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Lowrance HDS Gen 3 and software 18.2

Nothing gets an otherwise patient and calm angler appear like a human firecracker than when a softwareupdate on their marine electronic causes issues. Let us take a look at what you can do yourself with softwareupdates generally, and SW 18.2 for HDS Gen 3 specifically.

Lowrance Gen 3 (right) on 18.2 and doing great.

Lowrance, like all the other major brands in marine electronics, tend to have a two-year cycle on their top-end units. Meaning that two years after a generation HDS has been launched, it will be discontinued, but during those two years, there are typically several software-updates made available to enhance functionality, provide new functionality or simply fix issues in the original software. This generally means that after two years (give or take a few months), there will be no new softwareupdates coming for a specific unit. For Lowrance HDS Gen 3, the last softwareupdate was 18.2. Full name of the latest software is 18.2 60.1.142, pay attention to those last three digits, as we will get back to those.

If you want to use your Gen 3 in ethernet with newer units (Elite FS, HDS Carbon/ Live/ Pro or similar Simrad-units) the Gen 3 MUST be updated fully. If not, using ethernet will cause Legacy-mode on the newer unit. In short, update the Gen 3, or don’t use ethernet between the Gen 3 and a newer unit.

For those of us that remember HDS Gen 1, most will probably agree that that specific generation was most likely updated past what the hardware in the unit could handle. With all the new features added to Gen 1, especially after Gen 2 was launched, Gen 1 units became noticeably slower than they were on older softwareversions. We in Team Colibri applaud new features on our units, and always keep our units updated in order to get the most out of our units. At the same time, there is a reason why a new unit are "beefed up" on processor and memory every generation passing. That reason is to ensure the new generation handles the new features well. On one side of it we like to see the outgoing generation updated to a point where it has (more or less) the same features as the new generation, but on the other hand, one has to see those features up against the general performance of the old unit.

Lowrance HDS Gen 2

Could it be that Lowrance made a similar "mistake" with HDS Gen 3 and softwareversion 18.2, updating Gen 3 past the capabilities of the units hardware? What is known is that some Gen 3 units work well with 18.2, while others does not. My own HDS Gen 3 has no issues with 18.2, but I have seen several others that do. The only way to know if your Gen 3 will work well with 18.2, is to try. In that regards, here are some recommendations from us in Team Colibri for 18.2 on Lowrance HDS Gen 3:

  • Do a hard reset after the update. Save waypoints (NOT settings on this one) and do the hard reset. (Not a soft reset, not restore defaults - do a hard reset.)
  • 18.2 closes the door on ethernet with older units and modules. If your Gen 3 is on 18.2, you need all other units or modules in the ethernet to be on 18.2 or higher software. Therefore, you cannot keep your LSS-module or your HDS Gen 2 Touch or older units in ethernet with a Gen 3 once the Gen 3 is updated to 18.2. If you want ethernet with older modules or units, stick to 7.0 on the Gen 3.
  • Since 18.2 is though on the Gen 3, you will get more issues with 18.2 than 7.0 if your install is a bad one. Make sure you have good voltage to the unit, and the best way to check that is to bring up input-voltage as a screen-overlay on your unit. With a fully charged lead-based battery and nothing else in the boat running, you should see 12,4-12,7V on your units overlay.
  • 18.2 has been revised from Lowrance several times and the current version ends with 142. Make sure you are on the latest version of 18.2.

If all of the above checks out as OK, and you still have issues, revert to 7.0. Download the 7.0-update to a memorycard, and run it as a "new" update just like you are used to. You can also start the 7.0-update manually, press Pages and go to Files/ Storage-Memorycard in the menu on the left side, press on the update and start it. Again, I recommend to do a hard reset when reverting to older software, just remember to save those waypoints first. 

In this case, you do not want to save and re-import settings. The 18.2-software changed the source-settings in the HDS, so by re-importing your settings after the hard reset, you might very well re-import an issue and that can be time-consuming to sort out. 

How to update software?

Two methods, both require you to have a SD Micro memorycard of maximum 32GB, formatted to FAT32. You can use a smaller card, meaning one with less memory/ space, in most cases I use memorycards of 8 or 16GB as they are cheap and memorycards do not last forever. Most Micro SD memorycards are sold with an SD-adapter, as most laptops with a memorycard reader takes the SD-size and not Micro SD. The Micro SD places inside the SD-adapter:

Micro SD and SD adapter.

The two ways are by laptop, or by WIFI directly to your unit. I always recommend laptop, as that tends to have less sources for error. You can download the update (as well as manuals) for your unit from https://downloads.lowrance.com/:

Use the drop-down menu, find your specific type of unit, and download the update. The update is ready to go on the memorycard. (This changed at some point, a few years back you had to unzip the downloaded file, but now days they are good to go for the memorycard after downloading.)

Find your unit in the list.

From there you click on the softwareupdate, download and place it on your memorycard. I recommend using Chrome for all your web browsing.

Place the memorycard in your unit and power up the unit. A pop-up will appear asking you if you wish to run the update, follow the on-screen information. Once the update is done, I recommend deleting the update from the memorycard. You can do that directly on the unit by pressing Pages-Storage (Files)-Memorycard and highlighting the update-file and deleting it.

Using WIFI is the other option, again you need a memorycard. This video by Lowrance explains how to do it. 

How to do a hard reset?

Hard reset, not a soft reset and not "restore defaults". A hard reset does not delete the software in the unit, but it does delete all user-settings and everything saved by the user to the unit`s internal memory like screenshots and sonarlogs.

  1. Save waypoints to a memorycard or the Link-app. 
  2. Turn your unit off.
  3. Press and hold both zoom-buttons (+ and -).
  4. While holding Zoom, press and release Power.
  5. Keep on holding Zoom until you hear a loud blip or see the background-map.

Keep in mind that the hard reset deletes all user-settings, but not software. A hard reset does not harm your unit in any way. The point of the hard reset is to clear out any leftover remains of the old software, as well as clearing the internal memory on the unit for all user-created files. This helps on speeding up the handling of the unit, as well as preventing any issues related to old software and old settings that might not be supported by the new software. A typical example is user-settings for data from different sources, where the new software might be using a different source. By doing the hard reset, and then setting up your settings again, you see right away if a source has changed.

How do you know which software you unit is on?

That (and a bunch of other info) is found in the About-menu. That menu is found with Pages-button/ Settings/ System/ About.

Softwareversion in the About-menu

In the screenshot from my HDS Gen 3 above, you see "Version - 18.2" and the "Software - 60.1.142" which is the full name of the software the unit is using. 18.2 points to when the first version of that software was released (2 meaning it was the second major update that year, and 18 meaning it was launched in 2018). Lowrance often makes smaller changes to these updates, and the last digits in the full software-name tells you which version you are on. ....142 is the latest version of 18.2 and is the one you want on your HDS Gen 3.

Where can I find the older software?

7.0 was the software before 18.2, and that can be found through this link if you need to revert back: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BgRscyxalwzVQY3JsvjEiP8YrwB3J61F/view?usp=sharing

Lowrance HDs Gen 3 on SW 18.2 using Genesis Live.


  1. Thanks for a great article :-)
    I have an issue that the map software keeps changing source when I switch screens. It jumps to "demo" or something else that I have not chosen as default, this meaning that the map is actually now snowing rocks and dangerous parts where I drive. I have noticed this with later updates, really crazy and quite irritating. Lowrance support seems to think its ok but I believe its dangerous.
    Ill try and downgrade my version to something old again...

    Thanks guys!
    Cheers / David

    1. Thanks David, always nice to hear that our scriblings from the far north can help out!


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