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Any advice/tips on using/interpreting Lowrance X-4? Any help appreciated!!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I finally decided to up my game and rig a decent no frills FF on my yak. I spent the entire morning on a shallow creek fiddling with it and trying different settings. I have a ton of questions, so I'll try to be a concise as possible.

1) The "Simulator" seems to be the only way to actually get visual map of the bottom of the lake (like the picture on the box), correct? It took me a little while to figure that out, but when I turned the simulator on and got the visual, the depth was totally wrong. The body of water I was on was no more than 2-3 feet deep (I was unaware of this before I set out). Without the simulator, it was giving the depths in that range, but without a visual readout. When I put the simulator on, It was insisting that I was in 7-15 feet of water--when I could easily hit bottom with my oar.

I tried moving my sensitivity way down and way up, no difference on readings.

My chart speed was on 25% most of the time, but I tried it a 0 as well. No discernable difference.

Could the problem have simply been that I was on far too shallow a body of water to expect an accurate reading under any circumstances?

2) I had to use manual depth range and set it at 0-10 the entire time. As soon as I tried auto depth range, I got crazy readings. At one point, it was telling me I was in 80 feet of water. What is the best practice with this feature? What about situations where you have no clue what the depth range of the body of water you on might be?

3) The Zoom feature---what exactly does this do? I tried it on and off and I could not really tell the difference. Of course, I may not have had anything else set properly either.

4) Noise eliminator. Again, I tried this on low,high and off. I could not tell any difference. What should I leave this set at and under what circumstances should I adjust it?

My transducer is mounted using the popular "electric putty" method. I was careful to avoid air bubbles in the putty. Since the depth seems about right without the simulator on, I assumed my transducer was mounted properly.

I fish local lakes/rivers around the Philadelphia/Delaware Valley area. No deep sea or salt stuff for now.

As I said, for all I know, every problem I had may be related to the fact that I was ony in 2-3 feet of water.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Without that advice on this forum, I never would even had the confidence to get the FF rigged up and working. Now if only I can use it properly.....

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post #2 of 15
try it again in some deeper water if you can. my ff does some interesting thing in shallow water also. once i see 4-6 feet it usually settles down and i get accurate readings. the zoom feature allows you to zoom into a range of depth. if you were in 100 feet of water for example, you might be able to zoom into the 20-40 foot range, or the 80-100 foot range. sensitivity and the noise eliminator are things you will have to experiment with on the water. usually the factory settings are adequate, but if you are fishing water with a lot of weeds or dirt you may need to lower the sensitivity so the weeds dont clog up the whole screen on your ff
post #3 of 15
Zee. Hope I can help out some.

1. Turn sim off. It's just that a simulator, a preprogramed simulation. It may help learning different features but will tell nothing of actual depth etc.

2. Turn off all auto features, fish id, zooms, depths etc.

3. In that shallow of water your FF may not function well and give all kinds of strange readings. Especially if your sensitivity is set high and your auto depth feature is on. It may work ok in 1 or 2 feet with sens all the way down, but none of my FF work in shallow water. I need 3 to 4 feet most of the time. Most of the time the surface noise (clutter) will keep shallow water performance iffy. PS surface noise will be reduced at lower sens. levels.

4. Start out with sens low and adjust higher until you get a bottom reading, then turn up until you start to see a little noise all over the screen, then turn down a little. Again in shallow water performance is iffy. This is just a starting point to find the settings you like. What the bottom is made of influences sens needed to see a good bottom, sand and rock give a good bottom but mud and silt needs a little more sens. to see well. Weeds are also problematic, if the sens is too high the weed tops will register as bottom and give false depth. Again lower sens is a good starting point.

5. Chart speed is a personal preference, I like mine in the moderate range. I don't like high speed but that's just my preference.

6. The auto depth feature is a personal preference as well. I don't like it because if your in that range just between two settings it bounces back and forth and drives me nuts. I set manually but depending on your unit it my not read the depth if the actual depth is below your set range. On one of my units if the depth is 25 feet and I'm set to 20 the screen is blank and no depth reading (older unit), on the other unit the screen is blank but it gives me the depth and I know to change depth setting.

Depth finders are great and really can help your catch (and safety), but they take a little time to learn.
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
abraves & Thomas -- Thank you both so much for your input.

Thomas, I was actually out on a lake when I read you reply (ain't technology great?). I wsa able to spend my last hour being far more productive in terms of learning the proper way to adjust the FF thanks to you guidance.

One more follow up question...once I had the sensitivity adjusted so that I was getting what looked like an accurate readout of the bottom, there were a few times when the actual depth reading appeared stuck on a certain number---even when the bottom appeared to change. I wound up turing the FF off and on again to reset it. Is this a common problem?

Thanks again for all the assistance. Much appreciated.

post #5 of 15
Zee, can't explain the hold on the depth. But then again most FF nowadays have a lot more features than my units. (sometimes too many features)
Possibly a bottom zoom or lock? At least you got to the point of usefullness! That took me awhile on my first unit! (and you're already ahead of a lot of guys!)

Most of the time I'm looking for fish or changes in structure more than the depth anyway. So a little delay shouldn't hurt you too bad.

Just thought of a reason it may not have changed, sometimes if I have the sens too high it will read a fish or floating object and give that depth as the bottom depth. Did you notice anything like that. If you did just turn down the sens a little.

Also when you get the bottom straightened out, try to learn your unit with the fish id off. Way too many guys use this feature and I believe it keeps them from learning their units well. IF you have your sens too high you'll see tons of fish that just aren't there and waste a lot of time fishing for them. The best way to learn is when you do catch something look at your graph and see what it tells you, then you'll know what to look for! Bottom fish are tough to see sometimes so if you're catching bottom fish don't expect to see them on the graph (at least for me!!). I don't have enough posts for a pm so just post with any other questions and I'd be glad to help out!
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Tom- Thanks again! I had much more luck on Monday in the Schuykill (luck using the FF, not so much with the fish). I still had the same problem with it getting stuck on a certain numner, though. Its not misreading something, its just flat out stuck. I noticed it happened when I got shallow (it would stick on something like 2.1 ft). The readout would continue to appear accurate but the depth wouldn't change. Aside from that, I think I got the hang of it.

I see what you mean about the fishfinder feature. There were times when I was gettting tons and tons of fish that were obvioulsy not really there. As tempting as it is to use that feature, I think I'll take your advice and stay away from it for now.

Thanks again, and tight lines!
post #7 of 15
You're welcome Zee, I also fish the Shurekill around Pottstown. Got a 2.5 lb smallie last time out1
post #8 of 15
Zee Your FF will get stuck at a depyh shallower than 3' mine will get stuck or flash at the depth below 1.5' as far as chart speed run it at about 80-90% for the yak wether you are moving or not.
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks a ton for the advice. You and Thomas have saved me a lot of trouble and time getting started. I will trying upping my chart speed---I've been keeping it around 25% on the theory that the FF is made for a power boat and a yak would be much slower by comparison.

Tight lines!!
post #10 of 15
I have been looking through this thread and applied some of your knowledge. When I turn off the simulator I either get black bars down the screen or nothing at all. Any ideas?
post #11 of 15
Originally Posted by ajordan1980 View Post

I have been looking through this thread and applied some of your knowledge. When I turn off the simulator I either get black bars down the screen or nothing at all. Any ideas?

It's in the water right?
post #12 of 15
Haha. Yea it is. As soon as I take it off simulator the screen has black bars across it or nothing at all.
post #13 of 15
Disconnect the pickup, see if the screen changes,
if not, check the connector. It might be a dud.
post #14 of 15
It can also happen of youre in really shallow water.
post #15 of 15
I just purchased a new boat . It came equipped with a lowrance x4 pro . I'm on my 3rd unit as the other 2 quit working all within a week . When I turned them off sim the screen went blank . Seems maybe there are some bad units out there
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StripersOnline › SurfTalk › Stripers Online Forums › Kayaking and Kayak Fishing Forum › Any advice/tips on using/interpreting Lowrance X-4? Any help appreciated!!