The Switch to Lithium

The Switch to Lithium

In the early days, anglers everywhere put holes through the ice with simple hand augers.  It wasn’t until many of them started auguring with gas-powered versions that they had an epiphany; quickly learning the benefits of more holes on ice.  Quite simply, the more holes drilled and more spots checked out, the more fish that were caught, making the process of ripping a few dozen ice holes with a new gas-powered auger in mere minutes, synonymous with success.

Back then, a 6-volt lantern battery powered open-water LCD graphs that were converted to ice use.  Just as more holes in the ice meant more fish, so too did being able to see your bait, monitor it, and prepare for a strike.  Being mobile, and able to “work” fish, turned countless ice anglers into dedicated hole-hoppers, always equating success with “drilling-out” a structural element until proper coverage was achieved and the fish below were seen.  While lead-acid batteries have proven effective power plants for flashers for the past 20 years or so, just like the old lantern batteries and hand augers, their use and overall effectiveness has diminished rapidly with the onset of Lithium.

Lithium Fueled Lineup

These days, Lithium-ion battery technology is the backbone of the modern ice systems, both electronics AND auger.  That should come as no surprise given lithium tech in any cordless drill, hybrid car, or cell phone you buy these days.  For the same reasons it works well in your power tools, Lithium-Ion batteries make sense as a power source for your ice gear as well.  These power cells are quick charging, long-lasting, and provide the torque needed to turn an ice-bit the required foot-pounds to shred some serious ice.

For the ice electronics, Marcum’s Lithium shuttle singlehandedly has served as the platform for all flashers or LCD fish finders.  No matter the ice system mounted on it, flasher or digital ice system, you’ll be hard pressed to drain it of power, even after several dawn-till-dusk excursions in a row.  For most anglers, that’s a weekend trip and then some, allowing them the flexibility in environments that don’t always permit charging.  When it is time to charge the shuttle, they charge in mere hours rather than the full overnight and then some requirements of old. 

For 2021, it stands to be noted that the adoption of Lithium power has been so complete, across multiple industries including ice, that MarCum has put nearly its entire fleet of sonar and flashers onto the Lithium train.  That presents a tremendous value add for the end-user, as well as a game-changing fuel source that’s finally worthy of the sonar or camera you’re pairing it with.  This upgrade comes in the form of the 12V10AH Lithium LiFePO4 MarCum Brute battery, now standard issue in nearly all of the MarCum sonar systems available. 

The Lithium Advantage

Though there is a slightly higher cost of entry to MarCum for putting these batteries in as standard options, the benefits of Lithium battery technology are many.  For most anglers, the weight savings alone are enough to switch out their old Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) batteries, with new Lithium versions weighing less than half of their predecessors.  You’ve also got longer run-times, even from batteries with similar amperage output that are not Lithium.  That means you can fish for durations numbering days, not hours, with anglers often only re-charging their batteries after a long weekend of use.

Perhaps more importantly, overall cost of ownership is greatly reduced with Lithium battery technology on account of lifespan.  SLA 12v batteries of old had a life-cycle of mere years, with newer, Lithium powered models easily doubling that.  However, in the case of Lithium, lifespan could be even greater, with full recharge cycles being numbered often in the hundreds or thousands before seeing any significant loss of power.  That may mean a slightly higher cost of entry, but also a battery that pays for itself over the years, and becomes extremely reliable to the point of not needing backups or frequent replacement.

Charging is something rarely discussed in Lithium circles, but it’s imperative you charge Lithium with a charger designed for that specific chemistry.  SLA chargers will put power to any Lithium battery, but they’ll do it inefficiently, and never approach full capacity.  Lithium-ion and Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries should have their own individual lithium battery chargers that perform best given the chemistry they’re supplying power to, but that’s another detail quite often lost when making purchasing decisions.  ALL MarCum Lithium batteries and units supplied with Lithium power have the appropriate charger for the job at hand.

Meet the Machinery

Here’s a full list of each of the MarCum Sonar and Cameras now featuring the Lithium LiFePO4 Brute standard.

M3L – The M3L is still built on the foundation of MarCum’s very first sonar. A workhorse of the lineup, the M3L exhibits many of MarCum’s patented features such as moveable zoom anywhere in the water column – a key angler advantage that put Marcum on the map.

M5L – A flagship unit in the MarCum lineup, the M5L boasts moveable zoom like the M3L, but with upgraded clarity and fish-catching resolution in SuperFineLine.  Add a switchable 8/20 degree ducer with a Lithium power source, and the best just got better.

LX-7L – As the first and still the best digital sonar offering for ice, the LX-7L has the industry firsts all wrapped into a “have-it-your-way” customizable front end.  View graph history, vertical zoom, circular flasher display, and more in any combination that best suits the way you fish.  Now, do it all with confidence that you’ll never run out of juice. 

LX-9L – As the industry’s first truly integrated camera and sonar package, there’s some mechanical and electrical gymnastics going on under the hood.  Especially when you consider all the features typically featured in an LX-7, plus camera overlay and ultra bright display.  All those features never flinch now that Lithium LiFePO4 technology is powering the nerve center of your ice fishing experience.

MX-7GPS – As a Lithium-powered sonar/GPS combination unit, the MX-7L has taken GPS mapping and fused it to Marcum’s legendary sonar platform.  Navigate to structure with Navionics mapping, locate fish, and drop waypoints for later, all on the same hyper-crisp and ultra-bright screen you’ll later use to catch them.  All with a high-efficiency fuel source for electronics running at their peak level of performance.

Mission SD L – MarCum’s most versatile sit and fish style system now gets an upgrade from hours of viewing, to days of it.  Especially in dingy or stained water, where the use of lights and additional viewing features may be necessary just to find and keep an eye on baits, never hesitate now that the MarCum Brute battery comes standard.

Quest HD L –  MarCum’s most advanced sit and fish style camera offers full HD viewing either on-screen, or ported to a nearby TV through HDMI connections.  All of which requires additional power you now have in great supply with the 12V10AH Lithium LiFePO4 battery.

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