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Project Log:  Monday, September 3, 2012

I spent the day on wiring and electronics networking chores, and finalized a too-lengthy list of needed cabling and accessories to complete the electronics networking.

Beginning with the cables I had, I attached the appropriate cables to the instruments and secondary GPS in the overhead electronics box, and test-fit it in place, eventually leading the cables through the dash and securing them in place along seams in the plywood paneling where I could mill and install trim later.  I left enough slack in the cables behind the box so that I could remove either the entire box or the face plate (as seen here) for access.


With the beginnings of wiring in place, I chose locations for two 7-position joiners for the SimNet system and installed them, then connected various cables as I went.  For future convenience, I numbered the cables near the connection so I could easily identify them in the future.  I quickly ran out of available cables, but was able to connect the overhead instruments and autopilot, along with the GPS antenna and a required power supply cord for the system.  (You'll see more of this cabling and the other joiner in photos further down the page).

The masthead wind instruments included a special SimNet cable long enough to run down the mast and all the way to these connections, but since the mast would need to be unstepped and these connections broken, I planned ahead for a junction near the mast step, where I could easily connect and disconnect not only the wind instruments but also the mast light wiring.  To this end, I installed cable clamps on the overhead leading forward, as this route made the most sense and was most direct.  I'd have to cut out small portions of the overhead cleats to allow the wires to pass, so for now I left a couple bundles of wire hanging nearby, for eventual connection to the mast area.  The early stages of bulk wiring tend to leave loops of cable and excess wire all over.

Something that slipped through the cracks during the specification of the electronics system was the eventual connection of the depth transducer to the system.  Try as I might, I couldn't seem locate a cabling adapter between the transducer and the available ports in the plotter unit or SimNet network, other than a separate sounder module designed for this purpose.   The transducer had been spec'd to mate with my system, and included the correct Lowrance/Simrad connector end, but there was no way to connect it directly or adapt it that I could see.  So for a while it looked like I had no choice but to purchase the BSM-1 sounder module in order to connect my depth transducer to the system. 

More research later revealed that I might have been looking for the wrong things to adapt.   I later found a Lowrance 127-05 adapter cable that looked like it would convert between the blue 7-pin transducer cable and a NMEA 2000 network cable connector (red, in Lowrance nomenclature), which in turn I could connect to SimNet through a NMEA 2000 - Simnet adapter cable that I already had on hand.  So I thought I'd order that cable adapter, which was far less expensive than the sounder module that I didn't really need or want.

In addition, I'd require several various lengths of the SimNet cable to complete the connections.  I thought I'd need another length of Ethernet cable to connect the sounder, but for now, at least, it looked like I could avoid the sounder module, assuming the adapter cable above worked as I hoped.

I ran a 15m length of the Ethernet cable (which is how this system communicates with certain components, like the Broadband radar and sounder) through the console and towards the aft end of the engine room, where I'd eventually mount the radar control box (since the radome would be located on the mizzenmast).

Meanwhile, I installed several raw lengths of 14AWG duplex safety wire, my bulk wire of choice for most of the installations.  Because of the various wire routes I was beginning in the under-dash area, it made sense to run cables for the running lights (to be located on top of the pilothouse), an overhead lighting circuit for the main saloon (though I'd not yet determined whether or not I'd actually be using overhead lights at all), and another circuit slated for the pilothouse overhead lighting.  In addition, I ran wire and connected it to several power leads from the electronics, including the secondary GPS.

I also wired and installed the AIS transponder.  The wiring included a power supply, plus three wires required for the included serial connector needed to connect to a computer for initial setup and registration of the system.  At first I'd had trouble deciphering the wiring instructions in the manual, but found that the task was simple and straightforward when I got into it.  Why this modern system relied on an obsolete serial connector was a question for greater minds than mind, but having determined this incompatibility months ago, I was prepared to eventually connect the AIS to my computer with a serial to USB converter.

I chose to mount the AIS beneath the starboard side of the dash, a convenient location for networking and also to run the separate GPS and VHF cabling up and out of the pilothouse through the starboard corner trim.  (The main GPS antenna cable would similarly run up the port side.)  This area, and the rest of the under-dash utility space, would be hidden later by the overhead and additional trim around the companionway. 


This process left a raw bundle of wires leading into the console.  I'd have to run these down to the lower section for connection, but for the moment it was easier to keep them out of the way and led through the engine instrument panel hole in the console, till I was ready to determine their route.  I left other raw cable ends bundled here and there as required, pending their final routing elsewhere.


I'd order the new SimNet cables and other things required, and hopefully be ready to continue the process next time and wrap up this particular segment of the boat's wiring.

Total Time Today:  6.25 hours

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