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The HELIX 5 SI GPS is one of the first Humminbird fish finders within the HELIX series, released in 2015. To be more specific, this is the HELIX 409640-1. Even though it’s not exactly a new model, it hasn’t been discontinued yet, and still benefits from a lot of positive feedback.
Since it’s an older model, it doesn’t have CHIRP capabilities such as the HELIX 5 CHIRP SI GPS G2. However, it does offer three types of sonar including DualBeam Plus, Side Imaging, and Down Imaging. Also, as its name suggests, it’s a GPS unit and comes with the UniMap base charts.
Key Features and Specifications
- Screen: 5″ diagonal, color TFT, 800H x 480V pixel resolution, with backlight
- Sonar: Side Imaging, Down Imaging, DualBeam Plus
- Depth Capability:
- DualBeam Plus: 1500 ft (457 m)
- SI/DI: 100 ft (30 m)
- Frequency and Coverage:
- DualBeam Plus: 200 kHz / 20° and 83 kHz / 60°
- Down Imaging: 455 kHz
- Side Imaging: 455 kHz / 86° (x2) – 240 ft (73 m) on each side of the boat
- Transducer: Transom XNT 9 SI 180 T
- Power Output: 500 Watts (RMS)
- Power Input: 10.8-20 VDC
- Power Draw: 615 mA
- GPS: 5 Hz, Internal
- Maps: Humminbird UniMap (built-in)
- Routes, Waypoints, Tracks: 45, 2,500, 50 (20,000 points each)
Sonar and transducer
The Humminbird HELIX 5 SI GPS offers three types of sonar. These are DualBeam Plus, Side Imaging, and Down Imaging. It comes with the XNT 9 SI 180 T transducer which supports all these three types of sonar. This transducer has a built-in temperature sensor, so the unit can monitor the water temperature. It features a transom mount and 20 ft (6 m) of cable.
The DualBeam Plus sonar is the traditional 2D sonar. For this type of sonar, the transducer uses two conical beams with a coverage of 20° @ 200 kHz, and 60° @ 83 kHz. Since the 2D sonar is DualBeam “PLUS”, both beams can be used simultaneously and their returns can be viewed in split-screen. Other Humminbird fish finders (from older generations) only have DualBeam sonar, being able to only use one 2D sonar beam at the time.
It’s best to use the traditional sonar view when looking for fish; in most cases, they appear as arches and clearly stand out from other objects or vegetation. Plus, for this type of sonar you’ll get a depth capability of 1,500 ft (457 m), and several standard sonar features, such as Real-Time Sonar, Selective Fish ID, Bottom Lock, Circular Flasher for ice fishing, Fish Alarm, SwitchFire, and others.
The Humminbird HELIX 5 SI GPS is a Side Imaging fish finder. The Side Imaging sonar operates at 455 kHz, while the transducer launches two 86°, fan-shaped beams, with a coverage of 240 ft (73 m) on each side of the boat (480 ft in total). These help you determine the locations of fish, vegetation, or structure in relation to the boat.
This Humminbird fish finder also has Down Imaging Sonar. This type of sonar works in a similar way as the 2D traditional sonar but offers the same, photo-like view of the bottom as the Side Imaging. However, since it’s a Side Imaging unit, and the transducer is a Side Imaging dedicated model, the Down Imaging beam is actually created from the information provided by the side beams. Its coverage isn’t specified. The DI sonar beam is also a fan-shaped beam just like the side sonar beams, and the frequency used is 455 kHz.
The system’s depth capability for Side Imaging and Down Imaging isn’t extraordinary, though. It can only reach depths up to 100 ft (30 m). So, basically, the SI and DI sonar modes are for lakes and inland fishing, not for deep off-shore waters.
One last notable feature to mention here is the unit’s Sonar Recording. This function allows you to record the sonar feed in order to review it later. This feature can save you some trouble if you need to review a certain spot, without re-scanning that particular area. However, to record and rewind the sonar log, a data microSD card must be inserted into the unit; the sonar recordings aren’t saved in the unit’s memory.
GPS and charts
The HELIX 5 SI GPS is equipped with a 5 Hz internal GPS, which can update your position 5 times per second. It uses the information from WAAS, EGNOS and MSAS satellites if they are available in your area, to provide the most accurate results possible. It shows your current coordinates and the coordinates of any waypoint or point of interest on the map. It can calculate the speed of your boat. It can also save up to 2,500 waypoints, 45 routes, and 50 trails (with up to 20,000 track points per trail).
Since it’s an older unit, the Humminbird HELIX 5 SI GPS only comes with the UniMap charts. These are quite basic charts, without contour lines, or advanced data such as port, tide, or current information. Although for the new HELIX units released in 2017 the UniMap charts have been updated to Humminbird Basemaps, which provide much more detail, we are not sure if this update is available for this particular older HELIX unit. But nonetheless, the unit supports charts from LakeMaster, Navionics Gold and HotMaps.
This Humminbird unit does not offer AIS or Radar support. The AutoChart or AutoChart Live features are not available with it, and also, the unit does not support SmartStrike fishing cards.
Control unit features
To begin with, this is a 5″ display unit, featuring a color TFT display (grayscale color 256) and a pixel resolution of 800H x 480V, which is not bad for a small unit; the images formed on the display are very sharp and clear. The display has LED backlight, which results in excellent visibility at night or in direct sunlight. It’s also IPX7 waterproof, which technically means that it can withstand rain or incidental water exposure.
The unit feature keypad controls. It’s not an MFD such as the Simrad GO5 XSE, for example, so it does not have touchscreen technology. It includes a Gimbal mount, but an In-Dash mounting kit is optionally available.
This Humminbird HELIX unit does not have Ethernet but does offer NMEA 0183 support. It also has a microSD card reader with one slot, for chart upgrades, sonar recordings, software updates, or data transfer.
- DualBeam Plus sonar with SwitchFire;
- Side Imaging and Down Imaging;
- Powerful transducer (XNT 9 SI 180 T), CHIRP capable and temperature capable, with transom mount;
- Depth capability up to 1,500 ft with the included transducer;
- Multiple sonar functions available, such as RTS, Bottom Lock, Selective Fish ID+, Alarms etc;
- Sonar Recording and Screen Snapshot functions;
- 5 Hz GPS capable of using MSAS, EGNOS, and WAAS satellites;
- UniMap charts included;
- Compatible with Navionics Gold and HotMaps, and LakeMaster charts;
- Trackplotting, routes and waypoints functions;
- 800 x 480 resolution, 256-color, with LED backlight, providing clear images, easy to read even in direct sunlight;
- IPX7 waterproof;
- NMEA 0183 support;
- MicroSD card slot;
- Upgradable internal software;
- Gimbal mount included;
- Fairly easy to install.
- Does not support SmartStrike cards;
- AutoChart Live not included;
- Only 100 ft depth capability for SI/DI sonar.
The Humminbird HELIX 5 SI GPS is a fish finder and chartplotter unit, featuring DualBeam Plus Sonar, Down Imaging, Side Imaging, GPS and the UniMap charts. It includes the XNT 9 SI 180 T transducer, which supports all its three types of sonar. It’s compatible with Navionics Gold and LakeMaster charts. It’s a perfect unit for lake fishing, but also for off-shore fishing if you only need to use the 2D sonar. It’s great for a wide array of small fishing boats. And finally, even though it costs approximately the same as the new HELIX 5 CHIRP SI GPS G2 unit, it still continues to benefit from many positive reviews from anglers all over the U.S.