Garmin Panoptix - Affordable ROV mounted multi-beam sonar?


Just finished my first tests of the Garmin Panoptix Sonar. In a word, I’m impressed. Multi-beam, forward scanning sonar with real time 3D display, depth rated to 100m and ethernet coms with the surface… all for under $3000.

ROV for search and recovery
TetherCam Build
Structure From Motion
Any suggestions for alternative Structure from Motion Cameras?
GoPro underwater Structure from Motion (SfM) / Photogrammetry
USB Infra red camera

Your testing looks great! I am doing a similar project using the Humminbird 360 which is also a networked based transducer. I am working in depths of 450 feet so i am going to incorperate the transducer into a secondary housing that is also oil-filled. I have already tested the theory with my side-scan towfish and it works fantastic.

Using a Humminbird Side Scan Sonar not to the bottom but to ahead of the ROV

@craig_bates - I looked at the H-bird 360, in fact I almost bought one. How deep have you tested it to so far? There’s a fellow on the Humminbird Side Imaging Forums whose taken it down to 50 feet. But I’ve not read anything more than that.


In your testing, can the PS31 work independently of GPS? Even though the resolution is pretty low, I like the concept of the phased array for both the PS30/31, but if it has to work with GPS, it limits ROV use.


I am still in the design/build state on the 360. I did find the Patent Application Publication Pub. No.: US 2013/0215719 A1 360 DEGREE IMAGING SONAR and METHOD which has given me a wealth of information on how it is built and the electronics used. This should be a relativily easy addition to my deep-water ROV…


@Kevin_K - It doesn’t require a GPS, unlike a side scanning sonar, this sonar is displaying data in real time.

What’s also very cool about the Panoptix transducers is that they have an AHRS system built in so it automatically adjusts if the transducer is rocked fore/aft or side to side. I tested that and it was able to sense it faster than I could tilt the transducer. What I noticed, though, was that the range was affected if I started to tilt the transducer too much.

Too bad Garmin is pretty tight lipped about sharing info on their products otherwise this would be a great project for a smart hacker. :wink:


@Kevin_K - One thing I just thought of is that you can click in the 3D view and mark a waypoint. I haven’t tested it but suspect that that feature probably won’t work.


Nice one @Stretch and @craig_bates the OpenROV has been crying out for this love what your doing and looking forward to hearing how you both go

Stretch did you ever find out what’s in the transducer? what frequency and how many beam’s they are getting out of the phased array? from your comment

maximum range to be 300 feet, I found it to be closer to 100 feet

Sounds at a guess something up around 455-800kHz mark


@Scott_W - According to the specs ( ) the frequency is 417 khz. I’m not sure how many beams they are getting, although you might be able to guess by looking at the 3D mesh or call Garmin tech support.


Thanks Stretch

I know a few years back we had a couple of meetings with the R&D guys from Interphase (who Garmin brought for the technology) and I think back then it was three off 8-element phased transducer arrays (24 beams) capable of then 2 degree resolution?? (memory failing might have been 1.5 degree) so 40 odd “apparent” beams but it was back then a lower frequency (around the 200kHz - greater penetration less resolution)

Back then, we were focusing on getting one of the R&D trial units and mounting it on a towfish and getting data exported out as XTF. Unfortunately, (for us) Garmin brought them out and put an end to that. However, the advantage is that it has brought these style units into the consumer level cost market


Yes, it’s doubtful Garmin will open their technology to the public. But Lowrance, who just announced a similar down scanning, multi-beam sonar, is the opposite and has been very open to sharing file formats, etc. Give them another year or so and they may have a forward scanning sonar as well.


For anyone who may be thinking about integrating the Garmin Panoptix multi-beam sonar into an ROV, etc, we’ve posted a 3D model of the PS-31/PS-30 transducer (in .STL format) on our website:


For anyone who may be thinking about integrating the Garmin Panoptix multi-beam sonar, we’ve posted a 3D model of the PS-31/PS-30 transducer (in .STL format) on our website:


Hi All,

Just wanted to revive this thread to see what everyone got working out with their multi-beam sonar setups?



I have been using the OpenROV to check out targets that either the boat mounted multibeam or the boat towed side scan picks up and basically anchoring up over targets and either diving them or sending the ROV down for a quick inspection (sub 60m a quick dive is easier on questionable targets (last weeks dive and wreck discovery) whist over 60m deep the ROV is typically a quicker inspection tool (but we still dive it if we have a reasonable good feel about the target)

Still keen on some sort of further/additional remote sensing on the OpenROV unit (either Sidescan or Scanning Sonar or multibeam) for localisation navigation and small scale wreck detailing (over and beyond the visual techniques)

But I don’t think this is the right way to go for either broad scale survey if you are looking to survey large swaths of the ocean or search for objects where you do not know their location. In that circumstance the way to do it is off a boat or alternativly via a AUV system (I can’t seem get a direct link but look at and search “Mapping the Ghost Fleet of Iron Bottom Sound” )


I have extended my cable and have had it to 135’ many times.