Lowrance iFinder GPS Receiver
Review by Joe Mehaffey 
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(Rev. 22 January 2003)

We are delighted that Lowrance is now delivering the iFinder.  Lowrance GM-100 was the first GPS receiver with user uploadable maps.  The iFinder is the first consumer model handheld update from Lowrance since the pace setting GM-100.  We received a Lowrance iFinder,  a copy of MapCreate 6 (USA maps), an external antenna,  and a power cable for the iFinder.   The "street price" of the iFinder plus a copy of MapCreate 6 is about $365.  Check latest prices HERE.  The iFinder reviewed had firmware revision 1.2.1 dated February 2002. (Later software is available but not tested by us.) A few of the unique features of the iFinder are:  a) Will accept either MMC or SDC memory cards up to 256MB,  b) has optional color case faces,  c) holds routes,  tracks, waypoints AND maps in the removable memory module,  d) an "easy" and "advanced" user interface makes for easy initial use while providing advanced capabilities for more experienced users, e) 1000 waypoints,  1000 event marker icons, 100 routes,  TEN savable trail (tracklog) points with up to 9,999 points per trail (MOST of any handheld GPS I know of.  If you want MORE points,  just carry more MMC cards with you.).  f) 37 zoom ranges from 0.05 to 4000 miles,  All waypoints,  routes and tracks are downloaded by the removable memory module (No serial port is currently provided but a USB or parallel port can be used for loading/reading the MMC cartridge depending on model selected.).

There are four iFinder configurations,  each including the same GPS receiver but different accessories.  a) iFinder (basic) just has the GPS receiver and manual and nothing else.  b) iFinder Plus includes iFinder/Manual/MapCreate 6 and a 16MByte MMC card and card reader, c) iFinder Atlantis is a marine model and includes a 16 Meg MMC card with high detail mapping of the continental USA coastline and d) iFinder Express is designed for inland USA use and has a 32meg MMC card loaded with much of the SEARCHABLE POI database.

MapCreate Version 6

MC6 is Lowrance's latest street map program designed expressly for the iFinder.  It provides the ability for the user to select map sections from the MC6 map library and the program can "clip" and upload these selected map sections to iFinder.  See HERE for an example of the map selection process.  Note:  Map CREATION is a bit strong for what MC6 does.  MC6 allows you to select areas of maps provided by the MC6 CDROMs and upload these selected sections to your iFinder.  MC6 presently is compatible ONLY with Lowrance models:  X-15,  LMS-24D,  LMS-240, GlobalMap 2400,  GlobalMap 3000,  LCX-15, and LCX-16 and iFinder.

The MapCreate 6 maps come on two CDROMS and appear to be approximately up to date when compared with Delorme StreetAtlas 9 and MetroGuide USA.  As always,  there are a few errors,  but overall the maps are quite satisfactory and seem up to date within about 3 years in our area.  The most recent restaurant listed in my area in the POI listings is about 5 years old. MapCreate 6 has the ability for a user to outline rectangles of area using a mouse and then have these map sections configured for upload to the MMC removable memory module.  The iFinder is unique among handhelds in that the serial port cannot be used  to load maps into the GPS.  Instead,  data is transferred by removing the memory module and placing it into a MMC to PCMCIA adapter  or into the MMC to USB  adapter (parallel port adapter available) and copying the maps to the removable memory module.  While the iFinder has a NMEA setting in setup,  the iFinder and MC6 have no current ability to load maps via the accessory serial cable..  (Note:  When installing MC6,  if it asks for disk 3,  it really is asking for disk 2.)

We found MC6 generally easy to use.  The PC help files are useful,  but not indexed as completely as I would like.  The manual for MC6 and iFinder appear to have all of the information on both systems,  but I did have to phone tech support for help in actually loading the maps into the MMC memory chip.  This was because there is no option in MC6 offering: "Load Maps to Memory Cartridge".  Instead,  when you have created the map file,  (the manual will tell you), you just use Windows Explorer (or similar) to copy the map file to the MMC memory reader/writer storage device attached to the USB port.  Note:  you MUST have a USB port on your computer to be able to load maps or otherwise communicate with the iFinder.  There is NO serial connection capability for this service presently available for iFinder.

MC6 has some nice features,  but it is not as easy to use as the "connect the dots" scheme used in the original MC.  MC6 does offer a nice capability for building "highway corridors".  These allow the ability to store high road detail along  a narrow path traversed by a highway.  This is quite economical of map memory and easy to use.  Random shaped areas around cities can be enclosed by a series of rectangles and filled in by the addition of highway corridors as needed.

We were not able to download high detail map pictures from the iFinder for our review.   As a substitute,  Please see representative screen shots from our computer display HERE.  (Download approx. 1 Meg.)  Representative and comparative road maps for the  older GM-100,  G-III+, and Street Pilot can be found on our website HERE. The water detail in the Lowrance GPS maps have historically been the best available, as they are in MapCreate 6.  The road detail in iFinder "base map" is quite similar to the road detail in the latest Magellan and Garmin base maps.  The basemap includes political boundary maps of the world,  but the detail is essentially the outline of countries with rivers and lakes shown.   Note:  As with ALL OTHER consumer model GPS receivers,  ONLY maps produced by the GPS vendor can be uploaded into the iFinder.  OziExplorer CANNOT edit MC6 maps.

Note:  Many of the rural roads and residential streets are not NAMED on the maps even when they are "pointed to" using the cursor.  Despite these limitations,  users will find the maps are very useful, and since the maps come on CD ROM,  Lowrance will have the ability to furnish updates from time to time (as with City Streets).

Comparing Nautical Nav Aids of MapCreate and MapSource near Savannah, GA
 (Placing the cursor over the nav aid reveals additional information.)
           GM-100                G-III+                      GM-100                G-III+                    GM-100                G-III+

We found the MapCreate maps accurate and extremely detailed and up to date in rural and city areas.  Users from around the USA also report generally accurate and up to date maps in their areas.   In a review of POI (Points of Interest) shows that more than a few business are out of place by significant distances.  While POI location errors are not unusual,  these errors seemed to occur at a higher rate (in areas we know well) than in other  recent  map systems we have reviewed.  This error rate likely varies widely with location as has been our experience with all other POI lists.

While MC6 operates without problems on a high speed computer with a large RAM memory,  users need to consider their computer's speed and RAM memory when using MC6 to "create" maps.  While Lowrance states rather modest requirements for the PC computer to be used for "creating" maps using MC6,  we are going to suggest another criteria.  Using the ORIGINAL CDROM of MC6 (ver 6.0.1),  our criteria is:  Your computer MUST have RAM at least FIVE times as large as any "group of map sections" you select for "creation".  In a BETA software version I evaluated in May 2002,  Lowrance had made some dramatic improvements.  In this new version,  my criteria is:  Your computer MUST have RAM at least TWO times as large as any "group of map sections" you select.  In fact,  you can use virtual memory up to about 50% of your RAM size without slowing down dramatically.  (Note:  With MC6,  it is quite possible to make up a number of small map sections and separately load them into the GPS memory module.  Unlike Garmin units,  map sections ARE NOT automatically erased when you load a new map section. This workaround is recommended by Lowrance for those with computers with RAM not meeting the above criteria.)  Greg Parrish gives us his recent experiences with loading maps to his 256meg SD cartridge HERE.

Below are shown compute times for MC6 for various map sizes on a variety of computers using the ORIGINAL  ver 1.0.6 software.

Computer Speed    RAM            MC6 map size    Elapsed time to create map
1.7Ghz                    512meg          120.5megs            14 minutes
1.0Ghz                    128meg          120.5megs            18 hours and did not finish
1.7Ghz                    512meg          62.5  megs            6   minutes
1.0Ghz                    128meg          62.5  megs            18 hours and did not finish
1.7Ghz                    512meg          32     megs            3 minutes
1.0Ghz                    128meg          32.2  megs            35 minutes
366Mhz                   96megs          32.2  megs            >2 hours
1.0Ghz                    128meg          16.4  meg             < 5 minutes
366Mhz                   96megs          16.4  megs            8 minutes

Using the NEW BETA SOFTWARE,  as long as the MC6 map size is less than about half the size of RAM in your PC,  execution times will be in the range of minutes as long as you have a computer CPU speed in the several hundred MHz range.  If you exceed this guideline,  your map may take (literally) days to complete if it does not hang your computer.  In the old (ver 6.0.1) MC6,  there was no guidance as to how large a map the user had selected.  In the new BETA software,  a map size estimator is available so you can verify before starting the map create process if your map is going to work reasonably according to the above guidelines.

Software Compatibility

Routes,  Tracks and Waypoints can be transferred to and from the iFinder using MC6.  This is done by interchanging the MMC memory cartridge between the memory card reader/writer and the GPS.  (No serial port capability currently is available for this functionality.)  No current capability exists for electronically transferring data to and from scanned and DRG map software as no third party software is currently available (as far as we know) which is able to read the MMC data in Lowrance format..   iFinder does have NMEA output capability and a companion NMEA data+Power cable is now available from LEI parts for US$24.  This cable is a Y cable assembly with iFinder connector and cigar plug connector and the third end is bare wires.  Information is provided to allow installation of a DB9 connector for your computer connection.  (We do not have this cable and so cannot comment on operations with it.)

iFinder GPS Operational Considerations

First,  a review of iFinder features, operation and specifications.  The operation and form factor of the iFinder  is a neat "flat" and pocket sized form factor similar to the Garmin eMap.   iFinder size is about 5.6in H, 2.5in W and 0.9in D (142 x 65 x 25 mm).  Weight is 7.7 oz (220gm) with batteries.  One MMC slot is provided and iFinder currently supports up to 128meg memory.  GPS receiver is 12 channel with good sensitivity.  iFinder can support up to 1000 waypoints and 1000 event marker icons.  There are 42 icons to select from.   iFinder has the EXCEPTIONAL capability to save 10 track (trails) with up to 9,999 points per track in its REMOVABLE memory.  So if you need even more tracklog points,  you can just change out the memory card and continue on.  iFinder can also support up to 100 routes in memory.  Tracklog  points and Route capability is about 5 times larger than in competitive units.

The power button is slightly recessed to prevent accidental actuation.  This  works well.   The iFinder is a comfortable  fit in the hand.  iFinder has operating buttons located low on the front of the case.  One handed  operation (while holding the iFinder in your hand) is difficult (for me) as the keyboard is located on the bottom of the unit  below  the  display.  (Note:  This is not a universally held opinion and other users like the bottom position best!)   The power connector is located  at the bottom  of the case.  Note:  The iFinder connector is similar to the eMap/eTrex connector,  but the pinouts are different.  Plugging an Garmin cable onto the iFinder and plugging in 12 volts may well damage the iFinder.

A connection for an external antenna is provided on the rear of the unit. but the iFinder cannot operate with commonly available external amplified antennas as the iFinder does not provide  power on the antenna port.  However,  the iFinder DOES have an external antenna port and works with the passive Lowrance external antenna.  This antenna works fine in automobiles,  but does not offer the gain provided by the 20db amplifiers in other models.  As a result,  the external antenna works fine on boats,  cars where it has a clear view.  It works less well (in comparison with amplified external antennas) in woods where foliage attenuates the signal.

The iFinder locks on SV signals very quickly.  From a "cold start", after a 700 mile UPS trip,  it locked on in 47 seconds.  After a 4 hour off  time,   the  lock up time was about 20 seconds.  If  the  unit  is turned  off and turned back on in a few minutes  ("warm  start"),  it locks typically in about 15 seconds.  When we used the "search the  sky"  or autolocate mode,  the iFinder took 4  minutes  to  lock.   Lowrance gives no specifications for start-up lock times  in  the  manual.

Lowrance states the iFinder's operating temperature range is -20C to +70C; however, Lowrance  publishes no specifications for iFinder position accuracy.  Our experiments showed the iFinder on a par with most other consumer handheld GPS models.

The iFinder operates from 2 AA batteries or from external power in the  range  of  2.75 to 3.25  volts DC.  For external power operation,  iFinder has an optional power cord with a regulator rated to operate from 10 to 32 volts.   Battery current draw  is about 180ma light off and 230ma light on 100%.    Battery life is not specified in the written  specifications.  Lowrance engineering suggests about 13 hours (normal mode) and 20 hours (power save mode).   (Users report an average of about 8 to 9 hours in normal mode with alkaline AA cells and we got approximately 8 hours of continuous use with light off.)   The iFinder shuts down when battery voltage reaches about 2.0 volts.   Lowrance recommends NiMH batteries but states that NiCaD batteries should NOT be used.  The iFinder has spring contacts on both ends of the batteries and iFinder demonstrated NO problem when operated in high vibration as far as batteries losing contact is concerned.

The battery compartment in the rear of the iFinder is covered by a plastic cover.  The cover snaps securely to the case and no problems were noted in the battery cover "popping off" on its own as was a problem with the earlier GM-100.  The Ifinder battery door is NOT waterproof and the electronics compartment is not sealed from the battery compartment as was the GM-100.  However, an "aquabag" comes with iFinder and we recommend using it to keep water from harming the device.

The iFinder uses FLASH memory for data memory and uses a capacitor to maintain memory for orbital parameters during a battery change.   If batteries are left out of the unit a lithium memory support battery will maintain user data "for as long as 10 years".  We found that removing batteries for more than a few minutes did cause longer lock times on power up apparently due to loss of satellite orbital parameters.

iFinder's Available screen Displays and features

Note:  Photos below were taken using a program furnished by Lowrance which could not be configured to show the high detailed MC6 maps.  The MC6 maps were indeed high resolution and accuracy was very good.  There are three navigation screens: Map Screen,  Compass Screen, and Position screen plus a satellite screen showing which GPS satellites are in view and locked.    The other available screens are used for function setup and are shown on the above page.

a)   A  round  compass  type display screen (NAV mode) shows  direction  of  travel  (track) and has an arrow pointing to the  next way or routepoint.   This  screen also provides  the  absolute and relative bearing to next waypoint.  Cross track error, distance,  and ground speed,  is shown with reference to the next routepoint.   As you approach a waypoint or destination, a small circle appears on the compass screen and moves to the center  as you approach the waypoint.  This compass display  includes a "highway track" display in the center of the compass rose.  The "highway track" display page in the G-III+ is a 3-D representation of the route ahead.  Creating a Route is done by "adding" them from the map while "panning and marking".

b)   A  moving  map (plotter) display is provided  to  plot  your   course  over  ground.  The iFinder  plotter  screen  has a "base map"  (Shown HERE) furnished as an integral part of the unit's firmware.  The Map display can have additional Nav information at the bottom or none.  Any  waypoints  saved in the unit are displayed on the  moving  map page as they come within range of the map scale  selected.    This  screen has pan and zoom with zoom  in/zoom  out  buttons  on  the keyboard and scales from .05  mile  to  4000 miles (or other units).  A cursor control permits panning to various parts of the map plot.   Also the lat/long of the cursor crossing is shown on the display whenever the cursor is active.  The cursor is also used to place and erase icons and waypoints.   Pressing the EXIT key removes the cursor from the screen.

c)   The  map  (plotter) screen can be configured  as  North  up,   Track up,  or Course up by user selection.

d) The iFinder includes two user interface modes.  An EASY MODE is provided which includes most common user setup functions.  An ADVANCED MODE provides access to setup features of interest to more technical users.  We found both easy to use,  but the proliferation of menus in the advanced mode takes some familiarization time.

+e)   A real advancement provided by the iFinder is the capability for storage of up to TEN separate tracklogs with up to 9999 trackpoints in each.  These tracklog points are stored in the removable memory.  Therefore,  if you need even MORE tracklogs on a particular expedition,  it is a simple matter to bring along additional SD or MMC cartridges and swap them as needed.  Track resolution is NOT decreased when saved to one of the ten saved tracks as with many other GPS receivers.

f)  iFinder offers AUTOMATIC,  TIMED, and DISTANCE options for dropping tracklog points.

g)   The iFinder  provides a set of 42 "icons" which can be placed  to identify a waypoint.  These include an anchor,  gas pump,   airplane,  house,  fish,  etc.   Icons can be easily  placed  and removed using the cursor control.

 h)   The iFinder has just four navigation displays.  These are:  Satellite Screen,  Map Screen, Position Screen, and Compass Screen.  This is in substantial contrast to the GM-100 which had many more.  However,  we feel that the iFinder's four screens provide the basics necessary  for navigation.  We do feel that the lack of a cross track error screen makes the iFinder less useful for marine or glider applications.  The Position screen simultaneously displays Lon/Lat and UTM coordinates which will be a boon to those needing to convert between these two systems.

Each of the three iFinder navigation screens has the ability to display users selectable data.  These include: Track, Bearing, Course,  Distance Speed, Altitude, Closing Speed,  Travel time,  Arrival Time,  Local Time,  Date,  and Off Course.

i)   The iFinder has an ALARM CLOCK function.   Unfortunately,  the iFinder must be turned on for it to operate.    This feature will be expensive to use due to battery drain,  but the iFinder does have an audio alarm and some may well find this a useful feature.

j)   The  iFinder  has two TIMER functions available.  A  "count down timer"  can  be set to some numbers of hours,  minutes, and seconds.   When the timer goes to zero,  an alarm  is  displayed on the screen.  There is no audible alarm.  A "count up" timer can be reset to zero and started.  It can then  be viewed to determine elapsed time.

k)  Battery drain can be decreased when using the above alarms by selecting the Simulator Mode.

+l)  The iFinder can store up to 1000 waypoints and 1000 event marker icons.  This is more than in most competitive units.

m)   Two pushes of the ENT key will automatically save your current position as the next waypoint number in the waypoint  list.  (Other waypoint save options are: cursor position, entered position,  averaged position,  and projected position.)    Naming is not as easy as in other GPSRs.   Putting in up to 20 character waypoint  names requires a modestly involved trip through the menu system.  (Long waypoint names will take up the entire screen width.)   It can take eight or more button pushes to get to the name and the sequence is not obvious to new users.

n)   Information which can be edited in waypoint data include: lon/lat,  altitude, symbol,  and name.

o)   The iFinder in concert with MC6 offers a very complete SEARCH capability.  The user can search for addresses,  highway exit, streets, cities and etc.  Included as sub categories are attractions,  emerg/govt, entertainment, fishing, hunting,  lodging, marine, restaurants,  services,  shopping, sports, transportation, public lands (parks) and water.

+p)   The  iFinder  provides the usual ROUTE facility with a  few  additions.   99  different routes are  provided with 99 waypoints each.   One  nice addition  permits  automatic startup up in the MIDDLE  of  a  route  and  the iFinder  will select the nearest waypoint  in  the route in the direction of travel as the starting point.

  q)   Editing  routes in the iFinder is possible,  but a bit more tedious  than  with other units.

 r)   The  iFinder  provides a "Go to Cursor" feature.  The  cursor  is placed  on  the plotter screen at  the  desired  destination location.   Then  the "Go to Cursor" mode  is  selected  via  menus.

 s)   The iFinder can operate with any one of 15 different grid systems.  For those who count datums,  there are  193 different map  datums available in iFinder.   The iFinder  also has  have a Position Correction Factor (PCF feature)  to  permit Northing and Easting offsets (only) for  an odd map datum.  UTM  is  included.  Another interesting feature is the ability to do lon/lat to Loran C position conversions.

 t)   The  iFinder does  NOT  have a user grid datum capability which  inputs scale factor plus false Northing and false Easting with grid data  as with most Garmins.  It DOES have MGRS and Loran TD conversion capability.

 u)   iFinder has a neat "context help" drop down which "drops" when you stop on a menu entry for a few seconds.  The context help information tells the user what the menu item is for in a few words.  This is VERY useful when you are getting started.

  v)   A simulator feature provides display of simulated motion for test of mapping software, data gathering  simulations and such.  The user can adjust starting position and track and speed and can steer using the rocker switch.

  w)   A screen back lighting timer permits setting the back  light   to 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 60, 120, 240 seconds or continuous.  The screen back lighting is continuous (when selected) on battery power.  Brightness and contrast are adjustable.  The blue-green backlit display is easy  to read at night.   Backlighting is turned ON/OFF by a momentary push of the power switch.

  x)   When you first  turn  the  unit on it displays the usual logos and legal notices and after a timeout it shows the last NAV screen in use when power was turned off.  A Satellite display screen is available by pressing the PAGES button.  The Satellite screen shows a "compass" display of the closest 12 satellites' numbers ( whether in view or not) along with signal strength  bars for each satellite.   The  signal strength bars are hollow if the GPS has found the SV and  is not yet locked and changes to gray when a satellite is found and then to  solid black when lock is  made  to  each  satellite in turn.  On the  polar plot,   SV  numbers are shown in relative positions corresponding to the direction of satellites.  We like the fact that the iFinder (like the GM-100) does not force the user to press "enter" to get past the "don't use this instrument as your sole means of navigation" warning.

y)    PROJECT A WAYPOINT is available to permit a user to input a new waypoint location by entering a bearing and distance to a NEW waypoint with reference to an already existing waypoint.

z)    iFinder provides and Up Timer,  Down Timer, Sun/Moon calculator, Trip Calculator and Alarm Clock in its UTILITIES group.

aa) Waypoint AVERAGING is provided in the iFinder.  This allows automatic calculation of a more accurate fixed position when time permits and the unit can be left in a fixed position..

bb) The iFinder  has an arrival alarm,  Off Course  alarm,  and an Anchor alarm.  These can be quite useful.   They can also be quite irritating as they pop up and get in the way of other displays and can be quite difficult to get to "go away".    A Sunrise/set,  Moonrise/set calculator is included.

 Subjective Observations of Performance

We have been out testing the iFinder on the road  and in the field.  The iFinder has worked without a problem that either of us could find.  We initially had difficulties figuring out how to "create" and load large maps into the MMC card.  The updated (beta) software which is soon to become available as an update on the Lowrance website made things much easier to use.  The MMC reader/writer USB is treated as another disk drive on your computer.  Maps are created for upload and copied to the MMC modular memory in just a few seconds.

The iFinder seems to us to be a direct competitor of the eMap.  However,  it  provides improved functionality at similar prices.  For instance,  the iFinder offers WAAS whereas the eMap does not.  In addition,  the THREE navigation screens (plus satellite screen) makes it much more useful than eMap with its single map screen (plus satellite screen).  We feel the major drawback of iFinder relative to eMap is iFinder's lack of RS-232 serial port support (at this time).

We like the fact that waypoints,  tracks and routes are also stored in the MMC module.  This feature  provides iFinders means of getting waypoints,  routes and tracks to the user's PC as there is currently no serial port support available to upload/download waypoints, routes and tracks  to/from the GPS.  Instead,  the MMC module is removed from the iFinder and inserted into the MMC reader.  Then the routes, tracks and waypoints can be downloaded into the MC6 mapping program.  Note:  No third party software is currently (5/20/02) available that is able to read these files.   It will be interesting to note if users accept this new mode of data interchange between GPS and PC.  Lowrance has left its option to add serial port support for upload/download of routes, tracks and waypoints if users feel they need it.

We compared iFinder with competitive products for lock times and  the ability to hold lock under various situations.  We  were  impressed with the iFinder.  The receiver is a quality  unit and performed on a par (and sometimes better) as compared with other units (except the iFinder cannot use common external AMPLIFIED antennas).  Instead of amplified external antenna capability,  Lowrance furnishes an optional unpowered patch type antenna with about a 1.5 meter cable which is used to remote the antenna.  This appeared to work well,  but it did have lower sensitivity than GPSRs equipped with amplified external antennas.

iFinder at a street price of about  $365 including a copy of MC6,  offers good value for the money when the uploadable maps are considered.  We  liked  the  user programmable screens which give  users  an almost  totally  customized  display capability.   We  liked  the option of having digital displays of bearing,  distance, cross track error and other parameters on the map plot screen.   We also liked the fact  that the  user can change the contents of these digital fields on  the plot display.

The  iFinder gave quick lock and quality performance under all tested conditions.  The iFinder is rated IPX2 which means rain resistant. It is not waterproof and will leak if submerged.    Note:  The unit is NOT gasketed or sealed so it should be flushed and dried out immediately if the unit is submersed.   Use of the provided AquaBag is encouraged in wet conditions.  Operating temperature range is -20C to +70C..   Storage  temperature range  is  -20C  (-4F) to +75C (+167F).  The iFinder has  a  one  year manufacturer's limited warranty.

There are many features and optional settings in iFinder.  We sometimes had difficulty finding features due to the extensive menu system.  (The menus could be organized a bit better for ease of use and the table of contents in the manual is incomplete.  No INDEX is provided in the manual.)  The size of the  iFinder is similar to the eMap,  but slightly thicker.   We rate the eMap slightly more of a "shirt pocket" item due to its one ounce lighter weight and to eMap being slightly thinner.  The 8 to 9 hour battery life of the iFinder gives it a slight disadvantage compared to  similar units.

  Manual,  Specifications and Technical Support

  The manuals for both iFinder and MC6 were well written and complete except for no index  and  the technical specifications which were incomplete.  The iFinder  "specifications"  in the  catalog are a feature list and give no quantification as  to battery drain,  position accuracy,  lock speeds,  speed accuracy,  operating temperature range,  etc.   This has been typical with Lowrance in other models.   Most of the specification information contained in this review was provided by private correspondence with representatives of Lowrance Engineering.

  We appreciate the assistance of Lowrance Engineering personnel with questions and specification data not available in the manual.

Users Liked these features
1) Optional range rings on display helped to quickly access distance to object and waypoints on the map.
2) Large screen (with lower resolution ) lettering made screen easier to read than some others.  (We agree!)
3) Good map accuracy of reasonably priced maps.
4) 128meg map memory
5) Lots of user adjustable features.
6) iFinder automatically sets the date. (unlike the GM-100).

User Complaints

Users had generally favorable remarks with respect to the iFinder.  Here are a few problem items which were repeated.
1)     MC6 will not build large maps.  (Fixed in MC6 beta update furnished for this review.)
2)     No serial port for waypoint, route, and track upload/download and having to remove the MMC module is clumsy and time consuming.
3)     Cannot get the elevation or time of creation when waypoints are downloaded.
4)     Cannot download TRACKS to MC6.  (Hopefully this will be fixed soon.)
5)     No power provision for use with commonly available external antennas.
6)     Only three NAV screens make use for marine navigation a problem.

OVERALL,  the respondents had  positive responses   Good quality  of technical support was mentioned by several users.

If you have questions not answered by the review,  send them to us and we will answer them and post the generally useful information here.

1) The plug on the iFinder looks like the Garmin eMap connector.  Will the Garmin plug fit iFinder?
Answer:  I was able to force the eMap connector onto the iFinder,  but it was not a good fit.  I would be very surprised if the pinouts were the same.  (see item 9 below for pinouts.)
2) Is the screen on iFinder easy to scratch?
Answer: I carried the unit in my briefcase without a case for two weeks and it rattled against lots of tools and other such.  It got no scratches on the screen,  but I cannot say how it compares with other units in an absolute sense.
3) Does iFinder have an external power/data cable.
Answer: Yes, as of September 2002,  a power/data cable (bare wires on serial port, no DB9 serial connector attached) is available from LEI parts.
4) Does iFinder come with a MMC memory module?
Answer: My test iFinder came with a 16meg MMC module and a Lowrance USB to MMC adapter.  The adapter worked well and I tried it with both MMC modules and a SD memory module.  It only takes a minute or so to load a 128meg map into the MMC module using the adapter.
5) Lowrance says not to use NiCad batteries.  Why is that?
Answer:  I do not know.  They seemed to work OK,  but the manufacturer knows his device better than anybody else.
6) How do you like the iFinder's keypad compared to eMap's?
Answer:  I like the iFinder's keypad as the keys are a bit larger than eMap's,  but the eMap's keypad is OK also.
7) The iFinder's resolution is 120x160.  How is it in readability relative to eMap?
Answer:  They are about the same.
8) Is there a way to customize the digital data at the bottom of the Position, Track, and Map screens *and*  in the specific order in which you want the data to
Answer:  Yes.. (Answer courtesy of Bill Barrett).   Whatever order you select the check marks in is how they are placed on the screen from bottom position to the upper most position in the order selected.  For example, you wanted to have Speed, Distance and Track in that order on the Position screen. On Position screen, press Menu, Up arrow, Right arrow, and clear all the check marks. Then put a check mark next to the desired data *in reverse order*. So to get Speed, Distance and Track from top to bottom, check Track first, then Distance, then Speed.
9) What are the electrical pinouts on the iFinder?
Answer: Looking at the bottom of the receiver with the screen facing up.  >From the left:
Data Out (XMIT)>Data In (RCV)>Power +3VDC>Keyway>Ground(and Common for data) (courtesy of  "Andrew Kalinowski the GPS Nut".)

If  anyone  has any additions,  questions,   suggestions,   error corrections or other comments,  please feel free to Email:

Joe Mehaffey