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Author Topic:   Gauge Mounting Enclosure
Jefecinco posted 08-05-2011 08:32 AM ET (US)   Profile for Jefecinco   Send Email to Jefecinco  
I'm going to add a tachometer and voltmeter to the top of the console of a 1981 13 Sport. The backs of the gauges need to be protected from rain, wash water, spray, etc. An alternative would be to use waterproof gauges but they are pricey.

I believe some kind of water resistant enclosure is needed since there is no "dash" available for gauge mounting. The use of purpose designed enclosures or pods is prohibitively expensive so I'll need to adapt something else for the purpose.

I believe reasonable dimensions would be 8" wide, 5" high, and 2" deep.

I'd appreciate any ideas or experiences you'd care to share.


tmann45 posted 08-05-2011 01:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for tmann45  Send Email to tmann45     

I have had a tach installed in my 1986 13' since new. The boat is used in fresh and salt water with no ill effects yet.


westcoastwhaler posted 08-05-2011 06:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for westcoastwhaler  Send Email to westcoastwhaler     
I have used gauges on 13 and 15 whalers with no covers or protection and I have experienced no ill effects due to elements. I do apply a little grease to the threaded connections that are exposed and also use heat shrink to help with butt connector protection.

I also am very careful when washing down to avoid any excess moisture near the gauges.

Jefecinco posted 08-06-2011 09:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
Thank you Tom and Westcoastwhaler.

That's good news and very helpful. Have you mounted your gauges on top of the console using something like a "L" shaped bracket? Since an enclosure is not needed I'll look for an L bracket of aluminum or stainless steel (preferred) or fabricate one. The nice thing about an L bracket is the ability to mount the gauges at an angle ideal for viewing while underway.

Perhaps some liquid tape or BoatLife caulk on the terminals would help the corrosion potential.


tmann45 posted 08-06-2011 10:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for tmann45  Send Email to tmann45     
My steering and gauges mount on the front or back, depending on your perspective, of the console, not the top.

I socond the use of heat shrink or liquid electrical tape to protect the wires at the connectors, especially if they are bare copper (not tinned).

contender posted 08-06-2011 05:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
What size/diameter are the gauges you want to install? Do you want both of the gauges on the same side or one on each side of the wheel? I would make something out of the same type of material as your console. The gauges I would have them fit inside a triangle facing the driver say at a 45 so they are easy to see.
Jefecinco posted 08-06-2011 07:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     

I don't yet know the sizes. I'm guessing a 4" tachometer and a 2 1/2" voltmeter. If I could get matching sizes and bezels that would be more attractive.

They need to be mounted atop the console at an angle leaning toward the bow at about 45 degrees as you suggest. I want to mount them to the same bracket side by side. Space on that little console top is limited and a sounder is mounted there already just to complicate the matter.

A mahogany bracket would look nice but refinishing would be a pain. Tan King Starboard would look OK but I'm inclined to use stainless steel if the gauges do not require enclosing to protect them from the elements. If they must be enclosed I may rethink using mahogany. Fabrication should be fairly easy and a small sun hood overhang could be incorporated into the top.


Mounting in the front of the little mahogany console would make them virtually impossible to read. They could be mounted in the top of the console but they would be horizontal and reading them would require leaning forward.

Thanks to you both for the input.

davej14 posted 08-06-2011 08:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     
How about something like this. If you use an aluminum
"L" bracket to mount it to the top of your console then you can change the angle for optimum viewing. A more costly mount, but an even better solution would be to use a ram mount.

contender posted 08-06-2011 09:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
Butch: I would not use the king board unless it is just for the face, I do not think screws will hold it together, Another idea, you could mount the gauges in front of one another on the angle you choose. Depending on how much work you want to do you could take the console apart and make a larger/wider top to give you more room for your toys/gauges. If you do an Internet search I sure you could find a tach and volt meter the same size, and bezels to match maybe worth your time to look...good luck
Jefecinco posted 08-07-2011 04:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     

Good points, thank you. Thanks, too, for the link. I'll check on the Ram Mount selection.


Your points are all valid. I have an acquaintance who owns a metal working shop and does a lot of stainless work. I'm sure I can come up with something nice. I like Dave's suggestion to look into Ram Mounts. My wood working skills can be classified as "bloody awful" as they say in UK.


Chuck Tribolet posted 08-08-2011 01:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
How about a Pelikan case?


Jefecinco posted 08-08-2011 09:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll check the available sizes this AM.

I found something interesting on the Ram site suggested by Dave. It's a RAP-B-140-AQ6U. The RAP- may be a misprint as most of the stock numbers begin with RAM-.

It's a Ram Mount with a watertight box designed for small hand held electronics. I don't know if it'll serve but it looks possible. Internal dimensions are W 6", H 4", and D 1.75". I believe it's around $65 or so. There is a knock-out in the back for power cables.


davej14 posted 08-08-2011 12:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     
You could also use this type of base to attach to the case of your choosing. 082065077045049049049066085/Default.aspx

That is the base I used to mount my gps/fishfinder combo. I suggest you keep the link arm as short as possible and use the largest ball mount diameter you are comfortable with (at least 1.5"). You don't need the larger ball structurally but it will minimize vibration.

westcoastwhaler posted 08-08-2011 02:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for westcoastwhaler  Send Email to westcoastwhaler     
If you want the gauges on top of the console, then I second contender's idea of creating a "box" to match your console. The installation will look much cleaner, more natural and more durable than using L Brackets. I believe the console was made of mahogany and the sizes you will need are basically scrap sizes and relatively small and easy to work with. This is the direction I would head if it was my boat.
Jefecinco posted 08-08-2011 03:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     

It looks like the Pelican 1060 may work for this.

There is a lot to think about here. Choosing between a hand built mahogany mount/enclosure, a Ram Mount & Case, or a Pelican Box with a fabricated mount versus a fabricated stainless steel "L" bracket with gauges mounted with the backs out in the weather, salt spray, etc. makes for some difficult choices.

There is no doubt the mahogany solution is the most elegant but due to my abysmal woodworking skills I'm leaning toward the Ram or Pelican options. I'm just not thrilled with the idea of mounting the gauges out in the weather.

Thank you all, again.


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