How to Install a Fishfinder – 10 Steps To Follow for Both Beginners and Experts

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Post Updated On: April 2, 2020
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Fish finder is the latest technology in the fishing industry. Whether you like it or not, they have revolutionized the way we fish and the success rate. If you are fishing for fun, commercial, or as a sport, you must have one of the best fish finders of the market that helps you to spot and determine the kind of fish to catch. The trick comes in during the installation process.

You might add bulk to your fishing boat without getting the value for money if the device is not installed correctly. Many have made such a mistake, which you need to avoid. Here we present a step by step guide on how to install a fish finder for best performance during your expedition.

1. Get all the necessary tools

There is no two way about this step. You need to assemble all the tools that are necessary to undertake the installation of the fish finder. Of course, you need a fish finder complete with its traducer and transom mount. Then look for the following accessories:

  • Power drill
  • Silicon sealant
  • Philips head screwdriver
  • Mounting hardware
  • Cable ties
  • Adhesive-lined heat shrink tubing
  • 3M 5200 Adhesive
  • Fishing rods
  • Wire stripper
  • Wire fish
  • Terminal connectors
  • Clamshell fittings

2. Register the fish finder with the manufactures

Registering the fish finder with the manufactures is an essential step before working on your boat. Check whether the fish finder is registered through your email. The email is usually put in the manufacturer’s system to reach them if you experience any challenges with the fish finder. You will also get all the updates and alerts when the fish finder is all set up.

3. Update the software

When the fish finder is taken out of the box, an upgrade is always needed.  Update the software once you remove it from the package. Check if your fish finder has an SD slot that allows you to increase the storage capacity to take more images.

Format your SD card before inserting the device to avoid any challenges that may occur. Once the update is done, it means that your fish finder will be ready for use immediately after the installation process is complete. Not doing so means having to update when the device is already installed, this is annoying. 

4. Identify the right spot to mount the fish finder

You need to consider the right place to put the mount on the boat. The fish finder should be close to the helm, and nothing should block your line of sight. A perfect angle should be the height of your chest. This way, there is no struggle when reading the device while fishing. You will be able to sail your boat while using the fish finder with minimum strain on your eyes. Once the spot is identified, mark it.

5. Find the source of power

The location of the power source varies from one boat to the other. Regardless of the position, you should ensure that the wires will reach there without strain or too much sagging. Of course, you can shorten the cables but wait until the holes are drilled.  

The best and safe way is to hook up the wires directly to the power source i.e., not using extensions. Once you locate the power source and right spot for the fish finder has been identified, it becomes easy to follow the next step and install the device successfully.

6. Drill holes for mounting the fish finder 

You need to drill holes at the marked spot for installing the device. Mark one more hole where the wires will run through to connect to a power source and the transducers. The hole should be large enough for a clump of wires to pass through without twisting. Now run the power drill swiftly to avoid the surface from splintering for a clean hole. 

If you are using an old boat, consider checking the previous holes where the fish finder was mounted, and use the holes to run wires. Otherwise, drill holes for entry and exit of the cables behind the binnacle mount. Put the binnacle mount and the fish finder on the spot and tighten using the bolts.

7. Shoot sealant on the drilled holes

Add a sealant to the drilled holes before mounting your fish finder and running the wires through. An only a small amount should be added to keep all everything in place once the process is complete. The sealant should also be added to the bolts that will hold the fish finder in place. A tighter bond is thus created that prevents the device from falling when fishing in open water. 

8. Run the power leads and route the wires for the transducer

Run the wires from where the fish finder is mounted to the power source through the exit holes.  The cables should then be routed to the sensor accordingly. Note that the transducer is an essential piece without which the fish finder is not significant. It sends the sound waves and receives echoes that are then analyzed through the fish finder. The transducer should be placed such that it is parallel to the ground in the deepest part of the boat.

Hold the transducer mount against the transom and pass through the wires to the dash. Install the cable after marking where the mount should go. Do not cut the wires rather coil or tie then near the central unit if you need to shorten them. Ensure that the wires connecting the transducer do not mix up with the engine wiring harness.

9. Fix the transducer

After running the wires through, it is time to install the sensor. First, you need to put the transom mount in place through the drilled holes. The mount should be located where it will hold the sensor to submerge slightly in water. Put the sealant on the holes and bolts for tightening the mount in place. Connect the wires to the transducer and fix the mount at a marked spot. Tighten the bolt and seal again using the sealant to prevent water from getting into the transom. Your transducer will be ready for use.

10. Connect the system

After putting all the components in place, hook up the system by connecting wires to the fish finder. Use silicone sealant to seal off the wiring holes to avoid water leakage. Turn off the battery and hook the wires to the fish finder. Now turn on the battery and check if the fish finder is working.

If the device fails to turn on, check the wiring system to ensure there is no loose point. Once good, then adjust the settings to get the signals from the transducer. Wait until the sealants are dry before going to the next expedition. Once everything is ready, your fishing experience will never be the same again!

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