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installing electronics on boat

Old 12-29-2002, 02:07 PM
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Default installing electronics on boat

i need advice on where to install electronics on center console.im insalling radio flush mounted in console .the gps is going in electronics box overhead.i have a furuno color 600l fish finder.dont want to install flush mount.should i install in overhead electronic box or on top of console .plenty of room in both.which would be easier to follow and to see while drifting along Thanks Doug
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Old 12-29-2002, 06:08 PM
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Default installing electronics on boat

Having tried a variety of layouts over the years, I have come to the conclusion that the following works pretty well. It's not quite what you seem to have in mind, however, so I'll try and give my reasons.

--Fishfinder in overhead electronics box, assuming it is visible from most of the cockpit. The overhead mount gets you better shade from the sun and makes it easy to check when not at the helm. Top of console might be fine, but you will get more direct sunlight on the screen, especially early and late in the day when the sun is low. The unit will also be protected from salt spray, which can be an issue with a console-top mounting. Your contacts will require more maintenance and your screen will get dirty more often if console mounted.

--GPS flushmounted in console on right side )if you are right handed). You need to be able to get to the controls to enter waypoints, change display, etc etc. When it is rough, this is lots easier to do if you can brace your hand against the console right in front of you while pushing buttons. You also look at this a lot while running, so having to crane your neck and look up in the electronics box gets old.

--VHF can be in either location, especially if you will have an extension speaker. The real question is having a neat place to store the mike and its cable. My current boat has the VHFs (2) in the overhead box with a switchable extension speaker flushmounted in the console right in front of me where it can heard under most conditions.
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Old 12-29-2002, 07:05 PM
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Default installing electronics on boat

I second mounting the GPS on the lower spot. I find it easier to refer to than looking up on most cc layouts. I'd put the radio up top and anything else you don't adjust a lot like a stereo system. The radio being up high will be closer to your ears when running the motors and most people don't switch channels so much that it needs to be on the console. I don't know if you ever plan to install a radar but the upper box is the place for that since the cables are usually a bear to get up the T-top legs. I like the GPS/plotter and the bottom machine next to each other because when I mark good bottom or fish I want to be able to save the spot on the GPS ASAP. It also helps when returning to a spot using the GPS/plotter function when you have the bottom machine in your periferal vision. If you penetrate the upper box for antennas/cables do it on the sides near the top and not through the top of the upper box as water can follow the cables in and ruin gear no matter how well you try to seal it. If your upper box does not have a set of power terminal strips, it's a good idea to run one set of large gauge cables up and power gear off those instead of individual power runs for each piece from below. Hope this helps.
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Old 12-29-2002, 07:28 PM
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Default installing electronics on boat

quote: If your upper box does not have a set of power terminal strips, it's a good idea to run one set of large gauge cables up and power gear off those instead of individual power runs for each piece from below. That is a great idea, I ran 10 ga. pair right from the battery to a panel in the upper electronics box which has breakers in liew of fuses. I believe your navigational/ communication has to be right in front of you...this is what you NEED to get home. The radio AM/FM, Hailer, searchlight, fishfinder, etc. come second. The GPS and Radar should be a glance away...with the VHF radio right at hand. I have my GPS in a NAVPOD on the cosole, the VHF radio below, and the Radar at just above eye level. I understand every boat is different but the concepts are the same. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

"Never enough time to do it right; ALWAYS enough time to do it over." Boston Whaler, "MUMBLER", 24' Outrage (1996), twin 175 HP Evinrude Ocean Pros.
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Old 12-29-2002, 08:01 PM
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Default installing electronics on boat

Grumpy,
Heres a few pics of how mine are layed out after trying it on a few different boats:







The top box hold the 2 VHF's and the CRT fishfinder. Its easy to see the fishfinder from anywhere in the cockpit with it up high and it is not at all affected by sun glare. I can hear the Icom M127 from the boat next door cause its loud. If your VHF has a cheapo speaker, a remote speaker is a good alternative.

The bottom box has the chartplotter, DGPS and thats a Raytheon loran stuck in the back. I can see the loran if I really have to, but its really a backup to the DGPS. The DGPS and LORAN both can feed the chartplotter nav info simply by hooking the appropriate connector to the back of the plotter. I think this is a neat thing and it means I should never have to look at the loran directly unless the plotter and the GPS are both not working.

Personally, I am not a fan of flush mount installs unless the electronics are set into a box or covered by plexi. They will get wet if they are just flush mounted. If you keep em in a box, they will look new and NEVER get wet. I know they tell you their waterproof, but a wise older salt told me once to put them in a box and, from my own experience, he was right.

As far as running a wire to the top E box - definately do it and heres a suggestion. Run the wire to the box and to a terminal strip, but put the terminal strip in a small box. I know its a box in a box, but its a real safe way to assure the terminal strip stays corrosion free. Even if it never gets wet directly, after a few years it will get a light coating of corrosion and of course will stop forwarding power to you VHF at the most inopportune time. I built a small box out of starboard and mounted it against the back wall of my e box, but I've also used the small grey boxes home depot sells with great success on another boat. The box I built contains blocks for the electronics as well as the connections for the remote spotlight.
Also, run the wire inside the tubing leading to the top for a clean looking install. Its easy - you can use a really big magnet with a screwdriver bit and some 50 lb mono, or a snake like for plumbing. Personally, I thought the snake was eaisier, but I don't own a Rare Earth magnet. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]

Good Luck!

Sea Ya,
Scott
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Old 12-30-2002, 07:28 AM
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Default installing electronics on boat

If you or anyone who will operate your boat is over 40 and/or needs to wear reading glasses of any type (eg. bifocals) be real careful putting something that you might have to actually see in an eye level or above position.

This is an age thing...not a macho one.
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Old 12-30-2002, 11:19 AM
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Default installing electronics on boat

I forgot to mention those NavPods. Great invention! I'd use those before I cut holes in my console. I have a lower electronics box in my console with a fold down doors so nothing is flush mounted. When I worked for Larry Smith Electronics (Palm Beach FL) doing marine installs on boats we usually opted for a custom made "Shadow Box" of teak about 3/4" thick x 4" high with a hinged plexiglass cover around any flush mounted electronics on a console. You could do the same with King Starboard for a trick looking installation. If the electronics are shallow enough you could also do a panel within the shadow box that you flush mount your stuff in and if you want to add or change things you just put in a new panel instead of cutting the console up. All you'd need is a 1" pass through for power and antenna cables that could be patched and gel coat matched later if you took it out. Even if you do install items that are too deep to avoid a hole in the console the shadow box with a panel in it is a good idea as it's easier to get the flush mount holes cut exactly like you want and it protects your electronics from the elements.
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Old 12-30-2002, 01:37 PM
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Default installing electronics on boat

thanks for the info,it was a big help.
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Old 12-30-2002, 04:59 PM
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Default installing electronics on boat

Grumpy,
Just happened to be down by the boat today winterizing the motor (finally) and I had the Digital camera, so I snapped a picture of the box I made that sits in my upper electronics box to enclose the terminal blocks.



Good luck with your project!
Sea Ya,
Scott
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