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  #1  
Old 07-12-2009
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Garmin Flush Mount kit concerns

Does anyone have experience with the Flush Mount kits for the Garmin GPSMAP 540s chart plotters?

Since I have a tiller and not a wheel column, I am left with installing equipment in/on the bulkhead at the front of the cockpit (which is where my compass, sounder and knot indicator/log already are). While this is a conventient enough place for the unit to be mounted at from a ease of use point of view, I don't really want to mount it there using the standard mounting arm bracket, as the main sheet or halyards (depending on which side I put it) will probably get tangled on the unit, and at the most inopportune time possible, probably breaking the bracket off, or worse, ripping the mounting screws out.

My alternative is to cut a ~7 inch square through the cockpit bulkhead into the cabin and use the flushmount kit. This would be the ideal way for the unit to be accessed, and keep it free from tangles with the running rigging, but the flushmount kit is a big hole that is only coverd and sealed when the unit is installed, and big enough for your foot to go through into the cabin when the unit is removed. See image below of the mounting kit.



This also requires me to leave the chart plotter installed year round, and kinda screwed if I have to remove it and send it in to Garmin for any reason.

Has anyone else installed this, or a similar unit in this mannor, and if so, how has it worked out for you? Is there any good way to seal the hole when the unit is removed (like for the winter?)
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Old 07-13-2009
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Any time I need to seal a big hole, I get out the butyl tape and some heavy plastic. I clean the surface and stick the butyl tape to it, then put the plastic over the hole. It will seal very well, water tight. On a smooth surface its easy to get the putty off, on something like non-skid not so easy.

I am planning to mount my Garmin 545 using the flush mount kit just as you are. My concern is theft of the Garmin, so I have been procrastinating on it.
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Old 07-13-2009
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theft is definitly a concern, however from the looks of the kit it's almost impossible (without ripping out the bulkhead around the unit) to remove the GPS from the bracket from the outside as it spring locks onto the normal mounting points from the inside.

My biggest concern is really the ability to remove the unit, and still keep the hole covered. a plastic box over the inside that's sealed would be a good solution, but I was hoping someone had already pioneered this idea for potential problems and solutions...
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Old 07-13-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DropTop View Post
My biggest concern is really the ability to remove the unit, and still keep the hole covered. a plastic box over the inside that's sealed would be a good solution, but I was hoping someone had already pioneered this idea for potential problems and solutions...
See, you have a business opportunity! Design a dummy plug for the Garmin units! Just like the thru hull transducers, where there are dummy plugs that go into the sleeve.

Another option I am looking at is a swing arm to bring it into the companion way, so it can be seen from the cockpit, but that blocks what is already a very small companion way.

Sorry I can't be more help.
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Old 07-13-2009
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Actually, I just had an idea as I was clicking...

Suppose the hole were over sized but 1/2 an inch or so. Then cut a piece of rigid plastic or acrylic and through bolt it with a gasket to the bulkhead. Mount the GPS bracket through that.

Now, you can remove the entire bracket and replace it with a solid piece of plastic. Its not super easy, but if its mostly a matter of removing it for the winter and replacing it for the summer, its doable.
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Old 07-13-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarcher View Post
Design a dummy plug for the Garmin units!...Another option I am looking at is a swing arm to bring it into the companion way...
I've thought about a dummy plug being the best option, but I don't know where to begin with that process.

I've looked at a arm to swing it also, but I want to convert my companion way slats into "barn" style doors that swing this winter, which wouldn't work with a swinging arm...


anyone here work for an injection molding company, or know someone that does?
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Old 07-13-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarcher View Post
Actually, I just had an idea as I was clicking...

Suppose the hole were over sized but 1/2 an inch or so. Then cut a piece of rigid plastic or acrylic and through bolt it with a gasket to the bulkhead. Mount the GPS bracket through that.

Now, you can remove the entire bracket and replace it with a solid piece of plastic. Its not super easy, but if its mostly a matter of removing it for the winter and replacing it for the summer, its doable.

we must have been posting at the exact same time...

that's not a bad idea, but I think I can improve on it a little more still.

at the front of the flushmount kit is a rubber gaskit that seals against the side of the unit, but the gaskit runs all the way around to the front face as well, if you took a peice of plastic about half an inch larger then the flushmount kit, with a groove cut in one side the same size as the kit, it would fit over and around the rubber gaskit (or without a groove just fit against it), and with a similar type mount to the metal back bracket included with the flushmount kit, bolted through the plastic holding tightly over the face of the kit.

that should hold it in place with a weather proof seal, and won't slide off even with pressure on it.

btw, I called Garmin and asked them what solution they offered, and he said they had nothing, but he would pass the request for a plug of some king up the ladder as it was a good idea that made sense, and hopefully they can come out with something in the future.
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Old 07-14-2009
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I made some calls and I'm going to get a plastic cover machined that is secured from the inside (I'm expecting ~$20-$30 total price without the bolt and nut to attach the bracket) so that it fits over the gaskit to create a solid seal.

I can easily get more made at the same time if you're interested.
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Old 07-14-2009
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Why cut a hole in the bulkhead for an instrument that will only last a relatively short while? It would seem more advisable to make up a spare lower drop-board for your companionway into which the GPS is mounted with the "Flush Mount" kit. This can be removed when you're not using the boat so that the equipment is not exposed to the weather when its not necessary; and, being on the centerline, will be useful to a helmsman regardless of what side of the tiller he/she is sitting on. Having to step over the lower drop-board is really not such an inconvenience. In fact, as a matter of practice, we keep our lower drop-board in place when-ever we're sailing.

FWIW...

s/v HyLyte
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Old 07-15-2009
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Equipment changes so quickly that I would not want to cut a hole to the size of that unit, when the next unit might be of a radically different size. Depending on your use, the unit might have a service life of 3 years, and with Garmin, they may choose to no longer support it after 3 years, so updates may not be available when you want them. Garmin has done this to 2 of my GPS units so far. I will still buy from Garmin, but these are concerns of mine.

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