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Old 07-16-2019, 05:56 PM   #1
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Decent horn for boat

Howdy,

I'm looking for suggestions on installing a horn on the boat. Boat is a 2006 Monterey 302 cruiser. It has an arch. We mainly boat on Mississippi and St. Croix rivers in Minnesota, with plans to move the boat to Lake Superior in a few years.

The worthless cheapo car horn at the bow was replaced by me by 2 years ago with an equally worthless "marine" replacement. I've decided that the style and location of the existing horns are not ideal.

I'm not looking for the loudest horn available, but want a sufficiently loud horn to signal if needed. I also am not looking for the highest end model, the boat may be sold in a few years, but also want to install something not totally worthless for the next proud owner!

I've seen some models that are only electric (12v) but I'm suspicious that they won't be loud and may not be good quality. What is more common seems to be a horn with a compressor and then a switch to operate. What is not clear, do I need some sort of accumulator tank somewhere, or is the compressor and horn all I would need? Also, single or dual horns?

As far as mounting, my plan was to remove an unused TV antenna and put the horn in its place, this would be almost directly above the helm, slightly behind. Any concern about it being mounted right above the helm?

As always, THANK YOU for the advice!

Thanks

Sean
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Old 07-16-2019, 06:58 PM   #2
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ASD installed train horns on his boat, but they are load. Complete kit I think was around $600, compressor, tank, horns, wiring and lines. Ill see if I can find the post he did awhile back.
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:04 PM   #3
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Found the link, he got them from here.

https://www.airhornsoftexas.com/coll...FUqUfgod63wC_g
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:06 PM   #4
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I would suggest NOT putting the horn behind where you will be standing. In front and below you will allow you to hear after using the horn.
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:10 PM   #5
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I would suggest NOT putting the horn behind where you will be standing. In front and below you will allow you to hear after using the horn.


Agreed. Next time Iím on the boat Iím going to see exactly where the arch hits. The base of the arch is behind me but it slants forward and may be above me. Thanks!
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:11 PM   #6
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The air horn is the way to go for longevity and volume.

Marinco and Sea Dog manufacture quality long lasting air horns for less than $200

Most of the standard electric horns last 2 to 3 years and eventually quits when the internals corrode.

The Marinco air horn that I installed 18 years ago just got replaced with another Marinco dual trumpet. It was working fine but the chrome was looking shabby.
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:12 PM   #7
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Found the link, he got them from here.

https://www.airhornsoftexas.com/coll...FUqUfgod63wC_g


Those horns look insane! Ha! Iíd confuse the trains coming by our marina!
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:16 PM   #8
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I have a very loud, wonderfully-sounding dual-horn which is air powered, from Kahlenberg. Requires taking-up-space for compressor and air tank. Suits me, nevertheless.
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:30 PM   #9
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Pictures if it helps

I believe the arch slants enough forward that the horn would be right above the helm..... (pic)
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:46 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
I have a very loud, wonderfully-sounding dual-horn which is air powered, from Kahlenberg. Requires taking-up-space for compressor and air tank. Suits me, nevertheless.
I also have a Kahlenberg horn on my boat. Tookthe novel approach of running it off a very small scuba tank (use to be in that business). Horns unlike whistles, use very little air unless you're trying to be really annoying. I haven't had to refill the tank in 3 years.

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Old 07-16-2019, 07:56 PM   #11
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The Marinco and Seadog air horns use a small compressor about the size of a Coke can, no air tank.

The dual trumpet is very loud but not as loud as the more expensive air horns with large compressors and air tanks.
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Old 07-16-2019, 09:25 PM   #12
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Agree with OC Diver, but don't use a scuba tank, use CO2, cuz you can have a much smaller tank.

I have a dual buell air horn - loud as shit. Runs for years off of a single tank of CO2 - no compressor or anything. Probably the cheapest way out, plus nothing to break, just a tank of CO2 to fill up every few years.

This year on the 4th in the Charles River, Boston, some guy on a different boat: 'now that is a horn!'
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Old 07-16-2019, 09:31 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
I also have a Kahlenberg horn on my boat. Tookthe novel approach of running it off a very small scuba tank (use to be in that business). Horns unlike whistles, use very little air unless you're trying to be really annoying. I haven't had to refill the tank in 3 years.
I've likewise got a Kahlenberg setup... mine has a leak somewhere and the compressor kicks on at annoying intervals. I may look into the small tank setup, got any links to accomplishing the task?
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Old 07-16-2019, 09:55 PM   #14
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I doubt he wants to spend the $800+ needed for a Kahlenberg on a 30 ft cruiser. Seems like a bit of overkill and over budget given his stated needs and intentions.
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Old 07-16-2019, 09:59 PM   #15
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I would like horns that make me sound like the Queen Mary.
Alas, I have no space for the installation of a huge air compressor or air tank.
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Old 07-17-2019, 03:04 AM   #16
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Agree with OC Diver, but don't use a scuba tank, use CO2, cuz you can have a much smaller tank.

I have a dual buell air horn - loud as shit. Runs for years off of a single tank of CO2 - no compressor or anything. Probably the cheapest way out, plus nothing to break, just a tank of CO2 to fill up every few years.

This year on the 4th in the Charles River, Boston, some guy on a different boat: 'now that is a horn!'
Not to brag but I have a triple Buell powered by CO2 and yes, indeed, it is the loudest horn I have ever heard on the water. It came with the boat. Awhile back I participated in a thread whetein I was assured that the CO2 would run out quickly. Admittedly, I have not had occasion to use it often but it still blows loudly after a year and one-half which is no measure, I know. I owned the boat for five years before I ecchanged for a full tank before leaving on a one-year cruise.
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Old 07-17-2019, 03:59 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
I also have a Kahlenberg horn on my boat. Tookthe novel approach of running it off a very small scuba tank (use to be in that business). Horns unlike whistles, use very little air unless you're trying to be really annoying. I haven't had to refill the tank in 3 years.

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Small scuba tank....what a smart idea. My Kahlenberg compressor is hellish loud with huge power demand. If it's ever craps out I'll remember this.
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Old 07-17-2019, 05:01 AM   #18
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If you are looking for inexpensive solution, just use a West Marine handheld signal air horn. Another cheap option is a (motorcycle) air horn kit from Harbor Freight. Having said that we had a Buell that sounded like an ocean liner!!
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Old 07-17-2019, 05:45 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by wkearney99 View Post
I've likewise got a Kahlenberg setup... mine has a leak somewhere and the compressor kicks on at annoying intervals. I may look into the small tank setup, got any links to accomplishing the task?
Between the tank, 1st stage regulator, some fittings and a pressure gauge, your probably looking at $500 new. I had everything used lying around, rebuilt everything, and had next to nothing in the setup. CO2 would certainly be a cheaper initial and continuing cost. See warning about CO2 at the end of the post.


Quote:
Originally Posted by catalinajack View Post
Not to brag but I have a triple Buell powered by CO2 and yes, indeed, it is the loudest horn I have ever heard on the water. It came with the boat. Awhile back I participated in a thread whetein I was assured that the CO2 would run out quickly. Admittedly, I have not had occasion to use it often but it still blows loudly after a year and one-half which is no measure, I know. I owned the boat for five years before I ecchanged for a full tank before leaving on a one-year cruise.
CO2 is a liquid that vaporizes in the tank as it's used, just like propane. Filling the same tank to around 2,000 psi with air, the tank with CO2 will have approximately 3 times as much gas at ambient pressure as the air tank.

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Small scuba tank....what a smart idea. My Kahlenberg compressor is hellish loud with huge power demand. If it's ever craps out I'll remember this.
I like my scuba tank system although it is more costly for initial purchase. The big risk with CO2 is that if you develop a leak, depending where the leak is, it could easily kill you! My tank is in my pilothouse. With the pilothouse windows and doors closed, if the tank emptied, approximately 50 cuft. of CO2 would be in the pilothouse, enough to easily kill me. With the tank in the engine room, if it leaked down over a few days, there might be enough to kill you when you went down to do the prestart engine room check.

Food for thought when dealing with CO2.

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Old 07-17-2019, 06:01 AM   #20
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With time, any small compressor will fill a tank. Most air horns are loud with 100PSH of air so a used 20lb propane BBQ bottle will work fine.
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