How to Tell If a Transducer Is Bad

A transducer is a crucial component in a fish finder. It allows anglers to see the underwater environment by converting echo sound into images.

However, it may develop problems with the display, mounting, or the sensors. As a result, the transducer will display incorrect information or nothing at all. But, before you panic or replace the device, it is essential to find out the problem and try to solve it.

Troubleshooting your transducers is not as difficult as you may think. It’s just a matter of knowing what to look for and doing simple tests on your transducers. This article will teach you how.

Common Transducer Problems and How to Fix Them

1. Incorrect Depth Reading

A transducer that is not working properly will display incorrect findings. For instance, if you are in 100ft, it will show that you are 40 or 50 ft. Such erratic readings show that your transducer sends out sonar waves but only receives part of the sonar return.

Other depth problems include losing depth readings in shallow water or when the boat is traveling at high speed or failing to display any depth readings.

Here is how to rectify these problems:

  • Check if the transducer is installed correctly. Try changing the angle of the transducer. Ensure you place the transducer at a vertical angle to get more accurate readings.
  • Inspect the device for dirt and marine growth as they may block the transducer from receiving feedback and thus reduce its performance. Use a soft cloth and warm soapy water to clean off the dirt.
  • Inspect the transducer and the cables for damage and corrosion. Replace any damaged parts, then turn on the device to see if it works.
  • Ensure that the cables are connected properly.
  • Make sure your transducer is not trying to read a depth beyond its capabilities. You can check the manual for the maximum depth the device can read and other specs.
  • Use low frequencies for accurate depth readings since they have high depth penetrating capabilities.
  • Restart the transducer.

If all these steps fail, it’s time to call in a professional to help you out with that.

Related Article: Best Fish Finders for Small Boat

2. Malfunctioning Display

Common display problems include a frozen screen, faded screen, flashing lights, blackouts, and a foggy display. These issues are sometimes mistaken for power problems. To determine whether the issue is display-related, power your device and see if the keypad backlights work. If they do, then the problem is with your screen.

Here is how to solve some of these issues.

  • Make sure to connect the device with a low voltage battery of around 12 volts. If you connect the device to a high voltage, it will likely malfunction or blackout. Use a multimeter kit to test the voltage of the transducer to ensure that it is connected to the right voltage.
  • Check that the transducer is connected properly and that the cables are not corroded.
  • Ensure that two transducers are not operating at the same time since they will cause interference, especially if they use the same acoustic frequencies [1].
  • Ensure you store the display in a safe and protected environment without exposure to moisture.
  • Update the software to the latest version.
  • Reset the device. You can choose to either do a soft or hard factory reset. Resetting the device usually solves most of the display issues. If it doesn’t, contact your manufacturers for further assistance.

3. Power Issues

If a transducer will not power on or shuts down intermittently, there may be problems with its connection. To resolve power-related issues, do the following:

  • Ensure that the power cable is properly inserted into the transducer. A loose power connection will short circuit your transducer.
  • Inspect the power cables for kinks, cuts, and abrasion or corrosion. If the cables are corroded, cut the ends, strip back the sheath and join the two ends. If this is not possible, get new cables that match your device.
  • Ensure that the transducer is connected to the required voltage. If the voltage is too low, the battery will not have enough power to run the device. And if the voltage is too high, it may permanently damage the transducer.
  • Inspect the fuse for damages and replace it if it’s blown.
  • Only use the transducer when it’s in the water. Using it out of water will cause the device to overheat and damage the piezoelectric crystals responsible for emitting transducer frequencies.

4. Mounting

An essential key to superior sonar performance is transducer mounting and placement. However, most boat owners overlook the importance of taking the time to install the transducer correctly. As a result, the transducer gives incorrect findings and doesn’t work as effectively. Here are some tips to help you mount the transducer and get the most out of it.

  • Do not place your transducer too far from the keel since it will result in poor sonar readings when traveling at high speed.
  • Mount the transducer on the side with downward stroke propeller movement since it has less turbulence and air bubbles. Air bubbles occur as a result of cavitation. They interfere with sonar feedback because air bubbles reflect the sonar return [2].
  • Avoid using multiple transducers since they create more air bubbles that result in interference.
  • Follow the instruction manual that comes with the device when installing the transducer.

Also Read: Transducer Mounting Height on a Boat

Cost of Repairing a Bad Transducer

Most transducers come with a warranty, so the manufacturer will cover repair costs if the warranty period has not expired. However, if your transducer develops a problem after the warranty expires, you will have to cover the repair cost by yourself.

Most of the repairs are cost-friendly. You can visit a local repair shop that specializes in transducer repair or visit the manufacturer for repairs. However, if your transducer is beyond repair, you will be forced to purchase a new one which will cause you to dig deeper in your pockets.

The Bottom Line

Transducers are the heart of a fish finder, but they can wear out over time. There are several ways you can tell if a transducer is malfunctioning. Hopefully, this article has answered the question of how to tell if a transducer is bad. You can use it to troubleshoot and fix your transducer.

Download my free guide now and discover:
  • What to take on your fishing trip.
  • My secret deep-sea fishing hacks.
  • The best must-have gear to help you catch more fish.
  • And much more…
Enter your name and email below to download it free…

Leave a Comment