In-Hull Depth Finder/Transponder - Repair and/or Replacement - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics
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Old 06-14-2013
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In-Hull Depth Finder/Transponder - Repair and/or Replacement

Hey everyone, I am the pround owner of a 23' Ranger Sailboat and I am looking to do some repair and replacement work on my navigational electronics. It's a simple set up, just what i would refer to as a "depth finder" and what I think is called a Knotmeter.

I get power to both, but inconsistent display to my depth finder and a pretty consistent "0.0" on my knotmeter. I think growth in the latter is responsible for the 0.0, but I am interested in figuring out what i need to do to replace and diagnose the depth finder. I don't need it to connect to a handheld GPS or similar, just feed the display with reasonably accurate information on water depth. Again, its an in-hull model currently, so no drilling needed.

I've looked at transponder and digital display units online, but wanted to get some recommendations on level of sophistication and whether this is something I can do with the boat in the water. My limited understanding is that I am going to need to pay the most care to mounting and otherwiese protecting the transponder itself.

Any and all suggestions are welcome and appreciated

Adam
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Old 06-14-2013
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Re: In-Hull Depth Finder/Transponder - Repair and/or Replacement

Both my knotmeter and depth sounder were fried when I bought our boat. For now, I just use our GPS for speed and am totally fine with that. For the depth sounder, I replaced it with a fishfinder and in hull transducer and am VERY pleased with it. Great accuracy, plus it gives me picture of the bottom and its density (good for anchoring) AND, I can watch the fishies that appear under my boat while sailing! I bought a good quality but discontinued fish finder so the whole thing didn't cost more tha $250.

I did it while in the water and the only difficult part of the installation was fishing the transducer cable from the transducer location just before the V berth to the display on the binnacle.
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Last edited by nodders; 06-14-2013 at 11:00 AM.
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Re: In-Hull Depth Finder/Transponder - Repair and/or Replacement

Nodders, thank you for the reply. For better or worse, the current location of my transponder unit is just aft of my fin keel, so getting to it (or the cable) just not be a problem. I'll look into what's available for fish finders as well.

Adam
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Re: In-Hull Depth Finder/Transponder - Repair and/or Replacement

If your transducer is aft of the keel, that could be a part of the problem? I understand that the transducer should be located away from potential water turbulence which would likely be the case behind the keel veersus in front of it.

The big challenge for me was that the "plug" at the display end of the cable is fairly large. If it was a simple wire it would not have been a problem. But getting that plug through existing holes and the steering pedestal was an issue!
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Old 06-14-2013
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Re: In-Hull Depth Finder/Transponder - Repair and/or Replacement

What brand is your original depth meter? FWIW I've just installed a Raymarine ST40 depth display and connected it to an 80s original Signet tranducer, works great.

Check the specs, if the frequencies are the same the old transducer may well work with a new head. There's not much that can go wrong with the tranducers themselves as a rule.

That said, aft of the keel is not an optimum position.. your keel will find the shallows before your depth meter does!! (by seconds, or less, perhaps, but....)
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Re: In-Hull Depth Finder/Transponder - Repair and/or Replacement

I'm not sure of the brand offhand. I'll check this evening. Thank you for the advice and the heads up on the transponder. Yeah, I've always wondered what good knowing what the depth is behind my keel... Maybe I'll look into mounting it forward closer to my knotmeter if I have to look into a new unit. Glad to hear that replacing the transducer doesn't appear to be surgical in the level of precision required.

Adam
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Old 06-18-2013
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Re: In-Hull Depth Finder/Transponder - Repair and/or Replacement

Often the best area to mount a DS transducer is a few feet behind the keel, on many boats. Hulls on boats in your size range are usually near-flat there and it's easy to glue it down inside. No extra hole in the boat.

As to fear of grounding.... you are in a boat that goes about (very rough average...) five knots under sail or OB power and when in shallow water you will be slowing down some out of caution anyhow.

If you measure the distance from a presumed DS location forward and the place behind the keel, it's probably around 12-ish feet. If you were moving forward, say, 4 kts on the average, that's a tad over 2 seconds difference in "notification time".
Your boat draws about (guessing) 3.7 feet. Not that you want to hop in and push it off, but at least you can, with a draft that modest and a boat that light in weight.

Don't fret. You'll be fine with the DS transducer behind that keel.
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Old 06-22-2013
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Re: In-Hull Depth Finder/Transponder - Repair and/or Replacement

To check your transducer you can purchase a 1500.00 instrument or do what we did before we had one turn the unit on and listen for the clicking if you hear it it's most likely ok. I do agree if upgrading go for a fish finder with a bottom screen . It's much easier to see a bottom trend with out concentrating on with # is going to come up next. You can now get black & white Screens from navaco for right around $100.00 and you may not even have to put a hole in the boat.
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