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YOUR TRANSDUCER MAY BE SET FOR HORIZONTAL MODE...MEANING FROM BANK TO BOAT, NOT DEPTH...CHECK THE TRANSDUCER TO MAKE SURE, IT IS AIMING DOWN, NOT OUT...OTHERWISE YOU'LL NEED TO CHECK YOUR MODE SETTINGS IN YOUR MENU.
YOU CAN ALSO DO A TEST ON YOUR TRANSDUCER, BY SCREWING IT ONTO A BROOM STICK ...ADJUST THE TRANSDUCER DOWN, CHECK YOUR SETTINGS ON THE SCREEN, THEN DO A SIDE TEST WITH THE TRANSDUCER TILTED SIDEWAYS TOWARDS THE BANK AND CHECK YOUR SCREEN!
THEY CAN BE TRICKY...AND ARE VERY SENSITIVE, BUT ONCE YOU FIGURE OUT, HOW YOU WANT TO USE IT, YOU'LL LOVE IT!
You need to check to see if the depth sounder transducer is connected or functioning. It might be turned off, the connectors may be bad or the transducer is bad. I don't have the 498 manual in front of me but I think there is a test function under the setup menu. I'd check my connections (the usual suspect) then run that.
Garmin tech support is pretty good/quick. So don;t be afraid to give them a call.
Generally, that indicates air bubbles in the water under the transducer. If you have a transom-mount transducer, make sure the bottom surface is level or angled slightly down. If you have a thru-hull, make sure your bottom is fairly clean in that area.
A test bucket wont work, A 200 khz transducer will generally not work in anything less than 2' of water, due to surface clutter. If the transducer is working, you should hear it make a ticking sound.
When you got the 17000 foot reading was your range set to auto?
How is the transducer situated on the boat? Sometimes turbulence and bubbles from the hull can cause erroneous readings, including unrealistic depths, or no depth at all. Stop the boat and turn off the engin e and anything electrical to see if problem repeats itself. If it only crops up when the boat is moving then it is most likely the transducer location.
If the transducer is mounted off of level, an error is introduced due to angle. It is a fixed percent offset, say 10%. so 10 feet reads 11 and 100 reads 110. There is an offset function to read depth below ducer, depth below keel, and depth below waterline, but these are fixed amounts in feet, not a percentage. Look at the transducer when it is operating, boat angle considered.