Simple & Symmetrical
A few years ago I was asked by a customer to come up with a mount for his 7" chart plotter that:
1- Was NOT one of those "gawd awful looking" NavPod boxes (his words not mine).
2- Could utilize the existing 1" Edson feet and 1" pedestal guard top plate.
3- Was symmetrical and not off to one side.
4- That looked professional, like it came from the factory.
5- Still provide a hand hold.
6- Make the plotter easily removable.
7- Not cost an arm and a leg.
8- Kept the plotter and cables mostly out of harms way.
View From Above
I gave the idea some thought and agreed with my customer that there was a product missing for mounting a single plotter between the two legs of a 1" pedestal guard, without an "unsightly & large" NavPod box and that did not look "cobbled" together..
This is the design I came up with and it will fit most all 4", 5" and 7" chart plotters.
Since designing this mount I have been continually asked to do more and more of them. I finally decided to stop making the mounting plates on a one-off basis and now make them 10-20 at a time.
This allows me to sell them to boat owners who don't want to take the time to make one themselves. At $58.75 it is actually a very good value when you consider your time, the tools needed, and waste material. They are all pre-cut, shaped and ready to go..
The design is simple, symmetrical, easy to install and the wires are kept out of harms way. They are protected by the pedestal guard, the mount plate and tucked under the plotters bracket.
This is a 7" Garmin 740S chart plotter and it fits like a glove on this Sabre 34 MKI. This is a boat with a relatively small cockpit that really can't afford an offset pedestal guard and large NavPod box.
1" Clamp Collars
In order to make this mount work you will need four 1" Clamp collars. I buy them from McMaster-Carr. I've searched high and low for a better price, even going direct to the manufacturer but McMaster-Carr is literally selling these at about 5% over their cost.
I generally use the 316SS version but the 303/304 version will work too IF brightly polished. The 303/304 collars run about $17.00 each and the 316SS run about $32.00 each.
Either collar type will greatly benefit from polishing. They come in a mill finish which will show rust spots if not polished bright...
NOTE: McMaster-Carr links are odd and your back button may not work once you get there.. Bookmark this page before you click the links below.
NOTE: Clamp collars are always purchased based on the tube, pipe or shaft OD. So a 1" pedestal guard gets 1" clamp collars or a 1" prop shaft would also get a 1" clamp collar.
Here the four collars are shown mid-buffing...
To install the mounting plate set your bottom collar height first. Now using some long nose pliers, preferably with electrical tape on the jaws, press the top and bottom collars together while tightening the set screws. This makes for a nice stiff mount that does not wobble.
NavPod SG10 1" OD X 58" Tall Pedestal Guard
In many cases, but not all, you may need a new 1" pedestal guard to clear the compass. Many OEM 1" guards are simply too short. Edson has stopped producing 1" straight guards, perhaps in order to sell more top plates and new feet. Certainly a nice sale $$$$$ wise for them. This design allows you to retain the top plate and original feet.
NOTE: Some pedestals do not use the Edson 9.5" hole centers. Be sure you have an Edson with 9.5" hole centers before ordering a 1" SG10 guard.
The biggest problem with any of these upgrades is that many pedestals have the assembly bolts frozen into the pedestal. More than one owner has totally destroyed a steering pedestal by snapping off a SS bolt in the aluminum pedestal. This design does not require you to remove the pedestal guard top-plate and replace it.
For mocking it up in my shop I simply clamp the pedestal guard to my table saw, as shown, but a work bench will work too. This makes setting your height, installing the collars and mounting the plotter yoke to the mounting plate quite easy.
While Edson dropped the 1" straight pedestal guard NavPod makes a beautiful 1" X 58" tall straight pedestal guard, PN# SG10. This guard is tall enough to cut it to the exact height YOU prefer. The SG10 is beautifully polished and reasonably priced.
This SG10 link is to Defender but you may find it elsewhere too..
Cut To The Height You Want
As I mentioned the SG10 pedestal guard is 58" tall & 1" OD. 58" is pretty tall on most boats. The nice thing is that this extra height allows you to decide just how tall you want to make it. I general find cutting 3-4" off is the perfect height for most owners. This still allows for a good hand hold and room for the plotter to clear even a fully enclosed compass.
For cutting 1" SS tubing I use a Ridgid pipe cutter with stainless cutting wheel. A standard cutting wheel will work to cut two SS legs but will pretty much be toast afterwards. I find the pipe cutter to make the cleanest cuts. I generally recommend buying Ridgid pipe/tube cutters as parts and cut-off wheels are always available. I can still get parts for some of my 40+ year old Ridgid cutters!
Before the Ridgid name was in Home Depot they were the plumbers tool line of choice. Home Depot simply bought licensing rights to use the Ridgid name. Buy one at a plumbing supply house and you'll save some money...
Once the legs are cut to length be sure to de-burr the inside of the legs. I use a Dremel and grinding wheel to do this. You don't want the guard legs to mar or slice the wires jacket or the wires themselves..
One Leg Cut
Here one leg has been cut to length and I am in the process of cutting the other leg. These close quarters Ridgid pipe cutters work well between legs if a standard cuter is too long..
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De-Burr The Tube
One of my peeves is installers who install marine electronics into pedestal guards and make zero effort to de-burr the holes they've made, or to smooth the cut ends. Quite often I see molested wire jackets and sometimes wind up cutting myself on this sloppy workmanship. Arghhh...
PLEASE take the time to de-burr any holes you make in the pedestal guard, This is especially true anywhere wires pass through the guard.
I start with a rough rasp in a Dremel type tool..
Make It Smooth
Once the heavy lifting is done I move to a fine grade stone in the same Dremel type tool.. I run my fingers over the surface to ensure there are no sharp edges that could damage the wire..
The Bits I Use
I have a pretty good collection of Dremel bits and unfortunately they are no longer in packaging. This means I have no clue what part numbers they are?
Just look for bits like these and you'll be doing well. The rasps are great for getting the big chunks off then I move to the stones a good for final surface smoothing. The round ended bit works well in small holes, as may be used for a single wire. It works well to smooth the back side of the hole inside the guard if you can't get the angle with a straight wraps or stone......
Buff & Polish The Clamp Collars
In order to buff the clamp collars I use a buffing wheel and some Tripoli or stainless specific compound. These wheels and compounds are available at Home Depot and will fit most bench grinders. IMHO every boat owner could benefit from a buffing wheel. I use mine all the time.
I get my wheels from Grizzly and some of my compounds too.
Home Depot / Ryobi may be easier but the quality of the wheels from Grizzly is much better.
Here is an example of the Home Depot / Ryobi version of Tripoli compound. It is inexpensive and works quite well...