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Author Topic:   Small Boat Electronics
sternorama posted 09-05-2007 07:04 PM ET (US)   Profile for sternorama   Send Email to sternorama  
There seem to be many choices, so I just thought I would ask what type or suite of electronics you run with, and I'd like to hear why you like them!

I am making this a very broad request, so if you only run with a handheld VHF, you can post right next to the guy who runs with radar, plotter, sounder, etc. Thanks!

Chuck Tribolet posted 09-05-2007 08:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
What are you going to do with the boat? and where?
How big is the console?
What's the budget?


jenkinsph posted 09-05-2007 11:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for jenkinsph  Send Email to jenkinsph     
On a 150 Sport I use all Lowrance equipment (no special reason I was familiar with the name and liked the features) consisting of an LCX26CHD primarily for gps, an LCX25C for sonar and the 850 LVR 850 vhf radio. The Motorguide PTS 24 volt 82lb thrust also has sonar built in too for the auto tracking which seems to work well in most conditions.

I think the RAM mounting system made a huge difference in adding flexibility in mounting the screens. It enables me to swivel the screens toward the bow when fishing up front.

I use a Shakespeare 3' base loaded whip with a 4' extension and stainless folding mount. The extension puts the base of the antenna about even with the top of the bimini.

For power I use two group 27 gell deep cycle to run all electronics and the trolling motor and a group 24 marine starting battery for the engine and nav lights. The built in charger is a 30 amp Pro tournament 3 bank unit and keeps all of the batteries in top shape.

I would have preferred to buy the agm batteries but could not find them in my locale, the gell batteries seem to work well so far though.


sternorama posted 09-06-2007 11:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for sternorama  Send Email to sternorama     
Chuck, just revisited your dive boat rigging article-very nice. In So. CA, I will be doing coastal fishing and Catalina Channel crossings.

Top of console is flat, approx. 2.5'x 2'. (18'er)

Budget? Ahh... I'm thinking of a time-phased budget so that I might do pieces of the system over time. Maybe this is not such a good idea? Also, my budget could be influenced by what is presented here on this thread, so it is not set yet. Wish list includes Radar and an arch!

jenkinsph-the short whip on an extension is a new one to me, but coincides with my recent readings regarding the height of the base of the antenna-sounds like a very smart idea for a small boat-thanks.

Casco Bay Outrage posted 09-06-2007 09:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Casco Bay Outrage  Send Email to Casco Bay Outrage     
I'll bite

On my 1991 Outrage 17, I have a Garmin GPS176 chartplotter with GSM 20 sounder, basic VHF and compass.

The combo GPS/sounder with depth saves a lot of space and is very user freindly.

Here is a photo. Note the VHF is in the electronics box photo#5086788006707117122

Works for me.


Buckda posted 09-06-2007 09:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Gary -

If you want radar and an arch eventually, I'd recommend getting a handheld GPS for now.

An arch is going to cost about $2,000 for a budget model and about $5,000 for a custom, installed model.

If you do go that route, I recommend getting a combo unit like Garmin offers so you can have Radar, GPS and depth finder in one large display.

I also recommend, given your relatively foggy conditions in the mornings, that you get a VHF unit (standard horizon makes a nice one) that has a loudhailer and fog signal feature.

That puts three navigational devices on your console: GPS/Radar/sonar, compass and handheld GPS as backup. Mounted in the console would be the VHF/Loudhailer.

Good luck!


Chuck Tribolet posted 09-06-2007 10:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
In your turf, the one off-the-wall item I'd have is an AIS
receiver and a GPS chartplotter capable of displaying the
AIS info. AIS will tell you where the big boys are, where
they are going, and what they are carrying. I'd have AIS
before RADAR (lots cheaper) but I'd have RADAR too.

That said, where I am, there are few if any big boys, so
I have neither AIS nor RADAR. But where you are ...

And I wouldn't put the VHF in the console. Mount it on top,
pointed at you, and you may well want an aux speaker (I have
a cheap West Marine speaker mounted on the console rail and
it makes a HUGE difference under way).


jenkinsph posted 09-07-2007 01:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for jenkinsph  Send Email to jenkinsph     
Sternorama, the best deals on electronics seem to be in January and Febuary look for closeouts for some good deals. If you have the room without complications go with an eight foot extension and a middle brace since antenna height is of prime importance.

I did notice that Whaler is offering the T top on the 190 Outrage now, so radar could be added to some small boats now. I would be carefull to keep the weight from an arch or t top to a minimum on a small boat.

While the 150 Sport is well equipped it is small and I am toying with the idea of moving up to the 200 Dauntless with the new 200 I4 Verado with a t top and radar added.
Lots more storage room too.


sternorama posted 09-07-2007 11:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for sternorama  Send Email to sternorama     
Great help-thanks. I wonder why nobody ever mentions the AIS recievers around here! I'll have to look into that. Also, my experience has proved out that the VHF should be on top within easy reach...

All the new combo stuff sounds like a space-saver.

I read the post about soldering a back-up battery to the board on a Raymarine unit. Do other manufacturer's use battery holders for this purpose (for ease of service?)

Anybody have any favorite places to shop for electronics?

Any more console set-up pics would be great too. Eventually we all come up with our own ideas, but it is great to study up on what others have done and why.

where2 posted 09-07-2007 11:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
My 15_Sport has a Lowrance Strata_128+ (depth, speed, temp, 8 year old unit), and a Standard Horizon CP180i color chart plotter. On a shelf upstairs, I have a Standard Horizon PS-1000 black box VHF.

The depth finder was a compromise between the expensive stuff, and the best features in a low end pricing unit.

The GPS was an upgrade from a Standard Horizon CP150 black and white chart plotter that served me well for probably 8 years and still works just fine.

The VHF was a sale item that I didn't technically "need" but was too good a price to pass up. I'll get it mounted eventually, with the DSC feature hooked up to the chart plotter.

With a 3-year waterproof warranty, it's hard to go wrong with Standard Horizon products.

Whale1 posted 09-08-2007 09:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whale1    

I opted for a handheld Icom VHF with a spar battery tray that holds AA batteries in case the charge on the internal battery runs out. I also have a Magellan handheld GPS. I often go out fishing with my neighbor and I like the portability of these items.


Whale1 posted 09-08-2007 09:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whale1    
That's a SPARE battery tray:-)
sternorama posted 09-11-2007 06:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for sternorama  Send Email to sternorama     
...look what i found! Wow...

(combo VHF/GPS/Plotter unit) Standard-Horizon-CPV-350C-GPSVHFFishfinder-Pkg-P1525C75.aspx

I'm not selling this stuff, I was just doing some research on Standard Horizon due to the positive comments on their radios.

Chuck Tribolet posted 09-11-2007 06:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
That SH unit has come up here before.

And it's not a fishfinder until you add the external
fishfinder box.


sternorama posted 09-12-2007 06:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for sternorama  Send Email to sternorama     
Understood, thank you. After I posted I later stumbled onto a previous thread related to the SH CPV 350. I'm wondering if this unit ever gained much popularity. Now I'm looking into the details on the Lowrance units-they seem to have on of the better displays... sure is fun to learn about all this stuff!
Frank O posted 09-15-2007 11:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Frank O  Send Email to Frank O     
When I bought my 1995 Outrage 21 a year and a quarter ago, the seller acknowledged that of everything on the boat the electronics were a little tired.

My most immediate concern was that the VHF radio didn't seem to operate properly. So I bought a Standard Horizon GX1500S for the console, and a handheld Standard Horizon HX500S as a backup.

The fishfinder/chartplotter and radar also had problems, so I ended up replacing them too. I previously had a Garmin handheld GPS unit and liked the Garmin family, but I decided on a Lowrance fishfinder/chartplotter (an LCX-25C) in order to be compatible with a side-scan imaging sonar system I was using. Since I was interested in keeping as much as possible in an "all in one" unit, this led me to buy a Lowrance radar that plugs into the fishfinder/chartplotter.

I noticed, incidentally, that there are what appear to be permanent race buoys near my marina (King Harbor) that are not on even the latest issue of USCG lists (which surprises me, since they are marked on the side as being USCG-registered), so I made a point of visiting each and collecting lat-lon to mark on the chartplotter. Early on I had an experience with really thick fog seemingly coming out of nowhere when out for a night dive, so I feel better with these waypoints, plus the radar. The buoys are right around where I would run into them coming back to the harbor from our usual dive spots.

I hooked up serial output from the chartplotter to feed lat-lon information to the GX1500S, but have not gotten around yet to registering to obtain an MMSI number and test the radio's DSC capability. While I'd like to feed the radio's serial output to the chartplotter so that I can see where DSC-equipped friends are, the radar already takes up the LCX25C's serial input, so I don't think I can do this.

sternorama posted 09-19-2007 11:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for sternorama  Send Email to sternorama     
Frank O-thanks for the input. Would you mind if I contacted you regarding your set-up? I have been considering the Lowrance LMC 527C and their radar, but I have not been able to find anyone with this-the fishermen around here all say Furuno when I ask about radar.

It would be nice if someone made a good A-B serial port switch so you could switch from the radar to the DSC find your friend thingie at your convenience. Thanks.

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