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How to install and connect fishfinder gear

An overview of how Garmin helps you when you've gone fishing

Heads up!

Welcome to this article from the Crutchfield archives. Have fun reading it, but be aware that the information may be outdated and links may be broken.


hen it comes to having the edge when you’re out fishing, there’s a bunch of great tech out there that’ll help you find the hotspots where the fish are congregating and reel ’em in. To make it a little easier for you to find the right combination of gear for the boat you have and your fishing goals, we’ve assembled some packages of essential fishfinder products that all work together to make your days on the water productive and fun.

Here’s a quick overview of how some of the key pieces in one of our best fishfinder packages mount in your boat and work together.

Our Garmin 2-screen Panoptix fishfinder bundle

This package was assembled for the serious angler, and includes six key elements that’ll work in concert to help you find those fish. These are:

Diagram of component locations

The diagram above shows you approximately where each of the main components will go on your boat. Below is a quick overview of where and how each one mounts in your craft, followed by a diagram of how it all wires together to work as a single, awesome system.

Let's get started.

1. The two echoMAP™ 93sv 9" chartplotters

echoMap chartplotter
What they do

Each chartplotter provides you with views from all three transducers (more on those below). They also provide chart data on over 17,000 lakes, rivers, and reservoirs, including contours, depth ranges, details of underwater features, obstructions and safe passages, and a whole lot more. They even let you create your own maps with no need for surveying expertise.

Where they mount

To maximize the utility of these chartplotters, you mount one near the center of the boat for viewing while you’re piloting the boat, and one at the bow, near the trolling motor, for use when you’ve reached your spot and are ready to pinpoint where the fish are hiding. The included mounts provide some versatile options for securing each of them, and also accommodate all wiring, so you can easily remove each chartplotter for safekeeping when you’ve come back to shore.

Chartplotter mounted in the bow
Wiring required
  • You'll need to run power and ground wires (a 6' cable is included, but you can get more power and ground wire if you need a longer run) to your boat’s accessory battery.
  • Included cables connect the chartplotters to the GMS 10 network port expander (more on that below).

2. The GT8HW-IH in-hull transducer

GT8HW-IH transducer
What it does

This transducer uses a high-performance sonar system (called CHIRP sonar) to give you accurate depth readings while your boat is in motion, as you zip across the lake. It mounts to the hull near the center of your boat to avoid cavitation issues, and it provides good scanning up to 800 feet below the surface, even at higher speeds.

Where it mounts

As long as your boat is fiberglass, you can mount this transducer against the hull, at the bottom of the inside of your boat, without having to drill through the hull. The transducer is capable of beaming its signal through fiberglass.

You’ll do some sanding around the mounting location, then use epoxy to secure the mounting ring. Insert and slightly twist the transducer in the ring to lock it in place, and you're ready to go. Garmin recommends mounting it in as flat an area of the boat as possible.

In-hull transducer mounted
Wiring required

Once you’ve mounted it, you’ll run the transducer’s 20’ cable directly to the chartplotter at the center of the boat.

3. The GT34UHD-TM transom-mount transducer

GT34UHD-TM transducer
What it does 

This transducer, mounted in the stern, provides impressively clear imaging of your surroundings when either sitting still or moving very slowly. Its ClearVü and SideVü technology provides images up to 200 feet below and 125 feet side to side to show you where the fish are hanging out. Depth and temperature readings help you find the fish as well.

Where it mounts 

This transducer mounts in the stern, on the transom, below the water line. Using the included mount as a template, you’ll drill a couple of pilot holes in the transom, then secure the mount and transducer. The transducer needs to be parallel to the water line, and as close to the center of the boat as possible. You’ll also want to make sure that you mount it opposite the motion of the propeller — to starboard if you have a propeller that turns clockwise, and to port if it turns counter-clockwise.

The transducer mounted below the water line
Wiring required 

Once mounted, you’ll route the connected network cable directly to the center-mounted chartplotter (either by drilling a hole through the transom and using the included cover, or by simply running the wire along the exterior of the boat). The bundle includes a y-adapter cable to allow you to connect both the transom-mount and in-hull transducers to the same chartplotter.

4. The Panoptix LiveScope™ transducer

Pantoptix LiveScope transducer
What it does

This transducer really gives you the edge by providing hyper-realistic scans of the area around your boat. You’ll see real-time, live images of fish swimming around you, plus clear views of anything that’s below your boat, so you can avoid obstructions (or find pockets of shy fish trying to hide from you).

Where it mounts

This transducer mounts directly to the trolling motor with the help of the Garmin Perspective Mode Mount we include with this bundle. The mount clamps to the stem of the trolling motor, and the transducer connects to the mount in one of three ways. This lets you point the motor in whichever direction you need a clear view.

Panoptix mount side
Wiring required

Once mounted, you run the transducer cable to the included black box, which you can mount in a convenient location in your craft.

You'll also run the included power wire from the black box to your battery (you can buy extra power and ground wire separately for longer runs), and the included network cable to the GMS 10 network port expander.

6. The GMS 10 network port expander

GMS 10 network port expander
What you connect to it

The GMS 10 network port expander helps coordinate all the activities of the components in this bundle. You plug the Panoptix LiveStream transducer and the two chartplotters into it to create the network, and all five devices automatically can start sharing their work. This way, you can see the images from all three transducers on either of the chartplotters anytime you want.

Wiring requried
  • The chartplotters and the Panoptix transducer plug right into three of the five available ports on the network expander. This particular bundle includes a 20-foot network extension cable for the bow-mounted chartplotter. The expander itself can be mounted near the helm chartplotter and Panoptix transducer black box, making it easy to plug both of them in with their included cables.
  • You’ll also need to run the included power wire to the boat's accessory battery.

An overview of how it all connects

A quick diagram of wiring connections

Ready to start your fishfinding adventure?

This Garmin two-screen Panoptix fishfinder bundle is just one way to outfit your bass boat so you won't come home talking about the "one that got away". If you're determined to win the fishing game, but need some advice on which collection of fishfinding gear is right for you, you can contact one of our experts and start your new adventure.

  • Jeff from Mountain Home

    Posted on 3/28/2021

    Pan optics doesn't have a J45 network output! Now what?

  • Karl Tripple from Ilion

    Posted on 1/13/2021

    Great information. The only thing missing is a Wiring diagram and type of connections. Wiring and Fusing are the biggest questions everyone has.

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 1/13/2021

    Karl, Thanks for the feedback! Every system is different, but our experts can help you figure those things out before you buy. And when you buy your marine system from Crutchfield, you'll get free tech support for the life of your gear.

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