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Author Topic:   Prolonging Life of Marine Electronics
anthonylisske posted 05-26-2011 09:51 PM ET (US)   Profile for anthonylisske   Send Email to anthonylisske  
After six years of being doused with saltwater spray, my Standard-Horizon CP1000 chart plotter kicked. It would not acquire satellites, and after a hard reset and new antenna, I sent it back to Standard Horizon. They said it was corroded and I was SOL.

Standard-Horizon gave me a $100 rebate on new unit, and [I] purchased the new CP 590 chart plotter.

[Give me] any suggestions on how to get longevity out of it. I was thinking about [applying silicon to] the unit or spraying the motherboard with a silicone sealant.

I am not an electronic guru, or rich for that fact, so I can't spend $1.500 every five to six years.

Thanks in advance

jimh posted 05-27-2011 08:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I would be reluctant to disassemble a brand new electronic device in order to access the internal components. You might damage the seals in the case and create more problems than you would prevent.
Jerry Townsend posted 05-27-2011 06:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
Would spraying clear waterproof plastic over every penetration, joint, et al. work? ---- Jerry/Idaho
anthonylisske posted 05-27-2011 09:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for anthonylisske  Send Email to anthonylisske     
Thanks for the replies. I guaranteed the my unit will be corroded in three to five years. Standard-Horizon think if they make three years they are good to go. I am looking for any advice
JMARTIN posted 05-28-2011 01:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for JMARTIN  Send Email to JMARTIN     
My Lowrance LMS 335C DF lasted six years getting wet and died this year. According to Lowrance, the button pad was the problem due to corrosion. The HDS-5 replacement unit I purchased from them, supposedly has a waterproof button pad. Time will tell.


jimh posted 05-28-2011 08:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The best method of preventing water damage from occurring to marine electronics is to prevent them from getting wet in the first place. I recall reading a complaint from someone about the failure of his marine electronic device to be water resistant after he drove his open-cockpit boat at high speeds during a very intense rain for an hour or more. The effect was to continually spray the device with water at 30-MPH or more for an hour. I don't think there are many electronic devices which would tolerate that type of testing without some water intrusion, at least not the consumer-grade and low-cost marine electronics most of us purchase for our recreational boats.

I have retired my Standard-Horizon CP150 chart plotter to the bench. It is ten years old and still works as well as it did when new. It has been used in saltwater environments, too, but most of its life it was indoors in the boat storage shed.

With regard to the cost of marine electronics in the $1,500-range being a significant expense for the budget, I concur, and I also concur that I would much prefer to not replace them every three years. To encourage their longer life, I try to keep water away from them as much as possible.

davej14 posted 05-28-2011 09:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     
It would not be a good idea to spray anything on the electronics. Without knowing the potential for chemical reaction between the coating and the components you could damage them. Definitely do not coat the exterior openings as they are needed for cooling. You are basically stuck with the manufacturer's design when it comes to environmental resistance. I wouldn't expect them to use military grade components but with a $1500. device you would think they could at lease conformally coat the PCB and components.

If Standard Horizon stated that they only expect their units to last for 3 to 5 years then I would vote with my feet and buy from another manufacturer.

anthonylisske posted 05-28-2011 09:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for anthonylisske  Send Email to anthonylisske     
Well put Jim.

Occums Razor. I will put my efforts into keeping it dry. It will be tough. Maybe a big ziplock, lol.

Jefecinco posted 05-28-2011 10:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
Try a cheap clear plastic food bag attached with a long plastic bag tie. Just put on a new one before each outing and remove it after doing your wash down. I say a cheap bag because it will be thin enough for you to operate the buttons through the bag.

Not exactly 100% waterproof but it should help a lot.


themclos posted 05-28-2011 10:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for themclos  Send Email to themclos     
Standard Horizon's customer service is second to none, and their products are excellent. Your chartplotter lasted through 6 years of saltwater use, not 3 - 5 years.

I think they provided you with a very generous offer by giving you $100 rebate on your new unit.

I suggest you ask Standard Horizon for their recommended best practices with their devices.

I think Jim's advice is excellent. Choose a mounting position that offers the unit the greatest possible protection from spray and direct contact with water.


jimh posted 05-28-2011 12:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Caution in the willy-nilly spraying of electronics with various aerosol coatings is good advice. I noted recently one manufacturer (BEP) explicitly warned users of one of their devices:

Do not use any type of corrosion inhibiting spray such as CRC, INOX etc. on any part of this unit.
jimh posted 05-28-2011 12:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
In devices like a chart plotter, the most expensive component is typically the display device itself. Even if a unit is no longer functioning, if its display is still good there can be considerable value in the display as a replacement part for other owners. I would advertise a non-working unit as being for sale and note the display is good. You might find it still has some value.

Marine electronic instruments or devices which are six years old will often not retain much value, even if working perfectly. This is not the fault of the device or its manufacturer, but it is a result of the fantastic progress and innovation which characterizes our current era of electronic product development. Perhaps if at some time the pace of innovation slows and the cost of modern electronic assembly methods increases, we might see an end to what has been a long run of everything getting smaller, faster, cheaper, and better in six-month cycles.

anthonylisske posted 05-28-2011 11:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for anthonylisske  Send Email to anthonylisske     
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that in order to get the $100 dollar coupon, they keep the unit. Just FYI.
jimh posted 05-29-2011 09:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I sense disappointment in Anthony with the life span of his marine electronics. However, I don't think the environment provided was encouraging. He says, after all, "After six years of being doused with saltwater spray..." Six years of saltwater spray will affect most electronics.
Jefecinco posted 05-29-2011 09:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
If a small boat is often used for offshore fishing or otherwise used in rough conditions and the electronics are not able to be located in a way that avoids the almost inevitable exposure to salt water spray it is almost certain to shorten the life of the electronics.

Protection would appear to be the most effective step to avoid early electronic failures.

I believe Pods for protecting helm mounted electronics are available. I believe they are weather resistant if not water proof. However the controls and screen must remain accessible and thus exposed. They may be worth a look.


Jerry Townsend posted 05-29-2011 02:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
Hey guys - I was only suggesting spraying the penetrations and seals of the case - not the electrical components within the case. This only serves to prevent the electronics from getting wet in the first place. --- Jerry/Idaho
anthonylisske posted 05-29-2011 02:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for anthonylisske  Send Email to anthonylisske     
I was ignorantly thinking I could spray something (silicone) on the motherboard since that was the item corroded, but I now think otherwise.

I am not really disappointed in the electronics. (I would like to be,since I want to blame something for me spending 1500 dollars.) I just was worried that I won't get 6 out of this one. I was whiny about six years, I would damn near tears if it was 3 years,lol.

I just figured I would ask since just about everyone here has got some ideas and opinions.

For the record, my pop said I am lucky it lasted 2 years with the abuse it recieved. My feeling towards standard horizon and the unit is evident by the fact I picked up another unit the next day, no hesitation.

Thanks for the input and now since the new unit has the radar overlay function, all I can think about is radar. (an issue for a later post!)

Thanks again

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