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Jackson Kayak transducer install, pt1

July 9th, 2012 · 5 Comments

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I’m about to head out to ICAST (leave for the airport in an hour) and discovered I still had the photos from my transducer installation on the camera. That means I didn’t write about it!

So, here ya go. It’s not complete, because I need to install my through-hull and get the lines installed inside the kayak (that’s why I hadn’t posted about this).

Just enough PVC pipe to reach through the scupper, bolt down transducer puck. Should look something like this.

To start things off, I fitted the transducer to a piece of 1″ PVC pipe. I have a done of scrap pieces throughout my basement and garage. I think this piece is about 4″ long in total. To really get the transducer to fit right, I had to put a small notch into  the pipe. If you look closely at the photo (click for full size), you can see that the transducer seems to come out of the back of the pipe. That’s because of the notch I had to cut into it. Your transducer may (and probably will) vary from this Lowrance/Eagle puck. From there I drilled a hole and bolted the transducer to the pipe, and zip tied the cable to it to. I did this to my Cuda, but I know the steps are all the same no matter which Jackson sit on top kayak (or SUP?) you’re adding a fish finder too. You might need a bit longer piece of PVC for the Coosa, and I’m not sure where the Big Tuna comes into play. Fortunately you can do this much and start with say a 6″ long of PVC pipe and just cut to fit as you go.

Cutting the pool noodle to fit. You can use any closed-cell foam for this.

After I bolted the transducer to the PVC pipe, I grabbed one of the many foam pool noodles I have (this is the BEST time of year to get them CHEAP. You’re kayaks should have several inside to help aid in buoyancy should they get swamped) and trimmed things to fit.  Now, the PVC pipe we setup above is larger in diameter than the hole through the pool noodle, so we’ll need to expand that.  I just shoved another piece of PVC pipe through the middle and called it good enough. Then you’ll need to cut down the sides of the noodle so that it seats inside the scupper of your kayak. Take a little off at a time and work to keep the hole in the middle of the noodle.  In the end, your piece of pool noodle with be almost cone shaped.

Test fitting the whole set up. If the foam is trimmed right, things should be level

Now, split one side of the pool noodle and slip it around the PVC pipe you’ve attached to your transducer. Feed your transducer wiring through the scupper and then install the whole transducer setup, foam, PVC and all into the scupper. Hopefully you’ll find a pretty snug fit. You’ll need to put a little bit of force into things, but once you let go, things shouldn’t move around either. The transducer will have some play, but only because it is supported by foam. Also make sure the transducer is not protruding beyond the sides of the hull surrounding it. This is a protective measure. Should you get into some skinny water, pass over a tree or rock in the water, or something to that effect, the hull will hit the obstruction, and NOT your expensive, not-near-as-durable transducer. The transducer should just kinda suck up inside the scupper and be well protected. Jackson Kayak build the scuppers on their fishing kayaks oversized so they can suit this very purpose.

Everything trimmed and flush. Time to think about glue.

So, if everything is fitting OK, pull it all back out. If things aren’t fitting OK, then make the necessary adjustments until they are. Don’t forget to flip the kayak right side up and take a look at the PVC pipe coming out of the scupper. I like to keep the PVC lower than the flattest part of the kayak or, better yet, a quarter or half inch below the lip of the scupper. This will keep some of the water draining usefulness of the scupper and keep the PVC pipe from becoming an obstacle when it comes time to fish. If the PVC pipe is sticking up, then just pull things apart, cut of as much as you need, and test fit things again.

Check the clearance on the deck-side of the kayak. If the PVC sticks up much, keep trimming it down.

Satisfied that your fitting is good, now we can make this more permanent. This step, in my opinion, is totally optional. I like to get some Marine Goop into the situation so that I know things aren’t going to fall apart on me. All you need is a dab on the outside of the foam, and then just a little on the inside of the foam. Take note of where the foam seams to make the firmest, most secure contact with the kayak, and put glue in this area. Likewise, inside the foam, make sure that you’re only applying Goop to the area where the foam will make contact with the PVC pipe, NOT the transducer cable. What’s really nice about this whole setup and the Marine Goop is that we’re making a semi-permanent installation. It will stand everything you might throw at it, but, if you realize you installed your transducer into the wrong scupper (did I do that??) or wish to move it all together, this will all come apart with relatively little force. That’s one of the reasons most kayak fishermen love Marine Goop so much.

mmm Goop!

Now it’s just a matter of putting everything back together and letting it dry.

Now, on the topside, when it comes to what to do with the cable, there are a couple options. Many guys have installed this very similar setup on the front most scuppers and just run the cable into either the Day Hatch on the Coosa or the center hatch of the Cuda. I’m going to be installing a waterproof cable pass through into the hull under my seat. I have the pass through, but I just haven’t cut out the 1″ hole into the kayak to get it installed.

Later dates, It’s time to me to get to the airport and head to ICAST!

Click here for Part 2

Tags: Kayak modification

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Morgan // Jul 9, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Thanks for sharing, great to see the step-by-step process with photos!

    Do you recommend any other options aside from the foam pool noodle? I’m not against it but am just more interested to know if there might be something I have lying around the house that could do the trick as well.

    Thanks again for sharing your time and expertise!

  • 2 The Nothing // Jul 9, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Anything that is waterproof, light weight, moldable and capable of filling space will work. Styrofoam, high density foams, a blob of expanding foam, silly putty would probably work…

  • 3 The Nothing // Jul 9, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    that reminds me, I owe you an email. Been busy between work and prepping for ICAST

  • 4 Morgan // Jul 9, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Thanks Isaac! Funny this could be yet another use for silly putty!

    No worries on the email and no rush!

  • 5 Jackson Cuda transducer install, pt2 // Jul 26, 2012 at 5:12 am

    [...] July 26th, 2012 · No Comments If you missed the first part of the transducer installation, you can check it out here [...]

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