For an angler, a fish finder installment on your boat could mean the difference between getting a good catch and going home empty-handed.
Most modern pontoon boats already come pre-built with these nifty little devices along with the other gadgets installed on the captain’s console. Pontoon boats without a pre-installed fish finder are comparatively cheaper than those that do and buying a separate fish finder could actually save you more than professionally installed ones. It does come with the added effort, obviously.
For people who have pontoon boats without pre-built fish finders, it’s actually quite easy to install one.
Installing the fish finder
#1, Step 1 – Location of the transducer
Most, if not all, pontoon boats come with a bracket on one end of the right pontoon. This is where almost everyone places their transducers, as it is actually made for it.
The best place for installation is usually the starboard side of the boat so cable length just enough to reach the captain’s console.
- Transducers operate using sonar to track fish and must be kept submerged underwater.
- Place the transducer parallel to the water. Placing it lower could mean that the water flow could get too high around it when driving, causing signal interference.
- Some fishfinders, especially the cheap ones, tend to get easily distorted even at slow speeds. This can force you to stop repeatedly from place to place.
- For pontoon boats with batteries that carry little capacity, it is recommended to have a separate battery for the engine and one for the electronics. Some fish finders reportedly turn off as the engine is cranked and needed to be unplugged and plugged again. The same is true for boats with weak batteries.
- Placing the transducer wire too close to another wire for different equipment like the stereo can cause electrical interferences, leading to lost signal. Make sure the wire is some distance away.
#Step 2 – Location of the Fish Finder Monitor
As mentioned, professionally pre-built pontoon boats have their fishfinder monitors just a little on the right side of the captain’s console. The same goes for pontoon boats without them; people generally place them on the captain’s console.
Some boats have dedicated space for a fish finder on the console. But if yours don’t, then you will have to improvise.
- Some fish finders on the market don’t come with a transducer in the package. Included transducers have the bonus of added compatibility.
- Fishfinders vary in screen size with the standard one coming in at 5 inches. Bigger ones are also available.
- Once you’ve found a suitable spot on where to put the device, go check if there is any interfering wiring that runs beneath.
- Make sure that the monitor you are going to buy will fit in the space you picked.
- Check the surrounding area for wires vulnerable enough to be hit when drilling.
#Step 3 – Mounting the Transducer
You will need the following materials:
- 1Power Drill
- 26 nuts and 0.6mm bolts (preferably 3cm long).
- 46 rubber and metal washers
- 5Plastic conduit
- 6Silicone sealant
- 7Terminal connectors
For the transducer, drill 2 holes at the bracket and put in the transducer. Afterward, secure it with a bolt and nut.
Make sure that all the metallic parts are made of stainless steel. Water and metal do not make the best companions.
Put the cord inside the plastic conduit for protection and lay it out all the way up to the captain’s console.
Additionally, you can remove the boat’s siding and slide the wiring up inside it. It would make the deck look a whole lot cleaner.
#Step 4 – Mounting the Fish Finder Monitor
Depending on where you decided to place the monitor, you will have to install it pretty much the same as the transducer earlier.
And like most other anglers, if you decided to make the monitor a part of the console, be sure to not disturb any nearby wiring. It’s better to be careful than to spend the next two hours trying to fidget with broken wiring.
For the installation itself, prepare the bracket and put it in your desired location. Do some last-minute finalization if needed.
Mark each hole on the bracket with a pencil. You will use these as a guide for drilling later on.
Carefully drill the holes on the pencil marks. Going too fast may affect the fiberglass and break it.
Once the holes are complete, use your bolts and nuts to attach the bracket on the console. Do make sure that you put a washer under each and every bolt before securing it. It cushions the monitor and prevents unwanted movement and rattling.
Put silicone over the holes for added protection from gradual wear and drill the last hole in preparation for the transducer cord.
#Step 5 – Powering Up
Once everything is installed, it’s time to plug the monitor to the main power source of the boat.
As said above, it’s always handy to have a separate power source for the rest of the electronics rather than to have everything share the same.
Normally you would have to tie the power into the boat’s battery, and that would require the same technique as it is with the transducer connecting to the monitor, with all the plastic conduits.
Alternatively, you could go for the boat’s fuse box. It is both shorter to reach with the added bonus of extra protection.
For using the fuse box, simply tie the plug to an empty connection in the fuse.
If your boat doesn’t have a free slot within the fuse box, you will have to resort to using the battery. You will need extra wires and their respective plastic conduit protection. For these wires, going for ones that are made for oceanic operations tend to be more durable.
Video Credit –Float Tube Fanatics & Fish Finder Mounts .com
#Step 6 – Put everything back together
Your fishfinder boat attachment is now finally done.
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