Among the many topics we chatted about at the last Virtual Freedom Raft Up was my AIS install Project. I went with the Vesper 8000 XB from Defender.Com
So the box o goodies came right during Christmas week and I was jazzed. The install video is great but it presumes a setup with NMEA 2000 on a newer boat.
There were a lot of wires to sort out and run. Like most of us the electronics on our boats are dated. I now have 1st gen raymarine, NMEA 0183, and NMEA 2000. But they really do not need to talk all to each other for now.
First was the VHF splitter. The coax cable had a connector at the base of mast so that was where the box went. Running the coax and power cables high in the bilge made sense. But it was tricky to get the wires through. Then I went down the middle of the boat and found a path under the floorboards and just past the end of the water tank and then up under the Nav table to the panel. Removing the top of the starboard bunk above the water tank made things much easier.
Then crimped the leads for pos and neg for both the AIS and splitter to a single spade and connected to the VHF switch powered everything.
The unit has its own gps and antenna. I purchased a rail mount and ran the wire from the stern, along the starboard aft bunk outboard, under the cabinet drawers, wet locker and under the Nav table.
The unit has wi fi. Vesper has an app called watch mate. It also works with INavX. Down the road I might start an NMEA 2000 bus. But for now AIS is going to be stand alone. I have old school Raymarine instruments and an ancient Garmin plotter. As long as my Autohelm works I will leave it alone. More and more I navigate with Ipad and a bad elf Bluetooth gps. Autopilot is the most critical element so having a parallel system is fine.
I am glad to have completed this project. I would love to have radar. But AIS is better than nothing.
Lesson learned - there are no straight wiring runs on the F36. But eventually one finds the path. When in doubt step back, take a break, and then give it another go. If I knew the nooks and cranny’s better I am sure I would have cut the time from 30 to 20 hours.
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