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Forum nameTackle and Boats
Topic subjectBoat upgrades & fixes
Topic URLhttp://www.calfishing.com/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=12&topic_id=3832
3832, Boat upgrades & fixes
Posted by swimbait, Tue Jan-01-13 06:51 PM
Winter time... Clear skies, lows in the 20's... yeah it's time to stay home and work on the boat. Today I started on:

- Adding 2D through-hull transducer to get a bottom readout above 7mph with my Humminbird sidescan unit

- Reconfiguring the GPS from the interlink to having a puck on each unit. Stupid interlink manual tells you to rig it the 3rd port of the interlink but when you rig like this the GPS speed lags. Bad.

- Moving the console GPS puck back to the stern near the rear transducer

- Replacing the starter battery with a West Marine AGM Group 27. I had an Interstate in there for less than a year and started getting a low voltage alarm when trimming the engine after a full day of fishing. That interstate batt is rated for 1000 MCA but it's a suck battery.

- To fit the Group 27, it's time to relayout the whole driver side of the battery compartment

- Update firmware on fish finders

- Set custom message on fish finder startup screen (useful if they ever got stolen)

- Find annoying livewell leak, fix

- Replace fuel filter

Here's a few shots

Original layout when I first got the boat (24v system)

Testing out placement for group 27 starter today

Gutted - ripped out two old Lowrance thru-hull pucks (who the hell puts a flasher in a 2006 model year boat...) 2D puck installed

More in the next few days
3833, RE: Boat upgrades & fixes
Posted by swimbait, Wed Jan-02-13 11:32 PM
Most of the way done now. Learned a few things today. Let's see:

Unless I'm oblivious (possible) there is no place to mount a 2D Humminbird transducer flat on the bottom of the hull. Lowrance transducers fit (there were 2 in there to start with) but the bird one is bigger. To compensate I built a marvelous dam of playdough which I appropriated from my 3 year old to keep the epoxy close to the puck in the slight channel it was sitting over. We'll find out later if this worked or was a fail.


My most hated part of all boat work is running cables through the hull. Today I found out why I hate the previous owner of my boat (or at least whoever worked on it for him). Theoretically there's a string available to you to pull cables. My boat had no string. It was no doubt used and not re-fished.

After removing the seat and taking a close look up the side I found where the string should have been, in a corrugated tube that ran the corner of the boat. 10 seconds with an electrician's fish and it was through the tube. Guh! Easy.

To find your tube in a Champion 198 Elite

Yes, you ride around in this boat while sitting on a chair made of gasoline. How cool.

Anyhow, here's the tube in all glory

After filling the livewell and finding my leak (o-ring on the livewell pump out pump) I buttoned it all up and put the new starter batt in.

Finished Compartment :)
3834, RE: Boat upgrades & fixes
Posted by Sacto John, Fri Jan-04-13 08:48 AM
Looks very nice. I am getting ready to tackle the read compartment of the used Ranger I just bought. I need to replace the bilge pump and to do so I need to remove all three batteries, but there is so many wires in there I need to try and clean it up. I can not believe what the two former owners did back there x(
3835, RE: Boat upgrades & fixes
Posted by swimbait, Fri Jan-04-13 10:20 AM
The wires are intimidating at first... I still label each wire with a piece of masking tape and a number on it with + or -

The nightmare scenario is having to unhook wires while on the water and put it back together. This happened to me when I borrowed Mark's basscat few years ago. It got all screwed up. I felt really dumb after.

Post some pics of your stuff before and after, it's good to see other people's setups, I often learn little tricks and stuff that way. I still consider myself total barni when it comes to bass boats. Half my problems with this boat have been self-inflicted out of ignorance :)
3836, RE: Boat upgrades & fixes
Posted by Sacto John, Fri Jan-04-13 12:07 PM
I will try to take pictures. I was thinking of bundling all the wires that go to each terminal with a ziptie that I can label. That way I know where it goes and can keep everything organized. I really wish I knew what each wire was for and then I could label them all individually, but I doubt I have the patients to figure that out. Still its a lot better than my old boat, which I had everything jimmy rigged.

I was also wondering what Hummingbird SI units you are running, if you have any recomendations or tips...I am looking into buying one.
3837, RE: Boat upgrades & fixes
Posted by swimbait, Fri Jan-04-13 01:03 PM
1198c at console and 858 on the bow. What's to say... They are good units in the sense that when they are working properly you can see nice things on the sidescan and good views looking down.

Some key learnings:

With sidescan at the console, you really want to have the sidescan transducer on the jack plate and a 2D through hull transducer inside the boat. Otherwise you can't see the bottom going faster than about 7mph. Rigging all this up is annoying. Need a Y cable to do it.

I had various problems with interference - same as my Lowrance's. What worked best was a ground wire all the way from the skeg of the trolling motor (held in place with a screw) to the negative post of the starter battery. I think the Fortrex 101 causes a lot of interference. What didn't work was moving cables around or running a ground from trolling motor batts to the starter.

Trying to see actual bass on the sidescan is hard unless you set the range pretty small, like 40 feet to either side. So finding bass on sidescan is most realistic when you know right where to look. Scanning around set to like 180' to either side and expecting to see largemouth isn't very realistic. You can kinda make them out sometimes but not really. You will see bait super good at any distance.

Some places like Clear Lake sidescan really good. Other places like Don Pedro and McClure don't seem to. I've driven around McClure where you know there are spotted bass and had a hard time seeing them on sidescan. Dunno if it's because they are small or the bottom composition of those lakes makes it harder or if I'm just not setting up my unit right.

Striper show pretty good on sidescan. They move more and look like wiggly lines. I've seen them clearly at the Delta and caught them off the marks. It's pretty useful.

Sidescan was probably a big advantage when it first came out, especially on lakes that didn't have good maps. Now most tourney guys have it so the odds of finding top secret stuff is not great. Eg: At clear lake I found some nice stuff that seemed kinda subtle. Turned out everyone else had already found it.

It is very helpful when you go somewhere that you don't know well and want to quickly assess what's there. For me, so many of the lakes we fish, I've seen them at low water and know the spots well. So there were not a lot of aha moments. It's still fun to have.
3838, RE: Boat upgrades & fixes
Posted by Sacto John, Fri Jan-04-13 03:39 PM
Thanks for the response, very helpful.

I do not think I would need an additional 2D transducer as I have a 778c HD on the console that I would keep for my 2D uses and use the SI/DI unit for side imaging and down imaging and the GPS. I realize it is not a silver bullet and I am mainly wanting to use it for locating bait more than bass, and to give me a better idea of some the structure on some of the lakes I am less familiar with.
3839, RE: Boat upgrades & fixes
Posted by swampy, Wed Jan-23-13 07:55 AM
I finaly got my fat butt under the consol in my Champion and got my wiring oganized and now all my electronics work ALL the time:o It was a very tight squeeze and I couldn't beleive that I didn't do this sooner(I've only had the boat maybe 10 years now!lol)Still fishing the 86 mean 15 that I got from Tonto.All in all,it's been a great little boat but I am hoping to get into a bigger one soon.
What Ranger did ya get John?That is probably what I am going to be looking for.Nothing huge but at least 18ft and not tippy!lol
Hope to see you guys on the water sometime.
P.s,the only isue I have left is my water temp sensor on the transom broke the wire right at the sensor(it's an older sensor that is about 1/4"dia and maybe an inch and a half long).I have been having a hard time finding one and was wondering if I could get a new sensor and just splice the wire to my digital temp gauge on the dash.Any idea's?
3840, RE: Boat upgrades & fixes
Posted by Sacto John, Thu Jan-24-13 05:07 PM
Swampy, I got an 91 333V. Its 16'10' with a 130 Yamaha on it. Its not the new boat I was hoping for but it also cost about 1/10 of the price and its a hell of a lot nicer then the Duct Tape Queen I was fishing out of.

I replaced the bilge pump this week and had the running lights fixed by C&C while I had the boat in for service. Now all the switches work the way they are supposed to. I took pictures of the bilge project but it was too dark in my garage and they did not turn out.
3841, RE: Boat upgrades & fixes
Posted by swampy, Thu Jan-24-13 06:04 PM
That's cool John,I'm not looking for anything bigger than 19ft and would like to find a good 18fter.I,m not really looking right now but hopefully will be next year.I do love my champion.I can fish all day and only use 12 gallons of gas max is pretty freakin'cool!It's just not beamy enough and more storage would be great too.
Hopefully I'll see ya on the delta sometime.
3842, RE: Boat upgrades & fixes
Posted by swimbait, Fri Jan-25-13 09:43 AM
After a weekend on the lake, the verdict on fixed was mixed. Wiring the GPS pucks to the units direct (no interlink) was great. GPS refresh at 4x makes the GPS work how it should. I'm ditching my interlink and switching to ethernet asap.

The water leak in the livewell pump out pump seal is fixed. The boat made no water this weekend. Nice feeling.

Adding a trolling motor tie down strap seemed like a good improvement. I should probably re-mount the entire trolling motor to sit over the deck more so I can use a normal brace on it. I don't know why my t-motor is rigged like it is. Have to think it was factory, but who knows. Maybe the original owner drilled it himself, or maybe the original trolling motor wasn't the long shaft length one.

The 2D puck install for high speed was a fail. I'm pretty sure it's because the puck overlaps a stringer by about 1/2". You can see in the pic above how the footprint of the old Lowrance thru-hull puck is smaller than the Humminbird one. There's two thru-hull pucks you can use on your Humminbird, both have the same part number, but I think the newer one has a smaller footprint. I'm giving up on that for awhile.

The West Marine group 27 was also a fail. It was getting weak by the end of the day. Maybe it's because the battery is a few years old and I used it in my small boat as the trolling motor batt. But I think it's just not quite to spec (900 MCA vs. 1000 which is spec). Bought a group 31 optima blue top and planning to install it asap. Tired of stupid battery issues.

My 1198c came back from Humminbird with the buttons working great. I felt so happy. Then I realized they flashed the firmware on it to the latest version (6.570) and reset the unit to defaults. In the process of setting it back up and syncing the interlink it went in to an endless rebooting loop. Weak! Kinda pissed on that. Had to send it back to Humminbird ... again.

My computer brain thinks it was something to do with atypical waypoint formats imported off my Lowrance units that didn't sync right through the interlink. Just one more reason to get rid of the interlink.

To put the icing on the cake I mailed my dinged up 25p Temest to Phil's to get re-worked. We're getting there, slow and steady. And learning a lot about boats in the process.
3843, RE: Boat upgrades & fixes
Posted by swimbait, Fri Jan-25-13 09:51 AM
swampus. I think your 16' Champ is an awesome boat :) If you get another boat, get a Champion man. 18 and 19' Rangers are back breakers. I fished a lot of tourneys out of a 198vx at the Delta. Ugggg. You braced for every boat wake so you didn't kill your back. The front deck layout sux too.

I'd be looking for a 184. All those Champ guys on BBC say that's the best hull on the older line. You might be able to get a 196 for a good price too. Great hull on that boat.
3848, RE: Boat upgrades & fixes
Posted by lugnut, Mon Mar-04-13 09:32 PM
John remember the big old green or brown....can't remember......from the old 14/25 days. How's your new boat coming along? I bought an '85 Ranger 370V about 10-12 years agon and with all the upgrades, repairs, etc. I have put in it I just can't sell or trade it in....love the thing. Just had a new dash plate, fuse cover, and bow plate lazer cut from aluminum and powder coated in a textured black. Started installing my new gauges today. Lets see some pics of the new to you when you get a chance.

Sorry, hope this wasn't a hijacking, wasn't meant to be.

3849, RE: Boat upgrades & fixes
Posted by Sacto John, Tue Mar-05-13 08:35 AM
Yeah Kel, that old boat wasn't pretty but caught some fish.

My boat is more or less done now. I replaced the hubs, bilge pump, got the lights working and have a new prop on the way. Eventually I will get a GPS fish finder, hopefully a SI Humminbird. Boat was pretty clean when I bought it so not much I needed to do. Boat fishes a hell of a lot nicer then my last boat. Here is a picture of the boat from my maiden trip.

3851, RE: Boat upgrades & fixes
Posted by lugnut, Tue Mar-05-13 08:21 PM
>Yeah Kel, that old boat wasn't pretty but caught some fish.
>My boat is more or less done now. I replaced the hubs, bilge
>pump, got the lights working and have a new prop on the way.
>Eventually I will get a GPS fish finder, hopefully a SI
>Humminbird. Boat was pretty clean when I bought it so not much
>I needed to do. Boat fishes a hell of a lot nicer then my
>last boat. Here is a picture of the boat from my maiden trip.

It looks good, those are SOLID boats. You ever make it out this way to the Motherlode Lakes anymore? Remember Jim Long? He lives about two blocks from me so I see him every once in awhile. I still shoot emails back and forth with Mike Niemi every now and again. Other than that I don't hear to much about anybody else from the "old" days...lol
3850, RE: Boat upgrades & fixes
Posted by Lake, Tue Mar-05-13 11:52 AM
I use Panduit wire markers. Real easy and permanent. I am out of stock but imagine you could find some online somewhere. Home Depot might even have them, I just never looked.

3844, RE: Boat upgrades & fixes
Posted by Bassin, Tue Jan-29-13 11:38 AM
Wish I had that room in my Champ 190 Compartment. I am running a 36v MG Dig. Tour right now, with HD5's and would really like to get another battery in there...

3846, RE: Boat upgrades & fixes
Posted by DBass, Fri Feb-08-13 04:09 PM
Hey Rob, to see more detail on the side scan di change the frequency to 800, you will see the fish like looking at a photo. i do this when fishing more than 15ft+ deep as the 800 setting makes it into a cone down from the transducer rather than straight out the sides and down.

look at Doug vahrenberg's you tube he describes everything to get the most out of the hummingbird sonars.

also if your just hooking up 2 sonars (Bow and Console) with 2 gps pucks and 2 or more transducers all you need is the Ethernet cable without the interlink. it will share gps and transducers, Doug also shows how to on his you tube. the only thing it wont share is map card data.
3847, RE: Boat upgrades & fixes
Posted by DBass, Tue Feb-12-13 08:16 AM
sorry i but the link to his you tube page. LOL

here is how he has 2 transducers (one SI and one 2D thru hull)connected to his console unit using the Y connector.


here is the networking video he did using the Ethernet cable.