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Dances with Walleye

Can I do it myself? (Boat electronics.)

13 posts in this topic

Okay... So I picked up my boat from the dealership on Friday, (I had them winterize it for me.)

Over the winter I'm planning on buying a good GPS depth finder Combo with Lake Master chip etc...

The boat came with a chimpy POS lowrance X-25.

What I want to do is take the X-25, and move it up front, so that whoever is running the trolling motor has a Depth gauge, so I don't have to call out depth from the cockpit all the time.

Then install the GPS/Finder on a Ram arm on my console.

****

So I asked the guy at the dealership what that would cost me in Labor time... He said I'd have to drop my boat off with him in February in order to have it back by mid April and it's going to cost me $300+ in labor.

These numbers seem unacceptable to me...

So I've been looking into doing it myself.

I found an Eagle Unit that will be in my post-christmas price range.

There's two varriations, one with Internal Antenna for the GPS, one for external antenna. I've been told by two different sources that one is bad and the other is good... And then vice versa... Anyone here have a third oppinion?

****

I talked with a guy at a Sportsman's Warehouse, who told me I could do it myself, and kind of walked me through it.

He told me that I would simply have to take apart the back deck, front deck and Starboard gunnel. (No Problem, that's just backing out screws in the right order...

Then I note how the power and Transducer line from the X-25 old unit runs...

Take the X-25's guts out...

Mount the X-25 to the front deck... Run the transducer line down the shaft of the Trolling motor with Zip Ties, and secure this metal bracket thing to the butt of my trolling motor... Which the X-25 Transducer then attaches to.

Then finally just run the power line back and connect it into the fuse box under the console.

***

Then I take the Eagle GPS, and run all of it's wire's exactly in the same path that I noted from when I took the X-25 out, and simply put the new transducer in the old transducer's bracket off the back, using the same gasget.

****

Now all this sounds feasible and within the confines of me and my buddies skill level.

But this is all just "On Paper."

I'm wondering if anyone can shed some "Real Life Experience" on the issue.

I'm about to get engaged and the next year of my life I have to plan my finances very carefully, so I'm trying to come up with a Master plan way in advance.

Thanks Bros!

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You're making more out of it than needs to be.

It's a piece of cake.

Two suggestions for you.

If you want, you can leave all of the wiring for the current locator there, you'll just have to splice into the power line to lengthen it.

Then just move the x-25 wherever you want and hook the power up to it.

I did this with a x-35 this summer on a boat I bought.

I then bought a transducer that mounts right to the bottom of the trolling motor.

I know you can use your current transducer, probably buy / make a bracket to do the same, or pull apart the front of your boat and mount it in the hull, but I didn't want to go through all that work.

You can then just leave the old transducer where it was, incase you go to sell the boat, then hook it all up again like it was when you bought it, and keep the Eagle that you're looking for.

Sure, you'll end up with two transducers in the back, but ....???? Who's going to say anything??

Then when you get the new Eagle, you can splice into the power line where you had to extend it (yes, I know some people will say there's interference) so you don't have to run a whole new wire.

Biggest problem with this though, is that now you have 2 locators running off of the same battery, which means it'll drain down somewhat quickly.

Anyways, if you do it this way, now you only have to run one more wire for the transducer, which you can run anywhere.

Sure, mine probably isn't as pretty as the shops' job, but it's all tucked right along the floor of the boat, right down the right side, and then I ran it out the drain hole that's on the transome.

It works, and unless you're sitting behind me at a stoplight, you'll never see it anyways.

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It is a siple process. Whatever unit you decide to go with will have very easy installation instuctions with it. Get a unit with an external antenna. I have use both and the internal is affected more by interferance (ie, windsheild, trees). As mentioned, some of the wiring from your current unit will be able to be used by the new one. All the holes for mounting and the wiring should already be there so that should make your job a ton easier. Good luck.

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Okay... So I'm starting to get a good picture here...

So now I'm just thinking about where to Iron out the details...

Such as...

When I mount the X-25's transducer to the trolling motor, it's going to end up on a bracket that's attached to the Shaft correct... Or is the bracket attached to the underside of the motor hub?

Okay... So I've garnered some other oppinions outside of this thread, and I've made the choice that External antenna is the way to go... I've been told "You can just mount it anywhere." But I'd bet dollar to doughnuts that some place must be better than another...

Or should I just mount it on the front side of my console, bottom to the floor and call it a tuesday?

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I am not exactly a rigging person, but I did it. I installed and rigged my own GPS/Sonar, and onboard chargers. If I can do it, you can do it. I think learning to rig your own boat will serve you real well in the long run and save your a ton of money!!

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Attach your transducer to it's supplied mounting bracket and then use a cable tie or hose clamp to attach it to your trolling motor.

As far as installing your gps puck, I would recommend the front side of your console or the gunnel if it is wide enough - either place should have minimal interference.

You're doing the right thing by installing your electronics yourself. It saves you 1)a lot of time troubleshooting if they act up on the water, and 2)a lot of $$$ by taking it to the dealer.

Good luck.

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Trolling motor transducer is not same as transom transducer. You have to get a puck style which attaches to bottom of motor with a large hose clamp. I don't know where you're from, just stop at a store and see what's the difference.

Everything else is straightforward, run the transducer from back (transom) of boat to console, connect new power cord to fuse block, install RAM mount, put GPS puck to the gunnel next to console so it's out of the way while fishing, and that's it.

Important issues, coat transom bracket screws with silicone, so it won't leak inside boat, and study the position of sonar and GPS puck as per your needs, not what somebody else says, it's your boat you have to find where to put them based on your needs.

GPS antenna has to be above deck, not under console, it has to "see" the sky.

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Okay... I think I've got a pretty good run down in my head now...

At least enough to convince me that when the time comes that I'll be confident to do it...

One additional question...

So when I get the External Antenna, and I go to mount it... What happens if I get it "Soaking Wet."

I often fish in inclement weather, and seem to have a knack for getting caught up in surprise windstorms on Mille Lacs and Winnie. So does it matter if this antenna get a severe drenching.

Or is it water proof and water drops and waves won't affect it interferance wise.

****

Just trying to be thorough!

****

Thanks for all the help guys!

****

Say anybody have a particular unit that they'd reccomend...

I'm essentially looking for color GPS/Finder that is Lake Master compatible. I've got in the neighborhood of $500 to spend.

Thanks Again!

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Quote:

One additional question...

So when I get the External Antenna, and I go to mount it... What happens if I get it "Soaking Wet."


Nothing happens, they are made to get wet, it won't hurt anything.

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I've been pretty happy with my Eagle 500C. That fits your price range. If you can spend a little more, the Lowrance 332 is also a very nice unit.

One other thing, there is a chance that your X-25 transducer might be compatible with the next unit you buy. That assumes you buy an Eagle or a Lowrance. I could be wrong on this compatibility. I suppose your X-25 does not have a temp gauge. I am sure someone will set this straight.

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Quote:

I've been pretty happy with my Eagle 500C. That fits your price range. If you can spend a little more, the Lowrance 332 is also a very nice unit.

One other thing, there is a chance that your X-25 transducer might be compatible with the next unit you buy. That assumes you buy an Eagle or a Lowrance. I could be wrong on this compatibility. I suppose your X-25 does not have a temp gauge. I am sure someone will set this straight.


No the X-25 has a temp gauge.

Where would I go/how would I find out if they are compatible, other than try hooking the whole thing together, and somehow engineering a bucket of water beneath the back of my boat?

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If transducer connector fits the new one, it might be same.

Check with Lowrance / LEI web site to find out, if you don't have to remove transducer it will be much better, just buy a new sonar with trolling motor transducer and swap it with the X25

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You don't necessarily need a puck transducer. I've rigged 2 with the regular transom transducer and the mounting bracket. Just turn the transducer so it is perpendicular to the bottom. I then ran a cable tie through the slots where you would normally install the screws. Both worked just fine and depth readings were accurate. Might not be the professional way but it works nontheless.

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