Although the Raymarine a78 unit has been around for a while, to this day it still benefits from an impressive amount of 5-star reviews from users all over the world. That’s because next to the a68 model, it still is one of the best touchscreen plotters, with CHIRP down view sonar technology.
There’s a lot to be said about this unit, and in this review, we’ll try to cover as many aspects as possible regarding it. But before that, there’s one important aspect that requires clarification. This is the Raymarine a78 with the model number T70202-GLD, which comes with the CPT-100 transducer, Navionics Gold charts and does not have the Wi-Fi module.
Technical Details and Specifications
- Display: Touchscreen technology, 7″ diagonal, color TFT, 800H x 480V pixel matrix, 16:9, optically bonded and with LED backlight
- Sonar: Dual-channel standard CHIRP and CHIRP DownVision
- Depth Capability:
- 600 ft. (183 m) for DownVision sonar
- 900 ft (274 m) for 2D sonar
- Frequency and Coverage:
- 170-230 kHz / 25° conical beam for standard CHIRP
- 320-380 kHz / 60° side-to-side fan-shaped beam, 1.4° fore to aft, for CHIRP DownVision
- Transducer: Transom CPT-100
- Operating Voltage: 12v
- GPS: 50 Channel, 5 Hz, Internal
- Charts: Navionics Gold – US Coastal
- Waypoints, Routes,Tracks: 3,000; 150; 15 (10,000 points each)
Transducer and sonar functions
As we’ve mentioned above, the Raymarine a78 T70202-GLD model comes with the CPT-100 transducer, which features a durable urethane transom mount, integrates a water temperature sensor, and is equipped with 33 ft (10 m) of cable. This transducer uses a conical sonar beam for the 2D standard CHIRP sonar, featuring a 25° angle, while for DownVision it scans using a razor-thin beam, 1.4° wide in fore-to-aft, but 60° side-to-side. Evidently, it covers both sonar channels supported by the unit, 2D and DownVision, and does work with the unit’s CHIRP sonar technology.
Speaking of the unit’s sonar channels, it only has two, one for 2D and one for DownVision, using a CHIRP pulse modulation between 170-230 kHz for 2D, and 320-380 kHz for DV. Differently put, for 2D it uses High CHIRP sonar, without the possibility to use Med or Low CHIRP, such as the Lowrance Elite-7 Ti model, or the Garmin echoMAP CHIRP 74dv. But on the other hand, it’s one of the first units to use CHIRP sonar for their down scanning sonar, and its DV CHIRP performs quite well. CHIRP sonar offers superior target separation, making it easier to distinguish between fish targets, or making the fish targets to stand out from structure or vegetation. It also offers clearer images, with less clutter for both traditional and DV sonar modes.
When it comes to depth, with the provided transducer this unit can reach up to 600 ft (183 m) in DownVision, and 900 ft (274 m) in 2D. Therefore, you can use it for off-shore fishing as well. Also, in terms of boat speed, the transducer should be able to maintain a bottom reading at speeds up to 25 MPH. However, the recommended boat speed range for a crystal-clear imaging is between 1-6 MPH.
This Raymarine fish finder unit is a chartplotter. Therefore it integrates a GPS module, and comes with a Navionics Gold charts chip. The GPS module is a 5Hz, 50-channel Fast Acquisition internal GPS, augmented via WAAS, EGNOS and MSAS. The Navionics charts cover the US/Canada, US Inland, and Bahamas waters. However, the unit is also compatible with Navionics Platinum Plus charts.
The unit’s internal memory can stock up to 3,000 waypoints, and 150 routes, each route can contain up to 200 waypoints. Also, to make the marking of waypoints more suggestive, the unit has a built-in database of over 70 icons to assign to your waypoints. Needless to say, it’s also a trackplotter, offering the function of recording your track, being able to store 15 tracks, up to 10,000 trail points for each track.
This Raymarine chartplotter unit is compatible with optional Raymarine Digital, HD and super HD Color radar antennas, AIS modules and also engine displays. You can connect it with NMEA 2000 compatible engines for graphical engine data readings.
Last but not least, this unit offers the possibility to record bathymetric data and to create your own customized bathymetric fishing maps.
Control unit features
To begin with, the Raymarine a78 features a 7″ display, with touchscreen technology. It uses the LightHouse UI, offering an extremely easy and straightforward navigation through the menus. Differently put, functions appear on screen like the apps on a tablet or smartphone, the display recognizing all the touch, pinch or swipe commands. There are several view combos available, but the unit cannot display more than 3 screens per view.
The display features an 800H x 480V pixel matrix, with an aspect ratio of 16:9. It’s LED backlit, which means readability is great even in direct sunlight or at night. Also, it’s IPX6 and IPX7 waterproof, which means it’s dust tight and can survive incidental water exposure.
In terms of networking, it supports Raynet Ethernet, SeaTalk, and NMEA 2000. It features one microSD card slot for charts upgrades and data transfer. Also, this unit is compatible with IP video cameras.
As we’ve mentioned above, the T70202-GLD Raymarine unit does not have a built-in Wi-Fi module, but it’s Bluetooth capable. Thus, you can connect it wirelessly to various other devices such as media playback or remote control.
The box includes a sun cover, trunnion bracket, flush mounting kit and mounting hardware, and of course, the documentation pack.
- Dual channel sonar, with 2D CHIRP, and CHIRP DownVision;
- CHIRP transducer CPT-100 (temperature capable), supporting both 2D and DownVision, included;
- Superior target separation;
- Maximum depth capability – 900 ft (275 m);
- Fast and accurate 50-channel GPS, augmented via WAAS, EGNOS, and MSAS;
- Navionics Gold card included;
- Compatible with various chart bundles, such as Raymarine LightHouse Charts, Navionics+, SonarChart, or C-MAP bundles;
- Can hold up to 3,000 waypoints and 15 tracks;
- Touchscreen display, and the easy-to-operate LightHouse interface;
- 800 x 480 pixel matrix, offering extremely clear images;
- MicroSD card reader – 1 card slot, for waypoint, track, and snapshot backup;
- Raynet Ethernet, SeaTalk, and NMEA 2000 networking possibilities;
- AIS, RADAR, IP camera compatible;
- Instrument and engine displays;
- Full control and integration with Evolution autopilots;
- Easy to install;
- 2 years warranty.
- Touchscreen technology may be seen as a downside, as you may need to constantly clean-up the screen if you’re also fishing;
- No sonar recording function.
The Raymarine a78 T70202-GLD is a fish finder and chartplotter unit, offering 2D CHIRP sonar and CHIRP DownVision. It integrates an excellent 50-channel GPS module and comes with the Navionics Gold charts bundle. The control unit features touchscreen technology, powered by the LightHouse interface, rendering its operation extremely easy and straightforward. This particular unit comes with the CPT-100 transducer which supports both 2D and DownVision sonar modes. Although it doesn’t offer extreme depth penetration like other dedicated fishing sonars, it still allows scanning up to 900 ft., which makes it viable for off-shore fishing. It’s one of the best-rated combo units from Raymarine, definitely offering great value for the price.