Palmer: Clean power is essential now more than ever mainly due to the sophistication of today’s electronics. They really are computers and the transducer sensitivity has never been better. That means clean power without noise or outside interference has never been more critical for the best and clearest images.
Running power in “home runs”, meaning from the unit to the power source, is mandatory. It can be difficult in some older boats but the new installation kits and wiring harnesses make most jobs a snap. Splitting or breaks in the wire due to ancillary connections to more than one device can cause EMF (Electromagnetic Field) problems and noise. Basically, the pictures will never be as clear as those with wiring from the unit directly to the power source.
Also, some installers will coil excess wire and that is a very bad idea as it serves as an antenna. Figure 8 wraps are a much better option and separation of the electronics and trolling motor power is a must, too. We are talking DC power in boats and that is made for short-haul power movement which makes it very important to not have too many connections or breaks in the wire. Breaks and longer runs with breaks in the wire can cause significant voltage loss and that is not good.
Ten gauge wire is best. Many installers believe in soldering connections and without starting controversy here, I truly believe exceptional-quality crimps are better. At The Bass Tank, our goal is a perfect installation without exception and we don’t cut any corners.
Something else to consider that we also see often is troubleshooting another installer’s work. When an issue occurs we always do our best to look at the obvious things first. That may seem simple but it can sometimes be the last things folks look for. Connections are one of the areas we often see with problems so never do a sloppy job with them. Hydraulic crimpers are inexpensive and worth their weight in gold. We have what I call the “Tub of Shame” of poor connections. Remember, never crimp over the insulation. It can cause an uneven connection and problems down the road too. We are dealing with water here so it can cause issues and get into areas by direct flooding from rain or even condensation from a damp day. Eliminating those variables in the beginning may seem like a little thing but they are huge.
Good crimps with shrink tubing on all connections is mandatory. It may take a little more time but remember our goal is “perfect” installations. The cost of these units makes it mandatory to get the best performance from them to us so we go the extra mile to make sure everything is correct. Using the best wiring like our install kit and making sound connections will be huge to picture quality and we want our customers to have the best picture possible no matter brand. That is job one.
Most of our business is in the freshwater side of things but many anglers may fish salt or brackish water too, so it has to be perfect for both climates and possible corrosion possibilities so buying a shielded wire without nicks and good connections is a great start.