Garmin GPSMAP 547xs
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|1500' standard,||10 Hz, Internal||BlueChart g2
There are many GPS and sonar combo models out there, offered by various manufacturers, and as a general rule, a small unit up to 5″ doesn’t really come with an extensive array of capabilities. Garmin makes a few exceptions from this rule though, the GPSMAP 547xs being one of the units on this list of exceptions.
This unit offers quite a wide array of features and functions, also being open to an important series of upgrades or other features. Evidently, it’s not one of the cheapest units, it actually costs almost double than the HELIX 5 SI GPS from Humminbird. However, for what this unit can do, its price is justified.
- Display: 5.0″ diagonal, 480H x 640V pixel resolution, VGA color, autoadjustable backlight
- Sonar: Dual Frequency HD-ID, CHIRP capable, DownVü capable
- Frequency and Coverage: 2D Sonar: 200 kHz / 15° and 77 kHz / 45°
- Depth Capability: 2D Sonar: 1,500 feet (457 m)
- Transducer: 010-10249-40, 8-pin, 77/200 kHz
- Power Output: 500 Watts (RMS)
- GPS: 10Hz, Internal
- Maps: BlueChart g2 and LakeVü HD
- Routes, Waypoints, Tracklog: 100; 5,000; 50,000 points (50 saved tracks).
- Wireless connectivity
- MicroSD card slots x2
As mentioned, these are only the core specs of this unit, regarding its included sonar and navigation base features. But there’s much more to say about it. So, to begin with, we’ll focus on its fish finding features.
Sonar features, functions and capabilities
First of all, the GPSMAP 547xs unit reviewed here, is the one that comes with a transducer. In other words, this unit is the part number 010-01093-01. The transducer supplied is the 010-10249-40 model, a basic transom transducer, capable of 77/200 kHz dual frequency, with an 8-pin connector. It supports only the unit’s 2D standard sonar, using two conical beams of 15° for 200 kHz, and 45° for 77 kHz. However, this unit incorporates CHIRP sonar technology, also being DownVü capable.
In order to use CHIRP and DownVü (with CHIRP), you will need a compatible transducer with this unit, that actually supports these types of sonar. The unit supports 50 kHz frequencies as well and can operate with a 2D 50/200 kHz transducers. And finally, it can also support MotorGuide and Minn Koa trolling motor transducers. These being said, two viable and affordable options in terms of more capable transducers that you can get for this unit, are the GT23M-TM (8-pin) or the GT21-TM (8-pin).
To make it clear, this unit does not support SideVü sonar technology.
With the supplied transducer, the control unit can use only 2D sonar and depending on various factors, such as bottom hardness, salinity, or water conditions, it should be able to scan at depths up to 1,500 ft. With a CHIRP transducer, it should be capable of 2,000 ft. or more, also offering a superior target separation and a clearer view. The supplied transducer integrates a temperature probe, therefore the unit can offer details regarding the water temperature. The control unit also features a temperature graph function. There’s also a water temperature alarm, which you can setup so that the unit will notify you when it detects that particular water temperature.
The GPSMAP 547xs offers several sonar-related functions present with a more or less different terminology, in other units from Garmin or other manufacturers. These include Sonar Recording and rewind, Bottom Lock, A-scope, Fish Symbol ID and Depth Alarm.
The Fish Symbol ID is a function that gives you the possibility to setup your unit to replace the suspended targets, or the fish arches, with fish symbols. This view actually gives you a second opinion regarding certain targets. It also opens the possibility of using an alarm to notify you regarding fish of various sizes.
Depth Alarm works in a similar way to the Temperature Alarm. You can set the unit to notify you when you reach a certain depth. It’s a useful function for avoiding shallows, or dangerous areas for navigation, for example.
A-scope, also known as Real Time Sonar, is a function that indicates the most recent sonar echo. It appears on the right side of the screen for this unit, as a vertical flasher, showing instantaneously the range to targets along the scale. Bottom Lock allows the setup of a depth range to the bottom, keeping the sonar view at that particular range to the bottom, making it easier to locate targets near the bottom.
Sonar recording is possible only by using a data microSD card as the unit cannot record sonar in its own memory. As a general idea, about 15 minutes of recording should take approx. 200 MB of space on your memory card. The recordings can be played back, but for that you will have to install the HomePort app onto the memory card. Evidently, sonar recording and rewind are functions that can save you a lot of trouble on the water. For example, by being able to review a certain portion of the sonar, you won’t have to turn the boat around to re-scan that particular area.
Navigation features, functions and capabilities
The GPSMAP 547xs is equipped with internal GPS, actually incorporating a 10 Hz GPS/GLONASS receiver, featuring a pretty fast refresh, up to 10 times per second. The accuracy is also pretty impressive.
Although it’s a small unit, it comes with two chart packages. BlueChart g2 U.S. coastal, is already built-in the unit, but the box also comes with a Lake Vü HD card, for inland mapping.
BlueChart g2 maps cover the coastal waters of the U.S. and Bahamas, including West Coast, East Coast, the U.S. part of the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. It also makes available several other functions. For example, you can customize your screens via the Safety Shading option, determining a safe depth. The charts also include currents, tidal stations, IALA symbols, and depth contours, pretty much all information included by NOAA charts. Fishing charts next to the base charts also feature bathymetric contour with less visual clutter. Also, BlueChart g2 offers quite a smooth transitioning between zoom levels, and an excellent continuity across chart boundaries.
The LakeVü HD charts cover more than 17,000 U.S. lakes, reservoirs and rivers, along with 13,000+ HD lakes with one foot contours, shoreline to shoreline.
The unit can store up to 5,000 waypoints and 100 routes. It also has a tracklog function, allowing the saving of up to 50 tracks, and up to 50,000 trackpoints. The tracklog can be transferred into BlueChart Mobile, but each track requires to be given a name before transfer.
The Garmin GPSMAP 547xs is compatible with Enhanced Auto Guidance. This feature is available only with superior cartography, such as BlueChart® g2 Vision® or Lake Vü™ HD Ultra. Among other features, Auto Guidance offers the possibility to review hazard points along your path, and provide you with a safe course between two or multiple waypoints. Auto Guidance paths can be saved on a microSD card for sharing and re-use.
In terms of navigation capabilities, this Garmin unit can also support AIS, Garmin autopilot, Sirius XM Weather, engine data and more.
Control unit features and functions
This unit comes with a small, 5-inch display, and a 480H x 640 pixel matrix, and autoadjustable backlight. Images on screen are pretty sharp and clear, easy to read even if wearing polarized sunglasses. It’s also IPX7 waterproof. This means it can survive incidental water exposure. This rating also states that the unit can be immersed in water to up to 1 meter, and up to 30 min., but it’s not exactly a good idea to do that, as the unit’s connectors can corrode. Especially if fishing in saltwater, it’s best to use a cover, or keep the unit as dry as possible.
One of the neat features offered by this small Garmin unit is wireless connectivity. It actually features two types of wireless connectivity: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The Wi-Fi transciever allows you connect the unit wirelessly to your smartphone or tablet, and control it via the Garmin Helm App. BlueChart Mobile is another app compatible with this unit, which allows you to plan routes on your Apple Device, and transfer them into your unit and viceversa, along with other data. Via Bluetooth technology you can connect and control various other media devices on board. In other words, you can connect it to your phone or tablet, an control which music track is played, adjust volume etc.
The unit is both NMEA 2000 and NMEA 0183 compatible. It features two microSD card slots for sonar recording, map and software upgrades and data transfer. It also features the GND 10 black box interface, which integrates Nexus instruments and sensors with the Garmin family. It converts data between the Nexus network and NMEA 2000 to provide trouble-free compatibility between Nexus and Garmin products, including gWind™ and gWind Race wind transducers.
The control unit comes with a flush mount kit, tilt and swivel mount, power data cable and protective cover.
Along with the pros, which we’ve basically covered so far, this unit also has its share of cons. Even though most of them shouldn’t be a deal breaker for anyone, it wouldn’t be fair to leave them out.
On the list of cons regarding this unit we can include incompatibility out of the box with older, 4-pin transducers. To use one of those you will need a cable adapter.
Auto Guide is also not available directly out of the box. You need BlueChart g2 Vision or LakeVü HD Ultra for it.
And finally, it has great sonar capabilities, but only comes with a basic transducer. So, to use it a full capacity, you’ll need a better transducer.
An extremely powerful sonar, and a huge array of navigation features and capabilities, all condensed in a small unit. The GPSMAP 547xs is equipped with CHIRP sonar technology and can also use DownVü imaging. It comes with two chart packages, LakeVü HD and BlueChart g2, offering a lot of details and options. It also excels in connectivity, as it can support both NMEA 2000 and 0183. It’s a great unit to have on a small boat, or part of a grid on a bigger vessel, to use for various purposes, not only scanning for fish, or as a GPS unit. It’s not exactly one of the cheapest units, but it’s worth each and every penny from the price.