Pages Navigation Menu

Lowrance HDS-12 Live Active Imaging 3-in-1

HDS-12 Live
AI 3-in-1

Check Discounted Price


2D: 1,000'


10 Hz,
US Enhanced


The Lowrance HDS-12 Live includes all the features offered by the last year’s HDS-12 Carbon. However, it supports the new LiveSight sonar as well, along with StructureScan 3D. It’s a multi-function display which also offers a wide array of navigation features and capabilities, including an enhanced version of the U.S. C-MAP Basemap. For reference, this is the Lowrance HDS-12 Live part number 000-14428-001, the one that includes the Active Imaging 3-in-1 transducer.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Display: SolarMax HD, 12″ diagonal, 1280H x 800V pixel matrix, full-color, with LED backlight and multitouch technology
  • Sonar: Active Imaging 3-in-1, StructureScan 3D, LiveSight Sonar capable
  • Transducer: Active Imaging 3-in-1
  • Frequency and Coverage (with the included transducer):
    83/200/455/800 kHz
    300′ (91 m) on each side – 455 kHz SideScan
    150′ (46 m) on each side – 800 kHz SideScan
  • Depth Capability (with the included transducer):
    1,000 ft (305 m) for the CHIRP sonar
    300 ft. (91 m) for DownScan and SideScan
  • Supply Voltage: 12VDC (10.8-17 VDC)
  • GPS: 16-channel, 10Hz internal GPS
  • Maps: U.S. C-MAP Enhanced Basemap
  • Routes, Waypoints, Trails: 100; 3,000; 100 (10,000 per trail)

Sonar and transducer

The Lowrance HDS-12 Live has built-in Active Imaging 3-in-1 sonar and includes the new Active Imaging 3-in-1 transducer, which pretty much means that you will be able to use 83/200 kHz CHIRP sonar, DownScan Imaging, and SideScan Imaging out of the box. However, the unit itself also supports StructureScan 3D and LiveSight, but in order to use these sonar technologies, you will need either the 3D transducer or the LiveSight transducer. Needless to say, the unit also supports various other transducers, including the older HDI Skimmers, and the TotalScan transducer. It also has the 50 kHz channel so you can pair it with a 50 kHz capable transducer for Low CHIRP and deepwater scanning.

The included Active Imaging 3-in-1 transducer has 25′ (7.6 m) of cable with a 9-pin connector. It also integrates a temperature sensor and the unit has a Temperature Graph feature which can be useful if you’re looking for currents of various temperatures or want to keep an eye on the water temperature variations. This transducer should maintain a bottom reading at speeds up to 55 MPH when using the 2D sonar, while the recommended sailing speed for an optimal structure scanning imaging is 10 MPH.

For the unit’s 2D CHIRP sonar, the included AI 3-in-1 transducer uses conical beams. Their exact coverage isn’t specified, but as a general idea, it is similar to the older TotalScan transducer; it offers the possibility to use Medium CHIRP and High CHIRP, while the maximum depth capability is 1,000′ (305 kHz) when using the 83 kHz channel.

For SideScan and DownScan, the AI 3-in-1 transducer uses the 455/800 kHz frequencies. Its maximum depth capabilities are 300′ (91 m) at 455 kHz, while the side range of the SideScan beams reaches 300′ (91 m) on each side at 455 kHz, and 150′ (46 m) at 800 kHz (a bit better than the TotalScan transducer).

Two important features that we must mention here are Surface Clarity and Live Network Sonar support. Surface Clarity is a function that reduces surface clutter by decreasing the sensitivity of the sonar receiver near the surface. Therefore, you can see more fish targets close to the surface. Live Network Sonar allows the unit to control two independent sonar sources and view them in split-screen.

The unit also offers a wide array of standard sonar functions. The list includes FishReveal, Overlay DownScan, Fish ID, Bottom Lock, Circular Flasher, TrackBack (or sonar recording), Depth Alarm, Fish Alarm and more.

Navigation features

As we’ve mentioned above, the Lowrance HDS-12 Live comes with an enhanced version of the C-MAP Basemap. This chart platform offers superior detail and information to the C-MAP version included with the Elite Ti2 units. It offers inland coverage with 1-foot contours for more than 4,000 U.S. lakes, and also offers U.S. coastal coverage including Hawaii and Alaska. Of course, the unit supports various premium charts, including C-MAP MAX-N, C-MAP MAX-N+, Navionics Gold & HotMaps, Navionics+, Navionics Platinum+, Nautic Insight Pro and HD, and more.

One of the new features included with all the HDS Live units is Genesis Live. This is a mapping application similar to SonarChart provided by Navionics, or the new RealBathy available with the Raymarine Element HV units. This application uses the 2D sonar and the GPS data in order to reveal the depth contours of the lake or body of water that you are currently scanning and add them to your map. This way, you can create your own bathymetric charts with 1/2 ft contours, and also offering control over contour density, depth shading and more.

StructureMap is included with this unit as well. It’s similar to the Genesis Live recording application, but it uses recordings from the SideScan Imaging sonar, which are overlayed on the map. Since the unit includes the Active Imaging 3-in-1 sonar, you will be able to use both features. However, it is important to mention that they require a microSD card as support for the recording. The Heat Map Chart feature is also available; this allows you to see the water temperature trails on the map, in the areas where the boat has traveled.

Since it’s a chartplotter, the HDS-12 Live has a built-in GPS antenna. It’s a 16-channel GPS system with a 10 Hz operating frequency, which means it can provide position updates 10 times per second. It can provide position augmentation via WAAS/EGNOS/MSAS, and also has a GPS alarm and a GPS speed function.

The unit has waypoint and route creation functions, and trackplotting. You can save up to 3,000 waypoints in its memory while choosing from a pretty rich icon database for them. It can record and save up to 100 tracks with up to 10,000 points per track, and also save up to 100 routes.

SmartSteer is also a feature supported by this unit. This feature offers autopilot and other functions for MotorGuide Xi5/Xi3 trolling motors; however, this requires MotorGuide PinPoint Gateway. It provides control for Power-Pole anchors. It can also show data from an AIS unit. Plus, the unit has an internal Radar application which means it can show data from an external Radar module, including 4G (Broadband), 3G (Broadband), Halo24 (Pulse Compression Dome Radar), Halo 3’/4’/6′ (Open Array Pulse Compression Radar).

Control unit features

The Lowrance HDS-12 is equipped with a 12-inch SolarMax display. It has a pixel matrix of 1280H x 800V and LED backlight (>1,200 nits) offering angle visibility up to 80° even through polarized sunglasses. It is IPX7 waterproof which essentially means it can support incidental water exposure and even immersions in freshwater for a short period of time.

The unit has a keypad-assisted multi-touch interface. This means it can be operated just like any tablet, but also has its side keypad which covers pretty much all of its functions. Its interface is highly customizable and easy to use. As opposed to the smaller units, such as the HDS-7 Live, this one offers split-screen possibilities with up to 6 applications per view. It has a dual-core processor which provides a very quick response for each one of the applications. It also has an internal storage of 8.0 GB.

In terms of networking, the HDS-12 Live provides both NMEA 2000 and Ethernet support. This being said, it allows plug-and-play for a wide array of boating instruments, including SiriusXM Marine Weather, SonicHub 2 Marine Audio, Class B AIS, Radar, and more. Plus, it offers wireless connectivity (Bluetooth and WiFi). Through WiFi, you can sync your smartphone or tablet with the unit in order to benefit from smart notifications, download charts, updates, or backup your unit’s data into your smart device. Via Bluetooth, you can control Power-Pole Shallow Water anchors, or take control of the unit with an LR-1 remote.

Similar to the HDS-9 Live, this unit has a dual microSD card reader. Thus, you can use both a data card and a charts card at the same time, without having to swap them. And finally, the unit includes the Gimbal mount, along with a unit cover and an in-dash mounting kit.

The Pros

  • Active Imaging 3-in-1 sonar;
  • StructureScan 3D sonar support;
  • LiveSight sonar support;
  • Active Imaging 3-in-1 transducer included;
  • Various sonar functions, such as DownScan Overlay, FishReveal, Bottom Lock, A-Scope, Circular Flasher, Fish ID, Sonar Recording etc;
  • C-MAP U.S. Enhanced Basemap included;
  • Genesis Live sonar mapping feature;
  • StructureMap feature included;
  • Compatible with a wide array of custom charts, including Navionics Gold, Navionics+, Navionics Platinum+, C-MAP Max N, C-MAP Max N+, Insight Pro and Insight HD.
  • Internal, 16-channel, 10 Hz GPS receiver;
  • Autopilot functions via SmartSteer, for Xi5 trolling motors;
  • Waypoints, routes, and trackplotting functions;
  • Easy to use touchscreen navigation;
  • 6-panel view presentation possibilities;
  • Super-bright display, excellent readability even through polarized sunglasses;
  • Dual-core processor for high responsiveness;
  • 8.0 GB of internal storage;
  • WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity;
  • NMEA 2000 and Ethernet support;
  • Dual microSD card reader for data backup and transfer;
  • Supports AIS, Radar, SiriusXM Marine Weather and Audio systems, and SonicHub 2 audio servers;
  • Gimbal bracket mount included;
  • Suncover cover included;
  • Available in multiple language packs;
  • Fairly easy to install.

The Cons

  • The Genesis Live feature requires microSD card support.


The Lowrance HDS-12 Live 000-14428-001 includes the Active Imaging 3-in-1 transducer, and offers 2D CHIRP sonar, DownScan, SideScan, GPS, the C-MAP US Enhanced Basemap, Genesis Live, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and superior networking capabilities. It also supports StructureScan 3D and LiveSight, Radar, SonicHub2, AIS, SiriusXM Audio systems, and much more. It’s a versatile multifunction display for both inland and off-shore navigation and fishing, perfect for a wide array of boats.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *