The Standard Horizon FF520 black box sounder is an add-on component designed to provide sounder data to a number of Standard Horizon chartplotters, including the CP and CPV units, which are not equipped with an internal fish finder.
We used a Standard Horizon CP180 chartplotter display and an Airmar P58 transom mount transducer to test the output of the FF520 black box sounder.
With the CP180 as the display unit the FF520 puts our 200 lines of vertical resolution, with one of the larger Standard Horizon displays is will put out 400 lines of vertical resolution.
This unit is capable of producing 500- or 1000-watts RMS of output power depending on the transducer used with the unit.
The Standard Horizon manual lists five optional 500-watt transducers and a pair of 1000-watt units.
The FF520 black box is just over 7-inches wide by 6-inches long with a height of a tad over 2-inches. On a boat the FF520 needs to be mounted in a protected area since it is not waterproof and near the display unit so it can be connected via a cable.
According to Marine Division Product Manager, Scott Iverson, the FF520 black box is being reconfigured to meet IPX6 waterproofing standards sometime in the near future.
Software in any Standard Horizon chartplotter must be configured prior to using the FF520.
Selecting the fishfinder page from the main menu sends you to the fishfinder menu page where the sounder page is configured for frequency and display mode.
We reviewed the FF520 using the full screen sounder display mode with A-scope turned on. Data boxes at the top use up about a quarter of the screen page.
This sounder has zoom, bottom lock, and shift functions. On our first few passes over our test range we noted this unit painted the sample targets very well.
Fine-tuning with manual gain did improve the picture somewhat. We rated presentation of the FF520 black box sounder data good.
One should keep in mind when using a display with a landscape layout like the CP180 we used for testing, youll have significantly less vertical screen space to present sounder data.
Standard Horizon FF520 Specifications
|Maximum Power (Watts RMS)||500 / 1000|
|Frequency (kHz)||50 / 200|
|Transducer Used for Test||Airmar P58|
|Auto Depth Ranging||Yes|
|Manual Depth Ranging||Yes|
|Gain||Auto(2) / Manual|
|Warranty Period (Years)||3|
With a sounder page displayed the zoom function is easily adjusted using the range pushbuttons.
Once the gain is set to manual in the fishfinder menu it can be adjusted from a sounder page by first pressing the Enter button, this brings a small menu up onscreen where gain can be changed.
Any other changes to fishfinder settings require the use of the multi-layered menu selections. It can be a bit cumbersome sometimes to use this unit because it will on occasion become necessary to delve into multi-layered menus for many sounder functions.
This Standard Horizon black box sounder has a very long 3-year warranty.