Need Advice on Electronics Installation


Old 04-19-2006, 06:04 PM
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Location: Slidell, LA, USA
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Default Need Advice on Electronics Installation

I have a GPS, VHF, Depth Finder, Marine Stereo and Speakers to be installed. I'm pretty sure it is out of me realm of capabilities, but I was hoping ya'll could help me with the basics so I can decide how difficult the jobs is.

The boat is a Key West 196 Bay Reef. Is it possible that I already have a terminal or bus bar or whatever the correct terminology is that is bringing power (from + battery teminal) and ground to the console? If I do not already have such a thing, what gauge wire should I run from the battery to the console? Should I connect wires that I've run from the batteryto a bus bar or teminal block? What size and/or amp bar/block is best? Does each individual piece of electronics then get connected to the bus bar or terminal block?

What is the best way to make all the connections ... ring terminals, heat shrink, butt connectors or a combinations of all of these?

What about fuses? What type of fuses? The electronics all have inline fuses? I thought I've read before that you should cut these out? Where and how should everything be fused?

I'm pretty sure I will not be able to accomoplish the install without cutting holes in the console. What tools are best for cutting the fiberglass?

As you can tell, any and all advice would help. Step-by-step instructions would be even better!! Pictures would be terrific!!

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Old 04-19-2006, 08:58 PM
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Default RE: Need Advice on Electronics Installation

First off, make sure you have plenty of ice-cold beer before you start......
Then drink it all, pass out, and wake up the next morning and call someone and pay them to do it for you.
Seriously, you should plan on having a terminal block installed in the console for the electronics. BOE Marine sells them; I suggest calling Jim and he can get you fixed up on the proper size. As far what size wire you need to use from the battery(s) to the bus block, I would say plan on using #8 at least....maybe even go with #6. The electronics you are installing are not big power users--with the possible exception of the stereo, but it's best to err on the side of too much instead of too little in this particular case. I would also plan on routing the power though a breaker so that you can control the electronics power. You may even want to consider having one on every piece of electronics....a bit more work, but it's not a bad idea. It's never a good idea to have them "hot" constantly; and they do not like to be on when starting the engine.
Connect each piece of electronics not cut the in-line fuses out; they are there for a reason.
Hole saws are great for cutting fiberglass, and just about any tool that will cut wood will work. Just make sure you have long sleeves, gloves, eye protection, and a mask on while doing it....take it from someone who knows what happens if you don't.
Take it slow and easy--do not get in a hurry.
Good luck...and post pictures of the finished product.

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