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Instrument Panel Ideas?

Discussion in 'Post Yacht' started by airtox, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. airtox

    airtox New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Saquatucket, Harwichport, MA
    I have a 1997 50 Post (820 MANs) that I purchased a few years back. The instrument panel on the fly bridge has always been annoying because a number of the gauges don't work properly. When I had the engine survey done, the gauges in the engine room matched up perfectly with the technicians gauges during survey so I was told to just rely on those for my checks (not very convenient). I would like to replace all the gauges so thought that it would be best to just replace the entire panel. I have the following questions:
    1. Could the problem be with the senders not the gauges?

    2. Does anyone know where I can purchase good quality gauges that will look good as well as perform well. I have looked in places like West Marine but can't find everything that I need.

    3. Any recommendations on the material for the panel? plastic? Powder coated aluminum?

    4. These are all analog gauges (correct?), has anyone ever done a conversion over to a digital engine monitoring system with an LCD display at the helm? I would assume that different senders would need to be installed or analog/digital converters installed up top. Anyone ever done this???
  2. AlfredZ

    AlfredZ Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Messages:
    469
    Location:
    Stuck far from home!
    Once I have used a panel that is actually made for sailboats, the mounting was a bit tricky but worked well, they are available more because many powerboaters would custom make their's, if you like you can DIY which would be nice. Running digitals is more tricky and if not done properly (I would advice the use or consult of a certified marine technician), it will translate disaster! you will need different sensors and different wiring. I think your current problem is more in the cables running down to the engine room and for sure it might be with the sensors, either not mounted right or just gone bust. Forge a wooden box and lay some fiber sheets, laminate, cure and you have your panel! (Though it is not as easy as I wrote it but not hard to accomplish, plan ahead).

    Cheers.
  3. d_meister

    d_meister Member

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    Mar 4, 2010
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    Location:
    San Diego, CA.
    I would recommend against aluminum as it will not hold paint or powder coat over time. Plastic, either acrylic or polycarbonate work well, but if in full sun, dark colors can expand at a greater rate than fiberglass, so avoid fasteners and just bog it down with silicone. Fasteners can cause wrinkling or bowing.
    If you want digital, from what I've seen, the best avenue to explore is NMEA 2000 senders. They can interface with marine electronics such as Garmin and Simrad or have their own multi function display, not to mention onboard PC 's. Maretron seems to be on the leading edge for those types of devices. BEP Marine has analog to NMEA 2000 converters, as do other companies such as Actisense.
  4. airtox

    airtox New Member

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    Location:
    Saquatucket, Harwichport, MA
    Thanks for the info d_meister, this is a great help. This gives me a starting point for my search for the digital stuff.
  5. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

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    Location:
    Connecticut and Downeast Maine
    1. The issue with accuracy could be the senders, or the gauges, or the wiring connections, or the wiring between the senders and the gauges. There is a reason why more than one mechanic I know has referred to the VDO analog gauges as "voodoo gauges".

    2. What are you looking for that you cannot find from West Marine?

    3. I have used hardcoat anodized aluminum panels with good results. Starboard composite material might work, though it might be too thick for what you want. G10 could be an alternative. Or, glue together a couple of thicknesses of formica laminate material.

    4. I would investigate this product:
    Model 1550 | Reduce Fuel use and Maintenance Costs
  6. Fireman431

    Fireman431 Senior Member

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  7. airtox

    airtox New Member

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    Location:
    Saquatucket, Harwichport, MA

    The flightsystem product looks really interesting. Especially for the price. I was looking at West Marine book and didn't really see the gauges that I needed for a diesel engine, but then I went online and searched for them and found them. Of course they are not VDO brand (I don't know if VDO is around anymore??). If the gauge is the correct size for my panel, would other brands be a direct replacement? Are the senders specific to the gauge? I would think that the scaling on the sender would have to match the gauge and it isn't obvious what the senders are putting out for a signal (0-5 VDC, 4-20 mA, 0-200 ohm) or is there some universal standard that I am not aware of. For example, are all oil pressure senders 0-5 VDC with the same scaling and all temperature senders the same. Any insight on how this works would be great.

    The flight systems module is really straight forward, it has analog and digital inputs that can be scaled to whatever you need based on the sender. I wish the gauges were this straight forward.

    Concerning the panel, I think that what I have from the factory now is hardcoat anodized aluminum. I know a panel shop that can put the holes and graphics on this type of panel for not much money.
  8. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

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    Location:
    Connecticut and Downeast Maine
    VDO Guages (and others) in hardcoat anodized aluminum panels

    Attached Files:

  9. CaptPKilbride

    CaptPKilbride Senior Member

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    MMDS displays and some extra guages after repower

    Attached Files:

  10. Savasa

    Savasa Senior Member

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    Iqaluit, Nunavit, Canada
    Hiya,
    Try Lauderdale speedometer (I think that's the name). They seemed to have a lot of "stuff".
    Peter
  11. airtox

    airtox New Member

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    Location:
    Saquatucket, Harwichport, MA
    This place is awesome. They have all the VDO gauges and senders/switches. This will make it very easy for me to match up with what I have.

    The website is gaugepros.com

    Thanks for the info.
  12. airtox

    airtox New Member

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    Jul 12, 2010
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    Location:
    Saquatucket, Harwichport, MA
    Panel Switches??

    I have located all the gauges thanks to all the helpful replies. Now I need to see if I can find some switches that match the ones on the existing panel. Does anyone have any ideas on the manufacturer of these vintage 1997 switches?

    Attached Files:

  13. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Jul 11, 2005
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    6,184
    Location:
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    Lauderdale Speedometer or Ward's Marine Electric in Fort Lauderdale should have those switches......I bought them at one of the two places a few years back for a boat......I forgot all of the info of them though......

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