Saturday, January 17, 2015

Recent System Upgrades

I made a couple of upgrades/improvements to my boat last summer and I wanted to get them documented before I start with the major upgrades I'm in the process of designing and installing this winter into the spring.

First is actually part of the upgrades I made in 2012 along with the anchor winches but I get a lot of questions about my pole holder serup so I took some more detailed pictures. It's not the cheapest route to go but it's flexible, functional, sturdy and most importantly easily removable. It consists of 2 'Swivl-eze' pedestal bases mounted using 6 1/4" rivets nuts and 1/4" beveled head stainless machine screws and two 13" posts (standard ones are 11")  which were scuffed up with fine sandpaper and a scotchbrite pad, sprayed with self etching primer and then flat black paint which I love because it's non-glare for night fishing, cheap, and touches up easily. It will also 'build' well with multiple coats, doesn't 'orange peel' unlike gloss spray can paints.

These can also double as normal seat posts for fishing from.

The top part is made from 2" aluminum angle 4 feet long and the 'pins' were made from two 3/4" x 5" hex bolts with about 1 1/2" of thread with the heads whacked off with a sawzall, beveled on a grinder and a little touch up with a fine file. I used a 3/4" 'Greenlee" punch to make the holes for the pins in the aluminum angle but a 3/4" holesaw would work as easily with just a little more work cleaning up the burrs. Paint the same as before, self etching primer followed up by flat black.

Lots of dirt cheap surplus electronics coming out of Hong Kong so I picked up a surplus aluminum case for a rechargeable Li-on battery cellphone/tablet charger and a surplus DC-DC converter and made a 2 port, 3 amp charger port plus a neat holder for my cellphone and my Nexus 7. The USB cables are only 12" long and are 'charge only' for minimal voltage drop and loss. This will now double as a power port for my new system I'll blog about in the future.

The phone/tablet holder was bought at  a hardware store and is intended for use to hold brochures or information for homes being sold. I just painted it with Krylon camo green and used a cheap ($1) foam case for a 10" tablet for a liner and used a coozie I got as a handout from Whisker Seeker Tackle. I felt bad about covering it up since it's intent was advertising so I stuck on a decal they also gave me .... Thanks guys!!!

That's about all for upgrades last year because I planned on big changes for this year but I also finally got around to (because the river was flooded half the summer) stripping and repainting my trolling motor and mount. I also put on new United States Catfish Association decals on the boat

In a week or so I will start to detail the new system which includes a new main computer and a NMEA multiplexer with built-in GPS and SD card logging which will allow me to collect mapping depth and location data even without a computer plus serve as a realtime data backup when used with the computer. It will also include temperature, humidity and pressure sensors which won't be logged on the SD card but sent to the computer every minute with the hopes of being able to get latitude, longitude, depth, water temperature, air temperature and barometric pressure to automatically insert when I open up a new record in my fishing database. If nothing else I can display the weather data with a little Python code that's running around the internet (When it comes to coding I really put the Hack in Hacker)


Aleksandrs Bebrišs said...

Hello! Very interesting project want to build something similar. Have interest about mapping and wireless sonar. Pleas put make some video in action. Pleas continue with publications.

Long John said...

I'll be making some updates in the next week or so on the new revamped system I'm putting together. I got a new Lowrance Elite 7 Ti with TotalScan so I can make side scan logs as well as log bottom hardness and vegetation. I also got a new video camera so I will be filming and uploading videos when I get back on the water which likely won't be until May.

I also have a series of updates on my sister blog

Aleksandrs Bebrišs said...

Will You make Elite 7 wireless?

Long John said...

Actually I got one of the new Elite 7 Ti with the TotalScan transducer. It has side imaging and CHIRP as well as WiFi and Bluetooth built in. Basically it is a HDS Gen 2 Touch without the ethernet ports. It can be viewed and controlled by a tablet but they didn't bridge the NMEA 0183 data to the network like in the HDS Gen 2 Touch units. So I made one that could easily be used with any finder that has NMEA 0183 outputs and it will broadcast to about any computer or tablet with WiFi.

I'll be doing a short review of the unit (I haven't gotten it on the water yet, just worked with it at my test bench) and the additions I made to it. I basically reworked my existing GPS and send that position info to the finder. I also added a WiFi device to the NMEA 0183 output and it broadcasts that to my devices.

Aleksandrs Bebrišs said...

You can not imagine how excited I am by Your project. What You are writing is really amazing and this solution is exactly what I am looking for my project. In how long distance You can operate in Wifi? My target is around 500 meters. How about autopilot? If autopilot is connect to fish finder, than this can be used like autonomous map maker. Really.... fingers crossed, this is most advanced and functioned projects what I have see.