Monday, January 12, 2015

More rigging (2015 Outback)

Next up for the rigging on my new Hobie Outback is to outfit the hull with some necessities.  I tend to keep my rigging simple, so this will be picture intensive but simple in total mods completed.  In short, a couple GearTracs, tsome new electronics, a power kit and some decals.

First up, the easy stuff - decals and as always, a couple YakAttack GearTracs.  The only rigging solution for me and the best in the business hands down.  I opted for the GT-175-04 series and installed them in the forward recessed tray areas.  I filled each hole with some marine grade silicone sealant before installing each mounting screw.
The port side will be for the fish finder, while the starboard side will be used for my YakAttack Panfish Portrait mount and camera.  It can also be used for a YakAttack Zooka Tube or even a YakAtttack Dogbone Camera Mount for a different camera angle.  I'll install a couple more in the coming weeks once I decide where I want them.  I also plan on installing the YakAttack NITEStripe as well sometime within the next week.

Next up, the new Lowrance Elite-5 CHIRP fish finder.  I removed the transducer plate and installed the transducer using the provided hardware and mounted it with some free space to permit true water temp and depth/soundings.
Next, I routed the transducer wire up through the wire channel into the cockpit area.  Using the front twist and stow hatch, remove the two center foam supports so can you reach the backside of the wire nut and unscrew the retaining ring.
You need to use the large two-hole wire nut grommet insert from the Hobie fish finder tree.  Route the transducer cable through the grommet and reinstall in the hull.  Route the transducer cable removing as much slack as possible back into the hull pulling the line forward and out of the hatch.  Re-insert the two foam supports and route the cable between the foam inserts.  I routed mine between the center and the port side support zip tying the excess wire and stowing it between the supports.
Reach inside the hatch again and remove the retaining ring on whichever side wire nut your prefer, I chose the left.  Remove the wire nut and route both the transducer cable and the power cable through both the retaining ring.  It is a snug fit and will require a little encouraging but it will go through.  Routing the second one through requires a little more effort, but angling the connector through the ring will fit.

The hardest part of this install is the next part - deciding whether to use one wire nut or two.  The reason is that the two cables for the newer Lowrance units have a total of three wires.  None of the Hobie provided grommets on the tree can accommodate this configuration.  If you opt for the second wire nut approach, then you will need to drill out another large hole. I personally didn't want two wire nuts, so I modified the Hobie well nut by using a drill bit to create a notch for the third wire.  After a few tweaks and use of a small screwdriver to manipulate the grommet, I made it work.
Next, I installed the head unit to the RAM Mounting Systems connector and YakAttack 1.5" Screwball.  I positioned it where I like it and connected both the transducer and battery connectors in order to determine the proper length of cable to leave exposed above the wire nut.  These wires are tucked away in the map pocket when the kayak is stored.

Last step is to wire the power and ground wires to the included inline fuse and Hobie battery connector.  As with all of my electronics installs, I solder the connections, and protect the connection with heat shrink and a wrap of electric tape.
One extra modification I do is to secure the excess cabling in a manner that reduces any noise from the wires slapping the inside of the hull while on the water or moving the hull to and fro.  Not all kayak hulls have extra attach points on the inside of the hull.  On the Outback, this is made easier by the location of the forward rudder pulley located just behind the hatch opening.  I simply placed a cable mount clip around the power wire and secured it to the front of the pulley housing with a zip tie and took up the slack wire.
The result is a clean wire path that doesn't interfere with the operation of the twist and stow rudder.
Lastly, installing the Hobie Battery bracket to the mast pole and securing any excess wire.  I make one slight modification here to decrease the likelihood of my battery and connections sitting in water that may enter the front hatch.  Although the battery bracket secures with a clamp around the sailing mast, I add a section of pool noodle to provide a little extra support for the battery bracket like so......
After all is said and done, plug in the battery and turn on your new fish finder.  Success!!!
Hope you found some of the tips and tricks I used helpful.

Friday, January 9, 2015

PowerPole Micro Install (2015 Hobie Outback)

Let me take a moment and apologize for the long hiatus - I've been battling a case of no vacation left at work combined with the holidays with kids out of school/day care, family visiting and Mother Nature not cooperating.  My last trip was actually one late in the fall and was on a boat with some good friends chasing citation Sea Bass and monster Bluefish, but I digress.   With 2015 already in full swing, what better way to get my year started right than to start rigging my latest addition to the fleet - the 2015 Hobie Outback.  I decided to switch things up by trying a new hull and a new color, so I opted for the Ivory Dune this time in place of the yellow.

First order of business - installing my new Power-Pole Micro Anchor courtesy of JL Marine.  I first reached out to the good folks at YakAttack to send me their custom mounting plate that not only serves as the base mount, but also still allows full operation of the twist and stow rudder on the Hobie Outback.  To get things started, it is recommended but not required to have some form of stable/elevated work station - it will save you from having to kneel and bend over too much risking strain on your neck and back.  With the freezing temps in my neck of the woods, I brought the hull inside the house in our kitchen and made do by using four of our dining room chairs - shhhh don't tell my wife!

Once positioned and balanced, you first remove the port side rear rudder tie down cleat.  Simply done by using some form of pliers.  I used a crescent wrench but anything will work, since the fitting is not locked in place with Loctite.
Once removed, as you are standing at the stern of the hull by the rudder, you orient the YakAttack mounting plate with the side that has the countersunk screw holes up and with the non-countersunk screws (hint: they have lock nuts installed on the underside) that form a triangle facing to the right.  You'll want to place the mounting plate in a manner just forward of the rear stainless steel cleat and parallel with the rear twist and stow hatch hinges.  Once it is positioned, you'll notice that the large countersunk holes are on the outside of the elevated gunnel ridge.  Now is the perfect time to take a moment to secure the mount by using some duct tape to hold the plate in place while you mark and drill.  Like this.....
Using a narrow marker or gel-style pen, mark your first hole and use a 1/4" drill bit to drill your first hole.  In the same packet that contained the mounting plate, you'll notice a mounting kit on one end.  Open it and remove one of the three large countersunk screw head bolts.  The fourth large bolt is a round head Allen bolt and is installed last, so leave it aside for now.  Using a Phillips head screw driver, hand tighten/install the screw through the mounting plate and into the hull until it is reasonably secure but not fully installed.  It is recommended that you go ahead and setup your first bolt with the rubber bushing installed along with the other rubber bushings in each recess to that help minimize the plate moving while you finish your pilot marks, and drill one hole at a time to secure the remaining holes using the hardware provided.
Next, it is time to secure the mounting plate using the remainder of the mounting hardware.  This step requires the four o-rings, washers and lock nuts for this part of the install.  If you find that your rubber bushings are moving and shifting about, try this out.  Remove the partially installed screws and the mounting plate, then flip the mount upside down.  Using a small dollop of silicone sealant, you can secure the rubber bushings to the underside of the mount into the recessed bushing mounting points.  Like this.....
Once all four are installed, I add a small dollop of silicone sealant over the four mounting plate screw holes and reposition the mounting plate with the bushing side down over the holes you previously drilled.  You can re-install the countersunk screws so the bolt threads come through the inside of the hull enough to install a nut.  Remember to leave the starboard side front screw uninstalled, this mounting hole is reserved for the round head Allen bolt once the Power-Pole mount is installed.  Once the three screws are partially installed through the hull, you will complete the install by placing in order the following - the o-ring, washer then the lock nut.  You will most likely need the following: the same Phillips screwdriver, a ratchet with a 3/8" socket or box wrench.  When installed in the correct order, it will look like this (with the gap between the bushing and the o-ring filled by the hull of course).....
When installing any locking nuts and washers on the my kayaks, I prefer to go one step further and use silicone sealant whenever possible.  In this case, I filled each o-ring with a small dollop of sealant, then a little on the washer as well.  Once I have installed all of the lock nuts, I have a silicone barrier above (remember that dollop I placed in the screw hole before installing the screw) and below the hull and have minimized the chance for water to creep in.  After you have installed the lock nuts, the rubber bushings will start to seat and compress slightly.  It is recommended to not over tighten the lock nuts any further at this point.
You're almost there.  Only one more part, well two more if you include the optional release handle, but we shall get to that in due time.  Hang in there.  Now for the installation of the Power-Pole mount itself.  While standing at the rear of the hull, position the mount with the vertical flat sides to the rear and the sloped/curved part of the bracket facing forward.  Using the three remaining countersunk short bolts, install them in the top left and lower left and right mounting holes.  You will feel them seat and snug firmly into the integrated lock nuts already installed in the YakAttack mounting plate.  Remember that Allen bolt you held onto?  Now is the time to install it in the front right (starboard for you maritime people) using the same process as before: bolt through bushing, o-ring, washer and lock nut.   Once properly installed, it will look like this....
Now you can install the Power-Pole Micro motor using the instructions included with your Power-Pole.  It takes a little finesse, but basically, you will thread the locking pin through a slotted polygon grooved lock nut and through the motor into another polygon grooved lock nut then into a screw fitting.  Like this.....
And lastly, the locking pin you just installed rotates and conveniently serves as a way to release the lock on your Power-Pole and rotate it up and out of the water whenever you are ready to move to another spot or you are ready to remove your kayak from the water.  This part is optional, so don't feel you have to do it.  Basically, there is a retaining clip that holds the release cord that is attached to the locking pin handle you just installed.  I installed mine so that the release cord runs under my tank well bungee and reduces the likelihood of it falling into the water and getting snagged or caught on something or by a hook.  Like this....
For power, some of you may choose to use the included power cable.  If so, you will need to find the proper battery and mount it.  For those that have Hobie hulls with the twist and stow hatch, you can use the Hobie Power-Pole Power kit (Hobie Item #72020076) which includes all the necessary items to install the power source you will need to place it in the rear hatch, or just the battery bracket (Hobie item #72025007) if you have the rest of the items.  I installed mine to ensure it works, but I prefer a cleaner look and ability to remove the motor without leaving wires hanging about or another battery to charge and carry,  so I am opting for the rechargeable Lithium Ion battery pack once it is released.  Until then, I will use an external battery in a sealed dry bag for easy removal when loading and unloading.

Hope you found this install helpful.