How to Install a Fish Finder

Information Guide: How to Install a Fish Finder

There are quite a few important tid bits that you should consider when it comes to your fish finder. People often concern themselves with the price, operating it, or in what attributes to look for when purchasing. However, in my experience its often times the actual set up which is the biggest pain of all!

There is no one size fits all manual which comes with your product, simply because the installation is done on a wide range of fishing vessels. However, some basic information can go a long way in helping you to decide on which model to purchase, and obviously will just help you have peace of mind. Here are the steps you should take to install your fish finder the right way.

Step Number One: Where to Install?

This is perhaps the most important point in the whole process, and that is where to install your unit. Some people prefer to install on the dash or mount directly in front of them, some prefer to mount their unit on their main hand side, and some prefer to mount the unit on their off hand side, if we are installing on a kayak for instance. This changes however if you have a large boat.

You also have to consider the type of transducer that you are installing. A transform mount transducer which you might install on a boat, is a very simple task if you install out in a shed, but another transducer such as a thru-hull transducer, is extremely complicated to install. This is best left up to professionals who know how to properly drill holes, as one wrong slip or mistake can cost you hundreds in repairs.

Remember, there are two set ups required in every installation, the transducer, and the display. Always consider where you want to install the transducer first, since it is stationary and cannot be adjusted, unlike the display. The transducer also has to be installed directly where the transform is. When you are doing the actual fitting, consider an area of the vessel which will be constantly submerged under water, failure to do so will cause intermittent malfunctions and completely defeat the purpose of the transducer.

When creating the transform, consider that it has to be smooth enough for the transformer to be fitted into. The location should also be at least a foot away from the propeller to prevent mishaps and interference caused from propeller. As a rule, the more turbulence that the transducer has to contend with, the more difficult it will be to correctly interpret the signals in the water.

Finally, when installing, the area of the vessel which you have decided upon should not be easily exposed. This can be a serious issue when you are transporting it around on a trailer, as I’ve seen more than one unit damaged from lack of foresight.

Step Number Two: Running the Electrical Wires of the Transducer

fish finder partsIt is rare, but every so often you will run into a product that comes with defective wires. Before installation, make sure that there are no damaged wiring by running your hand along the plastic and giving it the eye test, this is smart to do before everything gets submerged and you save time just in case you notice it after the fact.

Once you’ve properly adjusted where you would like the display to set, install based on the instructions that came with your model. However, don’t cut any wires as this can prevent future adjusting, not to mention void any kind of warranty which comes with the product. Your wiring should also not be run next to other wiring, such as that of the propeller or VHF cables. This can cause interference.

Step Number Three: The Fitting

There are two ways to actually fit the transducer. The first way, is to install directly into the boat.This will require precise measurement and a drill bit which is appropriately sized to allow wiring to slip through. Afterwards, add sealant to prevent leakage, the last thing that you want to do is have a leaky boat.

The second way, which I prefer, is to mount the transducer on a block. You can do this by using a strong glue such as an epoxy and placing it on the boat. Afterwards, line up where on the block you want to place the unit, and mark that position as it will be where you will be drilling. You want your holes to be just long enough to not enter the boat, but go most of the way through the block.

Step Number Four: Running the Display Wires

Just like there are two ways to fit the unit, there are two ways to run these wires. The first way is to run them above the transform. The second way is to run wires directly through it by drilling holes through the transform, however if you do it this way, make sure that it is above the water line. In addition, all wires should be clammed to avoid too much movement on the boat.

Step Number Five: Mounting the Display

This final step is very easy if you have a kayak which has been pre-mounted, such as common angular kayaks. However, you can always set mounting later. Attaching the fish finder display to a mount should be as simple as screwing it on. This is it for our How To Guide on Installing a Fish Finder. If you liked this and would like to learn more on how to purchase fish finders, check out our main guide here.