Author Topic: Humminbird Side Imaging - Frequently Asked Questions  (Read 13976 times)

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Offline RGecy

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Humminbird Side Imaging - Frequently Asked Questions
« on: March 29, 2009, 05:12:01 AM »
Taken from

What is the son2xtf file in my Available Updates?
The son2xtf file is a "helper" application that enables 3rd party software to work with Humminbird side imaging recording files.  This program converts Humminbird recording files to EXtended Triton Format (XTF) revision 24, a public sonar recording format. More information about this format may be obtained from Triton's website at: 

This only works with Side Imaging products.

Can I use son2xtf with non-sidescan recording files?
No. son2xtf only exports the sidescan sonar data and supporting information necessary for post-processing sidescan data.

I don't have an XTF viewer. Will Humminbird provide one?
At this time, Humminbird has not created a software product for viewing sonar recording files or XTF files on a personal computer.

A very basic free viewer is available from the DeepVision's website at: or another viewer is available at Matt Norwood's SIView:

Commercial 3rd party sidescan data processing products are also currently available.

I don't use a Microsoft OS, but I would like to use son2xtf. What can I do?
We are currently exploring options for releasing versions of son2xtf for Linux and Mac OS X.  Please contact us if you require a different OS platform and we will see if we can help.

I cannot make son2xtf work. Who should I contact?
Please contact us at for assistance.

Does the boat have to be moving for the side imaging sonar to work?
Yes. The side imaging sonar works much like a MRI. The beams are laser thin and as they move past an object they take 100’s of thin slices of the object and compile them into a high-detailed image of the object. If the boat is sitting still the beams will continue to take thin slices of the same spot and continue to show the slice of this spot continuously.

Do the Side Imaging Units have GPS capabilities?
Yes, the 797, 997 and 1197 include advanced GPS capabilities including advanced 16 channel GPS with a built-in high detailed UNIMAP that contains 1000’s of inland lakes.

The 797, 997 and 1197 are compatible with Navionics Silver, orange and Premium HotMaps cartography. In addition the 997 and 1197 is compatible with the revolutionary Navionics Platinum and Platinum Plus cartography.

When I see underwater structure or contours out to the side of my boat with the side imaging units can I mark them as waypoints?
Yes. The Side Imaging units allow you to simply activate a cursor using the easy-to-use four way cursor and move the cursor over the object and mark it as a waypoint.

As the screen is scrolling and I see an object of interest is there a way to stop the screen to examine the object before it scrolls off the screen?
Yes. Simply press the four way cursor and this will freeze the screen, allowing you to examine the object. Additionally you can change settings, such as sensitivity, color and zoom, while the screen is frozen to enhance the object for your viewing.

Am I missing anything by using a Side Imaging Unit that I would get with a conventional competitor’s down-looking sonar?
No. The Side Imaging Units (797, 997 and 1197) include:
-         Advanced Dual Beam Conventional Downlooking Sonar
-         Advanced 16 Channel GPS w/ mapping
-         And the Incredible Side Imaging Technology

When I use the Side Imaging Units am I missing critical information directly under my boat?
No. First, the area under the boat that isn’t covered by the side imaging beam is very small (approximately 5 degrees to either side of vertical. Second, the conventional down-looking sonar that is built into the side imaging transducer covers the areas below the boat and the Side Imaging Units allow you to view a split screen that will show both downlooking and side imaging sonar simultaneously.

Will the side imaging work well in shallow water?
Yes. In water as shallow as two feet the Side Imaging units will can still show great detail of objects 50-75 feet away from the boat. (See Image Gallery for shallow water images taken with the Side Imaging units)

Will side imaging sonar work well in deep water?
Yes. The Side Imaging units will show detailed images of the bottom up to 150 feet deep. Also the side imaging can be used to scan an area of water up to 480 feet wide for suspended fish and baitfish regardless of the depth. The conventional down-looking sonar built into the side imaging transducer will work down to 1,500 feet. An optional thru-hull transducers can be bought separately to provide up to 2,500 feet of depth capability for down looking sonar.

How does the down looking sonar built into the Side Imaging units compare to competitive down looking sonar?
The down looking sonar built into the Side Imaging units is an advanced Dual Beam technology 200/83 khz (20/60 degrees of coverage) that provides great detailed bottom definition from the narrow beam and great coverage for fish and structure from the wide beam. Most competitive models only use single beam technology, which limits their coverage to find structure and fish.

What are the mounting options for the side imaging transducer?
There are three mounting options for the side imaging transducer. They are:
1.transom mount (this transducer comes standard with the 797,  997 and 1197)
2.trolling motor mount (adapters to allow the transom mount transducer to be mounted to the trolling motor are sold separately) 
3.plastic thru-hull transducer (offered as an optional accessory

Can I epoxy the side imaging transducer in the hull of my fiberglass boat and allow the sonar to shoot through the hull?
No. Because of the way the side imaging beams shoot out to the side the transducer can’t be epoxied into the hull and work properly.

Will I be able to obtain high speed readings from my side imaging sonar?
First, the side imaging technology generally works to speeds up to 10 MPH. This will vary depending on the boat hull and the location of the installation. Second, the down-looking sonar built into the side imaging transducer will work to much higher speeds. High speed readings with transom mount transducers on faster boats are often limited by the turbulence that occurs around the back of the boat. An optional accessory (SI HSK), which is a kit that includes an in-hull puck transducer and a transducer switch, allows you to install the puck transducer in the hull to obtain great high speed readings of down-looking sonar and then switch to the side imaging transducer to get the incredible side imaging detail at slower speeds.

Where do I mount the side imaging transducer on my boat?
The proper location of the transducer varies widely depending on the individual boat type and model. Please refer to the installation guide that comes with the Side Imaging Units, contact your local dealer or contact Humminbird’s Consumer Resource Center by either dialing (800)633-1468 or

Is the Side Imaging Unit difficult to operate?
No. Humminbird prides itself on offering products with advanced technology that are easy to use. The units are pre-programmed with settings that will allow for use under a wide variety of applications. The menu system that allows each user to customize the unit to their individual needs is very intuitive and easy to master.

Will I be able to see the color display in the sunlight?
Yes. The displays used on the 797, 997 and 1197 utilize advanced technology to provide the user with brilliant viewing in direct sunlight.

What is the coverage of the Side Imaging units?
The Side Imaging units allow you to scan up to 240 feet to either side of the boat for a total coverage area of 480 feet ( almost 2 football fields). Typically you will be able to obtain this much coverage in 30 foot or more of water. In water 2-5 feet deep you can get around 50-75 feet to either side. In water 5-10 feet deep you can get 100-125 feet to either side. In water 10-30 feet deep you can get 125-200 foot of coverage to either side.

How much detail can I expect to see on a Side Imaging unit in real world conditions?
You should expect the Side Imaging units to provide you with the most detailed sonar images you have ever seen. See the “Image Gallery” at the www.sideimaging .com website to see the detail you should expect. Each of these images were taken by real users in real world conditions.

If I see an object to the side of my boat can I “zoom” in on it?
Yes. The Side Imaging Units have a feature that allows you to cursor over to an object and zoom in on it to get more detail.

Do the Side Imaging units work with Fuel Flow sensors?
No. Currently Humminbird doesn’t offer a fuel flow accessory and Humminbird units aren’t compatible with other Fuel Flow sensors on the market.

Why does the 997/1197 transducer “Wiggle”?
All of the incredible side imaging shots you have seen on our website were taken with transducers that wiggle.  The “wiggle” or movement of the transducer is an intentional design characteristic that allows the transducer to pivot/ kickup when it hits something. The “wiggle” is perfectly normal

Will the Side Imaging units show fish?
YES. The Side Imaging units will show fish. The one important thing to remember is that it can’t show every fish in the water. Keep in mind that objects directly behind other objects will not show up. This is the reason the technology generates the shadow effect. If you see a piece of structure but no fish, this doesn’t mean there aren’t fish.

« Last Edit: February 28, 2010, 09:25:50 PM by RGecy »
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