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Project Log:  Sunday, September 2, 2012

Wanting to continue pushing forward on various aspects of the electrical and related installations, which offered good breaks in between other aspects of the project, I collected various pieces of the electronics network to begin the layout and installation of the components.  I had a large collection of SimNet cabling, connectors, and related items to go with the electronics suite, as well as additional cabling and wiring required to tie the system together and into the boat's growing electrical system.

There was a lot to deal with--not so much a physical concern, as there was ample space for the connectors and cables--but more of a mental one, as I tried to decipher what was required, which lengths of cable I'd need (and which I needed to order), and, most importantly, how best to lay out the system efficiently and conveniently.  So much of the day's work revolved around poring through the manuals, individualizing the component diagrams to match what I actually had, and, eventually, parts research and ordering, as I needed additional cable lengths and a few other items to complete the work.


To recap, I had the following components to interconnect and provide power for:

GPS/Chartplotter (and main display)
Autopilot (including remote compass)
Depth Transducer and Display
Wind Instruments (Masthead) and Display
Secondary GPS
AIS Transponder

This led me in  tangential direction back to the overhead electronics box, construction of which I'd set aside some time ago pending (at that time) the ordering of a new center window for the pilothouse.  With the window now on hand, I decided to complete a final test-fit and proceed with the electronics box, since some of the network cabling would be running to and from the box, and determining cable runs would also allow me to mill and install the final trim pieces in the pilothouse.

The window was a good fit in the opening, though I made a mistake while installing it from the front and caught a slightly overhanging lip of the veneer plywood; pushing the window frame through the opening broke the plywood near the edge in this area, a cosmetic problem, but fortunately I found that the inside window trim covered the damaged area completely.  


With the window temporarily installed, I could make some final modifications to the overhead box.  The two wooden side pieces required cutouts to go around the window frame (this was the specification that had forced work stoppage some months ago) so the box could snugly fit against the forward wall of the pilothouse.  It was straightforward to scribe and cut the pieces as needed.  Things look sort of out of whack in the photos largely because the raw overhead and cut on the molded opening for the overhead hatch are asymmetrical and out of kilter, but I'd cover that with trim later.

The electronics box needed to be removable, both to provide access to the equipment and cabling installed within, and to allow installation and removal of the window itself.  To this end, once I had it fitted where I wanted it I made some reference marks at the edges of the box, then, after sanding away the varnish and roughing up the wood, installed small wooden cleats with epoxy adhesive, using small spacers to hold the cleats up from the window frame.  I'd screw the electronics box to these cleats.  Afterwards, I cleaned up the excess adhesive from the edges.


Meanwhile, with the box disassembled, made some cuts at the upper back corners to allow passage of the cabling in and out; the wires would run up the seam between the center and side sections of the forward pilothouse bulkhead, to be covered with wire chases/trim, and the section at the top would be covered by the final overhead.  After a light sanding, I applied the first of several coats of varnish to the solid cherry ends so I could wrap up construction of the box.

Beyond these chores, and generally getting organized, I didn't get any other installations actually done (or even started), but by the end of the day had worked through many of the aspects of the system and was ready to start installing components in their chosen spots.

Total Time Today:  6.5 hours

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