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DIY install Lowrance depthfinder

Discussion in 'Boating & Fishing' started by rick carpenter, Jul 13, 2022.

  1. Jul 13, 2022 at 6:15 AM
    #1
    rick carpenter

    rick carpenter [OP] Well-Known Member

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    We are upgrading the depthfinder on our 18' pontoon from a Humminbird to a Lowrance Elite FS with the 3n1 trannsducer. I will be doing this at or somewhere near the marina since I don't really want to tow it home 50 miles one way just for an install.

    I wouldn't have too much difficulty doing this in my driveway but I'm just concerned I'll leave one absolutely necessary tool at home. Is there anything I need to know above and beyond the install guide? Additional helpful tools? Youtube vids show the bottom of the transducer purposefully mounted approx 1/4" below the toon bottom to get readings at speed. This is counter to the instructions though.
     
    six5crèéd likes this.
  2. Jul 13, 2022 at 6:16 AM
    #2
    six5crèéd

    six5crèéd Be the light

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  3. Jul 13, 2022 at 6:40 AM
    #3
    Off Topic Guy

    Off Topic Guy 2023 Trophy Points - Runner Up

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    I assume your port side pontoon has a transducer mounting bracket on it already? Or is this an older pontoon? I assume since you already have a Humminbird, you've got an adequate surface to mount the new transducer to, but just double checking! If you've got it up on the trailer out of the water at the marina, I don't see why you'd have any issues. Wiring is the worst part, but pontoons are fairly easy to work around with plenty of room. Bring plenty zip ties, a long level, tools needed for the mounting hardware, drill/drill bits in case you need any new holes anywhere for any of the mounts, electrical tape, heat shrink connectors/strippers/pliers, added lengths of wire (correctly gauged), crescent wrench/proper wrench for battery terminal nuts, and a few beers!
     
  4. Jul 13, 2022 at 6:54 AM
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    Off Topic Guy

    Off Topic Guy 2023 Trophy Points - Runner Up

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    I'm not familiar with the specific transducer, but from what I understand, you typically want any transducer to be roughly about a 1/4" below the boat/pontoon, so you don't get turbulence/bubbles/interference, and get good readings at speed. Usually the transducer mounts have adjustability, so as long as you bolt the mount at the centermost section of the mounting hole channels, you'll have some slight adjustment vertically. This would allow you to get the centerline of the transducer mounted even with the bottom line of the pontoon (making the bottom of the transducer sit about 1/4" below pontoon), and then make fine adjustments from there if you get it out to test and get interference.
     
  5. Jul 13, 2022 at 7:01 AM
    #5
    Tacoma Mike

    Tacoma Mike 48 Year Chrysler/Toyota/ASE/ Master Tech.RETIRED

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    Hi low peoples.
    Mounting the transducer for speed is hit and Miss.
    Turbulence plays a big roll. I end up with 1000 fish on my screen after 15mph.
    It has to be out of the toon generated turbulence.
    So lower the better IMHO.
    If the vids show good results why question it.
    Basic tools are all you should need however a few things might help.
    I always have snakes for wiring.
    When I replaced my transducer in my boat I disconnected the wiring from the head unit
    And attached a snake to the wire. When I pulled the old transducer wire out I was able to carefully
    Get the snake all the way through 10 ft of boat. Then I hooked the new wire and pulled the new transducer through the boat without taking 75% of it apart. Food for thought.
    If your going to use the same mount area you can just modify the new mount to match the plate.
    Less holes made the better if it suits your setup.
    Walk the boat and check how you would remove panels, clamps, etc.
    It’s not hard.
    Make sure your transducer wiring length is enough on how you want to run it.
    Don’t be that guy that ends up 12” short..lol
     
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  6. Jul 14, 2022 at 11:14 PM
    #6
    rick carpenter

    rick carpenter [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies on the install and other tools to bring, y'all. The Humminbird transducer is already on the port toon mounting bracket. The Lowrance s/s bracket has oblong mounting holes so I think I'll place it low initially like y'all said then adjust upward if needed.

    The boat is in a lifted slip at the marina so I'll carry the trailer over there and do this in the parking lot. I have about 22' of transducer cable which will be way more than enough to get from stern to helm on an 18' boat. I've got about 3' of new power cable so I ought to be able to cut into the existing power supply under the boat. I'll pre-measure just in case tho. The instruction graphics show positive and negative wires, so naturally there's a yellow wire that goes somewhere. I'm not very knowledgeable about 12v electrics/electronics but once I get the yellow wire figured out it should be simple enough. What do y'all like for connections, waterproof crimp/heatshrink?

    Figuring out how to mount the head unit and make it look presentable should be my biggest problem.
     
  7. Jul 15, 2022 at 3:13 AM
    #7
    Tacoma Mike

    Tacoma Mike 48 Year Chrysler/Toyota/ASE/ Master Tech.RETIRED

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    I’m sure the instructions will tell you on that yellow wire….
    Myself ,for a boat, waterproof heat shrink tubing.
     
  8. Jul 15, 2022 at 6:20 AM
    #8
    Off Topic Guy

    Off Topic Guy 2023 Trophy Points - Runner Up

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    Agree with Mike, look at the install instructions; I'd bet the yellow wire is an alternate power wire to run to other accessories, to power them on and off with your head unit, but definitely check your install instructions for that info. As for any kind of boat wiring, I always use marine grade wire, waterproof heatshrink connectors, and added heatshrink tubing over the connections. The main takeaway though is using the appropriate gauge wire, appropriate fuse, and securing the wires in a way that they won't rub/vibrate on anything.
     
  9. Jul 15, 2022 at 8:31 AM
    #9
    rick carpenter

    rick carpenter [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Neither the instructions nor the diagram (rather sparse info at that) say anything about the yellow wire. Now that you say, I reckon it is for some auxiliary accessory. The red and black wires are stripped and tinned and ready to go but the yellow wire is just cut. Maybe I could mount a USB charging port somehow.
     
  10. Jul 15, 2022 at 8:40 AM
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    Off Topic Guy

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    I wouldn't recommend running anything from that yellow wire. If you don't have whatever accessory intended for the yellow wire, just leave it be. You don't want anything in the circuit that doesn't have to be; it could potentially cause some interference or damage your graph (purely a guess, but I wouldn't risk it). Lots of graphs these days come with extra wires in the harness, sometimes intended to link multiple graphs, data cables, piggyback power, etc. If you don't have what the yellow wire would call for on the other end (maybe like a GPS hub or something), I wouldn't fool with it.
     
  11. Jul 24, 2022 at 6:00 PM
    #11
    rick carpenter

    rick carpenter [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Well, I finally got it installed today... and thanks for the tips, y'all! I got all my tools and supplies gathered and wifey and I went over to the marina last weekend. But the @#!&%!! lake was so low that the cables on the lift wouldn't lower enough to let the boat float. The marina fixed that during the week and wifey and I went over today, pulled the boat under a shade tree in the parking lot, and got-er-dun. The install went fine. I neglected to bring a hole saw for feeding the transducer plug up through the deck and helm. I've got the transducer mounted ~1/4" under the port toon with plenty of room to adjust upwards if necessary. The power comes off a fused terminal block, I butt connected into the stock red and black wires that powered the Humminbird (because I didn't bring my whole electrical kit with the new block spade connectors I needed) and replaced the existing 5A fuse with the 3A fuse supplied by Lowrance. One of the nice things about this Elite FS 7 unit is that it accommodates Mercury's Vessel View.

    Of course, we finished and got the boat into the marina fairway just in time to see a big 'ol storm start rolling in. :frusty:

    Thanks again.

    EDIT: One of the nice things about this Elite FS 7 unit is that it accommodates Mercury's Vessel View. No, it actually doesn't. Turns out the demo software that was running on the units on display at Academy included the larger, high-dollar units' Vessel View connectivity capability that our FS 7 lacked. Bummer. So we have VV like it was from the get-go, running from a bluetooth transducer mounted to the motor's data port going to a cell phone in the helm.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2022
  12. Jul 24, 2022 at 6:14 PM
    #12
    Rock Lobster

    Rock Lobster Thread Derailer

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    I clicked in this hoping someone was installing a depth finder on their Tacoma. Disappointed.
     
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  13. Jun 8, 2023 at 1:24 AM
    #13
    rick carpenter

    rick carpenter [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Update:

    All is fine, the Lowrance is working out well. Thanks for y'all's assistance. I would definitely recommend anyone interested in an Elite FS who has a Merc to see which models are directly compatible with VesselView. For set-up, it's worth it to get a 12v power supply and fire it up at the house where you can experiment with screens, watch helpful youtube vids, etc. We transport the Lowrance to the boat in one of these HF Apache cases...

    upload_2023-6-8_3-6-0.jpg
    Like it a lot, highly recommend. If it ever were to go overboard closed it's supposed to float 5 minutes.
     
  14. Jun 8, 2023 at 6:27 AM
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    Off Topic Guy

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    I also use one of these types of handgun cases to store/carry my graphs, maybe a Plano brand, or some other knockoff pelican. It kinda blows my mind to see people who leave their graphs on the boat 100% of the time. Too many stories of people having their stuff stolen from parking lots, at the boat ramp, home, tied up to the dock overnight, etc. A case like this is great protection while they're not on the boat. Some people spend thousands of dollars on graphs, and while an insurance claim might get them back, a small pistol case costs a whole lot less than your deductible and time spent dealing with a claim.
     

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