Thursday, March 12, 2015

Chartplotter Support

Aboard s/v Suppose, Walt has constructed a very clever swinging mount for his chart plotter:
As we upgrade and outfit SV Suppose for cruising, we have tried to keep things as simple and bulletproof as possible. In particular, we want to minimize the number of things that, if broken, would keep us from departing from one anchorage and moving on to the next one. So, we have given a lot of thought to the electronics, weighing functionality against complexity and reliability. In the end, we decided on the Garmin VHF100 radio, GPS820 chartplotter, and AIS600 transceiver. By buying all Garmin products, it was "relatively" easy to interconnect them so that we can see AIS targets on the chartplotter and provide gps data to the VHF radio so that it can transmit a distress call with our location at the press of a button. We don't have radar now but the GPS820 can support it if we decide to add it later. So far, we couldn't be happier with this combination.

As with every other addition or modification to SV Suppose, the challenge was finding the space for the new electronics.

The VHF radio was the easiest and first component to install. I simply replaced the old one which had been mounted against the cabin top, just inside the companionway on the starboard side. Mounted there, it is out of the weather and can be seen, operated and heard from the cabin, companionway steps, and the cockpit.

This is the chartplotter on the mahogany support that I built for it. Here it is in its "stowed" position where it is not in the way for normal activity in the galley.

The AIS transceiver, mounted below the chartplotter, is just visible in this picture.

We don't have a separate navigation station in SV Suppose. Instead, we use the removable counter-top that covers the stove when it is not in use. For operation from this "navigation station," the chartplotter rotates out approximately 30 degrees. The chartplotter support is mounted on an 8 inch, brass piano hinge attached to the side of the companionway frame. To get the support to rotate in a horizontal plane, I placed a wedge under the hinge and against the companionway. The 8 inch vertical portion of the support and the diagonal brace underneath provide a very solid and sturdy base.

The chartplotter and its support will rotate a full 180 degrees where it faces into the cockpit. The base under the chartplotter is shaped so that it rests against the vertical frame of the companionway and overlaps the threshold. This provides extra support in case we should fall against it. It is held in this position by a nylon "bump" on the bottom of the base that slides over the companionway threshold which is a little higher on the inside edge.

The chartplotter support is held in the stowed and 30 degree positions by this block that is mounted on the inside of the companionway bulkhead.

A toggle that rotates against the vertical portion of the support locks into two positions against the block. The dowel stub in the top of the toggle makes it easier to rotate the toggle with a fingertip.

And here is the base rotated to the 180 degree position. In this picture, it is easier to see how the shape of the base allows it to swing around the side of the companionway and overlap the threshold.

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