Boat Gauges & Instrumentation

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Gauges How-To's

Boat Instrumentation

How to Replace Gauges on a Boat (Video)

A video presentation from Frisco Boater on how to change the gauges in your boat. ... read more

Audio Transcript of You Tube Video

Hi Everybody, I’m back with another little bitty project. I mean little bitty, as in pretty small, but it’s something that needs to be done. You’ll notice that I’m in a weird-looking place, where there’s metal behind me. I am actually up here at my storage unit, where I keep the boat.

This is such a smaller project than I figured. I’ll just take up a little bit of tools, my work trailer, bring it up here, and try to tackle it. It is just a little easier than trying to hitch this thing up and then bring it all the way back to the house and all that kind of good stuff. So I'm just going to just going to tackle it here.

If you remember last year, when we got the boat over from the lake, the tachometer and the oil pressure was not reading correctly. We're having some problems with that, so I replaced the oil pressure sender and it still doesn't work. Whenever you put the key in, and turn it on, the oil pressure pegs over 80. We checked all the wires, we ran new wires, and replaced the oil sender but it still did not working properly. So, I’m thinking that it is probably the boat gauge.

Also, the tachometer like I said was not reading correctly. I read online that you can take a little setting needle and turn it back and forth several times to clean the contacts. It sometimes works, it didn't work so well. I ended up buying a whole new set a boat gauges which I’ll show you here in a second to replace these.

I think I'll be much happier with these better looking ones. And we'll see if that fixes the problem. If I replace them all, we will get some good looking boat gauges than we have to figure out some more electrical gremlins. I really think we just got a gauge problem so let us go look what we have.

Here we go, new gauges! They got kind of a brushed aluminum background with chrome, and they've got little gold indicators in there if you see them. The cool thing about these is I believe these light up blue, which I like. We'll see, they said they will light blue, but I do not know how much to believe them.

The main reason why I bought all of these is because of the tachometer and the oil pressure. This is what we are going to do first: replace that and see if that fixes it to give us some motivation to finish this all. With these gauges out it means I have to lay down on my back right there with my hands up inside this dash all day.

I am going to refresh your memory with what happens. When we press the oil gauge and turn on the ignition. It goes all the way to 80 psi. And, that’s where it stays there the whole time. We're going to pull that sucker out. And replace it with our new one and see how it works.

I kind of like working up here! I got a nice fluorescent light up there. The wind is not in my face it’s blowing about 25-30 miles an hour, and this covering keeps me nice and insulated from all the weather. It's nice and warm at 65 - 75 degrees but still, when you are working with the wind back at the house, it really makes it kind of annoying. And these guys up here are super cool, because they let me do, whatever I want when working up here.

Anyway, let's see what we got underneath this das. That is our culprit up there. That is the oil pressure sender. Now, I'm going to go ahead pull this radio out, because we're going to end up replacing the radio with a new unit anyway. But what I'm going to do is take it out, to give me a little more access and space to let me get in here.

Now, this space right here, goes into my storage unit between the helm and the front seats. We are also going to remove my fire extinguisher temporarily, and get that all out of the way. Now, I have lots of room to stick my arms up in there. I've got a little socket set, which is up here somewhere. There is the dirt that was leftover. I have to knock them off because they don’t look very nice.

This looks like to be an 11/32. What we are going to do is slide this up there. But first, we are going to disconnect the battery that's the main thing. Disconnect the battery so that way we’re not messing around with live wires. And then I'm just going to slide this in here and usually, you can use your fingers to release them, but if not, I've got my little socket set with me also.

I going to take off all the wires and keep in mind on how they are labeled and hooked up. We will hook them back up to the new one. It shouldn't be too bad. I'll see if I can videotape this as I go.

As you can see, there's a hole in my dashboard. Here, we have the two boat gauges. This is the old one, and this is the new one. You guys want to make sure that they match, because they may have switched things around.

If you notice, it's really hard to see there is a G on the center post , an S on this left post and I on this post. You have a little spade up here. In my boat, the spade is a blue wire, and that is for the lights that illuminates as you turn-on the dashboard lights.

The ground is self-explanatory. It’s the ground that completes the circuit and this post doubles as a holder for the the bracket to keep in the dashboard. The S, which is our signal that's coming in my boat they are light blue. And ignition, which is I, is purple on this boat for some reason. Usually, in the automotive world they’re always red but anyway, these match, so we're going to drop this into the dashboard, and then hook it up.

All I did was just loosen these little nuts up, and these have a little circle connector on the end of it to slide over and tighten them up. Make sure you use these little teeth-lock washers to keep them from vibrating lose.

Diesel connectors that I’m talking about these things just slide over. Use the lock washer on them, that is the purple wire and it’s one of my ignition wires. Make sure you hook them up the same way, and there's a whole bunch of black wires, it looks like they daisy chained all the gauges together so you got to make sure they are in line.

I'm doing this one at a time. I'm not going to take all these out all at a time and worry about getting these back in. I am just doing this one gauge at a time. Slowly, but surely to make sure it gets done right. One down, six to go. I’ll tell you reaching your arms up in there like that is a little difficult.

Of course, we can’t start the boat engine because it’s winterized right now, but we can at least see that we don't have a dead short inside the unit itself anymore. I will have to wait until spring to see how our readings are. But so far, so good.

For people who may have not watched a lot of the restoration, or who remembered this back when we first fired the boat engine off and discovered this problem we put a mechanical gauge on it which is just a standard tube. Something I bought at Autozone for 26 bucks and we had a full 40 to 50 psi of oil.

We know we got oil pressure. We will now be able to monitor when we go to the lake this year, instead of flying blind. And I don't believe in having boat gauges that don't work.

Next one, I’m going to try an easy one I’m going to do the boat fuel gauge which is right here. Let’s see how much gas we have. It shows empty, which is wrong. I wonder why it is showing that. Interesting, because, I just put a new fuel sender in that thing last year it maybe stuck. Anyway I am going to move on and replace the fuel gauge next and see how it comes up.

When I'm done with all of this, I might just hitch up the boat and take it up to the nearest gas station to see which may be smart, because the fuel is going to be around five dollars a gallons by June. I might at least fill up and have one tank at under four.

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marine battery gauge
Panther Marine Battery Gauges (Video)
Panther introduces their marine battery gauges. ... read more

Video Transcript

You know there is nothing more frustrating than getting out to the boat launch, turning the key and the motor doesn't start. Or get to your favourite fishing spot, drop that throttle motor, push the on button then it has dead batteries. There's a way to avoid that and that is to check it at home before you even come out to the lake because you can get them charged up while you're still at home. Once you get here, you're kind of out of luck.

So here's what I do. Now in my boat I have a standard battery condition gauge that comes with the boat. But in a lot of smaller boats you don't get that option. Panther Marine has a great option for you. There are four different sets of battery gauges. We can get to one battery, two batteries, four batteries and we have a portable gauge.

You can mount any of these on your boat. You can make it work for any application you have no matter how many batteries even up to four. Or you can carry the handheld and it's really simple. Before you leave home, check that battery really quick, make sure you're good to go and then head for the lake. It's going to make your life a lot easier.
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