Humminbird PiranhaMax 4
Although the PiranhaMax 197 models are still available from various retailers, Humminbird has replaced them with new units in September 2016. The unit that we’re going to address here is the new PiranhaMax 4, which is the model that basically replaced the Humminbird PiranhaMax 197c.
There are several differences between the new and the old model. For example, the P-Max 4 features a 4.3″ display (up from 3.5″), a richer pixel matrix (with 70% more pixels), and 50% more PTP power output.
Technical Details and Specifications
- Display: 4.3″ diagonal, color TFT with a 256 color range, 480V x 272H pixel resolution, with LED backlight
- Sonar: DualBeam
- Depth Capability: 600 feet (183 m)
- Frequency and Coverage: 200 kHz / 28° and 455 kHz / 16°
- Transducer: Transom XNT 9 28 T
- Power Output: 300 Watts (RMS) / 2,400 Watts (PTP)
- Power Input: 10-20 VDC
- Power Draw: 220 mA
- GPS: No
- Maps: No
Control unit features
As we’ve mentioned above, the new, improved PiranhaMax 4 model features a wider display than the previous 197c model, with a 480V x 272H pixel resolution and a 4.3″ diagonal. The display is basically similar to the echoMAP CHIRP 44dv from Garmin. It also integrates LED backlight, which considerably increases the unit’s readability in direct sunlight or in poor lighting conditions. The unit’s waterproof rating is IPX7, which means it can support rain, splashes and even quick immersions (in freshwater).
A tilt-and-swivel mount is supplied with this Humminbird unit, but there is also the option of an in-dash mounting kit. The box does not include a unit cover.
The head unit’s plastic frame is more robust than for the previous model. However, the button navigation is similar. Also, since it doesn’t have DualBeam Plus sonar (only DualBeam), and cannot use both beams simultaneously, it features only a one-panel view (no split-screen). And finally, it requires a 12v 5-7 amp battery.
Sonar and transducer
The Humminbird PiranhaMax 4 unit integrates a DualBeam sonar module, which can operate at 200 kHz or 455 kHz. It does not have CHIRP technology such as the Garmin Striker 4 for example, nor does it have Down Imaging. If you’re looking for a similar unit but with Down Imaging, see the PiranhaMax 4 DI.
As we’ve mentioned above, since the unit’s sonar is DualBeam (and not DualBeam Plus), it can only use one frequency channel at the time. For both frequencies, the transducer uses conical beams, 28° wide for 200 kHz, and 16° wide for 455 kHz. The unit’s maximum depth capability is 600 ft (183 m), which is not bad for a small unit. Also, it should be able to maintain a bottom reading at speeds up to 30 MPH. However, the sharpest images, providing the most targets, are obtained if you sail at speeds up to 6 MPH.
Apart from the sonar main features, there are several sonar-related functions that require mentioning here. First of all, the unit has 3 alarms: Fish Alarm, Battery Alarm, and Depth Alarm. You can set up the Fish Alarm to sound when the transducer beam hits a target interpreted as fish. There are 3 fish size options for this alarm, such as “Large, Medium and Small” and you can choose one of them or all, so that the unit will sound when it detects a fish corresponding to the setting. Depth Alarm gives you the possibility to select a certain depth value and will sound when you reach a depth equal or lower than it. And finally, the Battery Alarm can be set to sound when the battery drops at a certain voltage or below.
The Fish ID+ function is present in most Humminbird fish finders. This function basically replaces the fish arches (or the suspended targets, which it interprets as fish), with small fish icons. It’s a function great to have, especially if you’re not familiar with the raw sonar view. It can also make the fish stand out better from vegetation and structure, or from the bottom.
Structure ID is a function that represents the weak returns as light pixels, while the strong returns will be darker. WhiteLine highlights the strongest sonar returns in white, which results in a distinctive outline, with the benefit of clearly defining the bottom on the display. Last but not least, the Bottom View function focuses the view of the sonar onto the bottom. It’s best to be used along with the Fish ID+ function, in order to have a better view of the fish that are feeding close to the bottom.
The transducer model supplied with this Humminbird PiranhaMax fish finder is the XNT 9 28 T, which comes with a transom mount. It also integrates a water temperature sensor. However, since it will be mounted on the hull of your boat, it’s pretty obvious that the unit will only indicate the temperature in the top water layer. It’s still a function good to have in case you’re looking for various water currents. Finally, the transducer features 20 ft (6 m) of cable.
- Wider and clearer display than the older P-Max units;
- Dual Beam sonar 200/455 kHz;
- Transducer XNT 9 28 T with transom mount and temperature sensor, included;
- 600 ft depth capability;
- Various functions included, such as Fish ID, Bottom View, Fish Alarm, Depth Alarm etc;
- IPX7 waterproof;
- Color display;
- Fairly easy to install;
- No upgrade options;
- No unit cover.
The Humminbird PiranhaMax 4 is a basic fish finder, offering traditional 2D sonar only, without any navigation features. It uses DualBeam 2D sonar, being able to operate at 200 / 455 kHz. The unit comes with the XNT 9 28 T transducer which supports both frequencies. This fish finder has a max. depth capability of 600 ft, which means you can also use it for off-shore fishing, as long as you remain close to the shore, at depths lower than 3-400 ft. It’s great for kayaks and small boats, easy to install and maintain. And finally, it costs less than $100 which is simply great for a fish finder plus transducer bundle.