What Units Are Compatible With Lowrance Active Target? (2023 List)


by Robert Ceran

Are you thinking about using Lowrance Active Target live sonar on your boat?

In that case you’re probably wondering if you can use an existing Lowrance fish finder unit, or if you need to get a new Lowrance unit that is compatible with Active Target.

In this article we’ll walk you through all the Lowrance units compatible with Active Target.

We’ll also cover all the components and software that you need in order to set up and run Active Target, to help you decide what you’ll need for your purposes.

What is Lowrance Active Target compatible with?

Lowrance Active Target is compatible with Elite FS units, HDS Live units, and HDS Carbon units that have the required software update.

Now let’s look at each of these series in detail and go over all the Lowrance Active Target compatible units.

Elite FS series:

  • Elite FS 7
  • Elite FS 9

HDS Live series:

  • HDS Live 7
  • HDS Live 9
  • HDS Live 12
  • HDS Live 16

HDS Carbon series:

  • HDS Carbon 7
  • HDS Carbon 9
  • HDS Carbon 12
  • HDS Carbon 16

Keep in mind that most of the units listed above come with an Active Imaging 3 in 1 transducer in the box, so you’ll need to get an Active Target transducer (plus module) separately.

However, if you only want to run Active Target with your fish finder unit, you can also buy the head unit without a transducer, which helps shave off a few hundred dollars from the price.

Our Pick
Photo of Lowrance HDS-12 Live

HDS-12 Live

With a 12″ touchscreen, this is the best Lowrance unit for Active Target that comes at a great price.

Lowrance Active Target 2 compatibility

If you’re planning to get Lowrance Active Target 2 instead of the original Active Target 1, this new version is compatible with the Elite FS, HDS Live, HDS Carbon, and HDS Pro series.

In other words, the main difference between Lowrance Active Target vs Active Target 2 compatibility is that the latter is also compatible with HDS Pro units, while the former isn’t.

How do you get Active Target on HDS Carbon?

In order to get Active Target on an HDS Carbon unit, you first need to update your software to version 20.1 or higher, followed by uploading the Active Target software.

You can get both of these software programs from the Lowrance website, and we’ll cover how to do this in full detail in the next section. 

How do you update your Lowrance software?

The first step to updating your Lowrance software is to use your computer to navigate to the Lowrance website, and then click on “Help & Support” in the top menu. Next, click on “Software Updates” and then select “HDS Carbon” from the drop down menu.

After you’ve downloaded the latest version of HDS Carbon Software (which can be found at the bottom of the page), go back to the drop down menu and select “ActiveTarget.” Next, download the Active Target software (also found at the bottom of the page).

Once you’ve downloaded both software programs, put them onto a Micro SD card compatible with your fish finder unit. Next, insert the SD card into the fish finder, and first load the software update, followed by the Active Target software.

In order to load a software update from your SD card, first go to “Storage” on your HDS Carbon home screen. Next go to “Memory card”, select the software you want to use, and then click “Upgrade” on the pop up menu, and allow the unit to reboot in order to upgrade the software.

Once the update has completed, repeat exactly the same steps with the Active Target software on your SD card. During the upgrade process, you should have the Active Target module turned on and connected to the fish finder unit. The module will also be rebooted during this process.

If you have an older HDS Live unit, you’ll also need to update its software to version 20.1 or higher, and you can use exactly the same steps as outlined for the HDS Carbon. 

Will Active Target work with Elite Ti or Elite Ti2?

No, Active Target doesn’t work with Elite Ti or Elite Ti2. The only Elite series that works with Active Target is Elite FS, which is the most recent Elite series released by Lowrance. 

Does HDS 3 work with Active Target?

No, HDS Gen 3 doesn’t work with Active Target. The oldest HDS version compatible with Active Target is HDS Carbon, and none of the earlier HDS versions (including Gen 2 and Gen 3) will work with it.

What all do you need for Active Target?

You need the following components for Active Target:

  • An Active Target transducer
  • An Active Target module
  • A compatible Lowrance fish finder unit
  • A battery to power the module (plus fish finder)
  • The required software update on your fish finder

Keep in mind that you need to make sure your fish finder unit has the latest software update, as well as the separate Active Target software installed.

The latest generations of HDS Live and Elite FS come with these software programs already installed, but if you have an HDS Carbon unit (or any HDS Live unit purchased before the release of Active Target in late 2020), you’ll need to download the latest software version from Lowrance.

This necessary in order to make your unit compatible with Active Target live sonar (see above for more details on how to do this).

What comes with Lowrance Active Target?

When you buy the Active Target live sonar from Lowrance, it comes with a transducer, a module, a power cable, an ethernet cable (required for connecting it to your fish finder unit), as well as three different brackets for mounting the transducer on your trolling motor.

Do you need the Active Target module?

Yes you need the Active Target module in order to run Active Target on your fish finder.  You can’t use the Active Target transducer without the module because it’s required to process the sonar data from the transducer before passing it onto the fish finder head unit.

Also keep in mind that you need a power source for the module, and that you need to connect the transducer to the module, as well as the module to your fish finder (via ethernet cable), in order for Active Target to work.

Final remarks

This concludes our article on what Lowrance units are compatible with Active Target, and hopefully this guide will help you choose the right setup for running Active Target on your boat. Tight lines and see you on the water!