|959ci HD DI Combo|
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|600' DualBeam Plus,|
When it comes to down scanning sonar, Humminbird offers quite several units that incorporate this type of technology. The 959ci HD DI Combo is one of them. Or better-said “was” one of them because this unit was discontinued quite a while ago. It’s a medium-size and price unit, and along with the Down Imaging sonar technology, it offers a consistent array of other fish finding and navigation functions. For reference, this is the Humminbird part number 409180-1.
Key Features and Specifications
- Screen: 8″ diagonal, 800H x 480V pixel resolution, color TFT, with backlight
- Sonar: Down Imaging, DualBeam Plus with SwitchFire
- Depth Capability: 350 feet (106.6 m) for Down Imaging, 600 feet (183 m) for DualBeam Plus
- Frequency and Coverage:
- 200 kHz / 28° and 455 kHz / 16° for DualBeam Plus
- 455 kHz / 75° and 800 kHz / 45° for Down Imaging
- Transducer: Transom XNT 9 DI T
- Power Output: 500 Watts (RMS)
- Power Input: 10-20 VDC
- GPS: Internal, Precision
- Maps: ContourXD
- Routes, Waypoints, Tracks: 45, 2750, 50 (20000 points each)
Transducer and Sonar
Along with the core specs presented above, there’s a lot more to be said about this unit. First of all, in case you’re wondering, just like most units from Humminbird, the 959ci HD DI Combo comes with the apposite transducer. This transducer has a built-in temperature probe, rendering the unit capable to display water temperature. On top of that, the unit has two other important temperature-related functions: the Temperature Graph and Temperature Alarm. The first one allows you to observe the temperature changes and correlate them to recent sonar history. Temperature Alarm, if set on, will notify you of any temperature changes from a spot to another. These are both great features to have if you’re looking for water currents or fishing spots with a specific temperature.
As opposed to the 999ci HD SI Combo, which comes with a 200 / 83 kHz (20° / 60°) transducer for DualBeam Plus, the one this unit is equipped with features a dual-frequency of 200 / 455 kHz, with narrower beams, of 16° and 28°. It is, however, DualBeam Plus sonar technology, which means you can view both sonar returns independently or simultaneously in split-screen, or blended together. This doesn’t stand for Down Imaging though. The DI sonar also has two available frequencies, 455 / 800 kHz, which offer better coverage, of 45° and 75°. You can only view one at the time, though. However, you can observe the DI view and the standard view in split-screen, simultaneously.
Among the important sonar features to be mentioned regarding the Humminbird 959ci HD DI Combo, are the Structure ID, Selective FishID+, and Switchfire. Structure ID is a function that allows you to select the color for different sonar returns, in order to distinguish better between structure, bottom, fish, and noise. By default, the color for weak returns is set to blue, while the strong returns appear in red. The color palette can be changed though. Selective FishID+ is a function that makes the standard sonar returns more suggestive, attributing fish icons to the sonar returns interpreted as fish. These icons also vary in color and size, depending on the strength of each return. SwitchFire is a function that gives you the possibility to quickly swap between full sonar information (Max Mode), and a view filtered of all noise (Clear Mode). Max Mode can provide a maximum of fish arches caught by the sonar beam, while the Clear Mode can be used to make a better idea of the fish sized, or structure contours.
Last but not least, one of the pretty useful functions that you will get with this unit is sonar recording. This feature gives you the chance to record the sonar returns for the fishing spots you’re interested in, and review them later, or show your friends. The recording cannot be saved in the memory of the unit. Therefore, in order to record sonar, you will be needing a blank SD card, which is an optional purchase.
When it comes to navigation functions, the 959ci HD DI Combo from Humminbird features a 50-channel, 10 Hz, internal GPS. The GPS of this unit also uses information from EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service), WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) and MSAS (MTSAT Satellite Augmentation System), being capable of precise readings, within 4.5 meters of your actual position.
This unit features the ContourXD mapping pack, which covers a database of more than 3,000 lakes in the U.S., also featuring markers, major roads, and interstates.
Navigation functions such as waypoints, routes, and tracks are also available with this unit. Its internal memory can store up to 2750 waypoints, and 45 routes, containing up to 50 waypoints each. The tracks function makes available the recording of your course. The unit can store up to 50 tracks, 20,000 points each.
Head Unit Features
As I mentioned above, this unit is a medium-size one, with an 8″ diagonal display. However, it features HD imaging, offering superior quality for both Down Imaging and standard sonar views. Needless to say, it’s a full-color unit, with a color spectrum of 65000 colors. The screen is also backlit, for better reading in direct sunlight, and during the night. Its IPX rating is IP67 waterproof and dust-tight, being able to support immersions at up to 1 meter, for 30 minutes, also tolerating splashes and rain. It has Ethernet Network and NMEA 0183 capabilities.
This Humminbird also has 2 SD card slots, a great feature since it has sonar recording, and can support various other, enhanced mapping packs from Navionics. This makes available the use of two cards simultaneously, one with maps, another one for saving sonar or backing up waypoints.
The standard mounting system of the 959ci HD DI GPS and fish finder combo is gimbal type. However, you can opt for an in-dashboard mount.
This unit is compatible with various transducers. And Humminbird has a returning policy for transducers. If for example, you wish to use a trolling one or a through-hull one, you can send the transducer one back, and they’ll send a different, compatible one for free. However, this unit is not compatible with XD (50 kHz) transducers, nor is Side Imaging capable. Therefore, make sure you don’t order a transducer of this type. On the other hand, this 900 series Humminbird unit supports 360 Imaging Sonar.
When it comes mapping, this unit can support various other map packs, such as Navionics Platinum+, Navionics Gold and HotMaps, and Humminbird Mapping. It does not support, however, C-MAP 4D.
This unit also offers NMEA 2000 networking possibilities via an optional purchase NMEA 2000 module.
Finally, the 959ci HD DI Combo supports AIS, RADAR and i-Pilot Link, navigation functions that can be extremely useful on the water.
Nonetheless, this isn’t a perfect unit, and it has its share of drawbacks. So, since what you’ve read about it so far is basically a multitude of positives, here are some of the negatives.
First of all, even though it offers Down Imaging, it cannot support Side Imaging, and second of all does not support CHIRP technology. It does, however, support Humminbird 360 Imaging Sonar.
The ContourXD chart pack that the unit comes with, although it offers enough detail for proper navigation, it may not off the detail you’re expecting. Therefore, a Navionics charts pack might be a necessary upgrade for you.
NMEA 2000 networking is only optional, not built-in, and requires an extra purchase of a specific module.
Even though it’s a unit without Side Imaging, the Humminbird 959ci HD DI Combo still is a pretty inclusive one, offering a wide array of fish finding and navigation features, along with several upgrade possibilities. Since it doesn’t have CHIRP sonar, wireless connectivity or touchscreen technology, and various new units with these technologies have already begun to enter the market, the price of this particular one has already been reduced. At the moment, its price/quality/capability ratio is quite excellent. It’s far from being an outdated unit, in fact, there will be free upgrades for its internal software for at least a couple of years from now. Each and every function that it supplies is invaluable on the water, to any angler. All in all, it’s a unit worth every penny.