Author Topic: Fishin' Buddy Max Design Flaw?  (Read 1603 times)

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Offline marknfish

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Fishin' Buddy Max Design Flaw?
« on: August 04, 2016, 01:40:36 PM »
I recently tried out my new Fishin' Buddy Max portable sonar which as advertised is designed to be "installed just about anywhere. no wiring or rigging etc" which is exactly why I bought this for use on my traditional full length canoe.  I installed it easily to the side of my canoe with the provided clamp about 2 feet in front of my seat. I sat at the rear of the boat.

The wind picked up slightly so I had to paddle with more force in order to track and offset the wind. ( I also had a trolling motor and experienced the same scenario I am about to describe)  So the speed of one paddler or a small very old minkota (1990's) trolling motor mx 55 or 65 set to about 6 out of ten due to the wind.

Normally I would have the motor set to 3 or 4 for one person in the canoe as was the case. It was not that windy such that I would not have noticed the wind as a factor at all if I were in my 17 foot fishing/pleasure boat, but what you would consider inconvenient in a canoe and requiring extra paddling or electric motor effort in a small spring fed lake.

As I was paddling to stay on course I noticed that my fishing buddy was shaking from side to side rapidly due to the transducer shaft passing through the water. Its had to estimate the speed but I'm guessing I was moving about  2 mph.  The transducer shaft is not retractable and therefore extends far deeper than the bottom hull of the canoe. My canoe Id say is middle of the road in terms of how deep it sinks into the water. Its a St. Maurice. It doesn't sit up super high and it doesn't go super deep. Id say its a compromise or a fairly standard canoe in terms of tracking in wind.

So I'm trolling for Rainbows with a willow leaf and countering the wind as I have done in the passed with other suction cup units but using this new design instead.

First off I am not thinking the sonar could perform as intended with the transducer shaking or oscillating rapidly. I didn't measure but in retrospect I would guesstimate it was shaking back and forth laterall about 5 inches peak to peak at the bottom.

So the unit probably isn't able to properly target and mark fish. But the next time I looked at the unit it has popped out of the fixed position of the mount as was sitting in the mount on a sharp angle unsecured and potentially ready to fall out of the mount into the lake.  I attached it again and then is would become unseated again. This repeated again and again until I finally gave up and fearing losing the unit if it came out I just left the unit in the bottom of my canoe unusable for these moderately demanding but not at all uncommon fishing conditions.  My determination is that this unit would not remain stable nor remain secure to the mount as any speed in access of maybe 2 mph water current where the transducer is any significant depth below the surface to to the hydro dynamics created by the shaft and the fact it become dislodged  with very list force applied near the end of the shaft.

When I called the large hunting and fishing store where I purchased this unit which is new this year in the store they had not heard of this issue at all which surprised me and they were not willing to give me a store credit so I could put it towards a portable Humminbird unit with suction cup. They instead sent it to a service depot for inspection.  I contacted the Service depot in advance of the arrival to be sure they understood the problem and they said they had not encountered the problem other than having heard of a wave causing the unit to come loose and suggested bungee chords to hold it in place.  In my observation the bungee chords would not prevent the oscillations created but only maybe could help prevent the unit from being lost in the water when it does come loose. Either way the shaking is cause by water current flowing around the shaft and there is a leverage issue .

The unit is in transit to the warranty service depot and then will be re-routed from there to the supplier customer service.

I understand that this is a new product and the problem might not have been anticipated but I would imagine that by now I would not have been the only person to experience this issue. That at least the service depot would have heard about it or received a service bulletin?

So is there anyone out there who has had the chance to use this product yet on the side of a boat or canoe where the entire shaft if exposed to the under water flow at above say 2 mph?  BTW the mount is firmly secured to the boat and it not moving at all. Only the actual unit is moving within the mount because of the side to side forces of the water on the shaft and transducer. this is not a side imaging unit but just the sonar only unit

Offline fishreed

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Re: Fishin' Buddy Max Design Flaw?
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2016, 11:34:07 PM »
I think you need to get a portable hand held GPS and verify your GPS speed....I'm sure you have no idea what your guestimation of 2 mph is....Additionally, where are you going to put a suction cup transducer mount on your boat? A suction cup transducer mount is semi functional and a poor option  even on  a flat surface on the transom of a boat. You don't have a flat surface to use a suction cup transducer. The problem with a suction cup transducer is they don't stay mounted even when they are used on a transom....I quit using the  suction cup transducer mounts  on fly-in fishing trips 25 years ago. What you need is a sonar unit with a transducer mounted on a aluminnum clamp on transducer mount sold by Cabelas. That transducer portable clamp mount with a Humminbird dual beam transducer is easily  adjustable for depth too due to it having a  telescoping  shaft so you could have the transducer  mounted just below the surface of the water. I guarantee with this  set-up you will have no problems as you have now becuase your transducer and shaft  is too deep in the water and is NOt adjustable.   I might add you will need to mount the dual beam transducer on the clamp mount 90 degrees to the side because you aren't mounting it on the back  transom. Side mounting a transducer on the side of any boats does create problems but they can be overcome. I can see extreme water resistance on that fishing buddy sonar since the transducer is not very aerodynamic and is  pretty blunt along with extreme water resistance by the shaft length  being not adjustable. Water speed only adds to the problem.   
« Last Edit: August 04, 2016, 11:56:32 PM by fishreed »

Offline marknfish

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Re: Fishin' Buddy Max Design Flaw?
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2016, 10:44:22 AM »
Thanks Fishreed,

I wasn't sure if anyone would respond.

My main goal was to find out if anyone owned the fishn buddy max and had been using it under similar conditions and whether they had experienced the same issues since I was the first to report this to the retailer and the warranty department.

At the time it occurred I had not anticipated it would be any challenge to impress upon the retailer the same conclusion I had determined in my morning use (ie that this  product was not suitable for this type of use and therefore a complete refund )

Bare in mind as well, I was on a small narrow lake troll fishing in a canoe under windy conditions with at least 50 yds of fishing line and a multi spoon lure behind me with an undercharged small 12 volt  battery driving the trolling motor (I realized when I arrived back at home the batter was not low but more probably burnt out as I had unintentionally charged it overnight with the charger switch on the "car boost 65 amp? setting, doh)

So I had my hands full as it was without the sonar mounting issues.  Let alone not thinking I needed more exact stats and video to prove my "case" to the retailers or authorised dealers.

So when I saw the sonar shaking wildly back and forth with the increased canoe speed, I was more concerned with keeping from running ashore and snagging my line in shallower water and or having my canoe get turned sideways and ruining my line and also requiring more effort to get back on course. Normall would not have been any issue had my trolling battery not dies as it has always been able to compensate even in stronger wind conditions.

But as that my batter was fried and I had to paddle instead. So a gps and video was not convenient to say the least
Add now that while I'm doing this work the sonar keeps popping off the mount and floating up on an angle in peril of falling off. Being an avid fisherman I really didn't want to give up using the sonar so I kept reinserting it. Plus it was valuable to be able to read the depth and know if I was being blown too shallow.  (Eventually I did give up as it was only a matter of time before I lost the sonar to the bottom of the lake, so I decided to remove the sonar and place it in the canoe and paddle to my launch.

Even through all of this if I knew then what I know now in terms of the time and effort to get the retailer to plead my case to the supplier, I would have taken the time to record a video (ie stop fishing altogether) of the shaking  sonar and it coming loose and record my gps speed as evidence and for Humminbird R&D.

In regard to my speed estimate. I think it is fairly educated but yes admittedly I could be off. I based it on thousands of hours time trolling in my canoe and my 17 foot  fishing/pleasure boat between speeds of .5 and 3 mph on everything from streams and small lakes to the great lakes.  never had a gps on my canoe to track speed but I can correlate to some extent. Could I have been going 4 mph? possible. I never clocked how fast I paddle in a canoe but I know Ive gotta  be trolling normally at 1 mph or less (.5 to 1 ) ideally in this lake . Its been so ling since I caught a rainbow in this lake that I kind forgot now or am not as confident that I know what the best trolling speed is anymore lol.

I figure I was going almost twice as fast as I would ideally want to be going to troll in this lake based on previous catches.

In regard to the suction cup. My previous portable of 25 yrs has a suction cup and it has never fallen off when used on this lake. I place if at either the very front (if 2 people in the canoe to bring the leading tip down, or at the rear if fishing myself)
It is possible to position in so the suction cup is almost vertical as the canoe side wall is vertical at the very back. I tilt the transducer slightly at an angle to compensate for the fact the wall starts to curve around. So the bottom of the transducer is completely parallel to the water surface and submerged.

The only issue I may have had with my old sonar is I believe I was getting false fish markings Due to interference from my trolling motor. The fishin buddy was supposed to resolve that as I could incread the distance plus I felt I needed a newer more advance technology to help accurately mark fish. I had lost faith in my old one

Now that people are mounting transducers to their trolling motors or getting motors which have built in transducers, I dint know it this is now possible because of sonar advances or trolling motor advances but I am sure that my motor interfered with my old sonar when place close to each other. In particular when the motor powers is high

So if its my motor being the issue I will still have trouble with the new portable if I use the suctions cup and need to place them close which is the case whenever I fish alone.

So I will give  serious consideration to that aluminum transducer mount which I had never considered before.

I do have a new portable sonar the helix 5 gps which I have not opened yet until I get a final result on my fishing buddy return.  I has a suction cup and it sounds like I should be replacing it with that aluminum holder. I am wondering if its easy enough to convert the portable transducer to mount on this as its much more economical to get this portable helix 5 than the fixed one and converting the non portable . I got this portable Helix 5 GPS for only 379 CDN. It would cost much more than that to buy the permanent fixture and then the case and battery and connections separately

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