Wednesday, 15 July 2009

More High Tech Stuff

Ok its not rocket science, its a fishfinder.

Our depth sounder has been notoriously unpredictable since we first launched the boat. It is great for locating weeds, and lets us know (with some accuracy) if the bottom is between 20 and 60 feet down. Anything deeper, and the depth sounder reads zero. Anything shallower, and I don't trust it since it oscillates between zero and an accurate reading.

Hardly ideal.

The depth sounder is the only SR Mariner instrument we haven't had rebuilt. SR has done a great job on all the gauges, but I don't have the cash on hand to get this last one rebuilt before heading to G-Bay. G-bay has some very interesting rock formations that are better admired with things other than the keel.

In the basement I had a fishfinder that I had been meaning to install forever.

Last week during my bouts of disease I installed the fishfinder, and now a week into operation I am duly impressed. The fishfinder does some cool stuff.
  • It finds fish (whoda thunk!)
  • It finds the bottom of the lake (my slip is between 5 and 6 feet deep!)
  • It warns if the bottom is less deep than it oughta be. (BEEP!)
  • It warns you if the house batteries are dying (BEEP!)
  • It tells you the water temperature (Ok, since I mounted the sensor inside the hull, it tells you the hull temperature, but lets not get picky)
  • It gives me more buttons to push (I like pushing buttons)
While Judi and I were racing at the Women's race the other day, I spent a lot of time playing with the fishfinder. At one point there were about 30 fish under the boat! Judi told me that putting out a trolling line would slow down the boat, but it looked like we had hit the motherload. I gotta get out there with a fishing pole.
Installing the fishfinder was surprisingly easy. In fact there are only 3 steps to it:
  1. Solder the power wires to a power source. Since the fishfinder needs to be near the companionway, and the radio needs to be near the companionway, that one is a no brainer, they are both on the "accessories" switch on the panel as well, which makes sense to me.
  2. Mount the transponder. Get a toilet bowl wax seal and find a good spot on the bottom of the boat. There is some debate as to what counts as a good spot. I chose right under the companionway, aft of the keel. Some guys say that you should mount it forward of the keel so you see what you are going to hit before you hit it, but I think I am happy with where it is located since the bow would bounce out of the water in heavy seas, causing the transponder to lose its reading. Besides my reflexes aren't up to the millisecond you would have to respond

    Clean the hull, press the wax onto it, and press the transponder into the wax, ensuring that no air is trapped in the wax.
  3. Find a good spot to screw the display on so you can monitor it while sailing. I chose the back of the lower hatchboard. I just flip the hatchboard around so its facing me, and I'm set to go. Plug all the wires in, and you will be finding fish in no time!
The only complaint I have with the electronics I've added is that the wires can be unruly. To that end I think I'll add a second 12V outlet to the boat so the GPS can be plugged in closer to the companionway. With that done, I think I can handle the setup as-is.

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