February 2005 --
Here's another project that is *finally*
coming together after years of work.
Every time I look at it I get a bit maudlin.
To put it in perspective, when I bought this derelict boat in 2001, I visualized where the radar console would go. But first I had to
rip the qberth, rebuild the head and holding tank, build the nav station, and a few other major projects, just to be able to
get to the starting point for this.
So it's a big deal for me, personally.
This is a Furuno color LCD console, with a 7" screen.
Along with those two features are integral charting using cMap chips. |
For local (Northern CA) sailing, I can get
a chip with all the local charts for $50,
so that'll be fun to play with.
It's bigger than I visualized, and I'll have to find a new place for the VHF mike to live.
Where the bolts attach the fiberglass
to the aluminum plate,
I stuck a little dab of caulk
as a final corrosion barrier
between the steel washer
and the aluminum plate.
Okay, this was a bit much,
but the caulk was just sitting there.
It's sprayed with
Satin Rust-O-Leum enamel.
It still looks like the powder coating, but now the bare aluminum is sealed and covered.
Here's a close up of the mounting.
Note that the mounting base is actually
upside down! It was the only way I could make it fit, and I believe that it's just as strong this way.
However, it was important to raise
the entire arm assembly 1/2",
so that the mounting platform
and the nuts that hold the display
can clear the base
without scratching the finish
from the aluminum.
To keep the RAM mount vertical,
and provide a wider base for stability,
I slapped this little block of wood together
out of mahogany scraps.
It's glued together with Titebond II wood glue,
with the grain swapped for strength.
It's shaped with a bench belt sander,
and finished with six coats of
MinWax Spar Urethane gloss,
with two coats of Satin sprayed on
for a final finish.
Fortunately, there's enough room behind the bulkhead to hide a bunch of wires.
I'll need to make some kind of harness
that'll be out of the way
(maybe attached to the RAM Mount arms)
to allow enough slack to
let the arms extend and swing around.
And I need to cut a notch in the sunbrella
nav station curtain to fit
around the mahogany mounting block.
By mounting the base parallel with the bulkhead, the back edge of the base is actually flush against the bulkhead. This prevents the arm from putting twisting torque on the mounting screws.
The RAM Mount came with holes drilled through the cast aluminum, so that set screws can be used to make the mounting position permanent. Using steel set screws on bare aluminum in the marine environment is an invitation for corrosion, and besides, set screws would prevent it from swinging out into the companionway.
It's mounted parallel to the bulkhead, which angles it downward a bit.
This allows the display to point directly at one's face when sitting at the
To seal the aluminum well, so that it won't corrode in a few years, I etched it with Alumiprep and sealed it with Alodine.
Then I primed with
Petit two part metal primer.
Of all the metal
primers I've used,
I like this one the best.
It dries thin and hard.
Also, there were a few nicks through the powder coating, exposing aluminum.
The stress and leverage
placed on the mounting area
is enormous, and despite
my misgivings about making
this absolutely permanent,
I felt it was best to sand down
to bare wood on the companionway trim, and to bare fiberglass on the bulkhead.
Then I used epoxy putty
to attach the wood block
to the area, making
a secondary structural bond
to reinforce the screws.
There's no way around it --
that block of wood is now
part of the boat.
The mounting platform on the RAM Mount is strong,
but is only about 6" x 3".
This piece of 1/4" fiberglass (from Mcmaster-Carr)
is cut and ground to fit the radar display base,
then painted with Petit "Brightwork Brown"
to match the wood.
Actually, I just had extra paint in the garage, but the color works out nicely.
Finally, and *very* importantly,
I need to find a good, secure latch
so that the display unit can be LOCKED in place back against the bulkhead.
Those big knobs just say "Turn Me" (grin)
and I know that guests on the boat
will give them a twist to see how it works.
I really don't want this heavy, expensive unit swinging
around wildly and ripping itself loose,
since the next thing ripped loose
would be the head of the person responsible!
While the RAM Mount
isn't the prettiest thing,
it allows the entire display to swing around and be seen from the helm.
By attaching the RAM Mount
parallel with the bulkhead, the display is now angled slightly up
without fussing with the side knobs.
That puts it about five feet from the helm. I hope that it's not too far away to be useful, and that the effort will actually prove to be of value.
The console has a wireless remote control, which might be useful
if I don't lose it.
Yeah, I know, I *really* need to finish the trim around the companionway.
(And it might just be me.)
Next on the list --assembling and installing the Radar mast.