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  1. #1
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    New Electronics and Trolling Motor - DIY or not?

    I recently picked up a Ranger RT188 and will be looking into new electronics and TM, I'd probably be doing the Hummingbird/Ultrex combination. I'm handy but don't have a lot of experience with electronics. How many people are doing these sorts of installs themselves? How much do installs run if you were to have it done? Does everyone have their dealer do it or are do local marinas do electronics installs? Thanks in advance.

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    #2
    Accidental double post, please delete.

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    #3
    I just picked up a Motorguide Xi5 online (better price than Bass Pro) and decided to install myself.
    Never installed one before... but the quotes I got from Bass Pro and other Marinas. ... $250-500 labor.
    My boat (Key West 1720) is already wired for a TM so I thought the labor quotes were kinda high.
    The MG manual was not too informational.... BUT You Tube was all I needed. It is not rocket sicience
    and very much a DIY project. There are some tricks that should be looked at since each boat is different.
    DIY .... not that difficult.

    Slipp

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    #4
    Like Slipp said, "youtube is your friend". The manual for your new electronics has installation instructions.

  6. Member SoonerFan's Avatar
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    #5
    I've installed 2 trolling motors and countless sonars. Most recently a Ultrex and Helix 10 SI and Helix 7 SI. It's some times a challenge but I find it to be one of the most rewarding parts of boat ownership. Plus it's a good excuse to by more tools.
    Don't worry Ma'am....
    I'm only here for the
    Bass.

  7. Member
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    #6
    I purchased and installed my TM and 2 fish finders myself. Compared to the dealers quote I saved over $1000.00 plus knowing just how my equipment is set up. Just take your time.
    2018 Tracker Pro Team 190 TX
    115 Mercury Pro XS 4S

  8. Member 06 SB's Avatar
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    #7
    I ALWAYS do it myself. I installed many a FF/GPS unit for me and friends. Most recently switched out a MG trolling motor for a MK Fortrex. Do to some hazards in breaking parts, I may let a professional install my Ultrex when I get one.
    USN Retired
    2016 Basscat Cougar FTD

    Mercury 250 Pro XS

  9. Member tav's Avatar
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    #8
    Do it your self and gain experience... Pretty ezy
    SFC TAVALOZZI US ARMY NATIONAL GUARD.......HOOOAH!! (20 YRS AND
    2013 Silverado crew cab 4x4
    1992 ranger 361v 175 h.p

  10. Member
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    #9
    It isn’t rocket science, it’s simply a matter of how comfortable do you feel drilling holes in your boat.

    Wife was initially mortified at the thought of me cutting into fiberglass on a brand new boat, but the only reason I even considered paying the shop to install was to save me time (precious time that I could spend fishing.... without a boat that was stuck in the shop indefinitely). But then she realized that I’ve been DIYing everything from car engines to plumbing to installing TV and projector mounts to fixing her damn sleep apnea machine and just about everything in between for decades, so she felt pretty good about my chances. Ended up being a clean install, there were a few additional trips to the hardware store, but no problems, and best of all, everything is exactly where I want it.

  11. Member CastingCall's Avatar
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    #10
    As mentioned, look online for tips and instructions on performing proper wiring connections. Get a set of good crimpers, use waterproof heatshrink (the kind with melt-able adhesive inside), and support wires near connection points to avoid joint failures.

  12. Member
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    #11
    Absolutely DIY. That way when the day inevitably comes that you must troubleshoot a wiring issue, you know where all the wires are, and how they are run. Nothing worse than having no idea what wire goes where under your deck when there's a problem and having to spend hours just finding the other end of the wire only to find out that wasn't the wire having the problem and then spending hours locating the other one.

    Plus, I've seen some REALLY crappy install work done by dealers. Not saying they are all like that, but I've seen enough of it to know that "if you want it done right, you've got to do it yourself" is still just as valid today as it ever was.

  13. Member JLMitchell19's Avatar
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    #12
    I just installed a new Lowrance HDS7 on my RT188 console. As others have said Youtube is your friend. I'd also suggest you check out the Tin Boat forum and ask any questions there to get advice from other RT188 owners. I did and it really helped me with the install. If you have the time, DIY is preferable to paying $100/hr to the local marine dealer and you know it's done right. Good luck.
    2016 Ranger RT188
    115 Yamaha SHO

    "Well done is better than well said"- Benjamin Franklin

  14. Member
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    #13
    DIY supporter here.
    Measure thrice... drill once!

    I only bled a little installing my Ulterra. Lol
    Its crazy stressful drilling holes in a new boat, but if you want it done right, do it yourself!
    Youtube has made me a “professional” everything! Hahaha

  15. Member 3dees's Avatar
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    #14
    I have installed many tm's and graphs over the years. believe me when I say I am dangerous with tools. if I can do it anyone can. it much easier now with YouTube.

  16. Member
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    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCrowe13 View Post
    Youtube has made me a “professional” everything! Hahaha
    I like to call it getting my YouTube Certifications! So far i'm a Certified YouTube Mechanic (both on vehicles as well as boats), Plumber, Gardner, Trolling Motor installer.....and a bunch of other things Ive prolly already forgotten about doing!

    Does anyone one else get the itch, or feel like we should record ourselves doing the repairs we watched videos to learn on....for records sake? Its always possible to expand and cover something the original video forgets so you can help the next guy.....i wanna do it just havent done it. I feel like I shouldve recorded myself redecking my front wood deck with hydroturf. Not much info for hydroturf on bass trackers....shouldve returned the favor! just need to find a cheap gopro first!

  17. Member CastingCall's Avatar
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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by FishInTheDesert View Post
    I like to call it getting my YouTube Certifications! So far i'm a Certified YouTube Mechanic (both on vehicles as well as boats), Plumber, Gardner, Trolling Motor installer.....and a bunch of other things Ive prolly already forgotten about doing!

    Does anyone one else get the itch, or feel like we should record ourselves doing the repairs we watched videos to learn on....for records sake? Its always possible to expand and cover something the original video forgets so you can help the next guy.....i wanna do it just havent done it. I feel like I shouldve recorded myself redecking my front wood deck with hydroturf. Not much info for hydroturf on bass trackers....shouldve returned the favor! just need to find a cheap gopro first!
    I can't stand to listen to my own voice (much less look at my ugly mug in the mirror) enough to want to share it with the world. lol

  18. Member berudd's Avatar
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    #17
    Like someon else said, drilling into you boat is the hardest part, menatally speaking. Take you time. Otherwise, hooking up electronics on a bass boat is pretty straight forward.
    Bruce
    2008 Triton TR-186
    Mercury 150 Optimax (1B541231)
    HDS 7 bow and console w/StructureScan
    HDS Compatibility Matrix

  19. Member
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    #18
    I bought a used 2003 Ranger 175 DVS late last Fall and spent about 8 days installing a Helix 10 on the console and another on the bow. I also installed a Minn Kota Ulterra to replace the original MK unit. The biggest thing is to research the project and get as much of the needed items prior to installation. You will no doubt run into items that you overlooked, but plan as much out (in detail) prior to beginning. There are lots of good tips on YouTube like using heavy gauge wire for the fish finders (reduce resistance losses and voltage drop), installing a wire distribution panel for the fish finders, ethernet hub, etc.. Then there are the little details that can make your installation look a bit more professional. When I removed the original trolling motor I found that the finish underneath the unit was discolored. I was going to use a quick disconnect mount for the Ulterra that would have left this area exposed, so I ordered some Ranger deck mat (same stuff that is used on the boat and trailer steps) and made a cardboard template of the area to be covered. This not only made the install look factory original, but sealed and covered the holes from the original installation. Most of the work is not difficult, but it's finding the easiest method to approach to overcome issues. I would not attempt to route heavy wire, transducer cables, network cables through the factory installed wire tube without using an electricians wire fish. Tip: tape the end of the fish so if it gets suck and needs to be pulled out for another pass, it won't catch on existing wires. When pulling wires/cables, I also taped a piece of parachute cord so that there is a length of cord from the console to the bow, and from the console to the stern area. This way, should I ever need to pull another cable, I already have a cord in place. One area that I struggled with was when it came to mounting the Helix 10 MEGA SI transducer on the step behind the transom. I wanted to use a Transducer Shield & Saver mount, but couldn't bring myself to drill holes up through the bottom of a perfectly good boat. I spent a lot of time researching what others had done, and the best location to mount the unit for optimum performance. I finally ended up using two Stern Saver blocks that were drilled and then had holes counter bored so the the bolt heads were recessed. I then bolted the Transducer Shield & Saver mount and Stern Saver blocks together to insure everything would be exactly as it would be on the boat, and then filled the bolt head recesses in the Stern Saver blocks with epoxy to prevent them from turning. After gluing the assembly to the underside of the stepped transom, I changed out the screws that came with the transducer for SS hex-head cap screws with washers. This made short work of mounting the transducer as the supplied phillips head screws would have needed a right angle screwdriver and more patience that I normally have. The position of the transducer mount also eliminated having to drill holes below the waterline for "P" clips to route the cable as I was able to route the transducer cable up through the drain hole that comes out just ahead of the motor. In summary, this is a job that the average joe can do at home. Think all the details through prior to beginning installation and make a checklist for all the details. This may be a very anal approach, but the end result is that you will have pride in the finished product, know more about your boat should anything go bad in the future, know that the job was done right, and you will have saved yourself a ton of money in the process. Tip: allow twice as much time for the install as you think it will take. Good luck!

  20. Member
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    #19
    I have always installed my stuff myself unless I don't have time to do it.

    I am a certified auto technician but as others have said it isn't that hard unless you have no confidence in your abilities to do it.

    If not then see if there is someone in your area that would help.

    Being in the middle of one of the richest bass fishing areas in the country there are plenty of great people that do installs and plenty of people who would help me if need be.

    I will probably be doing some upgrades to include the Ultrex and Hummingbird Helix's very soon myself.
    2016 Ranger RT188 Charcoal Metallic Dual Console
    2017 Yamaha 115 VMAX SHO SS Prop
    Lowrance Elite 7Ti in console
    Humminbird Helix 10 SI on BBT Bow Mount
    Minn Kota Ultrex 80 - 24V i-Pilot Link
    Transducer Shield Mount
    Custom step in place of center seat