Installing a Fish Finder does take some technical skill however, with a little elbow grease and some forethought you can install a fish finder like a pro.
The first item will be to consider the location. Make sure to pick a location that will allow enough space to route the wiring as well as a surface for optimal viewing. Keep in mind that direct sunlight can sometimes cause a fish finder display to appear dim. A flush mount kit can be purchased if installing on a panel or most units come with a bracket that allows the unit to be removed if needed. Also, don’t forget to install the device in a place that will be relatively free from water intrusion if possible. A high quality fish finder will resist most water but taking care to prevent it all together will ensure your new fish finder will give you many years of service.
The next step is to install the transducer. Time should be taken to properly plan this as improper placement can cause a complete malfunction and the fish finder may not read at all (refer to owners manual for optimal placement.) Never cut the transducer cable and always mount the transducer so that it is parallel to the bottom of the vessel. Never mount in a location that is in the path of the propeller. Make sure to supply sufficient water depth, usually just below the boat hull, if mounting on the transom. Take caution here, the fish finder may not read correctly while under way if not mounted below the hull. Also, if the boat is on a trailer make sure the mounting location will not be susceptible to damage when launching. One last important item, always use the correct sealant when drilling mounting holes below the water line. Depending on your installation, your fish finder will probably need a few mounting holes drilled to mount the transducer.
Now install the wiring harness and route the transducer cable. Take care when routing the transducer cable because keeping the wiring away from other electrical wires will help minimize the possibility of electrical interference. The display on the fish finder could show noise, for example; turning on a wash down pump or live well pump. The electrical connections should be made using the proper procedures found in the installation guide from the manufacturer. Never connect wiring with the assumption that particular colors are for particular things! The standard wiring harness on a fish finder will usually have a black wire for a ground and a red for power but read the instructions (MEN). Some fish finders have more wires to power other components or communications with other marine electronics. Never connect wires if you are unsure and always do the proper research for your particular fish finder to make sure you have a reliable wiring diagram.
Overall installation should also consider that a fish finder is an expensive piece of equipment on your boat. The wiring should only be used for the purpose of the fish finder and all connections should be sealed well and made well. Any time holes are drilled they should not be sealed with mounting screws alone, but also sealing compound. Check the manufacturer’s suggestion in the manual of your fish finder to determine an approved sealant. Above all, remember to read the owner’s manual that accompanies your new fish finder. Don’t forget to enjoy the good days, and look forward to better days on the bad ones. The big one is just one cast away.