5 Hz GPS
The a68 is one of the older multifunction displays from Raymarine. Although it’s was probably discontinued as several other new models have been released, this fish finder and chartplotter may still be available on various retailers. In this post, we’re going to cover the Raymarine a68 T70201-GLD model, the one that includes the CPT-100 transducer and the North American Navionics Gold charts pack.
Key Features and Specifications
- Display: 5.7″ in diagonal, color TFT, 640H x 480V pixel matrix, 4:3 aspect ratio, optically bonded and with LED backlight
- Waterproofing IPX-6 and IPX-7
- Sonar: Dual-channel standard CHIRP and CHIRP DownVision
- Depth Capability: 600 ft. (183 m)
- 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: 10.8 to 15.6 VDC
- GPS: 50 Channel, 5 Hz, Internal
- Waypoints, Routes, Tracks: 3000, 150, 15 (10000 points each)
- Maps: North American Gold
- MicroSD card slot: x1
Head unit features
The Raymarine a68 is indeed as described by the manufacturer, quite a multifunctional display. It includes a solid amount of functions, which considerably increase its versatility. It’s actually more like a tablet, which focuses on navigation and fish finding functions. But leaving the fish finding and navigation features aside, there’s a lot to be said about the unit itself.
To begin with, the a68 from Raymarine comes with a dedicated graphics processor and high-speed dual-core processor, providing sharp imaging, fast navigation through applications, and superlative responsiveness. Although it doesn’t feature a very wide display, being only 5.7 inches in diagonal, the display incorporates multi-touch technology, being extremely easy to operate, in a similar way with any smartphone or tablet. The display can render 16.7 million colors, being also LED backlit, which offers a better reading in direct sunlight and in poor lighting conditions. On top of that, the screen is optically bonded for enhanced readability, and has a waterproofing rating of IPX6 and IPX7, being resistant to water splashes and immersions up to 1 m.
This unit features built-in Wi-Fi, which not only allows you to control it through your tablet or smartphone via a RayRemote app, it also makes available the use of various other FREE apps, such as Wi-Fish, RayView App, or RayControl App. Wi-Fi isn’t the only connectivity function that this unit has. The Raymarine a68 also has ports for Raynet Ethernet, NMEA 2000, and SeaTalk (which is Raymarine’s interconnection bus, similar to NMEA 2000). Along with these, the unit features 1 MicroSD slot for data transfer, charts etc.
Last but not least, the unit comes with one metallic silver bezel, sun cover, and in-dash mounting gasket, and Trunnion bracket kit.
In terms of navigation functions, this unit has quite a lot to offer. First of all, it features a 5Hz, 50-channel Fast Acquisition internal GPS, augmented via WAAS, EGNOS, and MSAS. Its internal memory can stock up to 3,000 waypoints, and 150 routes, each route containing 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 track plotter, offering the function of recording your track, being able to store 15 tracks, up to 10,000 breadcrumb trail points each track.
Since the unit is powered by LightHouse II, it offers a very intuitive and easy-to-use navigation experience. One of the most important LightHouse related features to mention, is the support for LightHouse vector and raster charts, for North America, South America, and Australasia. These are free charts, derived from government-issued charts, quite useful for navigating coastal waters. Of course, along with these charts, the Raymarine a68 T70201-GLD comes with a Navionics Gold pack for North America.
Needless to say, LightHouse II offers many other navigational functions, such as automatic route generation for C-MAP, RaceRouting, LightHouse LayLines for wind and tidal flow conditions etc.
CHIRP sonar technology is the most important fish finding feature offered by the a68 Raymarine. It’s one of the best sonar technologies that you can have on a fish finder at the moment. That’s because it excels in target separation, and image clarity, easily leaving out clutter and noise, revealing fish and structure with much higher accuracy than standard sonar. Along with the standard view CHIRP sonar, this unit also offers DownVision CHIRP, providing photo-like clarity for what’s under the boat.
The transducer provided with this unit uses a beam with an angle of 25° for standard view CHIRP, the pulse being modulated over a frequency of 170-230 kHz and a thin, fan-shaped beam for DownVision CHIRP, with a coverage of 60°, for the 320-380 kHz frequency. It has a maximum depth capability of 600 ft (183 m). Also, the transducer comes with a built-in temperature probe.
This unit supports bathymetry. In other words, it gives you the possibility to create your own bathymetric fishing maps.
First of all, this unit features upgradable software. Evidently, software upgrades are free, and typically there’s an upgrade available every few months, offering various system improvements and additions. The unit can support different charts from Navionics, C-MAP by Jeppesen, and Raymarine’s Lighthouse Charts.
There are various additions that you can supplement your a68 unit with, for a superior navigation and fishing experience. Among these add-ons we can count:
– Evolution Autopilots – modules that give you the possibility to turn your unit into an autopilot hub, setting up a course, and enjoying fishing without focusing on navigation.
– Raymarine Digital, HD Color or Super HD Color Radar antenna – for maximum situational awareness.
– AIS modules – for navigation status and extra data relating to any other ships in your area equipped with such a device.
– IP video camera – which can basically turn your unit into a powerful observation system.
Of course, the Raymarine a68 T70201-GLD is compatible with various other transducers, transom, in-hull or through-hull.
Evidently, this unit is not a perfect one. There are two main drawbacks that should be mentioned about it. One of them is that it doesn’t support NMEA 0183 networking. However, in terms of connectivity, it does support NMEA 2000, SeaTalk and RayNet Ethernet.
The second one is that it doesn’t offer dual-frequency for standard or DownVision sonar. Each type of sonar works with only one beam. Other fish finders do offer dual-frequency for the standard view CHIRP at least. However, there aren’t many units to offer down view imaging, with CHIRP technology.
The Raymarine a68 T70201-GLD CHIRP DownVision is a remarkable piece of technology. Even though it’s a small-sized unit, it packs a wide array of navigation features and some of the latest sonar technologies such as CHIRP and DownVision. It’s a multitouch unit, with a user-friendly interface, easy to operate, and great for any professional or recreational angler.