Today’s electronics are getting bigger and heavier, and with seemingly less space on the dash or the fact that we are putting more units on our boats, things can get interesting. In order to protect our investment and keep them visible can be difficult.
I recently spent some time at Bert’s Custom Tackle to develop a mount that could fit in a tight space and not require a swim noodle or pop bottle to cushion. Things that can move tend to end up breaking in a boat.
What we ended up with that night was a downrigger and handling bracket modified to fit my large 10-inch Humminbird Onix unit. With only one weld, it is actually a very reasonable DIY project if you didn’t want to purchase one. The whole mount fits inside a permanently mounted 6-inch section of Bert’s track. The second unit was back mount with the manufactures bracket directly to the console.
Below are a few tips that will help install your next unit, whether it is back mounted or on a commercial or custom mount.
- Lay everything out at least twice—this usually means through the help of a friend, removing the windshield a couple times and a pile of clamps.
- Make sure that nothing is installed even close to the windshield. Both glass and plexi windshields will flex a surprising amount as you bounce down the lake. When a unit makes contact it can have the same effect as a sledgehammer would.
- Leave room for the wires to come out. A few years ago I made the mistake of drilling too small of a hole to get all of the cords through, and it cost me dearly. Trying to drill a bigger hole over an existing hole is not a good situation—trust me. A rubber rigging hole cover is a good option when large holes are necessary.
- Through-bolt everything! Also, take the time to make a backing plate out of aluminum bar stock. This is a cheap and easy method to beef up dash support and provides a marriage between the brackets.
- Decorative finish plates look good but easily crack as they are tightened down when there is a gap between the plate and fiberglass or aluminum console. Large rubber washers or thin bar stock effectively fill the gap.
- Use some type of lubrication on the stainless steel threads as you tighten them down to prevent galling.
Capt. Ross Robertson