Electronics DIY

pescadorrr

Almost A Member
Feb 8, 2013
124
18
Seal Beach,CA
Name
Pescadorrr
Boat
Parker 1801
Just bought a new 23’ center console.
need to install all new electronics.
GPS, fish finder, radar, radio, etc.
Could anyone tell me if this is stuff I can install myself, or is it worth it to pay someone? I am pretty handy and have fished wires (installed trim tabs and marine stereo) under decks and cut out holes in my dash on my old boat.
Any recommendation between a through hull transducer or a transom mount?
Brands?

Thanks?
 
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Fearlessfiasco

Loco Leftist...
Jun 5, 2012
343
577
La Mesa
Name
Jeff
Boat
Sea Pro 170DC
I've done a couple of different installs and I find it fairly doable. All the stuff I've ever bought is Navico stuff and their installation documentation seems easy to follow for me to follow.

In my sailboat I did Chart plotter, radar, networked vhf, autopilot computer, autopilot drive, autopilot compass, rudder feedback, wind sensor, thru hull transducer, and N2k network. It all seemed to work.

For the fishing skiff I've done chart plotter, N2Knetwork, fuel flow sensor, networked vhf, and both thru-hull B75M transducer, and transom mount transducer.

For the most part if you're handy and you've got the tools you can do it. YouTube videos for just about all this stuff are available as well if needed.
 
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MYNomad

Heading South
Dec 12, 2007
4,179
4,781
Pacific Northwest / West Coast Mexico
Name
Rick
Boat
Yes
If your hull is cored make sure you understand how to properly protect every penetration you make, starting with the transducer but even including screw holes.

Beyond that, you should be able to do it yourself. You might begin by making sure everything works, and is configured properly, on a "bench". Troubleshooting after installation is 100x more difficult.
 
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pescadorrr

Almost A Member
Feb 8, 2013
124
18
Seal Beach,CA
Name
Pescadorrr
Boat
Parker 1801
That’s a really smart idea to run everything prior to install. Thanks
If your hull is cored make sure you understand how to properly protect every penetration you make, starting with the transducer but even including screw holes.

Beyond that, you should be able to do it yourself. You might begin by making sure everything works, and is configured properly, on a "bench". Troubleshooting after installation is 100x more difficult.
 
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pescadorrr

Almost A Member
Feb 8, 2013
124
18
Seal Beach,CA
Name
Pescadorrr
Boat
Parker 1801
If your hull is cored make sure you understand how to properly protect every penetration you make, starting with the transducer but even including screw holes.

Beyond that, you should be able to do it yourself. You might begin by making sure everything works, and is configured properly, on a "bench". Troubleshooting after installation is 100x more difficult.

When you say cored hull, what are you referring to? Are you just saying to bed all penetrations with 5200 or something similar? Or are you referring to the actual drilling or cutting? The boat is all composite. No wood.
 
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J Woodman

I know nothing
Dec 8, 2006
1,015
562
Ventura
Name
Jeff
Boat
15' Gregor "Silver Bullet", Parker 2310 "Deep Color"
If and only if you feel confident to do the work yourself then go for it. It really isn't that hard to connect everything up, particularly if you are interconnecting to a NMEA setup, but you have to have personal confidence going into it that you can complete it. plan on at least twice as long as you think it could possibly take to finish. Fall back on the basics. RTFI. Read the f**king instructions...first and read them again if you dont understand.
 
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Dragon

It is what it is...
May 24, 2006
423
298
SLO Co.
Name
Paul
Boat
22' Pro Sport CC / 20' Skipjack Open
I do my own, probably the hardest thing you will run into is hooking the radio DSC wire to the GPS you only need 2 wires and there is 10 (different colored) wires...

There is a u tube video on it when you get to that...Which (2) colors?...GL
 
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MYNomad

Heading South
Dec 12, 2007
4,179
4,781
Pacific Northwest / West Coast Mexico
Name
Rick
Boat
Yes
When you say cored hull, what are you referring to? Are you just saying to bed all penetrations with 5200 or something similar? Or are you referring to the actual drilling or cutting? The boat is all composite. No wood.

Many boats have a layer of foam (in the old days, end-grain balsa) sandwiched between an inner and outer layer of fiberglass. This creates strength (rigidity -- same principle as an I-Beam) and saves weight. But, if the core is exposed to water, it can get water logged and cause catastrophic failure. Manufacturers at least should go to extreme lengths to make sure there is absolutely zero chance of water getting to the core, even if the boat sinks. But, all it takes is a DIY owner to install a through-hull or even screw an antenna (or other) mount to a fiberglass top or side, and water can (and will) get it. The proper procedure (in a nutshell -- if you are going to do this yourself, read up on the details) is to cut back a few inch radius on the inner fiberglass shell and remove all of the foam below, as well as an inch or two around the perimeter of the cut, and replace all of that material with new fiberglass, being careful to make sure the bond to the old fiberglass and coring is perfectly sealed. That way, no water that manages to get through the penetration will have any chance of contacting the core material.

EDIT: BTW, there are plenty of "professionals" who can't be counted on to work with a cored hull properly.
 
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a7ewizard

Almost A Member
Jun 4, 2009
150
147
SAN RAFAEL,CA USA
Name
WARREN WEISENBURG
Boat
251,PRO-LINE, WIZARD
Being handy and doing it well can be two different things.
Use good ring and butt connectors that have adhesive heat shrink with a quality crimper.
Think about your layout before hand. Fused or switched? Do you need to add a buss bar or fuse (Blue Seas) panel to keep wires neat and tidy.
Most new electronics have electronic switches. These have a continuous but small parasitic current draw. Maybe a reason to have the MFD on a switch.
Nmea 2000 lets data flow between electronics and engine. This is powered by a single source or will require power isolators if you power it from multiple sources. I power mine via the engine's network. So think about how you operate the boat; what needs to work when and how?
 
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pescadorrr

Almost A Member
Feb 8, 2013
124
18
Seal Beach,CA
Name
Pescadorrr
Boat
Parker 1801
This is all great advice. Mynomad, I don’t think there is foam in the actual hull but rather in the bilge.
What should I expect to pay a pro to install: radar, chart plotter/ GPS, fish finder, stereo and vhf?
 
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MATTANZA

old man of the sea, in training.
Aug 23, 2004
5,721
3,334
Cali the state of confusion, the state of shock
Name
RICK
Boat
Boston Whaler 25' Outrage "MATTANZA II", 34' Radovcich "AMY ANNE" {when it needs to be fixed}
i got the new furuno navnet 12" ztouch, through hull transduce { i had to get a transom mount}r, nxt doppler radar, navpilot 300 ap, icom 506 ais, and all the engine software and vessel link { i have a merc} i bought my stuff from honor marine/ scott, here in san diego, he an einstein on pretty much all brands, he steered me towards furuno by giving me a demo.
 
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pescadorrr

Almost A Member
Feb 8, 2013
124
18
Seal Beach,CA
Name
Pescadorrr
Boat
Parker 1801
what brand new boat did you get ? also Rick knows his stuff (Mattanza)
I got a 23’ Jones Brothers Cape Fisherman.
It’s like a Parker but significantly better in my opinion. They are not well known out here but have a cult like following back East. I had a Parker 18’ before and tried out the 21 and 23 and they rattle you to the bone with all they slam. I went to NC, sea trialed a JB and went straight to the factory to write a check.
Dan K on here had a 20’ he was gonna sell.
He will tell you what great boats they are. Very tough, very dry. Full composite, no wood, def not a production boat. I’d say they have the kind of following Radons do here.
1613876408054.jpeg
 
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pescadorrr

Almost A Member
Feb 8, 2013
124
18
Seal Beach,CA
Name
Pescadorrr
Boat
Parker 1801
On a boat your size it is a very easy self instal.
Most units now are plug and play...
You have the option of a thru hull or transom transducer.


Purchasing from a knowledgeable dealer is a plus as they can walk you thru the instal.
What about fuses and such? I think my boat will have a fuse block with automotive type fuses.
 
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SD2600

Opinions aren’t constitutional- they are earned
Apr 13, 2017
666
542
40
San diego
Name
Dustin
Boat
26' sea swirl
All very diy... first thing to consider is what you want for all the pieces to your puzzle... once u choose them create a plan... draw it out on paper then reference that to your boat... share the plan with pics on here so many with tons of experience can chime in... then purchase needed pieces to the puzzle. And execute... taking your time of course. I have found that anything I do myself I enjoy and learn more from in the process.

Looks like a sweet ride can’t wait to see it all rigged with blood on the deck!
 
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samotlietuvis

Newbie
Feb 2, 2019
66
30
41
Palmdale, CA
Name
Tomas
Boat
Sea Hunt Victory 207
Very DIY’able. If you done electric or hydraulic trim tabs - that’s a harder job than fish finder, radio, or stereo. Use marine connectors, tin shielded wire, everything must be on over current protection. Dont put radio or radar and transducer wire close together... 5200 is very good sealant. You can use plastic sleeving if you need more wire protection. I marine epoxy wire holder plastic pieces for zip ties so nothing flops around.

I found previous owner electric work a mess and in some cases unsafe... I would not trust someone else to touch my my boat...
 
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ShadowX

I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
Oct 10, 2010
2,519
2,956
Los Angeles
Name
Alex
Boat
None
Modern electronics are very easy to install if you follow a few guidelines.

1) Use good quality wires with tin coating. Ancor makes great wires and you can get good deals at genuinedealz. If you are not using tinned copper wire, its only a matter of time until you have corrosion and problems with electrical system. If you didn't know, as the gauge number increases, the wire diameter decreases. There are many web sites that you can use to calculate the wire gauge size you need. In general, it depends on the length of the wire run and the the amount of current that goes through the wire. There are other factors like if the wire is a single wire or if its in a bundle. If you don't know how to size the wires, you can ask.

2) Use good quality connectors. Ancor shrink sleeved connectors are the best but pricey. They also make non-heat shrinked connectors and you can use it in areas that is not directly exposed to moisture. Never use automotive connectors. An alternative is PIDG connectors from Molex. Stay away from cheap Chinese connectors. They are not tinned, use brass instead of copper and the crimp area is weak. A good connector has an internal crimp area and a metal shroud around it for wire stress relief. Bad connectors often leads to bad crimps and many electrical problems. All splices in wet locations need to be heat shrinked to prevent moisture.

3) Use good crimpers preferably ones with a ratchet design. I can't stress enough on this issue. If you use cheaper crimpers, they are not as reliable. I would toss the automotive crimpers into the ocean. You do have to be careful with crimpers when you are crimping heat shrink connectors and splices. Some pierces through the heat shrink and they make special versions for heat shrink connectors.

4) Test your crimps. Pull on them hard after a crimp to make sure it doesn't come off. If its properly crimped, the 16-12 gauge connectors can handle pull forces of 5lbs and even more.

5) Use terminal blocks as required. It will help you to keep wires organized and if you need to add new circuits, its easier to manage. They are good if you need to wire up your DSC connections to your radio and fish finder.

6) Learn how to connect the NMEA network properly. You will need it for most modern electronics.

7) Use a fuse block to help organize and make it easy to locate your fuse connections. Blue Sea makes great products. Stay away from cheap Chinese products. You will see many on Ebay and be tempted, but don't do it.

8) Size the fuse to match the wire size that is connected to the block. If you have a 28 gauge wire and 12 gauge to same terminal block, the fuse should always be rated for the thinnest wire (28 gauge in this case). Keep spare fuses on the boat. Make sure the fuses are new or shiny. Many electrical problems are caused by corroded fuse blades. The oxidation causes resistance and a voltage drop on the cable. Before you insert fuse, add a small amount of dielectric grease to minimize corrosion on the blade.

9) If you are adding a radio and new antenna, make sure you know how to properly solder a RF connector. Bad soldering jobs led to many radio checks on channel 72. If you don't know how to do it, or have the equipment, ask around and offer a case of beer. I personally don't like non-crimp or solder type of connectors because they are less reliable, but others use them successfully. You would be surprised at the problems I have found on many other boats regarding the radio connections.

10) Make sure you use larger gauge wires to power up your electronics and radio. They don't use a lot of current, but radio are sensitive to voltage drop and the symptoms include radio turning off intermittently. Use 16 gauge and large wire sizes if you can and keep the wire runs short as necessary to the fuse block.

Good luck.
 
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