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Lowrance HDS-7 Carbon

ProductDisplaySonarDepthGPSMaps
HDS-7 Carbon

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7",
touchscreen
2D CHIRP,
StructureScan
1000'
2D

300'
StructureScan
10 Hz internal
WAAS,
GLONASS,
MSAS
US Charts
for C-MAP

The HDS-7 Carbon also referred to as the Lowrance Navico HDS-7 Carbon, is one of the newest releases from Lowrance for 2017. It’s an improved version of the Lowrance HDS-7 Gen3, featuring a superior display, a faster processor, it’s more versatile when it comes to networking, and it’s also StructureScan 3D capable.

This unit is available in various bundles, with different transducers or charts. In this review, we’ll address the 000-13677-001 model number, the one that includes the TotalScan transducer, and comes with the U.S. base maps from C-MAP.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Display: SolarMAX HD, 7″ diagonal, 16:9, 1024H x 600V pixel matrix, full color, with LED backlight and multi-touch technology
  • Sonar: 2D CHIRP and StructureScan HD, StructureScan 3D capable
  • Depth Capability:
    • 2D: 1,000 ft (304.8 m)
    • StructureScan: 300 ft (92 m)
  • Frequency and Coverage:
    • 2D: 200 kHz (20°) / 83 kHz (60°), plus Med and High CHIRP
    • 300′ (91 m) on each side – 455 kHz SideScan
    • 100′ (30 m) on each side – 800 kHz SideScan
  • Transducer: TotalScan
  • Power Output: 500 Watts (RMS)
  • Power Input: 10-17 VDC
  • GPS: 10Hz Internal GPS Antenna
  • Maps: U.S. base charts by C-MAP
  • Routes, Waypoints, Trails: 200, 5,000, 100 (10,000 per trail)

Sonar, transducer and fish finding features

As we’ve mentioned in the introduction of this post, this is the Lowrance HDS-7 Carbon part number 000-13677-001, the one that comes with the TotalScan transducer. This transducer supports the 83/200 kHz frequencies for the unit’s 2D sonar, and 455/800 kHz frequencies for StructureScan. It has a temperature sensor so that the unit can also display the temperature of the top water layer. These being said, there’s no need to use two separate transducers in order to use both sonar types. Also, to make sure there’s no confusion regarding it, we’ll specify here that this transducer cannot support the StructureScan 3D feature, only regular StructureScan (i.e. SideScan and DownScan). In order to use the StructureScan 3D sonar, you’ll need a StructureScan 3D module and transducer, which are optional.

The unit’s 2D sonar is enhanced with CHIRP technology and with the included TotalScan transducer, the system is capable of using Medium and High CHIRP. CHIRP technology modulates the sonar pulse over a range of frequencies, providing clearer images, with less clutter, and a better target separation. Differently put, the fish arches in the 2D sonar view are outlined significantly better, and can be told apart from structure and vegetation with more ease. In case you’re wondering, the CHIRP interval range is 85-145 kHz for Medium CHIRP and 130-210 kHz for High CHIRP.

The unit is also capable of 50 kHz and Low CHIRP (40-60 kHz). However, the TotalScan transducer doesn’t support this frequency, so in order to use it, you’ll need a different model.

With the included TotalScan transducer, the system can use both SideScan and DownScan. For SideScan, the side beams can extend up to 300′ (91 m) on each side of the boat, when scanning at 455 kHz, and up to 100′ (30 m) on each side of the boat for 800 kHz. The coverage of the DownScan beams is not specified, but the beams are wider than for the 2D sonar.

The TotalScan transducer is capable of scanning depths up to 300′ (91 m) when using StructureScan and up to 1,000′ (305 m) when using the unit’s 2D sonar. Also, the optimal speed for the sharpest images and the highest fish target detection is maximum 10 MPH. However, the system should still be able to track the bottom at speeds up to 35 MPH.

This unit is also SpotlightScan capable, but in order to make this type of sonar available, a SpotlightScan transducer is required. The SpotlightScan feature can show structure and fish targets ahead and around the boat without disturbing these areas before you have a chance to fish them. SpotlightScan can be viewed in split-screen with DownScan imaging, but not with SideScan.

Last but not least, the unit’s standard fishfinding features include FishSymbol I.D., FishTrack, ASP, COLORLINE, Circular Flasher for ice fishing or stationary fishing, several alarms, Bottom Lock and more. It can also record and rewind sonar.

Navigation features

When it comes to navigation features and functions, the Lowrance HDS-7 Carbon is quite similar to the Elite-9 Ti model. To begin with, it comes with the same U.S. base charts from C-MAP. These charts don’t offer exceptional detail, but they do cover more than 3,000 U.S. lakes, rivers and coastal waters, contours up to 1,000, providing the necessary navigation support. The good news is, the unit is compatible with various other superior charts, including Insight PRO by C-MAP, Navionics Platinum+, Lake Insight HD by C-MAP, C-MAP MAX-N+, Navionics+, Gold and HotMaps Premium, Fishing Hotspots PRO and more.

StructureMap is a function available with this Lowrance unit. It allows you to overlay the SideScan imaging with your charts. This feature works with the pre-loaded Basemaps, and gives you the possibility to add some detail to them.

The Lowrance HDS-7 Carbon is equipped with a GPS system. It has a 10 Hz internal GPS, WAAS and EGNOS capable. Evidently, it can show latitude and longitude data. Based on the GPS data, the unit can calculate and display the speed of your boat. Also, the unit can provide information in relation with sunrise, sunset, moonrise and moonset for a position based on an entered date.

The unit is capable of saving up to 5,000 waypoints, 200 routes and 100 trails with up to 10,000 points per trail. Waypoints can be customized, a wide array of icons being available. Also, it’s much easier to mark a waypoint using touchscreen technology. For navigation, the unit offers several alarms, including No GPS Fix, Arrival, XTE, Low Boat Speed, Anchor and Waypoint Radius. Also, a 3D chart view mode is available.

Control unit features

The first aspect to mention here regards the improved processor of the new Lowrance HDS-7 Carbon. As opposed to the older HDS models, this one is equipped with a Dual-Core, High-Performance processor, which delivers faster redraws and a much quicker response. This processor also has a substantial impact on the unit’s sonar, providing faster sonar updates.

Another improvement brought by the HDS-7 Carbon is the SolarMAX HD display, which features a richer pixel matrix than its predecessor, and also than the HOOK-7 unit. It has a pixel resolution of 1024H x 600V, providing richer and clearer images. It also integrates LED backlight and advanced anti-reflective coatings, in order to deliver excellent 180° visibility, even when using polarized sunglasses.

The unit features touchscreen technology, but it also offers keypad control. Its interface, applications, and navigation through menus, are intuitive and easy to use.

In terms of connectivity, the HDS-7 Carbon is quite versatile. It offers plug-and-play compatibility with various Lowrance performance modules, such as Broadband Radar, SonicHub Marine Audio, Class B AIS, or other external modules like VesselView or MotorGuide Xi5 control. On top of that, it has wireless connectivity and via the Lowrance GoFree App and other onboard devices, you can download software updates, purchase charts or access the GoFree Cloud database for Insight Genesis custom charts.

The unit offers NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 connectivity; it also has two Ethernet ports and a dual microSD card reader. Finally, the HDS-7 Carbon features superior waterproofing and comes with a classic gimbal mount.

The Pros

  • CHIRP 2D sonar and StructureScan (DownScan/SideScan);
  • SpotLight sonar and StructureScan 3D capable;
  • TotalScan transducer included;
  • 3,000 ft. depth capability;
  • 600 ft side-to-side coverage on SideScan;
  • Many standard fishfinding functions such as FishSymbols ID, Fish Track, Bottom Lock, Sonar Recording, Circular Flasher, alarms etc;
  • Faster Dual-Core processor;
  • SolarMAX HD anti-glare display, offering excellent 180° visibility;
  • Rich, 1024×600 pixel resolution and a 16:9 aspect ratio;
  • Touchscreen technology;
  • Fast scrolling through applications;
  • Intuitive, easy-to-use interface;
  • Wireless networking;
  • Two Ethernet ports;
  • NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 connectivity;
  • Dual MicroSD card slot reader for data backup and transfer;
  • Compatible with various modules such as Broadband Radar, SonicHub, SiriusXM Marine Weather and audio, DSC VHF and Class B AIS, Mercury VesselView etc;
  • High precision, 10 Hz internal GPS;
  • Built-in detailed U.S. charts from C-MAP;
  • Compatible with a wide array of custom charts, including Nautic Insight PRO and HD, Navionics HotMaps Premium, Fishing HotSpots Pro, Lake Insight PRO and HD, C-Map Max-N by Jeppesen, and Insight Genesis;
  • Autopilot functions via SmartSteer, for Xi5 trolling motors;
  • GPS and sonar overlay data possibilities, via Insight Genesis;
  • Available in 36 language packs;
  • Fairly easy to install.

The Cons

  • The manual doesn’t offer detailed instructions for all of the unit’s functions;
  • Touchscreen technology may also be seen as a downside, as you will constantly have to wipe the unit’s display clean if you’re handling bait, fish etc.

Summary

The Lowrance HDS-7 Carbon 000-13677-001 is a fish finder and chartplotter which includes the TotalScan transducer and comes with the U.S. base maps from C-MAP. It has a 10 Hz internal GPS, StructureScan, and CHIRP enhanced 2D sonar, being also SpotlightScan and StructureScan 3D capable. It offers a consistent array of connectivity options, including wireless networking. It’s an excellent unit for both saltwater and freshwater. Finally, even though it’s not exactly a cheap unit, considering its versatility and wide array of features and functions, plus the fact that it comes with the TotalScan transducer, we can safely say it stands up to the price.

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