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Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 63cv

ProductDisplay SizeSonarDepth
Capability
GPSCartography
ECHOMAP Plus 63cv

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6.2"2D CHIRP,
CHIRP ClearVü
2,300' 2D,
250' Cv
InternalUS LakeVü

At the beginning of 2018 Garmin has launched a series of new ECHOMAP units. The 5-inch units have been replaced by 6-inch display units, which cost a bit more than the older ones but do have several extra features.

In this post, we’re going to address the Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 63cv part number 010-01889-01, which basically replaces the older echoMAP CHIRP 53cv. It’s a Garmin fish finder and chartplotter unit; unlike the Striker Plus 5cv, this unit has the LakeVü charts, internal Wi-Fi, also being ActiveCaptain compatible.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Display: 6.2″ diagonal, 800H x 480V pixel resolution, WVGA color, backlit
  • Sonar: CHIRP Sonar, ClearVü
  • Frequency and Coverage:
    • 2D Sonar: 200 kHz / 15° and 77 kHz / 45°
    • ClearVü: 455 kHz / 2.5° (fore to aft) x 53°, 800 kHz / 1.6° (fore to aft) x 29°
  • Max. Depth Capability:
    • 2D Sonar: 2,300 ft (701 m)
    • ClearVü: 250 ft (76 m)
  • Transducer: CV20-TM (4-pin)
  • Power Output: 500 Watts (RMS)
  • GPS: 5Hz, Internal
  • Maps: U.S. LakeVü
  • Routes, Waypoints, Tracklog: 100; 5,000; 50,000 points (50 saved tracks).

Transducer and sonar features

The ECHOMAP Plus 63cv comes with the new ClearVü transducer CV20-TM, which integrates a temperature sensor, has 20 ft. (6 m) of cable, and a 4-pin connector. It’s usable with both types of sonar supported by the unit – 2D CHIRP and ClearVü. It supports the 77/200 kHz standard frequencies for 2D, and the 455/800 kHz frequencies for ClearVü. It’s a dual-frequency transducer, which means that it gives you the possibility to use and view both beams on the unit’s display simultaneously.

The unit is also capable of 50 kHz and 83 kHz for 2D, and 260 kHz for ClearVü, but in order to use these frequencies, you will need a different transducer.

Considering that the system (with the CV20-TM transducer) can use the 77/200 kHz frequencies for 2D, it can use Mid-Band CHIRP and High-Band CHIRP. The CHIRP frequency intervals aren’t specified for these, but for ClearVü they are 435-475 kHz & 800-840 kHz.

For 2D, the transducer uses conical sonar beams. These offer a coverage of 15° @ 200 kHz, and 45° @ 77 kHz. For ClearVü, the beams are shaped like thin fans, similar to the beams of a scanner. They’re only ~1.5° wide fore/aft wise, but approx. 29° wide side-to-side @ 800 kHz, and approx. 53° @ 455 kHz.

With the CV20-TM transducer, this Garmin fish finder can reach depths up to 2,300 ft (701 m) when using the 77 kHz beam in freshwater, and 1,100 ft (335 m) in saltwater. For ClearVü, its depth capability is approx. 250 ft (76 m) in freshwater. Also, the recommended boat speed for the best quality imaging on the unit’s display is trolling speed, (up to 10-12 MPH). However, with the UltraScroll function, it can still show fish targets at higher boat speeds.

Although it’s one of the newer ECHOMAP units, it’s still one of the most affordable; thus, it doesn’t have Panoptix sonar capabilities. The unit offers all the standard sonar features available with the other older units, including Bottom Lock, Split-Zoom, A-Scope, Flasher, Fish Symbols, Fish Alarm, Depth Alarm etc. As opposed to the Striker units, this one has Sonar Recording and Sonar History Rewind. It also provides traditional sonar support for Minn Kota® and MotorGuide® trolling motors with integrated transducers.

Navigation features

The Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 63cv is equipped with a 5 Hz internal GPS. This means it can update your position 5 times per second. The GPS position update isn’t choppy, appearing in real-time. Needless to say, the GPS system gives you the possibility to view the global coordinates of a certain waypoint, point of interest, or the coordinates of your current location. Also, it can calculate the speed of your boat.

This Garmin unit can save up to 5,000 waypoints, and 100 routes in its memory. 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.

The unit comes with the LakeVü HD charts which cover the US inland waters. To be more specific, the unit is preloaded with charts that cover more than 17,000 total lakes, of which over 13,000 lakes have 1′ contours. Depth Range Shading and Shallow Shading features are available with these charts.

In terms of navigation, there are several more notable features available with this unit. Quickdraw Contours is included. This feature uses the traditional sonar information and the GPS information to draw the current depth contours on the map. This way, even if you haven’t updated your unit’s charts, you can still draw the current contours of the lake where you’re fishing.

SailAssist features are also available with this Garmin unit. These include laylines, the enhanced wind rose, heading and course-over-ground lines. They can help you gain a wind-maximizing edge, give you the possibility to see true and apparent wind angle and speed. A pre-race guidance page shows you the virtual starting line along with data fields showing laylines, time to burn before the start and the race timer.

Last but not least, the unit offers ActiveCaptain compatibility. ActiveCaptain is a free mobile app from Garmin, which gives you the possibility to manage your marine experience almost anywhere. The unit has a built-in Wi-Fi module so you can sync it with your device which has the ActiveCaptain app, in order to access OneChart. This way, you can purchase charts online, get chart updates, connect to the Quickdraw Contours Community, get smart notifications, etc. This unit also supports AIS and VHF radio units.

Control unit features

As its name suggests, the ECHOMAP Plus 63cv is a unit with a 6.2-inch display. It’s a full-color WVGA display, with a pixel resolution of 800 x 480. It has adjustable backlight, offering excellent readability in direct sunlight. It’s also IPX7 waterproof, which makes it resistant to incidental water exposure.

The unit is keypad operated; it doesn’t have touchscreen display capabilities.

In terms of connectivity, as we’ve mentioned above, offers wireless support and you can sync it with your smartphone, tablet or laptop. However, it also has a microSD card slot which can use microSD cards up to 32 GB, for data storage or for premium charts. There is one NMEA 0183 output, and one input available with this unit, but it also provides NMEA 2000 networking support via an adapter cable, for various engine data sensors, Fusion-Link audio systems, autopilots and more.

Finally, the unit comes with a classic tilt-swivel and quick-release bracket mount and a flush mounting kit. A protective cover is also included.

The Pros

  • CHIRP technology offering superior clarity, target separation and target definition, for both 2D and ClearVü;
  • Supports 50/77/83/200 kHz standard sonar frequencies, and 260/455/800 kHz ClearVü frequencies;
  • Dual-frequency sonar;
  • ClearVü transducer (CV20-TM) included;
  • Data graphs and other sonar functions;
  • Sonar recording and rewind;
  • Multiple standard sonar features such as Bottom Lock, Fish Symbols, Split-Zoom, A-Scope, Circular Flasher, Alarms, etc;
  • Fast 5 Hz internal GPS;
  • Preloaded with US LakeVü charts;
  • Quickdraw Contours;
  • Shallow Water Shading and Depth Contours Shading;
  • Compatible with various other chart types, such as BlueChart g2 Vision or LakeVü HD Ultra;
  • Enhanced Auto Guidance capable;
  • Tide tables information;
  • Supports AIS and DSC-capable VHF radio;
  • Quick disconnection (tilt-swivel) and flush mount included;
  • MicroSD card reader (1 slot);
  • SailAssist features;
  • ActiveCaptain compatible;
  • Internal Wi-Fi module;
  • NMEA 0183 outs, and NMEA 2000 capable;
  • Unit cover included;
  • Easy to install;
  • Straightforward, comprehensive operation.

The Cons

  • The manual is not specific to this unit but to the whole ECHOMAP Plus units. It also covers features that this system doesn’t have;
  • NMEA 2000 adaptor cable not included.

Summary

The Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 63cv is a fish finder and chartplotter featuring 2D CHIRP & ClearVü sonar, a 5 Hz GPS, and the US LakeVü charts. It includes the CV20-TM transducer and also has Wi-Fi connectivity being ActiveCaptain capable. It offers a wide array of navigation features and capabilities such as SailAssist, Quickdraw Contours, it supports AIS units and VHF radio etc. It’s an excellent system for both fishing and navigation, in freshwater and off-shore. In all, it’s a versatile and useful unit with a great price/value ratio.

10 Comments

  1. ok so i bought this unit what exactly does it come with? do i need to buy map packs at all? I recently purchased one however do not want to buy a map pack HD if i dont have to

    • The unit has GPS and the LakeVü charts (for inland US lakes) for the US, Quickdraw Contours for creating custom maps, 2D CHIRP sonar and ClearVü sonar (which is basically down imaging structure scanning sonar). The box includes the mount for the unit, and the CV20-TM transducer. You don’t need to buy extra charts unless you want higher detail or you want off-shore charts.

  2. Can this unit have charts of the East coast of Canada, particularly coastal Newfoundland and Labrador installed?

    • You’ll need a BlueChart g2 HD Canada microSD card. But these charts, according to their description, only cover about half of the Newfoundland/Labrador area. There’s also the option of BlueChart g2 Vision Canada, which offer more coverage and detail, but they’re much more expensive ($350 or so).

  3. I didn’t see it mentioned, but isn’t this unit also capable of sharing user data (way points, routes, contour mapping (quickdraw) directly with other compatible Garmin units (echomap units)? Also, which transducer would provide the capability of using all the sonar frequencies/features of which this unit is capable? Thanks.

    • Yes, you can share data with other Garmin ECHOMAP or Striker units via data cable (not included).
      When it comes to transducers, there is no transducer available to cover all the supported frequencies of the unit. However, one of the best that you can opt for is the GT21-TM. It supports 50/200 kHz and 260/455 kHz ClearVü CHIRP. There is also a thru-hull version for it, the GT21-TH (but for some reason, is way more expensive than the transom version). Also, the GT23-TM (260/455 CV CHIRP / 80-160 Mid Band CHIRP) is not a bad choice.

  4. I know that the transducer is designed to have the wire drilled through the transom and the transducer mounter outside the hull on the bottom of the boat. However, can the transducer be mounted inside the hull and send the sonar through the hull? It may affect the accuracy, but would it work?

    • There are many factors to consider here. What type of hull? What type of glue/epoxy/resin will you use? Also, regardless all those factors, mounting it in-hull requires improvisation which not only may affect accuracy, it may render the transducer unusable. It’s not recommended. You can opt, though, for an extra in-hull transducer. One of the cheapest is the GT8HW-IH (however, this only does High Wide CHIRP; does not support ClearVu; costs about $120). Or, you can opt for the GT21-TH which supports 50/200/260/455 kHz, but it’s rather expensive (~ $450).

      Or, if you don’t like drilling holes into your boat, there is a workaround. You can epoxy a piece of polypropylene to the hull, drill the holes and attach the transducer to it, rather than directly to the hull. Something like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ai2U1fgTkeI

  5. It’s not clear if this unit with the cv20 tm transducer will display boat speed. Will it?

    • The CV20 transducer does not have an internal speed sensor. But the unit does have a GPS speed function. It should be able to show the boat’s speed from the GPS data.

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