Talk me out of cutting a hole in the bulkhead...
by, 03-05-2017 at 06:34 PM (462 Views)
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.
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...
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.
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.