Dash Wiring and Other Tips:

* Disconnect all power to a boat when working on the dash.
   (Always check all power and accessories, after working on a dash)
* Think twice, cut once.
* Save all cut outs. They can be used to make repairs and as reinforcements for other installations.
* Avoid cutting too much of the dash-board wood bracing, behind the dash, when installing flush mount accessories. The dash can get flimsy and start to crack due to the forces put on the steering wheel.
* Never figure your hole saw will stop before you wipe out the wiring loom that's bundled 1" behind the panel.
* Never splice any wires run thru the side of the boat.
* Never ever splice a speedometer tube.
* It's better to loosely bundle wire that's run thru the side of the boat. Really tight bundles cause interference in some electronics. And the rule of thumb says, support wiring every 18" , Do It.
*  Try to plan all of your present and future electronics installations at one time. Location, type, and wiring required are easier to install and plan for now, than to be forced to tear the whole boat apart in six months just to run a wire for an upgraded stereo.
* Never hook any accessory to the ignition switch circuit.
* Never share  ground wire connections by splicing. Run all grounds to an approved ground panel.
* Never share fuses. Install an extra fuse panel(s) when needed.
* Always leave two extra fuse and ground locations, under the dash, for the customer.
* Never coil wires behind the dash, cut to length when ever possible. If you have to coil, do it in an out of the way location, and always coil loosely and support properly.
* Leave enough wire at dash to service. Some panels have to be removed to change instruments, so try to plan for service that will have to be done later.
* Try not to bundle wiring looms to the steering system and/or steering cable. Some steering systems allow movement in the cable at the helm end and could put stress on the loom. And to make it worse, steering cables sometimes fail and this could yank out the wiring. (No steering and no power! A really bad day...)
* Check the helm for exposed moving parts on the back side that could chafe wiring.
* Be careful not to drop wire, wire stripping, or crimp connectors into the door track on models where the cabin door slides behind the dash board.
* Avoid moisture behind the dash by sealing all new entries and re-sealing any panels removed during installation.
* Keep your cordless drill away from the compass. The magnets in the drill will screw it up.
* When cutting into vinyl, padded head liners, or carpet with a drill or hole saw, "lightly" run the drill and/or hole saw backwards at first, until the cloth is cut away. Then run the drill or saw in forward, to finish the cut through the wood and/or fiberglass panel behind the cloth and/or foam padding.
* Even though it seems like there is a lot of room on a new dash board, try and plan for the future. In other words it's better to take up as little space as possible with each new installation, leaving room for future upgrades. Even if there are big open spaces on the dash today... give it a year or so, the owner will find things to fill those openings.

*  ======= Work In Progress ==========

* Have a suggestion yourself? Send it to us.

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