Power up for cleaner screen images

If you’re updating your electronics to include forward-facing sonar (FFS) and bigger screens, don’t overlook other changes you may need to get top performance.

Perhaps the most important is providing maximum power to each unit so you can retain good, crisp images throughout a day of fishing.

One overlooked, yet critical element is having proper wiring. The wiring used in older boats, and perhaps some newer boats, is small and can’t adequately carry the voltage needed to run all of today’s power-hungry processors and big screens.

Bigger wire that runs directly to the graphs allows them to utilize the full voltage your batteries provide.

And that computes to cleaner images. 

My latest Phoenix, for example, came with a separate wiring harness made of large, two-gauge wire with its own breaker that runs only my Lowrance Electronics. To see bait, structure and fish sharply throughout the day, I need adequate power for cleaner images. That’s true of any brand of electronics you may have on your boat.

In addition, I have a separate large-gauge wire that runs to my trolling motor and another that powers my outboard and smaller accessories.

If you’re upgrading from two smaller electronics to three or more with big screens, you need more juice to power them. If you’re running an older boat, chances are the factory-installed wiring is inadequate and will limit performance.

My switch to Millertech lithium batteries has made a big difference too. The cool thing about lithium is you never lose voltage, even when the battery level may be diminishing; it continues to put out 13 volts.

I run two Millertech 100 amp, 12-volt batteries wired in parallel with one of them devoted strictly to my Lowrance electronics. The other is for starting the outboard, aerators, bilge pump and other smaller accessories. I also have two 36-volt lithiums that provide all the power I need for my trolling motor.

That might be a little overkill for the weekend angler, but as a touring professional, I need every tool available to me.

I was one of the first anglers with forward-facing sonar a few years ago, and I was having issues because it was running down my battery. I had to shut it off around 10 a.m. because it was killing my power.

With lithium batteries, I have unlimited power and can run electronics from daylight to dark. Those batteries, which come with a 10-year warranty, not only have helped the performance of my trolling motor and electronics, but boat performance as well.

I previously ran four AGM batteries. Since going to the much lighter Millertechs, I have removed 298 pounds from the back of the boat. That has improved hole shot, and my boat is more responsive to the throttle. I am more nimble getting around shallower water, and the boat rides better in rough water.

When I come in at the end of the day and plug into the charger, it only takes about an hour to be completely charged.

Yes, these changes can be expensive. But if you’re going to upgrade to bigger, more powerful electronics and FFS, cleaner, lasting electrical power will help you utilize the full benefits your electronics offer.