This new MFD is on our radar

Lowrance HDS-16 Car­bon

Motorboat & Yachting - - Boat Master Newtech -

Lowrance has in­tro­duced its big­gest ever MFD – a 16in ad­di­tion to its premier-league Car­bon range – which of­fers the equiv­a­lent of four 7in MFDS in a sin­gle unit.

The new unit boasts a bright, high-def­i­ni­tion 1,920x1,080-pixel So­lar­max dis­play, which prom­ises wide view­ing an­gles and good vis­i­bil­ity, even in bright sun­light or when wear­ing po­larised sun­glasses.

It al­most goes with­out say­ing, nowa­days, that a flag­ship model boasts a mul­ti­touch (pinch-to-zoom) touch­screen con­trol sys­tem, but it’s backed up with a small but ad­e­quate push-but­ton panel. Push­but­ton con­trol may be slightly more cum­ber­some than touch­screen, but of­fers far more pre­cise con­trol and far fewer ac­ci­den­tal key­strokes than try­ing to op­er­ate a touch­screen on a mov­ing boat.

Be­hind the screen, there’s a builtin GPS, a dual-core pro­ces­sor that pro­vides the com­put­ing power re­quired to run sev­eral func­tions si­mul­ta­ne­ously, in­clud­ing Radar, C-map and Navion­ics chart­plot­ting, and six dif­fer­ent kinds of sonar!

As one might ex­pect from a brand whose roots are in fishfind­ers and whose main mar­ket is American-style sports­fish­ing, it’s the sonar func­tions that are most im­pres­sive.

As well as CHIRP and broad­band sonar, which pro­duce clear but pretty con­ven­tional-look­ing fishfinder images, the built-in sonar func­tion of­fers high-fre­quency Struc­tures­can, which opens the door to far more ex­cit­ing and in­for­ma­tive views of what is go­ing on un­der the keel. Down­scan pro­duces what is ef­fec­tively a high-res­o­lu­tion ver­sion of the con­ven­tional sonar pic­ture: it’s not as good at show­ing up in­di­vid­ual fish, but far bet­ter at re­veal­ing the de­tails of un­der­wa­ter fea­tures.

Sides­can re­veals fea­tures that lie on each side of the boat, mak­ing it much eas­ier to lo­cate the rocks and wrecks that are most likely to at­tract fish, or to check out an an­chor­age for pos­si­ble haz­ards.

Struc­tures­can 3D takes Sides­can a step fur­ther by us­ing the Sides­can data to build up a three-di­men­sional ‘model’ of the sea bed that can be panned, tilted and twisted to view the over­all shape of the un­der­wa­ter land­scape from al­most any an­gle. Mean­while, Struc­turemap could be seen as a ‘side­ways’ step in that it over­lays the Sides­can image on to a chart, mak­ing it eas­ier to re­late the de­tailed but rel­a­tively nar­row view of the world re­vealed by sonar to the much big­ger pic­ture pre­sented by a nav­i­ga­tional chart.

It has to be said that none of these are par­tic­u­larly ‘new’: Struc­tures­can was launched in 2012, and even Struc­tures­can 3D has been around for a cou­ple of years. What is new, and ex­cit­ing, though, is be­ing able to see all of them si­mul­ta­ne­ously on a sin­gle screen.

Of course, there’s a price to pay – you can ex­pect to fork out about £4,000 for the HDS-16 Car­bon dis­play alone, plus ex­tra for the sonar trans­ducer(s), radar scan­ner, and car­tog­ra­phy. Con­tact

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