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  #1  
Old 11-25-2009
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Instruments

I'm looking to replace my old and unreliable datamarine depth and speed units.

I guess I'll go with Raymarine ST70 - so that I can link it it my dated Raymarine GPS and Radar/Charplotter.

Question: Is this something that is best done by a marine electronics guy or is it feasible to install oneself?
Has anyone done this before?
Can one use the old thruhulls?

Thanks,

Bill
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Old 11-25-2009
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Bill:

I have no first hand experience, but according to the Ray Install instructions, the ST70 should be plug & play into an existing SeaTalk network including your existing transducers.

But as you state your system is "problematic", have you determined if the issue is in the instrument or the sensors? I've been looking to get rid of my paddlewheel speed unit with an ultrasonic one such as Airmar's CS4500 here.

For some good background info on ST70 and other N2K instruments, there's great info on Ben Ellison's PANBO blog here.
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Old 11-25-2009
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This is an upgrade you can do yourself as long as you are willing to invest the time. I changed from Raymarine ST50's to ST60's and linked the system with an E80 chartplotter, radar, Sirius weather(and audio), and Lifetag. The ST70 has NMEA 2000 capability but I don't think any of your other stuff interfaces with that. I did a Seatalk-ng network on my powerboat and it is just as easy although more expensive.
Having said that, I did have to change the through hulls when I did the conversion. The driving force for that was the speed transducer design includes a flap in the through hull that prevents a flood of water when removing the transducer. Worth it! makes it very easy and clean to pull the transducer when not sailing. Although you have to be on the hard, if you get the right spray for removing bedding compound, it is not that challenging.
Larry
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Old 11-25-2009
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I installed a full set of Raymarine instruments. They were easy to install and work great!
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Old 11-25-2009
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Consider the B&G instruments. I recently changed from ST60 and the difference in build quality is substantial.
There is no problems interfacing these to the Raymarine stuff.
I went for 2 depth units when replacing the tranducers (depth and fishfinder instead of depth and log). Gps provides the speed input.
Most of the installation is mounting the units and feeding wires. The electrical hookup is reasonably easy, but you can always get an electronics guy to do this if you don't feel confident (or it doesn't work) and it will be cheaper than fully installed by a professional.
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Old 11-25-2009
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Bill
I don't know if you're set on new instruments that interface with other electronics, but there's an outfit called DMI Marine that makes direct replacement speed, depth and wind instruments for the old Datamarine units. I have bought spare parts for my Datamarine instruments, and they were good to deal with. Maybe something to think about if you have trouble finding instruments to fit your existing instrument pods / cut outs.

DMI Marine, Inc.

Dave
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Old 11-26-2009
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Thanks for all the great responses...
I replaced the speed with a DMI unit a couple of years ago - but it's on the blink again already.

I think the electronics part I can manage. What scares the heck out of me is the thruhulls. I hate the idea of punching another hole through the boat (ner mind finding a suitable place to do it) - especially if it'll leave two existing holes with no function. Is there no way of using the holes left by the datamarine units???

Bill
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Old 11-26-2009
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I think the obvious answer is that it depends on the size. I would hope that transducer diameter is standard, but my experience with boats is that things are never simple. See if your manuals tell you transducer diameter for the DMI stuff, the Raymarine stuff is std for today. You can always make the holes bigger but i would not try to use holes that are too big for the Raymarine transducers.
Larry
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Old 11-26-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billbalme View Post
Thanks for all the great responses...
I replaced the speed with a DMI unit a couple of years ago - but it's on the blink again already.

I think the electronics part I can manage. What scares the heck out of me is the thruhulls. I hate the idea of punching another hole through the boat (ner mind finding a suitable place to do it) - especially if it'll leave two existing holes with no function. Is there no way of using the holes left by the datamarine units???

Bill
You can fill the thruhulls and shoot the transducer through the hull. I did
this with a cheapo death sounder with no problems. The trick is to bond
the transducer to the hull with some 4200 and make sure there in NO air
bubbles. You can test this works by using a baggie full of water (no air
bubbles) and rest the transducer on the baggie.
Tom
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Old 11-26-2009
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Bill,
I replaced the original Datamarine instruments in my 31 with Raymarine ST60's and the transducer holes fit the Raymarine (Airmar) transducers just fine. I did however have to pretty much destroy the old transducers to get them out. I prodably could have tried Debond but I had friend who wanted the heads for spares and I was going to throw away the transducers anyways.

The ST60 heads covered the old holes but the holes were bigger than they should be. I found an old plastic souvenier cup whose bottom was the same size as the Raymarine cutout and using that as a male mold filled the gap in with thickened epoxy for a perfect fit.

Adam Owens
PSC 31 Journey
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