Humminbird SOLIX 12 CHIRP MEGA SI GPS
The SOLIX series includes some of the largest units offered by Humminbird for 2017. They’re all multifunction displays featuring advanced sonar technologies, some of the finest charts, and all include a transducer. In this review, we’ll address the SOLIX 12 CHIRP MEGA SI GPS Combo unit, the part number 410400-1.
Technical Details and Specifications
- Display: 12.1″ diagonal, color TFT, 16-bit color range, 1280H x 800V pixel matrix, with LED backlight
- MEGA Side Imaging
- MEGA Down Imaging
- CHIRP Digital Sonar/DualBeam Plus
- Frequency and Coverage:
- DualBeam Plus: 200 kHz / 20° and 83 kHz / 60°
- Side Imaging: 86°x2, 800 ft side-to-side coverage at 455 kHz, and 500 ft side-to-side coverage at 1.2 MHz
- Down Imaging: 45° at 1.2 MHz, 75° at 455 kH
- Depth Capabilities:
- DualBeam Plus: 1500 ft (457 m);
- Side Imaging: 400 ft (122 m) at 455 kHz and 125 ft (38 m) at 1.2 MHz;
- Down Imaging: 400 ft (122 m) at 455 kHz and 125 ft (38 m) at 1.2 MHz;
- Transducer: Transom XM 14 20 MSI T
- Power Output: 500 Watts (RMS)
- Power Input: 10.8-20 VDC
- Power Draw: 2.5 Amps
- GPS: Internal
- Charts: Humminbird Mapping
- Routes, Waypoints, Tracks: 50; 10,000; 50
Sonar and transducer
To begin with, the transducer supplied with the SOLIX 12 CHIRP MEGA SI GPS Combo is different from the one included with the HELIX 9 CHIRP MEGA SI GPS G2N. This unit comes with the XM 14 20 MSI T transducer, which features a transom mount and integrates a water temperature sensor. Evidently, this transducer backs all the unit’s sonar technologies. In other words, it can use 83/200/455/800 kHz and 1.2 MHz. The unit is also capable of scanning at frequencies of 50 kHz, but for this, it would require a 50/200 kHz transducer (which is not included).
The Side Imaging beams can be operated at three frequencies: 455 kHz, 800 kHz and MEGA (1.2 MHz). The MEGA SI imaging delivers the sharpest imaging with the highest resolution, up to 250 ft. side-to-side (125 ft on each side). You can select the 800 kHz frequency as an alternative for the MEGA SI, or the 455 kHz if you want a greater bottom coverage, which can go up to 800 ft side-to-side (400 ft on each side). The beams used by the Side Imaging sonar are very thin, similar to the beams of a scanner. They have an 86° coverage.
For Down Imaging, the transducer uses razor-thin beams (not conical) similar to the Side Imaging, but the beams will scan directly under the boat. Just as for SI, you the Down Imaging sonar can be operated at three frequencies 455 kHz, 800 kHz and MEGA (1.2 MHz). The DI beams have a coverage of 45° @ 1.2 MHz, and 75° @ 455 kHz. The MEGA DI mode provides the sharpest imaging of the water column under the boat, while the 455 kHz allows you to scan at greater depths. We’ll get to the depth capabilities of the system too, but first we’ll cover the DualBeam Plus sonar as well.
For DualBeam Plus, with the included transducer, the system will use two frequencies: 83 kHz and respectively 200 kHz. The beams used for this 2D traditional sonar type are conical. They scan directly under the boat just as the Down Imaging beams, but the view will appear in 2D. Since the unit has DualBeam “PLUS” sonar, the two beams can be used simultaneously or even blended together. The beam coverage for DualBeam Plus sonar is 20° @ 200 kHz and 60° @ 83 kHz.
The system features CHIRP sonar technology. By using the CHIRP mode, the sonar pulse will be modulated on a range of frequencies, rather than being one pulse, one frequency at the time. For example, the pulse modulation for MEGA imaging will be between 1150-1275 kHz, rather than just 1200 kHz. This leads to a superior target separation and clearer images with less clutter.
When it comes to depth capabilities, for MEGA SI and MEGA DI the unit won’t be able to scan waters too deep. The limit is somewhere up to 125 ft (38 m), and maybe lower if you fish in saltwater. But when scanning at 455 kHz, the Down Imaging beam can reach depths up to 400 ft. (122 m). For DualBeam Plus, the system’s depth capability can reach 1,500 ft (457 m), or up to 3,500 ft (1,066 m) if you opt for a 50 kHz capable transducer.
Quite an impressive array of fish finding functions, along with the MEGA Imaging modes, are available with this unit as well. Among them, we can count Selective Fish ID+, Real Time Sonar, SwitchFire, Sonar Recording, Screen Snap Shot, Circular Flasher, Fish Alarms etc. This unit is also 360 Imaging capable.
The Humminbird SOLIX 12 CHIRP MEGA SI GPS Combo features an internal precision GPS receiver, which delivers fast and accurate locks within 2.5 meters. Enhanced fixes are available, using information from WAAS, EGNOS or MSAS. Changing the GPS source to GLONASS is possible as well. The unit’s GPS system indicates latitude and longitude. It can also calculate and display the speed of your boat.
The unit can store 10,000 waypoints within its internal memory, and up to 50 routes (50 waypoints per route). It also features a trail recording function, being able to record and save up to 50 trails (20,000 points per trail). Trails can be converted to routes, though, and you also get the possibility to add waypoints to them if necessary.
Humminbird Charts View (SOLIX)
Just as the SOLIX 12 CHIRP GPS (the version without Side Imaging and Down Imaging), this unit comes with two built-in map sources for navigation, by Humminbird and Navionics. The Navionics charts offer a lot of information highly useful for navigation, such as navaids, marine, land icons and a wide array of points of interest. The Humminbird charts focus on showing depth contours and depth ranges, which makes them great to use for fishing.
Navionics Charts View (SOLIX)
Both of these chart sources are highly customizable, but they still offer less detail and features in comparison to the premium charts. For example, a LakeMaster chart SD card offers more information with regards to lakes and inland waters than the Humminbird chart source, while Navionics Platinum charts have considerably more features such as aerial photographs, satellite view etc. In terms of charts, the unit is compatible with Navionics+, Navionics Platinum, LakeMaster, SmartStrike, and ChartSelect.
One of the important features to mention here is AutoChart Live. This feature allows you to draw the depth contours of a certain body of water as you go. It uses the data provided by the GPS receiver and the 2D sonar. The unit’s internal memory can store up to 8 hours of contours recording. However, if the unit is equipped with a Zero Lines microSD card, which is specifically designed to serve as support for AC Live, the unit’s recording possibilities will considerably increase. Also, just like the new 2017 HELIX G2N units, the AutoChart Live feature of this particular unit has two extra capabilities, these being vegetation and bottom-hardness mapping. In other words, it gives you the possibility to color code various parts of the lake or reservoir where you’re fishing, depending on the vegetation density or the structure of the bottom.
Control unit features
The Humminbird SOLIX 12 CHIRP MEGA SI GPS Combo features a 12″ diagonal display, full color, with a pixel resolution of 1280 x 800. It has multiple settings for its LED backlight, being optically bonded with minimal glare. Differently put, even in direct sunlight, the images can be viewed clearly even if you look from a sharp angle.
This unit features cross-touch technology, combining touchscreen functions with joystick and keypad functions. As opposed to most tablets, the Cross Touch display uses a few extra commands, such as two finger swipe and two finger tap for several functions. For example, with a two-finger tap, you can quickly swap between 2D and 3D chart views.
In terms of connectivity, this SOLIX 12 unit offers quite a consistent palette of features. It has an NMEA 2000 port, NMEA 0183 port, Ethernet and a dual SD card reader. which you can use for premium chart cards, a Zero Lines card for the AutoChart function, or a blank card for sonar recordings, snapshots etc. Having a dual slot card reader you won’t have to swap cards all the time if you use more than one.
The unit is also wireless control ready. This means that it is compatible with the Humminbird Bluetooth remote control, which has 7 dual-action buttons. With this remote, you can control many of the unit’s functions from the distance. For example, you can mark waypoints, take snapshots, toggle on and off various functions, navigate through menus, deploy the 360 Imaging transducer (if you have one equipped) etc.
Finally, the box includes the classic Gimbal-type mount and a unit cover. However, there is the option of an in-dash mount (not included).
- MEGA Side Imaging sonar;
- MEGA Down Imaging sonar;
- DualBeam Plus Sonar;
- CHIRP technology;
- Transducer XM 9 20 MSI T included;
- Up to 800 ft side-to-side coverage via the Side Imaging sonar;
- Depth capability up to 1,500 ft with the included transducer, and up to 3,500 ft. with a 50 kHz transducer;
- Multiple sonar functions available, such as SwitchFire, Selective Fish ID+, Bottom Lock, Mark Structure, Real Time Sonar etc;
- Sonar Recording and Screen Snapshot functions;
- Precision GPS with MSAS, EGNOS, and WAAS enhancing;
- Built-in charts by Humminbird and Navionics;
- AutoChart Live with Bottom Hardness and Vegetation features;
- Trackplotting, routes and waypoints functions;
- Wide, 12.1″ display, with a 1280H x 800V pixel matrix, 16-bit color range, and LED backlight;
- AIS, i-Pilot Link and Radar capable;
- Bluetooth wireless control capable;
- LakeMaster, Navionics, and SmartStrike capable;
- NMEA 0183, NMEA 2000 and Ethernet ports;
- IPX7 waterproof;
- Dual SD card reader;
- Upgradeable internal software;
- Gimbal mount included;
- Unit cover included;
- Fairly easy to install.
- The Bluetooth remote control is not included.
- Not capable of WeatherSense.
The SOLIX 12 CHIRP MEGA SI GPS Combo unit from Humminbird offers advanced navigation and sonar capabilities. It has MEGA SI, MEGA DI, DualBeam Plus sonar and CHIRP technology. It integrates a fast GPS receiver and comes with charts from both Humminbird and Navionics, also having the AutoChart Live feature. It’s a 12″ unit with cross-touch technology. Also, the box includes the XM 9 20 MSI T transducer. And finally, even though it’s not the most affordable, due to its versatility and a wide range of features, we can safely say that it has an excellent price/value ratio.