (non-DI) with carrying case and a suction cup transducer. You can get a great deal on Humminbird PiranhaMax 197c DI here.

 Lowrance Elite 3xHumminbird PiranhaMax 197c DIGarmin Striker 4dv
Screen Size3.5 in3.5 in3.5
Screen Resolution320 x 240 pixels320 x 240 pixels480 x 320 pixels
Display TypeWhite LED-backlit color displayTFT 256 colorsHVGA color
Imaging2D2D/Down Imaging2D/Down Imaging
Transducer TypeTransom Mount/Trolling MotorTransom Mount/Trolling MotorTransom Mount/Trolling Motor
Transmit Power180W RMS300W RMS
2400W Peak-To-Peak
300W RMS
Sonar Frequency83/200 kHz200/455 kHzTraditional: 50/77/200 kHz
CHIRP (mid and high)
DownV├╝: 260/455/800 kHz
Maximum Depth800ft320ft DI
600ft 2D
1,750ft freshwater
830ft saltwater

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