Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Where to put the autopilot CPU?

Prior to painting the interior I knew that I needed to mount the autopilot CPU somewhere safe and dry. I didn’t want it somewhere out near the drive motor in the cockpit locker area because of potential water issues and just plain lack of space and easy access. I didn’t want to put it forward and have miles of lines snaking throughout the boat.

The one thing that the boat came with was a nifty little teak storage thingy. Actually, all it did was hide the cutouts and wiring to the back of the dead B&G instruments and provide a shelf for a handheld VHF or two. Although the instruments were still in place to keep the water out, they had long ago been replaced by ST60’s at the helm and the navigation station.

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I decided to use that area behind the box for the CPU. I yanked the old instruments out and glassed in coverings in the bulkhead in preparation for eventually painting the decks.

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The next step was to take some 1/4” FRP stock that I had lying around for a backing plate for the unit. This was primarily to cover the cutouts in the cabin liner from the old instruments. After doing a dry-fit to make sure that the whole thing would work I sanded and faired the backing plate for eventual painting.

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The next item was to pull power and data cabling. Not pretty because of liner issues and certainly a circuitous route but it worked out okay. The factory had done it so I guess it was good enough for me. One thing I did do was clean up a lot of the nasty cut-outs that they had made on the cheap and quick.

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The final wiring and mounting went pretty quickly. I’m still a little leery of it’s location vis-a-vis water intrusion but it is done and given the conditions that I anticipate I think the the CPU stands a pretty good chance of survival. And it allows me to continue use that teak thingy for storage...

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More on that funky waterproof switch in the photo above in a later post.

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