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Old 08-10-2015, 11:27 AM   #1
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Custom Helm Gauge Panel

I'd like to see what others have done with their helm gauge panel (aka "dashboard").

My thoughts are, I'd like to raise it up a little above the console, so I can angle it slightly. Maybe a clear plastic cover. New custom-cut panel from FrontPanelExpress.

I keep hesitating. Do I keep the existing analog gauges? With the engine data now available on my NMEA 2000 interface, I have all kinds of new options.

Do I add things like a USB power port?

Anything else that might be useful? Pictures welcome!

Here's the beast I'm trying to update:
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Old 08-10-2015, 11:40 AM   #2
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When I did my repower, there was no panel supplied, just a box of instruments. Here is what I did. I added my windlass control and the override for my automatic fire extinguisher/engine shutdown system.

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Old 08-11-2015, 01:42 PM   #3
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I like a panel to be mounted on hinges so that it can flip up for access to the backside.
I use a trick from race car experience, rotate all the gauges so the needle points 12o'clock at normal running condition. That way you can tell at a glance if anything is amiss without having to actually read each gauge.
If you do much night boating, now's a good time to install red lighting in the gauges, much easier on the old eyes.
If you decide to loose the analog gauges at the helm, consider installing them in the engine room, always good to have a reference/backup panel.
These days USB ports are essential, but make sure there is somewhere to park the decvices, they don't rest well on a sloping surface, will be hanging by the cord after the first wave!
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Old 08-11-2015, 04:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kapnd View Post
If you decide to loose the analog gauges at the helm, consider installing them in the engine room, always good to have a reference/backup panel.
These days USB ports are essential, but make sure there is somewhere to park the decvices, they don't rest well on a sloping surface, will be hanging by the cord after the first wave!
What a great idea to reuse the gauges down below... Spiffy. Thanks.

In addition to the USB, you can buy some with a mini-USB plug at the end. I've got one of those by where I sit for my cell-phone. The cord on mine is small (8") so it's not useful for the Kindle.

I like to read too much to have it tethered on such a short wire.
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Old 08-11-2015, 06:28 PM   #5
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I did a panel for a center console and used frontpanel express. They did great work. I went with a black matt finish with cnc scribed labels that were filled with white epoxy.

that panel was awesome looking after it was populated and mounted. It was instrumental (<-- get it?) in selling the boat too.
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Old 08-11-2015, 07:31 PM   #6
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Good stuff! The hinge is a great idea. Somewhere to park handheld devices too.

I had Front Panel Express do a small panel for a new switch on my main electrical panel, mostly as a test, and I liked it. It's cool to be able to design it on my laptop and ship it off for fabrication. I just would hate to get it back and think of something I should have done differently. Hence this thread.
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Old 08-11-2015, 08:07 PM   #7
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Cost of a custom panel?
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Old 08-11-2015, 08:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptTom View Post
I'd like to see what others have done with their helm gauge panel (aka "dashboard").
Maybe Mark Pierce will post a pic of his panel...to me, his is absolutely beautiful! (Could it be that he knew what he was doing?)
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Old 08-11-2015, 08:52 PM   #9
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Kevin Sanders is another one who did a nice custom panel. Cannot recall the screen name but the person who CNC cut it for him is a TF member.
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:36 PM   #10
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Check out Mango Mama's custom panel in the Kadey Krogen builders section, "Manatee Pilothouse enclosure" post #10.
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:27 PM   #11
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I worked with the builder in designing the layout of my panel. Controls/instruments are arranged so that those of most interest to the lookout as opposed to the helmsman are located closer to the boat's center (the helm is on the starboard side).

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Old 08-11-2015, 11:31 PM   #12
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Hendo78 has BTDT, and posted pics. If I remember, he first had a gloss finished platform but decided it was prone to mark and scratch.
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