- Lakemaster mapping chips became exclusive to Humminbird after 2012 when Johnson Outdoors acquired Lakemaster.
- Older Lakemaster chips from 2012 or earlier can still be used on Lowrance fish finders.
- New Lakemaster mapping cards only work on Humminbird units.
- Navionics mapping cards are compatible with both Lowrance and Humminbird.
- Using older Lakemaster chips on Lowrance requires finding a compatible mapping card.
Mapping technology has become an indispensable tool for modern anglers and boaters. Detailed contour maps that show bottom structure, vegetation, and navigational aids allow users to find the best fishing spots and safely navigate large bodies of water. Two of the biggest names in marine electronics and mapping are Lowrance and Lakemaster. This raises the obvious question – can you use Lakemaster mapping on Lowrance fish finders and chartplotters?
The answer is more complex than a simple yes or no. With the right Lakemaster chip and Lowrance model, integration is possible. However, newer Lakemaster cards only work on Humminbird devices. This article will provide the key details on Lakemaster and Lowrance compatibility. It covers the history between the two brands, which mapping cards work with Lowrance, and alternative mapping options. Any angler using Lowrance marine electronics will find this information useful.
Understanding the relationship between Lakemaster and Lowrance is important for those wanting to use the highly-detailed Lakemaster charts. This article will clarify compatibility issues, help identify older Lakemaster cards that still work on Lowrance units, and offer directions for the best mapping options. With the right guidance, you can effectively use mapping to reveal key underwater details and enhance your time on the water.
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Can Older Lakemaster Cards Be Used on Lowrance Units?
Yes, older Lakemaster mapping cards from 2012 and earlier can still be used on Lowrance fish finders. However, this is only possible because Johnson Outdoors had not yet acquired rights to Lakemaster at that time. Once the purchase was finalized in 2012, new Lakemaster charts became exclusive to Humminbird.
Lakemaster, founded in 2001, originally made detailed contour lake maps compatible with most major marine electronics brands, including Lowrance. These older mapping cards for specific lakes can still be used on Lowrance devices today if you can find a compatible card. This requires knowing the Lakemaster chart number and confirming the Lowrance models it works with.
For example, a Lakemaster chart LM-27 works on the Lowrance LMS-520C iGPS, but not the HDS Gen2 Touch. Checking the Lakemaster website’s compatibility charts is the best way to ensure a card will work on your Lowrance before purchasing. As long as the card is from 2012 or earlier, integration is possible.
Why Do Newer Lakemaster Cards Only Work on Humminbird?
When Johnson Outdoors acquired rights to Lakemaster in 2012, they made the mapping technology exclusive to their Humminbird brand only. So any Lakemaster charts released from 2013 onward no longer work on Lowrance fish finders.
Johnson Outdoors purchased Lakemaster to provide a competitive edge for their Humminbird products. With exclusive rights to Lakemaster’s industry-leading contour maps, Humminbird could offer anglers unique advantages not found on other electronics brands. This provided a strong incentive for anglers to choose Humminbird over companies like Lowrance or Garmin.
Making the latest Lakemaster cards only compatible with Humminbird was a strategic business decision to boost brand growth. While unfortunate for Lowrance users hoping to use new Lakemaster charts, it was a logical move for Johnson Outdoors to maximize their return on acquiring Lakemaster.
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What Mapping Options Exist for Lowrance Users?
Since new Lakemaster chips don’t work on Lowrance, what mapping options do exist for Lowrance users? The good news is Lowrance fish finders and chartplotters are compatible with other leading map providers like Navionics.
Navionics provides detailed marine and lake charts worldwide for use across major electronics brands. They offer performance comparable to Lakemaster with coverage for over 20,000 lakes and rivers. Navionics maps highlight key fishing areas, vegetation, hazards, marinas and other helpful details.
One advantage is Navionics charts come pre-installed on many new Lowrance units. Many anglers also appreciate being able to use the same Navionics cards across different electronics brands. This provides flexibility if you ever switch from Lowrance to Humminbird or other devices.
Ultimately, while new Lakemaster compatibility is limited to Humminbird, Lowrance users still have quality mapping options. Navionics offers the next best thing to Lakemaster and works seamlessly on Lowrance fish finders.
Frequently Asked Questions About Lakemaster and Lowrance
Can I use a Lakemaster card purchased after 2012 on my Lowrance HDS?
No, any Lakemaster charts purchased after 2012 will only work on Humminbird units. When Johnson Outdoors acquired Lakemaster that year, they made the maps exclusive to their Humminbird brand only. New Lakemaster cards will not be compatible with Lowrance.
Will older Lakemaster cards stop working eventually on Lowrance units?
Older Lakemaster cards from 2012 or earlier will continue functioning on compatible Lowrance models indefinitely. The Lakemaster exclusivity to Humminbird only affects cards released after Johnson Outdoors bought Lakemaster in 2012.
Do all old Lakemaster cards work on all old Lowrance models?
Unfortunately, not all old Lakemaster cards work on all old Lowrance models. You have to verify the specific Lakemaster chart is compatible with your exact Lowrance model, which can be done on the Lakemaster website. There is no universal compatibility between the two brands.
Can I use Navionics cards on both Lowrance and Humminbird devices?
Yes, a great benefit of Navionics is their mapping cards work on both Lowrance and Humminbird, as well as other fish finder brands. If you have multiple devices, you can use Navionics cards interchangeably between them.
Is the mapping detail on Navionics as good as Lakemaster?
Navionics provides excellent mapping detail on par with Lakemaster. They offer compelling HD contours, vegetation, depth highlight, hazards, and fishing areas for over 20,000 lakes. While styles differ slightly, performance is comparable across major features.
Should I sell my old Lakemaster card or keep it for Lowrance use?
If your older Lakemaster card is compatible with your Lowrance unit, it’s best to hold onto it for continued use rather than selling. Replacing it would require purchasing new Navionics maps. Getting maximum value out of old Lakemaster cards is ideal if they still work on your Lowrance.
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In summary, Lakemaster compatibility on Lowrance fish finders depends on the age of the Lakemaster mapping card. Older cards from 2012 or earlier work because the Johnson Outdoors exclusivity only began in 2013. Finding specific older Lakemaster cards that integrate with your exact Lowrance model is key.
While the newest Lakemaster maps are limited to Humminbird, Navionics provides a comparable mapping option for Lowrance anglers. And Navionics’ inter-compatibility across brands offers advantages for those with mixed electronics devices.
Understanding the history between Lakemaster and Lowrance and identifying legacy Lakemaster cards for Lowrance enables anglers to maximize their mapping technology. With quality map detail, anglers can unlock the full fish-finding potential of their Lowrance electronics.