Lowrance Elite-4 CHIRP Navionics
The Lowrance Elite-4 CHIRP is one of the most inclusive small units with CHIRP that you can find at the moment, for a price under $300. It offers 2D dual frequency CHIRP sonar, and DownScan, this particular model also including the Navionics Gold charts pack. Evidently, the unit comes with the transducer that supports all the sonar technologies offered by the control unit. In other words, this model basically has the same sonar of the Elite-4X CHIRP, but also includes GPS and maps. And to be even more specific, this is the unit with the model number 000-11817-001.
Since this unit offers quite an impressive array of features and functions, there’s a lot to be said about each one of them. Therefore, within the following review, we’ll try to cover all the aspects regarding.
Technical Detail and Specifications
- Screen: 4.3″ diagonal, 480V x 272H pixel matrix, 16-bit color TFT, with 11-level LED backlight
- Sonar: Broadband CHIRP and DownScan
- Depth Capability:
- 1,000 ft (305 m) CHIRP sonar
- 300 ft. (91 m) for DownScan
- Frequency and Coverage:
- 200 kHz (20°) / 83 kHz (60°) for broadband
- 455 kHz for DownScan, fore to aft. 4°, port to starboard 57°
- 800 kHz for DownScan fore to Aft 2°, port to starboard 38°
- Transducer: Transom, number 000-10976-001
- Power Output: 500 Watts (RMS)
- Power Input: 10-17 VDC
- GPS: Internal, 16-channel
- Maps: Basemap + Navionics Gold (microSD card)
- Routes, Waypoints, Tracks: 100; 3,000; 100
As we’ve mentioned above, this unit comes with two types of sonar technology: 2D CHIRP and DownScan Imaging. The DownScan does not use CHIRP technology.
The 2D CHIRP sonar built-in the control unit can actually use three frequencies: 50/83/200 kHz. In other words, it can use Low CHIRP, Medium CHIRP, and High CHIRP. But since the transducer supplied with the unit is the 000-10976-001 model, capable only of 83/200 kHz, out of the box the unit will only use the Med and High CHIRP.
With the 2D sonar, the transducer uses two conical beams, of 20° for 200 kHz (High CHIRP), and 60° for 83 kHz (Med CHIRP). In order to use Low CHIRP and the 50 kHz frequency, you will need a 50/200 kHz transducer. The depth capability of this 2D sonar is 1,000 ft. (305 m). Since the CHIRP sonar uses a frequency-radiated pulse, it offers superior accuracy, better target separation, and less clutter. This CHIRP sonar is great for locating fish.
On the other hand, DownScan imaging can also use two frequencies 455/800 kHz, and the supplied transducer covers them as well. However, for DownScan, the transducer uses razor-thin beams fore-to-aft wise, similar to the ones of a scanner. For 455 kHz, the beam has an angle of 57° and for 800 kHz, 38°. In DownScan, the unit isn’t extremely powerful. It can scan depths up to a maximum of 300 ft (91 m). DownScan sonar is, however, a technology to use in shallow waters, great for understanding the shapes of structure, submerged objects, trees, and the construction of the bottom. It’s also useful in telling fish apart from structure.
To make things clear, this unit cannot use SideScan sonar technology.
The 83/200/455/800 kHz transducer supplied comes with a transom mount, and 20 ft. (6 m) of cable. It’s temperature capable, as it integrates a temperature sensor.
Several useful functions are available with the sonar of this unit. First of all, there is an ice fishing mode, offering a Circular Flasher sonar view, which some anglers prefer for stationary fishing. Split Zoom is also available, allowing you to view two sonar returns side by side, with different levels of zoom. The Amplitude Scope (or A-Scope) is a vertical flasher view which renders the most recent sonar echo. It can be viewed on the right side of the screen.
Fish ID is a function that gives you the possibility to turn the suspended sonar returns into fish icons. Evidently, some of these returns won’t be fish, but in case you’re not too familiar with the fish arches given by the 2D sonar, the “second opinion” that this function offers can really help.
DownScan Overlay is a function also available with this unit. This function permits the blending of the 2D CHIRP sonar with the DownScan sonar, in order to observe better the fish returns in relation to the structure.
Finally, this unit is TrackBack capable, which means it can record sonar, and also rewind sonar. In other words, you can record your sonar feed, scroll back through it and mark waypoints. This can save you a lot of time and trouble, as you won’t have to turn the boat around to scan a certain spot if you’ve missed the returns of a certain portion on your trail.
GPS and navigation
This unit offers a precise, 16-channel, internal GPS, with the possibility to use WAAS, EGNOS and MSAS corrections. The unit has built-in reference basemaps which cover 3,000+ enhanced U.S. lake maps and U.S. coastal maps, with depth contours and shoreline detail. However, the box of this particular unit (000-11817-001) also includes a microSD card with the professional Navionics Gold charts.
This unit can record up to 100 routes and 100 trails. Each trail can have up to 99999 trail points, and each track name can contain up to 21 characters. The unit can also hold up to 3,000 waypoints, offering a wide variety of icons to choose from, in order to mark your custom points of interest.
An important aspect regarding the Elite-4 CHIRP Navionics is that it’s also Insight Genesis capable. In other words, it can use any map available through Insight Genesis. This online database allows users to combine maps with recorded sonar and points of interest, and share them. And you can either create your own maps, upload and share them into the Genesis database, or you can download maps from there and use them via a microSD card.
There are several aspects to mention about the Elite-4 CHIRP control unit. First of all, even though it features a 4.3-inch display, it can supply a split screen view with 3 panels, covering 2D sonar, DownScan sonar and map. The screen is a 16-bit color, TFT type, with 480 x 272 pixel matrix. The screen is also backlit.
The unit features IPX7 waterproofing, meaning that it can withstand incidental water exposure. But keep in mind that it’s not a full waterproof unit. That’s why a unit cover is supplied. A power cord is also supplied with the unit, but a battery isn’t. However, a good choice for a battery for this unit would be a UPG UB1280I sealed lead acid battery.
Last but not least, this small Lowrance unit is NMEA 0183 capable. It also features one microSD card slot, for your supplied Navionics card, other charts, data transfer etc.
As we’ve mentioned above, this unit can use more powerful transducers, of 50/200 kHz, evidently with various types of mounts.
But the more consistent upgrades that can be done to this unit concern the maps. It can use various custom mappings, such as Nautic Insight PRO, Nautic Insight HD, Fishing HotSpots PRO, Lake Insight, and CMAP Max-N by Jeppesen.
- CHIRP 2D sonar – capable of scanning higher depths, better target separation, and images with less clutter;
- DownScan imaging sonar – great for observing and understanding structure and bottom;
- DownScan Overlay – function that allows the combination of the 2D CHIRP and DownScan sonar;
- Unit capable of using five frequencies, 50/83/200/455/800 kHz;
- Transducer for 83/200 kHz (2D CHIRP), and 455/800 DownScan – included;
- Accurate, internal GPS;
- Superior maps – Navionics Gold pack;
- Can use Insight Genesis maps;
- Compatible with various custom charts (see above);
- Large memory base for waypoints, tracks, and routes – can save up to 3,000 waypoints, 100 tracks, and 100 routes;
- Sonar recording (the TrackBack function);
- NMEA 0183 connectivity;
- One microSD card slot;
- Unit cover included;
- Great for small boats and kayaks;
- Easy to install;
- Excellent price/quality ratio.
- The hard copy of the manual supplied, is not extremely helpful;
- A rather small screen for viewing 3 windows in split screen at once. However, it’s OK for using a single view.
The Lowrance Elite-4 CHIRP offers an impressive array of features and functions, being quite a capable unit. And now with the HOOK units released, actually the price of the Elite-4 units went down a bit. But nonetheless, this still remains an excellent unit. All in all, it offers great value for the price, won’t break the bank, will most definitely increase your landed fish rate and improve your situational awareness on the water.