Humminbird HELIX 7 CHIRP SI GPS G2
The HELIX 7 CHIRP SI GPS G2 is basically the upgraded HELIX 7 SI GPS. This new unit was released at the end of 2016. Just like all the new HELIX units, it has the AutoChart Live feature and CHIRP sonar. Despite these improvements, the newer system costs only a bit more than the older one.
Technical Details and Specifications
- Screen: 7″ diagonal, color TFT, 800H x 480V pixel resolution, 16-bit color, with backlight
- Sonar: CHIRP Side Imaging, CHIRP Down Imaging, CHIRP DualBeam Plus with SwitchFire
- Depth Capability:
- 150 feet (46 m) for Side Imaging and Down Imaging
- 1500 feet (457 m) for DualBeam Plus (2D)
- Frequency and Coverage:
- 2D: 200 kHz (175-225 kHz) / 20° and 83 kHz (75-95 kHz) / 60°
- Down Imaging: 455 kHz (420-520 kHz) / Narrow, Medium and Wide fan-shaped cone
- Side Imaging: 455 kHz (420-520 kHz) / 85° (x2), 240 ft. 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: 850 mA
- GPS: Internal
- Maps: Humminbird UniMap (built-in)
- Routes, Waypoints, Tracks: 45, 2,500, 50 (20,000 points each)
Sonar and transducer
The HELIX 7 CHIRP SI GPS G2 features three types of sonar: Side Imaging, Down Imaging and DualBeam Plus, all being enhanced by CHIRP technology. This means the sonar pulse is modulated over a specific range of frequencies rather than one, single frequency, which results in a better target separation, images with less clutter and a superior overall reading of the underwater environment.
The system is capable of 3 frequencies 50/83/200 kHz for its 2D sonar, but with the supplied transducer, it can only use the 83/200 kHz. However, considering that it has CHIRP, the pulse for these frequencies is modulated over 75-95 kHz, and respectively 175-225 kHz. Since its 2D sonar is DualBeam Plus, it can use both its 2D frequencies simultaneously, and you can view the returns of both beams in split-screen. In order to use the 50 kHz (28-75 kHz) mode, the unit requires a 50/200 kHz transducer. The sonar beams used by the transducer for DualBeam Plus sonar are conical. They offer a coverage of 60° for the 83 kHz frequency, and 20° for 200 kHz.
For Side Imaging and Down Imaging, this Humminbird fish finder unit uses a frequency of 455 kHz, with a CHIRP modulation between 420-520 kHz. These types of sonar use thin beams not conical. For Side Imaging, the beams have a coverage of 86° and can extend up to 240 ft on each side of the boat. For Down Imaging the beam angles are not specified, but there are three modes to choose from Narrow, Medium and Wide. SI and DI are great sonar features as they offer images close to the clarity of a photo. Thus, they help a lot in understanding shapes and structure. On the other hand, the 2D sonar is best at discovering fish targets.
When it comes to depth capabilities, with the supplied transducer the system can scan depths up to 150 ft (45 m) for SI and DI, and up to 1,500 ft (457 m) for DualBeam Plus. With a 50/200 kHz deep water transducer, its depth capabilities can extend to 2,500 ft. (in 2D).
The transducer supplied with this Humminbird fish finder is the XNT 9 SI 180 T model. This transducer comes with a transom mount, 20′ (6 m) of cable, and also integrates a temperature sensor. Needless to say, the transducer supports the unit’s CHIRP sonar.
Just like the other Humminbird HELIX units, this one has various other sonar related features. Among them we can count Selective Fish ID+, Sonar Recording, SwitchFire, Real Time Sonar, Split Zoom, Bottom Lock, Screen Snapshot, Fish Alarms and more.
When it comes to navigation, the star feature of the Humminbird HELIX 7 CHIRP SI GPS G2 is AutoChart Live. This feature allows you to reveal the depth contours of a body of water, based on the information provided by the 2D sonar. This way you can map and re-map a specific body of water, and always use the most up-to-date depth contours. However, in order for this function to become usable, the unit requires a LakeMaster, Navionics, or ZeroLines card. Once a LakeMaster map card for example, is installed in the unit, and selected as a map source, additional menus are added to the menu system. AutoChart Live can stock up to 8 hours of mapping on the unit’s drive. If you need to stock more data, a ZeroLines card is recommended.
The unit comes with the pre-loaded UniMap charts. These are the most basic charts found in Humminbird units. They don’t offer extraordinary detail, but nonetheless, they do cover the contiguous US coastline and inland lakes at 30 m / pixel, show the boundaries between water and land, supplying enough data for safe navigation. The unit is compatible though with LakeMaster, Navionics Gold/HotMaps, in case you need superior detail for mapping. It’s also compatible with SmartStrike cards.
The unit has an internal GPS receiver, which uses WAAS, EGNOS or MSAS for correction, offering fast position fixes with an accuracy within 2.5 m. The unit can store up to 2,500 waypoints, with 45 routes (50 wp each). There’s also a trackplotting function, this unit being able to record your course in a breadcrumb manner, being able to save up to 50 distinctive tracks (20,000 points each). The unit also measures the boat’s speed via GPS.
Control unit features
As the unit’s name suggests, it has a 7-inch display. Its pixel matrix is 800H x 480V which means images are quite focused and clear. The display is 16-bit color and also features LED backlight for excellent readability in sunlight or poor lighting conditions. The unit’s waterproofing is IPX7, which means it’s submersible in freshwater at depths up to 1m, for 30 min. Differently put, the unit can withstand splashes, rain or in general, incidental water exposure with no problem.
The unit features one MicroSD card slot for additional mapping or sonar recording. Its internal software is upgradable, and upgrades can also be done via sd card. It does not support NMEA 2000 or Ethernet, but does however have a NMEA 0183 port. Included with this unit there’s a gimbal mount, but there’s also the option for an in-dash mount.
- DualBeam Plus sonar with SwitchFire;
- Side Imaging and Down Imaging;
- CHIRP sonar technology;
- 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;
- 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;
- Glass bonded screen, glare proof;
- NMEA 0183 connector;
- MicroSD card slot;
- Upgradable internal software;
- Gimbal mount included;
- 360 Imaging capable;
- Fairly easy to install.
- Side Imaging and Down Imaging sonar modes are not too great for deep water;
- Unit cover is not included.
The Humminbird HELIX 7 CHIRP SI GPS G2 is a fish finder and chartplotter unit, featuring Side Imaging, Down Imaging and DualBeam Plus sonar (all CHIRP) Precision GPS and UniMap charts. The XNT 9 SI 180 T transducer is supplied with the unit, transducer that supports all unit’s sonar types. The unit also has the AutoChart Live feature which allows you to map any body of water, and use the most up-to-date depth contours. Its SI and DI sonar modes are not too powerful depth-wise, but they’re good enough for freshwater fishing. However, if you want to use this system off-shore, you can always rely on its DualBeam Plus sonar. It’s a great fish finder and GPS system for a wide array of boats, from kayaks to larger vessels. And finally, considering the CHIRP and AutoChart Live upgrades and the fact that the system’s price is basically the same as the old one, we can safely say that it comes with an excellent price / value ratio.