Humminbird HELIX 7 CHIRP DI GPS G2
The HELIX 7 CHIRP DI GPS G2 is one of the newest releases from Humminbird for 2017. It shares many of the features and functions of the older HELIX 7 DI GPS unit, but this new unit comes with a series of updates. Two of its major improvements are the CHIRP sonar and AutoChart Live. To make sure there isn’t any confusion regarding the identity of this unit, this review addresses to the 410300-1 part number, the model that comes with a transducer, GPS and charts.
Technical Details and Specifications
- Display: 7″ diagonal, color TFT with a 16-bit color range, 800H x 480V pixel matrix, with LED backlight
- Sonar: CHIRP Down Imaging, CHIRP DualBeam Plus with SwitchFire
- Depth Capability:
350 feet (106 m) for Down Imaging
600 feet (183 m) for DualBeam Plus
- Frequency and Coverage:
DualBeam Plus: 455 kHz (420-520 kHz) / 16° and 200 kHz (175-225 kHz) / 28°
Down Imaging: 455 kHz (420-520 kHz) / 75° and 800 kHz (790-850 kHz) / 45°
- Transducer: Transom XNT 9 DI T
- Power Output: 500 Watts (RMS)
- Power Input: 10.8-20 VDC
- Power Draw: 850 mA
- GPS: Precision GPS, internal antenna
- Maps: UniMap
- Routes, Waypoints, Tracks: 45; 2,500; 50 (20,000 trackpoints per track)
Navigation features and functions
This is a chartplotter unit, and integrates a fast and accurate GPS module, which can offer fixes in 2.5 meters, enhanced by WAAS, EGNOS and MSAS. The unit is also capable of displaying the vessel’s speed, by using the GPS data. It can store up to 2,500 waypoints, 45 routes and 50 tracks, with up to 20,000 points per tracks.
As we’ve mentioned above, one of the improvements of this new Humminbird unit, is its AutoChart Live feature, which was only supported by the units above HELIX 9, so far. AutoChart Live is a function that uses the 2D sonar information and the GPS information in order to reveal the contours of the body of water you’re sailing on. It requires a LakeMaster or Navionics chart support though, or a Zero Lines microSD card, which offers “zero line contours” for most bodies of water in the U.S. and Canada, ready to be mapped.
The unit itself comes with the most basic Humminbird charts though, the Humminbird UniMap package. These charts cover the contiguous U.S. coastline, inland lakes, and rivers at 30 m / pixel. As a general idea, they show what a regular GPS shows, such as lakes, ocean, streams, with the boundaries between land and water described accurately. Although these charts offer only basic navigation detail, the unit is compatible with various superior chart chips, including LakeMaster, LakeMaster PLUS, Navionics+, Navionics Platinum+ charts. Also, one of the improvements for this unit is the SmartStrike compatibility.
On the list of navigation functions to be mentioned here also are the Drift Alarm and Off Course Alarm. Drift Alarm allows you to select a perimeter for your anchored boat, and in case it will drift out of that perimeter, the alarm will sound. The Off Course Alarm is pretty much similar to the previous mentioned function, only the alarm will sound if you divert from your setup course. There’s also a Bird’s Eye View function which gives you a 3D view of your location, with a point of view above and behind the boat. Although this 3D function may not be too helpful with the pre-loaded UniMap charts, it’s definitely quite a plus if you will be using Navionics or LakeMaster charts.
Fish finding features and functions
Like most Humminbird units, the HELIX 7 CHIRP DI GPS G2 comes with a transducer. The transducer supplied with this unit is the same as for the HELIX 5 CHIRP DI GPS G2. It’s the XNT 9 DI T transducer, model that is also temperature capable. This transducer comes with 20 ft (6 m) of cable and a transom transducer.
In terms of sonar, this unit can support three frequencies 200/455/800 kHz, 200/455 kHz for 2D, and 455/800 kHz for Down Imaging. Evidently, since it uses CHIRP technology, the sonar pulse can be modulated on a frequency range between 175-225 kHz, 420-520 kHz and 790-850 kHz. This means you will obtain a better quality imaging, with less clutter and a better separation between targets. In other words, CHIRP technology increases the chances to tell fish apart from structure, or the actual number of targets in a group of fish, rather than just showing a bigger target.
For 2D, the transducer beams are conical, and don’t have a very wide coverage; the 455 kHz beam is 16° wide, while the 200 kHz one is 28° wide. On the other hand, for Down Imaging the side to side coverage is wider; the DI beams are not conical though, but very thin. Their coverage is 45° for 800 kHz and 75° for 455 kHz.
When it comes to depth capability, this system is not extremely powerful. It can reach depths of 350 ft (106 m) for DI, and 600 ft (183 m) for 2D. Also, the recommended sailing speed range for the clearest images, with a maximum of targets is 1-6 MPH. It should maintain a bottom reading though, at speeds up to 30 MPH.
Several sonar related functions are available with this fish finder system. Among them we can count Circular Flasher, Selective Fish ID+, Real Time Sonar, Fish Alarms and SwitchFire.
Control unit features and functions
The head unit of this HELIX unit is basically the same as the HELIX 5 CHIRP DI GPS G2, only it has a 7-inch display, 16-bit color, with LED backlight. It features a pixel matrix of 800 x 480, also being IPX7 waterproof.
This unit does not have Ethernet connectivity, but does have a NMEA 0183 port, and a microSD card reader for chart upgrades, data transfer, waypoint saving or sonar recordings. It comes with a gimbal mount, but the option of an in-dash mounting kit is also available.
- DualBeam Plus sonar with SwitchFire and Down Imaging;
- CHIRP sonar technology;
- Powerful transducer (XNT 9 DI T), CHIRP capable and temperature capable, with transom mount;
- Depth capability up to 600 ft with the included transducer, great for in-land fishing, and even for shallow off-shore fishing;
- Multiple sonar functions available, such as RTS, Bottom Lock, Selective Fish ID+, Alarms etc;
- Sonar Recording and Screen Snapshot functions;
- Precision GPS with MSAS, ENGONS and WAAS enhancing;
- UniMap charts included;
- AutoChart Live ready, function that gives you the possibility to map or re-map any body of water;
- Trackplotting, routes and waypoints functions;
- 800 x 480 resolution, 16-bit color display, with LED backlight, providing clear images, easy to read even in direct sunlight;
- IPX7 waterproof;
- NMEA 0183 port;
- MicroSD card reader (1 slot);
- Upgradable internal software;
- Gimbal mount included;
- Fairly easy to install.
- No unit cover;
- Does not support 360 Imaging.
The HELIX 7 CHIRP DI GPS G2 is a mid-range fish finder and chartplotter, offering 2D and Down Imaging CHIRP sonar, GPS, UniMap Charts, also being AutoChart Live ready. It’s a unit intended for freshwater use, as it doesn’t have extreme depth penetration, at least with the included transducer. However, it can also be used off-shore, as long as you fish at depths up to 4-500 ft. It’s a great unit for boats of all sizes, and comes with an excellent price / value ratio.