Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 55dv
On the list of the new Garmin units for 2016, there’s also the echoMAP CHIRP 55dv. Evidently, it’s pretty similar to the 53dv and 54dv units, but this particular one comes with the Canadian LakeVü HD charts instead of the U.S. LakeVü HD or BlueChart g2. To be more specific, the unit reviewed here is the 010-01569-00, the one that also comes with the CHIRP transducer.
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 DownVü
- Frequency and Coverage (with the supplied transducer):
- 2D CHIRP Sonar: 150-240 kHz 24°/16°
- DownVü CHIRP: 425-485kHz 2° fore to aft / 50° side to side, 790-850 kHz 1° fore to aft / 30° side to side
- Max. Depth Capability:
- 2D Sonar: 1,800 feet (548 m)
- DownVü: 1,000 feet (305 m)
- Transducer: GT22HW-TM (4-pin), for HD-ID and DownVü
- Max. Power Output: 500 Watts (RMS) for DownVü
- GPS: 5Hz, Internal
- Maps: Canada LakeVü HD
- Routes, Waypoints, Tracklog: 100; 5,000; 50,000 points (50 saved tracks).
Sonar and transducer
The transducer included with this particular unit is the GT22HW-TM (4-pin). This particular transducer is temperature capable (the control unit also being temperature capable). It comes with two mounts, for trolling motor and for transom. It also has 20′ (6 m) of cable.
The control unit can operate at three frequencies for its 2D traditional sonar, these being 50/77/200 kHz. It’s also dual-frequency capable, which means that depending on the transducer you connect to the unit, it may be able to use either 77/200 or 50/200 kHz frequencies simultaneously, to scan in 2D. However, the transducer supplied only offers the possibility to scan in High CHIRP mode for 2D, the sonar pulse being modulated between 150-240 kHz, using a conical beam with angles varying between 24° / 16°.
This unit can also use CHIRP for its DownVü sonar. In fact, with the supplied transducer, the sonar pulse will be modulated between 425-485kHz and 790-850 kHz. CHIRP pulse modulation offers superior imaging, less clutter on the screen, and a better definition of contours and fish targets. For example, if the sonar beam will detect a group of fish that are close together, you’ll have a better chance to actually see their arches, rather than viewing a whole, bigger target.
For DownVü, the transducer uses thin sonar beams not conical as for 2D. For 455 (425-485) kHz the beam is 50° wide, while for 800 (790-850) kHz, the beam is slightly narrower, of 30°. These beams don’t exceed 2° in fore-to-aft, being more like the beams of a scanner.
Depending on the transducer you will be using, this unit can reach depths up to 1,800 ft (548 m) for 2D and 1,000 ft (305 m) for DownVü. But the supplied transducer has slightly lesser depth capabilities, being capable of only 800 ft (243 m) in 2D, and 500 ft (152 m) in Dv. This is still not bad for a small unit, meaning that you should be able to use it for off-shore fishing as well, as long as you don’t go for deeper waters. Also, the recommended boat speed for scanning with this unit is between 1-6 MPH. The unit should be able to maintain a bottom reading even at higher speeds, but in general, the higher the speed, the fuzziest the images.
Just like the other similar units, the Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 55dv features several useful sonar functions for its 2D sonar. These are Fish Symbols, Fish Alarm, Depth Alarm, A-Scope, Bottom Lock and a few others. Also, the unit offers the capability to record the sonar history and rewind it, if you want to have another look at a particular spot that you have scanned. To use sonar recording and rewind you’ll need a blank microSD card to be inserted in the unit as support for the recorded data.
Since it’s an x5dv unit, the 010-01569-00 comes with the Canada LakeVü HD charts bundle. These charts include over 13,500 Canadian lakes in Alberta, British Columbia, Trent Severn Waterway, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Yukon, Saskatchewan, and Ontario. Over 1,600 of these lakes feature HD detail and 1-foot contours. Plus, these charts offer various other details including highways, bridges, interstates, marinas, docks, camping grounds, fishing spots etc.
Evidently, this Garmin unit has GPS. It integrates a 5 Hz GPS antenna, which can update your position up to 5 times per second. Also, the unit can indicate your vessel speed by using the GPS data. The unit can save up to 5,000 waypoints, and 100 routes. It can also save up to 50 tracks, or 50,000 track points in total.
One of the best features offered by this unit is the new Quickdraw Contours function. This particular function is actually slightly similar to the AutoChart Live function offered by some of the Humminbird HELIX units. This function actually gives you the chance to map the body of water in which you’re fishing, drawing its depth contours, as the unit uses the sonar information. This way, even if your local lake is not covered by the LakeVü charts or the charts you’re using, you can still benefit from the latest, most up-to-date contours by using this function.
Multiple Depth Range Shading is a function available with this unit, concerning the charts. It allows you to assign colors to various depth contours in order to view your target depth at a glance. And finally, via the Shallow Water Shading function, you can set up a minimum depth to be rasterized, in order to always view the safer waters, or make sure you’ll remain fishing in areas with greater depth than the one selected.
Control unit features and functions
One of the first aspects regarding the control unit is its power output. This unit is actually capable of 500 W (RMS) / 4,000 W (PTP) power output. However, the transducer has its limitations. Its transmit power is 250 W for 2D and 350 W for Dv. So, differently put, the unit’s maximum depth capability is 1,800 ft. but with this transducer, you’ll get a max. depth capability of 800 ft. (as we’ve mentioned above).
As the name of the unit suggests, it’s 5″ display unit. It features a square display with a pixel matrix of 480 x 480. Evidently, the display is color (WQVGA), also featuring LED backlight. Also, it’s IPX7 waterproof, which means it can withstand incidental water exposure, such as rain, or splashes.
This unit is NMEA 2000 and 0183 capable, also featuring a microSD card slot, for charts, data transfer, and sonar recordings. And finally, it comes with two mounts, flush mount and classic tilt/swivel, the box also including a unit cover.
This unit is compatible with various other Garmin charts, such as LakeVü HD, BlueChart g2 Vision or LakeVü HD Ultra, or with the LakeVü HD Canada. The LakeVü HD Ultra and BlueChart g2 Vision make available the Enhanced Auto Guidance feature. This feature gives you the opportunity to use several useful functions. For example, it can instantly search through the charts to offer the safest virtual paths between two points of interest, it can also calculate your arrival times or enable your Auto Pilot to follow a safe route.
This unit also supports various other transducers than the ones supplied. For example, you can pair it with the GT20-TM, or the GT21-TM for example. But in case you’re going to opt for a different transducer, you might need a cable adapter. The unit features a 4-pin connector.
- Fast and accurate internal GPS;
- Preloaded with the Canadian LakeVü HD charts;
- Compatible with various other charts, such as BlueChart g2 Vision or LakeVü HD Ultra;
- Multiple Depth Range Shading;
- Quickdraw Contours;
- Enhanced Auto Guidance capable;
- Tide tables information;
- CHIRP technology offering superior clarity, target separation and target definition, for both 2D and DownVü;
- Dual-frequency sonar;
- Transducer GT22HW-TM (4-pin) included;
- Data graphs and other sonar functions;
- Sonar recording and sonar history rewind;
- Supports AIS and DSC-capable VHF radio;
- Quick disconnection (tilt-swivel) and flush mount included;
- NMEA 2000 and 1083 compatibility;
- Easy to install;
- Straightforward, comprehensive operation.
- Manual may not be specific to the unit, but for the whole series of units, and some of the instructions may not apply to this one.
The Garmin echoMAP 55dv is an excellent GPS / fish finder combo for just about any small boat. It uses CHIRP technology for both its types of sonar, traditional and DownVü, and comes with a CHIRP transducer. It also features the Canadian LakeVü HD charts, but it’s also compatible with various other chart packs from Garmin. And finally, considering all that the unit can offer, plus the fact that it comes with a $150+ transducer, its total price is fairly decent.