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Humminbird HELIX 10 SI GPS

ProductDisplay SizeSonarDepthGPSCartography
HELIX 10 SI GPS
helix 10 side imaging fish finder and gps
Check Discounted Price
10.1"DualBeam Plus,
SI / DI
1500' standard,
150' SI / DI
InternalContourXD

Although the 1199ci HD SI Combo hasn’t been discontinued yet, the HELIX 10 SI GPS is one of the new Humminbird units for 2016, that basically takes its place. Evidently, it brings some improvements over the older 1100 series model, including AutoChart, wireless control, faster processor and several more. But the best part about this unit is that it’s actually a few hundred bucks cheaper than the 1199 Side Imaging model.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Screen: 10.1″ diagonal, 65,000 color TFT, 1024H x 600V pixel resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio, with backlight
  • Sonar: Side Imaging, Down Imaging, DualBeam Plus with SwitchFire
  • Depth Capability:
    • 100 feet (30 m) for Side Imaging and Down Imaging
    • 1500 feet (457 m) on DualBeam Plus
  • Frequency and Coverage:
    • DualBeam Plus: 200 kHz / 20° and 83 kHz / 60°
    • Down Imaging: 455 kHz / Narrow, Medium and Wide fan-shaped cone
    • Side Imaging: 455 kHz / 86° (x2), and 800 kHz / 55°, 480 ft. side-to-side coverage
  • Transducer: Transom XHS 9 HDSI 180
  • Power Output: 500 Watts (RMS)
  • Power Input: 10-20 VDC
  • GPS: Internal, Precision
  • Maps: ContourXD (built-in)
  • Routes, Waypoints, Tracks: 45; 2,750; 50 (20,000 points each)

Control unit features and functions

First of all, the Humminbird fish finders in the HELIX 9, 10 and 12 feature a better processor than the previous units. In other words, they’re 25% faster than the 900 and 1100 series units. Needless to say, this HELIX 10 model doesn’t make an exception, offering quite a fast refresh rate, smoother transition between applications and of course, smoother sonar scrolling.

The HELIX 10 SI GPS features a 10.1″ diagonal display, but as opposed to the previous 1100 series unit, if offers a far superior pixel matrix, of 1024 x 600 (up from 800 x 600). Thus, images materialized on screen are richer, clearer, while the screen offers more space to work with the supported applications. On top of that, the display has LED backlight, being 50% brighter than the previous model, and glass bonded, which eliminates glare, maximizing readability even in direct sunlight.

The unit is also IPX waterproof, meaning it can resist rain or incidental splashes with no problem.

In terms of connectivity, this unit features Ethernet, NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 ports, while also having a built-in, dual microSD card reader. The fact that the unit can use two cards at the same time is actually a great plus, as you don’t have to swap cards, in case you want to record sonar or backup waypoints, and also use a Navionics charts card at the same time.

Last but not least, the HELIX 10 SI GPS comes with the Gimbal type mount, the box also including a unit cover.

GPS and navigation functions

The HELIX 10 SI GPS has ContourXD charts as support for its chartplotter function. These maps, although they don’t offer extreme detail, they’re superior to the basic UniMap charts of

ContourXD Chart View

ContourXD Chart View

the smaller units or the Basemap offered by the Lowrance units. The ContourXD charts pack features over 3,000 U.S. lake maps, offering contour lines which facilitate the location of drops, channels, and bumps. This makes it easier to select a fishing spot that’s more likely to hold fish. Also, these maps include U.S. lights, markers, interstates and major roads.

The plotter offers various other functions, such as Bird’s Eye view, Drift Alarm, or Off-Course Alarm.

Evidently, the unit comes with high precision, internal GPS, offering fast and accurate locks, within 2.5 m. It’s capable of storing 2,750 waypoints within its internal memory, and up to 45 routes (50 waypoints per route). It also features a trail recording function, being able to record and save up to 50 trails (20,000 points per trail). Trails can be converted to routes though, and you also get the possibility to add waypoints to them if necessary.

One of the 5-star features for navigation and fishing that this HELIX unit offers, is AutoChart Live. This feature makes available the mapping of any body of water, as you sail. All maps made with AutoChart Live are compatible with i-Pilot Link, thus you can follow your newly created depth contours on autopilot, if you use a Minn Kota motor. Maps made with AutoChart can be overlayed with Navionics or LakeMaster charts, for new details and for maximum awareness, or with recorded Side Imaging sonar. And finally, the unit has a memory that can hold up to 8 hours of recording time.

Transducer and sonar functions

One of the main questions that most anglers have regarding a fish finder unit is whether it comes with a transducer or not. Humminbird supplies most of their units with a transducer, in order to be ready to use out of the box. The Humminbird HELIX 10 SI GPS actually comes with the high-definition Side Imaging transducer, XHS 9 HDSI 180. This particular transducer has a built-in temperature sensor, while the unit is able to track temperature, and also display a Temperature Graph. The transducer includes 20′ of cable and a transom mount, but several other mounts are available.

Humminbird Side Imaging View

Humminbird Side Imaging View

The control unit is capable of multiple frequencies. It actually supports 50/83/200/455/800 kHz, while the transducer supplied, backs up the 83/200/455/800 kHz frequencies. In order to use the 50 kHz frequency though, you will need 50/200 kHz, extreme depth transducer.

For Side Imaging, the transducer uses thin beams, one on each side, at angles of 86° for 455 kHz, and 55° for 800 kHz. The beams extend up to 240 ft. (73 m) on each side, with a total side-to-side coverage of 480 ft. For Down Imaging, it also uses thin beams but directly under the boat, offering three modes Narrow, Medium and Wide. Both SI and DI are great for understanding structure, as they offer crystal clear images, similar to photographs. Structure shapes, bottom contour, vegetation patches, and of course, the best places that might hold fish are much easier to determine with these types of sonar. Fish also appear on SI and DI, but in less detail, as small dots mostly, and not like arches, as in traditional sonar. Side Imaging also helps a lot as it will help you understand the location of a possible fish or school of fish in relation to the boat. And evidently, the huge coverage offered by this type of sonar technology provides a lot of awareness regarding the underwater environment.

For 2D, this unit uses DualBeam Plus sonar, which means it can use both 83 and 200 kHz frequencies simultaneously. For these frequencies, and for traditional sonar, the transducer uses conical beams, at angles of 60° for 83 kHz for more coverage, and 20° for 200 kHz for more detail. These beams are fired directly under the boat, just as the DI beams. However, as opposed to Down Imaging, the 2D sonar is great to use when looking for fish. Fish arches will appear clearly on this type of sonar.

When it comes to depth capability, with the transducer supplied, this unit can reach depths of 1,500 ft (457 m) in 2D, and 150 ft (45 m) using SI and DI. In other words, Side Imaging and Down Imaging are not exactly great for bluewater, unless you don’t go too far off-shore.

On top of that, the 2D sonar comes with a series of functions that can provide additional information regarding the targets caught by the sonar beams.

Some of these functions are: Fish ID+, Real Time Sonar, Bottom Lock, Split-Zoom, Sonar Recording and Screen Snapshot. A selection of alarms is offered by this unit, including Depth Alarm, Fish Alarm, and Temperature Alarm.

The Fish ID+ function uses advanced signal processing to interpret sonar returns, and when specific selective requirements are met, the sonar returns interpreted as fish will be assigned fish symbols. This function is great to use if you’d like a second opinion from your unit, on whether or not a certain return is a fish or not.

Fish ID+ View

Fish ID+ View

Sonar Recording is an excellent function that many other units, such as HOOK-7 from Lowrance for example or the GPSMAP 547xs from Garmin have. As terminology suggests, it allows you to record your sonar feed, and either scroll back through it to make waypoints or use it with the AutoChart application. A Screen Snapshot function is also available.

SwitchFire is a function that most Humminbird units have. It’s actually a quick filter which allows you to swap between full sonar info on screen and a clutter-free view. It helps when looking for target fish near structure or vegetation.

Bottom Lock and Real Time Sonar are also available. Bottom Lock gives you the possibility to maintain the sonar view to a certain distance from the bottom, regardless of depth. This way, fish targets near the bottom will be easier to spot. RTS is vertical flasher view that holds the information of most recent sonar echo.

One last aspect to clarify here is the fact that this unit does not support CHIRP sonar. In case you want to use a CHIRP sonar module with a Humminbird unit, you’ll have to opt for a HELIX 12, ONIX or ION unit.

Other Capabilities and Options

When it comes to charts, this unit can use Navionics Platinum+, Navionics Gold/HotMaps, and LakeMaster Charts.

In terms of sonar, this unit is also capable of using 360 Imaging. This sonar technology is similar to Side Imaging, but it covers a circular area around the boat, in a manner similar to a radar. A specific 360 Imaging transducer is required in order to use this sonar technology. Of course, this unit is compatible with various other transducers from Humminbird, including 50 kHz capable models.

For navigation, this unit can support AIS, HD RADAR, i-Pilot Link.

One of the improvements brought to the table by this unit is the wireless control. The AS RC1 Bluetooth remote control is compatible with this unit. It features 7 buttons and allows you to control various functions of the fish finder, GPS or plotter wirelessly. For example, you will be able to mark waypoints, adjust sonar sensitivity, adjust sonar zoom and many more. In case you own a bigger boat, this feature may turn out to be extremely useful, as you won’t have to go to the unit all the time.

Finally, the unit’s software is upgradable. Whenever there are new software updates available, you can download them on a blank SD card from your My Humminbird account, and upload/install them into the unit.

The Pros

  • Wide 10.1″ display, 1024 x 600, offering a lot of screen space for multiple applications;
  • Bright display, glare-free;
  • 25% faster processor than previous 1100 series units;
  • Side Imaging and Down Imaging technology;
  • High-definition transducer (XHS 9 HDSI 180), temperature capable, included;
  • Wireless control;
  • Dual-frequency standard sonar;
  • Various useful sonar functions, such as Bottom Lock, SwitchFire, RTS, Fish ID+ etc;
  • Sonar recording and Screen Snapshot functions;
  • AutoChart Live included;
  • High-precision, internal GPS included;
  • Built-in ContourXD charts;
  • Multiple connectivity options such as Ethernet, NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000;
  • Dual SD card reader;
  • Navionics and LakeMaster capable;
  • AIS, RADAR, iPilot Link compatible;
  • 360 Imaging compatible;
  • Gimbal mount and cover also included.

The Cons

  • Depth capability of SI and DI is not that great (only 150 ft).These sonar technologies are best to use in freshwater.

Summary

The Humminbird HELIX 10 SI GPS is a pretty much complete unit when it comes to both its sonar and navigation features. In short, it offers some of the best sonar technologies available, Side Imaging and Down Imaging, a fast and accurate GPS and the ContourXD map support. It also has AutoChart Live and wireless control. In other words, this unit has a lot to offer in order to maximize your awareness on the water, and considerably reduce the time spent looking for fish. And finally, it costs considerably less than the previous 1100 series SI unit.

9 Comments

  1. Is there only one transducer that does 2D sonar side and down imaging? I just bought one of these and it was supplied with only one transducer.

    • Yes. Humminbird offers one transducer that covers, SI, DI and 2D for most SI units. In this case, for the HELIX 10 SI GPS, you should have gotten the XHS 9 HDSI 180 T, which is an “HD” transducer.

  2. Can you mount the transducer through hull in a fiberglass boat or only outside the hull?

    • All HELIX units come with transducers featuring a transom mount. This means the transducer is supposed to be mounted outside the hull, on the boat’s transom. However, Humminbird have a transducer replacement program. I think you can send it back and ask for a thru-hull model. But evidently, until they send you the other model, it may take some time. Here’s a link that will take you to the Humminbird transducer exchange program. I hope the info you’ll find there helps: http://www.humminbird.com/Category/Support/FAQ/TransducerExchange/

  3. what is more accurate your own autochart live, or a lakemaster chart?

    • Considering that AutoChart Live gives you the “live” contours, the most recent contours based on what you scan with the unit, I’d say that AutoChart is the more accurate. But you’ll kinda need a LakeMaster charts card to use AutoChart Live. It requires LakeMaster or Navionics charts. Unless you use a ZeroLines card, which is specially designed for AutoChart.

      • Thanks, my Lakemaster has much more detailed mapping. Lots of nooks and crannies that do not appear on AutoChart live.Not sure how they can all disappear.

  4. I’m concerned with the transducer length interfering with my outboard motor when trimmed all the way down. I only have 5 inches of clearance from my motor to the transom.

    • Turbulence may cause interference indeed.

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