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Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 54cv

ProductDisplay SizeSonarDepth
Capability
GPSCartography
echoMAP CHIRP 54cv

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5"2D CHIRP,
ClearVü
CHIRP
1,800' 2D,
1,000' Cv
5Hz,
Internal
BlueChart g2 HD,
Quickdraw
Contours

The echoMAP CHIRP 54cv is a brand new unit from Garmin for 2017. To be more precise, it’s basically the same unit as the Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 54dv, but with a name change, as Garmin have re-branded their term DownVü (dv) into ClearVü (cv).

The system that we’re going to cover here is the part number 010-01799-01. The older version is the part number 010-01568-01. This unit comes with a transducer, has GPS and the BlueChart g2 HD maps for the coastal U.S.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Screen: 5.0″ diagonal, 480H x 480V pixel resolution, WQVGA color, backlit
  • Sonar: Broadband CHIRPS Sonar, Dual Frequency HD-ID, CHIRP ClearVü
  • Frequency and Coverage (with the supplied transducer):
    • 2D Sonar: 80-160 kHz 24°/13°
    • DownVü: 245-275 kHz 2° fore to aft / 51° side to side, 445-465 kHz 1.4° fore to aft / 29° side to side
  • Depth Capability:
    • 2D Sonar: 1,800 feet (548 m)
    • DownVü: 1,000 feet (305 m)
  • Transducer: GT23M-TM (4-pin), for HD-ID and ClearVü
  • Power Output: 500 Watts (RMS)
  • GPS: 5Hz, Internal
  • Maps: BlueChart g2
  • Routes, Waypoints, Tracklog: 100; 5,000; 50,000 points (50 saved tracks).

Navigation functions

As the name of the unit suggests, the echoMAP CHIRP 54cv is a chartplotter. Its equipped with a 5 Hz internal GPS/GLONASS module, which delivers positioning and heading updates 5 times per second. The unit also uses the GPS system to indicate the speed of your boat.

The unit comes pre-loaded with the BlueChart g2 HD maps. These cover the U.S. coastal waters and Bahamas, West Coast, East Coast, the U.S. part of the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico.

The BlueChart g2 HD charts pack delivers quite a smooth transitioning between zoom levels, and an excellent continuity across chart boundaries. It comes with several functions. They include currents, tidal stations, IALA symbols, and depth contours, basically all information included by NOAA charts. Fishing charts next to the base charts have bathymetric contours with less visual clutter. The unit also has a Safety Shading option, via which you can designate up to 10 different depth ranges, and assign them to the depth contours, making it much easier to see target depth at a glance.

The unit’s charts can be upgraded, this system being compatible with LakeVü HD Ultra or BlueChart g2 Vision. Auto Guidance is a function offered by the BlueChart g2 Vision charts. It actually opens several other functions for your unit. For example, it can search through the existent charts in order to create a virtual safe pathway, allowing you to avoid obstacles and obstructions such as shallow water, low bridges etc, on your routes.

This unit can save up to 5,000 waypoints, and 100 routes. It also has a trail recording function, allowing you to save 50,000 track points, and up to 50 tracks. Evidently, you can convert tracks into routes, add waypoints to them and retrace them.

This unit also offers the Quickdraw Contours function. This function is similar to the AutoChart Live function offered by some of the Humminbird units, such as HELIX 5 CHIRP SI GPS G2, for example. As its name suggests, it gives you the possibility to add depth contours to your maps as you navigate, based on the sonar readings. Thus, no matter what charts you use in your unit, there won’t be any corners of your favorite lake uncharted.

Sonar and transducer

The Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 54cv 010-01799-01 comes with the the GT23M-TM (4-pin) transducer. This transducer has a transom mount. It also has a built-in a temperature sensor and has 30′ of cable.

This Garmin fish finder is capable of using multiple frequencies. In other words, it can use 50/77/200 kHz frequencies for 2D and 260/455/800 kHz for ClearVü. Evidently, as its name suggests, it’s a CHIRP unit and can modulate the sonar pulse over a range of frequencies. Thus, the images have less clutter and there’s a better separation between fish targets. For example, if the transducer beam hits a group of several larger fish that are close together, there’s a higher chance to see their individual arches on screen, rather than just a big dot of color, which may be mistaken for a structure, especially if its close to the bottom.

The GT23-TM is a mid-band CHIRP transducer. Therefore, with it the unit can use a CHIRP pulse modulation between 80-160 kHz for 2D, and 245-275 kHz or 455-465 kHz for ClearVü. For 2D, the transducer uses conical-shaped beams, at angles between 24°/13°. For ClearVü, the beams are fore to aft, but wider side to side, 51° for 260 (245-275) kHz, and respectively 32° for 455 (445-465) kHz.

The unit’s maximum depth capability is 2,300 ft (701 m). But with the supplied transducer, the unit can reach only 1,800 ft (548 m) in 2D, and 1,000 ft (305 m) in ClearVü. Also, the recommended vessel speed for crisp-clear images is up to 6 MPH. The transducer can provide a bottom reading at speeds up to 25-30 MPH, but in general, the higher the speed, the lower the quality of the returns.

There are several sonar-related functions that this unit provides. Among them, we can number Split-Zoom, Split-Frequency, Sonar Recording and Sonar Rewind, Circular Flasher, Bottom Lock, Data Graphs and more.

Control unit features and functions

As its name suggests, the echoMAP CHIRP 54cv is one of the Garmin fish finders equipped with a 5-inch display. It features a square display, WQVGA, with a 480 x 480 pixel matrix. There are various image combos available, but as opposed to other models, you can only benefit from two-panel views. In other words, you can choose to view your charts and ClearVü, 2D and Cv in split-screen etc.

This echoMAP unit is IPX7 waterproof, which means its cables are secured pretty tight into the unit, the screen is sealed well, and the unit can basically withstand rain, splashes, and even immersions, up to 1 meter in freshwater.

All unit’s cables plug into the mount, while the unit plugs into the mount via a multiple pin connector. There’s also a NMEA 0183 out on the mount, but package also includes a NMEA 2000 adapter cable (4-pin female, to 5-pin male) as well, so you should be able to integrate this unit without much hassle into your boat’s grid, if you use NMEA 2000.

Given the connection system, the unit can easily be disconnected from the mount, if necessary. The mount is a simple, tilt-swivel type. However, the box also includes a flush mount.

The transducer connector features 4-pin. Thus, in case you would like to use a different one, which comes with an 8-pin connector, you will have to use an adapter, which is also included.

This unit does not feature wireless connectivity, but data can be transferred via cable, or via microSD card. The microSD card reader features one slot. When it comes to data transfer, you can playback the sonar recordings on a computer using the HomePort application. Also, you can share the maps you’ve created with Quickdraw Contours on Garmin Connect.

Finally, the box also includes a unit cover.

The Pros

  • Superior clarity, target separation and target definition for traditional 2D sonar and ClearVü, via CHIRP technology;
  • Dual-frequency sonar;
  • Transducer (GT23M-TM, 4-pin) included;
  • Data graphs and other sonar functions;
  • Sonar recording;
  • Fast and accurate internal GPS;
  • BlueChart g2 maps;
  • Quickdraw Contours;
  • Shallow Water Shading;
  • Compatible with various other chart types, such as BlueChart g2 Vision or LakeVü HD Ultra;
  • Tide tables information;
  • Supports AIS and DSC-capable VHF radio;
  • Enhanced Auto Guidance capable;
  • Quick disconnection (tilt-swivel) and flush mount included;
  • 8-pin transducer to 4-pin sounder adapter cable included;
  • NMEA 0183 outs, and NMEA 2000 adapter included;
  • Unit cover included;
  • Easy to install;
  • Straightforward, comprehensive operation.

The Cons

  • Manual is not specific to the unit, but to the whole category of echoMAP CHIRP units (at least for now). So, you’ll have to sort of pick out the information related to this particular unit.

Summary

The Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 54cv is a fish finder and chartplotter unit, offering powerful CHIRP 2D and ClearVü sonar, with superior depth capabilities and clearer imaging. It’s equipped with a fast and accurate internal GPS and the US coastal BlueChart g2 HD charts pack, thus it’s a system meant for off-shore fishing. However, since it also has the QuickDraw Contours application you can basically map any body of water, revealing the most up-to-date depth contours. It’s not exactly a cheap unit, but given the fact that it includes a pretty expensive transducer, and offers a consistent array of navigation and fish finding features, it’s safe to say that the system has a decent price / value ratio.

4 Comments

  1. Which transducer is better? the GT23M-TM, 4-pin or the gt20

    • Depends. The GT23M only offers a mid-high range frequency for 2D, but it has a better depth capability for ClearVu. On the other hand, the GT20 can use two beams for 2D, but offers less depth capability for ClearVu.

  2. Does the quickdraw capability do a tidal correction so that you have the depth referenced to MSL? we will be using the device in macrotidal environments.

    • No, it does not.

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