I won the Raymarine Dragonfly 5-Pro fishfinder/GPS and Navionics+ charts as 2nd prize in the Swanage Classic competition last month. I have spent the last few weeks thinking about how best to install the Dragonfly on my RTM Abaco and then sourcing all the components i would need. Here is a run through of how i installed it including:
The process is applicable to virtually any kayak and fish finder unit where the transducer needs to be installed in the hull.
- Dragonfly 5-Pro Sonar/GPS
- Navionics+ Charts
- Scanstrut Deck Seal DS30-P for 30mm connectors and 9-14mm cables
- Scanstrut Deck Seal DS16-P for 16mm connectors and 2-8mm cables
- 12v 7Ah Sealed Lead Acid Battery
- Female Spade Crimp Connectors
- 2-way Superseal Waterproof 12v Electrical Connector Plug
- Lock & Lock Watertight Rectangular Plastic Storage Container 1.9 Litre HPL818
- Block of High-density Closed Cell Foam
- RAM 1" Ball Round Base with AMPS pattern
- RAM Double Socket Arm for 1” ball
- Chopping Board – 10mm thick
- 1 m of 5mm bungee
- 4 x Trifold Rivets or Stainless Steel Bolts, Nuts and Washers
- Marine Goop
Step 1 - Making a Waterproof Battery Box
Lock & Lock make a brilliant watertight rectangular plastic storage container (1.9 Litre HPL818) that houses a 12v 7Ah battery perfectly with a bit of foam packing. The power lead from the Dragonfly needs to pass into the container to the battery and for this i have used a Scanstrut waterproof Deck Seal (DS16-P for 16mm connectors and 2-8mm cables).
Note: This step isn't required if your battery box will always stay in one kayak.
Note: There is also a grey wire incorporated into the power cable - this is a drain wire which works with the sheilding in the cable and serves to ground the wiring. I disregarded it during this installation and haven't experienced any problems to date.
Step 2 - Making a Battery Box Holder
Step 3 - Mounting the Dragonfly head unit
Step 4 - Installing the Transducer in-hull
- Scupper Mounted - where the transducer is fixed underneath the kayak either against the scupper hole or more commonly inside a purpose moulded transducer scupper with the transducer wire coming up to the head unit through the scupper hole.
- Arm Mounted - where the transducer is mounted on the end of an arm which goes over the side of the kayak. Ram Mounts make a flexible transducer arm that can be attached to the kayak via a ram ball that is fixed to the kayak or on a ram ball that is attached to the kayaks slide rails, if present. The arm can easily be moved in and out of the water to prevent damage when paddling over shallow rocks or when launching/landing.
- In-hull Mounted - where the transducer is either glued inside the kayak against the hull as a 'dry-mount' or placed within a small well against the hull that is filled with water as a 'wet-mount'. The dry-mount in-hull option appears to be the most common form of transducer installation, if scupper mounting is not an option, with Marine Goop or Sikaflex used as the adhesive to bond the transducer to the hull.
The Abaco does have a transducer scupper hole and i used this to scupper mount the transducer on my Lowrance Elite-4x DSI. The Dragonfly transducer is considerably longer than the Elite-4x DSI transducer and also longer than the transducer scupper on the Abaco! RTM will have to make a longer transducer scupper hole to accommodate for the larger transducers on the latest CHIRP fish finders.
The Finished Product
I used the Dragonfly over the weekend of the Ocean Kayak Classic competition at Plymouth and it seemed to work flawlessly. The display is bright and clear. Raymarine ensure the Dragonfly screen will not fog and i saw no signs of fogging over the weekend. The down-vision returns were high resolution, clear and sharp with no signs of any issues from the in-hull installation apart from a small band of interference within the first few cm's of return - this was to be expected and is hardly noticeable on the screen at all which is good. Bottom features were clearly identifiable with rocks, boulders and seaweed seen is good detail in shallow water less than 10m. Without having used it in deeper water i cannot yet comment on its ability to identify structure below this depth. The GPS worked well and waypoints easily entered and stored. The chart was easy to navigate and zoom into and out from. The temperature reading starts quite a way above the water temperature just after launching (seen below in the photo) but once the hull cools down to the water temperature after 10 minutes or so the reading is approx. 1° above that of the water.
So far I'm impressed and I'm sure it will be put to good use finding fish and various structures, with the GPS and bathymetry charts being used to navigate to fishing grounds and store those all important places where the fish are caught!
If your interested in purchasing the Raymarine Dragonfly 5-PRO they are available at Cornwall Canoes, along with all the main accessories needed for fish finder installation. Give them a call or check out their website for more information.