when it comes to affordable chirp sonar technology, raymarine comes with a couple of spot-on fish finders. the dragonfly 6 is one of them. this unit is actually the winner of 2013 innovation award for consumer electronics, mobile applications, and software, presented by the national marine manufacturers association, at the miami international show.
even though this model has been around for about two years now, and does not have some of the new features of the dragonfly pro units, it still is an exceptional unit, with a lot to offer.
this multifunction display is sold in various bundles, though. so, before i go ahead and write down the technical details, what’s best, and what isn’t about this unit, it’s important for you to know that this review is about the model number e70085-gld, which includes the navionics gold mapping pack.
key features and specifications
- display: 5.7″ in diagonal, color tft, 640h x 480v pixel matrix, 16:9 aspect ratio, optically bonded and with led backlight
- waterproofing ipx-6 and ipx-7
- sonar: internal dual channel chirp sonar module (with chirp standard sonar, and chirp downvision)
- depth capability: 600 ft. (183 m), for both channels, standard, and downvision
- frequency and coverage: 320-380 khz / 60° side-to-side and 1.4° fore to aft, for downvision, and 170-230 khz / 25° conical beam for traditional view
- transducer: transom cpt-60
- power input: 10.8 – 15.6 vdc
- power draw: 10 w max (full brightness), 5 w (powersave mode)
- gps: 50 channel, 10 hz, internal
- waypoints, tracks: 3,000, 15 (10,000 points each)
- maps: navionics gold
- microsd card slot: x1
control unit features
even though this isn’t a large unit, the screen offers just enough space for a proper reading of the sonar and maps. the split-screen function allows the view of two applications simultaneously. for example, you can view both sonar returns, or the downvision and your position on the map. there are options for horizontal and vertical split-screen views.
the unit features a 5.7″ display, with a pixel resolution of 640h x 480v. it’s an lcd-type color display with led backlight for superior readability at night and in direct sunlight.
the unit is ideal for open cockpit installations, due to its superior waterproofing. it’s built to resist rain, incidental splashes, and even complete submersion for a short period of time. the display offers great readability even if wearing polarized sunglasses. the head unit comes with a tilt-and-swivel mounting system. and one of the features specific to the raymarine units, is the unified connector, for the transducer cable and power.
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navigation through the menus and options is done mostly via the rotary controller. in terms of buttons, the unit is pretty much simple, featuring only 3: the unicontrol button, the back and view switcher button and the power and shortcuts button.
sonar and transducer
the standard transducer for this unit is the cpt-60, designed for transom mounting. it comes with the temperature sensor built-in, which enables the unit to indicate water temperature. the cable length for it is 19.7 ft. (6 m), which should be enough for a wide range of boats. however, in case you own a longer boat, you can opt for 13.1 ft. (4 m) cable extension. the model number for it is a80224.
the advertised standard depth capability of this unit is 600 ft., for both downvision and conventional chirp sonar. however, tests have shown that 700 ft. for freshwater, and 890 ft. for saltwater, can be achieved with it. the absolute minimum depth the raymarine dragonfly 6 can be used for, is 2 ft. (0.6 m). the underwater views provided by both types of sonar are very clear and sharp, without unnecessary noise. the target separation that can be achieved with this unit is 1.25″ (32 mm) for the conventional chirp sonar and 1″ (25 mm) for downvision.
the transducer uses two distinct sonar beams, one for each type of sonar. for the conventional chirp sonar, it uses a conical beam, with a 25° coverage. for downvision, it uses a fan-shaped sonar beam, with 60° side-to-side, and 1.4° front to back.
the 50-channels gps locks pretty quickly and excels in accuracy. as mentioned in the specs above, the unit comes with the navionics gold sd card, a mapping pack that covers coastal, inland us, and canada waters.
last but not least, this unit features as waypoint function, being able to store up to 3,000 waypoints. also, you can save up to 15 tracks (10,000 points each track). waypoints created and tracks recorded can be backed up on a microsd card.
the dragonfly 6 from raymarine has a microsd slot, in which you should fit the navionics gold card which comes with the box. the unit is compatible with various other maps, such as navionics silver, hotmaps premium. also, the raymarine lighthouse charts are freely available. it does not support navionics platinum though.
there are two other transducers available for this unit. in case you can’t install the transom transducer on your boat, you can opt for a cpt-70 (a80278), or cpt-80 (a80279). these models are both thru-hull type. also, there is a trolling motor bracket (a80207) available for the cpt-60.
what’s best about this unit
without a doubt, the main strength of this unit is the dual channel sonar, with conventional chirp sonar and downvision chirp. with these two sonar features, you will hardly miss any fish that pass under the boat. on top of that, due to the superior target separation, you will be able to easily distinguish between structure, vegetation, and fish.
the navigational features of this unit include almost anything a boater needs. you get the some of the best charts out there with the navionics gold microsd card and a highly precise gps.
not all fish finders / chartplotters have the tracks and waypoints function. this unit does, which evidently it’s a plus because you will be able to record your best fishing spots and revisit them.
as rule of thumb, raymarine multifunctional displays are really easy and straightforward to use. the dragonfly 6 doesn’t make an exception from this rule.
this unit does not have a sonar recording function, which might be quite useful on the water. it also isn’t wi-fish capable. therefore, if you would like to benefit from these functions, have a look at the new dragonfly 4pro.
even though the display of this unit offers enough space to use two applications simultaneously, some may consider 5.7″ too small. however, this is one of the factors that make this unit so inexpensive.
the raymarine dragonfly 6 is one of the most inexpensive fish finders with chirp that you can find at the moment. it also offers downvision which also uses chirp, which is a tremendous plus. on top of that, it can always serve as a navigation tool, since it comes with everything a boater would need for this matter. therefore, if you’re looking for an affordable fish finder and chartplotter combo, with chirp, this unit should be on your list.