It was time to fit my Lowrance Elite 4x DSI Fish Finder to the Abaco. I had fitted it temporarily for the first couple of sessions out but wanted to make it a more permanent fixture. I also wanted to rig it in a way that would allow me to transfer it between kayaks should i want to use it on my tandem. This would mean no wires passing through the hull thus allowing the complete set up to be removable.
Part 1 - Fitting the display screen
First task was to decide where i wanted to position the screen. I have purchased a ram adaptor for the 4x dsi so its a case of fitting a ram ball to the kayak wherever i wanted the screen to be.
I toyed with the idea of having a yak attack screw ball on the slide rails but would prefer the screen to be centralised so i settled on the having it at the rear of the centre hatch. I planned to make a backing plate with countersunk bolts to give a strong, neat fit to the centre hatch after seeing a similar idea somewhere online. I started by cutting out a square of thick chopping board and drilling 4 holes in a square configuration. I then threaded a marine grade stainless steel nylon bolt onto an M5 bolt of the same material and heated this using a lighter up until the nylon ring melted. Gloves are a must here, we are dealing with very hot metal. I then unthreaded the bolt and threaded it on again but backwards as in the photo below - melting the nylon ring in the previous step made this step easier.
The bolt is then heated up again until its red hot and then pushed into the chopping board until it melts itself flush into the board - The bolt leaves the hole clear for threading again from the other direction when it comes to attaching the ram ball. Once in position plunge into cold water to solidify the plastic, fixing the bolt in place. The bolt can then be unscrewed and any excess plastic ground or filed away. Repeat 4 times. It's fiddly and there is a knack to it but the finished result looks good.
The bolts were then cut down to size as to be flush with the nuts when fixed to the centre hatch. The square of plastic was also ground down to the same diameter circle as the ram ball base.
Holes were drilled through the centre hatch, the ram ball and the top of the backing plate smeared in clear silicon. The bolts were bolted into the backing plate giving a strong, neat and waterproof fitting.
I also fitted a ram ball to my dashboard so that the fish finder can be fitted here when i am using it
Step 2 - Making a battery box
The Abaco has a square storage space just in front of the centre console and i planned to use this space to place the battery box. I managed to find a waterproof clip down food storage box which fitted perfectly within storage space and of the right size to house a Yuhasa 12V 7aH lead-acid battery. A couple of pieces of foam to fill the empty space and a small waterproof gland finished the set-up. A bit of extra insulation tape was added to help keep the water out. The black bungee holds the box in place and excess wire is held beside the battery box.... perfect!
Step 3 - Fitting the transducer
The Abaco has a scupper moulded to take a transducer. I needed to fit the transducer so that it was easily removable and with a little thought i came up with a solution. Its not perfect and I'm sure there are other ways to achieve the same, but it works. I utilised the motor mount which came with the Elite 4x dsi and made a small adjustable strap which passes up through the scupper hole and is held to the kayak using a small length of bungee and an upside down lashing hook. The small piece of foam keeps the transducer firmly in the motor mount.
Its a bit fiddly to install each time but it works and means i can switch the whole set up between kayaks. The transducer is passed down the scupper hole then fitted inside the motor mount. The strap and elastic is passed back up through the scupper and hooked onto the hook. The elastic keeps the transducer tight to the hull.
The finished set-up - neat, tidy and fully removable
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