Although it’s one of the Lowrance fish finders released in 2017, the HDS-12 Carbon is still available in 2020. Similar to the other HDS units, it’s a fish finder and chartplotter offering a wide array of sonar and navigation features. For reference, this is the Lowrance part number 000-13689-001, the one that includes the TotalScan transducer and is pre-loaded with the U.S. C-MAP Basemap.
Key Features and Specifications
- Display: SolarMAX HD, 12″ diagonal, 16:9, 1280H x 800V pixel matrix, full-color, with LED backlight and multitouch technology
- Sonar: 2D CHIRP and StructureScan HD, StructureScan 3D capable
- Depth Capability:
2D: 1,000 ft (304.8 m)
StructureScan: 300 ft (92 m)
- Frequency and Coverage:
2D: 200 kHz (20°) / 83 kHz (60°), plus Med and High CHIRP
300″ (91 m) on each side – 455 kHz SideScan
100″ (30 m) on each side – 800 kHz SideScan
- Transducer: TotalScan
- Power Output: 500 Watts (RMS)
- Power Input: 12VDC (10.8-17 VDC)
- GPS: 10Hz Internal GPS Antenna
- Maps: U.S. C-MAP
- Routes, Waypoints, Trails: 200; 5,000; 100 (10,000 per trail)
Sonar and transducer
As we’ve mentioned above, the Lowrance HDS-12 Carbon 000-13689-001 comes with the TotalScan transducer, which covers the unit’s 83/200 kHz frequencies for 2D CHIRP sonar, and 455/800 kHz for StructureScan. This transducer also integrates a water temperature sensor.
The unit itself has various types of sonar technologies, apart from the ones that we’ve mentioned. For example, it’s also StructureScan 3D and SpotlightScan. But in order to use these sonar technologies, you will need different transducers.
The unit’s 2D sonar has CHIRP sonar technology. Differently put, the 2D sonar pulse can be modulated over a range of frequencies instead of just one, providing a better bottom lock, clearer images with less clutter, and a better target definition. With the included TotalScan transducer, the system can use Mid Range CHIRP and High Range CHIRP, the pulse modulation intervals being 85-145 kHz instead of 83 kHz, and 130-210 kHz instead of 200 kHz.
For StructureScan, with the included TotalScan transducer, the system can use SideScan and DownScan. For SideScan, the side beams can extend up to 300′ (91 m) on each side of the boat, when scanning at 455 kHz, and up to 100′ (30 m) on each side of the boat for 800 kHz. The coverage of the DownScan beams is not specified, but the beams are wider than for the 2D sonar.
The depth capabilities of this Lowrance fish finder with the included transducer are 1,000′ (305 m) for 2D sonar, and 300′ (91 m) for StructureScan. The recommended speed for the sharpest images with a maximum of targets is 10 MPH. However, the transducer should be able to maintain a bottom reading at speeds up to 35 MPH.
Needless to say, the unit has all the standard sonar functions available with the other smaller units, such as the Elite-9 Ti, or HDS-9 Carbon. The first to mention here is DownScan Overlay, which gives you the possibility to blend the DownScan sonar view with the 2D sonar view in order to benefit from a better understanding of the relation between various targets, structure, and bottom.
Fish Symbol ID is also included. This function assigns fish icons to the suspended targets detected by the transducer’s 2D beams. Even if not all targets that will appear as fish will actually be fish, this can be a very useful function especially dues to the FishTrack feature which indicates the depth of each target next to it.
This unit can record sonar as well. With the Sonar Recording and Sonar Rewind functions, you won’t have to turn the boat around to re-scan a certain location if you want a second look. Also, the sonar recordings can be used with the Insight Genesis application to create custom maps.
Other standard sonar functions included are Bottom Lock, COLORLINE, Circular Flasher sonar view, fish alarms, depth alarm etc.
The Lowrance HDS-12 Carbon 000-13689-001 comes with a U.S. chart database from C-MAP. These charts cover more than 3,000 U.S. lakes, rivers, reservoirs, and coastal waters with contours up to 1,000 ft, offering decent support for fishing and navigation. However, the unit is open to a wide selection of chart upgrades. It is compatible with various premium charts, such as Navionics Platinum+, Navionics Gold and HotMaps, Insight PRO by C-MAP, Lake Insight by C-MAP, Fishing HotSport PRO and more.
A useful function for both navigation and fishing is StructureMap. This function offers the possibility to overlay the SideScan sonar with your charts, to benefit from a real-time view of the underwater structure and its precise location on the map. Also, as we’ve mentioned above, this unit has a Sonar Recording function, and you can use the sonar recordings to create detailed charts via Insight Genesis. Nonetheless, the unit can use any chart made via the online Insight Genesis application.
This Lowrance unit is equipped with an internal, 10 Hz GPS receiver, EGNOSS and WAAS capable, which provides fast and accurate fixes. The unit can provide latitude and longitude data. It offers the possibility to save up to 5,000 waypoints, 200 routes and 100 trails with up to 10,000 points per trail. Waypoints can be customized, a wide array of icons being available. Also, it’s much easier to mark a waypoint using touchscreen technology. Also, via GPS, the unit can calculate and show the speed of your boat.
Control unit features
There’s a lot to be said with regard to the Lowrance HDS-12 Carbon control unit. To begin with, it offers quite a large display, with a 12″ diagonal, 16:9 aspect ratio, and a pixel resolution of 1280H x 800V. It uses a SolarMAX HD display with adjustable LED backlight, offering superior reading possibilities in direct sunlight, even from sharp angles. It’s also IPX7 waterproof, which means it can withstand incidental water exposure and even immersions in fresh water, up to a depth of 1 meter.
The unit has both keypad and touchscreen technologies. It features an intuitive interface, the navigation through the apps, and the usage of each app is very straightforward.
An important aspect to mention here regards the unit’s internal processor. The Carbon units integrate a superior, Dual-Core, High-Performance processor, delivering much faster redraws of the charts, a faster and smoother scroll rate, higher responsiveness for all applications and faster sonar updates.
When it comes to connectivity, the unit offers NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 support; it also has two Ethernet ports and a dual microSD card reader. On top of that, it has wireless connectivity. By using the Lowrance GoFree app and other onboard devices, you can download software updates, purchase charts or access the GoFree Cloud database for Insight Genesis custom charts.
The unit makes available two wireless diagnostic tools, the Network Analyzer and the Service Assistant. The Network Analyzer will notify you with regards to devices in your boat’s network that feature an out-of-date software, while the Service Assistant allows you to send reports of networked devices to Navico Service for quicker resolution for technical problems.
Plug-and-play compatibility with various Lowrance performance modules is also included. Broadband Radar, SonicHub Marine Audio, Class B AIS, SiriusXM® Marine Weather and audio, DSC VHF, or other external modules like Mercury VesselView or MotorGuide Xi5 control, Bluetooth® control of Power-Pole shallow water anchors equipped with the C-Monster Control System and the SmartSteer™ interface, are all compatible with this Lowrance unit.
- CHIRP 2D sonar and StructureScan (DownScan/SideScan);
- TotalScan transducer (83/200/455/800 kHz) included, capable of Mid and High CHIRP;
- SpotLight sonar and StructureScan 3D capable;
- 3,000 ft. depth capability (1,000 ft. with the TotalScan transducer);
- 600 ft side-to-side coverage on SideScan;
- Many standard fishfinding functions such as Bottom Lock, FishSymbols ID, Fish Track, Sonar Recording, Circular Flasher, alarms etc;
- Dual-Core processor, two times faster than for the previous units, providing faster scrolling through applications, faster sonar updates, higher responsiveness etc;
- SolarMAX HD anti-glare display, offering excellent 180° visibility;
- Rich, 1280 x 800 pixel resolution and a 16:9 aspect ratio;
- Touchscreen and keypad control;
- Intuitive, easy-to-use interface;
- Wireless networking;
- Two Ethernet ports;
- NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 connectivity;
- Dual MicroSD card slot reader for data backup and transfer;
- Compatible with various modules such as Broadband Radar, SonicHub, SiriusXM Marine Weather and audio, DSC VHF and Class B AIS, Mercury VesselView etc;
- High precision, 10 Hz internal GPS;
- Built-in detailed U.S. charts from C-MAP;
- Compatible with a wide array of custom charts, including Nautic Insight PRO and HD, Navionics HotMaps Premium, Fishing HotSpots Pro, Lake Insight PRO and HD, C-Map Max-N by Jeppesen, and Insight Genesis;
- Autopilot functions via SmartSteer, for Xi5 trolling motors;
- GPS and sonar overlay data possibilities, via Insight Genesis;
- Available in 36 language packs;
- Fairly easy to install.
- The manual doesn’t offer detailed instructions for all of the unit’s functions;
- Touchscreen technology may also be seen as a downside, as you will constantly have to wipe the unit’s display clean if you’re handling bait, fish, etc.
The Lowrance HDS-12 Carbon 000-13689-001 is a fish finder and chartplotter featuring CHIRP 2D sonar, StructureScan (SideScan and DownScan), a fast GPS, U.S. base charts from C-MAP, and comes with the TotalScan transducer. It’s also capable of StructureScan 3D and SpotLightScan. Along with these core fish finding and navigation features, this Lowrance unit offers a wide array of connectivity features, which makes it a highly versatile instrument. It’s perfect for both saltwater and freshwater, it’s an excellent choice for professional fishing boats. And finally, it may not exactly be the most affordable unit, but does offers excellent value for the price.