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23 Cougar dash upgrade

Discussion in 'Boat Restorations and Upgrades' started by Luv2gofast, Sep 21, 2019.

  1. Luv2gofast

    Luv2gofast Well-Known Member

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    So I thought it might be interesting to see my dash upgrade and complete rewire of my recently purchased 23 Cougar MTR. I have scrapped nearly all of the wiring, switches and gauges and am in the process of upgrading to NMEA 2000 bus everything. I have decided to go with Livorsi Vantage View gauges with a Mercury NMEA gateway. Also adding a Lowrance HDS 7 touch and Livorsi LED indicator for the trims and jacks. I have learned a lot about NMEA 2000 in a short period of time but I'm sure there is plenty more to go so feel free to ask questions and make suggestions.


    20190803_153933.jpg


    This is the dash as I got it.

    20190802_171831.jpg
    This is my Photoshop mock-up to sort the layout.
    DashV2.jpg
     
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  2. Luv2gofast

    Luv2gofast Well-Known Member

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    Next I started figuring out which wiring harnesses I needed. When the engines were upgraded to the 300XS's the PO used 14 pin to 9 pin analog adapters so new harnesses were needed to bring the Smartcraft CAN bus to the dash for conversion to NMEA 2000.
    20190901_154945.jpg
    Old harnesses and other wiring 20190908_195654.jpg
    New Harnesses
    20190819_195359.jpg
     
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  3. Luv2gofast

    Luv2gofast Well-Known Member

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    Next I started on the dash plates to cover all of the holes.

    20190831_105709.jpg


    And time to decide on the gauge style/color. I have some speedos of different colors so laid them in to take a look. Also made a foam board template.
    20190828_202736.jpg 20190828_202922.jpg 20190828_203036.jpg

    Originally I expected to go with the light carbon but decided the platinum/chrome would look better with the dark carbon look cover plates.
    20190831_113026.jpg
     
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  4. Luv2gofast

    Luv2gofast Well-Known Member

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    I found the switches I wanted and did the layout for them and finished machining top plate.
    20190831_215107.jpg


    Then made a template for the bottom, printed the Lowrance, the trim/jack indicators and some more switches to work out that layout.
    20190902_124140.jpg
     
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  5. Luv2gofast

    Luv2gofast Well-Known Member

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    Both of the panels finished and time to cut some holes. I had to heat the panels and form to the curve of the fiberglass and JB Weld screws into the back side of the panels to make them lay down correctly.
    20190907_175425.jpg 20190907_192915.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
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  6. Shrub Lurker

    Shrub Lurker Well-Known Member

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    Nice! What GPS model?
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
  7. Luv2gofast

    Luv2gofast Well-Known Member

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    The Lorance HDS 7 touch for GPS and Depth, maybe some overlays and a gauge page. This is the first time I've had one in a boat so not sure what all i will use it for. It will also put the GPS speed out onto the NMEA bus for the Livorsi GPS speedo.
     
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  8. RCDave

    RCDave Well-Known Member

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    Sweet!!
     
  9. Luv2gofast

    Luv2gofast Well-Known Member

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    Got everything wired that I had installed. Ordered the Livorsi stuff this morning. Found a great place to get striped wire. https://4rcustomswire.com/ I like to match the original color codes on everything for ease of trouble shooting. I hate it when a wire changes color in a loom! I had to get a kit of Delphi connectors to match up to the mercury stuff. All ring and push-on connectors are crimped. soldered and shrink sealed.
    20190921_113254.jpg 20190922_133210.jpg
     
  10. HydroSkreamin

    HydroSkreamin Well-Known Member

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    Looking good! This brings back a lot of memories of all the time I spent doing all of this on the StressEliminator...trust me, it's all worth it!

    Keep the updates coming.
     
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  11. Luv2gofast

    Luv2gofast Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the encouragement! The boat has good bones and was freshly repowered so it deserves the face lift. It is for sure a much bigger project than I envisioned but will be a source of pride once completed. I saw your thread and what you did is amazing! I don't think I could handle that project. But there is also something to be said for knowing every inch of your boat...
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019
  12. Laveytunnel21

    Laveytunnel21 Well-Known Member

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    Taking a little break from the dash/wiring part of the project to build a bimini top for it! Coming along nice, hopefully have some more pics of it on the water soon!
    IMG_4509.JPG IMG_4510.JPG IMG_4511.JPG
     
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  13. Boat211

    Boat211 Well-Known Member

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    I really enjoy these kind of threads. Great work. I am with you on the dislike of wire changing colors mid-loom. Keep it up. Looking forward to finished photos.
     
  14. Luv2gofast

    Luv2gofast Well-Known Member

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    Bimini frame is done and in the shop for a cover...I don't sew. (Thanks to my son for those pics)

    Got the gauges installed and started cleaning up the wiring last night. I had them mostly wired because I had Livorsi send the harnesses when I placed the order for the gauges. Got the gauges last week so now that they are installed I can sort the wire routes and get that cleaned up. I wish I had room in the shop, it would make it much easier to work at night. Target is October 18th to leave for Havasu for a week of enjoying my effort. It won't be done but I will have the critical stuff working and can play with the programming and sort out some details.
    20191008_230201.jpg 20191008_230256.jpg 20191008_230304.jpg
    NMEA 2000 bus and gateway 20191008_230232.jpg
     
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  15. Luv2gofast

    Luv2gofast Well-Known Member

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    It's all back together. I've tested and programmed the VantageView gauges and LED indicators. Heading for Havasu on Friday for a week.

    DashFinished.jpg 20191013_161229.jpg 20191013_161235.jpg


    And the Bimini

    20191016_082219.jpg 20191016_082239.jpg
     
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  16. SpectraPat

    SpectraPat Well-Known Member

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    Nice job!
     
  17. Luv2gofast

    Luv2gofast Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. I get to find out how I did this weekend...
     
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  18. HAP

    HAP Member

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    Nice heat gun. Looks like a Raychem... Thanks for sharing your quality job.

    R,
    HAP
     
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  19. 02HoWaRd26

    02HoWaRd26 Well-Known Member

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    Awesome!! What is next?
     
  20. Luv2gofast

    Luv2gofast Well-Known Member

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    Ha ha...got it at Lockheed salvage about 30 years ago for probably $5. Put a new cord on it and it's been working great ever since!!


    Now I get to rebuild one of the sportmasters...caus I burnt one up. I got so buried in the dash and rewire that I ran out of time and didn't change the lube before the Havasu trip. I hate self induced pain! I did get 100mph out of it before I broke it. I'm starting to get a feel for it and it feels great at speed! All of the dash / wiring upgrades worked great so still on that list are the senders for the jack indicator and a launch control for the tab. I want to make a "launch control" that push a button (already installed) drops the tab all the way down then when I hit the gas the a mercury switch trips a timer to bring the tab up to level. It really helps it get on plane with the tab but I hate having to run it up manually every time I launch. Oh yah...also pretzled the Bimini frame so need to figure that out and need to redo the sound system but haven't locked in what I'm going to do with that either. So many projects - so little time...
     
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  21. Shlbyntro

    Shlbyntro Well-Known Member

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    Nice work. I'm not a fan of NMEA or any digital comms for the matter but it looks nice
     
  22. Luv2gofast

    Luv2gofast Well-Known Member

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    Thank you! I've heard of problems with NMEA but have not seen any so far on my setup. What is it that you don't like about it?

    Bob
     
  23. Shlbyntro

    Shlbyntro Well-Known Member

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    Really, it's the principal idea behind it. I dont like complex integration of electrical systems, especially near water. With analog systems, your only choice is compartmentalization. Each gauge has it's own signal wire, each control had it's own cable, each bilge pump and blower has it's own switch and power lead. If one system fails, it generally fails independant and you still have all your other systems in tact and working properly

    In NMEA systems, it's all integrated. All systems are using same comms leads and a computer is prioritizing inputs/outputs. When systems fail, the rest often go haywire as there are confusing inputs going through the comms and the computer doesnt know what to make of them. All your systems are interdependent upon each other and that's what I dont like.

    I do however also recognize alot of the benefits that it offers that are limitations for analog style systems. So it's a trade off that we all have to decide if we want or not. I am just personally in the "not" category because of the redundancy benefits of analog systems that NMEA cant compete with.
     
  24. Luv2gofast

    Luv2gofast Well-Known Member

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    Totally understand and I felt the same way many years ago when electronic fuel injection started showing up in cars. I knew how a carb worked and could tune them until the engine ran perfect...almost. Once I accepted that fuel injection was here to stay I studied it and figured out how it worked. Of course there are many advantages with fuel injection that you just can't get with a carb. CAN bus is here to stay in cars and I have a pretty good understanding of it and again there are some huge advantages. I like the integration of the gauges with the engine management controller. There is a bunch of diagnostic information that can be displayed and gauges that don't need to be looked at often can be combined into one display. Not trying to sell you on NMEA2000 (CAN buss for the marine industry) but just give you and idea why I chose to give it a try and learn more about it. So far I like it but that may change as I know there are some problems. First I've found is that there is no code assigned for jack plates...


    Thank you for stimulating a conversation about it. That's what I was hoping would happen with this thread because discussion is good for learning and I want to learn more about NMEA. Maybe I should have called the thread "NEMA conversion".



    Bob
     
  25. Shlbyntro

    Shlbyntro Well-Known Member

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    I still like carbs over fuel injection lol. I'm fortunate to have cut my teeth during the transition from carbs to fi in boats so I am actually very good with both.

    Your right, the integrated displays are one of the huge benefits of the "Nema" systems. Also integration of radar/sonar with the engines and autopilot systems.

    One of the biggest benefits being that of Joystick controls which require multiple engines to be talking to eachother as well as the controller in order to function properly. I'm still the guy who puts a 40 footer in its slip with the stand alone throttles and shifters though, even when theres a joystick right next to me.

    There are huge benefits, but they come at a large cost. I prefer cheap, simple, dependable; even if it means sacrificing some frills.


    I'm getting to do a retrofit on a Formula 400SS this winter, customer is having me remove his 525s and installing 520s in their place. And guess what, all new digital controls and touchscreen displays...... it's going to be a rigging/setup nightmare, yay me!
     
  26. Luv2gofast

    Luv2gofast Well-Known Member

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    It may not be the nightmare you expect (hopefully), I will be waiting for your opinion after the project is completed...

    I'm very good with electronics, computers and wiring so if you have any questions feel free to throw them my way. As I said I learn something from every question and problem!
     
  27. Shlbyntro

    Shlbyntro Well-Known Member

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    Nah, I've done 1 before. they're nightmares on these larger boats when the boat was never built for smartcraft and accessories. You will likely be changing almost the entire engine control harness. If you really want that touchscreen that has all your engine management data on your dash, I say go for it!

    The change over is much easier when you have good access to your harness runs.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
  28. Luv2gofast

    Luv2gofast Well-Known Member

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    That's what I did. Removed all of the interior, gutted all of the wiring except for the battery cables and started with new engine harnesses, identified and bought all of the mating connectors and tools to crimp them, put it all back together with new everything!
     

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