Electronics Install 150CC/170CC

JustinW

Registered Member
City
Folsom
Posting here because this subforum seems to be more active. I'm preparing to sit down one day soon and install my new electronics. Installing a VHF radio and a new HDS-7. I've seen a few already posted here in the photos section and assorted threads but I want to see if anyone out there has boats they have done that haven't been posted. I haven't sprung on the antenna yet but I think I should get myself an 8'. Are you guys bolting through the console or using the rail bracket to mount the antenna? I have already improved the rail mountings as they worked themselves loose when the boat was new. The mounting holes had a lot of play in them, so I put in nylon bushings to fill the gap and spread any loads. I also put larger stainless steel washers on while I had it all apart.

I am thinking about mounting the VHF below the throttle as others have done but I also see a nice spot under the gauges to flush mount it into the dash.

I am thinking that on top of the console is the best place to mount the HDS monitor as far as not blocking visibility of the gauges, allowing that space for the VHF and making it easier to see when running.

This is all just theory in my head, I want to know what you guys have done. What works and what doesn't?
 

BarryB

Contributing Member
City
Pembroke Pines
If I have not posted photos of my setup, I'll do it sometime this weekend. So, hold off before cutting/drilling/cursing.

Originally, I had an antenna posted on the CC rail, however, I had interference problems (Posted elsewear on this site, do a search). I learned lots about antennas from a tech at Shakespear. VHF is line of sight and distance for transmission is determined by the height of the antenna. Also, having the antenna close to you may not be good for your body in the long run.
 

cagrove

Contributing Member
I mounted my antenna on the starboard side of the CC rail and mounted the radio on the port side of the console below the steering wheel...put the mic clip on the port side of the CC beside the Tach. Seems to work well.
 

BarryB

Contributing Member
City
Pembroke Pines
Okay, here are a few photos of my installation. I mounted the VHF on the starboard side of the center console. Originally, I had the antenna mounted on the grab rail of the center console, however, I had problems with radio interference and the fish finder. I eventually re-routed the antenna cable under the floorboard and mounted the antenna on the port side, aft. The antenna folds down when not in use.

P1010002.jpg P1010003.jpg P1010004.jpg P1010005.jpg
 

fridaysoff

Contributing Member
City
Leland
Justin,
I would give some thought to the 8' antenna. That is a lot of antenna for the 150CC. I can't imagine where you would go that you need that much. I would consider a 4' or even the 3' metal antenna. Look into the new floating 6 watt hand held VHF radios. The new ones have GPS interface with DSC capibilities and reach further that you think. Just another opinion for you to think about. Someone may use that big antenna for a grab rail in rough water and break it.
 

BarryB

Contributing Member
City
Pembroke Pines
I agree with Friday about the length of the antenna. From my experience, I have had people grab onto my antenna and pull. Luckly, it is strong. If I had to do it again, I would have gone with a 2 foot extension instead of the four foot extension I currently have.

However, I stand by the fact that the range of VHF transmission has more to do with antenna height than power output.
 

pamarine

Contributing Member
City
Portsmouth
State
VA
It all depends on where you are boating. With a HH VHF you are going to reach about 5 miles maximum (easy rule of thumb with VHF radios is 1 watt = 1 mile of transmission range).

Of course the main factor in transmission distance is height of the antenna above the water. Your signal will intersect the horizon at a distance equal to the square root of 1.5 times the antenna's height above the surface. Therefore, assuming your deck is at the waterline (it's close at any rate) and using an 8 foot antenna mounted at the console top, you would see a theoretical Line of Sight range of 4 miles, even thought he radio is rated to 25 miles max. Of course your intended transmission target isn't likely at the water's surface, so its height above the earth is also going to increase your transmission range. i.e., if you are trying to talk to another boat whose antenna is mounted exactly the same height as yours, you would be able to communicate within about 8 miles of each other, beyond that, the horizon will block the signal. Remember your 5-mile range HH? Try that to reach our other boat and you're looking at being able to talk to your buddy with his fixed mount within a 6 mile range (so here transmission power is your limiting factor, less than 5 miles)

Another factor is antenna gain (rated in db). The higher the gain, the more focused the beam, and the better clarity your transmission will have over a given range (and the closer to the theoretical max range of your transmit power you'll be able to effectively transmit over). The gain is determined solely by the length of the conductor, an 8' antenna has a higher gain than a 4' antenna on 4' extension (the 8' will likely have 6db gain vs 3db on the 4'). The trade off is with this is that if your boat is more prone to pitching and rolling, the more likely you are to have issues with the signal missing it's target at higher antenna gains. As you have a very narrow hull, I would advise against any antenna above 6db (some 8' have 9db gain due to the type of conductor used) and in fact would probably recommend a 3db gain antenna (which means 5' or less, like the Shakespeare 396-1).

Anyhoo, hope this helps.
 

JustinW

Registered Member
City
Folsom
Frank, thank you very much. I am getting a 6db 8' antenna. Either a Shakespeare or a Digital. I am leaning digital with the pricing being not that different. I understand how the signal is transmitted and how that works. My only concern regarding transmission will be making sure it doesn't cause interference or interfere with my sounder. I am just going to keep them separate, and twist the paired wires to help. I have my schematic sketched out, I know exactly what hardware I am going to use, I just seem to have a hard time drilling the new holes.

I can't decide if I want to flush mount or use the gimbal on the radio and I'm not sure where the most ideal place for the HDS to go. You spend so many hours in front of it operating it all, I figure it is worth a bit of extra thought making sure everything works the way it is supposed to. Lots of things to consider.
 

pamarine

Contributing Member
City
Portsmouth
State
VA
The sounder's power supply is shielded already, and you will get very little interference from the radio via the power wires (although no harm in using twisted pair, it would be advisable to use either duplex or twisted pair with a shield). The main cause of interference to both devices (electrically) is going to be the transducer cable and engine harness. Try to isolate the transducer wire as much as possible from the radio's Antenna and power wires, and try to isolate the radio wiring as much as possible from the engine harness. these considerations may end up influencing your mounting location.

The top of the helm is pretty much the only option for your graph from a use standpoint (being easily accessible, viewing, etc), and a radio sits nicely flush mounted lower on the helm (also, if you can mount it below where the helm begins it's reverse angle, it will be less prone to bumping and accidentally changing the channels etc). The plastic on the helm is fairly thin though, so I would recommend fashioning a double out of 1/4" starboard and sandwiching it between the helm and the flush mount brackets (depending on the model radio you are getting, you may need to weld, either heat or chemically, the double in place before mounting the radio).

As for the antenna connections, use Shakespeare's Centerpin connectors. They are solderless and give excellent performance. Anyhoo, if you have any questions feel free to drop me a line.
 

JustinW

Registered Member
City
Folsom
The sounder's power supply is shielded already, and you will get very little interference from the radio via the power wires (although no harm in using twisted pair, it would be advisable to use either duplex or twisted pair with a shield). The main cause of interference to both devices (electrically) is going to be the transducer cable and engine harness. Try to isolate the transducer wire as much as possible from the radio's Antenna and power wires, and try to isolate the radio wiring as much as possible from the engine harness. these considerations may end up influencing your mounting location.

The top of the helm is pretty much the only option for your graph from a use standpoint (being easily accessible, viewing, etc), and a radio sits nicely flush mounted lower on the helm (also, if you can mount it below where the helm begins it's reverse angle, it will be less prone to bumping and accidentally changing the channels etc). The plastic on the helm is fairly thin though, so I would recommend fashioning a double out of 1/4" starboard and sandwiching it between the helm and the flush mount brackets (depending on the model radio you are getting, you may need to weld, either heat or chemically, the double in place before mounting the radio).

As for the antenna connections, use Shakespeare's Centerpin connectors. They are solderless and give excellent performance. Anyhoo, if you have any questions feel free to drop me a line.

Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't those white plastic cutting boards that you can buy pretty much the same as roplene? I am thinking about using the raw material to shim my mounting bracket for my HDS headunit and also using it as a backing plate for the antenna bracket, if I don't use a rail mount. I figure if I use some rule and bond it to the inside of the console it will reinforce the general area. Perhaps a bit overkill but if I make the piece large enough I could also use it to mount some wiring components.

As for the PL-259 connectors, I have heard that it is a good idea to solder them anyways and they have holes to do so. So I plan to use a solder free connector as provided with my antenna but I will solder it anyhow.
 

pamarine

Contributing Member
City
Portsmouth
State
VA
it is extremely easy to get a cold-soldered joint. And if the connector is designed to be solder-free, it may have components that will degrade under the heat of a soldering iron.

Rule sealant is not an adhesive and should not be relied on as such. There are adhesives made specifically for Polyethylene (PE) that will provide superior performance to elastomeric sealant. 3M Scotch Weld DP-8005 is one example.

The cutting boards may or may not be made from PE (Plastic Cutting boards are made from either PE, Nylon, or Acrylic). Make sure you use a PE one if you choose to go that route.
 

BarryB

Contributing Member
City
Pembroke Pines
Justin,

I used those Shakespear center pin connectors for splices and PL-259 connectors. They work GREAT. No problems and no solder needed. Follow Frank's advice and you will be fine.
 

fridaysoff

Contributing Member
City
Leland
Justin,
I have used the Wal Mart cutting boards for backing several times on my 170CC and my 195CC. I put a little Rule on the back side and use screws to hold it in place. On my 195CC I used them cut to size to sit under my GPS,VHF and my MP3 player mount. They level the bottom of the shelf on my console and they are thicker than the Roplene. Good luck.
John D
 
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