Room for More JIM HENDRICKS
The solution dawned on me when I glanced upward at a crossbar in the hardtop frame above the helm. It was there that I decided to secure a small box fashioned from King Starboard marine lumber in which I could install the 4.3inch square gauge. Problem solved.
A key element for installing the box was an Edson Horizontal Rail Accessory Mount — a robust, elegantly simple, stainless-style mounting system that lends itself to all kinds of options for adding new electronic displays and antennas. In this case, it allowed me to easily secure the box to the crossbar.
But that isn’t the only option. There are many ways to make room for new electronics, from pod and pedestal mounts, to overhead compartments and black-box solutions that let you use existing displays for additional functions.
If you can spare a small space on a horizontal or slightly angled surface at the helm, you can add a relatively large display using a pod-mounting system. Ocean Equipment’s Powerpod 5200 Gen3 series (about $530), for example, requires only an 8⅛-inch-diameter footprint, yet it accommodates flush-mounted electronic displays as big as the Garmin 7412.
Another choice is the PYI Seaview Power Pod series. The model POW-3-UC (about $300) needs only a 4-inch-diameter footprint, and it accommodates models as large as the Raymarine e125 flush-mounted in the pod face.
Bases for both brands pivot and articulate fore and aft as well as side to side, making the angle of the displays adjustable for optimal viewing. The backs of the displays, fully enclosed by the plastic pods and sealed to prevent water intrusion, are a big benefit on a boat with an exposed helm.
On a Pedestal
Pod systems elevate the mounting box from 3 to 4 inches above the installation surface, but that might not be sufficient to clear other elements at the helm. In this case, you might consider a pedestal mount. One of the most extreme is Ocean Equipment’s Pedestalpod (about $380). It requires a 5-inch-diameter footprint but handles up to 12-inch displays in a sealed pod atop a 20-inch-tall powder-coated aluminum pedestal tube that’s angled at 45 degrees.
If you want less elevation, consider a RAM Mounts pedestal-mounting solution (about $50) for marine electronics. RAM uses its famous ball-and-socket system for easy adjustment and removal of electronics, and the pedestal bases require only a 2½-inch-diameter footprint. RAM also offers plates that let you bracket-mount a display atop the pedestal arm. Arms come in 3- and 6-inch lengths, with extensions and swivel arms available.
RAM also offers mounting systems for your boat for mobile devices like tablets and smartphones.
A wide range of rail-mount solutions for marine electronics are available through brands such as Edson, RAM, Scanstrut, Seaview and West Marine.
Edson offers not only the Horizontal Rail Accessory Mount but also Clamp-on Accessory Mounts, with base adjustability to suit vertical or angled rails. There are 3- and 7-inch
Recently, I wanted to add another marine electronics display, a supersensitive sea-surface-temperature gauge, to my helm station. But there was a problem: I had no space left. Just about every square inch was occupied by a display, gauge, or switch panel.