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Blackdogyak
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01/28/2022 10:27AM  
I usually use my fish finder in my kayak. But I'd like to bring it on multi-day canoe trips. I have a decent sized sealed lead acid battery...which lasts me for better part of a day before voltage starts dropping below 11 or so.

Obviously a lead acid battery is heavy enough in and of itself. Extra batteries are out of the question. Are you guys bringing FFs out and how do you keep them powered up for several days?
 
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schweady
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01/28/2022 10:39AM  
This is where a finder that uses AA batteries really shines. I bring a Humminbird PiranhaMAX 210 Portable and its 8 AAs last multiple trips.
 
AirPrex
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01/28/2022 11:18AM  
If you search this site you'll find a handful of threads about DIY'ing AA battery packs for your fish finder which work on either 8 or 10 AA batteries. They're very simple to make - this is mine for example. On a basic fish finder with relatively low power usage (Lowrance Hook 3X is what I use) I can get 30-35 hours out of one set of rechargeable IKEA LADDA 2450 mAh batteries. I bring a backup set of batteries giving me 60+ hours which is plenty to get me through a 10 day trip.
 
01/28/2022 11:45AM  
schweady: "This is where a finder that uses AA batteries really shines. I bring a Humminbird PiranhaMAX 210 Portable and its 8 AAs last multiple trips.
"


+1 exactly right
 
Blackdogyak
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01/28/2022 12:39PM  
Hmmm....fishfinder with color display has never my standard. I have a Lowrance Hook 5, and I REALLY like having GPS and loading in the charts for my water. Even though it's relatively small, I doubt mine would run on AA batteries for more than a couple hours.
 
schweady
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01/28/2022 01:23PM  
Yeah, it's surprising to see the power draw difference b&w vs color. Mine will show depth contour and bottom hardness and that's all I need for up there.
 
AirPrex
senior member (88)senior membersenior member
 
01/28/2022 01:51PM  
I've got color on the Hook 3X but it's fairly basic otherwise. Draws only 0.075A compared to as much a 0.9A for yours if the first link on Google is accurate. The GPS features will for sure make battery life minimal. I know some guys have lithium ion battery solutions which will hold more power for less weight but I don't know much about that.
 
ericinely
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01/28/2022 02:11PM  
Invest the $80-100 and get a 10Ah lithium. I get 3.5-4 days (8-10 hrs/day) using my dakota lithium to power my Humminbird Helix 5. 1/2 the weight of a traditional lead acid 7ah and 40% more capacity...totally worth it and you're not throwing AA batteries in the landfill every other trip
 
RMinMN
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01/28/2022 03:43PM  
ericinely: "Invest the $80-100 and get a 10Ah lithium. I get 3.5-4 days (8-10 hrs/day) using my dakota lithium to power my Humminbird Helix 5. 1/2 the weight of a traditional lead acid 7ah and 40% more capacity...totally worth it and you're not throwing AA batteries in the landfill every other trip"

Add a couple solar cells to recharge that lithium and you can have power for more days yet.
 
Blackdogyak
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01/28/2022 07:19PM  
RMinMN: "ericinely: "Invest the $80-100 and get a 10Ah lithium. I get 3.5-4 days (8-10 hrs/day) using my dakota lithium to power my Humminbird Helix 5. 1/2 the weight of a traditional lead acid 7ah and 40% more capacity...totally worth it and you're not throwing AA batteries in the landfill every other trip"


Add a couple solar cells to recharge that lithium and you can have power for more days yet. "


How would you size up the size of the solar panel that would be needed?
 
01/28/2022 07:59PM  
RMinMN: "ericinely: "Invest the $80-100 and get a 10Ah lithium. I get 3.5-4 days (8-10 hrs/day) using my dakota lithium to power my Humminbird Helix 5. 1/2 the weight of a traditional lead acid 7ah and 40% more capacity...totally worth it and you're not throwing AA batteries in the landfill every other trip"


Add a couple solar cells to recharge that lithium and you can have power for more days yet. "


Unless you want your campsite to look like a solar farm it's not going to add much back into a battery even IF it's sunny
 
lundojam
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01/28/2022 09:14PM  

8 AA in this case I found on a home security camera website. Works perfect. If you use black and white and are somewhat judicious it will last a week easily.
Edit
Any depthfinder will run on AA's. Color units use much more electricity than b&w. B&w is good enough to catch fish. In my opinion, solar and lithium is way overkill and is complicating a simple situation. You'll catch more fish keeping things simple, especially out of a canoe. Just my 2 cents.
 
RMinMN
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01/29/2022 06:52AM  
Blackdogyak: "RMinMN: "ericinely: "Invest the $80-100 and get a 10Ah lithium. I get 3.5-4 days (8-10 hrs/day) using my dakota lithium to power my Humminbird Helix 5. 1/2 the weight of a traditional lead acid 7ah and 40% more capacity...totally worth it and you're not throwing AA batteries in the landfill every other trip"



Add a couple solar cells to recharge that lithium and you can have power for more days yet. "



How would you size up the size of the solar panel that would be needed?"


I bought a couple cheap 10W panels, fit easily into the backpack, fairly rugged. I bring two cheap lithium batteries, weighing half or less than a single lead-acid battery. One battery goes on the depthfinder with a solar panel laying in the bottom of the canoe and connected to the battery, the other battery stays in camp on the other solar cell charging so I can swap. I usually have depth finder (Garmin Echomap 43dv) in use for 3-4 hours a day for a week long trip.

Solar charger (similar to this, I made the fitting to connect to the battery)

Solar cell

Lithium battery
 
Wolfee
senior member (54)senior membersenior member
 
01/29/2022 07:58AM  
ericinely: "Invest the $80-100 and get a 10Ah lithium. I get 3.5-4 days (8-10 hrs/day) using my dakota lithium to power my Humminbird Helix 5. 1/2 the weight of a traditional lead acid 7ah and 40% more capacity...totally worth it and you're not throwing AA batteries in the landfill every other trip"

Agreed. I bought a 6 Ah Amped Outdoors Lifepo4 battery last year and ditched my SLA. Twice the capacity and half the weight of my 3 Ah SLA. No futzing with waterproof cases either. I went with the 6 because I use my fish finder sparingly and usually only take short trips (2-3 days).
 
01/29/2022 08:21AM  
MagicPaddler has posted some great battery usage studies that he's done on his own with AA batteries. Hope that he chimes in on this thread.

I've modified a setup that he's used that employes 8 AAs. I usually bring an additional set of these in lithium just in case for an 8 to 10 day trip. YMMV.
 
Blackdogyak
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01/29/2022 08:24AM  
Thanks everyone for the advice and suggestions.
I saw that there are several posts in this in the last so I'll check those out too.
 
01/29/2022 09:38AM  
Airprex nailed it. It's pretty simple to do. Extra weight? Sure, but if you are serious enough about fishing to bring a FF up there, the extra AA batteries shouldn't bother you that much to haul around. I have an 8AA battery bank, and brought extra batteries and never even used them. Unless you are trolling constantly, you shouldn't need extras.
 
Finlander79
 
01/30/2022 08:32PM  
Depending on length of trip I'd highly recommend a lithium ion battery and a small solar panel.
 
Gadfly
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01/31/2022 08:36AM  
ericinely: "Invest the $80-100 and get a 10Ah lithium. I get 3.5-4 days (8-10 hrs/day) using my dakota lithium to power my Humminbird Helix 5. 1/2 the weight of a traditional lead acid 7ah and 40% more capacity...totally worth it and you're not throwing AA batteries in the landfill every other trip"

Couldn't agree more. I bought a lithium this fall for my flasher and brought it on a recent winter trip to the bwca. So much lighter and lasts twice as long.
 
Moonman
distinguished member(925)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
02/06/2022 11:36AM  
I have several options for power on my backcountry finder. AA (ten) was lightest and best for what I needed in black and white finder but recently picked up a Marcum Mite. I already had a Marcum Brute lithium battery which is 10Ah 2 lbs 11 ounces weighed on my own kitchen scale (very accurate). The Mite is 1 lb 3 ounces for 7.5 AH....incredible!

For canoe camping with long portages I don’t think this can be beat right now....

Moonman.
 
jlw034
member (38)member
 
02/12/2022 08:32PM  
I ran a Helix 7 12+ hours a day. Brought two LiPO4 10ah batteries and the dakota solar panels. Never ran out of juice. It's extra weight, but it's worth it for the fishing!
 
02/12/2022 08:43PM  



Pretty simple, inexpensive, and water proof 8-AA pack holder. I use a couple U bolts to secure it to the thwart. I have a low-end lowrance that I run on black and white, but not real impressed with it. It shows the depths accurately, but it doesn't show fish.

This "farwater" guy does a ton of Lake Trout fishing in the boundary waters, he put a nice video together on what he considers the ultimate depth finder set up for the boundary waters...

Portable depth finder for canoes and kayaks
 
BassmasterP
senior member (72)senior membersenior member
 
02/12/2022 10:36PM  
Fellas....wrapping up AAs is a great solution...if it were 1985. ;)

18650 Lithium cells are the way to go. These are what are in your newer power tools these days. Can be charge via a solar panel even! Look this up on Amazon.

TalentCell Rechargeable 6000mAh Lithium ion Battery Pack

Here's the solar charger I have for mine:
TalentCell 24W Foldable Solar Panel Charger with DC 15V and 5V.

I'm sure most of you guys trippin' in the BWCA, Quetico, etc. care about the environment. Don't come home from a trip and chuck a bunch of old school AAs in the trash. Rechargeable cells are extremely well made these days. I've used this battery pack on over 15 trips - still going strong, and will for many years to come.

Tight Lines ya'll!

P
 
MagicPaddler
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02/14/2022 06:08PM  
The manual states that the average current drain is Typically 1.1 A and 10 to 17 volts. I have read that they draw a little more than that. So you want to run this detector for 6 hours a day for 5 days. That’s 5 * 6* 1.1 = 33 Amp Hours. A set of 8 Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA batteries would run that detector for about 2 hours and 40 minutes. 10 alkaline AA batteries will last even shorter time. So you are probably looking for some kind of rechargeable. The lightest affordable batteries are LIPO batteries. Some people have reported using some kinds of power packs that are listed as 12 volt. Most of those are 12.6 volts fully charged and 8 volts when discharged. So your detector be running on voltage below what the manual recommends about half the time. Detectors will frequently stay on and work but not optimally at reduced voltage. A power pack (or battery) that lists it voltage as 14.8 will be about 16.8 V fully charged and about 10.8 V fully discharged. That is about ideal for a fish detector. I have purchased batteries from several sources and have found that they can print anything on the batter cover. I have found Hobby King batteries to come closes to the specks that they claim. Consider this battery https://hobbyking.com/en_us/turnigy-high-capacity-battery-8000mah-4s-12c-drone-lipo-pack-xt90.html?queryID=1d3d152d26a78c055e6d90e90624454b&objectID=78430&indexName=hbk_live_products_analytics
Your detector should run about 7 hours on a fully charged battery. That would be a little over $50 per day for the batteries. To use those batteries you need a balanced charger and a device to tell when any cell in the battery is at it minimum.
I purchased a charger similar to this one.
https://hobbyking.com/en_us/imax-b6-ac-dc-charger-5a-50w-with-us-plug-copy.html?queryID=15874305b569d39fa1040ad66ac0a8c1&objectID=53605&indexName=hbk_live_products_analytics
I use low voltage alarm like this one.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/324464354284?hash=item4b8b9523ec:g:5LoAAOSwR29ZMeO-
If your do not use the correct charger and some kind of under voltage alarm or shutoff you will most likely destroy the batteries or catch them on fire.
I presently use 4 18650 batteries to power my detector. My detector draws much less than yours. A set of my batteries would run your detector about 2 and ½ hours.
 
BassmasterP
senior member (72)senior membersenior member
 
02/14/2022 07:10PM  
MagicPaddler: "The manual states that the average current drain is Typically 1.1 A and 10 to 17 volts. I have read that they draw a little more than that. So you want to run this detector for 6 hours a day for 5 days. That’s 5 * 6* 1.1 = 33 Amp Hours. A set of 8 Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA batteries would run that detector for about 2 hours and 40 minutes. 10 alkaline AA batteries will last even shorter time. So you are probably looking for some kind of rechargeable. The lightest affordable batteries are LIPO batteries. Some people have reported using some kinds of power packs that are listed as 12 volt. Most of those are 12.6 volts fully charged and 8 volts when discharged. So your detector be running on voltage below what the manual recommends about half the time. Detectors will frequently stay on and work but not optimally at reduced voltage. A power pack (or battery) that lists it voltage as 14.8 will be about 16.8 V fully charged and about 10.8 V fully discharged. That is about ideal for a fish detector. I have purchased batteries from several sources and have found that they can print anything on the batter cover. I have found Hobby King batteries to come closes to the specks that they claim. Consider this battery https://hobbyking.com/en_us/turnigy-high-capacity-battery-8000mah-4s-12c-drone-lipo-pack-xt90.html?queryID=1d3d152d26a78c055e6d90e90624454b&objectID=78430&indexName=hbk_live_products_analytics
Your detector should run about 7 hours on a fully charged battery. That would be a little over $50 per day for the batteries. To use those batteries you need a balanced charger and a device to tell when any cell in the battery is at it minimum.
I purchased a charger similar to this one.
https://hobbyking.com/en_us/imax-b6-ac-dc-charger-5a-50w-with-us-plug-copy.html?queryID=15874305b569d39fa1040ad66ac0a8c1&objectID=53605&indexName=hbk_live_products_analytics
I use low voltage alarm like this one.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/324464354284?hash=item4b8b9523ec:g:5LoAAOSwR29ZMeO-
If your do not use the correct charger and some kind of under voltage alarm or shutoff you will most likely destroy the batteries or catch them on fire.
I presently use 4 18650 batteries to power my detector. My detector draws much less than yours. A set of my batteries would run your detector about 2 and ½ hours.
"


My manual doesn't state "average current drain" - only peak draw - which as stated as .40A and I don't even come close running without GPS and at single, vs dual, frequency. I can run at least 8hrs straight using my battery pack that can be recharged claimed 1000 (claims) times (but even at 100 it's a steal$$). My old fish finder - a Garmin Echo 150 ran for 12+ hours on this battery pack. Granted, I do add an external piece of circuitry that helps...

The pack consists of six 3000mAh PROTECTED 18650 cells. Because they're protected there is no risk of over charge or, more importantly, over discharge. My fish finder does have a low voltage alarm, but it is not needed, as I added a 12V step up converter ($14) to the output of the pack - meaning, no matter what my pack outputs (12.6V fully charged) the fish finder is always fed 12V. So, the fish finder is happy and healthy with a 12V input even though the cells may be depleted below 12V and the cells drain safely to as low as the cell's protection circuit allows, which, for mine, is 2.65V each - or about 8V total.

I will concede that looking for a solar charger that would effectively charge my pack while on a trip was difficult - the manufacturer of the pack even told me exactly what specs to look for and then, ultimately, suggested I just buy theirs! They could have just said that in the beginning. The Talentcell solar charger is pretty powerful AND it allows you to pigtail the 12V IN and OUT - meaning, you can power the fish finder while charging the pack at the same time. Also, as sunshine is unpredictable, I do carry 2 of these packs with me on a 10 day trip. They weigh exactly 13.4oz each.
 
MagicPaddler
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02/15/2022 07:16AM  
Bassmaster’s solution to the battery pack having too low a voltage for much of the discharge is a way to use all the battery energy and have the detector work properly. The newer up converters are usually about 95% efficient so there is not a lot of loss there. He has also addressed battery protection. There is 3 easy ways to protect against battery under voltage.
1: buy a power pack with protection built in.
2: Use the under protection alarm I linked to above (Probably the messiest way).
3: buy protected 18650 cells.
I use method 3 and I put 4 in series so I don’t need the up converter because the battery pack is in the correct voltage range.
Back to the OP detector. If you were to use protected 3000mAh 18650 batteries a set of 4 could be purchased for $32. And that would run his detector for about 2 hours and 40 minutes.
Protected 18650 batteries
 
BassmasterP
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02/15/2022 07:45AM  
MagicPaddler, I trust your run times using your power supply, but your run times for a 6 cell protected pack are theoretical. Twice, under different configurations, we strapped my fish finder ( A Garmin Striker 4CV) to a small boat (ok, a child's pool raft, actually) and let it go in circles in our above ground pool for hours. Every 30 minutes, roughly, we would log the true output voltage as well as the input voltage (displayed on fish finder yet a feature we later disabled as part of our energy saving configuration [test #2]). The output voltage held at 12.6V to about 11.6V far longer than we expected. Once below 11 something, about 4 hours later, it drained much quicker, but still kept the unit functioning to 8 hours, at which point we shut the operation down. An 8 hour threshold was more than w expected. I actually EXPECTED to return this newer fish finder and keep using my trusty Echo 150, but the results spoke for themselves, and the unit has accompanied me on two 10 day trips to Quetico with similar results.

Here is the pack I use. Six protected 18650s in a case for $35.

The solar charger - $44.

The step-up converter - $14.

I’ll post something in the future showing the battery pack, converter, and all connections contained in a waterproof Pelican case. I am launching a YouTube channel in 2022 that will include how to build this set up as one of my video offerings, but really…the pack alone is all you need to run a small fish finder. Also, I should state that I ONLY own the new fish finder because I use it to map some small lakes near my home. If you are in the market for a low power fish finder that you can easily shorten the transducer cable on (that's a huge plus for canoe country) - find a used Garmin Echo 150 on eBay.
 
senkosam
member (23)member
 
02/15/2022 07:56AM  
I use a small sealed motorcycle battery and it lasts for days. This way I don't have to depend on the trolling motor battery for sonar positioning in my small boat or canoe.
 
MagicPaddler
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02/15/2022 01:29PM  
My times are calculated based on the current draw stated in a manual on line. The OP stated that he is using a Lowrance Hook 5. Are you using the same detector and getting those run times? If you are I am using the wrong current for my calculations. Did you have both the GPS and the fish detector and screen light on during your test?
I have found many of the ads for battery products to be deceptive. I know they are deceptive because there are no batteries of that size capable of supplying the power the ads clam. That is not the case with the pack you link to. 6 good 18650 can put out that much power. If it truly puts out 6000mAh that is a good price.
 
BassmasterP
senior member (72)senior membersenior member
 
02/15/2022 01:51PM  
MagicPaddler: "My times are calculated based on the current draw stated in a manual on line. The OP stated that he is using a Lowrance Hook 5. Are you using the same detector and getting those run times? If you are I am using the wrong current for my calculations. Did you have both the GPS and the fish detector and screen light on during your test?
I have found many of the ads for battery products to be deceptive. I know they are deceptive because there are no batteries of that size capable of supplying the power the ads clam. That is not the case with the pack you link to. 6 good 18650 can put out that much power. If it truly puts out 6000mAh that is a good price.
"


Ahhh...sorry, I misread your post with regards to run time as if you were referring to my detector. Mine has a 4" screen and I disable GPS, screen brightness, and pretty much all unnecessary functions.

I completely agree that stated mAh ratings, if not other specs, are often bogus. I was very surprised to find that TalentCell has great customer support and even put me in touch with the cell manufacturer so I could get the exact specs. Still, I cracked the case open to make sure they company they referred me to was indeed what they were using. Everything checked out. The company that makes the cells is well respected - name is Saft-Tianneng and the part numbers checked out.
 
arnesr
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02/16/2022 10:05AM  
So many ways to feed a cat…..so many different cats!

I know a lot of guys still swear by their older B&W units and AA packs. I have a Piranha2 that I used to use with AA's back in the day and as I recall it found bottom fine, but did not show so many fish. I picked up a used Lowrance X-4 last summer, so I may give that a test to see if it is any better as it is 8 years or so newer technology. When you move up from the black and white units, which haven't been produced in more than 10 years now, to a color unit, the biggest factor affecting battery consumption is screen size.

I happen to have a Hook 5 unit on hand, so I ran a quick static transducer in-a-bucket amperage test with a Bluetooth multimeter, which allows me to record data in 1 second increments over 5 minutes for 300 data points, and I found the average power consumption within the first 5 minutes of powering on the unit to be .548 A. By contrast the Hook 4 (4.3" screen) unit that I use on canoe trips, comes in at .371A using the same testing method. As expected a smaller screen uses less power. The Hook 5 has a 5" screen that is almost square. The newer Hook2 5" unit, which is often confused with the Hook 5 unit, has a slightly smaller screen with a rectangular landscape orientation, and thus draws slightly less power.

Lowrance does a lot of things right IMHO, but marketing is not their strong suit. If you download the Hook manual which covers all models 4, 5, 7 & 9, they are all listed with the same maximum power draw, which we know is not correct.

I don't own or have access to a Garmin Striker unit, but the 4" model is reported in the specs to have a 3.5" screen, so I would assume it draws less power than my Lowrance unit. I prefer my Lowrance unit as it is a true chart plotter and can run Navionics mapping as well as satellite imagery/custom mapping. The big three manufacturers all make good units though, so it's just a matter of picking one with the features you are willing to feed.

Back to OP's question, I know people do great things with those 18650 and even the newer 21700 cells, but for me I don't want to mess around with protection circuits and wondering if I'm going to melt a hole in my canoe if I mess up or I get a faulty battery. I prefer a more plug and play solution, so basically someone else has done the math, QC and testing.

As Ericinely mentioned early on in the thread, one option is a lithium battery, more precisely a Lifepo4 battery. Lifepo4 batteries are not quite as energy dense as lithium ion, but they are more chemically stable and less likely to overheat and start a fire, but still much lighter than lead acid. Both chemistries have a flatter discharge curve than lead acid, meaning you will get more power usage out of the battery. Lifepo4 batteries also have the advantage that they can be recharged many more times than lithium ion, thousands of times vs maybe up to one thousand for lithium ion. A couple of things to keep in mind with Lifepo4 batteries is you need a special charger as you cannot use a standard lead acid charger and you cannot charge the batteries below freezing.

I own a couple of Lifepo4 batteries that I bought off of Amazon under the Miady brand name, they are 16Ah, and so far they have performed really well without issues that I use to power a fish finder and lights while ice fishing. I don't see that particular size for sale any longer, so I don't know if it is a supply issue or if it has been discontinued, but they do offer a 20Ah for $70. That's a great value in my opinion, even if the battery only tests out at 18Ah as some reviewers state. If I were in the market I would pick up that battery and a charger and be done.

Now, I would have powered my Hook 4 with the aforementioned Lifepo4 battery, but I already have another option in place. I guess you could say I am using 18650 cells, but they are in a premade pack made by Ryobi in an 18V configuration. Yep, I'm using my Ryobi 18V One+ tool batteries to power my fish finder. I use a 9Ah battery, which is the largest Ah battery Ryobi makes in 18V, which is equivalent to a 13.5Ah 12V battery. To be honest the battery is a bit too bulky to be used in most Ryobi tools, I mostly just use it in my string trimmer and brushless chainsaw. So, by utilizing the batteries to power my fish finder, I am getting a bit more utility out of them. Ok, so a fully charged 18V Ryobi battery is more than 20 volts, which exceeds the recommended voltage range of 10-17 volts according to Lowrance. To overcome this I add an efficient buck converter to knock the voltage down to an acceptable level. I'm using a custom 3D printed battery connector which houses the buck converter as well as a safety circuit breaker. A 4 wire cable runs from the connector through a lock-n-lock container, which keeps the battery and electronics dry, to a 3D printed riser box that contains a switch, a power jack, a power LED and serves to position the RAM mount so the screen can nest flat against the battery container, thus protecting it in transport. The switch allows me to power off the buck converter circuit so I don't waste power and the LED indicates if it is on. I have everything secured to a $1, 1/8 inch cutting board with an integrated handle. I also ditched the stock power cable and made my own with .062" Molex pins and a 5.5mm power connector. This allows me to easily run a 3 foot extension cable from the battery to my unit when it is mounted on the RAM mount on my thwart. I get roughly 30 hours of run time using my Hook 4 with this configuration.





 
MagicPaddler
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03/03/2022 12:35PM  
Anyone interested in batteries suitable for a fish detector should check out the for sail thread on this site.
 
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