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the dream of dawn

Talk me out of cutting a hole in the bulkhead...

Rating: 1 votes, 5.00 average.
Remodeling project going on at the chart table! There are new toys to install and a few things about the previous iteration have been bugging me. It turns out that my brain has trouble reading the radar screen when it's at 90 to the boat's heading. So I want to swing that around to a forward angle. Also, I can't really see the screen from the helm position. And I'm not happy with the look of the outlets panel. Plus I need to add some data ports in there. Almost every electronic box on and behind the panel has a cable that can plug into the laptop. Opening a door to let a cable hang out is untidy. So I've ordered up some bulkhead connectors to install... somewhere.

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So I've repurposed the radar panel to contain the "new" SSB radio. I've been collecting used parts from eBay for a year or so and now have enough to make up a complete installation. I think. Also neatened up the outlets panel. Gee... in hindsight, it's too bad I didn't buy a black VHF to match everything else on that wall. But I'm not gonna change it now. Oh, also just discovered that the Sony "marine" stereo died during the winter. So it looks like I've got to shop for one of those too. Black? Maybe I'll first take the old one home and try baking it and cleaning all the contacts. The back panel looks a little corroded...
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But... I mocked up a cardboard blank of the size of cabinet that would be required to contain the radar unit. At least 5" depth. It's pretty ugly. I had also planned some storage next to the radar screen, with a holder for the iPad on the door. Casts a big shadow. Even if one assumes that the final article will be somewhat attractive, this really clutters up my nice chart table.

Hmm... what if I forget a new cabinet and simply mount both of these units to the bulkhead? That sure looks better. And from the helm, I could look down through the companionway and see both screens.
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But that would require cutting an 8-inch hole for the radar to stick through. The back could be contained in a cabinet on the other side. That's where the "liquor cabinet" hangs now. But is it safe to cut a hole like that? I seem to recall a rule of thumb (from plumbing houses) to cut any hole in a structural member (joists) at least one diameter from the unsupported side. And if not, add a steel reenforcement strap. Hmm... which side is the "unsupported" side here? I think I'll stew this one over for a while before cutting anything.

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Updated 03-05-2017 at 06:36 PM by toddster

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  1. toddster's Avatar
    Thoughts on some unlikely alternatives. Unlikely due to requirement for spending money.
    Would upgrading the radar to some flatter device help, now or in the future? A quick on-line survey of various MFDs suggests that they are all at least as thick as the existing radar, and would still require a cutout to mount flush.
    The Furuno wireless radar would transmit to the iPad, with no bulky receiver needed. However, it doesn't seem to play well with other toys. It would need a dedicated iPad. So even though the price is dropping below $1K, the total cost could be close to the same as a low-end MFD system. Though it would be nice to just take the radar display to the cockpit at will.
  2. GrandpaSteve's Avatar
    How big would the actual holes be? My bulkheads came to me with speaker holes for 6" speakers and an AC outlet cut into them already, so I did not hesitate to cut for the stereo. The back of the stereo is in the hanging locker, I think it worked out great.

    https://www.amazon.com/photos/share/...uAkJiJ8FvNABVb
    Updated 03-08-2017 at 06:20 AM by GrandpaSteve (english)
  3. frick's Avatar
    I do not have a stereo on my boat... I bring a Guitar!

    I can bring along by bose mini for MP3 Tunes from my phone when I am doing the dishes.

    Rick+
  4. toddster's Avatar
    I would think GrandpaSteve's stereo hole is too close to the edge. Assuming that the bulkhead is bearing significant loads. Which may be an open question. The starboard-side bulkhead on my boat, between the head and the V-berth, isn't even attached to anything at the bottom! It's a little freaky to wake up and realize that my feet are pushing the wall out an inch. So I've stopped sleeping in that position...

    The port side, in contrast is an extremely solid construction. The most obvious reason is that it is indirectly stabilizing the compression post.
  5. GrandpaSteve's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by toddster
    I would think GrandpaSteve's stereo hole is too close to the edge. Assuming that the bulkhead is bearing significant loads. Which may be an open question. The starboard-side bulkhead on my boat, between the head and the V-berth, isn't even attached to anything at the bottom! It's a little freaky to wake up and realize that my feet are pushing the wall out an inch. So I've stopped sleeping in that position...

    The port side, in contrast is an extremely solid construction. The most obvious reason is that it is indirectly stabilizing the compression post.
    I certainly did not do a scientific analysis, but the bulkhead is very solid port and starboard. The hanging locker is built on the forward side of that starboard bulkhead and it is tabbed in solid top bottom and the side. I guess if it was a bad move it is too late to change it now, so I will report back if I observe any problems.
  6. Christian Williams's Avatar
    I see no problem, myself. No bigger than the factory holes for the speaker and the junction box. And smaller than the two 6" speaker holes I cut out of my cockpit.....
  7. GrandpaSteve's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Williams
    I see no problem, myself. No bigger than the factory holes for the speaker and the junction box. And smaller than the two 6" speaker holes I cut out of my cockpit.....
    A reassuring vote of confidence is appreciated, thanks.