February 11, 2012
A simple solution to those pinger dingers.
Recently, I've been toying around with the usefulness of underwater video cameras as a fishing tool. Among the many cool features on marine electronics these days is the Video Input port. On multi-function units, this plug-in allows the user to feed video to the display from various sources such as a DVD player or video camera. One of the obstacles I've encountered was a means to deploy a small camera to look overboard that would hold the camera steady and wouldn't require a dedicated crew member to constantly hold the camera on a pole or handle. This equipment is still in the testing stage—for me anyway—but it looks very promising, surprisingly affordable, and will be covered in detail in a future issue.
This device allow you to easily raise a transducer-eliminating bumps with trailer bunks.
On a search for the camera bracket I found something pretty brilliant for my requirements but even more so for another job entirely. If you own a boat with a transom-mounted transducer you will know what I mean immediately.
Among the many annoyances of having a transom-mounted transducer is the fact that they are very often in need of replacement. Common causes of damage would include collisions with boat trailer bunks, forklifts and wash racks at dry storage marinas, and contact with floating objects while under way. A common solution is the flip-up style bracket. The problem with these is you need to tighten or loosen them to adjust them and this is done under water. If you simply leave the bracket loose enough to snap up or down without any tools, it tends to flip up while you're running and will need to be pushed back down into the proper angle to read the bottom when you stop running. The constant need to reach into the water up to your shoulder to flip up a transducer bracket to avoid these mishaps gets old in a hurry and sometimes you just plain forget to do it.
Dry rack storage.
Another issue entirely is boats that live in the water. Grass and barnacles grow on them and affect performance. It has been my experience that you will replace one or two transducers at a cost of $100 to $150 each (plus your time) before you break down and install a through-hull model.
For some boats a through-hull isn't practical, and here's where the device in question comes in handy: a Transom Lift Mount made of Starboard that attaches to your boat's transom in about five minutes. This mount is so simple it seems odd that someone hadn't thought of it sooner. It's just a piece of plastic milled into a bracket with a sliding pad for attaching your transducer (or camera), with a sliding lift rod made of aluminum and three holes to screw the bracket to your transom.
Could it be any simpler? To install the lift mount, you simply hold it up to your transom at a suitable location for attachment (naturally all transoms are not alike) and mark with a pencil through the screw holes on the mount. Next, drill a small pilot hole for the three No. 8 stainless steel screws, replace the bracket over the holes and insert the screws bedded with a touch of Boatlife or some other non-permanent caulk. Follow this up by attaching the transducer to the sliding pad on the bracket as you would to your transom, usually with two or three similar screws and run your cable to the unit. Done deal.
Tension knob at top holds transducer in down position, ready for action.
The mount works by adjusting a small tension knob to loosen or tighten, so you can lower the transducer to a point even with the bottom line of your hull or raise it out of the water completely without getting your hands wet. There is really nothing on it to break or corrode since the only part of it that stays in the water at all times is plastic. Now to avoid the risk of sounding like an infomercial I thought I should do some comparisons, or explore other options to serve the same purpose or compare it to a similar product.
The problem I ran into was that there were no similar products and unless you built your own bracket this was the only one of its kind. I actually thought about constructing something similar on my own out of Starboard and after I broke down the cost of just the materials alone it wasn't worth it. This product retails for under fifty bucks. I guess once in a while you get lucky and find something useful for a boat that doesn't cost a small fortune and really works. This would be one of those occasions. I bought two of them for use with my underwater camera project and would install one in a minute for a transom transducer if I required that application. It would really surprise me if you didn't see a ton of these around on the water soon. It's just a good common sense solution to a very common problem. FS